Principal Instructor of ‘WSL Ving Tsun Combat Science-Malaysia’
David Peterson, 56, has been training in the Chinese martial arts since 1973. He became a student of Sifu Wong Shun Leung after travelling to Hong Kong in 1983. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, where he majored in Chinese studies, and a former teacher of the Chinese language for over thirty years, having taught at two of Melbourne's most prestigious private schools, 'Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar' and 'Camberwell Grammar School'. Peterson is a speaker of both the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects, and the former principal instructor of the ‘Melbourne Chinese Martial Arts Club’ (MCMAC), which he established in 1983.
Peterson is one of only two qualified instructors of Wong’s system in Australia, authorised by Sifu Wong personally before his death, and a fully endorsed member of the world-wide ‘Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) Martial Arts Association’ and the Hong Kong-based 'Ving Tsun Athletic Association'. Peterson interpreted for his teacher whenever Sifu Wong conducted seminars in Australia, and in 1996 was employed as script translator on Jackie Chan’s ‘Mr Nice Guy’, which was shot on location in Melbourne. Actively involved in the local Chinese community, Peterson is the only non-Chinese member of the 'Melbourne Chinese Masonic Society' ('Man Ji Dong') and a prominent member of their Lion Dance Team. He is a former Victorian Chairman of the 'Federation of Australasian Kung-fu Organizations' (FAKO), a position he held for eight consecutive years, and an Accredited Coach under the 'National Coaching Accreditation Scheme' (NCAS) run by the Australian Federal Government.
He is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in many local (Australian) and overseas journals, including ‘Combat’, ‘Inside Kung-fu’, ‘Black Belt’, ‘Masters of the Martial Arts’, ‘Impact: the Action Movie Magazine’, ‘Eastern Heroes’, ‘Australasian Fighting Arts’, ‘Blitz Australasian Martial Arts Magazine’, ‘Traditional Martial Arts Journal’, ‘Impact Martial Arts Magazine’, ‘Qi Magazine’, ‘Australasian Martial Arts Magazine’, ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’, ‘Kung Fu Qigong Magazine’, ‘Fight Times’, ‘Ging Wing Chun’, ‘Kicksider’, ‘Kung-fu Illustrierte and the prestigious ‘Martial Arts Masters’ magazine for which he has written a semi-regular column (‘Keeping It Real’) and feature articles, including a recent two part interview (Spring & Summer 2012 issues). More recently, his articles have featured on several international Web sites, including ‘wingchunkuen.com’, ‘Planet Wing Chun’, ‘Wing Chun World’, ‘vtmuseum.org’, ‘Wing Chun Update’ and the ‘Danish Ving Tsun Federation’ website. Peterson has a regular column (‘Moon Pointing Finger’) and writes feature articles and film reviews in the world’s leading Wing Chun magazine, ‘Wing Chun Illustrated’. He was featured on the front cover, and in a six-page interview, of the December 2011 edition (Issue #4) of ‘WCI’ which is available on sale world-wide thru the Internet in both print-on-demand and digital formats.
In 1998, Peterson was invited to America for the first time by Sifu Jesse Glover, the late Bruce Lee's original student, teaching in both Seattle and Los Angeles. In November 1999, Peterson was a guest presenter at the '1st World Ving Tsun Conference' in Hong Kong, presenting his views on the future of the Wing Chun system. A highly respected seminar presenter of the ‘WSL Method’ of Wing Chun, both in Australia and overseas, Peterson travelled to the USA for a second time in 2000 to conduct seminars and workshops at the 'Ving Tsun Museum' in Dayton, Ohio, and to an enthusiastic group of Wing Chun and JKD enthusiasts in Orlando and Fort Myers, Florida.
In July 2003, on the invitation of devotees of the ‘WSL Method’ there, he travelled to the UK for the first time, conducting seminars and workshops in Manchester, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Southampton and London (St Albans). While there, he was interviewed by both ‘Combat’ and ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’ magazines, two of Britain’s most prominent martial arts journals. As a result of the success of this trip, a second trip to the UK took place in September with seminars and workshops being presented in Whitley Bay, and again in both Newcastle and Manchester. A third trip to the UK took place in April of 2005, followed by yet another in July to both Manchester and Southampton. So successful was that visit, that he was invited back to both places again in September by the ‘Stockport Wing Chun Academy’ (sifu Ged Kennerk) and the ‘Wing Chun Federation’ (sifu Alan Gibson)!
In 2006, Peterson once again travelled to the UK in March and September, as well as visiting Denmark in June, and Holland during the September seminar circuit. 2007 saw him return twice to the UK as well as travelling for the first time to Bulgaria at the request of a group of passionate Wing Chun devotees there, organised by sifu Stefan Kunev. By 2008, Peterson had already completed his 11th trip to the UK (April and September), and in June, travelled to the USA for a third time (organised by sifu Ernie Barrios to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first meeting), as well as a first-time trip to Osaka, Japan where Peterson’s student, sifu Blair Johnston, is teaching WSLVT. Also in September that same year Peterson took his second trip to Bulgaria and, on the invitation of sifu Morten Ibsen and sifu Allan Jensen, he returned to Denmark, conducting intensive workshops in both countries. 2008 also marked the 25th Anniversary of the ‘MCMAC’
By 2009, Peterson had returned to teach in Japan, travelled twice more to the UK, and had received requests to travel even further afield to spread his knowledge of ‘WSLVT’ in Australia and elsewhere. In addition to all that, he also found time to produce a documentary entitled ‘WING CHUN: the Legacy of Ip Man’ that was included on the Australasian DVD release of the acclaimed feature film, ‘Ip Man’, as well as providing a feature-length commentary for the movie. He was a consultant on the Wing Chun episode of the ‘Discovery Channel’ TV series, ‘Fight Quest’, while his book and DVDs were used by both cast and crew as references in the preparation of ‘Ip Man 2’, the highly successful sequel to the original movie.
In 2010, Peterson completed his 14th and 15th trips to the UK, a third trip to Bulgaria, and travelled to Malaysia to conduct his third seminar in Kuala Lumpur in less than 12 months. He was also invited to conduct a one-off presentation on Wing Chun for a women’s health conference in Seremban by ‘Columbia Asia’, one of that city’s leading hospitals. With the growing interest in ‘WSLVT’ in that region, particularly due to the incredible success of ‘Ip Man 2’ and other Wing Chun-oriented feature films and TV shows from China & Hong Kong, Peterson found it difficult to ignore the invitation to move to Malaysia to further spread the legacy of his teacher (not to mention falling in love with and marrying his Malaysian wife!), so in February of 2011, he migrated to that country and established the ‘WSL Ving Tsun Combat Science – Malaysia’ academy for the preservation and dissemination of ‘WSLVT’. Since then, he has made two more very successful trips to both the UK and Denmark (2011 & 2012) and led a small team of students to China to represent Malaysia at the ‘2012 Ip Man World Wing Chun Invitational Tournament’ in Foshan. He organised and hosted the ‘1st Annual WSL Ving Tsun Kuen Hok Worldwide Fellowship Gathering 2012’ in October, uniting ‘WSLVT’ instructors and practitioners from more than 10 countries. He has also featured in Malaysia’s three biggest Chinese-language newspapers (‘Nanyang Siang Pau’, ‘China Press’ and ‘Sin Chew Daily’), been interviewed twice on national radio station ‘Bernama 24’ and appeared on ‘Hello On Two’ and ‘Malaysia Hari Ini’, two of the most popular breakfast television programs in the country.
Peterson is the author of ‘Look Beyond the Pointing Finger: the Combat Philosophy of Wong Shun Leung’, the highly regarded first-ever English language book on his teacher’s interpretation of the Wing Chun system, first published in September of 2001, in an Expanded 2nd Edition (2008), and soon as a Special Limited Hardcover Collector’s Edition (2013), as well as DVDs on the ‘Siu Nim Tau’, Cham Kiu’ and ‘Muk Yan Jong’ forms of ‘WSLVT’ which are universally hailed as benchmarks in the genre. He is featured on many ‘Youtube.com’ clips, has appeared in and/or contributed to several documentary programmes on the martial arts, and is regularly consulted by martial arts writers and practitioners around the world seeking expert advice on the nature of the ‘Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun Method’. Peterson has also been honoured with having his photograph featured in the ‘Ip Man Tong’ (Ip Man Museum) in Foshan, China, where he is named as a distinguished student of his late teacher.