Wan Kam Leung

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Wan Kam Leung
Sifu Wan Kam Leung.jpg
Wan Kam Leung
Born 1945 (age 71–72)
Po On, Guangdong
Style Practical Wing Chun
Teacher(s) Wong Shun Leung
Rank Grandmaster
Notable students Pui Yee, Jack Leung, Danilo Hadjukovic, Albert Law, Danny Kong, Jon Abdey, Martin Brogaard, Alan Mencke Hansen, Benno Wai, Kleber Battaglia, Gherardo Mattia Mongardini, Veka Rounevaara, Ryan Brecher, Lee Tae Hyoung, Ian Brusensky, Stratford Jackson, Javier Fernandez, Juergen Harlander, William Kwok, Riccardo Simonetti

Wan Kam Leung (Chinese: 溫鑑良; Jyutping: Wan1 Gaam3 Loeng4; born 1945)[1] is a Chinese martial artist and qigong practitioner who developed and currently teaches Practical Wing Chun in Kowloon, Hong Kong.[2] Wan studied Wing Chun kung fu under Wong Shun Leung[1]

Early life and introduction to Wing Chun[edit]

As a teen, Wan studied a variety of styles of kung fu as well as other styles of martial arts. Wan emigrated from mainland China to Hong Kong in 1959. There, his brother introduced him to Wing Chun kung fu.[2] His first Wing Chun teacher was Leung Sheung, known to be the most senior student of Yip Man. He studied with Leung for seven months.

In 1962, another Wing Chun practitioner named Wong Shun Leung - another student of Yip Man - was opening a school across the street from Wan's home in Kowloon. Wan went to inquire about training with Wong, who told him to return later when the school was ready to open. Wan, who had learned of Wong and appreciated his philosophy and approach to kung fu, came back when the school opened and became Wong's first official student. After three months, Wong waived tuition for Wan due to his diligence and dedication to the school. Wan became Wong's close student and training partner. He continued to train closely with Wong for twenty years.[2]

Wing Chun career[edit]

Wan Kam Leung began teaching as a sifu in 1969, after seven years of training under Wong Shun Leung. Through Wong Shun Leung, Wan met and trained with famed martial artist Bruce Lee upon Lee's return to Hong Kong from America. Lee invited Wong Shun Leung to a screen test in 1973, several months before Lee's passing, and Wong took Wan along with him. Once, Wan witnessed a spar between Wong and Lee in Lee's Kowloon Tong home. Wong had claimed his hands were faster than Lee's, and Lee retaliated by saying that his kicks were much faster than Wong's. The two subsequently had a friendly fight to test their abilities.[3] In 1979, Wan traveled to Beijing to learn qigong from various masters of the art in order to incorporate it into his kung fu practice.

The Hong Kong Police Force, in 1993, invited Wan to be Chief Wing Chun Instructor to the G4 (VIP Protection Unit). He has been the only Kung Fu master to be employed by the British Hong Kong government.[2]

Wong Shun Leung awarded Wan with his Senior Instructor Certificate in 1988. Wan worked to improve his Wing Chun, branching from his knowledge of Wong Shun Leung's style. In 1994, with Wong's consent, the style he had developed was named "Practical Wing Chun". Sifu Wan promised not to teach this style until after Wong's death, out of respect for the Wong died in 1997, and Wan subsequently opened a school for Practical Wing Chun and began teaching full-time. The school resides on Nathan Road in Kowloon, Hong Kong.[2]

The modifications were designed to maintain a modern, adaptable martial art aimed at providing self-defense against a "committed and real attack",[4] with all of the basic tenets of traditional Wing Chun. As such, Practical Wing Chun employs the idea of using body mechanics to overcome a physically stronger opponent. This is done by adhering to five components of a strong body structure - five centerlines, relaxed shoulders, elbows pointing down, flexible wrists, and 135-degree angles. Wan is adamant about making sure the art does not become obsolete, remaining practical through constant analysis and revision of the principles and techniques.

Group photo from Wan Kam Leung's first NYC Seminar

In 2008, the World Ving Tsun Athletic Association announced its inductees for the 2008 Hall of Fame. Wan Kam Leung was awarded Sifu of the Year for his hard work in propagating the art of Ving Tsun/Wing Chun.[5]

Wan has several students who have opened schools across the world, including several in Europe, Asia, Australia, and America. Wan travels and holds a seminar each year - usually in Europe - in which he demonstrates Practical Wing Chun and instructs students of the style as well as new students and students from other lineages. In May 2013 he held his first ever American open seminar in New York City, hosted by William Kwok, a closed-door disciple of Wan Kam Leung and Regional Director of the first American branch of Practical Wing Chun.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Battaglia, Kleber. "Wan Kam Leung - Striving for Perfection". Wing Chun Illustrated (14): 28–33. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Greene, Graeme (2008). "21st Century Wing Chun" (PDF). Blitz Magazine. 22 (8). Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Wan Kam Leung recalls Bruce lee fighting with Wong Shun Leung on YouTube (25 July 2009). Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  4. ^ Stone, Ben (2014). "Kung Fu Evolutionary" (PDF). Blitz Magazine. 28 (2). 
  5. ^ "WVTAA 2006HOF". Worldvingtsun.com. 2016-11-26. Retrieved 2016-12-23. 
  6. ^ "Sing Tao Daily Image" (JPG). Newyorkwingchun.com. Retrieved 2016-12-23.