Sihing Tobias Visits

In early October, just a week before our Fall Event Series with Sifu Klaus Brand, another visitor from the IAW Headquarters (IAW-HQ) came to join us at the IAW-US. Sihing Tobias is the Deputy Leader of the IAW-HQ in Bruchsal and the primary Instructor responsible for conducting the regular classes there. He was one of the first colleagues I forged a relationship with on my initial trip to the Germany. Since then, we have further reinforced our connection several times.

During his recent travels throughout the western United States, he planned to spend a few sightseeing days locally in California. Besides the renown attractions like Yosemite, Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf, his itinerary also included attendance at one of the Tuesday HQ Berkeley and Wednesday San Francisco evening classes. Members in both locations were happy to meet and work with Sihing Tobias, who was gracious enough to personally practice with many students. Everyone was so engrossed in training that we unfortunately twice forgot to capture a photographic memory.

But judging by our scenic smiles, this should be proof enough of his enjoyable presence here:


We found a precious moment out on Treasure Island.

Fall Event Series 2009


Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle [384 BC – 322 BC]

2009 promises to be our biggest and best Fall Event Series yet with Sifu Klaus Brand, WingChun Grandmaster and IAW Founder.

We need each and every one of you to realize the personal value of this opportunity. Repeated instruction by and direct interaction with the highest embodiment of an art is the goal of all artists. And it’s something easily taken for granted, even though the opposite case is true. No one knows if the next chance is the last chance. So when you’re able to access an irreplaceable moment, willingness is the sole remaining step. In actuality, all instants are uniquely once in a lifetime because none ever repeats itself exactly again.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We can go further with modern media and claim a video is worth a thousand pictures. Finally, an experience is worth a thousand videos or, doing the math, a billion words. The most articulate collected volumes of scholarly text or deluxe high-definition DVD box sets of every known lecture on, for instance, Nature is still inescapably vicarious to one authentic contact with natural reality. The double filter – the output of an author’s mind as attempted communication and the input into the observer’s mind as alledged comprehension – of second-hand knowledge is never quite enough, always falling short.

So it is so with Self-Defense education. Through each of your senses you learn an aspect of the whole. But through all of them in simultaneous synergy, via the perceptive powers your entire human organism, you gain more than partial understanding. You can read explanations of Pak Sao (Slapping Arm). You can see photos of it. You can watch clips of it. These are decent but insufficient approximations that still leave you with persistent questions and permanent doubts. Then there is actually performing, really engaging, simply savoring a Pak Sao in motion. Until you thus subjectively do, act, and feel for yourself in the first person, objectivity is unconvincing.

Yet you can’t start merely with the decision to act, but a decisive action, which creates a defined behavior, which solidifies a determined habit. It only matters that – not how or why or when – you begin. Reach your next goal, become your better self. Your greatest chance to do so begins on October 16.

Slideshow View

iawusgalleryCheck out the new slideshow format for our Gallery. Visit it often to view the most recent photos of happenings throughout the IAW.

Win, Win, Win

Many of you have asked how you can help out the IAW-US Headquarters.

First, realize that anything you contribute has multiple outcomes. Attract more training partners to increase your range of experience. Accelerate your progress by attending more Special Events and Private Lessons. See more of our system and facilitate your advancement. Your assistance has a direct impact on our development, which in turn benefits you.

Below are some easy, practical ways to contribute:

  • Do lifestyle flyering. Grab a stack of our flyers or business cards. Throw them in your backpack, purse or car. Then leave some at cafes, shops, schools, workplaces, supermarkets, libraries and bulletin boards. Post them creatively on your daily route.
  • Refer your friends. Or co-workers, family member and curious acquaintances. Remember, anyone who joins because of your personal recommendation entitles you to a $20 credit redeemable for Special Classes, Private Lessons, or equipment.
  • Review us online. Many people rely on testimonials and ratings to make a decision to act. Spend a couple minutes to offer your honest opinion on our profiles at any of the following websites: Yelp, YellowPages, Yahoo, and Google.
  • Take Private Lessons. Support the Academy by seeking to learn more in a closer personal format. You will get better, quicker with such direct interaction and involvement. All while helping your school. Available to all current IAW members by request via contacting Sihing Paul.
  • Attend Special Events. The more you see, the broader your perspective. The more you train, the better your skills. Simple, so simply take advantage of these bonus opportunities to deepen your study of this art as an artist of Self-Defense. Check our Events page for the latest details.
  • Do work-study. Discounts are available to those who need tuition assistance or just want an extra incentive to help. Three positions (administrative, marketing, and logistics) are currently available. Roles include member outreach, event registration, Academy maintenance, local advertising, and inventory tracking.
  • Be friendly. A family is nothing without you, its members, who individually express our group’s goals and values. And one of those is openly sharing WingChun with whoever wants to learn. Always be willing to help each other improve. This especially includes new students who are often unsure, so make them feel welcome and comfortable in our home.

In short, the above suggestions are a triple win. One, they encourage your personal progress as a practitioner. Two, they improve our school culture and status as a whole. Three, they bring the benefits of WingChun to a broader audience.

All in all, a winning combination.

Grand Opening Recap

wingchun grand openingThe new year is well along. And already we’ve done a lot. We started off by officially inaugurating the United States Headquarters of the International Academy of WingChun in Berkeley on January 9-10, 2009. Six months of tough work culminated in a celebration of this next chapter with so many of you.

Sihing Paul Wang WingChun Motto

Opening night featured fun, family, friends, and food. As well as a raffle for special prizes like a WingChun hoodie, clock, poster, and gift certificate. Sharing the movement and meaning of our art during the intro demo was a nice treat. Several key points were touched upon, including the broader import and deeper significance of our name “WingChun” (literally “Praising Springtime, which I interpreted as “Loving Life”) and the classical saying “拳由心發” (transliterated as Kuen Yau Sum Fut and translated as “Art Starts from Heart”). The framework of physical, psychological, and philosophical scales of Self-Defense was presented as primarily practical. Then for the first time in the US, attendees witnessed the IAW Wooden Dummy (Mok Yan Jang 木人樁) set. With the rush of last minute preparations there was no time for a test run, so what you saw was really the initial performance. Luckily, the wood stayed on the wall!

Wooden Dummy Mok Yan Jang

On January 10, we held a series of three sessions, each focusing on one aspect of the WingChun training methodology. The Form Class covered the unique way we develop mind-body coordination, especially in terms of concentration of intent and control of relaxation. The Flow Class focused on using Lat Sao and Puen Sao to develop calm skillful interaction of speed, power, and energy between partners. The Function Class showcased simple, natural, and effective responses to a variety of neck, arm, and body grabs. Because the day flew by so fast, we must have, by definition, been enjoying ourselves!


Things continued to unfold with the start of WingChun Tigers children’s classes on January 17, the addition of Wednesday evening classes on January 21, my first WingChun Seminar at the Academy of WingChun Atlanta on January 17, and our first WingChun Seminar at the new IAW-US HQ on January 25. So on we go!