About Us

  • about us
  • about us

In 1986, after intensive training with the late Grandmaster Moy Yat, Grandmaster Anthony Moy Tung opened the first Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu school in downtown Richmond, Virginia. He taught Kung Fu full-time while continuing to visit and train with his Sifu in Chinatown, New York.

In 2000, Grandmaster Moy Tung’s student, Barry O’Brien, began teaching at the Richmond headquarters school after ten years of training. In 2011, he opened the Academy of Kung Fu in Richmond’s West End.

At our school, we follow the Chinese saying “Ving Tsun chuen jing tung” which translates to “Ving Tsun authentically passing down.” Unlike many other martial arts which have begun to mix different styles in order to compensate for their various weaknesses, Ving Tsun was specifically designed to overcome fighting experts of other styles without the need to borrow techniques from other systems. This was the original Shaolin combat system. It was designed in the Temple utilizing advanced theories and training exercises with the aim of combating Manchu invaders. It is not designed for tournaments, sport, or entertainment. The Grandmasters spent decades developing this system and then lived or died by it in an age where fighting was done up close by hand.

We have maintained the traditional customs, philosophy and training exercises that have been passed down to us through the generations by our Grandmasters.  However, Kung Fu is about more than just self-defense. It also enriches the quality of its students’ lives.  Kung Fu promotes regular exercise and other aspects that lead to good health. Students can expect overall improved fitness, athleticism and discipline.


At the Academy of Kung Fu we take our instruction seriously and want to offer the very best to our students. The Sifu at our school has been teaching for 14 years and studying Ving Tsun for 24 years. He has carefully selected and trained the following students to be instructors at our school and continues to train and evaluate their instruction so we can offer you the best.

Adult Class Instructors

Sifu2Sifu O’Brien been studying Ving Tsun for over 25 years under Sifu Moy Tung. In 1990, he joined his Sifu’s inner circle. At this point he began training in the traditional method, up to 20 hours a week. At the age of 23, he became a Ving Tsun Sifu. He was personally certified by Grandmasters Moy Tung and Moy Yat on November 11, 2000. The following day, he was formally initiated into Moy Yat’s Grand Special Student Association, the GSS, by the Bi Ze ceremony. During this time, Sifu O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2011, after over a decade of teaching at his Sifu’s Headquarters school, he opened the Academy of Kung Fu in Richmond’s West End. He currently teaches private and adult classes Monday-Friday.

Rob3Rob began training in January of 2000. He was the first student of Sifu O’Brien, making him the clan Dai Sihing.  In 2008, Rob became the first special student of Sifu O’Brien. He is an instructor at our school during adult classes. Rob is the owner of Richmond Rolfing, in Carytown, and is a certified Master Rolfer.

Rick1Rick started training in Martial Arts in 1997 at Prodigy Martial Arts. He  studied Muay Thai and Jeet Kune Do. In 2004, he started training Ving Tsun under Sifu O’Brien in Richmond, VA.  In 2008, he became a special student of Sifu O’Brien and a direct grandstudent of Moy Tung. He currently works for Dupont and is an instructor at the Academy of Kung Fu.


Kid’s Class Instructors

AmyAmy has studied Ving Tsun under Sifu O’Brien for eight years. She is currently the Children Program’s Director and Instructor. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education. She worked for four years as a Montessori teacher until she opened her own sewing school, Sew Fun in 2016. She also teaches Ving Tsun classes to children at Collegiate School, Tuckahoe Montessori School and Sabot at Stony Point. Amy is also the instructor and coordinator for all Academy of Kung Fu Summer Programs. She has undergone a background check through the state of Virginia to be certified to teach children. She is dedicated to teaching and loves watching her students improve.


Questions About Kung Fu

Buy Kung FuWe often get questions about why Ving Tsun is different than other Martial Arts, or what do our classes really look like. We all want to feel comfortable, especially if we’re starting something new. So here are a few answers to help you understand more of what we are about at the Academy of Kung Fu.

(The following is an except from the Student Handbook by Sifu O’Brien.)

A: No. Ving Tsun develops discipline, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. These are life skills. Just like in training, limitations and weaknesses in other aspects of life can be conquered. This leads to confidence, a greater well-being, and achievement in all aspects of life. Ving Tsun contains many other benefits; including improved relaxation, health, overall fitness, and respect for self and others.

A: Ving Tsun does not need other styles to make it work. It was designed for self-defense and fighting martial arts masters in real life. It wasn’t created with a padded floor, referee, one-on-one scenario, or rules in mind. If you train in five styles and are attacked, the half second delay of what response or style to use could mean losing a fight. With proper Ving Tsun training, your body will react before you even have time to think about what is happening.  Remember, you will fight as you train. We avoid wrestling or grappling on the ground because:

1. You cannot see what is going on around you.

2. You cannot move quickly because man depends on footwork to maneuver.

3. If you are smaller than your opponent, they can use their weight against you more while wrestling. If you are a woman being sexually assaulted, your attacker wants you on the ground. We will not teach something that will endanger our students.

4. You are at the mercy of any other attackers. This could be deadly in real life, especially with your head near the ground and very vulnerable to kicks or stomps.

A: Ving Tsun forms hardwire good habits, information, and reflexes into the body through repetition. Two-man exercises and applications reinforce these reflexes against another person while testing and refining them until they are effective and automatic.
A: Kung Fu life is making Ving Tsun training a part of your life and mindset. By learning naturally and relaxed, like a  baby learns to walk and talk, the principles of Kung Fu become a part of our nature. Learning cannot be rushed. The sifu’s job is not to teach the student but rather to help the student learn at their own pace, according to their own abilities.  Students see their sifu and Kung Fu brothers many hours a week. We become like family. Kung Fu life is Ving Tsun’s highest form of teaching and achievement. When a student is around their sifu a lot, they absorb a lot of Kung Fu.

A: Here are five ways to improve and make yourself healthier:

  1. Eat a healthy diet. Avoid processed, chemical-laden foods.
  2. Supplement your training with cardiovascular exercises, such as running.
  3. Avoid drugs, alcohol in excess and legal drugs such as weight-loss pills.
  4. Come to class. Even if you’re tired, you’ll feel better after a workout.
  5. Read. Not all training is physical. Educate yourself on nutrition, your mind, history, the classics, philosophy, science, religion, the world. Take advantage of the wealth of human knowledge and experience. If you do not, what is the difference between you and the man who cannot read?

Kung Fu vs. Karate or Other Types of Martial Arts

What makes training at the Academy of Kung Fu in the Moy Yat Ving Tsun System different from other styles of Martial Arts?

1. Our goal is to teach you real martial arts so you can protect yourself and your family.

2. Here you have the option to train up to 4 hours a night with your Sifu present. Sifu Barry O’Brien personally teaches classes while monitoring students’ progress. This is how traditional martial art is taught. We encourage you to call around and ask how long classes are, you will be surprised at the difference.

3. When you look at cost per training hour at other schools you will see there is literally no competition.

4. The majority of our students train between 2-3 hours a night plus home training and seminars. This yields Martial Artists with 1,000+ hours of training in 2-3 years. This is not possible with most other styles even if that many hours were available. This is because they lack the Martial Art foundation. Many schools would rather teach 3 or more different classes in 3 hours in order to maximize their profit.

5. No testing or boosting egos. As a matter of fact, we want you to lose your ego. Ego cause cognitive dissonance, which makes learning doubly difficult. Our goal is to teach you real self defense that is automatic and subconscious. We want our students to be the strongest people they can possibly be.

History of Ving Tsun

history of ving tsun

{The following is an excerpt from “Genealogy of Ving Tsun Kung Fu” from the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. The text in Chinese was a rough draft written by the late Grandmaster Yip Man and was supposed to be the preface for the purpose of organizing the “Ving Tsun Fellowship.” However, the Ving Tsun Fellowship never came into existence; instead, the “Hong Kong Ving Tsun Athletic Association” was finally established on August 24, 1967.}

The founder of the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System, Miss Yim Ving Tsun, was a native of Canton, China. As a young girl, she was intelligent and athletic, upstanding and manly. She was betrothed to Leung Bok Chau, a salt merchant of Fukien. Soon after that, her mother died. Her father, Yim Yee, was wrongfully accused of a crime and nearly went to jail. So the family moved far away and finally settled down at the foot of Tai Leung Mountain at the Yunnan-Szechuan border. All this happened during the reign of Emperor K’anghsi (1622-1722).

At the time, Kung Fu was becoming very strong in Siu Lam Monastery (Shaolin Monastery) of Mt. Sung, Honan. This aroused the fear of the Manchu government, which sent troops to attack the monastery. They were unsuccessful. A man named Chan Man Wai was the First Placed Graduate of the Civil Service Examination that year. He was seeking favor with the government, and suggested a plan. He plotted with Siu Lam monk Ma Ning Yee and others. They set fire to the Monastery while soldiers attacked it from outside. Siu Lam was burned down and the monks scattered. Buddhist Abbess Ng Mui, Abbot Chi Shin, Abbot Pak Mei, Master Fung To Tak and Master Miu Him escaped and fled their separate ways.

Ng Mui took refuge in White Crane Temple on Mt. Tai Leung (also known as Mt. Chai Har). There, she came to know Yim Yee and his daughter, Yim Ving Tsun. She brought bean curds at their store and they became friends.

Ving Tsun was a very young woman then and her beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Ving Tsun to marry him. She and her father were very worried. Ng Mui learned this and took pity on Ving Tsun. She agreed to teach Ving Tsun fighting techniques so that she could protect herself. Then she would be able to solve the problem with the bully and marry Leung Bok Chau, her betrothed husband. So, Ving Tsun followed Ng Mui into the mountains and started to learn Kung Fu. She trained night and day, and mastered the techniques. Then she challenged the local bully to a fight and beat him. Ng Mui set off to travel around the country, but before she left she told Ving Tsun to strictly honor the Kung Fu traditions, to develop her Kung Fu after her marriage and to help the people working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty. This is how Ving Tsun Kung Fu was handed down by Abbess Ng Mui.

After the marriage, Ving Tsun taught her Kung Fu to her husband Leung Bok Chau and he passed his Kung Fu techniques on to Leung Lan Kwai. Leung Lan Kwai passed it on to Wong Wah Bo. Wong Wah Bo was a member of an opera troupe on board a junk, known to the Chinese as the “Red Junk”. Wong worked on the Red Junk with Leung Yee Tei. It so happened that Abbot Chi Shin, who fled from Siu Lam, had disguised himself as a cook and was now working on the Red Junk. Chi Shin taught the six and a half point Long pole techniques to Leung Yee Tei. Wong Wah Bo was close to Leung Yee Tei and they shared what they knew about Kung Fu. Together they correlated and improved their techniques and thus the Six and a half point Long pole techniques were incorporated into Ving Tsun Kung Fu.

Leung Yee Tei passed the Kung Fu on to Leung Jan, a well known herbal doctor in Fahshan. Leung Jan grasped the innermost secrets of Ving Tsun and attained the highest level of proficiency. Many Kung Fu Masters came to challenge him, but all were defeated. Leung Jan became very famous and later he passed his Kung Fu on to Chan Wah Shan, who took me as his student many decades ago. I studied Kung Fu alongside my brothers such as Ng Siu Lo, Ng Chung So, Chan Yu Min and Lui Yu Jai. Ving Tsun was thus passed down to us and we are eternally grateful to our Kung Fu ancestors and teachers. We will always remember and appreciate our roots and this shared feeling will always keep our Kung Fu brothers close together. This is why I am organizing the Ving Tsun Fellowship, and I hope my Kung Fu brothers will support me in this. This will be very important in the promotion of Kung Fu.