Review of 2018
With 2019 now upon us, we thought it might be good to have a look back on what we did during 2018. In April we had our spring seminar in Sligo, alternating as we do between the west and east of the country. The theme of the seminar was on sparring and we had Dai Si-Hing Willem Akkermans return as guest instructor to give us an introduction to Chi-Kung.
In May we were invited by LudoSport Ireland to give an introductory Wing Tsun seminar for their students. We had a great time, the students learned a lot and the head of LudoSport Ireland, Diego Malatesta, started to train with us while sharing the material with his students as he was learning it.
Also in May we launched our kids classes. This was a big step and we really wanted to focus on doing it right. We applied for and received our Garda vetting the previous year and wanted to focus on what Wing Tsun can do for children as opposed to the other way around. Classes continue to run every Saturday for children and cater for those aged between 4 and 12 years old.
We had our summer seminar in July and this time the location was the Dunboyne school. The theme of the seminar was on reconciling the biomechanically efficient movements in Wing Tsun to the concept of Peng Jin found within "inner" Chinese martial arts. The guest instructor for this seminar was Sifu Brian Kennedy who gave us an excellent introduction to Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. We were also pleased to award long time student and assistant instructor, Joe Kennedy, with his 1st Higher Grade (Dan Blackbelt) in Wing Tsun.
Also in August we had Ken Byrne, head of Golden Tiger Academy and purple belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, give our students a workshop on the Guard position in GJJ. This was Ken's 2nd workshop to date, the 1st one was on the Mount position and while Wing Tsun covers groundwork to some detail, where it leaves off, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu begins.
In October we were again invited to Sifu Brian Kennedy's martial arts school in Palmerston to give a workshop for his students. Brian teaches Jeet Kune Do, Silat and Filipino martial arts. As there is a close relationship between Wing Tsun and Jeet Kune Do, Brian and his students feel that these workshops are worthwhile. Then a few days later Brian came out to the Blanchardstown school and taught a two hour workshop on empty hand defence against knives using Kali. It was a really excellent workshop and as the material will replace the content of the 11th student program in the Wing Tsun syllabus, we recorded lots and have trained the material in each class since.
We had our winter seminar in Sligo during November. We worked on various applications, not as an end in themselves but as a tool to cross reference the theory and biomechanics of Wing Tsun and see the bigger picture behind what we are doing. We again had Willem Akkermans and Jane Burke as guest instructors where they have a great introduction to Peng Jin.
Coming up to years end we had a series of examinations for the adults and kids. Well done to all those who graded and who will now move onto their new student programs. It has never been easier to learn Wing Tsun Kung Fu. We have classes for teenagers and adults three times per week in two locations and one kids class per week. We have regular Wing Tsun seminars where we can go into more detail on aspects of the student programs and almost half of the student syllabus is now online where students can view the material before they come to class so as to get the most from each class and progress smoothly through the system.
We finished off the year with one more Gracie Jiu-Jitsu workshop from Ken Byrne, this time focusing on the side mount position. Again the material was very compatible with Wing Tsun and built upon Ken's two previous workshops on the Mount and Guard positions. From January 2019, students will have the opportunity to train the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Combatives program each week after the Wing Tsun class as part of a training group led by Sifu Michael O'Leary and under the supervision of Ken Byrne. They will also have the same opportunity to learn Kali under Sifu Michael and Guru Brian Kennedy. New year, new opportunities, new focus.