Letters About WT

Let`s see what three 'official-professionals'and two martial-artists think about WT:
(Frank Schäfer Sifu)

• FBI & WT • US-Marines & WT • University of Plovdiv & WT • Sumo & WT • GJJ & WT

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Academy - HRT
Quantico, Virginia 22135
February 4, 1992

Dear Mr. Kernspecht:

During the week of January 13 - 17, 1992, Special Agents (SAs) Douglas R. Kane and Michael R. Maurer attended a weaponless defense conference in Goppingen, Germany.

It is my understanding you along with several of your instructors conducted a two (2) day Wing-Tsun seminar during this period.

Sas Kane and Maurer have over twenty (20) years of martial arts and law enforcement weaponless defense training between them.

Both are experienced instructors in their respective disciplines and readily indentify useful and effective techniques.

Upon returning from Germany, they were extremely complimentary of your instuction and advised they saw several techniques which would benefit our current training and overall mission.

Wing-Tsun was explained to me as a simplistic but effective way of controlling an individual without having to use unnecessary force.

This appears to parallel our other training responsibilities and is compatible with United States laws regarding reasonable force by law enforcement officers.

I hope to expose other operators of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) to this type of self defense training in the near future.


Richard M. Rogers

Assistant Special Agent in Charge

Commander - Hostage Rescue Team

3837 Binz Engelmann Road
San Antonio, Texas
19 MAR 93


On behalf of the United States Marine Corps, I would like to again thank you and your instructor staff for the hand-to-hand combat training seminar given 12-14 March at the Marine Reserve Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The basic skills you provided to our Marines will give them greater survive-ability in close-quarter battle.

After the seminar concluded, I hear nothing but positive feedback about your presentation and a great deal of interest has been generated to continue training.

We will pursue the possibility of having you return for additional sessions.

I will attempt to organize a cell of serious fighters to train regularly with William Parker here in San Antonio.

Again, thank you for sharing your masterful art with our Marines.


Robert T. Purtell


Medical Dept Head

State University of Plovdiv
24, Tsar Assen St., 4000 Plovdiv, BULGARIA


Professor Vesselin Margaritov is a consultant to the Bulgarian national team in wrestling and karate, an expert in the psycho-physical preparation of sportsmen.

He had made over 50 researches in this field, published 7 monographs and a textbook in Physical Education and Sports.

He pursued his doctorate with the thesis "Psycho-physical preparation for people practising Martial Arts". He is a professor at the Plovdiv University, teaching Physical Education and sports, head of department "Theory and Methods of Physical Education", and Dean of the Physical Education Faculty where hundreds of students study.

I truly believe that with his visit to the EWTO-Kampfkunst-Akademie Schloss Langenzell Prof. Margaritov will bring about the enrichment of the theorie and methods of psycho-physical preperation, concerning the training of young people in Martial Arts.

I hope he would explore further the experiences we feel will enhance the development of Martial Arts in Bulgaria.

This is a chance for Prof. Margaritov to share ideas, to make scientific investigations, to emphasise and support excellence in teaching, and to publish a methodical manual regarding the studying of Martial Arts together with Prof. K. Kernspecht.

Thus with his visit he would be able to contribute to the establishment of a permanent mutual integration in the field of Martial Arts between the Plovdiv University and the EWTO-Kampfkunst-Akademie Schloss Langenzell.


Doz. Dr. O. Saparev

Sumo and WT

Experiences with Sumo - as a WingTsun student

In 1997 an open invitation was given in one of the Dutch martial arts magazines to people willing to try Sumo. Sumo is slowly growing in Holland and is practiced by a small group of men and women. Stephen Gadd is the head coach and wrestles himself. A fighting coach if you will.

After talking it over with my wife I decided to give it a try. Why? Because I love the sport, it is that simple. Also I have a background in judo-competition. Before I started WingTsun training I trained Puklan with Rene Cornelissen, Indonesian self defense fighting.

Sumo always had my interest for its explosive display of power, grace and technique. Other adjectives as gross, hippomatic, unbelievable etc. are in minority after watching several "basho"-tournaments. It is a pure sport, toppling the opponent or getting him out of the ring is the objective. No ground work.

Of course these guys are the professionals. What I am writing about are the amateurs. But what amateurs! We are talking about big and powerful Powerlifters, heavy weight ex-judokas and one small 105kg- WingTsun student. That's me.

During my tryout Stephen Gadd and Steven Pateman appraised what was shown to them. Steve Pateman co-trainer, United Kingdom, won 3rd place in the 1996 World Championships. I was allowed into their select group. As a middleweight I filled a spot of the former Dutch champion - he was unfortunately unable to compete last year.

So this took me almost immediately to the European Championships in Riesa, Germany. A traditional clay dohyo was built in a big sporthall. The competition was fierce and at 188 cm and 105 kg I felt dwarfish compared to the other guys.

Our women did great and won silver and bronze. For the men it was a good experience but we did not get close enough to the winners. Shortly after that the World Championships in Tokyo were visited with the same results.

When I came back I told Sifu Frank Schäfer about the adventurous sidestep as I certainly needed help to be able to compete succesfully in this full-contact sport. Sifu and Lady-Sifu Schäfer always impressed me with their effortless movements and techniques.

Sometimes I feel so dense compared to these self-defense masters. As (now) 4th grade student there is a lot to learn!

We are trained well by our coach in Sumo techniques but as a middleweight I do need a "little" extra. Especially as I would like to compete in the Open Class, no weight limits.

When self-defense meets a sport as Sumo, adaptions have to be made which decrease the effectiveness of the self-defense system. There is the problem of "translation".
Knees, elbows and closed fists are not allowed, neither licks to the abdomen or bone breaking pressure. But even then, there is definitely enough WT 'left' to make use of.

In Sumo there are 70 formal techniques - kimarite. Thrusts and throws, power and leverage are the mainstay of the Sumo techniques. How to use WingTsun in this? That is the big puzzle.

Luckily Sifu Frank Schäfer accepted the challenge of working with low grade material within the confines of Sumo.
It is unbelievable, how my Si-Fu is able to absorb my attacking power -also within the Sumo exercises- and use it against me.
It seems to be impossible to get any grip on him - even if he stays 'passive', without seriously attacking back!

Now, half a year later, I am really feeling and seeing the benefits. That is pretty quick. Of course I am only starting. There will be no overnight success, just a lot of WT training.
Sumo is tough. From 'tachi-ai', the starting position, a bout will last about 10 to 12 seconds.

At the tachi-ai the opponents face each other from a crouching position. The fists have to touch the ground before you can start. A good tachi-ai gives an impact of about 500 to 800 kg's. Now stay soft!
The belt, the mawashi, gives excellent grip- and leverage opportunities. If you allow an ex-European judo competitor grip you, you will understand why you should 'never wrestle a wrestler'. 'Das Aha-Erlebnis!'

I practice the Siu-Nim-Tao and Chum-Kiu more diligently as there are many subtle and effective techniques "hidden" in the WT-forms. For instance in the 4th part Siu-Nim-Tao, frontal Gum-Sao is very usable in Sumo against mawashi grippers.

What makes some of the translations so difficult at my present level is the confines of the ring and the dynamic drives of the opponent to get you out of the ring.

There is one Dutch powerlifter who has a devastating tachi-ai. Very fast and with 130 kg of muscles behind it, powerful. Starting positions are 70 cm from each other. When I cannot get out of the way, this guy pushes me so fast to the edge of the ring that my feet start smoking.

But now I am able to stop at the edge of the ring by taking up the force for a short moment, guiding it to the ground. Then I can attempt to use his second attack to guide him past myself out of the ring.

Timing is essential. So be flexible, flow the other guy’s force to the ground and FEEL when his second push is coming. This is really WT. Only in that movement can you pick him up and guide him. I am getting better at that. Chi-Sao is of course the base training for that.

Compared to half year ago I spend less energy on futile power. Therefore I can train better and with less injuries. Of course when a 150-kg guy lets himself fall, elbow first, on your ribs you get bruised. Pain is a powerful teacher. You do not allow that to happen again. I have also learnt with WT to use my own power more effective, sometimes my Sumo-trainingspartners have complaints about that I now rush in to 'hard'.

Sumo’s 'tsuppari' or "palmslaps" are of course a prime WT-chainfist/palm lookalike. I find them hard to use from tachi-ai though. This depends on the other guy as well. Someone with a slow and/or "standing up" tachi-ai is a canidate for throat rings, Nodowa, and palmslaps to the face. If he launches from a 45-degree angle it is near impossible. Then you just want to make contact and turn out of the way. Working from outside his powerline. WT again.

An early active!-turn is the basis for defeat. Let the other guy turn you. That is easy. Now a 150-kg monster barrels towards you at his best 4-meter sprint speed! Then it gets a little harder. But not impossible.

All in all I am very happy that I train WingTsun with Sifu and Simo Schäfer. It is going to give me the "body-smartness" I might need in real live and do need in the sumo ring. As for this year proof has to be given by competition. I am confident that I will be able to do well thanks to WT.

Sumotorily yours, a WingTsun student, Bas Clasener.

NOTE: On Sunday, 17-05-1998, my To-Dai Bas Clasener took part of the Dutch open Sumo-championship.
In his weight-class he was able to get the first place, and in the 'open class' (no weight-limit) he got the third place! He could even have accomplished more in the 'open class', but he decided to 'slow down' a bit, not risking unnecessary injuries (he had to fight already 14 times to achieve these results and the next Sumo-championships are already planned).
Unfortunately we could not join this event personally, because we were giving on this day a WT-seminar in Enschede. BTW: You can also find an article with photo's about him in the German martial art-magazine Budo-Karate 6/98 as well than in the Kampfkunst International 10/99 resp. WTinternational 13 (available in 38 countries and 5 languages). On Sunday, 25-04-1999, SeBAStiaan Clasener won the second time the Dutch Sumochampion title in the -115kg class.
After Bas kept his title for the third time in 2000, he decided to stop his active carrier (also due the injury risk while being a pilot) to concentrate on coaching the Dutch Sumo team. Also for me that martial art side-step was a value experience, not only in Sumo traditions but in 'forcing concepts'.

This came over the Wing Chun mailing list in July '95. It has to do with a Gracie Ju-Jitsu stylist (they're the ones you hear about 'everywhere' these days for challenge fights and the UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship) and a Wing Tsun (Leung Ting's version of Yip Man Wing Chun) guy getting together for a friendly exchange.

Despite the ever-continuing bickering between the GJJ and WT camps on the Net, it's nice to know that learning and mutual respect can still be found in the martial arts community.

This past Monday, 3 July 1995, Michael Hartman and I got together to see what an average student in GJJ had to offer to an average student in WT, and vice versa. Mike has been studying GJJ for about as long as I have been studying WT. So no Superfight, no 20 years experience, and no challenges. And for me, at least, it turned out to be educational and interesting. I learned more about GJJ and found it to be one of the most effective, interesting, and well-thought out arts I've seen in my years in the martial arts (WT is the other one). I walked with respect for the art and respect for my old net.friend and new personal friend Mike Hartman.

My general impression of GJJ is that it is effective and fast. Much faster than I expected. For instance, on the shoot, if the partner misses the one shot that is possible as the GJJ student comes in, then it is pretty much game over.

Mike demonstrated that the positioning and reflexes of the GJJ person eliminate most counters that can be thrown after that. Mike demonstrated that the positioning and reflexes of the GJJ person eliminate most counters that can be thrown after that.

As many have suspected, GJJ and WT have a lot in common. GJJ develops contact reflexes as well - immediate responses to the partner's movements. Once GJJ has control of the body, any counters by the partner trigger smooth transitions to other techniques. GJJ also follows the same principle as WT in attacking the attacker and not the attack. This is one of the things that makes both arts so effective. There is also a high degree of attention to detail. Mike could explain the rational for every movement, and also why one wouldn't want to do certain things that would seem natural counters to GJJ techniques. Another neat feature that is analogous to WT is that there is a lot of footwork and other leg work in GJJ. Many people miss what going on in the lower body. A couple of the techniques in GJJ are also similar to WT, only the end result is different.

The differences tend to follow from the different objectives each art has. The contact reflexes of GJJ are developed in the body as a whole which functions as a single unit. In WT contact reflexes are developed in the body in units - each arm and each leg - and each unit must be able to function independently.GJJ range is body contact range - Mike showed me how the GJJ student would pretty much glue himself (his entire body) to the partner's body. Attempts to "unglue" the GJJ student is what triggers the GJJ reflexes.

The things that I liked best: I though the shoot was neat. It was fast. The transitions used in GJJ are fluid and use the force generated by the partner. Mike showed me some GJJ mount and guard escapes and those were great, as well.

Mike was pretty darn competent and was able to convey the basic concepts of GJJ well. Overall, I had a great time, and look forward to working out with Mike again!

As every r.m.a. reader well knows, a feud has developed between both the WT and the GJJ camps as of late. It was in the heat of this debate that Michael Peter and I began our correspondence. It was at first somewhat unfriendly, but we slowly, but surely, began to develop a respect for each other's opinion regarding our respective styles.

After months of our ever-growing friendly e-mail exchanges, I informed Mike that I would be in San Antonio in early July for my sister's wedding. Mike was kind enough to make the trip from Austin to meet with me, and we finally got to meet with one another to "show our stuff" this past Monday, July 3.

We began, with what I now look upon as a rather humorous introduction to the principle of efficiency of WT, with the following situation. He grabbed my wrist and asked what I would do if someone did this to me on the street. I responded by turning my wrist into his thumb and bringing my hand over his wrist to apply a wrist lock (a standard move).

Mike then asked me to do the same to him, and when I did he delivered a quick left to my face. In retrospect this seems an obvious thing to do, but it took my very much by surprise; one of many I would experience this day.

He then went on to show me the WT stance and some of the basic principles involved in WT. What struck me about WT was the emphasis on sensitivity: the development of the ability to feel your opponent's movements and react accordingly. Development of the "contact reflexes" is rather similar to what we practice in GJJ. We often try to "feel" what our opponent is doing, or sense shifts in body weight to utilize for our advantage.

Another facet of WT that intrigued me was the applicability of its principles to "groundfighting". I must concede when the WT camp said they knew how to "groundfight" and not "grapple" I was a bit perplexed and somewhat sceptical.

From what I learned from more traditional martial arts, movements of the hip are essential for the development of power. If I have a guy in my guard, or even better if I have mounted him, I can control him so that it is hard for him to hit me, but easy for me to hit him.

The way Mike punches, however, does not rely on the hips. Instead, the WT artist develops power from the movement of the elbow from the side of the body to the centre of the body, and then straightening the elbow out.

I was very surprised, and very upset, to see that Mike could hit me rather easily even when I had him in my guard: a position I am usually quite comfortable fighting from.

In short, I was very impressed with the efficiency of the WT style. The only truly contradictory principles I found between WT and GJJ was that in WT tends to emphasize throwing everything at an opponent once contact is made, whereas GJJ tends to try to establish position before trying to attack.

It is my, and I'm sure Mike's as well, hope that the two camps (WC included!) can try to exchange a few more ideas and a bit less heated rhetoric.

If any GJJ artist out there every get the opportunity to work out with a WT man, I highly recommend it. It certainly helped me to see that I am still very vulnerable in certain positions, given the present state of my knowledge/ability, in which I previously felt very safe and comfortable.

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