Sifu Zopa Gyatso (Fung Gun Gi) has been instructing martial arts for nearly five decades. Sifu specialises in the teaching of the rare Yuen Kay San and the even rarer private family Fung Ga Leung Jan Hok San Koo Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun martial arts systems.
For some of Sifu’s insights into the art of Wing Chun, there are many articles listed on this web site. Members can access many more in the members’ area.
Zopa is a qualified school teacher and psychologist and a Nationally Certified Gung Fu Coach and has acted at one stage as a fitness and strength training adviser to the gym at the University of New England. Being one of the first two persons in Australia to be awarded a black belt grade in Shotokan karate (by Masami Tanaka of the Japan Karate Association), he was the first legitimate karate instructor to conduct karate classes at an Australian university – Macquarie University.
During the same period in his youth as he was learning and later teaching Hong Kong Wing Chun, Zopa trained and attained black belt ranks in several styles of traditional karate under Japanese instructors.
Training & Experience
Zopa originally trained in the Hong Kong version of Wing Chun for approximately twenty five years. He first learnt in the mid 1960s from Choi Siu Chong, private student of Hong Kong instructor Yip Man and Wong Sheung Leung, a top student of Yip’s. Sifu Choi was the first sifu to teach Wing Chun in Australia. Since that time, Zopa has had the opportunity to learn from a number of senior instructors resident in China, Hong Kong, and the United States. He also had the great honour of later learning from the legendary master of Yuen Kay San Wing Chun, Sum Num, as well as from a number of other well-known Wing Chun sifus.
Zopa’s formal academic training and experience, his extensive knowledge of modern sports science and experience as an elite athlete coupled with his esoteric education by senseis, gurus, lamas, and sifus from Japan, Tibet and China have given him a unique experience base from which to develop a complete Wing Chun Kuen gung fu training program. This course takes the student all the way through the basics of self defence and up to the most advanced fighting applications. In this course both the body and mind are trained via cutting edge techniques in developing appropriate neuro-muscular responses and mindsets.
Zopa writes, like he teaches, with a totally disarming logic. He is unlike any contemporary Wing Chun writer. His mind and teachings are the product of a rich multi-cultural background and experience tempered by a truly unique range of educational experiences and qualifications. His insights are those of an imagination moulded and tempered by a blend of both Eastern and Western education and thinking. Involved in depth over decades in Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese cultures, both with respect to his Buddhist philosophy, martial arts and the general cultures Zopa is also a qualified teacher, and psychologist specialised in several areas and has written hundreds of articles on numerous topics related to aspects of management psychology and education.
Zopa takes a refreshing view of Wing Chun freed from any slavish personality cults, marketing myth and the hype tragically so prevalent in commercial gwoons and Wing Chun business empires. He is constantly vehemently impressing that true traditional gung fu can only be learnt in an honest two-way sifu-student relationship as opposed to a commercial transaction. He writes with a passion and conviction born from a position of undoubted mastery of both the pen and his art. Those who love him, and those who may not, do so for a similar reason: he pulls no punches and engages in a straight-forward “no-nonsense” exposition of his art of Mainland Wing Chun. Zopa certainly doesn’t suffer martial arts fools gladly and though polite with them he often also finds himself having to be firm and straightforward with them. Zopa well knows that in today’s commercialised and politicised martial arts world that no-one can please everyone. He chooses to only reveal and teach his art to those Sifu Sum Num referred to as having “noble characters”. Zopa has many times stated that he teaches his Wing Chun solely to “pass down the true art”.
Zopa’s Wing Chun is decidedly not that of the common commercial Western versions. It is a profound error to think that all Wing Chun is the same as that presented publicly in the West. Any similarities between the Wing Chun Zopa passes on and that in popular martial arts media publications are, at best, superficial. Zopa has studied and passes on the traditional Yuen Kay San and Koo Lo Pin Sun systems untainted by Westernisation, commercialism or any populist trends. Agree or disagree with his views, it can’t be disputed that he knows what he is talking about. Zopa can undisputedly “talk the talk” and, as those who train in his art will readily attest, can definitely also “walk the walk”. No authority or fashionable modern trend other than the time-tested traditions of his lineages and his own logic dictate Zopa’s judgments of real world combat sense. In any clash between tradition and logic, Zopa asserts that logic will, and must, always win out. He is always insisting his students look at the art, without mind conditioning, as the founding fathers of Wing Chun would have.
Zopa’s writings on this site, both those in the public area and those in the members’ section, range across an incredible diversity of aspects of Wing Chun and related issues. Some relate to esoteric areas and go into incredibly honest depth. Thought provoking; challenging; informative; and, perhaps even confronting to some, all these articles provide food for thought and often reveal rare information unavailable elsewhere.