Our History

A Brief History

In 1920, (5 Ambassador) Mr Chen Gong Zhe and his sister Chen Shi Chao, Mr Ye Shu Tian, Mr Luo Xiao Ao and Mr Li Hui Seng from the Shanghai Chin Woo (Athletic) Federation travelled to South-east Asia to promote martial arts. 1921, Mr Cai Jing Lin, an accomplished martial arts exponent arrived in Singapore to teach.

He was later invited to be an instructor by Yang Zheng School, Nanyang Industrial & Commercial Tuition School as well as the son and daughter of Mr Huang Zhao Gui. He was hence introduced to Mr Yang Zhao Zhen, who presented him with a copy of the “Chin Woo Biography”. Cai felt Chin Woo’s righteous principles were beneficial to society, there was a need to promote it to the general public. As such, Mr Yang Zhao Zhen and Mr Cai Jing Lin travelled all over the country to plan and form a Committee of founders : Mr Tang Xiang Lin, Mr Lin Yi Shun, Mr Gan Qing Si, Mr Liang Zi Xiu, Mr Lin Tui Qian, Mr Wu Sheng Peng, Mr Huang Shu Zhi, Mr Chen Jing Ting, Mr Huang Ze Bo, Mr Wu Shen Cai, Mr Huang Zhao Yuan and Mr Huang Zhao Gui.

During the British colonial period, the Association had to submit the application for registration to the government in the Federation of Malaya. On 9th August 1922, the group gained approval from the local Government to function as a registered society.

Changes in the political landscape necessitated the name of the Association to be officially changed from “Chinese Chin Wu (Athletic) Association” to “Singapore Chin Woo (Athletic) Association” on September 30, 1960.
Based on records from the Registrar of Societies from 1982 to 1983, the Singapore Chin Woo (Athletic) Association is the oldest martial arts group in Singapore history with the UEN No : S22SS001E.


The Association operated from different locations in its early days. It was not until 1940 that the Association was able to purchase two properties – one for official use and the other for renting out. The locations from which the Association had operated over the years are outlined as follows. From 1921 to 1923, No 32 Kreta Ayer Road. In 1924, we moved to MacCallum Street, next to Gan Eng Seng English School. We again moved to No 4 Loke Yew Street in 1925. From 1927 to 1928 we operated out of the Daluotian Restaurant at 310 North Bridge Road (the site of the former Odeon Theatre along North Bridge Road). Thereafter, we moved to No 79 Neil Road in 1929, No 21 Teo Hong Road from 1933 to 1939, and a sub- branch was established at 29 Yan Kit Road. Finally, we acquired our own property at 90 Neil Road in 1940 and we have been operating there ever since.