1. As a quick intro, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your school?
I started my Wing Chun training in 1999 under Sifu Jeff Webb in the Leung Ting WingTsun Organization, then in 2007 I continued my training with Grand Master Gary Lam and I am still teaching his system and learning from him personally.
My school is Gary Lam Wing Chun Kung Fu – Central Texas, we opened the doors on July 8th, 2014 and have been growing and helping people realize their potential ever since.
When, where, how and why did you start practicing?
I was visiting my brother, Sifu Todd Wright, who was teaching classes in Indianapolis, Indiana and I accompanied him to one of his classes and i fell in love with the direct and aggressive nature of Wing Chun.
I didn’t have a school in my city, so I started training in Tae Kwon Do for several months until I realized that it wasn’t going to be good enough, so I started driving an hour and 15 minutes to class 1-2 times a week in Austin, Texas.
2. What are the most common mistakes, or assumptions, you’ve encountered during your years of teaching?
People assume that because they have learned a series of drills or a form that they are ready to move on to the next thing when they need to keep on working on what they know already until it is assimilated into their natural ways of moving.
Never assume you have anything figured out in it’s entirety.
3. Movies such as “Yip Man”, “The Grandmaster” and such and probably one of the reasons many people start to practice at some point. Since reality is mostly not matching most of these movie scenes, what are some key aspects a beginning martial artist should focus on?
Repetition, practice every day and try to do your drills in the air if you don’t have a partner.
4. How can Wing Chun be used in an educational, non martial arts setting?
Wing Chun helps you to understand better how the mind and body work together and helps you to understand the learning process in yourself and others.
5. The internet has completely changed our lives over the past 10-15 years. We now have access to lots of information (both good & bad) and connections like never before. How do you feel about this evolution and it’s impact on Wing Chun?
I think it’s good! I have found a lot of interesting ideas on the internet, it has helped me in my progress. That’s how I found Sifu Gary Lam, by watching youtube videos.
6. What direction do you see Wing Chun or martial arts, as a whole, heading in?
I hope in the direction of actual fighting instead of talking about fighting. It seems like bare knuckle fighting is getting popular now.
7. To end this interview in style, what is the best wing chun or martial arts advice you have personally ever received and what is the best advice you would give to our readers?
“To conquer someone else is very easy, but to defeat yourself is the hardest thing of all.” Sifu Leung Ting
Take responsibility for your own training, practice diligently and thoughtfully, never give up.
Gary Lam Wing Chun Kung Fu – Central Texas LLC