Sihing Garret Brumfield – 2nd Level Wing Chun Instructor
Sihing Garret Brumfield started training in boxing in Montgomery, Alabama in 1995 while in college but the bulk of training and fighting was done in local gyms in San Diego, California and across the border in Mexico in pick-up fights. This is where we would go to local and out of state gyms and see who had fights and we use to do 3 (3.5 minute fights) rounds. The one in San Diego, California especially is where every weekend you could have a fight, you would sign up and they would pair you up via your size and weight class (at the time I was 5′ 9” at 160lbs). Every weekend I would win my fights within my size and weight class and every weekend they would try to pair me up with someone bigger then the week before. It was until they paired me up with someone much bigger and stronger that I started having trouble, it wasn’t that they had the right skills it was usually just the fact that they were so much bigger than I was. After that I moved to Tampa and I worked on my footwork and hand speed for another 4 years. I spent a total of 8 years training in Boxing and then I first heard about Wing Chun in 1994 after watching the actual movie “Wing Chun” starring Michelle Yeoh. I thought it was just a movie about kung fu and didn’t think it was an actual style of martial arts.
After coming to Tampa in 2000 I did some research on Kung Fu studios in the area (tampa kung fu, tampa wing chun kung fu, etc.) and I saw Grandmaster Swifts studio and a Shaolin Kung Fu in Tampa as well. At that time I didn’t have the finances to train in any formal Kung Fu. After getting my finiaces together I started looking at kung fu studio’s again in 2008. This time I saw several schools in Oldsmar/Saint Petersburg and Sifu Justin Och’s school in Lakeland Florida. At that time I called many studios and they said they did Wing Chun and I was trying to get a feeling for the instructor. At the time I called Grandmaster Swift he spoke about other instructors even under his own certification and tutelage as “not knowing”. I felt that if Grandmaster Swift was speaking down about every person who reached instructor level under him and put 8-10+ years of dedication in, how would it be for me after spend 8 to 10 years with him? After having a few conversations with both Grandmaster Swift, several Wing Chun instructors in the area and Sifu Justin Och I felt that my training would flourish under Sifu Och’s guidance. Sifu Och talked highly of all instruction in Wing Chun and spoke highly of Grandmaster Swift as well. Sifu Och said it is the dedication of the Instructor to his students development and how hard he/she is willing to push themselves that makes those around him/her great. Sifu Och invited me down for a few classes, my first class was easy and I though “man Wing Chun is going to be easy” . What I didn’t realize was that it was a YIN night, which meant soft relaxed techniques and sensitivity drills. It wasn’t until the following classes (starting that monday) that I noticed what YANG meant. Sifu Och has some hardcore workouts that will push you up and beyond your limits. Even today I find his workouts challenging. In May of 2008 I joined the Sifu Och school and it was then I realized that my body has to be in shape to be able to do the rigorous training that Wing Chun demands. Since then I have been very health conscious and trying to keep myself in shape as my training in Wing Chun progresses. Not only has Wing Chun put in the best shape I’ve been in but everywhere that I go by myself of with others I am confident that if my life or theirs is put into danger, I would be able to defend myself and get out of a life-threatening situation.
Wing Chun has improved my boxing but I feel now like my boxing was one dimensional, it was good against one person or for a sport ring. But I feel like back then if I had gotten into a fight outside of the ring with a larger opponent or multiple people I would have been beaten easily. Where as now it doesn’t matter if a person is bigger than I am, or two people, with the knowledge I now possess in Wing Chun I know that I can defeat that person or person’s much easier. Wing Chun has no bounds in what you may learn or how you can apply them in a life-threatening situation. In Boxing you have your crosses, you have your uppercuts and jabs, where as in Wing Chun you have so many fighting combinations to stop one opponent or many on the streets or in my home.
Recently I did sparring against a high level 20 year black belt in Tae Kwon Do, At the time I didn’t know he was that proficient in his previous martial arts, everything he threw at me I was able to deflect and punch him several times before he was even able to get off another attack. I easily shut him down with every movement and strike he made. Because of the speed at which we were both going at I honestly don’t remember what he threw, I just remember striking his center and his face. With the controls I have in Wing Chun I would show him I could shut him down without having to knock him out or to the ground, he was to say the least extremely surprised. At this point I had only been training in Wing Chun for 3.5 (three and a half) years and he was astonished, but he did not want to start over and said he ran his own school.
Another instance where I had to use the Wing Chun and shut someone down was a guy who I met and had numerous years of training in Kung Fu since he was little. This guy was much taller and bigger than me about 6′ 2” and 240lbs and was 5′ 11” at 199lbs. He told me that he had been training for over 18 years in Kung Fu, Karate, and Caperoria. He seemed very cordial and friendly before our match, which I thought was friendly contest. I asked him how fast he want to take this and and he responded with “slow”. The moment our sparring session began he started striking at me very aggressively. I immediately reacted with defense structuring and techniques out of Wing Chun, as his surprise attack nearly hit me in the face several times. It was then I realized that I couldn’t fight him face to face and I had to attack and take his sides. He did not stop, he kept pressure and attacks at me and I got closer and closer, invading his space and striking his middle. He made the unknowing mistake of opening up his middle as he hook punched me. I forearm blocked (tan sau) his incoming strike and the strength of his punch charged and directed my centerline strike towards his face. As he pulled to do another strike I hit him in squarely in the mouth knocking his front tooth out. He dropped backwards and I asked him if he was ok, he bowed and I directed him towards the closest bathroom. I invited him to my school to train but it was the first and last time I ever saw him again.
I am now a Tampa Wing Chun kung fu instructor for Sifu Och I have travelled down to Lakeland, Florida for years and will continue to do so in order to gain, rise and achieve in this amazing martial art and to help Sifu Och and his school succeed. Sifu Och is more than my Teacher and I look forward to helping him and every student under him achieve and get to the next level of self defense in lakeland florida.
Sihing Garret Brumfield
Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu – Tampa Wing Chun Kung Fu Instructor