For What it's Worth


Sifu Stephen Lyons

The price you pay for something does not ensure the quality of what you have purchased, it mearly satisfies your desire to purchase quality.

A clever businessman realises this desire and panders to it, and by way of doing so creates a market where the consumer believes he/she are buying into a quality or exclusive product and feels satisfaction in doing so.

I am no different from the next man, I like my toys and gadgets and the things that make me feel a little special at times, but when it comes to martial arts, it's a different story.

I have been training the martial arts since te early 70's and have been honoured to be certified as a master of Wing Chun Kung Fu. I have years of teaching experience and have over those years produced some fine martial artists that I am proud to put my name to. Naturally one would think that my time was expensive, however, my charges are a fraction of many less qualified and experienced teachers of Wing Chun.

I've been nagged by my family and even by some of my senior students to put my prices up as they feel I am selling myself cheap and in some way belittling my ability as a teacher.

I suppose to understand my reasons you have to understand the man.

Sure, these days when I stand up in front of a class, demonstrate a technique or two and crack a joke people may see me as being an extremely confident individual who you would not want to mess with. Ok, we all have a dark side and I’m no exception, but truth be known, when I was at school my life was made miserable by bullies.

This caused my father great concern as he grew up in the East End of London where your fists did the talking and was considered by many to be a very talented boxer in his day.

One day at secondary school I got into a fight with the bully of my year, unfortunately for him, I lost my temper. They told me that I lifted him over my head three times and threw him to the ground. Though I remembered little of what went on that day, I do recall a feeling of remorse as they carted him off to hospital. However, from that day onward my life changed, those who taunted me wanted to be my friend and I realised that my father was right, bullies were little more than cowards.

So….. getting back to the plot, I have a dislike for bullies, racists or any individual or group of people who feel they have the right to intimidate others for pleasure or personal gain.

The greatest buzz I get from teaching the martial arts is witnessing the change in new students, that moment when they start to walk taller, enjoying the new confidence that fills their life and realise that they have the ability to look someone straight in the eye and no longer be a victim of intimidation.

The fee's I charge are more of a token of respect than a business transaction and many of my students will vouch that I have let them train free when times have been hard.

Wing Chun is my passion and my gift to any who wish to train at my school and put up with my terrible jokes. When money becomes more important than the art, then for me, it's time to find something else.

Train safe, train smart.