INVINCIBLE VING CHUN KUEN
The system of Chinese boxing known as Wing Chun Kuen has a colourful history indeed. Named after the lady (Yim) Wing Chun, combined with the third character, 'Kuen' (Fist), Wing Chun Kuen means 'Fist of Wing Chun', or, the 'Fighting Fist of Wing Chun'. In Hong Kong it was also called 'Lightning Hands Kung Fu', so named after Sifu Choy's Wing Chun brother and training partner, Sifu Derek Fung; while in some quarters it was known as 'Gangster Fist'.
Kevin Earle's keen interest in the art of Wing Chun led to him establishing the first Chinese martial art school in New Zealand. Never faltering in his passion for the art, his personal training has led him to the conclusion that Wing Chun is more than a 'Fighting Fist'; he concludes it truly is invincible.
Using the English spelling favored by his teacher, Kevin now prefers to describe the art of 'Ving Chun Kuen', as the 'Art of Invincibility'.
The history of Wing Chun from Ng Mui to Yip Man (Ip Man) is well documented, but lessor known is that branch of history of Wing Chun from the time of Yip Man to Earle's Academy in present day New Zealand.
Earle's Academy - History of Wing Chun In New Zealand
SIGUNG CHOY SIU KWONG (GREG TSOI)
Master Choy (born in 1939) began his training with GrandMaster Ip Man in 1951, at 12 years of age. In oral tradition passed on to Kevin Earle, it is believed that Choy was the first private student of GrandMaster Ip Man in Hong Kong, when Ip Man began to accept students.
(Leung Seung was Ip Mans first student in Hong Kong, before Ip Man began accepting students to provide his income. Although others commenced training at the beckoning of Leung Seung, they soon dropped out.)
It appears there were roughly three groups of students; the 'Live-in' students Leung Seung, Lok Yu, and Chu Shong Tin; then the private students, of which Choy was the first; and others who attended the public classes.
During some private sessions with the GrandMaster, Ip Man would get the 18 year old Chu Shong Tin to instruct the younger Choy Siu Kwong while Ip Man observed. However Ip man was Choy's teacher. Thus one can gain a sense of some teaching methods of Ip Man.
As his training progressed Sifu Choy would on occasion attend the public classes to assist the more junior students, one being Bruce Lee. This is no more or less than happens in any class, where more experienced students might help the beginners.
Then in about 1958 or '59 he emigrated to Australia, where he continued his training in private.
In early 1972 he received permission from the GrandMaster to teach publicly, opening the VCK KungFu Centre at 768 George Street Sydney. Prior to that time, from the early sixties, he had taught more or less privately in Dixon Street, Sydney, being one of the first Wing Chun practitioners to teach Wing Chun to foreigners.
It is believed that he stopped teaching publicly in the late seventies, and there is little written about him. For that reason we reproduce here excerpts from the text of a rare interview Master Choy gave (about 1974) in an article titled "The Real Kung-Fu" Sydney Wing Chun master who trained with Bruce Lee; published in 1974. (Volume 1 * No 2, Australasian Fighting Arts magazine).
Ving Chun Kuen (Wing Chun) was introduced into New Zealand in 1972 by Kevin Earle, whose later formal studies in Ving Chun were with Master CHOY Siu Kwong (Greg Tsoi), a student of theGreat GrandMaster IP Man (Yip Man) in Hong Kong.
Kevin Earle is a true pioneer of Ving Chun Kuen, being the first to publicly teach the art in New Zealand, and his dedication to studying and teaching Ving Chun spans more than forty years.
He has travelled overseas to study with some of the worlds leading exponents of the art as well as hosting various martial art Masters in New Zealand. He has given public demonstrations of Ving Chun, manufactured training equipment, produced videos for the promotion of Ving Chun, and has had numerous articles published in martial art magazines.
During 1978-79 he was an elected representative on the (then) New Zealand Martial Arts Council organised by the Ministry of Recreation and Sport. He was the representative for the South Island Chinese martial arts on that Council. He later represented the former New Zealand Chinese Martial Arts International Wu-Shu Council, (now the New Zealand Kung-Fu WuShu Federation) during its establishment. He has been a permanent lifetime member of the prestigious Hong Kong Ving Tsun Athletic Association since 1994.
Kevin is founder as well as Technical Advisor to the Australasian Ving Chun Kuen Instructors Association in which he continues to play an active role advising instructors, conducting workshops, and promoting the art of Wing Chun in general.
Although he has very firm ideas on Wing Chun training methods and principles and how they should be practised, he has always encouraged students to think and explore for themselves, and to develope their own individual strengths and abilities.
So it is with his encouragement and support that many of his students have trained in Australia, Hong Kong, and China, with such diverse Wing Chun personalities as William Cheung, Jim Fung, Wong Sheung Leung and Chu Shong Tin, to name a few; and a number of his students now run their own Wing Chun schools.
Kevin has many years of practical security/crowd control experience in the hospitality industry as a Doorman in various dance halls, night clubs, and hotels, as well as training many who work in that industry. Indeed many owe their start in that industry to his guidance, his instruction, and his personal recommendation. Even today in his sixties he continues to train door staff and security personnel while still actively working in hospitality. He continues to teach (privately), and host workshops on Ving Chun.
With a part-time career as a "Bouncer" (Doorman) spanning 45 years and more than 40 years studying and teaching Ving Chun, Kevin is well qualified to teach and write about the practicality & the technical aspects of Ving Chun Kuen, the Art Of Invincibility.
Kevin's philosophy of Ving Chun training is perhaps best summed up in his following statement:
"The practical purpose of Ving Chun Kuen is fighting for survival. However the training itself has another purpose. Enjoyment. Therefore I do not believe that a student should get hurt learning how not to get hurt. Furthermore it is for average people. It is for the small, the weak, and the vulnerable. With Ving Chun all people have the opportunity to learn how to defend themselves regardless of their size, body type, or physical condition."