Sifu Hunte’s first taste of martial arts was in 1973 when he took up Judo at Chelsea Boys club. In 1975, he joined Wu Shu Kuan under instructors, George Robinson, Derek Hudson and Grand Master Chang, the founder of this organisation. He achieved 1st Degree Black Belt on 31 August 1984, ranking 3rd place out of 24 candidates seeking black belt status. During this period, he also trained in Lau Gar Kung Fu for 4 years; entering numerous competitions representing Lau Gar School and did very well for the London team. Also, for two years, he was actively attending Katada, Orceba and Tai Chi Kung Fu training, where the focus was on balance, strength and control of the body. He attained the Black Sash ranking because of his experience and was teaching for the organisation within 2 years.
Whilst training under Wu Shu Kwan, his instructor, George Robinson, had stopped teaching and suggested he attend Master Koh’s club, a senior instructor for the school. After almost 17 years of training under various martial arts systems, he found that Master Koh’s teaching was just what he was looking for all this time. Master Koh had it all!! His training methodology has deep-rooted traditional Chinese boxing movements combined with practical “self-defence” techniques that can be applied either in competitions as well as defending oneself. Master Koh run his traditional training sessions on Tuesdays and had “fighting” classes at weekends. The fighting class produced many well-known fighters of Wu Shu Kwan, namely the late Peter Pipe and Neville Phillips etc. These classes helped me realised my own potential and seemed to have all the answers.
Following the departure from Wu Shu Kwan in 1988, Sifu Hunte decided to leave with Master Koh to form the new ZSK school of Chinese Kickboxing, where Master Koh introduced traditional techniques from the Tiger Crane that was taught to him by the late Master Ang in Singapore.
Today, ZSK’s training system evolved to another level of technical skills, stressing on the importance of all the shadow boxing “forms” or “katas”, including weapons and the “soft” form, Shuang Yang Pei Ho movements similar to Tai Chi. Sifu Hunte felt that Master Koh’s teachings harness the importance of correct execution of movements such as, sliding your grips when practising with long staff; “look” before you carry out your next move, distancing, balance, etc.: it all started to come together for me; a true meaning of the art!
Sifu Hunte attained his 2nd, 3rd and 4th Degree ranking under ZSK and recalled the following learning and experiences:
I am still attending Master Koh’s classes regularly. There is no such a thing as “I know it all” when it comes to developing your martial arts skills. If you think you have reached the end of the road when you achieved your 1st or even 4th Degree Black Belt, you have misunderstood what your training was all about. If you think you are the best, there is always someone out there better than you and more humble than you. One of my greatest training experiences was when Master Koh trained a group of us for a full contact championship tournament against a very well-known Japanese Karate (Kyokushinkai Open Knockdown) organisation. We had less than 3 months training before competing at their world championship event held at Crystal Palace against fighters from all over the world who took part. Although most of us have had no experience of fighting their “bare” knuckle rules and some entering competition for the first time; we achieved good results against much experienced fighters than us. For example, one of our black belts had his first taste of full-contact competition and he reached the final against one of their top fighters who had 8 years competition experience behind him. It just showed that even with less than 3 months training using Master Koh’s specially designed fighting techniques, proved to me that we have the right skills and strategies against other fellow martial artists. I now realised how well we have pitted our fighting system against a strong and well-organised outfit: we have put our ZSK mark on one of their biggest competitions for two consecutive years. One their part, I know they have studied our skills and adopted some of our fighting techniques we used at their competitions. This was a great boost for me, as it really showed that a person of my size could have a big impact at this international level. We have the right skills taught by Master Koh, all we need to succeed is to put the hard work and commitment behind our training. As Master Koh regularly reminds us, “there is no short cut” to what you want to achieve in training and attainment comes from 100% effort and commitment.
I have been teaching since November 1984 and still teach now. I love what I can do for others, seeing how they develop and how their lives can change. It gives me real pleasure to see students get to 1st Degree Black Belt level and further. Students like Sam Taiwo and Barry Littlejohn are now 3rd Degree Black Belt holders, Tony Jacques-Allard 2nd Degree, Kevin Littlejohn and Dan Blake holds 1st Degree along with lots of others over the years since the formation of ZSK. I currently teach at QK School in St John’s Wood London where a lot of the students attend my classes. I also have a class at White City, London on Saturdays.
I am currently working towards my 5th Degree Master Grade, where one of the grade syllabuses is learning the “soft” form called, ‘Shuang Yang Pei Ho Rou Ruan Chien’ (literally mean, Sun Frost White Crane Soft Art). Master Koh has been teaching me this White Crane soft form for some years and I still have a lot to master. It teaches me another side to the “hard” training style we have been accustomed to. It is about development of your inner strength, control, balance and self-awareness. In short, it is about developing soft and serene qualities “externally”, but hard and tough condition “internally”. To the traditional Chinese boxing practitioner it is about achieving the flow of “Chi” or “Qi” to certain parts of your body that enhances the physical, mental and spiritual body as one. Over the years, I have met some very nice people and made some really good lifelong friends at ZSK: it is just like a family. I have learned the value and significance of self-discipline. I would like to say thank you to Master Koh for his kindness and willingness to teach us this system of Chinese Kickboxing. It is the best martial art system for me – is it for you?