Feedback on the 2003 Assistant Instructor seminar

For the second time this year an EWTO seminar for the Assistant Instructor and Trainer 1-3 qualification took place in Wiesenbach/Langenzell over the weekend of 26th/27th April. As I intend to head a WT group in Pinkafeld for my Sifu Peter Zass, it was absolutely necessary for me to attend the seminar for assistant instructors. This was the first time I had visited the actual headquarters of the EWTO, the legendary Langenzell Castle from where Grandmaster Kernspecht operates. The first surprise came on Saturday, right at the start of the seminar, when I joined the queue to register: there were several hundred WT people who had come to acquire, absorb and demonstrate the necessary teaching know-how. I was really impressed to see so many like-minded people there. As I waited in the long queue a thousand questions went through my mind......am I really well enough prepared, what am I about to learn, how and above all for what will I be examined, what if I don't pass?
My questions and self-doubt were interrupted by a friendly "Good Morning", as Sifu Vilimek (6th PG) passed by and greeted the queue in general. He was immediately followed by my Si-Fu (Dai-Sifu Oliver König), who also greeted us in a very friendly manner. There they were, all of them WT students from when everything began: Sifu Vilimek, Sifu Gross, Sifu Liebscher-Bracht, Sifu Schrön, Sifu Pfaff. All of them personalities who were familiar to me from WT reports, but who I had never seen in the flesh.
Now I was completely overcome by nerves. Then the seminar began. After a general welcome Dai-Sifu König opened the proceedings with the first form (Siu-Nim-Tau), then Sifu Gross explained the precise procedure for the seminar.

On the first day I had three theoretical sessions to absolve, and Sifu Liebscher-Bracht immediately made a start: anatomy, the muscular structure, nutrition and a brief introduction to WT-ChiKung. Sifu Liebscher-Bracht knew the right answer to every question (as is typical for WingTsun) and during his class I realised that he had mastered his subject through long years of training, not only by reading books and magazines. I was highly impressed by his knowledge and the friendly way in which he passed it on. Thank-you Sifu Roland.
Next stop – Sifu Vilimek:
How instructors should behave towards students, students towards instructors and students towards each other. Sifu Vilimek is the oldest student of Grandmaster K.R.Kernspecht, and his experience with students and instructors is correspondingly profound. Sifu Vilimek described several forms of behaviour which he has experienced himself, and in such a way (full of humour, but at the same time with plenty of food for thought) that I will certainly remember it for a very long time.

After these two theoretical sessions Sifu Schrön took over the group of would-be assistant instructors and generally checked out the 1st section in Chi-Sao.
I think I can say that he was happy with our performance, ....er, ok, so it wasn't quite perfect, but everybody made a real effort.
And Sifu Schrön also took a great deal of trouble to correct each individual's movements, occasionally showing us what happens when things get serious (one student actually flew right across the room, such was the tremendous power Sifu Schrön was able to develop over a very short distance). Always with a smile on his lips and the answer to any question.

The theoretical part was concluded by my Si-Fu (Dai-Sifu Oliver König), Topics: The EWTO, Corporate Identity and teaching practice.
The facts, quality, advantages and objectives of the EWTO, the concept of coordination and cooperation between individual EWTO schools and the resulting benefits, planning and organising WT classes – all these were explained precisely and at times very humorously. My Sifu was able to bring an enormous amount of experience to bear on these subjects.
The day ended with a written multiple choice test covering the three talks and basic facts about the Leung Ting WingTsun system. After completing the written test we were able to leave the hall. That evening I was pretty tired, but also amazed at the simplicity with which all the speakers were able to communicate and impart so much knowledge. There is no doubt, these are real WT professionals.

The next day began at 8.00 am, with an announcement of the day's events by Sifu Gross. For me this meant four oral examinations on WT in general and the three talks from the previous day, plus a practical test by my Si-Gung, Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht.
My emotions ran high at the mere mention of the name "Grandmaster Kernspecht". After all, it is thanks to my Si-Gung that I and so many other WT enthusiasts are able to learn such an ingenious system. And it was my Si-Gung who made the EWTO into one of the largest professional martial arts organisations, with more than 2000 schools and over 50 000 members in Europe, and represented in more than 60 countries of the world. What an amazing amount of energy it has taken to achieve all this and keep it alive. And today I would be standing opposite Grandmaster Kernspecht for the second time (I had already met Si-Gung once, during a seminar in Vienna), and no less a man than my Si-Gung would be judging whether I had done my homework and was worthy of passing on my modest skills to students or not.
When Grandmaster K.R. Kernspecht entered the hall a murmur went through the ranks of expectant students. First the Trainer 1-3 candidates were given a practical examination by Grandmaster Kernspecht, then it was the turn of the would-be assistant instructors.
I can no longer remember a time when I was quite so nervous as my name was called out for an examination. I went to the front and bowed to my Si-Gung. He came towards me with a smile and said "Hello Günter", and it was just as well that he did, for if he had asked me my name I wouldn't have known the answer – I was that nervous. Si-Gung paid attention to every little detail and always corrected me with a smile. He gave some of the explanations out loud, while others were intended only for me. It was a great experience for me to learn some Chi-Sao from my Si-Gung in person. I don't know for how long I was examined, but the final relief came with the words "OK – PASSED" from Si-Gung.

Having passed my practical examination I took the oral tests, all of which I passed successfully. When I finally left the hall in great relief, Grandmaster Kernspecht was still standing there and personally examining every single candidate. Grandmaster Kernspecht began his practical examinations at about 9.00 am, and was still taking each and every student through the 1st section of Chi-Sao at 10.00 pm that evening, and without any significant breaks. Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht touched hands with several hundred WT enthusiasts that day, and at all times he took the trouble to correct every mistake and explain every detail in his familiar friendly manner. My Si-Gung Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht demonstrated and indeed e m b o d i e d an unbelievable level of tireless persistence, goal-orientation and professionalism on that day, enabling hundreds of WT students and myself to witness why the EWTO has become the largest professional organisation. I am very proud indeed to be a member of this EWTO family.
I would like to give my grateful thanks to my Si-Gung, Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht, and to all the Sifus and Si-Hings who attended for passing on your enormous knowledge, and also to all those involved in organising and conducting this successful seminar.

With best WT wishes, Günter Holim