Sifu Vingrove A. Thomas has studied several Chinese martial arts. In the early 1970s he began training in the Fu Jow Pai (Tiger Claw) Kung Fu system headed by Wai Hong. He represented the Fu Jow Pai i Read more
Sifu Vingrove A. Thomas has studied several Chinese martial arts. In the early 1970s he began training in the Fu Jow Pai (Tiger Claw) Kung Fu system headed by Wai Hong. He represented the Fu Jow Pai in public exhibitions and tournaments, and was instrumental in establishing a kung fu club at New York City Community College, where he served as an assistant instructor.
In 1974 Sifu Thomas resolved to devote his training to Wing Chun Kuen under Sifu Lee Moy Shan. In 1986 he opened his own school, the Wing Chun Kung Fu Institute. During this period he was studying Chen-style Taijiquan and Xinyi Liuhequan (Mind and Will Six Harmonies Boxing) with Master George Xu. He has since been authorized to teach Taiji and Xinyi by Master Xu as his representative in the New York City area.
As founder and chief instructor of the Six Harmony Martial Arts Academy (est.1996), Sifu Thomas is an acknowledged expert in the systems mentioned above,which incorporate exercises for health and fitness as well as fighting techniques ranging from elementary bare-hand solo routines through advanced weapons sets and sparring. His students have earned top ranking at numerous local and national competitions in solo forms; bare-hand and weapons sparring; Sticking Hands (Wing Chun); and Pushing Hands (Taiji).
Sifu Thomas has published articles on aspects of Wing Chun training and on the relation between Chinese medical theory and the practice of qigong/ch'i-kung (breathing exercise and meditation).
His participation in the 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1996 Masters Exhibitions sponsored by the Eastern United States Kung Fu Federation (of which he is a vice-president) has been documented on videotapes produced by ESPY-TV. He serves regularly as a judge at the annual U.S. National Chinese Martial Arts Competitions and the WuShu Kung Fu Federation, for which he has established rules for the Sticking Hands (Chi Sao) matches. He has also participated by invitation in the Masters Exhibitions held there.
Since 1993, Sifu Thomas has been invited to conduct biennial instructional tours in Italy and Switzerland. In 1996 he taught visually impaired high school students in seminars sponsored by the New York Public Library. In 1997 he was celebrated as a cross-cultural role model in the New Yorkers series produced by the NHK for Japanese television. In 1998, Sifu Thomas received a lifetime achievement award from the U.S.A. Wushu-Kung Fu Federation. In 1999, he was invited to participate in the First Yip Man Ving Tsun Conference in Hong Kong, Shunde, and Fatsan China by the Ving Tsun Athletic Association of Hong Kong.
A member of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association based in Hong Kong, Sifu Thomas currently offers instruction at the Six Harmony Academy and through the Physical Education Department of Columbia University.