The Bay Mountain Family
Houston’s Backyard Wing Tsun is a member of what I see as the most unique martial arts organization I am personally aware of.
I have a strong personal connection with this family not only because I am a member, but because it was founded and built by my very god friend and Si-Dai, Sifu Simon Mayer.
In a nutshell, Simon came from Germany to the US for the first time in 1994, when he spent a couple of weeks with me and my wife in Houston. He was a very recent graduate of the now legendary “Wing Tsun Castle” (Schloss Langenzell near Heidelberg, Germany), the former headquarters of the EWTO, where many of today’s Wing Tsun greats were schooled in this incredible art.
To make a long story short, Simon settled in San Francisco in 1995, started promoting and teaching Wing Tsun and Latosa Escrima there, and managed to build a respectable local network of Wing Tsun schools with a total of 400-plus instructors and students. He did this with nothing more than a few thousand dollars in his pocket, his then already fantastic Wing Tsun and Escrima skills, boatloads of passion, drive, and determination, and a big, big heart for people.
Today, nearly 20 years later to the day, the Bay Mountain Family has spread all across the United States and even into Canada. You can see a listing of the considerable stable of high-level instructors Sifu Simon has taught over these years by going to the
Bay Mountain Kung Fu website
(scroll to the bottom).
What he has been able to build there is tremendous. There is no other Wing Tsun/Wing Chun organization in the US that has this many high-level instructors. Consider this: Sifu Simon has single handedly build a stable of:
1 4th Level Technician Instructor
15 3rd Level Technicians
16 2nd Level Technicians
11 Primary Level Technicians
All-in-all, 43 Technician-Level Wing Tsun instructors!
It would actually be incorrect to call this family an “organization” because that term absolutely does not do it justice. We are not an impersonal conglomerate of half-hearted member schools and instructors with all of the typical politicking,, backstabbing, and jockeying for titles and positions and the despotic, top-down management style that usually infests martial arts organizations of all stripes and colors. We ARE a group of like-minded martial arts enthusiasts who learn from each other, train with each other, help each other, and party together every chance we get (especially at our annual family retreats in the mountains near San Jose, California).
I have been a member of the Bay Mountain family only since 2011. Before then, I was still a member of the old AWTO under my Sihing, Sifu Emin Boztepe, and the IWTA under Wing Tsun Grandmaster Leung Ting. I left the IWTA in 2004 and was hell-bent on never joining another martial arts organization when Simon called me and basically offered me to join him. It wasn’t an easy decision because of all of the negative things I had seen happen in the organizations I belonged to in the past, but in hind sight, it was the best martial arts-related decision I ever have made (other than my decision to learn and practice Wing Tsun, back in 1981).
Since joining, Bay Mountain, I have not once felt taken advantage of, mistreated, shoved aside, or badmouthed to my own students (believe me, that has happened before). Nor have I witnessed (or even heard of) any other family member being subjected to that kind of treatment by anyone. We are, indeed, a family.
Add to that the fee structure that comes with learning and teaching Bay Mountain Wing Tsun, I can honestly say that there is no Leung Ting-derived Kung Fu organization out there that offers the kind of technical know-how, skill, and teaching ability that our instructors can offer without such know-how being coupled with near-extortionist training, teaching, seminar, testing, forms, and "section" fees.
With us, students pay for their monthly training fees, their yearly Bay Mountain membership, their seminars, and their private lessons, and that is it! Instructors pay their yearly teaching license and membership fees, their monthly school fees, their seminars and their private lessons, and that is it, as well.
It is literally too good to be true and true at the same time.
All the Best,
Sifu Alex Wallenwein
And that's the Way of Wing Tsun