EARLE'S ACADEMY VING CHUN KUEN
WOMEN IN WING CHUN
A Tribute To Wing Chuns Leading Lady
An Outsiders View - by Kevin Earle
While Wing Chun Master Jim Fung is known for delivering practical Wing Chun to the Australian masses through the self-defence programs taught at his International Wing Chun Academy, and his teacher Tsoi Shong Tin is renowned for his workshops and demonstrations of "Thought Force", little is known about those students without whose dedication, loyalty, and passion for Wing Chun, Tsoi Shong Tin may well have remained relatively unknown outside of Hong Kong, while "Sifu Jim" would have been "Jim Fung, Accountant", practising Wing Chun at home in his garage with a handful of friends.
One of those dedicated and passionate Wing Chun students is Karen Armstrong, who I believe was the early driving force which took Sifu Jim from garage training devotee of Wing Chun to being the leader of one of Australia's largest martial art organisations. Karen wasn't alone of course. While Sifu Jim provided the knowledge, Karen was supported by a great team of Instructors in Sydney including Nigel Brenton, who I believe started the first branch of the Academy in Sydney, and Beau Bouzaid, who became NSW Training Manager.
I first met Karen at Sifu Jim Fungs International Wing Chun Academy headquarters during my visit there in support of a wooden dummy seminar Sifu Jim was hosting (circa 1989). Her petite 5'2" frame was dwarfed by her passion, enthusiasm, and obvious skill in Wing Chun. A supreme example of the power of Wing Chun.
Originally from Melbourne, Karen Armstrong began her Wing Chun training in Adelaide with Sifu Jim Fung in the late 1970's, and I believe it was Karen who was largely responsible for Sifu Jim's success. A marketing dynamo she promoted the Academy through hundreds of open days, radio shows, magazine and newspaper articles; and demonstrated Wing Chun during dozens of television appearances over two decades, appearing on shows such as Derryn Hinch, Ray Martin, and Good Morning Hong Kong TV.
Karen co-authored Sifu Fungs two books "Wing Chun Kungfu" (commonly known as "the blue book") and "The Authentic Wing Chun Weapons". She later wrote, produced, directed, and commentated the Academy Video/DVD, "WING CHUN Sil Lum Tao Form & Applications", which received critical acclaim and was awarded a 5 star rating by Inside Kungfu magazine. These three publications still form the cornerstone of the International Academy's media today. As National Manager of the International Wing Chun Academy Karen was primarily responsible for the development of the Academy’s Government Accredited Training Program, the first Government accredited martial art training program in Australasia.
As skilful in her practical application of Wing Chun as she is in her effectiveness as a promoter, manager, and teacher of the art, she has rightly earned the title, "Wing Chun's Leading Lady".
- Kevin Earle
(Karen has written her own book "Freedom From Fear - The Complete Guide To Personal Safety For Women",
and is currently Director & Principal Instructor of "Safety Strategies", recognised as the benchmark of quality
and effectiveness in the area of Dealing Professionally with Aggressive Behaviour.
She has earned an international reputation as an expert in violence prevention.
Karen's personal biography, promotional videos and company information can be found
on her 'Safety Strategies' website -just use the link below