Mark Stas – Wing Flow System

Mark Stas – Wing Flow System

Interview for Martial Science Magazine by: Master Guy Edward Larke

The Japanese term “Musha Shugyo” (武者修行) translates to “warrior’s pilgrimage”. It does not mean running around and throwing random moves together and calling yourself a grandmaster. It is a quest in which through the testing of the individual by various means he or she attains spiritual enlightenment. Bruce Lee and Mas Oyama are famous examples of that kind of spiritual calling. Though not all advocates are nearly as famous.

One who is just coming into the beginning of his own journey is Mark Stas, the founder of Wing Flow. Hopefully after reading his story you can better understand the warrior’s pilgrimage mindset and how it is unique upon itself.

  1. Mark, where are you from originally? What’s your family background?

I am originally from South Korea.

  1. What was your country’s condition at that time?

I was born in the so-called Fourth Republic (or the Yushin “Revitalization Reform” Order ) in South-Korea where, despite social and political unrest, the economy continued to flourish.

  1. What was the image of martial arts at that time?

Bruce Lee was THE name in martial arts and his influence was already felt so much in this period through his fantastic display on screen.

  1. Was there anyone in your family that was in the martial arts before you?

No, I was the only one who was involved in martial arts.

  1. What kind of childhood did you have?

I was adopted out to a family in Belgium. Luckily I didn’t experience too many problems. At that time in Belgium, martial arts were already more well-known and being an Asian boy, practicing martial arts gave me more ‘luck’ I would say in my youth.

  1. What led you to the martial arts in the first place?

My first contact with martial arts was, besides the movie « Enter the Dragon » with Bruce Lee, a general martial arts book from our local library. Being a child I read with much love stories about M. Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido or about Chinese martial arts ( Wing Chun ) and Korean martial arts ( Hwarang Do and Taekwondo ). When I read those books or saw Bruce Lee on screen, I was more than fascinated by the martial mastery displayed and the invincible heroes portrayed.

I remember practicing the movements from the books in my room before I finally could enter a real martial arts school.

  1. What system did you try first? What your instructor’s name?

My very first martial art lesson started with Shotokan Karate in a local dojo. I had different Karate teachers like Sensei Alex Hauwaert, Dirk Strouwen and the brothers Lintermans.

After years of diligent training I was suggested to practise Taekwondo because I loved kicking techniques. So I started Taekwondo under Master M.Akkouh.

  1. What was the training like? Was it what you expected?

The Karate training was more a traditional teaching with mainly Kihon and Kata. I loved the teaching and never questioned what I did. I simply loved to train martial arts movements and wanted to be the best.

It’s difficult to say if at that time it was what I expected. Although I loved Bruce Lee and read stories about other martial arts, Karate was the only martial art with punching and kicking in my neighborhood.

  1. What was your most memorable moment from that time?

My most memorable moment being a kid was when I became a regional champion in kata.

  1. When did Taekwondo and Karate start changing you as a person? In what ways?

It is merely the continuing of martial arts practice that changed me little by little. Not to give up even when it’s difficult, eye for details, patience in training, to be the best I could be in martial arts and to practice with passion are some of the virtues that became part of me thanks to martial arts training.

Although my main martial art (currently) is of Chinese origin, I still love seeing great Taekwondo or other Korean kicking martial arts such as Taekkyon. I was a big fan of the undefeated Korean champion, Jeong Kook-Hyun. I trained only a few years in Taekwondo but it was rich in training and experience. For example I had the occasion to go with some fellow students and my master to Italy to participate at a black belt championship, but I wasn’t a black belt at all. I do remember the short performance I was asked to give and we did it without rehearsal. It was a fun, but in hindsight it was really awful. During this Taekwondo period, I did maybe 10 small competitions with 1st and second placings.

  1. When did you realize it would be your life?

I always loved martial arts training and it is a part of me; a part of my life. I never thought it would be so important in my life till I had severe shoulder problems due to a too intensive prolonged training period. During almost 2 years I realized that without martial arts I couldn’t be complete. I was blessed to recover but it took me not only a lot of time, but a lot character to continue treatments and not to give up but especially to keep faith and focus on healing.

  1. What were the next steps in your martial arts voyage? With whom?

I taught a personalized hybrid combat system mixed with boxing. I discovered at the same time Jun Fan Gung Fu with Sifu P.Van Vlasselaer. That part of my life helped me a lot in my martial arts discovery and training. During this period I came in touch, through an article, with the martial art that would form the base of my Wing Flow System. The martial artist who showed me how marvelous Wing Tsun could be was Salih Avci, considered at that time as one of the top fighters in the EWTO. My journey into this martial art only began then. The martial theory was so perfect to me and I decided to live in the country with the best schools of Europe. I was instructed by many excellent martial arts teachers starting with my first instructor, Frank Krüger, then E. Krause and H.Pfaff.

After more than 32 years of study and practice I followed my own vision in martial arts. We never stop to learn and to improve. To practice martial arts is never ending. It’s a way of life and you need to see martial arts as a natural way of living in order to taste beauty of it.

To learn more about Master Stas or Wing Flow please see below:

I taught a personalized hybrid combat system mixed with boxing. I discovered at the same time Jun Fan Gung Fu with Sifu P.Van Vlasselaer. That part of my life helped me a lot in my martial arts discovery and training. During this period I came in touch, through an article, with the martial art that would form the base of my Wing Flow System.

Sifu Mark Stas

baekms1@gmail.com

+32/(0)476.967.140

www.wingflowsystem.com

Follow us on Facebook:

https://m.facebook.com/SifuMarkStas/

Master Guy Edward Larke has been interested in Asian fighting arts, culture, history and hopology for most of his life. The arts eventually took him to South Korea 17 years ago where he resides, trains, researches, writes and teaches. His life is the martial arts. His passion has also taken him to Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia. He can be reached on Facebook or at kisadomuye@gmail.com.

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