Sifu Akis Kounelakis trains Ving Tsun Kung Fu in the Phillip Bayer lineage and teaches in his schools in Crete, Greece. He has trained in various martial arts since he was 16 years old, but when he discovered Ving Tsun he became hooked.

I had a chance to sit down and ask him a few questions and learn more about his journey.


Bogdan Rosu: How and when did you discover Ving Tsun?

Akis Kounelakis: I started training generally in all kinds of arts at the age of 16. I started Boxing for four years and following I did Kick Boxing for another four years, where I got certified with the black belt. By the age of 24 I continued my training with Muay Thai where I learned the art for another five years and simultaneously learning Taekwondo (TIF). In 2006 having much experience behind me i didn’t find the arts that would make me feel complete. In 2007 I met with Sifu Sven Scheffen (one of Philipp Bayers most astounded student) and that is when I discovered the martial art Ving Tsun Kung Fu.

BR: What is Ving Tsun to you? And what keeps you going?

AK: Ving Tsun for me is a way of life. Learning the arts of Ving Tsun, want to or not, it will follow you in your everyday footsteps. I will learn and keep training as long as my heart, body and soul allow me to. I have learned that the more I live the more I learn and the more I learn the more I can move forward in life, and seen that I am still by Philipp Bayer’s side I am still learning.

Training ���Train Hard Fight Easy !!!

Posted by Ving Tsun Kung Fu Association Europe Greece on 23 Aprilie 2017


BR: What is your favorite Ving Tsun related story and could you share it?

AK: I have a lot of stories (laughing) because my job, apart of teaching Ving Tsun I also work security in a night club in Sitia, Crete, so you can imagine the amount of stories I can tell. But the one I hold dear to my heart is the first time I ever met Sifu Sven. As I stated above I had years of experience and training from my previous pursuits, so therefore I felt like I had the confidence to overtake any obstacle in my way. So I met up with Sifu Sven at his school and he invited me in to have a “match” together. He had asked me my ranks in all previous arts and so I stated them…so the match started. The result was that I was being hit down and not knowing the reason why and how. I literally used every knowledge and strength I had and I still couldn’t defeat him. When I finally got up the only thing I said was “Where do I sign up?” This is the story I remember till this very day with much detail because it is the day I met my teacher, the day I met Ving Tsun the day I became the Akis I am today.

BR: How can one use Ving Tsun concepts effectively in MMA?

AK: I would need a lot of hours to explain how we can effectively use Ving Tsun in the arts of MMA, but to sum it up I will simply say that Ving Tsun is a martial art and not a sport. In a ring you eliminate a lot of aspects of training (Ving Tsun has a lot of anti-regulation hits) because it is taught as a street art-to defend yourself outside- and not in a cage. I am not saying that the person fighting cannot cope it is just different. Like Phillip Bayer says “Ving Tsun is a very good martial art but can be dangerous if used in the wrong way.” If someone should decide to do MMA, he or she should have a good punch and should fight with the way they were taught and not to play the game his or her opponent sets (eg. Take you down). Let us also not forget that Ving Tsun is an ancient Chinese martial art, therefore I believe with the right training and right knowledge of the art you can stand your ground in a ring.

Posted by Ving Tsun Kung Fu Association Europe Greece on 8 Aprilie 2017


BR: How do you use Wing Chun concepts/ideas in day-to-day life?

AK: Fortunately, Ving Tsun is a good martial art for the outside world. I use it on a daily bases with most of my relationships whether it is friendly or personal. Ving Tsun teaches you to stop an attack of your enemy when coming your way so in many cases I do just that. Let me just make this clear I do not say that I Pak Sao everyone I meet (laughs). But in all seriousness, Ving Tsun helps me be more focused and have a sense of calmness in me at all times. And also, when necessary, and to adapt to the person I have in front of me.

BR: How can we contribute more to the Wing Chun community, to work together more closely?

AK: In my opinion, the simplest thing that can be done is for the association to have a worldwide convention where we set aside our beliefs and egos, and just start to all  together train as one. But, unfortunately, our egos will step in once again and the same thing will just happen. Let us not forget that today, in our time, there are a lot of ‘masters’ and ‘Sifus of technology’ on Facebook or Instagram who hide behind a keyboard and just criticize or have an opinion about everything. It is a shame, because it’s one of the oldest forms of art and instead of keeping it alive, some people just want to shut it down. And most people se it as a job opportunity and not to learn and to grow through Ving Tsun. So I hope one day I will see all those who love Ving Tsun come together and train together as one!

BR: How do you make your training FUN?

AK: I try on a daily basis to make my lessons fun. I don’t like monotonous programs.I want my students to also feel comfortable and to enjoy their time learning the art. I also teach small children the art of Ving Tsun and, as we know, children are your toughest students in the making, because they require a large amount of stimulants to get them to focus. So I incorporate a lot of other forms of physical training like punching a ball, running, and matching together… So I do try, to the best of my abilities, to make my training as much fun as I can. I have learned that I don’t need to have a strict presence when wanting to teach my students. For example I do not impose to my student that they call me Sifu, because I have learned that respect is earned and not enforced.

Posted by Ving Tsun Kung Fu Association Europe Greece on 8 Aprilie 2017


BR: If you could share only ONE lesson with your students, what would that be?

AK: Never under-estimate someone. Always respect one another have an open mind and never disrespect another art or sport. The fear you have inside you will make you stronger. A person who says they fear nothing are lying. Train hard so that the outside world can be your game.

about author-img author

Bogdan Rosu is the founder of the Leadership and Martial Arts Club ‘Empowerment Wing Chun’ in Bucharest, public speaker and published author. He has helped hundreds of people through his courses, workshops, seminars and publications raise their self-confidence, become better leaders, raise their income and enjoy authentic relationships.

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