Interview for Martial Science Magazine by: Master Guy Edward Larke
I am originally from South Korea.
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.
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.
No, I was the only one who was involved in martial arts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My most memorable moment being a kid was when I became a regional champion in kata.
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.
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.