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Dragon Martial Arts - San Antonio

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Sifu Gilbert Leal

Siu Gilbert Leal in 1982
     Sifu Gilbert Leal in 1982
Sifu (Chinese for 'teacher') Gilbert Leal is the Chief Instructor of Dragon Martial Arts in San Antonio, Texas. He has been practicing martial arts for 45 years. In 1970, Sifu Leal started training in Tae Kwon Do. After practicing Tae Kwon Do for several years, Sifu Leal then went on to study various martial arts including Wing Tsun Kung Fu, Shaolin Kung Fu, Wushu, Tai Chi Chuan, Pentjak Silat, Filipino Kali/Escrima and Muay Thai. In 1983, Sifu Leal opened Dragon Martial Arts, the first Wing Tsun school in San Antonio. He considers himself to be extremely fortunate to have been accepted as a student by four extraordinary martial arts Grandmasters: Grandmaster Leung Ting (Wing Tsun Kung Fu), Grandmaster (Pendekar) Herman Suwanda (Mande Muda Penjak Silat), Grandmaster Madame Wang Ju Rong (Wushu/Shaolin Kung Fu/Tai Chi Chuan) and Grandmaster Carson Lau (Wing Tsun Kung Fu).

Wing Tsun Grandmaster Leung Ting
Sifu Leal with his Wing Tsun instructor Grandmaster Leung Ting.
In 1982, Sifu Leal met Wing Tsun Kung-Fu Grandmaster Leung Ting and became one of his first American students. Grandmaster Leung was the last student of the legendary Wing Chun Grandmaster Ip Man. Sifu Leal became the sixth American to receive the rank of Primary Level Technician from Grandmaster Leung. Grandmaster Leung awarded Sifu Leal his Second Level Technician certificate and the title of Sifu (teacher) in 1985. Sifu Leal served as the Texas representative of the American Branch of the IWTA from 1984 to 1990. In 1988, Sifu Leal was promoted to the rank of Third Level Technician by Grandmaster Leung. At that point in the development of Wing Tsun Kung Fu in America, only three other Americans had received this rank. Due to personal reasons, Sifu Leal resigned from the International Wing Tsun Martial Art Association in 1990 and severed all ties to Grandmaster Leung and his organization.

Pendekar Herman Suwanda
Sifu Leal with his Pentjak Silat instructor Pendekar Herman Suwanda.
In 1993, Sifu Leal began training in the Indonesian martial art of Mande Muda Pentjak Silat under the tutelage of Grandmaster (Pendekar) Herman Suwanda. Mande Muda is the Suwanda family martial art created in 1951 in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, by Pendekar Herman Suwanda's father, Pendekar Uyuh Suwanda. Mande Muda Pentjak Silat was originally comprised of 18 styles of Pentjak Silat. Pendekar Herman Suwanda added 8 more styles to bring the total to 26 Silat styles. These styles include Harimau, Chimande, Cikalong, Kari, Sahbandar and others. This makes Mande Muda Pentjak Silat extremely comprehensive. It includes both stand-up fighting and groundfighting, locking and nerve strikes as well as weapons. Sifu Leal was one of Pendekar Suwanda's top Texas students and trained with him for 8 years. In 1998, Pendekar Suwanda awarded Sifu Leal the title of Certified Instructor in the art of Mande Muda Pentjak Silat. Sifu Leal continued to study Mande Muda Pentjak Silat until Pendekar Suwanda's tragic death in a car crash in March 2000.

Madame Wang Ju Rong
Sifu Leal with his Shaolin/Tai Chi teacher Grandmaster Madame Wang Ju Rong.
In 1995, Sifu Leal was accepted as a student by Grandmaster Madame Wang Ju Rong. Madame Wang was one of the most highly respected Chinese martial artists in the world. She was the daughter of the legendary martial artist, Grandmaster Wang Zi Ping. In 1989, Madame Wang and her husband, Dr. Wu Cheng De, moved to the U.S. and settled in Houston, Texas where they opened the Houston Institute of Chinese Martial Arts and Medicine. Madame Wang was actively engaged in the promotion and organization of Wushu competitions and was twice voted Inside Kung Fu Magazine's 'Woman of the Year'. Sifu Leal was fortunate to learn Shaolin Kung Fu, Yang style Tai Chi Chuan and Sun style Tai Chi Chuan as well as traditional weapons and Wushu from Madame Wang. Madame Wang's husband, Dr. Wu, taught Sifu Leal Northern Shaolin Zha Chuan Kung-fu and Chi Kung. Sifu Leal remained a student of Grandmaster Wang until her death in 2005.

Master Wu Xiao Ping
Sifu Leal with his Wushu instructor Master Wu Xiao Ping
In 2006, Sifu Leal continued his Wushu training with Master Wu Xiao Ping, the youngest daughter of Madame Wang and Dr Wu. Master Wu began her traditional Wushu training at age three from her grandfather, Grandmaster Wang Zi Ping; her mother, Madame Wang Ju Rong; and her father, Dr. Wu Cheng De. Her training included the Chang Quan system (Zha Quan, Hua Quan, Hong Quan, Pao Quan and Tan Tui), Baji Quan and Taiji Quan. A graduate of both the Shanghai Teaching University and the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Master Wu is highly skilled in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), specializing in Qi Gong, Tui Na (massage) and acupuncture. She has extensive teaching experience in Wushu, Taiji Quan and Qi Gong. Master Wu is also an accomplished artist in Traditional Chinese Painting, studying directly under the famous artist, Li Shanjing. She has carried on the family tradition of life-long study and promotion of Chinese martial arts and medicine.

Master Carson Lau
Sifu Leal with his Wing Tsun teacher Grandmaster Carson Lau.
In March of 2012, Sifu Leal was accepted as a student by Wing Tsun Grandmaster Carson Lau. Grandmaster Lau is a student of Grandmaster Cheng Chuen Fun and he was an 8th Level Practician of the International Wing Tsun Association. Grandmaster Lau spent 22 years teaching at the IWTA International Headquarters in Hong Kong. After moving to Toronto, Canada, Grandmaster Lau opened the Carson Wing Tsun Academy. Teaching Wing Tsun is now Grandmaster Lauís career, and his primary goal is to develop Wing Tsun and recruit more students to build Wing Tsunís presence throughout North America. Grandmaster Lau appears in many of Grandmaster Leung Tingís books and videos, as well as in many kung-fu magazines. In 2011, Grandmaster Lau left the IWTA to form his own Wing Tsun organization, the Carson Wing Tsun Association (CWTA). In June of 2015, Grandmaster Lau awarded Sifu Leal the rank of 5th Level Master Instructor in Wing Tsun Kung Fu.

Sifu Leal feels honored to have been taught by such respected instructors in these arts, and wishes to honor his teachers by passing on the knowledge that they so graciously shared with him. Sifu Leal lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife, Monica. He has been teaching continuously in San Antonio, since 1983. He continues to train and refine his martial art skills.

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Dragon Martial Arts - San Antonio

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