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Interview with Stefan Kunev – Part 2

This is the sequel to the first part of the interview with Stefan Kunev published in the IBA Blog, which you can read HERE.

In the second part of the interview with the master of Ving Tsun, Stefan Kunev introduces us to the medalists of the tournament he took part in. He also tells us how practicing martial arts can effectively help us get rid of work stress.

6 / Is Ving Tsun a commonly trained sport around the world? In which countries is it practiced the most?

Ving Tsun is one of the most widespread martial arts today. About 3 million people practice it around the world. After IP Man, Ving Tsun multiplied into dozens of mouvements (which is normal given the individuality of each teacher and his ways to pass on his knowledge). Besides the IP Man line, there are also the  Vietnamese Ving Tsun, Shaolin Ving Tsun, Continental Ving Tsun, different family styles such as Pan Nam Ving Tsun, Gu Lao Ving Tsun and many more.

In general, the world’s largest centers are in Hong Kong, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, France.

I am sure you noticed this list is missing China, but this is understandable because after Mao’s “cultural revolution” in China, there are simply not that many living masters of Kung Fu. Only during the past 15-20 years Ving Tsun has returned to his homeland.

7 / You recently won а World Championship – tell us a little bit more. What was your advantage to win this extraordinary prize?

There are many organisations in the world of martial arts. Quite often, a style (Taekwondo, for example) has more than one world organisation. Under the auspices of each organisation, championships are held (city, regional, republican, continental and world). For this reason, I have no idea since when there are world championships of Ving Tsun, but I guess they started after 2010.

14_ENThe uniqueness of the World Championship, during which we presented Bulgariathis year, is that under the auspices of WTKA (organiser of the event) 38 World Martial Arts Organisations were united, there were 5000 participants (according to organiser’s official data) from 86 countries. The World Championship itself was just part of an even bigger event – the Oriental Festival, which took place in Carrarafiere , Italy from 30 October to 4 November. The whole event ground stretched to 45,000 square feet.

The organisation was incredible! There was everything from the dances and songs of the peoples, through the treasures of Sesam, to the build replicas of temples of all religions and faiths.

The United World Cup took place within 4 days, on 27 gaming fields, three rings (octagon) and a myriad of fields for the training of the contestants.

Bulgaria was represented by Jet Varna Sports Club (which won a silver medal for women and a bronze medal for men in a new and very attractive discipline) and by Ving Tsun Kung Fu Club Beimo.

Our club, which represented the Bulgarian Federation of Kung Fu and Tai Chi, was represented by four athletes:

  1. Alexander Gerzhev – World Champion of Ving Tsun from 35 to 45 years old bracket, silver medal of arms and bronze medal in Sanda 85 kg bracket.
  2. Denis Ognianov – Silver medal at Ving Tsun in the 18 to 35 years bracket, bronze medal in Sanda (85 kg bracket)
  3. Krasen Kiriakov (direct descendant of Captain Petko Voivoda) – Silver medal in Ving Tsun in the 35 to 45 years old bracket.
  4. Stefan Kunev – World Champion of Ving Tsun in the category of Masters, bronze medal in open category for masters of all styles of short arms.

The criterias for participation are many: age, sex, kilograms, and, in my case, I competed only in the master disciplines (where the only requirement is to be a master).

We can’t talk about advantages, but what helped me and my boys may have been the hard workouts, Sifu David Peterson’s  long years of guidance(chief instructor in our club and my Ving Tsun teacher) and a great deal of luck. Essentially, we were pleased with the fact that we can participate in this unique event, and we have not even thought about the titles and medals. But, in the end, they are a fact, and we are happy to have successfully represented Bulgaria and our club, of course.

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8 / How can Ving Tsun help business people and in what ways?

Business, regardless of the field, is a dynamic environment which requires people to have a lot of concentration, employability, adequacy, quick problem solving skills and trust in one’s individual actions. Of course, every business has individual requirements for its employees, but I think what I mentioned above is common to all.

Ving Tsun Kung Fu is a fighting system that has developed beyond the generally accepted martial arts framework.

The main motto is: simple, direct, efficient.

Our help for each type of business can be aimed at improving the efficiency of each employee individually, and in general, on bringing together the team and improving teamwork flow. By practicing Ving Tsun in relatively short terms, the following positive effects can be achieved:

1/  By regular practice, people gradually strengthen their physical condition, definitely become more flexible, and hence are less susceptible to illness or accidents.

2/  By practicing the specific Chi Sao method, skills such as coordination, response speed, making fast right decisions are developed.

3/ Practicing Ving Tsun leads to a drop of stress levels as well as aggressive behavior (our practice engages all the attention and removes any other thought, and the practice itself is sufficient as an exercise to make  you calm and relaxed)

4/ Ving Tsun teaches us to do everything in our everyday life in the simplest way, to find the most direct approach to solving tasks of any kind, and ultimately to seek the maximum effect of the decisions made.

5/ The practice not only of Ving Tsun, but of every martial art, leads to the gradual accumulation of confidence in our own capabilities, which makes us more effective in our work and everyday life activities.

9 / Do you already have that type of groups or have you ever been thinking about doing trainings of teams, like a corporate training? How can trainings of this type help a team, or  a company?

This question is spot on!  In recent years, many companies have taken different steps in this direction. They created separated  room for their employees’ rest, provided cards for free use of various sports activities. That’s all good, but to do corporate training of Ving Chun, a company needs something else. First of all, a hall that is either in the building of the company itself or right next to it. Secondly, the time it takes to train Ving Tsun is at least 1 hour, at least three days a week, for at least one year. For such a project companies should provide the appropriate budget, convenient location and assure the presence of their employees.

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The benefits are the same as I said earlier: gaining confidence in actions, making quick decisions, improving employee health, teamwork, enhanced working capacity.

10) What do you say to someone you want to attract to Ving Tsun?

Honestly, I never try to attract people. We are not a trade company, but a martial arts club. If someone wants to come and train, he must have come to the conclusion that there is a need for development in that direction.

The first question I ask is whether they have ever trained martial arts and the second whether they have visited other Ving Tsun schools. If they tell me they are not, I always advise them to do so. In my view, coincidence should not be a factor when choosing a teacher (because this may be a solution for years to come). If after that they come back to me, then, let’s go together along the way – TAO of Ving Tsun Kung Fu.

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