Movies spur him to take up martial arts
Wing chun expert to demonstrate moves at Wan Qing CultureFest
Some 13-year-olds may be inspired to emulate the moves of their screen heroes and pick up martial arts after watching Hollywood and Asian action movies.
As a teenager, Mr Daryl Yeo was no exception.
The 26-year-old Singaporean managed to follow through with his dream and is now a wing chun instructor and an official fourth-generation disciple of grandmaster Ip Man, a title bestowed upon him in 2012 by his teacher, Mr Chua Kah Joo.
"(Mr Chua) has high expectations, and I hope I can live up to his dream of increasing awareness for and promoting wing chun," Mr Yeo said.
He was speaking to The New Paper at the media preview of Wan Qing CultureFest 2017 on Friday at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, where he demonstrated on a wooden dummy and taught members of the media simple wing chun defensive manoeuvres.
Now in its seventh year, Wan Qing CultureFest is the memorial hall's signature annual festival that features programmes showcasing Chinese heritage and culture.
This year, visitors can look forward to workshops and performances by Mr Yeo, the Chinese Opera Society (Singapore) and Orkestra Sri Temasek fora hands-on and immersive experience.
Wing chun is a close range martial art that emphasises practicality and efficiency rather than brute strength, and it helps to improve sensitivity, reflex and balance.
Though he considered himself a sporty child when he was younger, Mr Yeo's interest in martial arts can be traced back to the big screen.
WHAT Wan Qing CultureFest 2017
WHERE Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
WHEN Nov 4, 5, 11 and 12, 10.30am to 9.30pm on Saturday and 11am to 9.30pm on Sunday
TICKETS Admission is free
He picked up taekwondo when he was 13. Then, after watching the Thai action movie Ong-Bak starring Tony Jaa, he went on to learn muay thai.
In 2008, Ip Man, the Hong Kong biopic based on the life of the titular wing chun legend and teacher of Bruce Lee, inspired Mr Yeo to take up wing chun under Mr Chua, with the intent of learning a new skill and improving his fitness and health.
Mr Yeo is now the head instructor at Wing Chun Kuen Training Centre. He also owns his own school, Daryl Yeo Wing Chun Kuen Training Centre.
The business marketing graduate from the Singapore Institute of Management likes to refer to himself as a "doorstep wing chun instructor".
He teaches 25 to 30 students - aged seven and above - at void decks across the island.
Wing chun has also kept him in the pink of health.
Calling himself "considerably fit", Mr Yeo said: "After practising wing chun, I find myself falling sick less often."
Similar to qigong, wing chun allows for the "intrinsic energy" to constantly flow around the body when doing certain moves.
On top of that, Mr Yeo, who trains daily by himself before his classes at night, said the martial art has improved his flexibility, coordination and overall fitness.
"I had to tone down on (other) sports because wing chun in itself is a workout," he said.
Mr Yeo added that he still swims for leisure and runs when he has to train for his Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
When he was a student at Singapore Polytechnic, he also had to sacrifice time spent with his friends to train.
"There are pros and cons, but I think at the end of the day, you can never earn back time, so no regrets," he said.
He recommends women take up wing chun as a practical martial art.
"I enjoy teaching women because they want to get the practice right," Mr Yeo said.
"In a safe country (like Singapore), we tend to be complacent.
"But when travelling overseas, it is essential for women to at least know some basic (self-defence) skills."