The weather was cold, grey and foggy; yet many Wing Chun faithful from northern Italy came out to meet and work with me in Venice recently. Some were friends, whom I’d met at my seminars there last Easter; others were new to me, and to Wing Chun – but we all had a common goal, to train and learn how to make our kung fu better and more effective.
Venetian Wing Chun Sifu, Mirco Zago, invited me to return to work with his students on developing tangible ways to train core Wing Chun concepts and principles. His good friend, Andrea Pivato (on the right in the photo), also instructs and was pivotal in translating my information to the seminar participants. By the way, you can visit his website – Associazione Wing Chun Songshan at: www.songshan.it. (Use Google Chrome and translate it from the Italian if needed)
I ran two 6-hour training sessions over two successive weekends, and also taught at Sifu Mirco’s class twice each week during my short stay in Venice. Along with students from Mirco’s school, we also had some students and instructors come from two other Wing Chun schools nearby, who train under Sifu Phillipe Bayer, of the Wong Shun Leung lineage and one from the Cheung lineage. Mirco even got me to do something I don’t normally do in Melbourne – briefly teach his children’s class! I think he must have had something put into that delicious Italian food!!!
After the first weeknight classes were taught and the first weekend of training finished, many of the participants felt that their progress and understanding of some of Wing Chun’s core principles and concepts was growing, through the tangible partner drills I took them through. Was it also a coincidence, that the weather too was changing for the better, with the sunshine replacing the fog and gloom of those grey days when I first arrived?
The excitement grew as did the enthusiasm as instructors and students alike, from all the lineages, got more comfortable with the motives and objectives of the partner drills. By the end of the second weekend’s sessions, all participants felt they gained a clearer understanding of many of Wing Chun’s concepts, such as for the structures built in the sil nim tao form, the value of chi sao drills to develop forward, springy energy and how to establish a strong, yet mobile structure for in-close combat.
Before I knew it, it was time to leave and return to Melbourne; but not before a tremendous dose of hearty Italian hospitality as we all went to a nearby restaurant to eat and discuss all the things we’d gone through together in the two weeks’ time. There’s preliminary talk of perhaps trying to run a Wing Chun Summer Camp in Italy maybe this year, or next… anyone interested???