Today we meet you Sergio Pascal Iadarola, founder of International Wing Tjun Kung Fu Association.
Dear Sergio, when did you start with Martial Arts?
I started my martial arts training at the age of 6 in the art of Judo, I won quite a lot of tournaments as a kid in that art and reached Brown Belt, I also studied Karate a little wado kai and shotokan and pencak silat, and a few years ago I also studied BJJ for a few years to understand that, and of course were I grew up there were a lot of Thai Boxing schools so I have experience with that too, in fact in march I shoot a dvd series on Muay Thai with my good friend Ajarn Aldo Chiari in Thailand.
With who did you know Wing Chun style?
I became interested in Wing Chun because of the late Bruce Lee, I was a big fan and must have watched all his movies hundered of times, so when I was 11 I started my wing chun with Rob Vogel and Sifu Wang Kiu one of the 5 first students of the late GM Yip Man. I trained with them
only for a very short time of about 6 months before changing to the Leung Ting System after reading GM Leung Tings Wing Tsun Kuen book.
When did you start to practice Siu Lam Weng Chun (or others name – I use Weng to distinguish one thing from another)?
I started with wing chun or wing tjun my trademark way of spelling the system in 1987, its one system there are only different lineages but wing chun is wing chun.
Can you tell us what is the different between Wing Chun (Yip Man) and Siu Lam Weng Chun?
In the whole of China wing chun was always spelled like eternal spring! GM Yip Man was the one who changed the charackters to beautiful spring according to my research of the last 6 years. So actually he and his friend Yuen Kay San where the only ones using the charackters beautiful spring, nowadays however due to the popularity of GM Yip Man everybody spells it like beautiful spring, even books in China are reprinted with the eternal charakters replaced with beautiful. Note also that for a time GM Yip Man taught wing chun under the name eternal spring in Hong Kong the association was called the Wing Luing Association the honorary president was Sifu Leung Sheung the Sifu of Leung Ting, and on the grave of GM Yip Man’s Sifu Chan Wha Sun the name wing chun is also spelled as eternal spring. So its one and the same system only different lineages, and some lineages have some other forms like Wing Chun Kuen form, or Seung Kong, or Saam Pai Fat.
Can we know what are the differences between Wing Chun‘s families styles?
Wing chun is a conceptual art and created by human beings over the century’s different Sifu’s have changed the exterior of the system but not the concept! And that’s important.
Take a look at the late Dr Leung Jan, it is known that he exchanged Luk Dim Poon Kwan with Fung Siu Ching, also that in his later days when he retreated to his home village of Gu Lo he created the Gu Lo wing chun system or 40 point system Pin Sun wing chun. He liked to simplify it at the time because he knew he would not live long enough to give his students the other curriculum. According to my research its highly likely that Dr Leung Jan and his teacher Leung Yee Tai were actually the founders of Siu Nim Tau, Chum Kiu and Biu Tze.
Can we know what are the differences between Weng Chun’s families styles?
I think i answered this question, but again there are many different lineages with different ways of performing the forms, some have there on specific forms unique to that family for example the Lo family had only the Saam Pai Fat, and the Tang family did not have that form at all.
There was a place in Fatshan I will not mention the name in this interview, I will keep that for my YouTube channel to debute, where all the lineages in the old time came together to train, so the people who did Siu Nim Tau, Cham Kiu, Biu Tze etc, trained with the people who did Wing Chun Kuen form also known as Sap Yat Sao, Seung Kong, etc etc.
Which are the differences between your IWKA and others Schools or Associations?
Everybody must teach in the way he likes and how he thinks the students can progress in the fastest and best quality way, people differ and opinions differ I like to unify the wing chun world as I strongly believe that we can all learn from eachother. In Hong Kong were I live now I have many times Yam Cha with different Sifu’s of different lineages so I know what I’m talking about.
I’m always learning as I believe standing still is going backwards right now I’m training a lot with Sifu Tang Chung Pak on the perfection of the Luk Dim Poon Kwan, if you see the clips of the late GM Tang Yick with the pole and you realize Sifu Tang Chung Pak is his succesor you understand why. With Sifu Sunny So I’m training also a lot in fact he started teaching me also in the ancestor of wing chun, the Yong Chun Bak Hok style. Also here it’s important to note that yong chun is the manderin way of writing wing chun in western writing.
Who were your Masters in the past?
I had many Wang Kiu, Rob Vogel, Frank Shafer, Emin Boztepe, Salih Avci, Hans Peter Edel, Leung Ting under who I studied privatly from 1997-2001 and Allan Fong who is now learning from me about the Siu Lam wing chun lineage that are the people in the Yip Man lineage.
Then in siu lam wing chun I studied under Pak Cheung Kau, Cheng Kwong, Tang Chung Pak and Sunny So.
I also studied for a period of 2 years with Sifu Andreas Hoffmann who I consider a very good martial artist but his way of mixing so many different systems of martial art was not my way.
I learn also a lot during Yam Cha with different Sifu’s one who I greatly respect for his structure and Chi Kung is Sifu Wan Kam Leung.
You have been appointed Grand Master. From whom, in which style (Wing or Weng or both) and how do someone become one?
A title or name is not important its just a name, I am the grandmaster of my association the IWKA in my association we have quite a lot of masters so I’m automatically the grandmaster of the association. But outside of my association i like to be called Sifu Sergio just like my YouTube channel is named and my personal site for my dvd’s.
How many hours do you train?
Wing chun is my life im constantly training it and thinking about it and thinking is also training, mental training, sometimes I’m even dreaming about it so sometimes its close to 24 hours a day, ha ha ha.
Are you a professional martial artist or have other jobs?
I’m professional since 1994.
How many hours per week should train a student to grow in a serious way?
Depends on the student, and what the goal is what does grow in a serious way mean? Ready for street self defence, becoming a proffesional instructor, or only develop some self confidence and basic skills you see it all depends.
How much a IWKA‘s student spends to become a black belt (in terms of time and money)? Depends again on the individual and his Sifu, does he take private lessons or not? How many seminars he participate in?
What are the Kiu Sau concepts?
There are several bridiging concepts in siu lam wing chun lineage, the bridge part of the arm is from the fingers to the elebow there are 18 ways of manpulating the bridge, Tiu, Boot, Da, Poon, etc etc.
About IWKA, can you tell us the story of Italian branch from the fundation to the end (2006?), before refoundation as Federation?
In Italy my association grew to fast in the beginning and it went up and down. I think we have a very good concept now and super masters to support my vision for the IWKA in Italy. Masters like Sifu Pietro D’Alesio and Sifu Claudio Legname and Sifu Lucio Riccio and Sifu Salvatore Mezzone to name a few.
The IWKA is represented in 11 countries now so I’m very very busy and thats a good thing!