Atlantic Warriors Hosts Sifu Ben Der for a History-Making, Phenomenal Wing Chun Kung Fu Seminar in Jacksonville, Florida

Over 50 years ago in Hong Kong, Sifu Ben Der began his journey on the wing chun path. As a teenager, he would walk to Ip Man's school to train in his beloved wing chun kung fu. At that time, he was attending St. Francis Xavier school, and was friends with Hawkins Cheung, and Bruce Lee. Soon after this time, all three of them would come to America. Sifu Ben said, that when he and Bruce first came to the United States they both originally lived on Jackson Street in San Francisco, and being friends and prior classmates, would often touch hands, and chi sao in Bruce's apartment.
Ben Der then moved to Tampa, Florida and attended Jefferson High School while living with his father. Sifu Ben said that since he had no one to train with while in Tampa, he would find creative ways to train his wing chun. Everyday, for hours, he would do the wing chun sets, and practice the techniques on whatever he could find. After leaving Jefferson High School, Ben moved back to San Francisco. He immediately tried to find his friend Bruce, but Bruce Lee had already moved to Seattle, Washington. However, Ben was able to keep in contact with his other childhood friend, Hawkins Cheung. To this day, Sifu Ben Der, and Sifu Hawkins Cheung remain good friends, and have regular contact with each other. Most recently, Sifu Hawkins Cheung attended Sifu Ben Ders 70th birthday celebration in California.
In 1968, Ben Der was introduced to Kenneth Chung. They met and had some lunch, but after about 5 minutes, Ben said, Kenneth Chung wanted to touch hands. So, Kenneth Chung (Chung Maanin), who had just arrived in San Francisco from Leung Sheung's wing chun school in Hong Kong, and Ben went outside to workout. After some friendly chi sao, poon sao, and gor sao,  Ben said that Ken's skill was of a very high level. In fact, Sifu Ben told me that after touching Ken's hands he knew he had found his new wing chun teacher. As a result, Ben asked Kenneth Chung if he would take himself and the students that Ben had been teaching, as his students. Ken agreed, and the rest is history. Ben and Ken have been inseparable ever since. In fact, Ben Der found their first school location in Chinatown, and Ken would come to teach.
A few years later, in 1972, Ben Der began to teach again. He and his family moved to the south Bay area of San Jose, California, where he established San Jose Wing Chun. Sifu Ben Der said that his earliest students were Sandy Wong, and Steve Wong, which still train with him to this day. Another early student in Sifu Ben Der's first generation group was Ken Werner. Sifu Ben describes Ken Werner as a very smart, and highly intellectual student, who trained very diligently. Ken Werner attained a very high level of skill under Sifu Ben Der's tutelage. After many years of wing chun training, Ken Werner moved to Florida. In 1978, Ken Werner began training Karl Godwin in central Florida. Ken poured his knowledge into his most diligently training student, Karl. As a result, Karl Godwin established Seminole Wing Chun in the early 1980's. Sifu Godwin's school is now the longest, continuously running school in the state. In fact, it is THE place to learn the best wing chun kung fu in Florida. One of Sifu Godwin's early students was Bill Graves. Sifu Graves began training at Seminole Wing Chun in 1982. After many years of training, Sifu Graves started teaching, and his school is named The System Wing Chun. One of Sifu Graves' early students was Jonathan Petree. Sifu Petree began training at The System Wing Chun in 1994. After many years of diligent training, Sifu Petree was asked to teach. For several years Sifu Petree taught privately, before establishing Atlantic Warriors Wing Chun in Jacksonville, Florida in 2002.
We have now come full circle to today. Sifu Ben Der, after a very long time, has once again returned to Florida. But this time he came to impart the wisdom that has come from his 40 years of teaching original wing chun kung fu. At age 70, he amazed everyone at the Atlantic Warriors Wing Chun Seminar by his boundless energy, and enlightening teachings. Virtually a walking wing chun encyclopedia, he impacted every seminar participant, and infused them with a deeper understanding, and love for the art of wing chun. At this seminar, Sifu Ben jump-started the student's development of internal energy, and their ability to apply internal energy to an opponent.


All of us at Atlantic Warriors Wing Chun Gung Fu want to thank Sifu Ben Der, Dany Mou, Wen, Greg, and San Jose Wing Chun for pouring out their hearts, and giving of themselves to ensure that wing chun is disseminated purely.