I started training at West Coast Sunny Tang in 2015, after returning to Victoria from many years of traveling and living abroad. During those years I often found myself in situations where I was afraid for my safety and so I wanted to learn how to defend myself. As a smaller person, I will never be able to rely on brute strength to overcome an attacker. Because Wing Chun relies on correct bodily structure, not on muscular strength, it is a perfect match for me. Physical benefits of increased strength and agility have been an additional bonus of the training.
The longer I have been at the club, the more rich my experience becomes. The relationships with Sifu, the instructors, and all the other students make the experience of learning Wing Chun about much more than self-defence. The environment of the club is inclusive, cooperative, and also really fun! Furthermore, the traditional style of the club makes it clear that this is an embodied art form, capable of enriching one’s life in various and sometimes unexpected ways, far beyond the physical aspect.
I’ve been a member of West Coast Sunny Tang Kung Fu since 2011. My first visit to the club made an extraordinary positive impression on me. Sifu Kragtwyk took time from teaching to discuss Wing Chun with me. Students greeted me and introduced themselves. I’ve continued to enjoy the friendly and supportive atmosphere fostered in the club. Dedicated instructors guide training through a linear, uncomplicated syllabus with the support of senior students. Rewarding opportunities are provided for those that want to learn. Direct instruction is balanced with an expectation that I think about and study to achieve my own understanding. This makes it possible to train without ever feeling stale or unchallenged, and leads to many great “a-ha!” moments shared with fellow students.
I began training at Sunny Tang Victoria in 2016. Having grown up watching Hong Kong movies, I have always wanted to study Kung Fu. But it wasn’t until a friend at university introduced me to the Sunny Tang lineage and the club here in Victoria that I felt I had found a place and a community that suit my personality and style of learning. So I finally gave Ving Tsun a try and I am very glad I did! Ving Tsun is not only a powerful and empowering fighting system but also a holistic practice that allows you to reconnect mind and body in ways that answer profoundly to our social and spiritual needs. Sifu has described Ving Tsun as “embodied martial wisdom,” and to my mind this phrase perfectly encapsulates the experience of studying the beautiful forms of Ving Tsun and engaging in its cooperative partner drills.
Cooperation is the key word here: as our Si-Gung (our Sifu’s teacher) has emphasized, we look at partner drills in training as a gift bestowed upon each other that allows us to mutually grow as people and martial artists. As a result, the training is friendly and yet focused, a kind of “serious fun.” This same spirit of cooperation and inclusivity is also present in the way the club is run. Sunny Tang Victoria is a space that we create and shape together, something missing from many shared spaces I have encountered in the past, and the members’ commitment is truly heart-felt. As a graduate student, musician, and university instructor, I was initially worried about adding more time commitments to my life; but, happily, the instructors’ and the other club member’s enthusiasm and generous support was contagious, and the time I now take out of my busy life for training Ving Tsun forms a perfect balance with all of its other aspects. I can honestly say that Ving Tsun has become a force for good in my life and I look forward to continuing the Kung Fu life for many years to come.
West Coast Sunny Tang has provided me with an opportunity to develop both externally and internally. Wing Chun has brought a calm discipline to my life that I could not imagine finding any other way. I started training with Sifu Jim back in 2010 and have never looked back. While I trained Shaolin Kung Fu previously, the completeness of the Sunny Tang lineage and the Faat Do (conceptual framework) that supports the physical training is something that I have come to appreciate the further I progress. It all makes sense, has a purpose and any action can be examined against the framework for validity.
When I first met Sifu Jim, his calm demeanor and non-confrontational style of teaching, and living, was refreshing. Contrast this with the norm of aggressive and combative atmosphere that is prevalent in many non-holistic arts or MMA type styles. The club nurtures a congenial space where we all help each other to learn, actively, in every class.
I take the benefits of my training with me everywhere I go. The discipline I have cultivated extends into every area of my life; from public speaking, interpersonal relationships and especially to my career. Additionally, the calm I feel knowing that my body will react instinctively in defence is irreplaceable. This confidence comes from examining and confronting one’s personal boundaries, in martial arts or life in general.
I cannot more strongly recommend our club for anyone who wishes to learn a powerful and efficient martial art, in an atmosphere of understanding, where we all do are part to support Sifu, the club and one another.
Wing Chun has been the balance I have been looking for.
Being self-employed as a holistic practitioner, my schedule is demanding, my focus is often split and I expend a lot of energy giving to others. Wing Chun provides me with that much needed space for mental-emotional release as well as devoted and focused time on my own internal growth. In addition to the physical exercise, practicality and relative ease on the body, it has provided me with many fringe benefits including relieving benign positional vertigo and chronic anxiety.
It is a safe, tolerant and non-judgmental place for any individual who is interested in working on themselves and developing a relationship with their own personal kung fu. It is a safe and empowering place, to express myself and build confidence as a young woman of colour. It is also for me a discipline that comes closest to an active, moving spiritual practice. Wing Chun, not unlike my practice of acupuncture, is an art, a way of life, and a life journey and I am blessed to have crossed paths.
I have been training with West Coast Sunny Tang for more than four years, an experience that has reshaped my outlook on life. I have seen others in the club exhibit similar changes, developing not only as martial artists but as confident, respectful people of character. I have had the privilege of meeting kung fu brothers and sisters from across Canada, all with similar attributes. The martial applications of Wing Chun (aka Ving Tsun) are phenomenal, our lineage and curriculum outstanding; of this I have no doubt. The gift to each individual of instilling a certain strength of character or perhaps enabling that which was already there to flourish, is even greater. I have experienced this growth, seen it in others and will continue to help give others what has been given to me. This is a kung fu family, not just a martial arts club.