Discover your Greatness!
Three years ago when I decided to found TAOWS Academy I chose a different way of doing things. I decided to pay attention to small details and to start delving into the world of Martial Arts with the professionalism and seriousness it deserves. In short, I decided to do it in a different way to most WingTsun schools and associations today. All great change must begin within oneself.
I have been practicing Wing Tsun for over 20 years. I have had the great fortune to meet and train with some of the world’s most important teachers of WingTsun. Undoubtedly, my Sifu Victor Gutierrez was the person who had the greatest influence on my training, my views on WingTsun and on martial arts in general. However, I have received great influence from others who have changed my way of understanding Martial Arts. When my teacher decided to stop teaching WingTsun to focus on his personal evolution and the system’s application in the MMA, I decided to continue/keep walking on the path of this centenary ART, which has helped me develop both my personal and professional live. I received many offers from different international associations to become the person in charge of these schools in Spain. Some of them were very interesting and tempting for the greatness of the associations and the big names of their leaders. My job as a director of the OEWT Levante (southeast of Spain) for fifteen years had not gone unnoticed by many. During that time, I had the honour to train over a thousand students and the merit of being the instructor who trained the greatest number of technical degrees (black belts) in Spain. I must also mention that some of these black belts are currently mentors and directors of some important WingTsun associations worldwide. This gives me great satisfaction.
However, at that time I was determined to promote a major change in the way of training and teaching Wing Tsun. Therefore, I could not have a “boss” who would dictate me the lines to follow.
I really wanted to change everything that I did not like and that, in my opinion, was not good for the ART.
Since the creation of TAOWS Academy (The Art Of War Society) many important changes have been implemented in every aspect of the practice, study and teaching in WingTsun and the other martial art systems studied in our association. In these three years we have worked very hard to make great achievements, what makes us feel very proud.
The dialectical discussion between the traditional and modern practitioners of this art is very common. From the first day I decided to stay away from this empty debate in which nobody will ever agree. For me, staying in the middle point means implementing the provisions of the TAO.
I love the old and the traditional but equally, I want the art to be alive, dynamic, useful, flexible, etc… This is why we have no other option than to try and take the best of each of these trends.
A few days ago I read in a famous international Wing Tsun publication an article from a renowned teacher who mocked those who try to “reinvent the wheel”. It is not about that, but you may agree with me that the wheel which was invented centuries before Christ made of wood and some rudimentary metals would not be useful if we wanted to go from coast to coast in the United States with any vehicle … think carefully about it please …
The second change in the way of teaching WingTsun was a complete brake up with the “pseudo-commercial” policy that major brands of WingTsun in Europe use nowadays. I use this term literally since most of those brands sometimes treat the students as such and require from them a total and absolute loyalty to the teacher / guru. Other times, however, they are only interested in their monthly fee or their financial commitment.
I am professionally devoted to teaching martial arts and I have no choice but to charge for my classes and seminars (I do this for a living) but I firmly believe that there is another way of doing things. A way in which practicing an ANCIENT ART is the most important thing. It is and it should be above everything. And practical issues should never be mixed with commercial issues. In the same way, the technical improvements within the style should never be linked to the economic capacity because this, in my opinion, creates a serious problem for the art itself.
Thirdly, we would like to fight against the SECTARIANISM many WingTsun teachers promote. They prevent students from learning, sharing and exploring what other teachers propose. I have listened to no less than 100 teachers say they do the original, authentic and proper WingTsun … I could understand that but then, they usually claim that the other teachers don’t know the art at all. That they are the only ones who know the “truth”. I admit that this topic sounds laughable today, but for years it tormented me. How can this exist in the XXI century in a globalized world supposedly inhabited by free individuals? Well, sure many of my readers know what I mean.
The fourth of the major changes that TAOWS Academy proposes to all followers of Wing Tsun is the constant search for the self-defence application or combat. This sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But I must emphasize this point because, in my opinion, many branches or schools are so focused on finding the origin that they have forgotten that Wing Tsun is a system of Chinese boxing that came as a complete fighting style to defeat the enemy. Forgetting about this is the same as ignoring the nature of the system to a extent in which it becomes something completely different to the original target. It is not about being the “best fighter in the world” or having “the best style in the world”; it is about rescuing the values and the knowledge of an ancient art which, once adapted, can be turned into a serious fighting system. A system that allows us to train this ART methodically and passionately so we can try to give the best of ourselves. What are the results of the battles? This always depends on the opponent in front of you. But this way of working, which has already produced excellent results, was without a doubt the main reason to create this association.
These and other issues were discussed in a small book I wrote for the magazine Budo International by way of criticizing WingTsun, which has been very successful among the community of Wing Tsun practitioners. (“High Level”. Sifu Salvador Sanchez. Ed. Budo International)
After three years of work that have produced great achievements at an organizational level (creation of a Department in the Spanish Federation of Olympic Fights and Associated Disciplines, beginning of formal training in a European university that grants students with official credits -University of Alicante-, opening of 50 schools in Spain and some other countries, etc.) some of our schools proposed that we create a motto; a slogan that would reflect the philosophy of WingTsun Europe and TAOWS Academy. We did not order it to any marketing or communication company. Our instructors and schools were asked to brainstorm about what the practice of WingTsun made them feel in our/their academy. We soon had it: “Discover your Greatness…”
Find within YOURSELF, by means of practicing an ancestral art and the self-discovery that Martial Arts produces , that unique feeling that makes you discover step by step feelings, understanding and knowledge of a and ART that is an authentic TREASURE of the Oriental Culture for this generation and for many others to come.
Finally, I am very grateful for the great amount of messages of support received from all over the world. It is very pleasant to feel the support and approval of some of the greatest masters of this art. Our project is also object of criticism, but we also want to thank them for they help us to work harder and better.
I would also like to invite all followers of WingTsun to get to know our work and to share experiences in order to begin the individual search that will lead each one of us to discover our greatness. I assure you that you will be treated in the way that all Martial Art practitioners deserve: with RESPECT and HUMILITY.
Sifu Salvador Sánchez