It was certainly an honour when me and Sifu Eric were presented with the title of Sibok at the Int/Adv adult grading last month. It’s been a long journey; 30 years since we began training at WKFA, and 24 years since our Black Sash grading. Here is a blast from the past for everyone. The most pogniant takeaway from this article is that it could apply to anyone, past or present, that has tested for an advanced rank at WKFA.
“Sunday April 23 (1995), a day 8 of us will never forget, was as much a tribute to Sifu Bob Schneider as it was to the dedication and commitment of those who participated in the first Brown/Black sash grading in the history of our school. I say it was a tribute to Sifu Bob because it is not only a rarity in martial arts circles to have this many individuals grading for these high ranks at one time, but it is almost unheard of in a school that is only 7 1/2 years old.” (Having 8 individuals test for Brown or Black in the same grading is now common at WKFA; but still very rare in martial arts circles.)
“Well we made it! The months of training, the time commitments, the injuries, the mental preparation are all just a memory now. I’m sure there is not one person who was in the grading that didn’t wonder from time-to-time, “Why am I doing this?” Well just look down at your waist the next time you tie on your new sash and I’m sure that the answer will be right there. Words cannot express what each person had to contribute on a personal level to achieve their rank. These are thoughts that each will keep to him or herself. But the grading that many of you witnessed was merely the climax of literally months of hard training.”
BLACK SASH SIFU ERIC KRAUSHAAR (now Sibok)
BLACK SASH SIFU LLOYD FRIDENBURG (now Sibok)
BLACK SASH SIFU MICHELE JACOBS (no longer training)
BROWN SASH SIJE AMY JACOBS (no longer training)
BROWN SASH SIHING SCOTT HANS ZAWANIGA (attained Black)
BROWN SASH SIJE MARIE TEDESCO (no longer training)
BROWN SASH SIHING STEVE TEDESCO (no longer training)
BROWN SASH SIHING KEN NAYLOR (attained Black)
I’m sure the entire school congratulates these individuals. With their continued hard work and dedication WKFA. will continue to grow as one of the best Kung Fu schools anywhere.”
Four individuals in the 1995 grading left within a short time after the grading. Sifu Scott Hans continued to train for about 10 years, and Sifu Ken Naylor for about 15 years. Sibok Gee and Sifu Robin (shown in the Black Sash photo) are still very involved with WKFA. Sifu Yara is still one of the most active instructors at Kitchener Kicks.
To all the new Sifus, Sihings, and Sije; well done! As you can see, we have all been there. We relate to your highs and lows, and always treasure your accomplishments. I have no doubt that you will all become future WKFA leaders and continue to share your knowledge and expertise with future generations of WKFA students.