Tea for Sifu

Tea for Sifu by Lawrence Ramirez Sifu

My Sifu is no different than a great many Sifu I would imagine, whom love a hot cup of tea intermittently throughout the day.

Well throughout the six years I had trained with my Sifu, every session would include a cup of tea at some point, either upon arrival, during a break or maybe after the session with a tale of our Sihing or Sigung from years gone by.

You could imagine at Holiday time or upon a birthday celebration, there would no doubt be a gift for Sifu of a rare or exotic tea in a fancy tin given at some point right. Well yes that did happen, and more often than just at a holiday. So a great many years go by and a very impressive collection of teas from around the world had passed through the Kwoon’s door, with Sifu always graciously thankful and welcoming the giftor with a cup of delicious hot tea.

It had been many years that I had been through the Kwoon’s doors after moving out of state and during a particular family visit I was blessed with the time to see my Sifu, I looked forward to talking story with him and sharing a cup of tea, and yes I did bring a fancy tin of exotic tea as a gift for my Sifu.

As we sat down to begin our visit with two cups of fresh hot tea, my Sifu began to tell me how much he appreciated everyone whom would bring so many fancy teas from all over the world as a gift all these years.

Sifu told me how the gift teas were always greatly appreciated because as you can imagine a great many students over a few years could sip down quite a bit of tea, and that after all these years he still prefers to drink only plain old Lipton…



A Cultivation of Wing Chun Kung Fu


Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez Sifu and Lawrence “Shi Kuen” Ramirez at Orange County Wing Chun Association, in Lake Forest, California.

As my Sifu Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez says “The Tao of Wing Chun is a long path… Orange County Wing Chun Association (OCWingChun), Est. 1979 http://www.wingchunassoc.com

A Cultivation of Wing Chun Kung Fu by Lawrence Ramirez Sifu

The path I took in developing my Kung Fu was indeed a long path. I was a product of the permissive society of the seventies, and found great delight in evening TV shows with the family. As the TV dramas unfolded, my friends and I as children acted out our favorite shows as was our duty. It also might have been due to the fact that cell phones, internet and video games would not be invented for another few decades. At any rate one of our earliest of heroes in the streets had to be of course James Tiberius Kirk from Star Trek.Because of all his fight scenes he was the obvious first choice, and it was a great honor to get the role of Kirk among your friends. But like the saying goes change is inevitable. Summers pass and heroes fade, well some heroes fade. In the same year there was another series airing which starred a relatively unknown Actor martial artist from Hong Kong by the name of Lee Jun Fan, or to you and me Sigung Bruce Lee.

Enter, “the Dragon”- influence- that is. Martial Arts had come out of the shadows and were on the Big Screen with Sigung  Lee Jun Fan shining bright in the spotlight. And if that were not enough we could always get the reruns of Green Hornet airing. Martial Arts had broken out of the shadows and Dojos were popping up in every City in the US. Now that was good and feeding my interest, but it wasnt until February 22, 1972 then again in August of 1973 that I sipped of the cup from which I would forevermore thirst.

In February of 1972, ABC released a Movie of the Week Miniseries called “Kung Fu” that starred David and Keith Carridine as “Kwai Chang Caine” a Shaolin Monk traveling through the untamed West searching for his half-brother Daniel Caine. This for me was a game changer. Kung Fu, the fluid movement and powerful attacks Caine threw at those cowboys were amazing! I couldn’t miss an episode.

Then in less than a year three powerful events struck and shook the martial arts world to its core. In December of 1972 Bruce Lee lost his Sifu (martial arts teacher), Grandmaster Yip Man, a Master of Wing Chun Kung Fu. At this time in American only a few people had known of this tragic loss and how it had to of no doubt troubled Lee Jun Fan deeply. At this same time he was in Hong Kong filming a movie that would skyrocket him to fame, but this film would be released six days after the Star of Film and Master of the Martial Arts would die. Lee Jun Fan, aka Bruce Lee died on July 20th 1973, his Hallmark Epic film Enter The Dragon was released in Hong Kong on July 26th 1973.

Chinese Martial Arts had gripped American Cinema, and the imaginations of millions within a year of Lee’s passing, and it would build and grow exponentially, by previously unseen proportions. The American theaters didn’t get the film till one year after its release but those in the know, had seen it and were already spreading the word of its supreme Martial Arts action and its “Extraordinary” lead actor.

Within this world of cinematic martial action it was hard not to follow its enticing lead. In almost every city around the US Chinese Martial Arts Schools or Kwoons started opening, and the Master, Sifus already here in the United State started sharing the Way, America and I were following.

For most  Middle,  High school aged kids of Native American, Latino, also people of African and Chinese descent growing up in Orange County provided challenges. Racism still existed. The fact that Bruce Lee changed his name as he tried to break in to Hollywood, solidified this. But this great film started something wonderful, it took down a barrier that shadowed Chinese Martial Arts and its culture for many years. Karate, Judo and Taekwondo held its place here in the States for nearly a decade but as Enter The Dragon made its Big Screen debut, this “closed-door” had been blown off its proverbial hinges.

It was during this same period in time that my Sigung Robert ‘Yeung Biu” Yeung, after getting blessings from Ip Man to teach and open a kwoon moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to do just that. He established the Hawaii Wing Chun Kung Fu Association in 1972.  Robert ‘Yeung Biu” Yeung had been taugh specificly from Master Wong Long Ching and Late Masters, Wong Shun Leung, and Wong Tsok. During the years that follow there were changes in location and growth of the Wing Chun Association in Hawaii.  Notable Sifu’s from this kwoon  are too numerous to mention but listed here are, Bob Tome, Bobby Cheng, Donald Li, George Asato, Richard Wong, Lawrence Miyashiro, Rodney Lam, Art Kodani, John Divirgillio, Jame Sweet, Randy Sanches, James Tanaka, Wayde Ching, Marco Rivera,  Embrey Williams, Thomas Perry, Gary Yokoyama, Mike Koenig,  Ed Dumancas, and one other notable Sifu, Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez.

Late Grandmaster Robert Yeung and Bob Tome

Late Master Robert Yeung Founder of The Hawaii Wing Chun Kung Fu Association

Late Master Robert Yeung Founder of The Hawaii Wing Chun Kung Fu Association

My Sifu, Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez, Captain US Army (Retired), Branched Infantry, and Military Intelligence; Viet Nam Combat Veteran, with Recon Ranger, and Special Forces duty,  started studies with Yeung Biu’s Hawaii Wing Chun Association in 1977. After serving his country and being injured in paratroop exercise that would ended his military career and almost took his life,  “Bak Fu Sifu” Started teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu in 1979.  The Orange County Wing Chun Association was founded in 1979 and is still located in Lake Forest,  Orange County, California. I myself had met Sifu Bak Fu in 1994, 95 during a time where our daughters attended the same grade school. I had no idea this meeting “Bak Fu” was such an auspicious occasion, and again a game changer for me.

Orange County Wing Chun Kung Fu Association

Orange County Wing Chun Kung Fu Association

At the time I had grand design to move to Hawaii and take a break from the hustle and, well mostly hustle of Orange County life. Keeping up with the OC is taxing to your mental health and pocketbook. To make it you need to be on a freeway at 5am to make it to a destination five miles away at 7am. I still have family and friends that make the daily pilgrimage, and I still feel for them. And I did just that in 1995 I moved to Kailua Kona, Hawaii where I took up concrete construction as a trade, and surfed and read Buddhist Text as a hobby. Growing two young girls is a hard job for a family let alone a single man so after several years of living Island style I packed it up and moved back to the OC. It was a change of local for my family, but little did I know how much that move would change me.

It was early September 2001 and I had just finished a move for my family that included two trips back to Hawaii. I had my daughters renrolled at the same school they attended some five years before and I was lying on the living room couch watching the news when it happened. 9/11/2001 US Attacked. I was in disbelief, total denial. I count fathom what was happening before my eyes, I watched the news for the next hour changing every channel making calls and worrying about my girls at school. Well after it was established that the East Coast was targeted and the rest of America was spared the terror of warfare, I picked up my children from school and continued on with life as we all did.

It was during these  seemingly mundane days after I returned to Orange County that Bak Fu’s daughter Lisa had again struck up friendship with my girls at school, and days of pool party PTA meetings and sleepovers ensued with Alan picking up all the girls and taking them to his house or I picking them up and them dropping off, but there was another element that was inherent in these days of fun and childhood play. Sifu Bak Fu held Wing Chun Kung Fu class daily at his home kwoon, so the girls would not only get pooltime playtime, but also kid class Kung Fu time. I Alan suggest I come a to a session when I can and after a time I took in his offer and showed up to a session. My Daughters and I attended Orange County Wing Chun Association for the next 6 years as time allowed and we all progressed through the ranks. As we changed and grew in spirit and as our Kung Fu was cultivated and manifested within. I am proud of my daughters Iliana, Rachel Ramirez, and Lisa Vasquez. They are all responsible adults attending college in California and Hawaii. At current Rachel Ramirez holds a Blue Shirt Advanced Student position, Iliana and Lisa are both Black Shirt Certified Instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Lawrence Ramirez OC Wing Chun Association 2001

Lawrence Ramirez OC Wing Chun Association 2001

Iliana Ramirez and Sean Kenmore Chisao  2002

Iliana Ramirez and Sean Kenmore Chisao 2002

OC Wing Chun Association teaching at Balleys, in Orange  County, CA. 2004

OC Wing Chun Association teaching at Balleys, in Orange County, CA. 2004

Lawrence Ramirez Sifu of Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association Founded 2005

Lawrence Ramirez Sifu of Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association Founded 2005

At present Pacific Wing Chun Association has classes in Kailua Kona, and Waikoloa on the Big Island weekly, holds seminars and has welcomed several guest Sifu and Master Martial Artists from Around the World. Some honorific guests include: Sifu John Di Virgillio of Hawaii Wing Chun Association, Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez Sifu of Orange County Wing Chun Association, Screenwriter of Forbidden Kingdom, Actor, Martial Artist, John Fusco. Master Kung Fu, Martial Artist Lucky Shaffer. Greco Wong Wing Chun Association Member Scott Cannam, and Cameron Ameri association member of Wing Chun Kali Systems of Houston Texas. The list keeps growing as does our Association.

John Fusco, and Eugene Tagawa Sifu , Pacific Wing Chun Association

John Fusco, and Eugene Tagawa Sifu , Pacific Wing Chun Association

Kempo Karate. Kung Fu Master Lucky Shaffer

Kempo Karate. Kung Fu Master Lucky Shaffer


Silat Master Paul joins Pacific Wing Chun Association

Camreron Ameri of Wing Chun Kali Systems joins Pacific Wing Chun Association

Camreron Ameri of Wing Chun Kali Systems joins Pacific Wing Chun Association

Bak Fu Sifu and Eric Aurello

Bak Fu Sifu and Eric Aurello

John Di Virgillio Sifu and Eric Aurello

John Di Virgillio Sifu and Eric Aurello


Bak Fu Sifu and Wylie Chen


Bak Fu Sifu, Sil Nim Tao


John Divirgillio Sifu Mook Yan Jong


Scott Cannam at Pacific Wng Chun Association

Understanding The Manifestation of Qi

shikuen1Understanding The Manifestation of Qi

By Sifu Lawrence Ramirez

Chi Kung or Qi gong can be described as the art of developing vital energy. Throughout ancient China, people believed that through certain exercise, meditation and, various breathing technique, they could control and enhance their physical, as well as mental, development.

Chi Kung may be classified into many different types, and may be used, or practiced for a variety of reasons. The elderly or sick may use a certain group of Chi Kung exercises for keeping up and regaining their strength. Some may utilize Chi Kung exercises that develop stamina, and power for combat efficiency. At the other end of the spectrum one may use Chi Kung exercise for spiritual development.

The many different Chi Kung exercises, may be grouped into three basic elements; Body, or the form aspect which regulates body promoting health and fitness, Breath, or the energy aspect which through breathing can result in the increase of harmonious flow of vital energy throughout the body, and Heart, or the mind aspect that refers to mind control, and expansion. Understanding that these three elements comprise the whole, is key to the development, or manifestation of Qi.

If Chi Kung is studied along with a martial art as to further develop internal power, this type of Chi will become an integral piece, or portion of the art, in that it will develop as part of the art. This natural progression, or manifestation of Qi, will develop as the art develops as long as the correlation between the basic three elements, Body, Breath, and Heart, or Mind are understood, and nurtured by the martial artist.

Chi Kung is widely accepted, and has been utilized in Chinese medicine since ancient times as an effective way of treating patients for a variety of afflictions. Chinese medicine utilizes herbalism, massage therapy, acupuncture, and Chi Kung as a therapeutic way to produce the harmonious flow of Qi through the patient. By developing Qi and keeping this flow of vital energy within our bodies, we will be fit, and our bodies strong into our old age. This fundamental principle of Chinese Medicine cannot be measured by Western medical viewpoints.

In studying Chi Kung the practitioner not only has the benefit of a calm mind, increased stamina, and internal energy, but after many years of practice the trained mind will be tranquil, and at peace. This peace, and tranquility leads to spiritual fulfillment, the ultimate goal of humanity.

For downloadable format of these articles click on the links below:

http://www.freewebs.com/lawr63/Control of Centerline.doc

http://www.freewebs.com/lawr63/Understanding the Manifestation of Chi.doc

Control of Centerline

Control of Centerline By Sifu Lawrence Ramirez

Why is control of centerline so important?

In Wing Chun Kung Fu the most fundamental of principals are correct posture, hand technique, the bridging to, and redirection of your opponents force, also the proper application of these principle. The principles, and techniques are important, but we must also keep in mind, that the maintaining control of centerline is key to controlling your opponent?s movement, and his ultimate defeat.

We as children have tried to balance upon a beach ball only to have been thrown off to one side, or the other. Imagine that your centerline is like that ball; nothing must stay within its path, your opponent being redirected off to one side or the other, to gain an advantageous position for strikes, and to obtain complete control of your opponent.

We may have come to a situation that has a limb pinned by the opponent, but with correct posture, proper hand technique, and redirection of your opponents force we may regain centerline advantage for control, and ultimately the defeat your opponent.

Your opponent may press hard into your space, but accepting this force, redirecting it, and letting it pass by, we may again gain centerline advantage, advantageous position for strikes, and the control of your opponent.

If your opponent retreats, we must follow, re-bridge, and again gain centerline control in an unrelenting fashion to be victorious.

These principle and technique are key to controlling centerline, and your opponent?s movement. Maintaining control of your opponent?s movement, and centerline is crucial if we are to be on the winning side.

“To engage in physical violence is wrong, but if I must, I want be to be on the winning side.”

Quote by Sifu Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez Orange County Wing Chun Kung fu Association, California.

For downloadable format of these articles click on the links below:

http://www.freewebs.com/lawr63/Control of Centerline.doc

http://www.freewebs.com/lawr63/Understanding the Manifestation of Chi.doc