Woolsey had also systemized the teaching method, that was universally
followed at all of Frank’s schools. Each instructor was not allowed to
teach a student any lessons, until the instructor himself had been
taught the proper method of teaching from Frank. Careful attention was
given to the way an instructor spoke to students, and the way that the
lessons were given. With this uniformity of teaching, a student could be
a portion of a lesson at one school, and upon going to another one of
the Woolsey studios, he could pick up the balance of the lesson, with
complete confidence in the accurately of the remainder of the lesson.
This also allow a student to go to any one of the Frank Woolsey studios
and work out with any student, because of the uniformity of lessons
given throughout the chain of schools, everyone had a capable level of
knowledge and skill.
Woolsey also taught his instructors how to sale. It was vital to the
survival of the corporation that more students were signed up on an
annual contract, and Frank was very aggressive in his manner of training
all instructors in how to sale.
who ran the Downey school for Woolsey, recalls a very good month back in
1974, when the school had signed fifty new members at a rate of six
hundred dollars, for a total of thirty thousand dollars in one month.
The Downey studio was one of five fully running Frank Woolsey studios at
There were many benefits that came with being one of Frank Woolsey’s
instructors, such as the knowledge and experience that came with the
position. Woolsey was very smart, and often shared his business
knowledge with those around him. The colors used in the school were
chosen to invoke very positive responses in students and visitors, and
Frank shared the reasons for these choices, and how they affected
people. Instructors became very good at sales, and after the Woolsey
studios closed, many instructors were hired in sales positions, simply
because they worked for Frank Woolsey, and the level of successful sales
were well know to the general public. Others opened their own schools
after the collapse of the Woolsey Empire, and several are still active
today. A few entered the world of private security and body guarding,
and again, the mention of the fact that Frank Woolsey trained them was a
guarantee that they were hired. Still others went on to be successful in
other chosen careers, much due to the fact that Woolsey had taught them
how to succeed, and how to have the attitude for always winning.
Frank Woolsey and Jimmy Woo had sat down to develop a series of
lessons that would be taught at Frank’s first school. Following Jimmy’s
course layout, Frank began to teach in his first little studio, in a
strip center in Downey, just down from a liquor store. At that time
Frank was a member of the Jimmy H. Woo Association, it wasn’t until
later that frictions between the two split them apart. Woolsey forbade
the name of Jimmy Woo in his school, or even the reference to San Soo.
Instead, Woolsey insisted that the art be referred to as Kung Fu only,
or Real Kung Fu. Then there was the live radio broadcast that Frank
participated in, in about 1974, where the radio audience could call in
and ask Woolsey questions. One caller asked Frank straight out if he’d
ever heard of Jimmy Woo, and Woolsey denied any knowledge of Jimmy
Woo use to say that he regarded Frank Woolsey as a son. Obviously the
bond between them was very strong, and the rift that tore them apart was
also very powerful. When Woolsey closed his doors in 1975, many of
Frank’s instructors and students alike, went to El Monte to continue
their education under Jimmy Woo. Although Jimmy welcomed them, many of
Frank’s students meet with strong hostility from Woo’s students. It
interesting to note, that in 1986 Jimmy Woo and Frank Woolsey met at a
restaurant that Frank owned. The two of them sat down, and spent a great
deal of time bringing each other up to date on their respective
families, and patching up old differences.
It should be noted that we at www.oldsansoo.com are not presenting
this article as praise or support for Frank Woolsey himself. But instead
to show the contribution that Woolsey made to the preservation of an
older style of Kung Fu San Soo that Jimmy Woo used to teach. The fact
is, that Frank Woolsey made several choices and decisions regarding his
treatment of instructors and employees that alienated even his most
dedicated supporters. He publicly denied ever knowing Jimmy Woo, the man
who taught him the fighting system that not only changed his life, but
also gave him the opportunity to make large sums of money. Woolsey’s
poor decisions coupled with the changing public interest in Kung Fu,
ultimately undermined the Frank Woolsey Kung Fu empire, and left a dark
shadow over those that studied under Frank in the eyes of the other San
Soo schools. To many, Frank Woolsey, was the Judas of Kung Fu San Soo.
Frank Woolsey still remains a very controversial character in the world of Kung Fu San Soo, even twenty-five years after he closed all of his schools, and stepped out of the spotlight. Remembered for being at once, both brilliant and a bastard, innovative and evil, Woolsey left a mark on the memories of the Kung Fu San Soo world that few others will ever achieve.