By Aaron Vyvial | August 15, 2015
Just as it is important when you drink water, to know the source from which it flows, the same can be said about Chinese Martial Arts. The only way the kung fu can really flow to the student is if there is an understanding about where the kung fu comes from. In a time where certificates, diplomas and plaques can be bought or made, the lineage is a martial art school’s only true test of authenticity.
Generations of dedicated disciples have passed the Ving Tsun Kung Fu system down in a direct line of succession to the modern practitioner. Yip Man who died in 1972, was the last Ving Tsun Kung Fu teacher who taught Chinese students exclusively. Today there are tens of thousands of members worldwide who are learning this martial art system.
Our lineage flows directly from Yip Man through one of his closest disciples, Moy Yat who passed away in 2001. From the Great Grandmaster Moy Yat the system was passed to his disciple Grandmaster Moy Tung, who passed the system to his disciple Sigung Aaron “Moy Sup Tung” Vyvial. Sigung Aaron Vyvial opened up the first Moy Yat Family schools in Texas and now passes on the lineage to his many dedicated students including our Sifu Nic Bartell.
Formal seated photos are an important method to ensure that the quality and transmission of a true kung fu system is preserved as students go on to master and then to teach the system. In traditional kung fu families only a sifu’s closest disciples and closed door students got a seated photo with their sifu, regular students would only be in group photos. It is also important that the disciple be standing behind the right hand shoulder of their sifu, which is the place reserved for the purpose of the seated photo. The left hand shoulder was open to important people, family and friends. Even Bruce Lee who was a great student was never actually a disciple and Yip Man had him stand behind his left shoulder.
It is important that any instructor can trace their lineage back to the original source. The seated photos show the lineage from Yip Man to Sifu Nic Bartell and act as our true kung fu “resume”.