Sifu Mauro Gibin
Sifu Mauro first encountered Martial Arts at the age of 19. He was in one of those phases of life (just left by his girlfriend at the time) where he realized that he needed to channel his energy into something constructive.
On a hot afternoon in 1999 he found a flyer in a bar that advertised an interesting system of self-defense. He called the number on the flyer and the voice that answered was that of the person to become his first Sihing: Andrea Vismara. During the phone call, with great disappointment, he discovered that the closest school was in Savona (more than 40Km from where he then lived) but he also found that the next Saturday there would be a demonstration his home town.
Feeling a little shy Sifu Mauro took his friend with him who was already a student in Aikido and Jeet Kune Do for a more experienced opinion.
He remembers that demonstration very well and was a little disappointed with what he saw. He now admits that he didn't understand what he was being shown with the knowledge he has today but feels that these types of demonstrations for the most part actually do more harm to the art than good. For this reason he did not intend to travel nearly two hundred kilometers every week to practice "this thing" he did not really like, but his friend convinced him to give it a try and take the introductory free lessons offered by the school.
After a month he began to enjoy the lessons more and more and what he didn't understand at the demonstration was becoming clearer.
On a funny side note his friend stopped training after the first few weeks leaving Sifu Mauro alone on these long trips to Savona. But he was hooked and not only did he train every session he started to take private lessons as well.
His instructor at the time was in the EWTO, however did not have Sifu Mauro join them as a member because there was a big change in the air to follow for his teacher (Sifu Massimo Giammarinaro) would soon follow his Sifu (Emin Boztepe) into the newly formed association, EBMAS.
During his time with EBMAS, Sifu Mauro also started to train in Escrima (the Philippine Martial Arts) under the guidance of Sifu Emin and GM René Latosa.
After several years (in 2010) he had the opportunity to complete this training course directly with Master Renè with whom Sifu Mauro has a good relationship with even to thisday and he teaches this discipline privately at seminars.
After about 2 years of training in Savona, his instructor asked him to assist in opening a new school in Italy and he accepted. This proved to be a quite difficult because at that time he did not have much experience in running a Kung Fu school. In those years they changed several gyms and the student numbers ranged from 1 to 10 people. Due to his instructor's father's poor health condition Sifu Mauro would often have to teach the lessons himself. He remembers waiting at the gym for someone to turn up to train sadly no one did and he would eventually leave and go home disappointed.
Things became even more difficult when his Instructor decided to withdraw from teaching altogether to look after his father full time and Mauro "inherited" the school. It was difficult to find a space for the school at a reasonable cost and frustrating hoping someone would show up. Whole days were filled with nothing to do!
Today, after years, he looks back at those times with fond nostalgia and realizes the difficult times then made him even more determined to succeed in Kung Fu.
Having lost his way and his instructor he decided to become a student of Sifu's Massimo Giammarinaro in Livorno. Traveling there every 15 days to review what he had already learnt and continue in the system. Traveling to Livorno to learn Wing Chun was a really long journey for him as it was 600 km back and forth! (Now he smiles thinking of the miles he traveled to train) An intense year was to follow and he received Sifu Emin Boztepe's qualification for as an Instructor: Accomplishing one of his First Goals!
Another year passed and he made the decision to change schools. He had the feeling that from a technical point of view his progress was slow and (wrong). Attributing this to the fact that he only saw Emin Boztepe a couple of times a year. What was important to Sifu Mauro was to learn the system in more detail. That is why at the end of 2007 he left EBMAS and started looking for a new Sifu who could satisfy the technical points of the system. He contacted Sifu Michael Fries, who at the time had stopped teaching except for some private lessons he gave in his home. They met together and he was immediately fascinated by his approach to Wing Chun, teaching free of schemas and settings as he had learned before. He studied with him for two years, accumulating more than 350 hours of private lessons.
Sifu Mauro is grateful for every lesson he received from every single Master in his journey, but Sifu Fries he has a particular fondness for because he sowed the seed that would shape Sifu Mauro's future.
In 2008 Sifu Fries decided to rebuild his association and Sifu Mauro assisted him in starting "MFT-Modus in Rebus". Unfortunately, due to their "hot" personalities they clashed on some points and Sifu Mauro decided it was best to leave.
It was shortly after leaving the MFT that Sifu Mauro came across a video on the internet of a young master who moved like no one he had seen before. That Master was Sifu Sergio Iadarola.
He tried to contact him, only to find out that he could not receive lessons directly from him unless he enrolled in his classes in Amsterdam. So he looked for a Sifu who had studied the whole system of GM Leung Ting (Sifu Serio Master at the time). He found Sifu Franco Giannone of Novara and started training with him on Wednesday mornings. He was a passionate teacher with good experience for being a low level master.
In August 2009 Sifu Mauro decided to follow one of the dreams: his first trip to Hong Kong. The purpose of this first trip was to find a Chinese Wing Tjun master. He visited and took lessons from a lot of Masters including: Ip Chun, Ip Chin, Sam Lau, Siu Yuk Man just to name a few, but none of these schools taught the Wing Tjun that he was looking for.
It was coincidence that whilst Sifu Mauro was visiting a school of Wan Kam Leung Sifu Leung Ting happened to come in. They got talking and discussed having an introductory lesson. Sifu Mauro was literally stunned by the skills of Sifu Leung Ting and immediately became a student attending class lessons and taking an intensive week of private lessons.
It is during this stay in Hong Kong that he saw a Facebook post from Sifu Sergio Iadarola (still living in Amsterdam) saying that he was going to visit Hong Kong and so with a touch of courage he contacted Sifu Sergio for the second time and he agreed to meet. From that meeting Sifu Mauro was blown away by his skill unparalleled to any Master he's has experienced before and was convinced he had found a Sifu for life. When he asked Sifu Sergio if he could be his student, he accepted and they performed the Bai Si - tea-ceremony.
It was not at all too easy to become Sifu Sergio's student as Sifu Mauro already has many of his own commitments at the time. Sifu Mauro wanted private lessons and to make this clear - just one week after he returned to Italy, he went to Amsterdam to meet him and "stress this" again.
In 2011, after studying under the guidance of Sifu Sergio and his mentors in the management of Kung Fu professional schools, he decided to open his first academy dedicated entirely to Wing Tjun in Loano. This proved to be difficult due to the small size of the city and a lot of martial art schools had already been operating in the area. Sifu Mauro took this all in his stride and although he did not sleep for a few months due to hard work he finally opened the school and by the end of the of the first year the school had 130 members.
This was an incredibly satisfaction that inspired him to take a step further and started forming a staff of skilled assistants who could help run the school as instructors. That school is still active today even though he does not teach there anymore and only visits to teach seminars.
It was at this time with Sifu Sergio began an intense and challenging journey looking into different lineage and styles including Tang Yick Wing Chun, Gu Lao Wing Chun, Yuen Kai San Wing Chun , Wai Yan Weng Chun. From this research Sifu Sergio started to study the internal art of tWing Tjun where he started to restore the 1700's Wing Tjun; which is a blend of White Crane with Emei Zhuang in the Siu Lin Tao form. Sifu Mauro embraced this research and was once again injected with a deeper knowledge of the Wing Tjun system.
Over the year that followed Sifu Mauro grew under the guidance of Sifu Sergio. He now serves as the European coordinator for the IWKA and in 2017 received his 7th Level master in the IWKA system and it's highest ranking master within the organization. In 2015 he was the first certified teacher of IWKA Taiji Quan, another branch of the organization.
He teaches the Certified Instructor Course (CIT) in the UK, building the future of IWKA in the UK.