Bay Mountain’s European Roots
From Hong Kong to Germany
Leung Ting’s gift to the preceding Wing Tsun generations after him. Was to break the tactile reflex training (Chi-Sau) into an organized fashion. He called this organization system “Chi-Sau Sections”. This accomplished two goals. To ensure that the information was retained in a programmed manner. This created a standardized teaching platform allowing the art to be spread to more people.
He changed the romanized spelling of 詠春 from Ving Tsun to Wing Tsun. It was Bruce Lee who spelled the art of the Western world as Wing Chun. The spelling most schools have stuck with today and the most phonetically accurate to Cantonese.
Later in Germany, Keith Kernspecht repeated the process. Standardizing the teaching platform as only a German can. And adding in training methods so the door can more easily be learned. He audited fully the Lat-Sau 甩手 or tumbling-hands program by the early 1980s. This program change among other things was so successful that by the mid-1990s Kernspecht was the head of the largest martial arts organization in the world. With hundreds of thousands of students. And an elite Kung Fu college where students could train full-time. He placed his college in a German castle, Castle Langenzell.
Leung Ting 梁挺 & Yip Man 葉問
Leung Ting (梁挺) was one of the last students of Yip Man (葉問). He was a “closed door”student, meaning the Grandmaster was no longer teaching publicly. Before becoming a student of Yip Man, Leung Ting was instructed by his Sihing (older Kung Fu Brother), Leung Sheung (梁相). Who was the most senior student of Yip Man.
Nearly all modern day Wing Tsun lineages trace their roots back to one person,
Yip Man 葉問
Leung Ting & Kernspecht
In 1975 Keith Kernspecht began learning Wing Tsun Kung Fu from Leung Ting. By the mid-1980’s Kernspecht had translated the information into a more “westernized” training method. Kernspecht is Sifu to Bay Mountain’s founder Sifu Simon Mayer. Bay Mountain’s training methods have improved since this time period, we have traveled our own path. But the foundation of our thinking lies in from the USA to Germany to Hong Kong then to Ancient China.
A Kung Fu Empire
By the mid-1990s the European Wing Tsun Organization (EWTO) had become the largest martial arts organization in the world. In the United States where handguns are commonly available, and firearm ethos is pervasive. Much of the martial arts market centers around children or sports combat. In the US Wing Tsun has remained a boutique martial art of sorts.
But in Europe where firearms are largely illegal. Effective unarmed self-defense tactics are much more in the public consciousness. Worldwide Wing Tsun and in Europe particularly. Wing Tsun is one of the most commonly trained martial arts. This is due to the German Wing Tsun Grandmaster, Keith Kernspecht.
In the late 1970’s Keith Kernspecht traveled from Germany Seattle to train under Bruce Lee’s top student Jesse Glover.
A counter to Jeet Kune Do
The movements Jesse Glover taught to Kernspecht originated from Bruce Lee’s interpretation of Wing Tsun. They differed greatly from what Keith had learned from Leung Ting. They were the origins of the martial art style Bruce was tailoring for himself, Jeet Kune Do.
What Kernspecht learned from Jesse he later incorporated into his student grade programs. Lat-Sau programs one through four. These attacks were elbow control & grabs combined with back-fists and low strikes. The idea being that a Wing Tsun student experiences these attacks. Then learns to use their Wing Tsun to counter them. This training platform remains with us in Bay Mountain today.
Bay Mountain plots it’s own course
Organization consists of people, thus so have politics. An event of which happened in the within EWTO around 2001 . The ripple effects of which were felt all the way across the world in Northern California. The result of which Bay Mountain separated from its European root organization and plotted its own course forward.
Since 2001 hour curriculum has changed. As has the curriculum of the EWTO. Which now in some regards must compete against much of its own high-level former instructors who have since left.
Our martial arts has evolved forward from the wellspring of knowledge and innovation found in the mind of Sifu Martin Hofmann. Our Wing Tsun has evolved and become much more powerful based on Sifu Martin’s teachings. But it is built upon the knowledge base from our Kung Fu ancestors.