May 16-17, 1998

Friendship Exchange Workshop 1998 Review

Sifu Benny Meng, Curator of the Ving Tsun Museum in Dayton, Ohio, recently attended the first Friendship Exchange workshop. As Chairman of the Museum committee Sifu Meng frequently attends seminars and other events throughout the world to experience and research all different styles of Wing Chun. This workshop took place on May 1998 and was held in Victoria, Canada. The workshop was hosted by 3 different Wing Chun families; a first ever event in the history of Wing Chun. Approximately 40 people attended including the three hosts; Marty Goldberg of William Cheung’s Traditional Wing Chun, Rene Ritchie of the Yuen Kay-San system, and Ray Van Raamsdonk of the Leung Sheung and Wang Kiu systems worked together to make this event a successful one.

 

Victoria is a wonderful city with much to see, including some very elaborate castles. While there Sifu Meng stayed in Victoria’s Chinatown. The first night of the workshop was orientation where everyone had an opportunity to get to know each other and their hosts a little.


Ray Van Raamsdonk of the Wong Kiuh and Leung Sheung families
 

On the second day the Workshop hosts gave seminars on their prospective systems. First up was Ray Van Raamsdonk of the Wang Kiu system. Wang Kiu was an early student of Yip Man. He was there before there was a Muk Jong in the school. At that time Yip Man instead taught what is called “live dummy set”. This is a very good alternative method to learning at that level of the system, especially for those who do not have a Jong. Ray Van Raamsdonk also spoke about his systems approach to the Luk Dim Boon Kwan and the Bot Jom Do.


Marty Goldberg of the William Cheung system
 

Marty Goldberg of Traditional Wing Chun spoke next about the William Cheung’s system. There is much emphasis on footwork in this system. He also talked about what they call the “Destruction System” which is methods of attacking the opponent’s limbs.


Rene Ritchie of the Yuen Kay-San system
 

Rene Ritchie spoke next about the Yuen Kay-San system in comparison to other Wing Chun systems. He showed videos of some other families displaying five different versions of Wing Chun.

Also on Saturday was a friendship exchange where everyone talked and Chi Sau’d together. Sifu Meng provided everyone with a new perspective about Moy Yat Ving Tsun with his knowledge and skill that he displayed. In fact they were impressed enough that he was invited to speak on Sunday about the Moy Yat family Ving Tsun and Chi Sau. Sifu Meng also talked about the Ving Tsun Museum and it’s future. There appeared to be much support for this by the people in attendance. Afterwards everyone wrapped things up and said their goodbyes.


Workshop group photo
 

In all the Friendship Workshop was a big success. It was a very good first step towards bringing different families together for the purpose of sharing information. Anyone who may have come with a closed mind or a little ego about their own style of Wing Chun, left with a new understanding and tolerance for other styles. It proved to be a humbling experience for all who attended. Sifu Meng was impressed enough with the outcome of this event that he has committed the Ving Tsun Museum to holding a future Friendship workshop at the museum location sometime in the future. These people who attended this historic event represent the next generation of Wing Chun throughout the world. The Ving Tsun Museum fully supports the efforts of these people to hopefully someday remove any barriers among the different families of this popular system. We applaud this first Friendship Workshop and look forward to more in the future.

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