The Gentle Wing Chun Master

 In Wing Tsun

We had many visits and interviews scheduled for our trip to Hong Kong, but the first one was

mandatory: Sifu Patrick Leung.

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When we started sending invitations and requests to all the

Martial Arts Schools, Sifu Patrick proved to be gentle and friendly. He helped us a lot with the
organization of this trip, and I must admit that it was an authentic pleasure to meet him and to
have the opportunity to assist to his classes. It is my honor to do this interview at the
headquarters of the VVTA Ving Tsun Athletic Association).

Sifu Patrick Leung has an enviable Martial Arts curriculum. With over 35 years of Wing Chun
training and, having been a direct disciple of Grandmaster Yip Chun (the eldest son of
deceased GM Yip Man). We were welcomed with a huge smile at the entrance of the AVTA
(Athletic Ving Tsun Association which was founded by the Grandmaster Yip Man). As I entered
in the class I must confess I was emotionally struck. I don’t think there is anyone in the Wing
Chun world that wouldn’t feel certain excitement as they enter the room in which the most
illustrious masters of Wing Chun have trained. It is definitively a reference point for all Wing
Chun fans and practitioners worldwide who visit Hong Kong. To all those that expect an
immense training room… forget it. The AVTA headquarters is a small room where the only
thing that fits… is Wing Chun. The Association emblem is located underneath Grandmaster Yip
Man’s picture, which is escorted by a beautiful statue of Grandmaster Yip Man and a Wooden
Dummy… The rest? The free space left in the room is for training purposes. No luxury, simply a
space and and environment for Wing Chun training.

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Patrick welcomes us alongside his lovely wife Monica who serves as assistant and practice
companion. Both are a lovely couple. They reflect generosity and good humor. It is, without a
doubt, the first step in Hong Kong and the experience could not have been more enriching. I
thank them for receiving us and I want to let them know how grateful I am for having the
opportunity to be there and knowing first-hand the opinion, ideas and motivations of one of
the titled professors of the Athletic Ving Tsun Association.
Two main things surprise me about Sifu Patrick Leung:

 

First of all, his classes are packed with students. It is something really astonishing because the

three times I visited his classes: in Athletic Ving Tsun Association and at the Chinese University
of Hong Kong, his classes were full with practicing students. His character and personal
charisma make him loved and respected by his students.

Secondly, the diverse spectrum of students there is. We can find veteran practitioners mixed
with children. There are also lots of women. Almost 40% of those attending their classes are
females. A pleasant and srprising data that is unusual in Europe.

Salvador Sánchez: Dear Teacher, THANK YOU for receiving us. It is an honor being here.

Sifu Patrick Leung: Welcome. It is also a pleasure for me to receive you.

SS. – When did you start practicing Ving Tsun?

SPL. – Well.. in 1969, I first studied Wing Chun in Hong Kong under Sifu Lok Yiu, student of Yip
Man. Since 1972 I studied Wing Chun directly from Grandmaster Ip Chun who is the eldest son
of the late Grandmaster Yip Man. I have been teaching Wing Chun since 1986 i.e.over 46 years
continuous learning and teaching Wing Chun in Hong Kong.

SS.- Do you professionally dedicate yourself to the teachings of Wing Chun?

SPL.- Yes, I am fully dedicated to Wing Chun. Teaching Wing Chun is my profession and hobby
that occupied much of my time.
Besides, I am the national designated assessor and examiner in the yearly assessment of the
applicants for China Wushu Duan Wei. Practitioners of Wing Chun and other branches of
martial arts, local and overseas assembled in Hong Kong yearly for assessment on their level of
Wushu.
Moreover, my students and I have demonstrated Wing Chun quite frequently in public as a
means of promoting Wing Chun.
At times, I attend various meetings in leading major martial arts Associations in connection
with organising martial arts activities and contests in Hong Kong, Mainland China and other
countries, including activities of the World Contests.

SS.- But your classes are full of students… That speaks really good of you.

SPL.- Well yes. It has been said that my classes are the ones that most students have and that
flatters me. I have different groups in different places of Hong Kong and the relations between
my students are really good. Like a family.

SS.- I would like to ask you concerning the difference within the Wing Chun
schools. It seems there are some differences between the schools in Hong Kong,
but most of all between the Wing Chun of Hong Kong and the Wing Chun of
Europe or USA. How would you explain the difference? Why do you think these
differences exist?

SPL.- Actually I do not exactly understand why. Wing Chun is a style with a clear origin. Its form
defines its style. Also some elements like the understanding of the idea of attacks/defenses.
But it seems clear, if anyone wants to learn Wing Chun they should come to Hong Kong.

SS.- How would you define the training that you give in your school?

SPL.- Well, that’s easy. I am a direct disciple of G.M. Yip Chun and my training system is very
similar. For me, Siu Nin Tao is very important. I am very meticulous in the study of the first
form. Afterwards we continue teaching and practicing the rest of the forms but Siu Nin Tao is
very important and we pay a lot of attention to it. Now, my Association is called Soft Wing
Chun Association (HongKong). Its name indicates clearly my form of training. Wing Chung is a
style developed by a woman. That softness must be present in the practice and training. That
is the reason why I insist on being very relaxed when you practice Chi Sao.

SS.- There are many schools that focus their practice in well-being, others in
self-defense, etc…On which aspect do you focus your practice at the Soft Wing
Chun Association of Sifu Patrick Leung?

SPL.- In all of them. Actually it is not possible to do self-defense (or anything else) without
well-being. That is why I always insist Wing Chun is an excellent system for the rest of your life.
Wing Chun is good for your health. If your health is good you can practice, work, etc…

EVERYTHING! That is why it is important to maintain a balance in Wing Chun practice. The
health part is very important. Many Wing Chun schools no longer work in cultivating the Inner
Energy (Chi). We do. We also seek the applications of defense/attack in self-defense. We also
compete because I believe it is good in order to test the practitioners.

SS.- Really? There are Wing Chun competitions?

SPL.- Yes! Actually a few months ago we had a very important one and we are preparing
others at the moment. They are done with some Wing Chun rules that are accepted and
approved by all the schools involved. Some of them are very important. We tend to use
helmets and gloves that allow us to grab, and WC is put to the test through Chi Sao free
sparring.

SS.- In Europe it is not common to see these type of event: competitions…

SPL.- We do them here and each time there are more practitioners who try. Of course I have
many students and each one looks for different things. Some self-defense, other well-being,
others competition and even some that wants to come and practice for social purposes. They
come and have a good time training with their friends this excellent art.

SS.- I see that your wife also practices…

SPL.- Yes! Monica is my wife but she is also my student and assistant. She is very important for
me in every aspect. She is very persistent in her practice and it is really good that she
accompanies me to all my classes. She has been certified for her excellent work. She is very
consistent and her technique is really good.

SS.- I see that they also do exercises related to “Inner Strength”. Is this a form of
training in your school or is it common within Hong Kong’s Teachers?

SLP.- Inner Strength does exist in Wing Chun, however, the successful rate on generating inner
strength effectively is very low. Therefore, “Soft” in my association name is a strong reminder
of being relaxed.
In my 30 years of teaching, around thirty students have achieved different levels of inner
strength. It represents a very low percentage. Training of inner strength in Wing Chun, in Hong
Kong is not too common. I am not sure whether the main reason is it’s difficulty to achieve.
Comparing with inner strength, inch punch force is much more easier to achieve. While
remaining calm and relaxed, it is not difficult to generate the explosive force of Wing Chun at
very close distance.

SS.- Do you have other schools affiliated outside of Hong Kong?

SPL.- Well, I have some people that have studied with me that come from other countries.
Each day more and more people come from other countries away from China to learn Wing
Chun. It is always a pleasure to receive them and help them learn Wing Chun. For me it is a
joy.

SS.- I have no more questions, Sifu Patrick. I appreciate all of your attention
towards me these days. I can never thank you enough for your hospitality and
kindness. You have opened the doors of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association and
accompanied us on our visit to the Tomb of Grandmaster Yip Man. It is a great
honor for me and I hope to be able to visit you in many more occasions. Thank
you also to Monica (his wife) and all the group of teachers and students. They are
extraordinary people. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
If anyone would like to contact Sifu Patrick Leung please contact him on the web site of his
association: www.softwingchun.com or through Facebook: Soft Wing Chun Academy- Hong
Kong.

Profile of Wing Chun’s Sifu Patrick Leung Ting Kwok

Practicing Experience

Continual practicing 17 years, since 1969 under Lok Yiu, Yip Man student.
From 1972 under Ip Chun, Yip Man’s elder son and under Lau Hon Lam, Yip
Man’s student.

Teaching Experience

Continual teaching since 1986 including Ving Tsun Athletic Association
(VTAA)(founded by Yip Man in 1968), World Wing Chun Union (founded by Ip
Chun in 2009) Soft Wing Chun Academy (HK), universities, clubs, etc.
Qualifications

National Instructor & Examiner, Chinese Wushu Duan System

National Certificate, 7th Duan on Chinese Wushu Duan System Certificate,
global representative of Ip Chun in teaching Wing Chun

Qualified Senior Instructor 1994, 1st full day course VTAA

Head Judges, World/Hong Kong Wing Chun /Martial Arts Open Contests

Official Judge, Open Martial Arts Contests, Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts
Lion & Dragon Dance Asso. (HKMALDDA)

Global Recognition

Vice Chairman, World Wing Chun Union & HK Wing Chun Union
Co-editor, National Wushu Duan System, Text book & Assessment
Chairman & Principal Instructor, Soft Wing Chun Academy (HK)
Vice-Chairman & Secretary, Ving Tsun Development Council
Elected Executive Committee member, HKMALDDA
Appointed Consultant, Hong Kong Wushu Union
Demonstrator on Wing Chun, Global Wushu Encyclopedia (Publisher DK)
Dedication to Wushu Cert, Prime Minister of Malaysia
Dedication to Wushu Cert, Selangor Government
Presenter on Wing Chun, Radio Hong Kong, DAB 35, Government
Visiting Lecturer on Wing Chun, City University Hong Kong

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