International Wing Chun Day with Sifu Benno Westra
On 15th March 2019 we had the pleasure of hosting Sifu Benno Westra for the weekend surrounding International Wing Chun Day. As well as gradings and private lessons, Sifu Benno also taught sessions on Chi Kung, Chi Sau, Form Applications, and Locking.
It was a long weekend but very much enjoyed by all who attended, and we were happy to be joined by Wing Chun practitioners from around the country who came to train with us and Sifu Benno.
As Nail said "Sifu Benno is a highly skilled teacher that loves teaching. He is also very patient and pays close attention to details. I was very lucky to have trained with him."
Kung Fu Seminar 17/3/19 Review – Rajesh Jethwa
"Having never attended a Sifu Benno Seminar before, it is fair to say that I was nervous and apprehensive about the whole affair. Strolling in wearing my green t-shirt among a sea of brown and black fed the anxious thoughts rampaging inside my head; is my presence here an inconvenience to everyone else? Am I going to be able to cope with the course? What if I make a fool of myself? As I channelled the characteristics of a spring as best I could whilst recalling the various parts of the routine warm-up and with all these tempestuous thoughts swirling around, I anxiously awaited the beginning of the session. As the man himself strode towards the front of the class and amicably proceeded with the session ahead I realised that all my mental preamble was complete nonsense. This was my opportunity to learn from the wealth of experience present in that classroom, to not only develop my base skills and improve my technique but also to learn something new.
Beginning with a detailed and insightful, yet digestible, run through of both the Su Nim Tao and Chum Kiu, the first three-hour session for those of us focussing on the Su Nim Tao covered the progression from the deadlocked double-handed Chi-Sau roll to attacking your opponent with the palm strikes featured in sections 3 and 7 respectively. As a student gunning for Grade 5, I had not yet covered the double-handed Chi-Sau roll that builds on the concepts covered in the Dan Chi - the more-basic counterpart covered in the Grade 5 syllabus – but through the guidance of all of those that I worked with I was able to quickly pick it up and immerse myself fully in the course, proving again that my fears from the start were grossly misplaced. My seniors were very understanding, and I am grateful for the manner in which they instructed me and answered any questions I had. The course was very informative, and I enjoyed seeing how concepts introduced in the form could then be applied practically.
Feeling like I’d learnt a lot in the morning and having refuelled during lunch, I returned promptly for the afternoon session focussing on locks and breaks, the topic I had most keenly been looking forward to. Focussing on the shoulder wrench, where one utilises the wrist and elbow to apply pressure to the rotator cuff or shoulder joint, the session followed a very logical path and built from the different bridges one could make to how to implement the control and even how to counter a plausible counter to the lock. It was very satisfying to see not only the range of ways in which the architecture of the shoulder wrench could be employed but also, as a lower-grade student, how the concepts I was learning in my regular class with a relatively subtle change in intention could allow for the implementation of such locks to be used as control positions. The satisfaction of being able to have a play with more advanced concepts was extremely rewarding and made me appreciate even more the importance of learning the basics as a solid foundation on which to allow for the complexity and variety that the higher grades offer.
To conclude and summarise, the seminar was a thoroughly rewarding and educational experience and I am honestly very glad that I took the leap and signed up. Any apprehensions I had had regarding my ability to cope with the course were misplaced and the day gave me an insight into where my Kung Fu could take me."