Dear Mr Clifton
First, please forgive my lack of English and I hope that this translation passes on my sentiments wholly and accurately.
Unfortunately it is not possible for me to be here tonight, however I would like to thank all of you for this award. My goal is and has always been, to help in some small way to promote and spread Wing Chun to those who wish to learn.
Martial arts are a physical language without barriers. For example Kata's, forms, patterns, whatever each of you calls them are pre-set routines that benefit the individual and do not know race, creed, colour, gender or religion.
That makes them and those who practice them special, for we are learning an international physical language!
Martial artists are a breed of athelete who not only have speed, power and co-ordination, but a deep-seated respect and discipline for themselves and each other. That also makes them special.
At my classes, as at I suspect, all of yours, I have students from all walks of life, from all over the world with little in common, except the desire to learn the same martial art. The commonality provides unity and brother hood.
In short martial arts instructors, Sifu's, Sensei's etc provide an invaluable service on many levels and that is our reward, to be recognised and acknowledged for ding what I enjoy by Combat and infront of such a prestigious audience is the ultimate accolade and one I shall treasure for the rest of my life.
Hall Of Fame 2003
On 25th October, I travelled to Birmingham with my wife Julie, my assistant instructor Mr Gautam & senior student Parvez Sultan as I was invited to get inducted into the Combat magazine "Hall Of Fame 2003".
Combat magazine is the largest martial arts publication that covers most of Europe as well as the U.K, Paul Clifton & the Combat team also produce 'Taekwon-do & Korean Martial Arts' & 'Traditional Karate' magazines.
It was a formal dress event, so we all had to find some tuxedos to look the part, a world away from our doboks I must say!
The award ceremony was held at the Holte Suite at Aston Villa football grounds & was attended by a myriad of martial artists.
The evening started with a plush dinner before the awards were presented. During the course of the evening I was presented with an award for my small contribution to the arts that I love, a nice silver salver with the following inscription:
Combat Hall Of Fame Awards
In recognition of his commitment to gain martial arts practice greater popularity both in the United Kingdom and around the World
Paul Clifton - Editor
During the evening, awards were given & speeches were made. Unfortunately, because of the change of venue, notice to this years awards were shorter than usual and a few people couldn't attend due to prior commitments.
Of those that made it, nice speeches came from the likes of Karate legends Geoff Thompson, Grandmaster Kwang Jo Choi & self protection maestro Jamie O`Keefe.
On the night, a rare sword kata, never before performed outside of Japan was displayed, but for me however, it was a letter from one awardee that I liked best, which you can read below. The letter was from Wing Chum Grandmaster Ip Chun, son of the legendary Yip Chun, whom spoke about all martial arts being a 'universal physical language that removes barriers'. Ip Chun is now 82 and no longer travels, so unfortunately could not make it. Read what he wrote below.
Another notable awardee who couldn`t attend was Grandmaster Ki Ha Rhee. Also present were Karate legend Unel Wellington, Tang Soo Do Master Tony Johnson & fellow IAOMAS instructor Kevin Pell plus guests all the way from Japan.
Pictures from top left:
1. The awards
2. Stuart with Comabt editor Paul Clifton
3. the award
4. The Rayners Lane crew
5. Stuart & Julie
6. Stuart with Unel Wellington
7. In fighting stance with Unel
8. If ya names not on the list, ya not coming in!
9. Stuart with Kevin Pell
10. Ip Chuns letter & Ip Chun