The head of our school Dr Mark Phillips was recently invited to coach the Crete San Shou Kickboxing team in preparation for future competitions in Greece. Haing taught San Da throws and takedowns on day 1, How to use Wing Chun against common Boxing combinations on day 2, and finally traditional aspects of Wing Chun kicking and Chi Gerk (Stick with Legs) on the final seminar.
We are pleased to say that his 3 day seminar tour was a complete sucess. So much so, that it attracted the attention of the local media. Mark was interviewed by the local television station as well as a newspaper. Read below his interview with the Chania Post.
Dr Phillips we welcome you to Chania, Crete. Could you please give us a little information about Wing Chun? People say that it is a complete martial art and a spiritual exercise for anyone who decides to practice.
Thank you, Chania is indeed a lovely place to visit. Wing Chun is a martial art style of Chinese Kung Fu. Originally from Southern China, and then Hong Kong, Wing Chun could be considered fairly modern compared to other forms of Kung Fu from these regions.
This martial art is practical, direct, and intelligent, because it focuses on moving efficiently in any self defence situation. Although, Wing Chun is a complete martial art, I wouldn’t consider this style a spiritual martial art. Having said that, every martial art develops character, will-power, and motivation. So in that sense training Wing Chun could be considered spiritual because it is great for personal development.
Do you believe that martial arts of Eastern Asia have something in common with martial arts in ancient Greece, like “Pankration” for example?
When two differing civilizations look for solutions in martial combat, it is highly likely that similarities will be found. After all, there are only so many different ways you can move your arms and legs.
It’s my understanding that Pankration was part of the ancient Greek Olympics, so you could say that it was a highly competitive form of combat. In this sense there are similarities to modern San Shou tournaments held in China and Europe. In fact, San Shou was devised as a method in which different styles of Chinese martial arts could compare with each other. Traditionally, Chinese Kung Fu styles used to compare their combat skills on small wooden platforms raised some distance of the ground. These contests would have attracted a great number of spectators and fame to the contestants much like the ancient Greek Olympics.
What brings you to Chania? What do you believe about the level of Wing Chun in Greece and especially in Crete?
Well I have nearly 30 years experience in Wing Chun, and I’m currently the director of the well acclaimed London Wing Chun Academy in the UK. My responsibilities include overseeing our various martial arts syllabuses (Wing Chun, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), self defence, and competition training.
As a result, I’ve been invited by the Wing Chun Academy of Chania to coach the local team in San Shou. They have had some success in competition so far, nevertheless I’ve been asked to help coach and develop the kickboxing team here in Crete.
My objective is to illustrate how the London Wing Chun Academy uses aspects of Wing Chun for San Shou competition. My team in the UK has had great success at competition, so my job here is to bring some of our coaching methodology and approach to San Shou Kickboxing to the competitors here in Chania. So, I consider myself as merely an ambassador of the sport in Greece.
Actually, I think the level of Wing Chun is very good here in Greece, there are some notable instructors that teach here (in Greece) and in Crete. In particular, Si Fu Giorgos is commendable; he has a very good school here in Chania, and his students are excellent. I would be happy to recommend Si Fu Giorgos Wing Chun academy.
Why should I learn Wing Chun? Do I have to be fit to start? Is it easy or difficult? How does a beginners class in Wing Chun work?
You should learn Wing Chun! There are so many benefits in training martial arts. You will get fit, make friends, and learn to defend yourself. However, in learning Wing Chun you’ll learn to defend yourself in a practical and efficient way, so you don’t need to be fit to start. Practicing Wing Chun is not about flamboyance, or fancy rituals, but more about using your body in a practical efficient manner in self defence. There is no nonsense in the Wing Chun approach. It is simple, direct, and intelligent.
You don’t have to be fit to start and it is easy to learn. Just come along to a beginner’s class in Wing Chun to see for yourself. Si Fu Giorgos is currently taking on beginners and has an excellent method of teaching new students.
Most Si Fu(s) around the world recommend Wing Chun for children. What does Wing Chun offer to a child?
Children will benefit from martial art training full stop, and learning Wing Chun is no different. Overall, martial arts gives your child confidence, discipline, and a belief that they can achieve what they put their minds too.
In fact, if taught properly a good Wing Chun school will teach your child not to give up when faced with challenges. As long as you have a safe and nurturing environment, then your child can attempt new experiences without fear of failure. Think of the benefits that would have for your child’s school work.
Of course, your child’s training should be fun and interactive, so an excellent martial arts school will have a good methodology for teaching children.
So yes, I would highly recommend that children train martial arts. There are so many benefits that will stay with your child for the rest of their lives. Positive thinking and confidence are just one aspect. Even practically, being able to stand up to the local bully is another. So bring your child along to the gym here in Chania (Crete).
The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing Chun, San Shou Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, WC4 Self Defence, Yoga, Functional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick Boxing. Membership starts from £25 per month. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>