The first known American national championship was actually won at the 1874 National Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, by two Chinese men: Hui Yajun (who would later become known as Wang Yue), and the first American national champion, a Native American named William “Shing” Chin, who went on to win the National Championships in the same year.
So for the first 15 years of Can Dance, the Chinese have won the title in St. Louis. However it wasn’t until the 1960’s when the U.S. decided to get involved. St. Louis was considered a “major” hub for Chinese American culture and sport since many of its Chinatowns were on the west coast.
In order to give the country a boost they put together an entire team to compete in the National All-Star Games in St. Louis.
Can you tell me about you own history with Chinese Americans?
As a kid growing up in St. Clair Shores, Florida I remember seeing the Chinese take over and taking over the local swimming pools. When I was still quite young, many Chinese families had to move from their homelands in the Chinese Empire to the United States as the Japanese started invading Southeast Asia in 1941.
When the war ended with victory by the Americans, many family’s moved to St. Louis, and many more chose to work in the St. Louis area. So some of us from St. Claire Shores and St. Clair Shores East joined in those days after World War II.
The Chinese community from the East Coast moved over to St. Louis after St. Louis won the National Championships
My first championship came in the 1980’s and I would not be here today if it weren’t for some of the guys who came up here and helped me in the making of Can Dance. One of the guys whom I had the great pleasure of working with, was one of the greats of St. Louis in the late 1960’s, and now retired. His name is Ching Shou. He’s still very active here in South County and he was instrumental in our National Championships winning in 1978. He now lives in Los Angeles, California. It was through him that I met many of the other team members who made it to the National Championships here with us. He and many of my teammates were instrumental in setting the tone for the entire team.
When the U.S. national championships was held in St. Louis, Ching Shou
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