I thought it would be cool to share this review of my Perth Camp from 2 years ago, as it gives an insight to my seminars. This is from Sifu Daniel King –
From the moment Alan stepped off the plane in Perth airport I could tell something was seriously different about him.
“Hey Dan.” he said with a big smile. “Let’s go drop my bags off and get into some training!”
“Are you serious?” I said. Don’t you want to go and have a rest and recover after your huge plane flight?”
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” he replied.
That would become the theme for next 5 days. Almost every waking moment would be spent training, teaching, or discussing different ideas and concepts.
Within the hour, we unlocked the doors of the Perth Wing Chun Academy and got into some chi sao – a sensitivity training drill designed to improve reflexes, co-ordination and fine tune reactions from close quarters. It usually begins from a contact range (arms crossing over)
In Traditional Wing Chun chi sao exercises start at the wrist range with an emphasis on footwork. Much of the chi sao in traditional wing chun is based around sparring and on fighting on the blindside. This was one area of my training that I had identified needed a bit of work since meeting Alan in New Zealand.
“Relax your shoulders, Dan.”
This is a comment I’ve told all my students countless times. Yet when you’re the one getting analysed by a master of chi sao it’s amazing how quickly you can start to lose your composure!
It wasn’t too long before Sifu Nathan arrived at the academy.
For those who have never met Sifu Nathan Davis, he is of a similar build and body type to Sifu Alan. They are both of a similar age, both calm and collected, and both have spent their whole lives training various systems of fighting. If it wasn’t for Nathan, the Perth Wing Chun Academy wouldn’t have become so open and inviting toward other Masters, especially those whose methods and perspectives differ to our own.
This was going to be a meeting of two giants.
After shaking hands they went to train privately at the back of the academy. As I was teaching the kids class I could only see shadows of movement as they tested each other, however even the kids struggled to keep their eyes off the two masters.
When they finished training, it was clear they both had huge respect for each others ability. Alan remarked that he has crossed hands with many Wing Chun teachers in his time and he rated the skill level of Nathan as quite possibly the best he had met outside of his own lineage.
Many students got an opportunity to train in with the visiting master. Antonino was eager to get a first shot at Alan and was incredibly impressed with his skill level during sparring class. Alan made sure to train with everyone and it was smiles all round!
Over the next few days I got to know Alan on a personal level. We spent a lot of time training, discussing ideas and I took him sight seeing around Perth.
One of the things that most impressed me about Alan was his sheer work ethic and passion for Wing Chun. He was constantly on the go. His attitude and determination was surely one of the reasons he reached such a high level in various martial arts systems. Despite his high energy levels, he was never anything other than calm and relaxed. He has truly mastered the balance of yin / yang.
In the days following, over 30 students got an opportunity to learn from Alan. On Saturday, he taught us the forms in the CSL system, and we explored different ways of absorbing and redirecting energy. Although some of the things we were learning were quite different from what we would normally do, there were a lot of similarities too and the students at Perth Wing Chun were quite eager to learn what our special guest was teaching.
One of the most important things I learnt from Alan over the weekend was how to train safely when doing chi sao and partner drills. He was quick to point out what was and wasn’t acceptable when striking towards your partner. “body shots are okay, no hits to the face, only towards the crown of the head.” – see this video to get a snippet of the chi sao protocol as explained in Perth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQMdRzwhmXs
Alongside all the technical things from the weekend workshops, I learnt a great deal about teaching, and that I need to prioritise more personal time towards training. Running a business full time has been a lot of work and I’m as guilty as anyone of working too much and forgetting the main reason I started Wing Chun; to train.
We are all truly grateful for all the knowledge and value that Sifu Alan has added to our school. Judging by much of the feedback we would be very eager to get him back again. Here is some of the feedback that we received after his workshops –
“Lots of concepts from Sifu Alan’s book and videos have clicked into place following the workshop weekend. It was an invaluable experience and I am delighted to witness new skills emerge and strengthen. I feel very pleased to belong to a club that is so open to learning from a variety of teachers from different lineages, and especially fortunate that such an accomplished, generous and patient teacher feels the same way. It was a genuine privilege to spend time with Sifu Alan, and I very much look forward to the development of my wing chun practice under his influence, alongside that of Sifu Dan and Sifu Nathan.” – Sije Rachael Bernsousa
“Alan’s an amazing martial artist and also a first rate teacher and communicator. To be honest, I don’t think that I’ve got the depth of understanding to really appreciate much of what he was teaching, but there’s plenty to work on.” – Sidai Paul Plummer
“So I loved the seminar I wish I could have gone to both days but I learnt a whole lot in the one day about balance, forward intention and how to harness big power in small movements (I am still working on this). Thank you so much Sifu Alan & our fab instructors at Perth Wing Chun!!!” – Simui Desiree Higgins
“It was an honour to meet you and cross hands. Our door is alway open to you, your family and your students. I look forward to training with you again. From myself and everyone at PWC, thank you for sharing your knowledge and warrior spirit.“ – Sifu Nathan Davis
Needless to say it was a great learning experience for myself. Along with all the technical aspects of Wing Chun, I learnt even more lessons about living a life of action and purpose. I learnt that training safely is of utmost priority, and that hard work does pay off.
I’d like to thank Alan for all his help and for being so generous with his time and knowledge. There’s no doubt he’s been a big influence on my Wing Chun training in recent times, and I’m pleased to call him a friend and a mentor.
Irrespective of whether you’re doing Wing Chun for the first time, or if you’ve been doing it for many years, I encourage you to train with Alan. He may not tell you what you want to hear, yet if you let go of your ego he will definitely help you take your game to the next level