GM Prof. Dr. Oliver König
GM Prof. Dr. Oliver König
9th Grandmaster degree
Co-director of the EWTO
Doctor of Sport Pedagogy
National Instructor Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia
For me, WT is philosophy in motion. It is simple and complex. It is effective martial art and ChiKung. It is hard and soft, Yin and Yang. I find with WT the middle, the balance, not only in the fight, but also in life!
Why did you start with WingTsun/Escrima?
As a teenager, my main focus was on self-defense. I was good at rhetoric, but in arguments my classmates usually went to the physical phase and I got the short end of the stick. So I started with karate at the age of 13 and finally ended up with WingTsun at the age of 16, which has captivated me ever since.
Why are you still doing WingTsun/Escrima?
WingTsun is my life. It is more than a profession, rather a vocation. I have found a second family in the EWTO, with SiFu as a father figure and mentor and with my colleagues, with some of whom I have a truly brotherly relationship.
Thus, for me, the traditional concept of WingTsun is much more than an Asian myth or a thoughtlessly adopted way of behaving. WingTsun has constantly changed and grown over time through many innovations, and that makes it all the more interesting to me. For me, life also means constant growth, because as in nature, there would only be a choice between growth or death.
What was your most outstanding WingTsun experience?
There are many, because I have been doing WT for about 35 years. Some things have been memorized over the years. For example, when I took my 5th student grade exam, a stress test in the form of a so-called circle defense was on the exam schedule. At that time this was one of the hardest exams. I was proud that I “survived” the test; because whoever was not good enough conditionally and militantly, was driven by SiFu over further rounds, and at some point one failed then mostly conditionally …
In 1996, I traveled with a team under GM Leung Ting – including GM Giuseppe Schembri – to Loudi, China, to teach WingTsun in one of the largest kungfu schools in the country. We had a queasy feeling as we were intensely scrutinized by hundreds of students dressed in Bruce Lee movie garb. I thought to myself at the time, “How can we as Westerners show them anything? They made this thing up, didn’t they?” But we were extremely successful! Especially with our Western teaching methods, we were able to inspire the students.
What changes for you when you received the 1st HG or 5th MG? What was it like when you were appointed Grandmaster?
The 1st HG was something very exclusive at that time. There were only a few higher degrees and the examination was extremely hard. I was one of the youngest candidates at that time and had to make a special effort, because it was not usual that someone grew so young beyond the student grades. The exam was not only about technique, but SiFu also tested the fighting ability. So I had to compete against a colleague in protective equipment (including a helmet with a grille). I can still remember the exam, which took place in the ballroom of Langenzell Castle. I was so nervous that when SiFu said, “Greetings!”, I already started and punched my opponent. Before SiFu could intervene, I had already pushed him back several meters!
To become a master in WingTsun is first quite far away. But at some point, you do get to put on the red T-shirt. Of course, at that time I was very proud to become WT master, and it felt like the culmination of many years of learning and teaching. Looking back, however, it was only a stopover on the way to ever new shores.
The appointment as Grandmaster of WingTsun was for me a huge milestone in my WingTsun career. Even if the 9th GM degree is called “MOA – Man of Arrival” – so, you are someone who arrives – it does not mean for me to stop developing! My path continues – both in WT and in life as a whole! WT is for me a philosophy of constant growth and it has never been so much fun as just at this time!
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