China 2019 Part 5

Such a Special Day!

After settling in and having a night’s sleep next morning we were up for breakfast and then headed over on the bus to the venue where the seminar was going to be held. On arrival we walked across the street on what was already a very warm day and up the stairs to the room.

Ip Tai Sigong arrived with a small group to warm applause from our group who were very pleased to see him.

A couple of tables were set up with chairs behind for Sigong and Ip Tai Sigong to sit behind ready for when the seminar starts. Everybody sat down and with Sigong interpreting Ip Tai Sigong took questions from the group on anything Wing Chun. As always, his answers were clear and simple. He chi sau’d with both Sigong and Sifu, and when watching him handling Sifu’s repeated Lap Sau’s you could clearly see that even at 95 his Gung Lihk was very powerful, yet he was also so light and relaxed.

On taking more questions from the group Tom Rogers had a query with the use of the Bóng Sáu and the elbow. Ip Tai Sigong called him over and showed him and very eloquently explained as thinking of the wrist to the elbow as gears on a car, and being in the right gear for the position you were in. I thought this was very interesting but at that point had not applied it, however a few nights later when we went to visit the local school. When Chi Sáu’ing with some of the local students it was again quickly clear how they liked to lead with their elbows and on keeping contact with the wrists was going to leave me vulnerable to being easily hit. On reflecting on what Ip Tai Sigong had said I move by hands further along the foreman closer to the wrist and all of a sudden it was so much easier to control the threat from them. Just a few simple comments made this so much clearer.

After taking questions again, Ip Tai Sigong was going around the room with Sigong watching everyone doing the drill and where necessary stopping having a word and correcting them.  I was going through the drill with Costas and Ip Tai Sigong stopped, looked and wanted Costas to do it like this, which he then proceeded to demonstrate on me. He seemed to be really enjoying himself showing how easily he could tie me up and effortlessly hit at will someone so much bigger and supposedly stronger. What was amazing was how powerful he was, and clearly not feeling any overt force his arm felt like an iron bar wrapped in silk. The chance to Chi Sáu with Ip Tai Sigong alone made the trip very special for me and certainly for a very special seminar.

by Martin McDermott

Quiet & Humble

Meeting Tai Sigong was an amazing experience, I was surprised at how quiet and almost shy he seemed considering all the people who had travelled to see him, if you didn’t know what he looked like you’d think he was just someone’s relative who had come to see.

The way he explained things and especially watching him Chi Sáu with Sīfú and Sīgōng proved how well the skill has been passed down as it was very similar to the way they teach. Everything was explained in clear and simple terms and even his Chi Sáu was clear and simple, watching was just like watching a senior Chi Sáu with Sīfú or Sīgōng. It wasn’t flashy or quick he made it look easy just simple changes between the basic hands but you could still see that Sīfú and Sīgōng were very aware that any mistake on their part would be taken advantage of.

To be in the room with so many generations of skill was amazing and really confirmed that the way we are taught is the way it was intended, it made me feel very lucky to have such great teachers and I can only hope that I’ll be as skillful when I’m 95!

by Ashli Thorne


After arriving in China on the Friday the seminar on Saturday was the much anticipated event we had all been looking forward to.  The day started with a fantastic dim sum breakfast to set us all up for the day’s events.  We arrived at the venue in great spirits knowing we were going to meet with our Tai Sīgōng Grandmaster (Ip Chun).  We filed into the sports hall and lined up ready for his arrival.

On making his entrance he was greeted to rapturous applause from everybody.  He looked very happy to greet everyone, smiling and nodding in approval.  After taking a seat alongside Sīgōng (Tse) and Sīfú (Moy) he spoke to us through the translation of Sīgōng.  He announced that he would be testing Sīgōng and Sīfú by way of Chi Sáu to see if their skill was up to speed!  First up was my Sīfú and I was glad to report he passed muster with flying colours!  Next was Sīgōng with Tai Sīgōng and they demonstrated the art of Chi Sáu to a remarkable level!. I thought to myself it was truly remarkable that a man of 95 years of age could demonstrate such agility and skill against Sīfú who had just turned a mere 50 years of age the previous day.  You could see during the Chi Sáu demonstration he possessed a high level of skill and Gong Lihk.  His structure was totally unbreakable.  Truly remarkable!

We paired off to Chi Sau with each other with Tai Sīgōng moving amongst us observing us closely with a watchful eye.  Martin McDermott was invited to Chi Sau with Tai Sīgōng and once again Tai Sīgōng didn’t disappoint with his range of Wing Chun skills.  All too soon the seminar was over, which is always the way when you are having a great deal of fun.  We lined up alongside Tai Sīgōng, Sīgōng and Sīfú for a group photograph together.  I felt honoured and privileged to have been a part of this magnificent day.

We left the venue to travel to a shopping centre and restaurant that stood on the site that had once been Tai Sīgōng’s home many years previous, where we had a fantastic lunch together.  After lunch had finished Tai Sīgōng left and we shook hands and said our goodbye’s for the time being.  The next day Tai Sīgōng took the trouble to come to our hotel such is the man where he was presented with some personalised items of clothing and other gifts.

by Phil You