In his youth Sifu Steve Woodward was a body-building fan; his initial interest came from a need to overcome psychological scars that had been sustained from bullying at school. He found that body-building increased his confidence and allowed him to come out of his shell.
After a physical attack one year Sifu Steve Woodward decided that he needed some form of Self Defence training and approached the local sports centre. As it happens a new Kung Fu class had recently started and he decided to attend to see what it was all about. After a demonstration and trial session Sifu Steve Woodward decided to give this relatively little known martial art, Wing Chun, a try.
1982 and Sifu Steve Woodward had started along the Wing Chun path. The efficiency and simplicity of the style impressed him by allowing him to quickly learn how to defend himself. Sifu Woodward appeared to have a particular aptitude for the Wing Chun style and after several years of normal instruction was invited to train privately to attain instructor status. A couple of years later Sifu Woodward started teaching his own class.
After years of class and private study, Sifu Woodward realised that he had gone as far as he could with his current instructor and he started questioning his own ability as he reached the limits of information that was available to him. It became apparent through personal study that there was a lot more to Wing Chun. This resulted in a loss of self confidence and a feeling that it was time to widen his horizons.
Sifu Steve Woodward had an open mind and was open to other Martial Arts but his love was for Wing Chun and this took him around the country to try several lineages of this style.
It was a chance meeting at an Escrima seminar in Birmingham (with one of Sifu Shaun Rawcliffes’ students) in March 1993 that led Sifu Steve Woodward to the Midlands (Birmingham) Wing Chun Kuen. At this particular seminar Sifu Steve Woodward learnt that Master Ip Chun (eldest son of the late Grandmaster Ip Man) was visiting Birmingham to hold a seminar for his most senior western student and representative, Sifu Shaun Rawcliffe.
This encounter impressed Sifu Steve Woodward greatly and confirmed the sense of his decision to broaden his horizons. As a result he, along with his Kung Fu brother Sifu David Akroyd-Jones, approached Sifu Rawcliffe and asked to be accepted into the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen as students.
After 18 months of intensive private and class training, Sifu’s Steve Woodward and David Akroyd-Jones were invited to teach for the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen. This brought the Cheltenham classes and students under the watchful eye of Sifu Shaun Rawcliffe’s large family-like association.
“Learning Wing Chun with the Midlands Wing Chun Kuen, and Sifu Shaun Rawcliffe, was the next logical path for me in a life changing journey. Ultimately that journey will end when I depart from this earth, but along the way my aim is to pass on the benefits that I have gained to my students. I hope that my journey is far from over, but one thing is for certain that Wing Chun will ensure my journey is longer and much more fulfilling.” – Sifu Steve Woodward