Red Boat Wing Chun Kung Fu Testimonials

Special Stories from our Martial Arts Family in Sydney

Soon after joining you will discover that we are all much like one big diverse family, here are some stories from our members…


A Unique Story from an Inspiring Woman in Martial Arts, a True Warrior

Frances’ Story…

Between work and family commitments I didn’t get around to doing any physical activity.

I had previously done Kung Fu/Tai Chi in my 20’s for a few years and thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I turned 50 I decided to resume martial arts and to do a couple of classes of Wing Chun. From the time I stepped on the mat and did my first class it just felt great. So I joined the next lesson and have never looked back.

I used to walk past the school regularly. The Kwoon is a great location for me just a couple of minutes away from where I work so lunch classes fit in perfectly for me. Also Sifu and all the senior coaches are great motivators, always have time to give advice and encouragement and their willingness to help and instruct you is the reason why I have kept coming. It has certainly been a place to meet some really nice people and a lot of friendships have been made throughout my time there.

I have surprised myself on how far I have progressed, but still have plenty to learn. Some days are more challenging than other days. My strength, fitness and co-ordination have increased 100%.

In late 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My first thoughts were to keep myself fit as much as I was able. So while going through a year of Chemo and Radiotherapy treatment I kept up with Wing Chun. My recovery and overall wellbeing during and after that time has not only kept me well but has seen my condition improve much to my oncologists delight.

Coming to classes during chemo treatment made me focus on not thinking about how bad my body felt but also helped keep my mind occupied and achieve goals which I set.

Training has improved my self esteem and given me a sense of achievement. I have been able to set goals to help me overcome my battle with cancer. I have improved as a person and gained self confidence which has enabled me to help other students and also with conducting classes when others are absent.

The variety of classes that are available to students now. Wing Chun, BJJ, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Kids Classes, Xfit, Bootcamp and Yoga. Sifu and all the coaches provide an informative, enjoyable atmosphere. It is a great place to learn new skills. This is a great school and I am proud to be a part of it.

Frances Straumietis


It’s all Leaps and Bounds from this Guy! How Martial Arts Changed his Life

“Lil” Pete’s Story…

I would consider myself one of the most unlikely people to enjoy training Wing Chun. But it’s coming to a year since I first joined and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

Let me explain:

If you pictured me a year ago, you would see the least likely athlete – flat-footed, inflexible, completely uncoordinated, with dreadful reflexes, and of course, the vastly intimidating size of a child. I am with no doubt a geek – I’m the guy who picked golfing for school sport, and fired balls into the woods to hide for hours. The shortest guy in school who upon compulsory participation in every athletics carnival chose high jump so that they were eliminated first, and could hide for hours. You get the picture.

My friend and I were going through a rough patch in our lives, and he came up with the idea of doing a martial art to take our minds off things. We made a pact that we would try it for a month.

During that month, I took up Wing Chun like a duck to vegemite. Fond memories include: being told to rotate my hips more, asking, where’s that? and the huge sense of accomplishment after finishing a class without falling over. But Sifu Rick Spain and the Wing Chun family on the mat were always really helpful, patient and considerate. It was a really steep learning curve, but the decision to persevere through it is one of the best I’ve ever made.

I cannot overstate the benefits on my life. I used to get sick all the time, and was a frequent sufferer of migraines and tonsillitis – both at least once a month. Since joining Wing Chun, I’ve only had one migraine and haven’t had tonsillitis in six months; I recently cancelled surgery for their removal. My blocked sinuses have cleared, and for the first time in my entire life, I breathe regularly through my nose. My flat feet are developing arches – something my podiatrist said was impossible. I sleep a lot less and have so much more energy throughout the day. Though it may be counter intuitive, adding Wing Chun into my routine has allowed me to do more, and has become catalyst for a lot of other activities.

I think when people speak of Sifu, they normally talk about his accomplishments – being a two time world champion or having the wealth of 40 years martial arts experience (and it shows). But personally, my appreciation has extended much beyond the physical realms of training. Beyond the exterior of a precise technician lies a real thinker who’s taught me valuable lessons of humility, endurance and mindfulness. In my experience, it’s really rare to have someone who’s a master of their field to also possess a generosity of spirit, a drive to continue learning, and a lack of ego – and I think Sifu’s an exemplar for all three.

Since starting this martial art, my life has changed dramatically. I’m healthier, more confident and much more happy. For those people seeking a miracle get fit cure, it’s not what I’m suggesting (if they actually exist). What I have experienced from this school is the day to day training yield that comes from second-to-none realistic advice, a great supportive environment, and a well thought-out and consistent system that is logical, practical and realistic.


Pete’s Transformation


Overcoming Life’s Challenges and Leading From the Front, Kung Fu gave Him a Place to Be

Charlie’s Story…

I was never the sporty type and had a lot of fear as a kid as I was bullied a fair bit and later while my mates and brothers all played footy etc I couldn’t as I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my early teens. Back in them days this was basically seen as an old person’s disease so I kept it to myself for many years and became pretty messed up: overweight, unhealthy and caught up in drugs and alcohol etc.

It took half a lifetime to break that cycle not to mention the whole family breakup thingy. Although later in life I began attending a gym for a year or two but had no goal or anything to measure my progress. I was attending the gym and eating what I liked when I liked and had no one to really coach or train me in that sense and was coasting along like a roller coaster with my weight and health up and down.

I did a few months of karate and boxing many years ago in my twenty’s but due to my very unhealthy lifestyle at the time, dropped out and since then always had that regret hanging over my head and weighing me down for many years as I thought of myself pretty much as a failure.

I met John who is a few years older than me through work and he began talking to me about martial arts and how he did it for many years but then stopped and began Wing Chun again years later at an older age. He also talked about how it helped him to pick his health up. John kept on my back for about six months asking me to give it a go but my answer was always something like I am 48yrs of age way too old to try something like this for the first time.

I also had it in my head that my arthritis would one day prevent me from going on and then I would have the regret of giving up and failing once again and have that mental torture to deal with so in my head it was best not to start and that way I would not be a failure. Talk about mental torture and madness!Well one day John got the best of me so I agreed to go and have a look at a lunch time class and remember watching in amazement at the type of kicking and punching students were doing and also remember the guys there being very welcoming and friendly and asked me if I wanted to come and try a class out, but me being me said I will think about it and let them know later.
Well later came that afternoon! because I was buzzing after watching that class. So after a gym session at about 5.00pm I called the school and asked if I could come do that free class so with a bundle of nerves I rocked up and that was my first class.

I can honestly say I am not the same man I was when I went up to watch the class that day. Wing Chun has not only helped my flexibility and arthritis, it has given me much more than I had ever dreamed of such as confidence, fitness and nutritional information which I struggled with most all my life and not to mention the other students who openly share their vast range of skills and knowledge.

I basically try and train five days week at the school when I can and also do weights on three days when I can, so to even do all of this at this age I know my fitness has had to increase ten fold. I have had the opportunity to be part of the Spartan course (a nutrition and fitness course run within the school) which is basically turning my life around with the advice on diet and training.

I have grown confidence in many areas where I know I had fear, as I have learned from teachers and students ways to channel that fear to fight rather than flight when needed, not only in martial arts but in many other mental and physical challenges I face.

I guess the main aspect of what all this means to me is that of my children and grand children, where I feel I have an obligation not only to talk about what they should or should not do in life but to try and lead by example where I can in all I say and do.

I can say it is pretty special when you have Sifu Rick Spain as the trainer and coach leading by example along the way. Also the trainers and leaders who help make your journey pretty special by always making themselves available for advice. All in all, I found the school to be open, friendly and supportive.

I also think its special how additional workshops are offered to students in specialty areas to include in ones arsenal and portfolio.
Soon after joining you will discover that we are all much like one big diverse family.