Please follow our new blog at http://www.westcoastwingchun.com/blog ! Thanks for your dedication and patience.
Welcome! ~Sifu Bryan
The Blog Masters
Please follow our new blog at http://www.westcoastwingchun.com/blog ! Thanks for your dedication and patience.
West Coast Wing Chun Grand Opening!!! A chance to win 3 full months of training! Dont miss the chance to see GrandMaster Samuel Kwok demonstrate his 40+ years of Wing Chun skills. Also Featuring a Tradional Calligraphy Exhibit by Shantien Tom Chow. Live music by ~A Vibe Called Deps. Food and Refreshments
The seminar schedule is as follows:
Saturday – October 6th “Bridging Chi Sau to the Street Fight”
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Chi Kung
11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. Chi Sau
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Lunch
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Fighting
Sunday – October 7th “The Wooden Dummy: Cultivating Precision and Power” – Proper Form, Use of Energy and Application
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Chi Kung
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Sections 1-4 Wooden Dummy
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Lunch
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sections 5-7 Wooden Dummy
Go to http://www.ipmankungfu.com/seminars.html for more info!
By Kimmy Squiers
They’re calling him “The Wing Chun Evangelist,” and they couldn’t be more spot on.
Grandmaster Kwok is tireless in his passion for spreading the word of Ip Man Kung Fu. He is relentless in his pursuit of the truth according to Ip Man. And one touch of his hands will convert you. Make you a believer of an art that has been ridiculed by “fighters,” and thought of as an art that is only stand-up or just for women.
Sifu Kwok’s Wing Chun not only works against other Wing Chun artists, but against all manner of hands-on fighting. At sixty-three years old, he still fights to this day with men a quarter of his age from all walks of the fighting arena and from all over the world. The ultimate evangelist, he always teaches the lesson. In short, his Wing Chun works.
But why? I spent eight days with him earlier this September. I’ve only just entered into Chum Kiu form and am just learning to Chi Sau, but I found myself wanting to understand what it takes to be a Master of his level – a Grandmaster, clearly one of the best fighters in the world. And though, admittedly, my perception would be much different than that of an experienced fighter, I think it is also unmarred by preconceived notions. I had no expectations of how a master should act (unless of course you count the influence of the infamous characterization of Pai Mei from Kill Bill on my psyche).
So after spending more than a week with Grandmaster Kwok, in and out of the Wing Chun classroom, I discovered that his passion for Wing Chun and its effectiveness in fighting permeates all aspects of his life. It is his gospel, his way of life. He wakes and thinks about Wing Chun, he eats and thinks about Wing Chun, he posts Facebook updates and he thinks about Wing Chun, but ironically when he’s practicing Wing Chun, he doesn’t think at all.
There is no time to figure out what works and doesn’t work in a fight. All he needs has already been processed by his brain. His cells have already absorbed the information he needs. He never uses his Wing Chun. Never reacts to a situation. Instead, he becomes his Wing Chun.
Grandmaster Kwok reminds me of the greatest artists. And all of the best artists become their art. Their is no separation between Monet and his Water Lillies or Van Gogh and his Sunflowers. Samuel Kwok is no different than they are. The force that is thrown at him becomes the paint for his canvas. His body is the brush. His mind becomes the stroke. And the spirit that animates his movement is pure Wing Chun.
Every movement by his opponent provides a new opportunity for him to strike. Bong sau, tan sau, pak sau are simply tools to open his opponent’s center-line. This mindset is innate to all that he does, in all aspects of his life. He creates his opportunities. Life does not create him. He has visited over fourteen countries this past year, met with ministers from the governments of Abu Dabi and Mauritius, and has affiliate schools on six of the seven continents.
Anyone who touches hands with him will understand it when I say that you cannot perceive where he is. His movement is so economical, his touch exactly enough to bridge to you and control you. There is no wasted energy. But when he strikes, a jolt of electricity surges through your body. His intent exact, and his ability to direct power profound.
So much in fact, that he is quickly becoming known for his ability to heal energetically. His time with us in Long Beach has allowed him to work with a young child named Brandon. When Grandmaster Kwok first met him, Brandon’s left arm was stuck in medial rotation, lifted at the trapezius muscle. Brandon’s doctors had no explanation for his condition and left his parents with one option: exploratory surgery. Grandmaster Kwok, with just a few minutes of Chi Kung energy transmission, traditional Chinese bone setting and massage, was able to release Brandon’s trapezius and greatly release the medial rotation. After one more treatment, Brandon was able to reach his arm straight above his head. Grandmaster Kwok’s latest visit with us in Long Beach met him with Brandon again at Grandmaster Kwok’s insistence, and resulted in the complete release if the child’s arm. And when he transmitted energy to my injured hip, from across the room, the ball and socket joint vibrated, palpable to not just me, but others who held their hand on my hip.
So much of this Master’s skill in healing and fighting has to do with his incredible ability to direct his mind. Of course, his technique is perfection, gained from untold hours of repetition and his understanding of the art reaches the inner depths of his being. But I unequivocally believe that this stems from the kind of will that goes out into the world and bends it according to his mind. A mind honed by a lifetime of meditation and chi kung that thinks what only he desires it to think. A mind that has been tamed, like his body, to obey the command of his spirit or perhaps more accurately, Spirit.
It seems, then, that truly mastering Wing Chun is clearly not just a physical achievement, but is a perfect blending of the trinity – the physical, mental and spiritual. It is the joining of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Who better, then, to evangelize authentic Ip Man Wing Chun, than Samuel Kwok, a man who embraces the culmination of all points of the triangle?
by Kimmy Squiers
Hi. I’m Simo Kimmy and a Lo Si (assistant to Sifu) of West Coast Wing Chun, a Wing Chun Martial Arts school based in Long Beach, Ca. I grew up with four brothers in my house, but somehow I was the only one in my family ever interested in learning martial arts. I think I became interested in learning a martial art because I felt vulnerable.
Without going into explicit detail about my childhood, suffice to say I grew up feeling completely powerless. With no blame to any of my family members for events that happened, I became a victim. I was timid and shy and though I was the youngest and only girl and very loved and adored, I, at times, felt unimportant and definitely overshadowed by circumstance/s in my family. And because of these unnamed events. I also felt so powerless that I for a very long time felt like I really had no right to breathe air or to exist. I never felt like I didn’t want to live, but instead felt like I shouldn’t take up space.
So, I became fascinated by women and men with power. I adored the superheros of my generation – I loved Wonder Woman so much that I used to dream that I could jump really high like her and could beat bad people up. Then later, Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer became my heroes. Then, I discovered martial arts movies with Bruce Lee and then, Jackie Chan. These characters had real power, they weren’t victims like me or others in my family. No one could hurt them. They were untouchable.
I wanted that. To be untouchable. To be so full of power and magic and strength that no one could hurt me or the people I love. I would wish so hard that lasers could come from my hands and eyes. (I am just lucky I didn’t jump down a flight of stairs thinking I could fly like Peter Pan like my brother did.) And I dreamt I could spin and kick and punch my way to happiness. I spent days dreaming of having these powers. But to the outside world, I was shy and sweet. I imagined myself She-Ra or Xena, the world saw me as a Disney Princess. In in the midst of chaos and strife, I felt helpless.
And to some extent, I was, because I felt that I was. But I was also helpless to a certain extent because I am a woman, the weaker of the two sexes. Often society and women try to pretend that woman are just as powerful as men, and although that may be true in social or political arenas or even familial situations, it is mostly untrue in a physical sense. The vulnerability of others in my family who were severely abused, heightened this sense in me.
For years I did nothing constructive about this helpless feeling I felt. I tried to gain a sense of control and power by acting out through bulimia or destructive relationships. Eventually, however, this brought me to an unhappiness so deep that my only option became to change myself and how I viewed the world. Instead of taking the same destructive path I had grown accustomed to, I began a new journey of self-love and personal growth.
Eventually, I became a healer, an energy worker and a massage therapist. In a way, I did become a superhero. Chi flowed from my hands like webs flew from Spiderman’s. I felt like I could help change people’s lives for the better and that began to help me feel more empowered. This was very satisfying for a while, but eventually I began to resent healing others and grew tired of always giving, giving, giving… while I felt empty inside. I struggled with being the “caregiver,” a roll that was expected of me as a woman. My insides were screaming, “What about ME!”
When I began training in Wing Chun Kung Fu, I did it for myself. I had no aspirations to protect my family or friends. I was a Superhero with an identity crisis. Not exactly a villain, but definitely not a Super Friend. I just wanted to be a bad ass – The Bride in Kill Bill. I wanted to feel powerful on the outside. The kind of powerful that would make me feel like I could take care of myself. Like I could walk to the grocery store at dusk without worrying about someone attacking me. And that was enough at first. The problem is that the art of Wing Chun transforms you.
It develops power from the inside out. Your spirit somehow becomes transformed and healed by the process of learning the art. Although, we learn Chi Kung, a form of meditation and gentle moving stances that help build internal energy, it is the process of learning Wing Chun, how to fight, that actually quells the turmoil and violence within you. It is the Yin within the Yang. The soft within the hard.
But really, it is more than that. Recently, I had an experience that helped me understand the transformation that Wing Chun seminates. A few days ago, I left work with my boss at 11 p.m. We were quickly approached by a man who seemed unstable, like he was on drugs. He asked for directions to Ocean St., so we assertively gave him directions to Ocean, sending him off in the opposite direction. My boss told me to come with her to her car (as mine was in the direction we sent the guy) and told me she’d give me a ride. We began to walk in the opposite direction. The man turned and began walking in the direction we were going asking if he could get to Ocean this way.
We both knew this could potentially be a bad situation. My boss was assertive in her tone, but backed away from the guy, as she told him he had to go in the opposite direction. I was also assertive in my tone and calmly positioned myself between the man and my boss. I was far enough away where he couldn’t hit or grab me, but close enough to step in and attack him if I needed too. Thankfully, the man gave in to our assertions and took off down the street in the opposite direction.
You see, I felt healthily scared but confident that I had enough training behind me to effectively deal with the situation if it turned physical. I understood that a fight is unpredictable (especially with a drug addict), but I also trusted all of the training I had endured. I didn’t feel powerful so much, but I felt confident. And I knew then and forever more that there are those of those who train for these moments like that and those that don’t and that it is the responsibility of anyone who knows how to fight to protect those who are more vulnerable. It is up to us to keep peace and very often the internal power we develop during training is enough to do just that. People sense our vulnerability as they sense our power. But if it is not enough, we must end violence as quickly and effectively as possible.
Though I once thought that learning a martial art was for me and me only, I was completely mistaken. There is no “me and me only”. We are part of something greater than just us. And as individuals, as we develop power, we are also develop a great responsibility. Once a certain level of skill is reached in martial arts, you are no longer learning it for yourself, but for your family, friends, neighbors, and even for people you have never met. You learn it for the betterment of humanity.
Ip Man’s Code of Conduct
REMAIN disciplined – uphold yourself ethically as a martial artist.
PRACTICE courtesy and righteousness – serve community and honor your family.
LOVE your fellow students or classmates – be united and avoid conflicts.
LIMIT your desires and pursuit of bodily pleasures – preserve the proper spirit.
TRAIN diligently and make it a habit – maintain your skills.
LEARN to develop spiritual tranquility – abstain from arguments and fights.
PARTICIPATE in society – be conservative, cultured and gentle in manners.
HELP the weak and the very young – use your martial skill for the good of humanity.
PASS on the tradition – preserve the Chinese art and its Rules of Conduct.
Ip Man understood this concept. Bruce Lee even said, “There is no opponent. Because the word ”l” does not exist,” and also “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” They both understood that everything we do, we do not just for ourselves but for the whole of ourselves. Perhaps even that we are not just the individual, but something much greater than that.
I had known this on an intellectual level for a long time. However, this experience with my boss outside the restaurant helped me learn it on a visceral level. I didn’t think twice about protecting her if I needed to – we were the same, she and I. And ultimately we are the same as the man who was lost (in more ways than one) and was potentially dangerous to us. Bruce Lee also said, “When the opponent expands, l contract. When he contracts, l expand. And when there is an opportunity… l do not hit…it hits all by itself (shows his fist).”
So, now, after my path with Wing Chun, I not only feel like I have a right to breathe air and take up space, but I feel that I am the breath, the air, and the space. I am everything and everything is me.
I’d love to hear your comments and feelings about this blog.
Here’s Sifu Bryan’s latest 30 Second Wing Chun Tips Video. We shoot, edit and do sound for all of our videos. The music featured is Sifu Bryan’s band,