In 1943 a boy named Sin Kwang Thé was born in Bandung who would one day become the third Grandmaster of our lineage. His family had several Shaolin ancestors and young Sin was drawn to the martial arts... His father, however, had been injured during martial arts training when he was a young man and opposed his son's wishes. Nonetheless, Sin Kwang's mother secretly let him out at 4 am each morning, so that he could study the martial arts. He began with sand burn training. Sand burn training is a crude form of toughening the hands by thrusting them into buckets of hot sand.
After 6 months, the sand burn man stopped teaching. Sin Kwang heard about Grandmaster Ie's school and went to watch. Grandmaster Ie had 80 students practicing empty hand forms, weapons forms and sparring. The 7 year old Sin Kwang asked to join the school, but he was put off with polite excuses. One evening, Grandmaster Ie spilled a bowl of uncooked rice on the training hall floor. He asked Sin Kwang to pick up the rice, one by one, and to blow the dust of each grain. He was to find all of the 855 grains that had been in the bowl. It was late at night, and the Shaolin students had all gone home, by the time Sin Kwang was through dusting and counting the rice.
The rice counting was only the first of many tests of determination and character Sin Kwang passed. For the final test, Ie spilled hot tea on the boy and took hold of him, looking deep into his eyes. He saw no anger, only surprise. Sin Kwan Thé was finally accepted as a Shaolin student.
Five years later at the age of 13, Sin Kwang Thé tested to Black Belt. For his test, he had to spar 7 other students while blindfolded. He also had to do forms blindfolded. At different times during the forms, boards were held in his path. Since he didn't know when there would be a board, every strike in every form had to be true.
In 1964, Master Sin was preparing to go to Germany to study engineering and physics. He had added German to the multitude of languages that he could speak. Yet the Berlin crisis altered his plans. By chance, however, he met a couple from Lexington, Kentucky who were able to arrange a scholarship in the US for him. Master Sin Kwang Thé came to the United States.
In 1968 Master Sin's training was complete. Grandmaster Ie awarded him the 10th Degree and the Grandmaster's Red Belt. Sin Kwang Thé had become the youngest Grandmaster in the history of the Shaolin art at age 25.
Grandmaster Thé continued his education and was on the verge of completing his Master's Degree when Ie Chang Ming died at the age of 96. Grandmaster Thé realized that while there were many engineers and scientists, he was the only Shaolin Grandmaster. He dropped his studies in order to devote all his time to teaching the Shaolin art.
Shaolin Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé could have returned to Indonesia to resume teaching the art. Instead he chose to stay in the US. This was a bold break in tradition, for in the past only full blooded Chinese had been permitted to learn the Art. Yet when American men and women from all walks of life were able to learn what was once taught to a handful of Chinese monks, it was clear that martial arts excellence depends on time and effort and not race.