Shaun Rawcliffe is the Chief Instructor of the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen, established in 1982 in Birmingham, UK. He began to study Wing Chun in the UK in 1979, following six years of Shotokan Karate training, opening his first Wing Chun class in Birmingham three years later. Shaun first met Ip Chun Sifu in the UK in 1985 when Ip Chun gave seminar at his Birmingham headquarters.
Shaun was so impressed with his depth of knowledge and openness that over the next four years Shaun attended every seminar given by Ip Chun in the UK as well as hosted at least two seminars each year at his own schools. During his visits to the UK, Ip Chun would often stay for several days with Shaun, giving him plenty of opportunities to practice and improve his skills.
Following one seminar in 1989, Shaun realised there was still much more for him to learn so he travelled to Hong Kong in August 1989 to continue his studies with Ip Chun Sifu. Shaun's first visit to Hong Kong lasted just six weeks, but it was six weeks of intensive one-on-one training at the home of Ip Chun. All aspects of Wing Chun training and teaching were covered during these intensive training and some evenings after their training Ip Chun would take Shaun to meet other famous Wing Chun Sifu's such as Lok Yiu, Tsui Shun Tin, Leung Ting and Wong Shun Leung and Ip Ching to further discuss Wing Chun.
Since that initial visit, Shaun has made over 35 trips to Hong Kong to study with Ip Chun Sifu, often bringing students with him to share the experience.
The Midlands Wing Chun Kuen has now grown nationally and internationally into a family-like Association with over 1000 students training at over 20 locations in the UK, as well as at 5 schools in Northern Italy, representing Ip Chun Sifu. This network enables members to continue their training when travelling to these places.
Shaun prides himself on the high standard and purity of the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen’s teachings, and strives for perfection by continuing to visit and train in Hong Kong with his teacher, Ip Chun Sifu. He is constantly evolving and refining the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen’s teaching, training and assessment programme to ensure the maintenance of the high standards of the students.
Though Shaun now heads an international association, he still refuses to teach for a living, believing that teaching without the need for personal financial gain ensures that he is more concerned about the quality of teaching, rather than quantity of students. “Quality not quantity” is the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen motto hence training at each of his schools is on an invitation only basis, following an introductory course during which the beginner is assessed to determine their suitability for training whilst the student has the opportunity to assess the class.
"I enjoy my teaching and training, and I love the Wing Chun system. I want to see it taught correctly and passed on accurately and so I run small classes of students who have been invited to join upon completion of an introductory series of lessons. Because I do not teach for a living I do not have to worry about the size of the class or the numbers of students, I can therefore concentrate on passing across the Wing Chun skills."
"Grandmaster Yip Man taught hundreds of students in his classes between 1949 and 1968, when he died in 1972 he left the Wing Chun legacy with his sons Ip Chun and Ip Ching and with his senior students including Lok Yiu, Tsui Sheung Tin, Wong Shun Leung, Hok Kin Cheung, Siu Yuk Men etc. Since then Grandmaster Ip Man's legacy of Wing Chun Kuen has now spread to all corners of the world. Sadly, however, as Wing Chun has spread in some cases much seems to have been lost in translation and its teachings misunderstood, not necessarily due to the teacher but often due to the interpretation of the students."
"It is Ip Chun Sifu's wish that the essence of Wing Chun Kuen as taught by his father be maintained and taught correctly so that his fathers understanding and knowledge be preserved. I made a promise to Ip Chun Sifu in 1989 that I would teach Wing Chun in the traditional manner, and that is what the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen stands for."
Today Shaun is a certified Instructor of the Ip Chun Wing Chun Kuen Martial Arts Association, one of only twenty people in the world to have earned an instructors certificate from, and be allowed to officially represent, Ip Chun Sifu around the world.
He is a permanent member of the Ip Chun Wing Chun Academy, set up by students of Ip Chun and is a registered member of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association, Yip Man Martial Arts Association as well as registered as an instructor with the Ving Tsun Athletic Association.
Over the last 20 years many students have passed through the doors of the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen, some of whom now run their own Wing Chun organisations in the UK and one who now trains with and represents Ip Chun Sifu in Singapore. Shaun is proud of them all and feels privileged to have been able to help and advise them on the their journey through Wing Chun.