Mr. Chew Choo Soot
Founder and Grand Master of Karate Budokan International
Mr. Chew Choo Soot was born on 7th February 1922 in Alor Star, a Northern State of Peninsula, Malaysia, Mr. Chew Choo Soot lost his father when he was still an infant and was brought up under the strict discipline of his grand father and elderly Confucius scholar of the old school of China. He was not given any encouragement to partake in any branch of physical culture, as his grandfather believed in book and education and not in martial arts.
However, at the age of 15, Mr. Chew Choo Soot enrolled for Weight lifting training at one of the small body building clubs in Epoh, where he grew up in his school days. Due to his keen interest in the training he progressed rapidly and eventually became the national weight lifting champion in both the feather weight and the light weight classes in 1939, 1941 and 1942. During those years he also acquired an interest in martial arts and took up judo, jujitsu and wrestling. It was not until at the age of 20 that he was introduced to the art of karate-do.
In early 1942 when the country was under the Japanese military occupation Mr. Chew Choo Soot was surprised that a Japanese Army Officer seek him out and requested him to teach him weight lifting, as he came to know of Mr. Chew Choo Soot from the health and strength magazine which frequently published his photographs. When it became known to Mr. Chew that the Japanese Army officer was a high-ranking karate expert he requested the officer to teach him karate in return. They then agreed to exchange tuition and for more than 2 years they spent the evenings training together in karate, jujitsu, judo and weight lifting until the Japanese Army officer left for Okinawa in 1945.
After the end of the Second World War, Mr. Chew went to Japan and Okinawa to further his karate training. He also made several trips to Taiwan to learn kung-fu and oriental weapons from a number of old kung-fu Masters of China.
In 1966 at the request of his friends, Mr. Chew then decided to start a dojo at Petaling Jaya with just a handful of students. The interest shown by the people who wanted to learn karate was so great that he found it impossible to cope with the classes without seeking assistant instructors. As there was no other karate instructors in Malaysia at that time, he then made two further trips to Tokyo and Osaka and employed in all 7 Japanese instructors to assist him to conduct the karate classes, which had in 2 years time spread the art to the North and South of the Peninsula. Since 1982 the Japanese instructors have returned to their own country, Malaysia had then sufficient qualified instructors of high standard under the guidance of Mr. Chew Choo Soot to cope with the national and international needs of KBI.
It was not the original intention of Mr. Chew to start branches and affiliated centers of KBI in overseas countries, but it seemed that the fame of KBI went beyond the shores of Malaysia and in the span of 4 decades about 4,000 karate centers have sprung up throughout the world.
Mr. Chew's ambition was to be able to travel to different countries, conduct karate classes, when he reaches the age of 80, rather than to spent his time amazing a fortune. A English proverb says that "the man proposes and God disposes", seems that this proverb was aptly applicable in his case. He fell ill by a paralytic attack on 4th February 1995 and breathed his last on 18th July 1997 at the age of 76 years at Malaysia.