Who are we?

About Us

Gary Ma Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy is focused on guiding students toward deeper states of confidence and well-being while strengthening the connection between the body and the mind. We do this by teaching a unique martial art system whose movements are based on science and philosophy. 

We are grateful for the wisdom and teachings of the Sifus that came before us. Culture and etiquette are important to us. They are as important to us as the martial aspect of the art. They are to our practice what roots are to a tree.

We recognize our connectedness. We believe that by strengthening ourselves, we strengthen each other; and by strengthening each other, we strengthen ourselves. Therefore, we strive for the betterment of ourselves, of each other, and of our environment. 

“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.” ― Buddha

My Story

The Journey of 10 000 Miles Began with One Breath

Born Into Wing Chun Kung Fu

My Wing Chun journey began the day I was born. I was born at Ming Oi Hospital in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. On that day, I was born into both a biological family and a kung fu family. My father, Ma Ping, had established Quebec’s first Wing Chun Kung Fu School in Montreal in 1978. My mother, sister, and I then moved to join him in Montreal a few months after I was born. 

I can still vaguely recall my first lessons at the age of 3 or 4 as I attempted to perform Siu Lim Tao. And still clearly etched into my memory is the sweet smell of burning incense that filled the staircase and got increasingly stronger as I pulled my mom up the stairs to my father’s Gwoon; the one that was located directly above the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on Queen Mary Rd. I really enjoyed spending time in that kung fu studio. 

When I was 5 years old, my parents divorced. That’s when my exposure to Wing Chun would become limited. Eventually, I was exposed to it again through my father’s students during my pre-adolescent years, and again, during early adulthood. 

In early 1999, my father asked me in a phone conversation if I wanted to learn the entire Wing Chun Kung Fu system. I hadn’t seen him in well over ten years, so of course I said yes. As soon as I did, he said that he would take a plane from Hong Kong the next week to come teach it to me. He knew he didn’t have much time left due to his health condition. There was a real sense of urgency in his voice. However, in the days that followed, he called me to tell me that he was postponing his trip until the next week. He kept doing this, week after week, without giving me a reason. Years later, I discovered that the reason he kept postponing his trip was because he was listening to a student who was advising him not to fly in his condition.

A few months and phone conversations after he had initially said he would come see me, he passed away. My father’s wish of teaching Wing Chun to his only son and my wish of reuniting with my father both vanished in an instant. I was devastated. In the weeks that followed, I concluded that I would never again entertain the idea of learning Wing Chun Kung Fu. 

Fast Forward To Today

Throughout the years spent with my Sifu, I have had the privilege of learning and sharing with some amazing people. I have had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and Foshan with Sifu and meet other sifus of great stature in the international Wing Chun community. I have also managed to discover my individuality within this amazing collective. 

My Wing Chun story continues and for that, I am grateful. Taking a moment to look back, I now realize that all these coincidences were the Universe’s way of showing me my path. I’m glad that I finally caught on and allowed Wing Chun Kung Fu to be a part of my life. This art provides me with the skills, strength, and courage to explore and develop other aspects of who I am and who I want to become. 
One of my father's last wishes was to teach me the Wing Chun system himself. Although that wish would never come to pass, I am certain that he would be very proud of me today. He would also be very grateful to my Sifu, as am I.

Gary Ma