1. As a quick intro, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your school? When, where, how and why did you start practicing?
I’m Sifu Jimmy Manfredy master instructor at Twisting Tiger Academy here in Lakeland Florida.
I began my journey into the martial arts at the age of five, back in New York City thanks to my father. My dad was a soldier and he wanted to make sure I could take care of myself and my family, when he wasn’t there.
I studied multiple martial arts from Northern Longfist to Drunken boxing and Sanda (Chinese kickboxing) just to name a few before finally finding the art of Wing Chun.
2. What are the most common mistakes, or assumptions, you’ve encountered during your years of teaching?
Well for me one of the most common assumptions that is made is that all martial arts are the same, there are so many different systems, styles and concepts used in today’s martial arts community for self defense, health and competition purposes, but those who have never dabbled in any of them only recognize what they see on TV and action movies, luckily as a teacher I can help with that.
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?
TV and movies have always been a great motivation for people to seek out martial arts, the Ip Man movies are no exception ever since the debut of the first one people have been flocking to their nearest Wing Chun schools to learn the art.
I mean as a teacher and a stuntman for me it was old-school kung fu movies like the all of Bruce Lee’s movies and others such as Five Deadly Venom’s to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon and even kid shows like the Power Rangers have had a helping hand in that.
For me the key aspect to begin focus in on any martial art is patience and structure, not just of body but of the mind as well.
Without proper structure everything falls apart but, without patience of the mind we tend to impatiently move past those most important little lessons that help us solidify our structure.
4. How can Wing Chun be used in an educational, non martial arts setting?
Wing Chun at least in my experience is a family oriented martial art and as such we work together to progress every step of the way, it teaches us teamwork, situational awareness, and above all problem solving.
All of which translates extremely well to all real world environments and situations.
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?
Martial arts as a whole is constantly evolving and we can’t fight that but we do need to educate people that the internet is a good tool to help with training but, should never be a replacement for an actual teacher in the art.
The impact of what I call internet warriors, is a false sense of security in combat situations and that could possibly make a diffusible situation take a terrible turn and have a very dangerous outcome.
6. What direction do you see Wing Chun or martial arts, as a whole, heading in?
As long as we have good teachers in the world like the ones who taught me example(Grandmaster Samuel Kwok my current teacher), to keep the traditions of training and history in the arts alive, I think our future is a bright one!￼
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?
My advice to all martial artist is to never give up, without those few who persevere and stick it out until mastery of their art, whichever art that may be so that they can continue to pass the art on to our future generations to come and above all have fun!
Sifu Jimmy Manfredy
Twisting Tiger Academy