|Where Are They Now?|
|A selection of those members who have been away but are still in touch with and close to Wu Shu Kwan.
Click picture or name to read about the latest news:
1st Degree Black Belt
|Anthony F. Lazare
2nd Degree Black Belt
FCCA, CA, MCMI
3rd Degree Black Belt
2nd Degree Black Belt
|Back to Main News & Events Index|
(Matthew Guntrip has been a Black Belt for almost 30 years, and he has always kept his Wu Shu Kwan membership up to date – a truly loyal and supportive member. We are grateful to him for sharing his recent news and photo of himself with all of us.
My name is Matthew Guntrip. I took my first degree Black Belt on 26 May 1985.
It was a tough day with very large groups in each weight category. Therefore there was so much sparring to do; I recall we finished about 01:30 in the morning, even though Grand Master C. K. Chang reduced the time slightly on each sparring round. That said, it was a day I will never forget.
What do I look like now?
Here is a picture of me. You can’t see that I’m just a few wisps short of a hairstyle with my hat on.
When did I start Wu Shu Kwan?
I started training in London in the summer of 1982.
What made me take up Wu Shu Kwan?
I always admired the films, skills and philosophy of the brilliant martial artist Bruce Lee. I was also a fan of the David Carradine Kung Fu series. I knew I wanted to learn a Chinese Martial Art as opposed to Karate. I wanted to become more confident in dealing with aggression as I was never good at that. Martial arts can give you confidence and skills to deal with this.
There were plenty of classes of Wu Shu Kwan in London and the students and teachers were friendly. I had tried a class in 1978 while at Chelsea College, which was part of London University at the time, but my interests in music lead me astray until 1982.
Where did I train?
I began training at Chelsea College, London. As I progressed through the gradings, I began to attend other classes, depending on where I was living. By the time I got to maroon belt I was busy studying for my CIPFA qualification and based in Hertfordshire, so I trained with Andy Hucklesby who ran several classes in the area. Even in those days he was one of a special breed who had obtained 2nd Degree (Note by WSK: He now holds a 7th Degree.) under the old syllabus in operation at the time, which was most challenging.
I also had the privilege of training at Grand Master’s classes regularly at Imperial College, South Kensington. That is something I still treasure and where I learnt many things and enjoyed the ultimate Wu Shu Kwan training classes.
What did I find most interesting about training
For me each step in each grade was interesting. I remember I was always excited to learn the new forms at each level and the fixed sparring techniques for each grade. At Grand Master’s classes we also learnt much more about the practical application of the forms and this helped to remember them and put them into context. There is so much to learn in Wu Shu Kwan!
Where did I teach?
I did teach for a year at the Hook class near Chessington, Surrey. This was necessary in order to attempt the 2nd Degree. By then I was struggling with work commitments and our first child arrived. I realised to maintain a standard I needed to train more regularly than I could manage and so I felt with respect to the students I could not justify continuing to teach. Ultimately life’s various pressures set me on a different path although I have always maintained my membership with a view to returning some day. Maybe I’m an optimist. You had to be as a Manchester City fan.
What do I miss about my training days?
Being young and fit! Repairing easily!
I also miss the company and the privilege of training under many great martial artist teachers and with many great martial artists. I learnt a lot from them.
Anything else? FIRST CUT!
I’ve always enjoyed writing songs and I kept too many in my head when I was young. I remember thinking before the Black Belt grading “don’t get knocked out Matt – you don’t want to wake up having forgotten half your masterpieces...ha ha!”
With the sands of time slipping by I have finally got round to writing some of these songs down and to recording a few of them; although new ones keep turning up in my head faster than I can record them or write them down. Be that as it may, on 24 January 2014 I released my first CD called First Cut on iTunes and CD Baby where you can both download or get a physical copy.
The artwork on the CD is great. That’s because Andy Hucklesby designed it. Not only is Andy a great martial artist, who coached me through my final gradings to First Degree, but he is also a great artist and I am proud of the design he made for my CD.
This brings me to a conclusion: the friendships made through Wu Shu Kwan can be invaluable, as can the fitness, confidence, discipline, and skill that come from the rigour of Wu Shu Kwan training.
Anthony F. Lazare
Sifu Lazare returned to Trinidad and Tobago to pursue a career in the field of finance and at the same time pioneer the launch of Wu Shu Kwan in his homeland.
The Wu Shu Kwan system entered Trinidad and Tobago’s shores at a time when martial arts schools were dispersed all over the country and there was no shortage of rivalry between the various groups. But the strength and uniqueness of Wu Shu Kwan as well as the high quality of its leadership carved a secure and eminent niche among those who preferred to stay far away from the maddening crowd.
Sifu Lazare established four main branches in the 1970’s, and they included Morvant, Couva, Diego Martin and Avondale Gardens. Each branch believed that it was Sifu’s favourite and by extension the best of all four. Thus within the Wu Shu Kwan community there was a natural friendly rivalry for supremacy. The gradings provided ample evidence of this level of competitive spirit. In preparation for grading or during regular training, many students looked forward to catching Sifu’s eyes especially to hear his deep as well as piercing affirmation “Yessss”. Even if one was exhausted, that assurance from Sifu was sufficient to draw upon reserve strength and awesome determination to strive for even better quality movements. Therefore, Sifu provided the facility to survive even under the most adverse conditions.
In the course of his devotion to excellence, Sifu Lazare produced ten candidates who attempted the Wu Shu Kwan 1st Degree Black Belt Grading successfully and many others who were in line to do so.
Some years after receiving his 2nd Degree Black Belt from Grand Master C. K. Chang, Sifu Lazare decided to educate his children in the United States. In consultation with the Grand Master, he passed over the leadership of the local branch to two of his most trusted seniors in the mid-1990’s. The writer (Ronald Noel. Ed.) and James Legall Jr. were fortunate enough to be selected with the blessing of the Grand Master. These two seniors were given the mandate by Sifu to ensure that Wu Shu Kwan in Trinidad and Tobago continued to prosper and most importantly they were to “take real good care of Grand Master Chang whenever he visits Trinidad”.
At the moment, Sifu Lazare is still in the United States with his wife and children. His children are completing their education and they are doing very well. One of his daughters, who is in Europe at the moment, is conversant in several languages.
Senior Master Patrick Maher, 3rd Degree Black Belt, is enjoying a busy life since retiring from an active role in Wu Shu Kwan. Patrick, 75, lives in Banstead, Surrey with his wife Margaret, who he cares for after she suffered a serious back injury as a result of being a nurse whose duty involved lifting patients a lot of the time.
Patrick began Wu Shu Kwan in 1970 and trained and taught for the next 32 years. He was an official Wu Shu Kwan examiner for more than two decades.
”All the exercise has had an effect because my weight has dropped to 10st 7lbs. Grand Master Chang has never known me at this weight because I was always around 14st when I trained with him.”
|(Text & photographs by Paul McManus, 1st Degree Black Belt, LLB)|
Alex is Swiss, and he and his family now live in a town called Widen, which is not far from Zurich, Switzerland. Like all Swiss, he is multilingual speaking (and no doubt writing) German, Italian, French and English. He was originally trained as a brewer, but eventually became a successful computer programmer working for the banking industry.
When he first went to London, he frequented the International Students’ House. Towards the end of 1970 he started Wu Shu Kwan Chinese Boxing there, feeling that as a foreigner he had to be able to protect himself just in case.
He found the training at Swiss Cottage, London on Saturdays under Grand Master C. K. Chang to be something very special, and he was immensely impressed by Grand Master’s phenomenal memory – according to him, you only had to train once in Grand Master’s class and he could always remember your name even if he didn’t see you for a while. While training there he got to know Trish Chang and immediately had a great respect for her philosophy of life, friendliness, sincerity, accomplishments and goals. Iris (Alex’s wife now but his girlfriend then) also trained at Swiss Cottage from time to time. After training, they always enjoyed their evening together in a pub across the road from the training place having a drink or two, or having a meal to finish off a perfect weekend. They got married in March 1972.
Alex remembered his own Black Belt grading very well. It was on 3rd March 1974, and there were 16 candidates. The grading was a real test for any martial artist worth one’s salt, Alex passed his Black Belt with flying colours – the result of his many years of hard and disciplined training. He found Grand Master’s advice in training as well as grading to be absolutely valuable in grading or in real life: “No matter how strong you are, never for one moment underestimate your opponents and never take your eyes off them, and be sure to protect yourself at all times.”
After attaining his Black Belt, Alex started a class in Crawley in Surrey, and he taught there twice a week. His classes were well attended, and later produced some reputable Black Belts, as a result of his dedication.
In July 1976, he returned to Switzerland, and secured a job at First National City Bank in Geneva with the help of Grand Master’s testimonial (see picture). He really missed Wu Shu Kwan and his regular training. He was unable to start a class in Switzerland because of his work, which required many hours of overtime and involved travelling abroad frequently.
Alex and Iris have two sons, Daniel and Markus. Daniel married Rebekka, and they have four children, namely, Zoe, Navit, Yadin and Lemuel. Whereas Markus married Lea, and they have a daughter called Samira. The families live close to one another, and Alex and Iris are able to see their sons and grand children regularly.
Language is in the blood of every Swiss, and Alex is thinking of learning Russian and Spanish next. However, he has bought an apartment in Cote d’Azur, Frejus in France, and intends to spend more time there when he retires in 2013.
Alex wants to thank Wu Shu Kwan for equipping him to face and sustain the tough and stressful business world through a very disciplined physical and mental training. Wu Shu Kwan training has given him great strength and endurance, and taught him to appreciate friendship, trust, respect and human understanding. And he specially wants to thank Grand Master Chang and Trish for their teachings and lifelong friendship.
|(This article was written by Wu Shu Kwan Research Team with the help of Alex Sutter)|