We sat down to interview Sifu Serif, the owner of EWCA Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy in Girne.
Sifu Serif was born and raised in England where he first started training in martial arts at the age of 13. Since moving out to Cyprus he has opened up his own school, where he teaches the art of Wing Chun Kung Fu.
What made you start training in martial arts?
– As a Turkish Cypriot teenager, it was at times tough growing up in London. I experienced bullying and many times on my way home from school, I was attacked by other kids. My mother worried a lot and it was she who encouraged me to start some form of self-defence. Growing up I was a big fan of Bruce Lee, he inspired me so I looked into learning a martial art.
– While other kids were out playing football, I was training, first Judo and then a Korean martial art called Kuk Sool Won. For a while I also tried boxing, but because I had spent a lot of time using my legs in Judo and Kuk Sool Won, I wasn’t allowed to continue because I found it very hard to stop kicking and using my legs.
So when did you start training Wing Chun Kung Fu?
– I started training in 1992; my nephew who knew I had a passion for martial arts invited me to attend a class with him at his Wing Chun school. I was totally captivated by Wing Chun! So far I had been accustomed to jumps and kicks, but this was like nothing I had previously tried. I was hooked from the first lesson.
So Sifu, what Is Wing Chun Kung Fu?
– Well Wing Chun Kung Fu is a Chinese close quarter combat martial arts and self defence system.
– It’s simple, direct and effective. Wing Chun uses principles of physics and body mechanics to teach you how to defend yourselves in real life self-defense situations. It’s very easy to learn and anyone can do it regardless of age, gender, physique or physical ability because we use structure and timing instead of strength and force. By drilling techniques and the constant repetition of these drills, you will develop something called muscle memory which gives you a natural reflex to an oncoming attack giving you a higher chance to react without thinking in an attack situation.
Can anyone learn Wing Chun?
– Yes anyone can, it is designed so that anyone can learn and apply it, however saying that you need to have the right kind of mentality. If you are coming to learn Wing Chun so that you can use it to go out and hurt people, you are learning it for the wrong reasons. That’s not what Wing Chun is about, it’s for self defence purposes only. It’s like me giving my students a weapon in their hands to defend themselves, which should be used very wisely and only when absolutely necessary.
– Wing Chun is a lifestyle (a way of life) by that I mean that you have to commit fully to Wing Chun and train it properly or it won’t work for you when you need it to. But if you spend the time to learn it properly it will benefit you not only in being able to defend yourself but it will help to improve many aspects of your life by using the principles you learn from Wing Chun.
So what are the benefits of training Wing Chun?
– There are many benefits to training Wing Chun. Too many to list here, but the main ones are self-defence, stress relief, improved fitness and increased confidence. It’s also great fun and very addictive. For a more in depth explanation of how Wing Chun can help you, there is a great section ‘Benefits of Wing Chun’ on our website www.ewca.net followed by a detailed article about Wing Chun.
What made you want to open up a Wing Chun school here in North Cyprus?
– Actually it wasn’t my intention to open up a school here at first, but after my younger nephews friends saw me practicing one night at a family gathering they all wanted to know what it was I was doing and to try it for themselves. After that they pestered me continuously to open a school here so they could learn, and that’s when I decided to open up my own Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy.
How can people join your school?
– Firstly it’s important to understand that EWCA is not a club where you can come and go as you please, like a gym. I say to anyone who wants to join that they should understand that EWCA is a school, because there is a curriculum to learn and grading exams to keep track of your progress so that you can move forward to the next stage.
– If you are interested in joining our school then you can contact us to book a free, no obligation, introductory lesson. During this lesson you will get the opportunity to train with one of our students who will take you through some of the basics and explain more about Wing Chun. We do not let people come in and watch a class for two reasons, one is some of the students may find it off-putting being observed, but most importantly if you are just watching a class then you will not understand what is going on, the best way to get a true feel for the art is to try it for yourself, this is why we offer a free class.
Below are contact details for those who are interested in finding out more about Wing Chun or joining the school.
EWCA Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy is located in Karaoglanoglu, Girne.
Phone: 0548 841 7871
You can also follow EWCA on Facebook, Instagram & Youtube (links are on the website)