Sifu Shaun Rawcliffe -
MWCK Chief Instructor
Shaun began his Martial Arts training in Judo, at the age of
twelve, though he soon left to join a local Karate school where he studied for
over six years attaining 2nd Dan, before a chance meeting led to him begin
studying Wing Chun in 1979. Between 1979 and 1989 he was fortunate to study
with Sifu Stephen Chan, Sifu Brian Hook, Sifu Simon Lau and Sifu Samuel Kwok.
more than three years of intensive study and training, mostly through private
tuition, and having just moved to Birmingham, Shaun was given permission to
open his first school. The first class opened in the Hall Green area in
February 1982, where he still teaches today. From that first small group the
Midlands Wing Chun Kuen has grown into a large family-like association both
nationally and internationally with branches now operating throughout England,
South Wales and Northern Italy.
June 1985, Wing Chun Grandmaster, Ip Chun, came to England to give a series of
seminars including one at the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen in Birmingham. Shaun was
so impressed with his depth of knowledge and openness that every year between
1985 and his retirement from international teaching in 2002, Master Ip Chun
gave at least one seminar, often two seminars, each year at the MWCK schools.
During these UK visits, Master Ip Chun would often stay for several days with
Shaun, giving him plenty of opportunities to practice and improve his skills.
It was following one of these seminars in 1989, Master Ip Chun gave Shaun a
personal invitation to come to Hong Kong to train with him; an opportunity that
was not to be missed.
Shaun's first visit to Hong Kong in May 1989, lasted just six
weeks, but it was six weeks of intensive one-on-one training at the home of
Master Ip Chun. However, before he was allowed to begin training and was
accepted as one of his students, Master Ip Chun took him to Fanling in Hong
Kong's New Territories to visit Yip Man's grave and to pay his respects. All
aspects of Wing Chun training and teaching were covered during these intensive
training sessions and some evenings after their training, Master Ip Chun would
accompany Shaun to meet other famous Wing Chun Sifu's such as Lok Yiu, Tsui
Shun Tin, Leung Ting and Wong Shun Leung and Ip Ching to further discuss Wing
Chun. At the end of his stay Shaun was made a permanent member of both the Ving
Tsun Athletic Association and the Yip Man Martial Arts Association. The Ving
Tsun Athletic Association also presented him with an instructor's certificate.
1989 Shaun has continued to return to Hong Kong at least once, if not twice a
year, clocking up 30 trips to date and maintains a very close relationship with
his teacher and his kung fu brothers. Each trip helps him to refine both his
Wing Chun and his teaching skills, either privately at his teachers home, at
the Ving Tsun Athletic Association or at Master Ip Chun's school in Shatin, New
Territories, where he also trains with his kung fu brothers, most notably
Patrick Leung Ting Kwok, Raymond Lo, Ho Po Kai, Law Kam Tak and Leung Wai.
During one of those visits to Hong Kong, Master Ip Chun and Shaun visited
Fatshan in China, the 'home of Wing Chun' where Yip Man lived before he fled
the communist take
over to settle in Hong Kong in 1949. There, Shaun had the
opportunity to meet and discuss Wing Chun with several Sifu's including Pang
Nam and Lun Kai, and visited the former homes of Leung Jan and Ip Man. Whilst
in Foshan, Shaun and Master Ip Chun gave a Wing Chun demonstration at the Ching
Wu Association as a prelude to Master Ip Chun starting a Wing Chun class at the
University in Foshan.
having trained under the personal tuition of Master Ip Chun for over 21 years,
Shaun has attained and more importantly, maintained a high degree of mastery of
Wing Chun. He is a senior representative for Master Ip Chun, a certified
Instructor and the certifying officer of the Ip Chun Wing Chun Martial
Arts Association; one of only eighteen people in the world to
have earned and been awarded an instructors certificate from and be allowed to,
officially represent Master Ip Chun. In addition, Shaun is a certified level 2
coach with the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts and a member of the
National Coaching Foundation (Sports Coach UK).
prides himself on the high standard of the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen's teaching
and strives for perfection by continuing to visit and train in Hong Kong with
his teacher. He continues to teach Wing Chun in the same manner that he was
taught in Hong Kong (the same methodology used by Grandmaster Ip Man to teach
his students, including his own sons), traditionally and informally. He now
heads an international association but still refuses to teach Wing Chun for a
living, preferring instead to concentrate on the quality, rather than the
quantity of his students.
Training at each of the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen schools is on an invitation
only basis, following an introductory course during which the beginner is
assessed to determine their suitability for training, whilst the student has
the opportunity to assess the class.
"Grandmaster Yip Man taught
hundreds of students in his classes between 1949 and 1968, when he died in 1972
he left the Wing Chun legacy with his sons Ip Chun and Yip Ching and with his
senior students including Lok Yiu, Tsui Sheung Tin, Wong Shun Leung, Hok Kin
Cheung, Siu Yuk Men etc... Since then Grandmaster Yip Man's legacy of Wing Chun
Kuen has now spread to all corners of the world. Sadly, however, as Wing Chun
has spread in some cases much seems to have been lost in translation and its
teachings misunderstood, not necessarily due to the teacher, but perhaps due to
the interpretation of the students."
"It is Ip Chun Sifu's wish
that the essence of Wing Chun Kuen as taught by him and his father be
maintained and taught correctly so that his fathers understanding and knowledge
be preserved. I made a promise to Sifu Ip Chun in 1989 that I would teach pure
Wing Chun in the traditional manner, and that is what the Midlands Wing Chun
Kuen stands for."
"Midlands Wing Chun
Kuen" is the trading name of Midlands Wing Chun Kuen Ltd, Reg No. 07162974
"Midlands Wing Chun
Kuen Ltd" Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48), All rights