Rumble in the Bay State!
AMESBURY, MA - The weekend of June 1-3, 2012 marked an important event for the NVTO in Massachusetts. The Amesbury branch hosted Master Webb's recent visit to the Bay State to conduct his quarterly seminar. On his 5-day visit, Dai-Sifu Webb provided private instruction to advanced students on Thursday and Friday, followed by a group seminar held on Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
Scott Tarbell, a direct student of Master Webb since 2003, was promoted to the rank of 3rd degree instructor and received the title of "Sifu," making him the highest-ranked and most qualified NVTO instructor on the East coast. Two assistant instructors, Gene Mondalto and Thomas Butzen, were each promoted to the rank of 1st degree instructor. Assistant instructor Andy Schoeck and Group Leader Mike Lanier also advanced in rank, as did a number of students.
During testing, each of the instructors was required to demonstrate the techniques they had learned and to test their fighting skills 'hands-on' with Master Webb. In the case of Sifu Scott Tarbell, this visit marked the final portion of his testing process which began back during the seminar in March.
As is the custom after earning the Sifu-title, Scott Tarbell was given the gift of his own official Chinese seal (chop) by Dai-Sifu Webb. Moving forward, any students joining the Amesbury school after June 2, 2012 will be the "to-dai" or direct students under the authority of Sifu Tarbell.
Students at the seminar were also treated to a surprise visit by Sifu John May, a longtime friend of Master Webb and a well-known practitioner of both Wing Chun and Tai Chi. Master Webb commented, "It was great to have Sifu May make the long drive from New York. I know the students appreciated his input and I was happy to have him stand as witness for the instructor testing."
All in all, the seminar was a resounding success! Newly-minted instructor, Thomas Butzen, said in closing, "With the weekend behind, I'd like to express our gratitude to Sifu Jeff for his teachings and wisdom. May your journey home be safe and swift - we already look forward to your next visit to New England for the September seminar!"