2010 TRIP TO HONG KONG & CHINA – A SPECIAL ONE!Written by Sifu Leigh Jenkins
In June 2010, I was lucky enough to return to Hong Kong to continue my study of Wing Chun.
I have travelled to Hong Kong on many occasions for training but this trip was very special indeed.
I was accompanied by a number of my instructors and students and the purpose of the trip was three fold:
- To further our study of Wing Chun
- To join in the celebrations of my Sibak Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin's birthday
- To increase the overall understanding and skill level of our school by introducing some of my instructors and students to training Hong Kong style
Our team consisted of:
- Hugh PUTTOCK
- Sam PARAWA
- Nadine MAYNARD
- Daniel MOWATT-GARDINER
- Daniel BOWDEN
- Jason ASHBY
- Ian WILDE
We had a very successful trip and a lot of fun. A hot and humid climate greeted us which added to the challenge of training 8 hours a day.
We trained with Grandmaster CHU at his school and with some of his top students at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association.
Students of Grandmaster CHU's lineage from around the world came to celebrate his birthday. This created a fantastic environment for the sharing of thoughts, ideas and understanding.
I was very appreciative of the way Master Jim FUNG'S senior instructors from Adelaide helped our team settle in to training.
As always my good friend Buick YIP hosted us. He ensured the team had a friendly local contact and that they enjoyed the sights, flavours and rich culture Hong Kong and Macau have to offer.
Buick escorted us to Grandmaster Yip Mans gravesite in Fanling so we could pay our respects. His helpfulness was appreciated greatly.
During training I enjoyed the various facial expressions displayed by our team members as they were introduced to the depth of Wing Chun internal training and when they witnessed with their own eyes the incomprehensible ability of Grandmaster CHU.
I have pulled many such expressions myself over the years so it was fun for me to look into the mirror of days gone past.
All of us without exception received some very valuable information relevant to each person's individual level. The primary focus generally speaking was on spinal alignment, infusion of the spirit, joint rotation and body structure.
As an interlude to training we accompanied Grandmaster Chu, his family and wider lineage students to Foshan in China.
While there we visited the Ip Man Tong (a museum dedicated to Yip Man which houses a lot of memorabilia including his dummy and butterfly knives). This is a great location to view not only Wing Chun History but also to see how far and wide the art has spread around the world.
We continued our travels and visited a newly erected life size statue of Grandmaster Yip Man.
The presence of Grandmaster CHU was of huge interest to the local people. This was highlighted by the fact the local television crews attended.
Yip MAN is revered as a local legend in this part of China and to have his most senior and capable student present was an opportunity the local people did not want to miss.
Grandmaster Chu was interviewed in front of the statue and asked to lead our entire group through the Siu Lim Tao.
The statue is situated on the boundary of a large open park. We lined up and demonstrated the form on mass. This was done both to honor Yip MAN and to demonstrate how far Yip MAN's Wing Chun had spread about the globe as a direct result of his efforts and teaching.
We visited a number of local Wing Chun schools and learned that Wing Chun had been instituted as part of the districts school syllabus.
The number of young people practicing Wing Chun in this region alone is staggering and bodes well for the long term survival of Wing Chun as a functional and relevant martial art into the future.
On returning to Hong Kong, the long days of training continued and then we enjoyed the celebration of Grandmaster CHU's birthday.
Luckily for us the banquet was held at the hotel we were accommodated in. The food was magnificent as was the company. It was a memorable and most enjoyable evening for all.
On our return, the benefits of the trip were immediately obvious to all. I am very proud and appreciative of the effort our team put in while in Hong Kong and I am eternally grateful to Grandmaster CHU, his students and my friend Buick for making the trip possible.
As always now the task is to develop the concepts and skills learned until the next trip!