A milestone in the Detroit Kung Fu Academy’s history has been passed – ten years of growth and development of Ving Tsun (wing chun) Kung Fu in Michigan has laid the foundation for a century more.
The Detroit school was founded in 2006 by Grandmaster Owen Matson, and has grown steadily ever since, with a currently active student body of around a hundred students. From the beginning, Matson been dedicated to training and teaching authentic Ving Tsun Kung Fu and maintaining the right relationships with those above him in his lineage – his sifu, Grandmaster Rob Squatrito (Moy Yat Tung), his sigung, Grandmaster Moy Tung, and the Moy Yat family in New York – and he credits this for his success.
Training and celebration events for the anniversary went on from June 3-13 – two weekends and the week in between. Ving Tsun guys always train hard, and even harder during special events like this – Over 50 hours of training was made available, with many doing all of it. With the solid participation by Detroit students, and with visitors from thirteen different US cities, there were over 100 participants in the workshops, banquet and other kung fu life events. Sifus and students came from the branches in Richmond, VA; Chesterfield, VA; Virginia Beach, VA; Austin, TX; Iowa City, IA; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; Portland, ME, and from Charlottesville, VA; Minneapolis, MN and Chicago, IL. Grandmaster Matson’s sifu, Grandmaster Moy Yat Tung, and his sifu, Grandmaster Moy Tung, honored the event with their attendance, and were toasted at the banquet Saturday night, June 11.
Asked to reflect on the past ten years and the years to come, Matson commented that the group photos for the Academy’s 2006 grand-opening and this ten-year anniversary show many of the same people, meaning they’ve been training together for a decade or more. These photos (below) include Matson’s earliest kung fu students, as well as his kung fu brothers and uncles, his sifu and sigung. He noted that doing anything consistently for ten years is a breakthrough achievement – even more so when the pursuit is something as challenging and powerful as Ving Tsun Kung Fu. He further observed that Grandmaster Moy Tung and his disciples Grandmaster Rob Squatrito and Grandmaster Marcus Evans (also in attendance) have maintained a good working relationship for three decades – a testimony to the value of the kung fu and the strength of relationships in the Ving Tsun system
Detroit students completed numerous renovations to the building in time for the anniversary and Grandmaster Matson renewed his lease of the 8000-square foot training space for ten years, acts that also signify the school’s commitment to the future of Moy Tung Ving Tsun Kung Fu in Detroit. With the foundation that’s been laid and the power of the kung fu that’s been developed, it will be significant, but unsurprising, when the school’s anniversary is celebrated in 100 years.