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ralph haenel, hänelwingtsun, wing tsun kung fu instructor, author, publisher, self-defense expert Sifu Ralph Haenel, learning and teaching Wing Tsun Kung Fu since 1984
Changing lives, one punch at a time.
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Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
The first 2009 Wing Tsun Seminar in Calgary - by Tony Leung

2009 Wing Tsun Kung Fu seminar in Calgary with Sifu Ralph Haenel, Sifu German Ferrer and as guest Sifu Tony TamFrom May 28 to May 30, Edmond, Philip and I accompanied Sifu Ralph Haenel to visit our brothers and sisters of Calgary Wing Tsun, the school of Sifu German Ferrer.  This trip was my first experience of visiting a fellow Wing Tsun School.  Philip almost could not make this trip as he injured his right knee a week before our departure while playing ice hockey.  It must be mentioned that Philip incurred his injury while scoring a goal for his hockey team.  True to his Wing Tsun warrior spirit Philip ignored the pain of his injury and showed up for the flight as scheduled (a thank you to Gordon Lee, who is Philip’s younger brother for driving the three of us to the airport).

On Thursday May 28, the three of us boarded an 11:30 am late morning Westjet flight to Calgary.  The flight was about an hour long and it was very smooth without any turbulence.  Sifu Ralph had already flown to Calgary earlier in the day and so we were going to meet up with him at the Calgary school later that evening.   Our flight arrived at Calgary airport around 1:30 pm in the afternoon.  Our first order of business on arrival was to rent a car and check into our hotel.   We booked a hotel very close to the airport; however, I don’t think we would have found our hotel very quickly without the aid of a portable GPS device that Edmond had brought along.  The GPS was very useful, but not infallible.  We still got sort of “lost” while following the GPS because the hotel was hidden behind a taller building and the device itself does not seem to adjust quickly enough to our driving patterns.  If I had been driving under Vancouver traffic conditions, it would have been more difficult as I found Calgary drivers to be less aggressive and more courteous than our drivers back home.  So, it was rather easy to make lane changes.   Calgary drivers really do seem to follow the posted speed limits no matter which part of town.   After we checked into the Calgary Super 8 Airport Hotel, we headed over to Chili’s restaurant for a late lunch, followed by a short trip to the local Real Canadian Superstore for bottled water, fruit and snack bars.  We met up with Sifu Ralph and the members of the Calgary school around 7 pm at the Trail Squash and Racquetball Center which was a short 10 minutes drive away from the hotel.  The ball courts were of a older design, unlike the current ones with the glass walls and doors.  As I never played those sports before, I did not know what to make of the small doors leading to each court.  Each door was just over 4 feet high. So, anyone with second thoughts wasn’t going to be able to easily bale out of the room.  (Philip standing next to the door of the torture chamber)Philip Lee standing next to door of the torture chamber

Plus the fact that we were the very first arrivals, the facility was very quiet and the high ceilings of each court produced a lot of echoes from our foot steps.   The words “Torture Chamber” flashed through our minds when we walked in.  Thursday night was the Calgary school’s regular evening class.  One by one, the Calgary students arrived after us.   The first person we met was Lloyd Skelly from Edmonton.   Lloyd was a former member of our own Vancouver school from way back in the days when Sifu Ralph was teaching in a Burnaby Church.  I think the only person from our current student roster who would remember Lloyd Skelly is our own Dai Sihing Chris Chinfen.   After the class ended at 9 pm, we met with some of the students at Nixx’s pub down the road from the Squash Court for beer and food before we retired for the night.

On Friday morning, the three of us woke up at 8am and had breakfast at A & W’s.   Yes.  A nice hearty greasy breakfast for we had expected to be a very long day.  We drove to German’s house on the other side of town and arrived about 10:15 in the morning.  We chatted with German while we waited for Sifu Ralph to finish his private lesson with Aura Pon, who is one of the Calgary students. About an hour later, we commenced lessons on the biu-tze form applications in German’s back yard.

I think it was shortly after 1 pm in the afternoon that lessons ended and we all just lounged under the shade in German’s back yard and observed the birds, the “foxes” and the maybe the odd “cougar” that flew and ran past the little trail at the back of German’s house.  Philip wanted to go chase the foxes but his leg was not fully healed yet and Edmond did not look like was in any shape to chase them as he took over the role of stunt man from Philip.  Poor Edmond took quite a few of Sifu’s fak sau’s in the backyard.  Yes. This was all captured on film by the way by me, the camera man / driver.

The five of us had lunch at the Vietnamese Village Restaurant.  The previous restaurant at the site must have previously been “the Italian Village” at one time in the past. You’d know what I mean if you saw the remnants of the previous décor.

After the late lunch, Philip, Edmond and I headed straight to the Trail Squash and Racquetball Center to just chill out before the beginning of the first part of the main event.   Friday was a very hot day.  It did not help that Calgary’s climate was particularly much drier than Vancouver’s.   I remember just drinking a lot of water while we waited for the others to arrive.    The main event started at 5 pm.  Philip, Edmond, German and I continued on our exercises with the biu-tze forms applications while the Calgary students were taught the parts from the Blitz Defense program by Sifu Ralph.

After a tough workout Evan is trying to manage his 'heavy' water bottle.Sifu Ralph put the Calgary students to quite a work out.  A true testament to intensity of the work out was difficulty that Evan Kwong experienced from trying to hold a water bottle with two hands to drink from.  Evan’s hands shook so badly that you’d wonder if he would drop the bottle (that was also captured on film by the way). I should mention that there was a twenty three minute intermission where Tony Tam of the Pan Nam Wing Chun style gave us a brief lecture and demonstration.  German had invited Tony Tam to the seminar.  Not only was it a treat to personally witness a different Wing Chun style but it was pretty amazing to watch an old guy in his late seventies move so smoothly. You can see that Tony had structure behind his moves.  The evening ended at 9 pm. After four hours, we were pretty exhausted.    The three of us skipped the pub and headed straight back to our hotel to clean up and have dinner at Chili’s as we expected Saturday’s seminar to be just as grueling.

The last day of the seminar began at 11 am on Saturday.   Of course, prior to that the three of us loaded up on coffee and a greasy Denny’s breakfast.   The Vancouver students did not have an opportunity to work with the Calgary students, but we could easily see and hear them at the other end of the squash court.  We could see the smile of “love” that Sifu always points out when everyone does the group chain punches for 20 minutes.   Of course, we weren’t slacking off at our end either.  I think Edmond put it best, “ I don’t think I ‘ve been wacked as often as in regular class”.   So, “yes, Calgary colleagues…….we felt your pain, just as much if not more”.   Seriously, I got the impression that the Calgary school is a very enthusiastic group. They are a good group of people. I found their enthusiasm inspiring.    The seminar ended at 3pm.   We all met later that evening in Chinatown at the Regency Palace Seafood Restaurant and Lounge for a $20 all you can eat buffet.  At the restaurant we met Simo Wanda (German’s wife).  Oh yes… Brian, we were “interviewed” by Simo Wanda as well and she was asking why you were missing. So you are going to have to come along next time to explain your absence.   Near the end of the meal, Sifu Ralph presented all the participants with certificates for their participation in this seminar.  A wonderful surprise for us three Vancouver WT guys was the presentation of two cloth patches and an engraved metal badge adorned with Wing Tsun symbols and wording by Sifu German.  As Sifu said, this now makes us “Full patch members”, I guess.  Thanks again German for the patches.

I really enjoyed my first outside Wing Tsun seminar.   If the opportunity came along, I would do it again.  For others who are contemplating in going to the next Calgary outing, the overall costs for the airfare, hotel stay, food, seminar fee, car rental and drinks/snacks was just under $700 per person.  Sure, Las Vegas maybe cheaper, but where would you get the opportunity to go on a trip and still partake in your favorite hobby?  But on the next trip, I think we’ll probably spend a little more on a better hotel because the one we stayed in had a really noise air conditioner.   Maybe on the next trip we’ll try to visit the dinosaur museum in Drumheller too (a 2-3 hour drive away from Calgary).

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. Well, here are a series of photos of one of our team members that best illustrated the progression of the events.

1. Happy Edmond. Happy Edmond

2. Edmond all ready to go in fighting form. Edmond all ready to go in fighting form

3. Edmond after taking a few fak sau’s to the neck. Edmond after taking a few fak sau’s to the neck

4. Edmond after even more fak sau’s to the neck and with possible double vision. Edmond after even more fak sau’s to the neck and with possible double vision

5. After group class, instructor class & 2-day seminar; Edmond passed out on the airplane. Edmond passed out on the airplane

Posted by ralph haenel at 5:39 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 June 2009 4:14 PM PDT
Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Tan-Sau of death and other secret techniques of Wing Tsun Kung Fu - part 1 of 2
The 10-hour Chi-Sau marathon, thoughts on a Wing Tsun training method

Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, 10-hour Chi-Sau marathon with Evan, Edmond, Sia, Philip, Atta, Ciprian, Tony, Glenn, Vasile and EricThe main headline is obviously an exaggeration, but its purpose will become apparent in this text. Sorry, no secret death blows here. The following thoughts are primarily for my students, yet I have added a few necessary explanations for other readers, who are not familiar with the topic.

Just last week, I had the pleasure to train on a Saturday with ten members of our  Wing Tsun school for ten hours straight. Ten hours back to back with almost each practitioner experiencing sweat dripping into their eyes, shaking arms, burning shoulders, failing muscles, more or less moaning and groaning, regardless of the skill level. Summarizing it all, a very gratifying workout for every student, as they felt afterwards that they truly gave everything. A 10-hour Chi-Sau marathon!

The term Chi-Sau is often translated as “sticky hands” or “sticky arms”. I prefer the expression ‘clinging arms’.
To onlookers, the arms of two Wing Tsun trainees appear to be glued together throughout a series of attacks and defenses, counter attacks and counter defenses. Chi-Sau is a special training method unique to Wing Tsun Kung Fu. Although there are a few similarities, it should not be mistaken with push-hands (or pushing-hands) exercises in Tai Chi or seemingly similar methods such as flow drills in other martial arts as Jiu-Jitsu or several Filipino weapons styles.

I have to briefly mention, that some mixed martial arts have developed the partial use of Wing Tsun methods. One example is a German karate master, a friend of my Sifu, who has implemented Wing Tsun ideas, including elements of Chi-Sau into his Karate repertoire.

Furthermore I want to say that I am well aware of the fact, that the training method of Chi-Sau (Chi-Sao) has diverse meanings as to its value and purpose in different  Wing Chun, Ving Tsun and even in the various Wing Tsun (WT) styles.
I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Come on, if there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of WT practitioners out there, there’s bound to be a multitude of interpretations. As I often say, it’s a martial ART! So, allow each other different opinions!

For readers not familiar with the scene, there is more politics in martial arts than in politics. One example only: Two small Wing Chun organizations, both originating from the same student of the late Grandmaster Yip Man.

The first Wing Chun organization claims that only their Chi-Sau is the right one, because it looks now the same as it was practised 10, 15 years ago. Whatever that means! Two years ago, I met a well-known leading representative of the second Wing Chun organization, originating from the same Yip Man student, who doesn’t think much of the first mentioned organization of the same style. Much to my surprise, especially since both claim: “No politics, just plain good old Wing Chun.” Latest here we should remember that different opinions & views are OK!

Over the years, one learns that the “wise und understanding master” image as portrayed in many movies is just a utopian idea. Even martial arts masters are just people!

The question for us is now. Why does ‘our’ Wing Tsun Chi-Sau look, feel, train different ...
1. than most other ‘wing chun’ Chi-Sau methods and
2. and differs even from different Wing Tsun variations.

Chi-Sau is often explained as an exercise to develop reflex-like responses. It is said that one learns to feel on contact the direction, speed and power of an attack. Where your eyes could be tricked, invoking wrong responses, your arms cannot be. Without chasing the arms of the other person, our arms thrust forward, shield us and attack the attacker at the same time.

Here right away is an important point! The attacker most likely doesn’t know Chi-Sau, doesn’t know what you are doing next, doesn’t care. This means that your responses, arising as a result of your Chi-Sau training, must work against a fast and strong (stiff, tense) opponent. Stiff and tense compared to your cooperative training partner.

In Wing Tsun we have a way of training Chi-Sau in sections. Similar to basic techniques of the Wing Tsun system being catalogued in forms, so does each Chi-Sau section ‘catalogue’ a specific set of attacks and defenses, followed by counter attacks and counter defenses. You could also explain a Chi-Sau section as a two-man form, which increasingly leads to spontaneous responses.
Specific Chi-Sau sections cover the usage of specific techniques from the Wing Tsun forms. Every section also stands for one particular scenario that happens more frequently when two human beings fight.

Why are there Chi-Sau sections in Wing Tsun and not in most  Wing Chun, Ving Tsun styles? Wing Tsun (WT) became very popular in the early 90’s in Europe, especially in Germany. It’s hard to get exact numbers, but at one point there were some one hundred to two hundred thousand practitioners. Teaching much larger schools requires new thinking, new training methods. That’s the reason. As forms allow “portioned” teaching, so do Chi-Sau sections. There are not that many, but some top WT schools boasted between 2,000 to 5,000 students. The feedback of hundreds, if not thousands of instructors supports the ability of teaching programs to stay connected to the reality of self-defense.

Seven Chi-Sau sections cover in Wing Tsun the majority of applications of the first and second form (Siu-Nim-Tau and Cham-Kiu). Due to size, experience, talent and many other factors, not everyone may need in the end all components that have been trained. The instructor’s job is to give you ALL building blocks (sections). Once you are experienced enough, you can choose, mould Wing Tsun to fit your personality.

Even though many favour the idea of sensitivity training, and focus solely on the development of reflexes, I sometimes tell my students to forget about that.


Yes, you heard right. What is the reason behind that? OK, imagine the following scenario. You are being attacked, respond swiftly, control the attacker, punch him, he even bleeds, you give him a couple of Fak-Saus to the necks, he appears to almost fall over. ... Slowly is he standing up, wiping the blood off his face, and this evil grin begins to form. All you will remember is him screaming and starting to rip off your head.
Scenario too gruelling? Just think about. What if you hit repeatedly and nothing happens? Yes, this is a horror scenario. Punching is one thing, punching with knockout power is something entirely different.

Now you may understand the first headline of this article: “The Tan-Sau of death and other secret techniques.” Nobody will at your first technique start screeching: “Oh my gosh, he knows the Tan-Sau of death!” You can’t Bong-Sau somebody to the ground. Wing Tsun is after all Kung Fu. Chinese Kung Fu = Chinese Boxing. Strategies and tactics are different. The technical execution is different. But a Western and a Eastern boxer alike must possess knock-out power.

This is one of the reasons why we train any element of Chi-Sau in four scenarios:
1. speed – slow motion, regular, fast,
2. distance – far apart, regular, close ,
3. power – barely any strength, regular, full power ("Bull" Chi-Sau),
4. training variations – supportive, 50/50, going through

That all four scenarios come in three variations is simply for explanatory reasons. You could of course train five variables of the component distance. Three variations can stand for minimum, optimum and maximum of the chosen scenario.
I understand that the description of the four scenarios might sound confusing. Hence, the article is primarily for my students, who go through these training scenarios almost every week.

My own Chi-Sau experience has changed over the years and has been heavily influenced by many different WingTsun (WT) instructors. In order to teach systematically and enable a continuous learning process I developed the ten core concepts as a blueprint for all training methods. Please see the graphic in part 2 of this article.


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Posted by ralph haenel at 2:00 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 21 May 2011 1:51 PM PDT
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Alfred's story or the 3 P.'s - Martial arts training, a way of life.
Werner Acker, Ralph Haenel, Alfred Ueck in Spring of 1986 in Rostock after WingTsun training in der Borwinstr. 35, Borwin Strasse, BorwinstrasseJust a few days ago I heard from an old student. We first got together in 1986, some 23 years ago. At the time in East Germany, martial arts schools didn't officially exist. Only state sanctioned and government organized wrestling, judo and boxing clubs, all geared towards a Olympic future.

Wochenpost Anzeige Ralph Haenel, 2500 Rostock, Borwinstr. 35, Borwin Strasse, Borwinstrasse Internet? YouTube? DVD's? Videos? Literature? Nothing! Starting at some point in the early 80's, I had the idea to publish little wanted ads in newspapers, initially searching for books about Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. Mostly older people wrote me about books and booklets they had found in the attic, which had survived world war 2. Over time the ads also worked as a means to find students. And Alfred from Neustadt-Glewe was one of the early Wing Tsun students.

Above you can see two of the newspaper ads out of East-German newspapers (Wochenpost) from 1986. 
What did one do back then, almost no one having a phone at home. Little story on the side: In 1980 I applied for a phone installation and still remember how in 1988 I got a postcard that currently my order cannot yet be fulfilled. So, no home phone, of course no cell phone, no e-mail or even fax. Now what? Alfred got in his old car, or did he even come by train? I have to ask. He drove from his town at least 1 to 2 hours to my place. Sometimes I had to work longer and wasn't home yet. Unsuccessful, he drove home again, another two hours ... and came back the next week. This was persistence. To do this for a couple of years, this is perseverance. To drive for hours, train for a couple of hours, and drive back home for hours, all that working full time, this was patience. The three P's!
And today I hear at times from prospective students that it is too far to drive from North Vancouver across the bridge into Vancouver.
How did we train? Again, books and videos or posters didn't exist. Whatever I had learned during the annual one or two meetings with instructors from the West, I started teaching the very next day. If you don't know, if and when you will see your instructor again due to political circumstances, if you have no way of receiving information or correction, other than training yourself, you develop a very different attitude. You learn to analyze your own training deep into the tiniest details.
We trained footwork for hours until the soles of our shoes had holes. We did chain punches on the heavy bag until the skin opened up, you heard the blood squishing between your fingers. Made for great conversation while meeting people in the city. They took one look at your face, clean and OK and then at your knuckles, and took at least one step back while talking to you.
Werner Acker, Ralph Haenel, Alfred Ueck in Spring of 1994 after WingTsun seminar I remember training sessions with Alfred. One day he "didn't want to leave". He sat outside the apartment on the stairs, but only because his legs were shaking that much, that he couldn't even take seven, eight stairs down to the house door. Another time he was so brave to order soup in a restaurant, after a tough training. After many unsuccessful tries he put the spoon down. The waitress came and asked if he doesn't like the soup. Oh, he was hungry alright. I never forget the look of the waitress after he told her that he temporarily could not master the spoon. I don't want to know what she thought of us.
Alfred probably still remembers my wardrobe?! In Germany you don't have wall closets for your clothes. I had one of those big old wooden wardrobes with big doors. It was hidden behind a curtain which hung all the way from the ceiling to the floor. Almost like an initiation, every new student got the inch-punch, flew back into the wardrobe, with a giant loud crash pushing the doors inside and often the curtain being ripped off the ceiling and burying the happy new Wing Tsun member on the floor in the wardrobe. Just picture that for a moment. Ah, good old times!
After changes in my life, living in Switzerland, West Germany and West Berlin, I again connected with Alfred. We trained for a couple of years, I did seminars in his school until I moved to Canada.
Alfred never gave up, although it took him ten solid years to advance from 12th student grade to his first instructor level.
Persistence. Perseverance. Patience.
This is how martial arts can shape your life, become a way of living.

P.S.: The two photos are exactly eight years apart. The black & white photo taken in the spring of 1986, still behind the "Iron Curtain". The second one in the spring of 1994 after a WingTsun seminar.
from left to right: Werner Acker, Ralph Haenel, Alfred Ueck

Posted by ralph haenel at 5:44 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 23 August 2010 5:24 PM PDT
Sunday, 3 May 2009
A Facebook story that?s hard to believe ...

one of the six photos from the Bonus Chi-Sau Class at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver At the end of March after a bonus class for the trainer team of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver I transferred all photos taken during the class from the memory stick of my wife’s camera (which I had used instead of mine) to the computer and uploaded the better shots to FaceBook. I deleted most of the photos, but for some reason left six photos from our Chi-Sau bonus class on the memory stick.

Well, we kept taking family pictures. Easter Monday came. The family went out for a trip to Iona beach near the Vancouver airport, took the camera and took many good shots.

I planned an extra evening class for all members of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.
The evening came, we searched all backpacks, the car, the kids’ stuff, the entire house. The camera was gone. Days went by. We checked craigslist. Nothing! It looked like we were going to have to come to terms with the fact that the camera was gone, more importantly hundreds of family photos and also personal videoclips the kids had recorded for Grandma’s birthday. This was the most upsetting part.

About two weeks had gone by since Easter Monday. A Facebook message is waiting for me. Hmm, I don’t know the person. So, he writes: “A camera came flying out of a car that was in front of me as I was driving home during Easter Monday. ... there were also some Wing Tsun photos on there and they are the exact same pictures as the last 6 photos that are in your "2009 Chi-Sau bonus classes" photo album on your Facebook. ... I am wondering if you can assist me in identifying the driver so that I may return the camera.”

Yes, we have to admit, we have no idea how the camera could be flying out of the car window. This might forever remain a mystery.
But, what are the odds, someone in traffic at a busy intersection notices a camera flying out of a car?
What are the odds that the person actually stops and picks up that camera?
What are the odds, that that person is interested in Kung Fu and has seen my photo albums on Facebook?
Why did I leave the six photos of the last Bonus Chi-Sau class on the memory stick and not delete them as I did with all the other pictures?
Few only would make an effort now to track down the person, whom the camera might belong to.
Furthermore, I saw that the finder is on Facebook connected with one of my wife’s co-workers, another lifeguard. What are the odds?

Everybody, who I have told the story, commented more less, that if they would read this kind of story in a book, they would respond” Yeah right, this doesn’t happen in real life!”

Not being “into it” as I am, my wife always said: “Facebook sucks.”  It doesn’t anymore. (she never understood how people could spend so much time telling other people every little thing during their day, she really doesn’t want to know when anyone else needs to go to the bathroom or if they have decided to brush their teeth for the 10th time).

A big Thanks to the honest and helpful finder of our camera. Maybe this will be an inspiration to others.

Posted by ralph haenel at 9:38 PM PDT
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Is experience overrated? What does a Wing Tsun trainer do?

German Ferrer from Wing Tsun Calgary and Brian Yam from Wing Tsun Vancouver working on details of the WingTsun wooden dummy formI must admit, that I borrowed the headline "Is Experience Overrated?" from Mike Mahler's latest online magazine issue of "Aggressive Strength". One of the many interesting resources you can find via Twitter! At one point he writes: "You might think it impossible to not get better at something after accumulating years of experience, yet proof of the opposite is abundant."
Let's look at the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver. Everyone is living busy lives, often struggling to make the right choices of dividing time between family, the job or business, other hobbies and activities, and going to group classes as well as taking private lessons. Now between classes, lessons and attending seminars, you could think enough is enough, right?!
But many find it excitingly challenging, even or especially after many years of training, to explore the art within the martial ART of Wing Tsun Kung Fu. A great chemistry within a group, having lots of fun sweating and training hard, can produce its own driving force. Some members of our trainer team are still very young while others see already the silver lining of the big 60 on the horizon. It's never too late or too early to find passion in your hobby.
It can be a great motivator for your life in general, to experience the exhilarating success of mastering new levels of skill. For some it's very rewarding, to discover and preserve a century old Kung Fu system, once made famous by the late Bruce Lee, and just recently "re-discovered" by many through the Yip Man movie.
So, over the past months we scheduled three bonus classes for all trainers, reviewing some of the instructor level programs. We first got together on Saturday, February 28th, followed by March 14th and March 28th.
Each instructor level (Technician Grade or TG) can be seen as the "black belts" of Wing Tsun Kung Fu. Chi-Sau sections are in the beginning kind of "two-men forms" of the tactile response exercises in Wing Tsun. These sections are designed to help cultivate reflex-like reactions. Each Chi-Sau section combines several scenarios of attacks, defenses, counter-attacks and counter-defenses. Among many other benefits the (in our opinion right) Chi-Sau training creates a sound structure, feel for the right timing, maintenance of balance while being pushed, pulled, attacked; a good coordination of food and hand work, punching power at the right opportunity and more.

Yet another effect is often overlooked. While you teach, you are not just helping others. When you have to answer questions, you may have never asked yourself, you improve your ability to explain, to generate visual examples. Each time you improve your own performance. You find better ways to articulate your teachings, thus improving your confidence. Facing a multitude of attacks you also sharpen your technical skills. How could there ever be a final experience?

Over the years you slowly become an expert, you begin to master your martial art.

"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field" - Niels Bohr

Posted by ralph haenel at 7:21 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 April 2009 7:35 PM PDT
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Kung Fu Power: Kettlebell Workshop with discount for Wing Tsun Vancouver members

WT instructor and personal trainer Steve McMinn is having an Intro to Kettlebells Workshop on Saturday, March the 14th at 1.30pm @ Fitness World Kitsilano (Vancouver), 2150 W Broadway at Arbutus - 2nd Floor.
Steve would like to extend an invitation to all members of Wing Tsun Vancouver and offer a 1.5hr workshop.
This would be a good way for those interested in Steve's recent seminar demo, to get some hands-on experience. Missed the two seminar demos? Go to our two media channels at YouTube (10 min) and Veoh (45 min).
All of the workshop info can be found on his website at
There is a limit of 12 participants to ensure enough personal instruction. If interested, contact Steve ASAP to reserve a spot.

Steve McMinn - Trainer
778 898 4649

Posted by ralph haenel at 8:20 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 11 March 2009 1:07 PM PDT
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Time for a New Year's Tradition - Have some fun!
I know, some would expect me, to now talk about how to start the new year with some serious training, or to finish on this last day of 2008 with 5.000 non-stop chain punches, so that even the last one is as strong as the first. Sure, you can do that. Knock yourself out!

But sometimes it's good, just to have some fun, to be silly. Many people in Germany, whole families, circles of friends have a new year's tradition. It's all about a old TV Show recorded in July of 1963. It's best known, also in many other European countries as Dinner for One. People have Dinner for One parties, either just watching this funny almost 18 minute long show, or even to reenact it, have a whole theme party around it. Some have been watching this show for decades, every single New Year's Eve.

You should try it out. But don't you dare, to pause it, to answer the phone. Sit back, have a good drink and simply have a good time. Feel for the butler! :-)

Dinner for One, starring British comedian Freddie Frinton is a cult classic in Germany and across various European countries, shown every New Year's Eve. Yet still remains almost completely unknown to North American audiences. A lonely upper-class Englishwoman, Miss Sophie (May Warden), hosts a dinner every New Year's Eve for her long-dead admirers: Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby and Admiral von Schneider.
Her butler, James (Freddie Frinton), makes his way around the table playing each of the guests in turn. As he does so, he drinks each guest's share of the wine, becoming more inebriated and familiar and repeatedly trips over a tiger skin on the floor.

The vital exchange is: "The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?"
"The same procedure as every year, James!"

Read more about at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinner_for_one

Happy New Year!

Watch Dinner for One or The 90th Birthday - A New Year's Tradition

Posted by ralph haenel at 11:02 AM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 31 December 2008 11:38 AM PST
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Simple & Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu - 45 minute video presentation

kettlebell training for self defence and martial arts, simple and effective exercises for wing tsun kung fuDuring this year's Fall Seminar at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver in British Columbia, Steve McMinn gave two presentations under the exciting topic "Simple & Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu." The first one was held on October 8th 2008. A 45 minute long video has been posted on VeohTV. Feel free to download the videoclip even as iPod quality video. During the evening of October 20th 2008, Steve presented a condensed version. Please find the 10 minute long videoclip on YouTube.
Learn about the benefits of kettlebell training for self-defense and martial arts. Listen to the explanations and watch exercises like the kettlebell swing, floor press, Turkish getup, the snatch and the kettlebell pistols, that let you work leg-strength, one leg at a time.

Wing Tsun Kung Fu with Ralph Haenel All links at a glance:
www.kungfutheworkout.com both kettlebell videos
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTsqszpxChg 10 minute condensed kettlebell fitness video
www.veoh.com/videos/v16610392Zwk42d7K 45 minute video kettlebell training for self defence

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Posted by ralph haenel at 12:24 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 20 November 2008 12:31 PM PST
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Kung Fu for Manager - Lunch & Learn Seminar at TELUS Vancouver

The motivation, the goal for many when signing up for self-defense courses, is in the beginning about the ability to stand up for themselves, to take care of dodgy situations, to defend themselves. Over time it evolves into developing a healthy level of self-confidence. Eventually it becomes a way of living, part of striking that balance we all yearn for. To recognize, that defending yourself is not necessarily limited to an actual physical situation, can sharpen your senses for your surroundings. Problems can start with insecurity while dealing with other team mates in the office, all the way to the horrible experience of becoming the victim of office mugging.

Lunch & Learn Seminar at Telus Vancouver, with Ralph Haenel, Steve McMinn and host Bill RenyWho are you? How are you perceived by your co-workers? What approach do you take when delivering your part of a team project? How do you communicate with others?

It can be an incredible eye opener, to solve problems in simple physical self defence exercises. Learn through the application of Wing Tsun fighting principles, to realize roadblocks in interacting with others. Hey, even a fight is in the end a form of interaction.

A fight is about dealing with stress. Ever encountered stress at work? The Wing Tsun strength principles teach you how to better organize your resources. The same principles which can make or break your success in a brawl can help you stay clear of obstacles in private as well as business life. Learn how to stay sharp under stress. Identify solutions of how to respond instantly and on various levels, while being exposed to changing circumstances.

Boost your executive stamina! Contact Your Kung Fu Coach™ Ralph Haenel, listed at the LinkedIn network.

An ingenious self-defense system like Wing Tsun Kung Fu delivers helpful guidelines for:
- increased stress resistance
- awareness and interpretation of body language
- reliable fear management
- successful dealing with high-pressure physical and psychological situations.

On Wednesday, November 12th 2008, Ralph followed the invitation by Bill Reny, National Director - Marketing, Partners and Sourcing at TELUS Business Solutions. Bill is a experienced fellow martial artist and highly skilled Wing Chun instructor.

Dear Ralph

Thank you for your talk and demonstration to my team meeting on Wednesday. I was particularly impressed by how you explained the core principles of Wing Tsun and illustrated how the concepts could be used to improve interpersonal relationships at work or at home. As I looked around the room, I noticed my team members were very engaged with lots of nods and smiles. I was moved when you talked about how we go through life projecting an aura or presence that can either project confidence and security or unfortunately, attract exploitation - I see this in a business setting all the time and it really struck home. The hands on drill was a nice touch and a great change of pace for an all day business meeting. After you and Steve left, the team was energized and could not stop talking about how impressive you were and what a good sport Steve was. I think any business would be lucky to have you conduct a seminar as a team building event. It was truly unique, inspiring and a lot of fun. I hope you will be able to make the time for us again then next time we have a team meeting in Vancouver.


Bill Reny
National Director - Marketing, Partners and Sourcing
TELUS Business Solutions

A big Thanks to Bill Reny for his invitation, to all members of the TELUS management team for their enthusiastic participation and to Vancouver based personal trainer and Wing Tsun instructor Steve McMinn for once again being part of a lunch & learn seminar, making it an event which equally motivates us as well.
Thanks Gina for taking photos and videoclips!


Contact me at SifuRalphHaenel at aol.com to arrange a lunch & learn seminar for your company. Discover the extended application of ancient Kung Fu techniques in a corporate environment. Enjoy an exciting and fun workout resulting in a positive motivation for your team.

Benefit your employees! Lunch break self-defense seminars, a great motivational tool. Past clients include Futureshop, Envision Financial and many others.


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Posted by ralph haenel at 4:40 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 25 February 2013 12:34 AM PST
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Simple & Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu

Posted at www.KungFutheWorkout.com, watch above the 10 minute long condensed fitness presentation by Steve McMinn under the topic "Simple And Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu!"

Steve McMinn
www.fit4real.ca is a personal trainer located in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia. He held the kettlebell presentation at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch, est. in 1994. There are many benefits when combining kettlebells and martial arts training.

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Posted by ralph haenel at 11:11 AM PST

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