No Wing Chun Crisis in Greece

Amongst remnants and rubble from the massive earthquake of 1999 and despite unemployment rates of over 25%, the Grecian spirit is alive and well in the students of Athenian Wing Chun instructor, Sifu Panagiotis Brebos , who invited me to Greece to share my knowledge and understanding of Wing Chun with him and his students recently.

Working at both his long standing school in downtown Athens and his new school in suburban Ano Liosia, there was no time for the Acropolis, ancient ruins or clear turquoise waters (next time, hopefully, ha, ha). Stances, footwork, partner drills to develop better sensitivity and reflexes took up most of the time.

But there was time for good Greek hospitality and food – always, food, and I certainly will need to increase my training when I return to Australia! Bougatsa for breakfast, loukmades for dessert and everything in between, meats, dips or seafood, indeed there was much warmth and friendship and information exchange over many a great meal with Sifu Brebos and his student, Sifu Yiannos Christoforou of Cyprus, who accompanied me to Athens to help translate.

The publisher of Greece’s martial arts magazine, Mavra Zuni (which means Black Belt), also came by to meet with me and interviewed me for their next issue. I will post the article and its translation when it is published, for your review.

A humble man and a great ambassador for Grecian Wing Chun, Sifu Brebos is a man I am happy to have met and I’m most happy to welcome him and his students into our circle of Wing Chun friends and look forward to sharing and training with them for a long time to come. I thank them all for the fantastic reception, warm hospitality and for the great fun we all had, training and sharing together our Wing Chun experiences!

Check it all out here, and you can find more information on Sifu Panagiotis Brebos and his schools in Greece here.


Warm Weather & Warmer Reception in Cyprus

Pickled veggies with thorns that you eat, spicy sausages, warm and friendly people and Wing Chun kung fu… what more could one ask for?

My first trip to Cyprus to share our spin on this fantastic martial art was all of that and then some, as I landed in Larnaka Airport and was greeted by Sifu Yiannos Christoforou, of the Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy here. We had met earlier in the year when he came to meet me during my Venice seminars in February, where he extended an invitation to come and teach some of our methods to him and his students in Cyprus.

We spent two full days of training, exploring the Sil Lim Tao concepts, some footwork and Chi Sao drills. Learning how to move with proper structure, developing forward energy, and most importantly, learning how to train with each other were the topics of the day (or should I say, the weekend). Come Sunday, tired and spent, our Cypriot friends were buzzing with excitement and a renewed sense of purpose in their training.

The weather was perfect and warmer than expected for this time of year, but Sifu Christoforou and his students were the perfect hosts for my first (of hopefully many now) trip to Cyprus, where I can honestly say, Wing Chun is well and truly prospering!

Click here for all the fun!


Melbourne’s Great Amazing Race

The Academy’s Dragon Dance Troupe was an integral part of the 2012 Melbourne Great Amazing Race. The race has become an annual event raising needed funds for Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. Our dragon troupe was asked to perform and to create a dragon dancing challenge for this year’s competitors.

Simo La-Wren and Trevor combined their imaginations and skills to design and create the dragons for the participants to use for the challenge. Kudos in particular, to Simo La-Wren, for yeoman work above and beyond the call of duty, to get the dragons finished in time for the race.

Over 700 participants entered this year’s competition and we had our hands full, coaching the teams and then encouraging them to fulfill the challenge. The weather was a bit unstable in the morning, with cool winds, clouds and some light showers. But the day cleared to a pleasant and mostly sunny day.

Thanks to all who helped out on the day – Steve and Matilda Colebrook, Russell and Emma Gill, Matias Sandonato, Susie Roczo-Farkas, Jeremy Yeo, Wesh Tobin, Trevor Cook, and of course, Simo La-Wren Wong. Special thanks for support from members of the Gill family and Logan and Alex too. And of course, thanks to Ellie, Natalie and Gemma, staff members of Uplift Events, for helping to keep the flow of competitors moving along.

To find out how the event turned out and how much was raised for the Royal Children’s Hospital, click here.

Click here to visit our photo gallery of the day’s activities.