Mark was born in Dover, Kent in early 1964 at Buckland Hospital, Mark was born with only a left hand and a stump on his right, where the hand and the ulna bone were missing leaving only his radius which floats between the two sockets of his elbow at which point his right arm becomes standard again, he was also born with his right leg being shorter than his left and has a small digit on his right foot where his big toe should be thus making balance difficult on his right leg.
Mark considers himself a normal person and does not see his own disability but is aware that other do, mark in his own words quoted “I did not realize until I went junior school that I was different to anyone else until the other children pointed it out”
Mark grew up in Thornaby on Tees and spent some time training Aikido at Thornaby Pavilion with his father until the age of 15 when Mark then relocated to Folkestone in Kent for the next 8 years, during which time Mark trained Judo and Karate for some time.
For a number of years Mark did not bother a great deal with martial arts as other life priorities took over and then he hit the age of 40 and found Wing Chun and was drawn to it like a moth to the flame, in Marks own words “I was inspired like so many by what Bruce Lee had trained but I had had no idea that it was Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do” that I was looking at, I just knew on seeing it, that this is what I needed to train”.
Mark searched everywhere locally for a school that taught this art and could not find one, as a last choice he tried to learn it by himself and soon learned that this was not the way to go, he looked online for a course and finally signed up with the Arizona Wing Chun Association in the United States who were teaching Leung Ting Wing Tsun, but for the first year mark could only study the level one course notes for Siu Lim Tau as the founder of the school and Headman, Sifu Phil Bradley was converting the course from VHS to DVD and as soon as it was ready to go Mark signed up and dove right in, for the next couple of years Mark would visit the USA at least twice a year to meet up with his teacher Phil Bradley and grade in person as Mark believes everything in life should be earned not just handed on a plate.
When Mark had reached student grade six of the Arizona wing chun grading system is felt the urge to learn the dummy form but under the current organisation that was not possible I the Wing Tsun system is progressive but being a bit of a rule breaker he went of and found the International Wing Chun Association and re-graded to Chum Kiu level equivalent to the AWCA but Sifu Sam Chan taught the wing chun dummy form at this level so he jumped in and gained the grades he needed through this organisation, up to present mark has completed all the level barring the knife form under this organisation.
While learning the dummy form mark took a trip to Portugal and trained with Grandmaster Samuel Kwok for seven days and after having a great training experience joined the organisation and went on to become an in-door student and Instructor with Grandmaster Samuel Kwok who currently remain Marks primary source of wing chun.
Among Mark’s achievements are:-
Founder and Chief Instructor of Teesside Wing Chun Gung Fu Association www.twcga.com
Author of :-
Wing Chun – Siu Lim Tau for Solo Students
Wing Chun – Closing the Gap with Chum Kiu
Wing Chun – The Brutality of Biu Jee
The Empry Hands of Wing Chun
Jeet Kune Do for Wing Chun Students
Sifu/Instructor – Samuel Kwok Marital Arts Assoc.
Sifu/Instructor – World Ving Tsun Athletic Association
Red Sash (Baat Cham Dao) – International Wing Chun Martial Art Association
Level 5 Master Instructor – International Combat Martial Arts Unions Association
3rd Degree Black Belt – Jeet Kune Do
Gold Sash – Ninjitsu
Wu Shi Dao – Street Defence
Ving Tsun Athletic Association
International Wing Chun Martial Art Association
World Ving Tsun Athletic Association
Black Dragon Fighting Society
International Combat Martial Arts Unions Association