wing chun crane

Grandmaster Samuel Kwok

A Traditionalist View

An archive history I wrote on Sifu many years ago.



Master Samuel Kwok -A Traditionalists View

Tradition lies at the heart of all Chinese Kung Fu styles, understanding exactly what that tradition means and respecting not only the tradition of your own style but also the tradition of all Martial Arts is an aspect that is sadly missing from too many of today’s Martial Artists.

Master Samuel Kwok is a practitioner of Wing Chun Kung Fu, his skill in that art is of the highest, his knowledge vast. Born in 1948 Hong Kong his life has revolved around Kung Fu since his childhood. Master Kwok’ s first experience was in White Crane Kung Fu, under guidance of his Uncle Luk Chi Fu (one of the most respected Kung Fu teachers in Hong Kong) he was trained by his cousin Michael Luk and attained Instructor level.

It was when Master Kwok came to live in England that his interest was stirred and a life long fascination began in the art of Wing Chun. Over the following years Master Kwok’s Wing Chun experience grew. Being the result of five different Wing Chun Masters who had been taught by the legendary Grandmaster Yip Man, a cloud of confusion however loomed over with an appetite to search for the truth, it was difficult for Master Kwok to accept that there the progress of Master Kwok’s study of Wing Chun, as a person of natural inquisitiveness were so many differences between each of his teachers and how this must have arisen through personal interpretation.

However one of these, Lee Sing in London, one of the earliest, if not the first, practitioners of Wing Chun to settle in Europe and respected throughout the Wing Chun community is always remembered by Master Kwok with a respect that is more than just that of a past Instructor.

As Master Kwok’s experience grew so did the problem of the differences and it became impossible for him to reconcile the variations in the way, which he was taught. For Master Kwok there was only one way to resolve this problem, he must return to Hong Kong to the source of Wing Chun.

Master Kwok began training with Grandmaster Yip Chun the eldest son of the late Great Grandmaster Yip Man. Master Kwok trained diligently under Yip Chun’ s personal tuition, correcting form and learning the highest levels of Wing Chun knowledge. So began a special relationship that can exist only between a Sifu and his disciple, that traditional link that has existed for thousands of years in Chinese Kung Fu, that in the past meant more than that between Father and Son, which few in the West have come close to understanding.

Master Kwok became a respected figure in his own right in Hong Kong Kung Fu community, opening his own Wing Chun schools and invited to perform at important Kung Fu displays. Many of his students gained success in the Full Contact competitions held in Hong Kong with their notorious “no holds barred” rules. Leaving the schools in the capable hands of his senior students Master Kwok decided it was time to return to England.

In the early days of his return Master Kwok taught his Wing Chun only privately, to close friends and colleagues at work though the inevitable happened when knowledge of his ability spread there followed continual pressure to open up Schools. Since then there have been a constant stream of students from all over Britain beating a path to his door, as well as invitations to clubs worldwide, though it is only the genuine enquiries that are successful. Though a few years ago he did turn down the promised financial rewards of a trip to South Africa, because at the time he felt it would be impossible to justify personal monetary gain when there was so much repression in the Country’s ruling regime, yet the proposition was readily taken on by another, London based Wing Chun teacher.

It is a statement of Master Kwok’ s ability in Wing Chun and the openness with which he is willing to teach it, that he has as private students a 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do and a 5th Dan Karate practitioner who appreciate the excellence of Master Kwok’s hand techniques.

Master Kwok’s “Hands On” approach to teaching Wing Chun he feels is essential, as how can you get across the message to someone that their energy in their arm is slightly too much or fractionally in the wrong direction if you do not touch them, it is important to speed a student through their mistakes not to let them go around in circles to give them the right idea or path to take to learn the control of energy through Chi Sau. This was the way Master Kwok was taught by Grandmaster Yip Chun who was in turn taught exactly the same way by his father Great Grandmaster Yip Man. The fine tuning of feeling that can be developed through proper training in Chi Sau is the essence of Wing Chun fighting method, and for a student to learn this he must have the guidance of a teacher who understands this along with the ability to customize the teaching method to the individual student, as we are all different and require personal attention if we are going to develop to our full potential.

It is through this close relationship with students that Master Kwok has managed to guide many to the highest levels of Wing Chun knowledge, not just the three hand forms, wooden dummy and weapon forms, with an in depth understanding of Chi Sau in all its aspects, but Master Kwok also passes on the practical applications, not a specific defence against a specific attack, that is not the way to learn true Wing Chun fighting techniques, he teaches the students to apply their energy in the most direct effective way dependant upon how the attacker threatens your centreline and the most efficient way of overcoming the attack while striking to vulnerable, undefended points on the assailants centreline and maintaining a continuous controlled response till the attacker is no longer a threat.

This blend, of the basic knowledge from the forms, the intelligence from Chi Sau and the philosophy and psychology of fighting, is the starting point that Master Kwok gives his students, encouragement, experience and enthusiasm are the way he continues to help along the path of Wing Chun. Though in the main it is Master Kwok himself who stands as an example for all his students to follow, available to any who have the ability and dedication to achieve the highest levels of Wing Chun.

The demands made upon Master Kwok are not only in the field of teaching Wing Chun he has also starred in many Martial Arts shows not only throughout England but also across Europe, his demonstrations always hold the audience in rapt attention, his show of inch power in breaking an unsupported 1” board was described in a Hong Kong Martial Arts magazine as being superior to Bruce Lee’s, not a comparison Master Kwok would wish upon himself, not in deference to Bruce Lee whom he holds him in highest regard, but because it could never be fair comparison and Master Kwok feels that people should decide their opinions of his skill and ability upon personal observations and experience by direct contact with Master Kwok himself not on hearsay or reports by passing acquaintances. Over the years Master Kwok has produced many exceptional students, a few have travelled the world and visited when they could resident Wing Chun teachers, never to challenge but to politely request a trade of ideas and experience, especially through Chi Sau, and it is a credit to Master Kwok that from New York to Hong Kong his students have gained respect in the Wing Chun communities.

Master Kwok’s talents are not restricted to the Martial Arts apart from several trophies in sporting activities Basketball to Table Tennis, he is also an accomplished Chinese artist yet most of his spare time outside of his full time job, along with his Wing Chun teaching, is occupied in alternative medicine, healing people using acupressure, acupuncture, herbalism and chi gung exercises, curing a wide variety of patients, many who had been abandoned by Western medicine to a life of pain.

Throughout all of his martial arts career Master Kwok has always maintained a passion for Wing Chun that few can match his main aim being to pass on the true form of Wing Chun that was taught to him by his Sifu Yip Chun, not to get involved in the political infighting which has in the past been so detrimental to the image of Wing Chun practitioners as a whole. Who is the best or number one is irrelevant, who was the first student or had the most lessons does not mean much, who has the largest Association or makes the most money, these are not important. Success in Wing Chun as far as Master Kwok is concerned is more related to the quality of the students that you produce and the respectful way they continue to practise Wing Chun Kung Fu and teach it to preserve Wing Chun throughout the future, keeping it pure not polluting it with other styles which over many years would only kill the style.

Master Kwok believes that the future of Wing Chun is safe because there are enough people in the world who have made Wing Chun their life, to keep it pure and that in time all the charlatans will be found out and rejected and that the path to Wing Chun will be brightly lit for those that have it in their hearts to search for the truth.


tjwingchun family and friends
Other Articles TJWC Seminars
TJWC Holidays TJWC Youtube Videos
TJWC Family TJWC Membership
TJWC Instructors TJWC Online Lessons
Return to Index Page Site Map


wing chun cobra