Original Interview from 2014 taken in NEUSS (ENGLISH ONLY)


Dave: What inspired you to want to learn Wing Chun?

Philipp: Well, I originally practiced Taekwondo-do en Karate, but Bruce Lee movies finally motivated me to learn Wing Chun.


Dave: Can you describe what it was like to meet and train with Sifu Wong Shun Leung?

Philipp: He was really fast and direct and I really was impressed with his skills, especially when I noticed that his rather small posture was able to generate so much energy. In training but also in private Sifu Wong Shun Leung was a truly accessible person. He definitely did not suit the classic example for a ‘grandmaster’. He used to convince people with his skills and abilities, not by title or tradition. He was just a normal person and didn’t want a special approach.


Dave: What did it do for you, to leave everything behind and move to Hong Kong for periods?

Before I lost my hand I trained another Wing Chun style. At that time, in Germany there were various different lineages active, but I clearly felt that something was missing. My origins were with match fighting systems so when I was trying out those different Wing Chun styles, I was able to easily use my kicks. It felt rather disappointing to me. For me it was clear that in Germany they did not have the right tools and skills. The real Wing Chun must be different to what I have seen in my country. A year after losing my left hand, that experience motivated me to make the decision to go to Hong Kong to find and learn the real thing. But I didn’t find Wong Shun Leungs school immediately. I started to look around to see if I could find good Wing Chun. In every school I met people claimed to have trained with Bruce Lee and of course they learned from the best students of IP Man. Every time I met one teacher I wanted to try and see how they would respond to my kicks. I wasn’t afraid to get knocked out as I already had fighting experience. Most of all, not to say ‘all’ couldn’t stop me. Eventually I ended up unsatisfied and I was ready to go back to Germany and pick up my previous martial arts. On my last day in Hong Kong, in June 1982, I met Wong Shun Leung.

It was the very last day before my return to Germany, when I travelled to Hong Kong Island to spend my last Hong Kong dollars. I went into a store that sold martial equipment and I was punching a bit on a wall bag. The owner of the store asked me what martial art I was practicing and who my Sifu was. I told him that I didn’t have a Sifu at that time. That I actually searched for one but was not able to find a good and reliable teacher. The shop owner wrote down a name and address on a small piece of paper and suggested me to visit the ‘best’. The school of Wong Shun Leung.


Dave: Did living in Hong Kong change you as a person?

Philipp: Well, it didn’t really affect me, but I really had to get used to the food. I didn’t have work at the time, so I made an easy and simple living. In the afternoon I went to the school and stayed there until the evening. I went back to my apartment and the next day the cycle repeated itself. For me it was not difficult, but the food… I had to look my food in the face. That really was something I had to get used to.


Dave:  What about your girlfriend and family?

Philipp: I had a girlfriend in Germany back then. But every time I went to Hong Kong, it was only for a couple of weeks and sometimes a bit longer. My family on the other hand, I didn’t tell them I went to Hong Kong as I didn’t want them to worry over me. So I made some excuses telling them I was going to the south of Germany.


Dave: How has Wing Chun helped you in your life?

Philipp: Well it helped me a lot, I have a job today! It is not easy to have a job when you have only one hand. Back in the days I studied informatics. I used to be a programmer and sometimes I still do that. Wing Chun helps me, even in programming, to always find the most direct way to reach a certain goal and it changes your way of thinking about things. You’ll easily see what is rubbish and what is good. In that way it helps me.


Dave: Did your handicap allow you to gain a certain level of understanding of the Wing Chun concepts, or do you experience it to be a limitation (elbow hip connection)

Philipp: No, I don’t think so. I also have a good arm. The handicap maybe was the motor to everything. My drive to even get more motivated than ever before. To punch with the left arm, was very difficult as it was very sensitive back then, so short after my operation. Wong Shun Leung really helped me a lot with that. He created prosthesis so I could slowly start to improve punching and use more power. Not too hard in the beginning, but harder and harder with time. I didn’t experience limitations either, but neither did I experience any advantage. My handicap perhaps forced me to do more than ‘normal’ people need to do...


Dave: You told me once that Wong Shun Leung also taught you to handle the Chinese long sword.

Yes, he explained me that the weapons training in Wing Chun and the ideas behind it are based on the same concepts. Of course the knives are a bit different. It looks like if the movements are similar to the arms but the ideas are aberrant to that. But he felt that the influence to non-armed fighting also  is very important, so he thought it was necessary for me to also do weapons training. He always thought about ideas and strategies that could help me. In the beginning he told me to do a mix between knives and long pole. For me, just having one arm, the sword looked like the most logical approach. The length of the sword I could use as an advantage, but it’s not as long as the long pole. You need two hands for that. And for fighting you normally use two knives. But Wong Shun Leung didn’t stop thinking about a solution for me how I could hold the Wing Chun weapons. Finally he was the one that created the prosthesis for me, I still use today, to handle the long pole and knives. He was the first man that thought about my problem and how to solve it. It is very difficult for a ‘two hander’ to think as a ‘one hander’, but he did it.


Dave: So basically like his way of teaching; ‘Expose a problem and find a solution to it?”

Philipp: Yes absolutely!


Dave: You are an inspiration for many people to learn Wing Chun; what keeps you inspired to train and to teach after all these years?  

Philipp: I like to be with people and I like to train Wing Chun. A lot of ‘two handed’ people trust me to teach them the good Wing Chun. It feels like a responsibility to me to continue. I cannot just leave them. I will die with one’s boots on…and with a Wu Sau. Haha…


Dave: You are known for your incredible speed and accuracy. How do you translate the WSLVT concepts to practice on such high level?

Philipp: First of all, people should understand that things are not always an ‘application’. You can use applications or exercises to show a person how things work. But you should never think in applications. The most important thing is that people understand that Wing Chun helps you to create behaviour and attributes for fighting. For example, Chi Sau is an exercise where we exchange force and it’s used to develop your fighting skills. You’ll need ‘knock out’ power so we need to program our bodies for this. So we create behaviour that we can punch from any direction at any time. People have to develop the attributes. If not, you’ll stick in movements like a Tan Sau punch, against this punch and another fixed move against that punch. That is application thinking again. It’s about changing your complete behaviour. Fighting is fighting, like swimming is swimming, so we have to adapt our bodies to this ‘thinking’.


Dave: How can people just become fast ‘thinkers’ and train to be one or more steps ahead?

Philipp: You’ll need training. Siu Nim Tao in basics, Chum Kiu to add force from the hips behind your moves. You need to train the dummy, a lot of Chi Sau, long pole, knives…everything is there for a reason. If you miss something in the chain like you don’t develop yourself enough in Chi Sau or a lack of mixture in different partners you’ll always be on the lower level. But eventually you also need to free yourself from Chi Sau or you’ll be a slave of Wing Chun. Wong Shun Leung used to say that many times. You cannot just take some moves, like a slow Wu Sau from the Siu Nim Tao and bring it to a real fight. You need to understand what is behind the ideas. Most movements are not applications, but are necessary to create a certain behaviour. You have to understand where you are going. It’s like if you go to work. you have to know everything about your job to do it good. It doesn’t make sense if you don’t know why you go to work. You need to see the complete picture. In Wing Chun it is the same. If you are just doing the forms without knowing why, you’ll just become a bad copy of someone else. You have to understand and think about every detail inside it . Especially those details on what you want to gain from it. It’s not only a physical thing. In Germany we have a saying; “With thoughts, you can move a mountain.”  


Dave: In the beginning, students cannot see the complete picture and at first they will just be copying…

Philipp: Yes, but it’s also not good to just show a small part of Wing Chun. The need to be able to see their goals. If one wants to learn something, they should do a proper investigation on what it is that they choose for. Ask questions and get familiar with the goals. Otherwise, like we say in Germany; “They’ll buy a cat in a bag.” (Buying a pig in a poke).

It’s important to have a goal. For some people it is seeing a video of Wong Shun Leung doing his forms and to listen to his explanations.

He was my motivator too; Believe me, I have seen him move fast. He was fast like ‘hell’. I never was able to catch his movement and if you catched one. He already switched to the next. He always was. He told me to always be one or two steps ahead of your opponent. “You have to ‘be in his future’! If you are in his future, the present will not happen.” You should set the situation where you can take all next movements from our opponent. Not reaction, but action! It’s not your opponent who should make you respond, you need him to be in that position! Behavioural action. Wing Chun will teach you to move from a good position, to a better position and from a better position to the best position!


Dave: Do you agree with the saying that teaching is the highest form of learning?

Philipp: Of course you’ll learn from anything. As you repeat the basics and try to explain and repeat things again from a different angle of the story people will definitely improve. It helps you to teach better. But for your own growth, you’ll also need to train a lot yourself. The highest form of learning comes from training!


Dave: How would you describe your way of teaching?

I like to teach everyone as individually as possible, but if you have more than 20 students that starts to become difficult. But I do it the best way I can. My way of teaching is very direct. I don’t give activity therapy and I am neither an entertainer. I have learned a lot from my Sifu Wong Shun Leung if it comes to teaching. In Hong Kong it wasn’t like we always just did Siu Nim Tau, or Seung Ma/Toi Ma for 10 or 15 minutes. We did it for longer periods of time. Sometimes even for hours! The foundation is the most important thing in Wing Chun. But if that is good, you will improve much faster. Maybe in the beginning that can be boring sometimes, but the benefit is extremely high. Today, in the west, things are different. People want to learn faster and faster and have no patience…The teacher quickly feels himself forced to act on that and becomes an entertainer, just to keep his students. Too much variation ad less repetitions as a result.

I like to teach as much as possible the way Sifu Wong Shun Leung taught me and I try to motivate my students by making them understand ‘why’ we do things in a certain way. I try to be open and allow everyone to ask questions. Even ‘less clever’ questions should be answered respectfully. In the day when Wong Shun Leung was teaching, after explaining a certain topic, sometimes he was the one asking the questions! Like in a physics or mathematics class; “Philipp, explain to me once again, why you have to do this or that. Why are we doing it like this?” So everybody who attended class made sure to stay ‘awake’ at all times as you… could be the next one!  This method simply activates your own thinking processes. Wong Shun Leung was a very good teacher and I always try to follow his teaching.


Dave: Is everyone able to reach the practical level that you have gained?

Philipp: Yes of course, and with two hands it should be even easier.


Dave: What are the ‘secrets’ to obtain the best possible growth in skill?

Philipp: I think every person is different, physically and mentally. One person is able to learn faster than the other one. On the other hand, there is a ‘minimum time’ required to better your skills through experience. It’s also a physical thing. The body needs rest and time to adapt. Wing Chun has an efficient training path. In my experience I would say that a person is able to gain a good level of understanding and application within 3 to 5 years. To reach this, the first thing you need to be, is a good partner to others. If you are a good training partner others will like to train with you. If they can experience a good exchange of force and feel like it’s a benefit to train with you, that’s the first step of the ladder to reach the higher skills level. If you’re exchange is not good, people will soon switch to train with somebody else. It’s not a secret to be a good training partner, but that’s where the journey starts.


Dave: Do you follow your Sifu’s teaching methods, or have you created your own style of teaching?

Philipp: I try to follow it as much as possible as I said before, but sometime the method of teaching is dependent on the student. Very often the student has a ‘problem’ that needs a custom solution to solve. So I try to provide it to make him ‘overcome’ the problem.

Like Wong Shun Leung worked out certain solutions to help me. No one thought of my specific situation before. Whoever taught a guy with just one hand? But don’t forget, at that time I lost my hand just a year before. It was very sensitive. Wong Shun Leung created a solution, like a tube for my arm. The bottom of the tube was filled with a soft substance. So when I hit with it, the soft substance alleviated the force. After time, I was able to use more and more force behind my punch. Finally, I believe it was 1987 or 1988, he told me to take it off. And so I did. After even more training, I eventually was able to hit full force with it and without protection. Well my left arm is definitely not the same as the right one, but with the help of all concepts of Chum Kiu like turning the hips and elbow connection, coordination and synchronisation it makes a very strong punch.


Dave: One of your teaching methods that I have notice with you, is to sometimes ‘train on the edge of failure.

Philipp: Look over the horizon a bit, a typical way of teaching Wing Chun. You have to understand that if you only train on slow speed where there is a near 100% control, you can create some unrealistic ideas. This simply cannot happen if you double the speed. You’ll force your partner in four-square. That means his limits are exceeded more than 50% sometimes. Of course you can explain and train on slow speeds to make a student understand a movement. But if you go faster, you can observe their more natural response. On slow speeds, maybe his Wu Sau stops you, but on double speed, maybe his Wu Sau cannot come up fast enough. So you have to force him to respond faster. Only than you can change his behaviour to respond faster. So if you can create the behaviour, by hitting his nose faster than he’s able to stop you that triggers him to train harder.


Dave: Does Wing Chun, as a system, truly have answers for today’s mixed martial arts?

This is a hard question to answer. I don’t compare Wing Chun to ring fighting. In the ring you fight in weight classes with an opponent a judge, corner judges and a flying towel. But on the street, if you are in trouble, you maybe have 2 or 3 opponents. Maybe none in your weight class. All heavier than you are. There you can use Wing Chun.  Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu and maybe even Bil Jee thinking. Everything comes together. You cannot really compare these two situations. Of course you can fight in the ring and use the Wing Chun concepts. I believe Wing Chun is good for everything because it’s a way of thinking and the only thing I can tell is that if your Wing Chun is not good, it is the worst martial art to use in the ring. It’s created to adapt certain behaviour. For example; Tan Sau is a typical ‘palm up’ movement. In boxing you won’t find such a move. In boxing most movements are ‘palm down’. This changes everything. Our punch is outstanding. No one punches like we punch. But it’s very difficult to develop this punch. You have to use the whole body! But if it works, than it works really well. If your Wing Chun is just an overlay on your natural behaviour, than you might even fail because you have a lack of power or maybe a distance problem. In that case you are in danger, because your natural behaviour is neither there to help you out. That’s a big problem. But other styles face the same problems. Just ask yourself the question. Does boxing have the answers to MMA? Or Taekwondo? I think Wing Chun is mainly very good for street fighting and to use in real fights. We have a 'to do list' in the development of our skills; Knockout power, if you don’t have it your lost. Secondly: Readiness, are you ready to strike? Strategy, without it you cannot bring it down to your enemy. Finally, you have to see your chances. What is the best moment to strike and to retreat? It all about fighting tactics and skills!


Dave: Do you think that one needs to prepare differently for an MMA match or cage fight than for a street fight?

Philipp: Well, if you are preparing for a ring or cage fight, you have to be ready on a certain moment in time. Your opponent will do the same. You have to train for that goal to fight and win the match. In street fighting there is no set date to prepare for. It can come suddenly. Most Wing Chun practitioners are not professional fighters who are training for a match. I find it hard to answer questions that compare Wing Chun with MMA. I don’t really think about it. Wing Chun is for street fighting, so we should train to fight on the street and be prepared at all times.


Dave: Did you ever consider doing other martial arts besides Wing Chun?

Philipp: No, it doesn’t make sense.


Dave: What is your idea on attracting other elements of fighting into the system?

A large part of our Wing Chun training is about balance. Nearly every arm move or kick is about how to keep the vertical line. Every move you make and every action you do should come from a balanced body. If we attract elements like ground fighting, you’ll break the balanced structures we have. I think it’s best to focus on balance. If you may fall down, you should get up immediately. Wong Shun Leung said; “Never give up your balance!”  If a kicker kicks, he gives up his balance and he only has one leg left to support himself. He needs to take the leg down and re-gain structure before he can respond. If I punch you and you block, my next punch is already on its way. With kicking, that is more difficult. So if your opponent has raised his leg and has to deal with this disadvantage and you use your leg to block the attack, you are down on the same level. Wing Chun makes use of other peoples disadvantages and we’ll mostly keep both feet on the floor to keep the balance. Chum Kiu and Bil Jee rotations and the dummy movements all teach us to maintain the balance.


Dave:  Do you think Wing Chun has a weak point if it comes to ground fighting if you are down on the ground with the opponent on top of you?

Philipp: Bil Jee teaches you what to do if ‘normal’ Wing Chun is not possible anymore. Think about the options you have left. For example, if my hands are blocked and someone or maybe even more people are holding me. I cannot use Pak Sau, Jut Sau or Bong Sau anymore. It’s no longer possible. Or when I am down on the ground. Turning is no longer possible and there is no elbow support from the hips. No more stepping forward or backwards. This is a clear disadvantage. If you end up in ground fighting you never know how skilled your opponent is at this. I don’t believe a 50kg woman is able to take a 90kg man who is inches taller to the ground and gain advantage

It’s better to focus your training on the Wing Chun tactics. Bil Jee tells us to re-gain advantage to use with our fighting system. If that’s not possible, try to escape. This is what Bil Jee should make you understand. Fighting comes from fighting. It comes from war. The strategy of war is clear for thousands of years. If the enemy is stronger, retreat and escape. Everything you train in Wing Chun, even the long pole and heavy bag helps you to improve a good short punch. It makes you stronger. Wing Chun is not for weak people. On this planet, nothing goes without force. It’s physics. If you have a well-trained body and you fall to the ground, you have a good chance to get up. In that case, he is the one having a problem. So be fast! Be fast my friend. Hahaha…


Dave: Is Wing Chun a complete system? Or does it have weak points?

Philipp: Our punch is very different to other styles. Most styles use the upper body. We use the whole body, the hip, force ‘from’ the ground to support us, the exchange of force; behaviour developed in Chi Sau, and so on.  If the Chi Sau structure is nothing more than just rolling and there is no exchange of force, than what are you doing it for? Poon Sau or Chi Sau has a reason for its existence.  Where does the force come from? Where does the punching power come from? From Siu Nim Tau, by pressing the arm against the air pressure? 1030 hPa? That’s not enough, there is no feedback. You can do the forms for one hundred years, but if you never have feedback, you won’t develop anything. So the weak point is: You should dedicate your training to real fighting!

Some people just roll arms and think they can gain some sort of sensitivity with it. Worse,... They believe they can fight with it. But trust me, They won’t survive a single real street fight. So another weak point is laziness.


Dave: Did you ever need to use your skills in an actual fight? If yes, did it change your vision and approach?

Philipp: Well, at my first real fight, I was lucky. I did some punches and only in the first seconds I tried to use Wing Chun. Soon everything collapsed. My approach was to hit him many times. I was not as fast as I am today and my punch simply didn’t bring the result I expected. This was a surprise to me. My Wing Chun was not there for  me and let me down. I did eventually win the fight, by kicking him in the groin. So he went down. But I clearly had to work on some things. Especially my punch. My evaluation taught me that my elbows went out so that was the reason. Siu Nim Tao teaches us to get the elbow in and if you have the elbows out in Chum Kiu, it doesn’t make sense at all. If the chain of power is broken, the whole structure collapses.


Dave: If you had to choose between two words, what would you choose:


Fighter or teacher:                          Fighter

Attack or Defence:                          Attack

Punch or Fak Sau:                          Punch

Fear or No Fear:                             No fear

Technique or Physical fitness:      Physical fitness

Pole or Knives:                                Pole

Sparring or Fighting:                       Sparring

Speed or Power:                             Power

Ego or Humble:                               Humble

DVD or Book:                                   Book


Dave: Do you have plans on releasing any DVDs or writing a book?

Philipp: Actually, I wrote a book. It’s ready but not published. 457 pages without pictures in German. It’s all about Wing Chun. Not only on Siu Nim Tao or Chum Kiu. It’s more a book on my way of learning. How I learned it and the ideas on training. But I’m not sure if I will ever publish it.


Dave: What about making a DVD?

Philipp: Well I can always do it. Maybe for advertising and showing some action to promote my students, but I am not interested in making a DVD at the moment. My teaching is; showing how it works and make people feel Wing Chun. One on one. The last thing, I definitely cannot do on a video. I also don’t like to explain things on video so some parasites can copy my teachings. Most DVD’s out there take Wing Chun down and bring damage to it. People are watching it over and over again and believe they can learn Wing Chun from the TV.


Dave: What does the future hold for you in terms of spreading WSLVT in Europe and elsewhere in the world?

Philipp: I’m doing seminars all over the world and people seem to enjoy it. I don’t do this especially for spreading WSLVT. Most of the time, people come to me. I have no plans really. If people invite me, and I feel good about it. I’ll come over.


Dave: Are you also conducting seminars where people of multiple lineages are able to attend?

Philipp: Yes, of course they can come, but I don’t want to disturb anyone’s business.


Dave: What is the biggest difference between training back in the day with Wong Shun Leung and now?

Philipp: There is no big difference in my school. You have to motivate students to follow the methods. Just because these methods are already proved. My Wing Chun is a product of the way I was taught and how I adapted it. Sometimes people from other lineages, that have trained longer than me, didn’t reach the level I fortunately have today. I feel there is a lot of misunderstanding; no good foundation, thinking in applications... Wong Shun Leung taught us in a very direct way. He was straight forward and you could see that his students became good fast.


Dave: What about training in Hong Kong 6 days a week 7 hours a day?

Philipp: Well, sometimes I was in the school for 6-8 hours. I was young and full of energy. But intensively 3-4 hours training will cost you a lot of energy and of course your body needs to recover too. I actually never saw anyone in the school doing 8 hour intensive training.


Dave: What is your idea on weapons training in Wing Chun, does it complement the unarmed fighting concepts?

Philipp: Yes, absolutely. Sometimes people ask me why we train the long pole. It’s not a weapon of this era and we cannot use it in real combat. I usually respond by saying; “You are neither a good weapon to use today.” We train the long pole especially to gain benefit from it to use in unarmed fighting. Especially that is very important. You can see the quality of someone’s Wing Chun, by looking at him handling the long pole.

The long pole is a very good physical training. Very good for structure. It helps you to bring the elbow behind the pole. The concept of long pole fighting is like fighting with one long arm. You need to use a lot of energy from the hips. Everything adds up to your unarmed Wing Chun. If you compare it to running for example, your endurance gets better, but it doesn’t really add up to you Wing Chun skills. The strategy thinking of the long pole, is not only for improving the punching power, but  it also adds up for standing vertical, keeping balance, and develop energy trough the whole body to transport it up to the end of the long pole. It will make your movements in unarmed Wing Chun more explosive. You’ll learn to control the weapon to be a part of you.

With the knives it’s similar. Overshooting with the knives and even with the long pole can change your life forever, or it might even end it. From your unarmed Wing Chun forms and skills you have already gained the potential knowledge on that. Now it must even be less than that. The knives add additional weight on your arms and the wrists should take over the tactics from the ‘elbow’.  That’s one of the reasons why you should not learn knives to early. If you overshoot in unarmed partner training, it can bring you serious trouble. But in a real fight where there is less control, you’ll probably overshoot more. With the weapons it’s even worse. If you have gained a fair level on overshoot control with the knives, it adds up to you unarmed skills and vice versa. You will move more accurately. Sometimes knive fighting is like a Kamikaze fight. You have to attack as your enemy tries to attack you… with a weapon. That means he want to kill you! So, don’t give him that chance. You must be very fast on your legs, no interrupts. You have to take the distance away and take the advantage. Make sure that he is not able to recover for a next attempt to kill you. Yes, this also has influence on your unarmed Wing Chun . If you are not afraid to fight with the knives, fighting without the knives becomes less frightening. That’s why we also do knives sparring and not only the forms.


Dave: Do you feel, Wing Chun has a bright future?

Philipp: In the 70’s a lot of rubbish Wing Chun came over, especially in Germany, Italy and Serbia and so on. but also internationally. Many people claimed to be students of IP Man and claimed to be closed door students and to have lived with him. But if you seriously look into their history, they were frauds. In time they have disappeared because they missed something in their system. If people watch my videos, they can clearly see that there is something different. They write me and after a 10 minutes meeting, everything gets clear to them. So in some countries, after I came over for a few times, soon the frauds simply have disappeared. Also in other continents, my Wing Chun brothers and students of mine do the same good work. People fortunately get smarter and are able to distinguish what’s good or what’s not good. I believe Wing Chun has a bright future.


Dave: Do you keep in contact with other Wong Shun Leung students?

Philipp: I do keep in contact with my Wing Chun brothers, like David Peterson, Cliff Au Yeung and through email and Facebook, but also with Wong Shun Leung students of later generations. So yes.


Dave: How did you experience the several contacts you had with other Wing Chun lineages in your life?

Philipp: I met a lot of people thanks to Wong Shun Leung, like Chu Shong Tin. (Tsui Sheung Tin) I remember we visited him in his school, I bought Danish cookies for him. I also did some training with his students that time. He was a very nice man. Also in 1994 in Holland I was with both Wong Shun Leung and Chu Shong Tin to guide them and ‘to keep the tea warm’. It’s a great loss, the man passed away recently.

I believe it was 1985 when Wong Shun Leung and I went to Foshan and met IP Ching for the first time. After that we regularly had dinner together. Also with his brother IP Chun. Of course Wong Shun Leung introduced me to a lot of people at that time.


Dave: Any contacts that you admired?

Philipp: I really liked Chu Shong Tin. He’s also was very funny. A very good person.


Dave: What is the most noticing difference between Philipp Bayer Wing Chun and other Wing Chun?

Philipp: The result of my training and thinking was implanted by Wong Shun Leung. He kicked my ass many times. But the best time with Wong Shun Leung was not my Hong Kong period, that period mostly concerned the development of my basics. Years of Poon Sau and Seung Ma/Toi Ma. But when Wong Shun Leung came over to Germany to my home town in Menden in the 90’s, I did a lot of personal training with him. That was the most interesting training period to me. He gave me a lot of tips and deeper insight in how Wing Chun works. He cleared out to me that movements and training methods are not to be seen as an application, but to develop behaviour. Especially that has coloured my Wing Chun today. Maybe if I have missed that information today my Wing Chun should have been very different and just like many others, with missing elements. While I was around with him, he sometimes suddenly started talking and told me things I never heard before. If I asked him why he didn’t tell me that before, he simply replied with; “You didn’t ask me.” or  “There was no reason for that yet.” Every time after that period, when he came over or when I went to Hong Kong, I had my notebook and pencil with me to ask questions and write things down.  He sometimes came in and after seeing me, he said; “Pfff…Philip, no questions today.” Haha… I asked too much. Also his English was limited and I needed someone to translate.

But I have no clear answer to the question why and if my Wing Chun differs from others. It’s a result of his teachings. I won’t say that I am very talented. In my Hong Kong period I was an average student. Just like others. Just normal. Now I am very grateful to Cliff Au Yeung who always translated for me. But also Chan Kim Man and Ho Shui Fan, people that have helped me a lot in the beginning. They are a part of my Wing Chun and partly responsible of where I stand today. I’d like to use this medium to thank them for it.


Dave: Wong Shun Leung was famous on his challenge fights. How can we see his experience back in our system?

Philipp: Sometimes I feel people miss the spirit of fighting today. That’s why I like to also do a lot of sparring. Some people say that in Wing Chun there is no sparring but only Gwoh Sau. Gwoh Sau or Chi Sau is a training exercise. It’s not fighting. When I do sparring, I also think we should do it against other styles. That fighting spirit disappeared sometimes. You see a lot of sticking in Chi Sau and people say: “If you do this, I can do this and if you do that, I can do that.” This does not develop the fighting spirit. Like I told you before, fighting comes from fighting.


Dave: Don’t you think that Wing Chun becomes a too much abstract system if it is not continuously tested to reality?

Philipp: Well, I agree we have to do more testing of skills. In 2015, my idea is to hold some kind of competition fights. First only for members of our association, but later maybe also for outsiders. Back to the idea of rooftop fighting


Dave: Did you ever witness your Sifu Wong Shun Leung inside a threatening situation that he solved with his Wing Chun skills?

Well, one day sifu Wong Shun Leung brought me to a market where I wanted to buy some imitation Lacoste t-shirts. You know those cheap shirts where the crocodile jumps of as soon as I put the shirt on. He always told me, not to show my money as I took it out of my pocket. This day, I clearly was the only foreigner there. Nobody considered that I was visiting the market together with Wong Shun Leung. He stood a few meters left from me while I took my money out to pay for the shirts, suddenly a hand came from behind my right side and took the money out of my hand really fast. I immediately turned right, but the robber who took my money ran to the left. Straight into the direction of Wong Shun Leung. Well, Wong Shun Leung did see whatjust happened, so at the moment the robber passed Wong Shun Leung, SIfu gave him a Fak Sau and the robber immediately collapsed and dropped all the money on the street. The robber jumped up and ran away, struggling. I wanted to follow him, but other people came in between. I guess it was some sort of gang. Wong Shun Leung told me it is useless to follow him as there were many people around that somehow took part in this. At that moment, the money on the ground also disappeared. The fun thing was that Wong Shun Leung always had a small hand bag, under his arm and after attacking the robber with a Fak Sau, it was still in the same place.


Dave: How would you describe his patience with you and other students in teaching?

Philipp: If he gave someone a correction a few times, like; “Put the feet inside.”, but that person did not make the effort to change the mistakes, or people who seem to be bored or don’t want to listen, he soon started to ignore them. He was no entertainer. He preferred to give his patience and attention to the people prepared to work hard. If Wong Shun Leung felt you had a serious interest in Wing Chun and he felt you were worth it, he could sometimes talk all night long on Wing Chun. His teachings were really great.


Dave: Do you feel that he has given you all the tools to continue your Wing Chun path?

Philipp: Yes, the path is very clear. You have to understand all the movements, ideas and principles of the system. And find a solution to make changes to your ‘problems’. For example if you observe someone in Chi Sau or sparring and that person gets hit every time, maybe that’s  because the Wu Sau is too low, he has not raised it far enough. If the arm would have been in the correct position you could not have only raised the arm, but you can also punch him directly. So that is the change of behaviour we create with it. “If you do it like this, than this is the result. So to improve that we have to work on it in Siu Nim Tao and in other specific exercises. The law of ‘cause and effect’.  People have to understand the reason. Many times people try to escape telling things are interpreted differently. In my opinion there should only be one possible solution. The most economic and physical answers must be inside. This is my concept. If someone comes to me from another lineage, the usually immediately see what I mean. It’s simple and clear and you cannot cheat the physics.


Dave: What would you be doing today, if you never came into contact with Wing Chun at all?

Philipp: I would probably be a software programmer or airliner pilot.


Dave: How do you manage to keep you reading glasses on top of your forehead during sparring ;-)?

Philipp: Haha, …Vertical stability and no energy flow to the head and glasses of course.


FaceBook  Twitter