The 31st of December 2012 saw a milestone in the history of the Irish Wing Tsun Organisation (IEWTO) with Dai-Sifu Rainer Tausend, the national instructor for Ireland, awarding Sifu Aidan Canavan with the 5th Practition Grade (PG). This grade recognises the recipent as a master exponent of empty hand Wing Tsun with further study comprising mastery of the Wing Tsun weapons.
Sifu Canavan is the first Irish person to receive this grade after almost 30 years of training. He began Wing Chun in 1984 and switched to Leung Ting Wing Tsun in 1987 when his instructor became a member of Grandmaster Leung Ting's worldwide organisation. His instructor gave up teaching shortly after that due to family reasons leaving Sifu Canavan and the other students to train amongst themselves.
He attended a UK instructor course given by Grandmaster Leung Ting in 1990 at the same time that the British/Irish Wing Tsun Organisation (BWTO) was being formed and from there he became the Irish representative teaching from his Dublin school. With the reorganisation of the British/Irish organisation in 1999, Sifu Canavan became a direct student of Dai-Sifu Tausend hosting seminars for him three times per year.
Dai-Sifu Tausend also awarded the 4th Technician Grade (TG) to Sifu Michael O'Leary who runs the Blanchardstown school in North West Dublin. Sifu Michael began Wing Tsun in 1993 in the UK headquarters of the BWTO obtaining his 1st student grade. While training there he met Sifu Aidan and upon his return to Ireland that year continued his training with Sifu Aidan for many years eventually becoming an assistant instructor in the Dublin school. He became a direct student of Dai-Sifu Tausend in 2004 and opened his own school in Blanchardstown.
As well as attending student and instructor seminars with Dai-Sifu Tausend, both instructors also take privates lessons with him on each Dublin visit and train the material between visits. While the grades were awarded on the 31st of December 2012, they will be presented with their certificates during Dai-Sifu Tausend's next visit to Dublin in April. Both Sifu Aidan and Sifu Michael would like to thank Dai-Sifu Tausend for his teaching, guidance and support.