Virginia Seminar and Expo

ABINGDON, VA - August 24-26, 2012 was a busy weekend for Western Masters Martial Arts, which is nestled in the heart of the Great Appalachian Valley.

On Friday and Saturday, Master Webb was in town to conduct a 2-day seminar for Mark Pickels and the NVTO students at WMMA. Accompanying him were Houston-based instructor Nick Pickus (1st degree), along with assistant instructors Gary Mowbray and Avi White from the Austin school. The seminar was successful and the training so well received, that Master Webb was asked to return within the next few months.

Beginning Friday morning, Master Webb conducted a small-group lesson for Mark, his advanced students, and the crew from Texas. Later that evening, the general seminar began which continued on Saturday. At the end of the seminar, Mark Pickels received his promotion to 1st level instructor along with an enthusiastic congratulation from all his students.

Mark Pickels (USMC) has worked as a corrections officer and drill instructor for the commonwealth of Virginia since 2000. He began attending Master Webb's seminars in late 2002 and has found his Ving Tsun skills to come in handy on the job.

His promotion to full instructor status marks a turning point for Abingdon Ving Tsun Kung Fu as Master Webb commented, "Like myself, Mark's initial training in Ving Tsun was hindered by the lack of a qualified instructor in his local area. He's had to travel a lot to get his own training. But through hard work, loyalty, and dedication, Mark himself is now a qualified instructor. I have a lot of respect for him as a man of character, a veteran, and a professional. In Virginia you won't find a better instructor teaching this art."

Concurrent to the Ving Tsun seminar, there was a very special event occurring across town. Master Dane Harden (Colonel, U.S. Army), the owner and chief-instructor of Western Masters Martial Arts, was hosting the Wounded Warrior Expo at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. Begun by Master Harden last year, the Expo is a 501 (c) 3 and 509 (a) Public Charity whose proceeds go to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The event features instruction from top-tier martial arts instructors such as the legendary Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Shihan Dana Abbot, Kyoshi Kevin Block, and Master Harden himself.

Following the Expo there was a well-attended dinner event which featured speeches by Colonel Dane Harden and Commander Pete Marghella, (U.S. Navy, Retired), live music, and martial arts demonstrations. Invited as a special guest by Col. Harden, Master Webb and his Texas team performed a Ving Tsun demonstration to the packed house.


Master Webb squares off against multiple opponents.

Blind-folded chi-sau training.

Ground and pound, the Ving Tsun way.

Close body contact kicks.

Sunday morning saw the departure of the team from Texas and a very satisfying conclusion to a long weekend.

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Posted: Aug. 26, 2012, 6 a.m.