EWTO – European WingTsun Organisation
The EWTO has stood for high-quality instructor training since 1976
The European WingTsun Organisation (EWTO) has had three key purposes since its foundation in Kiel in 1976:
- Constant updating and further development of WingTsun technical skills and theory
- An institutionalised umbrella organisation for all European WT students and instructors
- External representation of WingTsun
The European WingTsun Organisation was founded by Keith R. Kernspecht as an umbrella organisation for the dissemination and practice of WingTsun – a previously completely unknown Chinese martial arts system - in Europe.
In 1975 Keith Kernspecht made the acquaintance of GM Leung Ting, the world's most highly graded WT master, and in 1976 invited him to give his first public WT demonstration in Germany and several other European countries (Denmark, England, Italy, Spain etc.). Following a period of intensive training in Europe and China, having been a teacher of several Asian martial arts styles and also having learned the Wing Chun of Dr. Leung Jan from Chinese masters for over five years, Kernspecht was awarded the 10th WT master grade by Leung Ting in 2000. This made Kernspecht the world's most highly graded WT master next to Leung Ting.
The EWTO set itself very high quality standards from the very start, as WT training throughout Europe was to be at the same, high level. The development and implementation of a uniform grading and examination system enabled this goal to be achieved: each year several hundred EWTO seminars are held to ensure quality and adapt the technical aspects to changing requirements.
The EWTO has registered the trademark "WT" on a Europe-wide basis, and continually monitors this legal protection.
Students absolve a training programme from the first to the twelfth student grade, which takes between two and four years depending on training intensity. There are now several tens of thousands of WingTsun students throughout Europe. The proportion of female students varies between 20 and 50 % from school to school.
Having relocated the headquarters of the EWTO from Kiel to Heidelberg in 1980, Grandmaster Kernspecht founded the EWTO Instructor Academy there. 90% of European instructors received their training at the Academy.
From 1982 to 2009 the Academy had its home in the attractive surroundings of Langenzell Castle near Heidelberg.
After almost three decades in Langenzell Castle, the EWTO Instructor Academy returned to Heidelberg, and EWTO headquarters have been back in Heidelberg since February 2010. An entire floor of the listed "Landfried" building complex was converted to meet all the requirements of a modern training and administration headquarters, with a particular focus on light, transparency and aesthetic functionality.
To support its training activities the EWTO publishing section produces seminal specialist books and film material. For example, the German version of GM Leung Ting's "Wing Tsun Kuen" is now in its 19th edition and has been translated into six other languages. Kernspecht's book "On Single Combat" has long been seen as required martial arts reading by professionals, and the German version is now (2012) in its 17th edition.
In his "BlitzDefence" series the martial arts professor was the first to examine and explain the phenomenon of "ritual combat" between men.
The EWTO not only gives advice and support to all the European national instructors, but also to their colleagues on other continents. Everything comes together in the EWTO offices in Heidelberg, e.g. advisory support and backup for all the WT school owners, instructors and students.
The modern, market-oriented approach of the EWTO is also reflected in its institutionalised internal communication. Regular instructor and school-owner circulars provide information on training events and current topics. The annual EWTO magazine "WingTsun World" provides all students with an overview of the association's activities. Articles about events within the EWTO are also published throughout the year at "WingTsun World online" (www.ewto.com or www.wingtsunwelt.com).
The EWTO department for marketing and public relations provides marketing tools and advertising material, and coordinates all supra-regional WT activities to the public.
The EWTO's mail-order department supplies all schools and students with training uniforms, equipment and WT accessories.