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The reason I have started this blog is too share my understandings of the Wing Chun System that I have discovered in the last fifteen plus years, starting with Sifu Alan Gibson and continuing with Sifu Cliff Au Yeung. I also keep abreast of the latest research from Sifu Clive Potter and all the other Coaches in the Wing Chun Federation.
From Small Beginnings
My martial journey, like many others, started with Taekwondo, but about 3 years into my training I became interested in the current trend of making martial arts work “on the street,” spearheaded by Geoff Thompson and many others. Inevitably I became disillusioned with Taekwondo mainly due to it’s sports based applications. This is not to take anything away from TKD as it is a fantastic Martial Art and one that will keep you very fit, strong and healthy.
So I had a look around to see what other martial arts were available locally and came across Sifu Alan Gibson’s Wing Chun Federation. I immediately went for my first private lesson with Alan and we hit it off straight away. I continued to receive private training for about 6 months and then joined Alan’s class in Southampton. I totally fell in love with Ving Tsun (our preferred spelling) and trained twice a week, plus other seminars for the next 7 years. It was then that Mark Page (my senior) had the idea of opening a school nearer the Portsmouth area, and it was soon that Havant Wing Chun was born.
My development in reality based martial arts continued when I found out that Urban Combatives Founder Lee Morrison was teaching a 4 hour workshop once a month in Southampton. I went along and found everyone there, especially Lee, to be absolutely amazing and it was a baptism of fire. To further my self protection knowledge I attended the workshops every month for about a year and also attended two seminars hosted by Lee. I also attended many other seminars with world class coaches including first generation coaches of Geoff Thompson such as Al Peasland, Matty Evans and Tony Somers. And what I learnt was this; real violent combat is disgusting and vile and should be avoided at all costs. I also learnt that you need more than simply martial arts for “street training.” You need a mindset of “do not fxxk with me…. EVER!”
I discovered that the thing that will serve you best for understanding how to protect yourself in violent situations is awareness. Awareness of yourself, of your environment, the people around you, and the threat cues that may signal that a situation may be about to start. Next you have conflict management skills, such as how to talk people down and therefore preventing the physical confrontation even starting. At HVT we understand all of this and often explore these ideas in class training.
So where did that leave Ving Tsun? Well for starters Ving Tsun, even in it’s purest form will provide you with many attributes which will help in a “real” situation, such as spacial awareness, correct range, non-telegraphic close range striking, constant forward pressure, contact reflexes and many others. But Ving Tsun has given me much more than that.
Enter Cliff Au Yeung
In 2011 Mark Page and Alan Gibson organised the first UK visit of Hong Kong Sifu Cliff Au Yeung, luckily the Wing Chun Federation coaches also had the opportunity of spending time with Cliff during some closed door training. Simply put, I was blown away by Sibak Gungs skill and knowledge of the Wong Shun Leung method. It was like having massive pieces of my own Ving Tsun jigsaw filled in. He also introduced us to the internal skills of Ving Tsun, which have transformed the way I teach and train myself and my students. Sibak Gung Cliff came over again the next year and we learnt even more.
Sifu Cliff returned to Southampton in 2012 and then in November 2015 I had the honour of organised my first Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun Workshop with Sifu Cliff Au Yeung accompanied by Sifu Asiatic from UFA Ving Tsun in Canada, the workshop was a complete success. During that time I was fortunate enough to receive private tuition from my Sibak Gung Cliff which gave me a new and deeper understanding of the Wong Shun Leung method. It was the start of a new journey for me with Sifu Cliff Au Yeung becoming my mentor for understanding the true Ving Tsun way.
In 2016 it was time for my Sibak Gung Cliff and Sisook Asiatic to return! So I organised my second WSLVT Workshop. Again it was a massive success with everyone training hard and learning so much. Yet again I received hours of private tuition from my Sibak Gung Cliff with him checking my forms and understanding of his system. I now consider him a close friend and I am honoured to pass on what he has taught me. Sisook Asiatic was also on hand to help everyone throughout their stay in the UK and we thank him greatly. We covered Siu Nim Tau in detail plus all the major drills associated with the mother form.
So it wasn’t long before 2017 was upon us and our visit from Sibak Gung Cliff was arranged again! This time Sisook Asiatic was unable to attend but the Workshop was still a huge, if not the best one yet. This year we really began to dig deep into the Wong Shun Leung Cliff Au Yeung Ving Tsun method.
Again I spent many hours privately with my Sibak Gung finely tuning my forms and reaching a depth of understanding that has transformed my way of thinking and practise.
Next Time on the HVT BLOG
Siu Nim Tau, The Mother Form
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