Phillip “Pete” Starr has been a practitioner of the Chinese martial arts for nearly 50 years, and the only American heir to W. C. Chen, Phillip Starr is the founder of Yilichuan kung fu, a system that merges China’s three internal styles. Also a 3rd grade black belt in Kyokushin karate, he is National Chairman of the Yilichuan Martial Arts Association.
Having begun martial arts training in judo in 1956, Starr soon became one of the first Americans to study kung-fu and was the only American student of Master W.C. Chen.
Starr became a U.S. National Champion for the United States Karate Association (USKA) in 1976-the first kung-fu stylist to be awarded that title by the USKA.
From 1991 to 1995 he served as National Chairman for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Chinese Martial Arts Division, which subsequently became the largest kung-fu organization in the United States. Also in 1991, Starr returned from competition retirement to became the U.S. National Xingyichuan Champion at the AAU National Championships. The same year, he received the AAU’s highest honor, the Presidential Leadership Award. In 1992 he was named to the Kung-Fu Hall of Fame by Inside Kung-Fu Magazine for “Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Martial Arts.”