Self storage units aren't just for storing belongings
In this week’s edition of Behind the Blue Walls - where we feature some of our more unique customers and their stories - we introduce you to Loukas Kastrounis, a Greek Martial Artist with links to Bruce Lee.
Sifu* Loukas is the Founder and Leading Authority of the European Wing Chun Association and Reading Academy
. Wing Chun is a complete system of self-defence including boxing, trapping, kicking, grappling and throwing.
has also trained police officers, special forces, body guards and prison officers’
People travel from all over the world to train with Sifu Loukas; he is respected both nationally and internationally, having trained under Sifu Nino Bernardo at the legendary ‘Basement’ (a martial arts training hall in London). Sifu Nino Bernardo was trained by Wong Shun Leung, who is credited for training Bruce Lee, the Hong Kong American martial artist and action film actor.
Nino taught Loukas that by learning to control one’s ego, anger and pride in Wing Chun, the same attributes could be applied to improve one’s everyday life
With the permission of his former teacher Sifu Loukas opened the first academy in Reading in 1992 called ‘The Garage’. As the name suggests the academy was based in Loukas’ Garage but they quickly outgrew the space and in time the business moved to a self storage unit in Reading where it has been based for the last 16 years.
Sifu Loukas currently has several authorised schools in England and others in Canada, Ireland, Paris, Italy and Greece. When Safestore interviewed him he was visiting Greece at the 14th annual International Wing Chun, EWCA.
Not all of his schools are run out of storage units, only the academy in Reading. He opted to use a 1,000 square foot unit as a training studio when he was first starting out because ‘it was more economically priced, he didn’t have to fork out a bunch of money in advance for deposits or pay business rates’
, which dramatically reduced the risk that many new businesses are faced with. It was also appealing because he didn’t have to share the space with other groups and it was accessible to his students.
* Sifu, pronounced ‘see-foo’, is used as a title for a skilful person or a master. In the context of martial arts it means ‘master’ or ‘teacher’.
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