Portrait of Sigung David Moylan, Owner, WKFA

Sigung David Moylan, Owner, WKFA

Sigung’s Corner

This November, after exactly 34 years, to get more floor space, an old wooden wardrobe style cabinet was removed from the kwoon. This cabinet’s time at the Academy pre-dates even Sibok Lloyd and Eric’s time. Last newsletter, we enclosed Memoir of an Armoire: Part I. Here is Part Two of a Memoir of an Armoire:

Shortly after settling into my purpose in this new building, I was housing more things for Sifu. Pads that people would hold and strike with each other and fat gloves they would wear to strike each other (mostly to the body, but sometimes to the head, which would often anger Sifu). Hooks were drilled into my side that held white vests the people would sometimes wear when they engaged in this controlled partner striking, they called sparring.

Hmmm, I just had a flashback and recall that a few months before the move, Sifu held one of those semi-regular performance days they called a “grading”, but this one was different. It was much longer and many more were in attendance, including a very large and imposing man that the students, like Sifu and Master Pan, held in great reverence. This man they called “Master Day” or sometimes “Si Tai Gung”. While others also performed on this day, the main focus was on one person in particular; someone they called “Sihing”. He had to do much more than the others, for longer, with a lot more intensity. Master Day even brought two large guys with long hair that I had never seen before. Sihing had to spar them. Near the end of this lengthy day, he used his hand to smash through layers of concrete! He was very strong.

At the end of the day, Sihing received a black piece of cloth. This was the first time Sifu ever presented one of these and the people now started referring to Sihing as Sifu. While this was the first time I saw this happen, there would be many more days like it. Many more people would be called “Sihing” and “Sije”, many more became “Sifu somebody”. But only the one there every day, that instructed everyone, would they just call “Sifu”. Many years later, those without the black cloth on their waist would start calling him “Sigung”.

Sigung would train and teach with such consistency. I watched him get stronger and wiser, more efficient in his movement and more effective in his instruction. The number of people coming in to learn from him grew. Many would stay for several years and then never be seen again. Some would return many years later and this made Sigung smile. Three that I remember from the days at the old building remained; two of these three, the others would start to call “Sibok”.

During my time in the place they called “kwoon”, I would see these Siboks several times every week, without fail. I think they were close friends of Sifu, as they met with him often to talk and train. The one they call Eric, was the only one I ever saw spar with Sifu. The one they called Lloyd would help Sigung give the students several sheets of paper each month they called Fu for You (he did this at the old building too). I watched these Siboks train hard, but also lead classes. I watched their own families train and grow up. They almost never missed helping Sifu with the gradings.

The third person I remember from the old building, unlike the Siboks, started as a young boy. Under Sifu’s guidance, I watched him change from a shy and weak lad into a confident and fit man that eventually would start to spend almost every day with me in the kwoon. I’ll save that story for another day.