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Wing-Chun: A new way of life

by Mohammed Faisal, staff writer


“It’s the most chi (energy) building form in the world” – Steven Zeigler, founder of the Honolulu Wing Chun Club.

Some students at Hawai‘i Pacific University have found a new way to eliminate their daily stress. And it’s not by going to the beach or the movies! Steven Zeigler and his Honolulu Wing-Chun Club have offered them something that not only relaxes them, but also teaches them a form of self-defense.

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Wing Chun is a style of Kung Fu that was created more than 300 years ago by a young woman named Yim Wing Chun. Yim was a native of Canton (Kwangtung Province) in China. She learned Kung Fu from Ng Mui who was a monk from the Shaolin Monastery of Mt. Sung in Honan Province. Today, many women are attracted to this form of martial art, as one can learn to be a destructive force in a short span of time.

The Honolulu Wing Chun Club was established in 2001 as an offshoot of the North Shore Wing Chun Club (est. 1993). The school’s Grandmaster is Yip Man/Chris Chan clan (a classmate of Bruce Lee) and the instructor is Steven F. Zeigler a student of Sifu Chan. The club is also part of the U.S. Wing Chun Academy. Classes are held seven days a week, and private instruction is available.

HPU students learning Wing Chun have been gaining quality knowledge, not only physically, but also mentally, according to Michael Roels, a senior management student from Holland. “It builds integrity into your character,” he said. Roels is a keen surfer and has started using some of Wing Chun’s aspects in his daily adventure in the water. “Balance is key, not only in surfing but in many other aspects of life,”

Roels said. Wing Chun has helped him learn better balance. It has also helped him develop his legs, shoulders and whole body structure to improve his stance.

Sasa Pirc, a freshman from Slovenia who plays for the HPU tennis team, has the same great things to say. He has used some of the knowledge gained from Wing Chun to improve his tennis. “It helps me build my legs stronger and is good for long hours on the tennis court.”

Pirc has also started disciplining himself mentally. “When you stand for a long time doing Sil Lum Tao [slightly bent, on your knees, both feet facing inwards and all the pressure on your thighs and calves] you feel pain! You have to discipline yourself and not give up! I have started applying this during my tennis. Fight all the way till the end!” Sometimes it's tough to breathe in the small room, so Pirc has also started to develop his own form of lung power.

Another student, Carl Vorwerk, has spent almost two years at the Honolulu Wing Chun club. Being a veteran, he has seen many lives change through Wing Chun. “I have seen the less responsible turn into mature adults!” he said. Apart from a good workout, Vorwerk loves the strength and motivation derived from his many months at the club. “It's worth all the sacrifices you make for three to four days of training per week. It is knowledge which I will treasure all my life.”

Another HPU student, Aaron Kim, has been learning Wing Chun for almost a year. Kim has been a loyal Taekwondo student since he was five years old. He has learned that Wing Chun is the fastest way to learn how to be a destructive force. “You can understand why it was founded by a woman and is so popular with many females,” said Kim. “One can learn these chi-building techniques, which act as a destructive force and in turn help people be safe on the streets, women or men.” With a strong knowledge of many martial arts, Kim tried to explain chi-building: “When you put force (dynamic tension) on your legs and arms and combine it with breathing, you rejuvenate the energy which already exists within.”

The guru and founder of the Honolulu Wing Chun club is Steven Zeigler, who wants to teach Wing Chun to more students. He plans to expand his classes and add more convenient times to suit the fast-paced American lifestyle. Call 382-5864 or e-mail





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