Sifu Neil Sydenham - Chief Instructor Profile
The Chief Instructor of Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes is Sifu Neil.
Sifu Neil has lived in Milton Keynes all his life and has been training in Wing Chun Kung Fu for over 13 years. When Sifu Neil began training in Wing Chun, he trained at the RSDA under Sifu Gary Payne, which was based at the Woughton Leisure Centre and Sifu Neil continued his training at the RSDA when it later moved to Newport Pagnell both of which are in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. After four years of heavy training, Neil reached the assistant instructor level, where he helped out during most Wing Chun classes for well over a year.
It was quite early on in Neils training when he realised his great passion for Wing Chun Kung Fu and that he would like to pass this passion on to as many different people as he can. Neil was then given the opportunity to grade up to the full instructor level. Neil passed his instructor grading and was then able to teach his own Wing Chun class unaided which he did for over 5 years for the RSDA, under guidance of his Sifu, Gary Payne. Whilst training at the RSDA, Neil also trained and studied Close Quarter Combative's (CQC), which involves grappling, ground work, Control & Restraint (C&R). Neil also gained a great deal of experience in teaching children, as he often used to help out in the little dragons and young masters classes at the RSDA Academy.
Early 2009, the RSDA unfortunately had to close and Neil was given a blessing by his instructor Gary Payne, to open up his own club and run his own classes which Neil has been doing ever since.
Despite being trained solely by Sifu Gary Payne, Sifu Neil has an extensive knowledge and passion for the Wing Chun Kung Fu System. Sifu Neil remains open minded and humble with his art. The core that Gary provided was fantastic which has lead to Sifu Neil striving to get the best physical training and gain as much information as possible from various medias.
Sifu Neil has now moved on from his training that he gained form Sifu Gary Payne, Sifu Neil has developed his training and teaching methods and Sifu Neils level of expertise continues to thrive. The core that Gary taught all those years ago is still taught by Sifu Neil today at the Progressive Wing Chun Academy, but Sifu Neil has continued to build and improve his knowledge and the core has greater depth and level of understanding of both the physical techniques and mental theories has also been developed.
Sifu Neil has learned that over the years that many martial art instructors teach forms, katas or patterns and techniques to students who do not question what they are being shown, and are therefore none the wiser. Although Wing Chun is classed as a traditional martial art, there is also a more modern approach which Sifu Neil fully understands and teaches.
Sifu Neil likes to be thorough with his teaching and will always give reasoning and justification about everything that is taught within every class. Sifu Neil welcomes questions within his teaching and students are encouraged to ask questions no matter how daft they may seem. This shows that the student is interested and wants further their learning.
Sifu Neil is always learning and continues his learning by attending various training courses, seminars and training days under various instructors. Sifu Neil is also always researching and he likes to fully understand the theories, the concepts, forms and techniques. Sifu Neil likes to understand where techniques fit in, how they are applied and how they differ to other styles. Sifu Neil also likes to understand why other clubs teach different martial arts, their various concepts techniques and he also studies other variants of Wing Chun and looks in to how they do things and why.
Sifu Neil is a fantastic instructor, teacher and mentor. He has excellent qualities, he understands that ALL his students are important and each of them is equal. Sifu Neil is very approachable as he is very welcoming, he can be asked any question, he will listen to student opinions and views, he will do his best to understand, he will teach you at your pace and not at someone else's, can read peoples body language. Sifu Neil packs fun in to every training session no matter if it is a group class or a private class (one to one). Fun helps the students to relax and increases the students learning ability.
Sifu Neil is a very open minded and likes new ideas and concepts which he is constantly searching for, During Sifu Neil's training he was taught that you can only teach if you fully understand something so Sifu Neil will research every aspect about Wing Chun and look in to having more than one answer to a question which is fundamental to being a good instructor.
Whilst training in martial arts can be somewhat difficult at times Sifu Neil has learned that you get out of martial arts what you are prepared to put in, thus if you are prepared to put in hours worth of training, practising at home as well as in the class, be humble and patient, as you cannot rush perfection you will become proficient in good time.
Sifu Neils great passion continues to thrive, and this can be seen in the style of his teaching. Understanding how to utilise Wing Chun's key concepts and how they can be incredibly effective is fundamental.
During Sifu Neils training in Wing Chun, he found that information was not as free flowing as he would have liked and struggled to get information as books on Wing Chun were not as readily available as they are now. The internet has also improved the level of information that is readily available to students. Sifu Neil also realises that that every martial art club is different and these differences can be very frustrating to a student especially when they are trying to learn outside of the class. Understanding this frustration Sifu Neil has tried to create this website as an information base to aid as many Wing Chun practitioners as possible in their training.
Years ago Sifu Neil was heavily in to body building where he used to train at a local gym five days a week; Sifu Neil reached 15 stone at his peak. Whilst Sifu Neil was training he researched the body and understands all about the body, muscles, strength, fitness and diet. Sifu Neil researched how to exercise and isolate different muscle groups by studying body mechanics.
Sifu Neil has bought his vast experience of the body to his Wing Chun and martial arts training which he now draws on to analyse how each technique is similar to another and also how other martial arts theories and techniques are similar to our Wing Chun training.
Sifu Neil will continue to strive to build the best Wing Chun and martial arts academy in Milton Keynes and the Buckinghamshire areas. Progressive Wing Chun is a superior martial arts academy, so come and learn and develop skills whilst having fun that may one day save your life!
Sifu Neil has qualified and has been awarded:
- Martial Arts National Instructor.
- Proficient in Child Protection.
- Risk Assessment.
- Business Studies.
- Sports Coach.
- Instructor Teaching.
- A Club for All & Equity in your Coaching.
- First Aid Trained.
- Body Language and situation assessment.
Chief Instructor Sifu Neil looks forward to seeing you soon.