How do I get started?
Just turn up! We are happy to answer any questions you may have prior to beginning training (please use the site contact form). However, you don't need to contact us first. Simply come to any lesson a few minutes before the scheduled start time and introduce yourself to Sifu Paul and/or Huw.
What should I expect and what is expected of me?
Sifu Paul O’Neal cultivates relaxed, ego-free conditions within the training hall, in the manner that he was taught by Grandmaster Ip Ching and practiced at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. He mixes this chinese ethos with western teaching standards, meaning that for the most part there is a fixed lesson plan; students are expected to follow along, asking questions only if relevant to what is specifically being taught. More flexible, Hong Kong style 'open training' time is also regularly designated for students to practice between themselves and ask questions of Sifu.
Unlike with many Japanese martial arts, there is no strict etiquette system in place; students are asked to be courteous and respectful towards one another, their instructors and the training venue. This can be expressed in whatever way you feel comfortable.
What should I wear?
Anything light that allows movement and flexibility; a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms are perfect. Because most self defense situations occur outside the home, Wing Chun practitioners tend to wear footwear. Any clean trainers, suitable for indoor use will suffice. Martial arts training shoes can be worn but aren't necessary.
I am unfit/overweight, is this a problem?
Not at all. Practicing Wing Chun is a great way to get fit. Lessons are fairly laid-back and the majority of activities encompass light to moderate exercise, becoming more 'full on' on occasion usually at the student's decision. You can learn at your own pace and won't be pushed into doing anything you are not happy to do. If you have an injury or limitation, please inform your instructor.
I have experience in different martial art / style of wing chun
Great! It means you know what you are getting in for and probably have skills/knowledge that is either directly relevant, or at least transferable and useful. You will still be started from the beginning, to make sure that nothing is missed, but are likely to progress faster.
However if you turn up to class, it is assumed that you are interested in learning Sifu Paul O'Neal's kung fu, as taught to him by Grandmaster Ip Ching. This may seem different from what you have practiced elsewhere but you are asked to be polite and attempt to follow along at least while in class. It is not to say that one style is better than another, but Sifu Paul can not guarantee to teach you a complete and fully-functioning system if you 'cherry-pick' techniques and practices from other styles/lineages.
And please, LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR! While a controlled amount of competition between peers can be fun and is often beneficial to learning, it goes without saying that this is not appropriate on your first day and won't serve any useful purpose. Get to know your fellow students, and you will soon learn how to best train with each of them.