"Train diligently, keep an open mind, respect fellow martial artists and honour the ways of the old masters." Seyfi Shevket
Sifu journey started when he was thirteen years old studying Judo (1972). With the untimely death of Bruce Lee (1973) and the revolution that followed, Sifu started reading everything about the man and soon discovered that Bruce Lee’s first fighting art was Wing Chun Gung Fu and that his teacher was the late Great Grandmaster Ip Man, Sifu was now in search of Wing Chun.
This was not so easy, the only people who taught this art in the 70's were Chinese and would only teach amongst their own community or charge extortionate fee’s to outsiders. His only choice was to join a Judo class, under Sensei John Hawke, that started in his school youth club in 1972. A year later and in between learning Judo he also joined a Wu Shu Kwan Kung Fu class, under Sifu Dave Jarvis.
He kept up with these art’s throughout the 70's eventually joining a Ta Kwon Do school under Sabeom Lye Kwong in the early eighties which he studied for 7 years, but he felt there was something missing and kept in search for Wing Chun Gung Fu.
In the late eighties a friend told him of a local Wing Chun class that had recently started in the local area, after attending a class he immediately enrolled, dropped out of Ta Kwon Do and began his adolescent ambition to learn the martial art that he had been looking for all those years.
From the first lesson Sifu instinctively knew this art had everything that he wanted and more. His teacher Sifu Lakis Phillipou who was from the Wong Shun Leung family tree, was a very open and giving teacher.
Sifu soon developed a close relationship with his Sifu and would travel everywhere with him, eventually becoming his first assistant instructor. In that period they would go to various training seminars including, Grand Master Ip Chun, Grand Master Ip Chin, Master Wong Shun Leung and Sifu Randy Williams.
In 1988 through a contact, they had a chance to meet another great teacher, Grand Master Moy Yat (in photo) a direct student of Great Grand Master Ip Man and one of only six students to learn the full system from Great Grand Master Ip Man.
Grand Master Moy Yat came over twice from New York with his most trusted student’s. On his first visit he held a closed door seminar to selected students from Sifu Lakis class and on his second visit they arranged Master Moy Yat’s first U.K. public seminar.
They were also the first in the U.K. to meet Sijo James DeMile, one of Bruce Lee’s original student’s from Seattle and creator of Wing Chun Do. They also arranged Sijo James DeMile’s first seminar in the U.K.
Sijo James Demile came over several time’s and became very close with them both, eventually inviting them to the U.S.A in 1992 to take part in a Wing Chun Do instructors course and also to introduce his students to classical wing chun at the headquarters in Seattle. Throughout the year’s Sifu would be involved in arranging seminar’s for Sijo James DeMile in the U.K. and remain good friends to this day.
America also gave them the chance to pay respect to Bruce Lee by visiting his final resting place in Seattle, where Bruce Lee spent his early years from Hong Kong. They also made an effort to seek out Bruce lee’s first student and assistant instructor, Jesse Glover, who was also teaching in Seattle.
This meeting had a great impact over Sifu as he was witnessing at first hand the original teaching’s of Bruce Lee’s concept of Wing Chun, which Jesse Glover stuck to, added and improved over the years.
Sifu would meet up with Jesse Glover again in years to come arranging seminars in the UK and eventually representing him in the UK.
1993 would be a turning point in Sifu Seyfi’s martial arts career, as he now branched away to open his own school, Spirit Wing Chun.
In 1996 Sifu went to study classical Wing Chun under grand Master Moy Yat at his New York, China town headquarters, knowing from previous experience the superior quality of Grand Master Moy Yat’s Wing Chun.
In New York he was able to enhance his Wing Chun, gaining valuable knowledge and philosophy from Grand Master Moy Yat, by being with him constantly throughout his stay.
From grand Grand Master Moy Yat’s teaching, Sifu feels he has gained valuable insight and philosophy towards Wing Chun and teaching. Grand Master Moy offered Sifu to be one of his ‘Special’ students but unfortunately due to circumstances he was unable to accept. Sifu Seyfi’s admiration and respect for Grand Master Moy Yat continues and he is still saddened by Grand Master Moy’s passing.
In 2002, Sifu travelled to Switzerland, the journey was to attend a course and seminar by Jesse Glover and to meet the great man again. This journey would prove to be valuable in concreting a relationship with Jesse Glover and other fellow instructor’s around Europe with the culmination of becoming Jesse Glover's student.
Sadly, Jesse Glover passed away June 27th 2012 after a long bout of illness, he was and still is Sifu Seyfi's greatest influence in his martial arts journey. Sifu attended Jesse Glover's funeral in Seattle USA July 2012 to pay his respects and say goodbye to his teacher and close friend.
Currently Sifu Seyfi continues to teach actively, keeping up his passion in what he believes to be one of the finest martial arts in the world.