Happy Birthday To Us!
Thirty years old, YEAH!
Today marks the start of a very special month for me, as my school, the Northern Wing Chun Kung Fu Association (and home to WingChun.Online), based in Leeds (UK) is now officially thirty years old.
After becoming his student and disciple, it was on the request of my Sifu, Grandmaster Ip Chun, that I opened the school, way back in February 1991.
I’d thought about this day coming for quite some time, with the hope and intention of having a great celebratory meal with all of my students, but of course with the present situation, this now has to take a much more subdued and somber approach.
In those early years training in Hong Kong, Sifu would teach me techniques and tell me that when I returned to the UK, that I should get by best six students and teach them these same ideas and principles, so that I would have someone to train with.
This way I would keep my skills developing even while away from my Sifu, and it is because of this habit that I have always been transparent and honest with my students regarding my teaching methods, never holding anything back or keeping certain ‘moves‘ for myself.
On my first trip to Hong Kong I stayed for almost six months, with following trips ranging between three to five weeks at a time, two or three times each year for the most part, I have no idea how many times I have made this journey, I lost count somewhere in the thirties!
I would train every day with Master Ip Chun at his home, for hours at a time, and when it was tome to leave Hong Kong, I was never upset (as I knew I’d be back soon) but was more excited about the idea of sharing these teachings and all my hard work, with my students back at the school, my home.
Although the school doors may be closed at the moment, the school is still very much alive, and when this is all over (and it will be some day) we will be stronger than before and ready for the next thirty years!
For the time being I am still teaching four classes per week, although only through zoom, and although I am so happy to be seeing so many of my students faces, I only wish we could actually meet, to drill, spar and link up for Chi Sau.
On the 12th of this month, on Chinese New Year, I shall invite my students to raise a glass with me, to Master Ip Chun, to his Father, Ip Man, and to the school where I have had so many happy memories and been privileged to have met and befriended so many wonderful students, as it is they who make the school what it is, and I am immensely proud of each and every one of you.
Happy Birthday Everyone!