Head of School & Chief Instructor
Rolf is the product of a Japanese mother and a German father, an unusual union, given the time, though perhaps not the place, of his birth, the former Japanese colony of Manchuria in the north of China, in 1941. Having grown up in the capital, Mukden (modern day Shenyang in Liaoning Province), and subsequently in Tientsin (Tianjin) and Shanghai during such dangerous times, in the midst of World War II, the Chinese Civil War, and the Communist takeover, it is no wonder that Rolf developed a fascination for and love of things Chinese, especially Chinese martial arts.
In 1954, Rolf, his younger brother, Frank, and parents moved to Hong Kong, where as a student of King George V School, he was introduced by Frank (who attended St Francis Xavier’s College) to the late Bruce Lee, and was an eyewitness of the now famous inter school boxing championship match Lee had with Rolf’s schoolmate, Gary Elms. Whilst at KGV, Rolf also began training in Judo under a formidable Filipino teacher, and also spent countless hours wrestling and, to a lesser extent, boxing, with his schoolmates. He also had the good fortune to have a memorable meeting with the patriarch of modern Wing Chun Kuen, Ip Man.
In 1961 Rolf sailed to the UK to attend Leicester University. There he captained the university's judo team and competed successfully in both the Leicestershire Judo League and the Amateur Judo Association's All England Championships .Having graduated in 1964 with a General Arts degree, Rolf returned to Hong Kong from the UK, and was fortunate enough to be introduced to and accepted by the late master Wong Shun Leung as his first foreign student. Although the training period was brief, Rolf remains grateful for and moved by the wisdom, generous tutelage, and friendship shared by Wong Sifu.
In late 1965, Rolf returned to the UK for post graduate studies and, again, was lucky, after an extensive search, to continue his training semi privately with Sifu Greco Wong Wai Chung, Moy Yat’s first senior and private student. In 1969, Rolf wrote what is regarded as the first ever Wing Chun book published in a foreign language, in collaboration with Greco Wong. In the early 70’s when Greco moved abroad, first to Nigeria and, subsequently, to Canada, Rolf continued training with Vijay Paul and Fred Warren, Greco’s two most senior students from his public classes, who had also trained with Sifu Paul Lam Yuk Wing, senior disciple of Leung Sheung, the first of grandmaster Ip Man’s core students. In 1981 Rolf migrated with his family to Perth, Western Australia. Since then he has again been blessed to find a good friend and generous teacher in David Peterson, a world renowned exponent and promoter of the Wong Shun Leung Way.
Notwithstanding nearly 50 years’ exposure to Wing Chun Kuen, Rolf considers himself to be a perpetual student, as he feels that WCK is a constantly developing and evolving system, and that there is always more to learn, test, and improve. Whilst he has had numerous teachers, he has also come to trust his own insights which he intends to share with the WCK community in the not too distant future. Further, he acknowledges the unique contribution made by his friend and former assistant, Andrew Williams. Andrew is a remarkable instructor in his own right, with an impressive understanding of biomechanics as it applies to WCK, that has made a lasting impression on Rolf’s own teaching and training.
Rolf has always kept a low profile and, whilst he has been semi-retired since 2002, continues to teach a small and dedicated group of students from varied backgrounds, including Western Boxing, Kickboxing, BJJ, and other WCK and Kung Fu systems.
Rolf is also an experienced counsellor and teacher of a simple, but profound understanding and explanation of all human thought, feeling, and behaviour, known as the Three Principles (a separate website is in preparation).