Master Andrew Sofos began his training on a very cold January evening in 1978. Although he had studied martial arts for four years, he found that Wing Chun was the system that best matched his philosophy.
Master Andrew gives us an account of how it was in earlier days of his training.
“The Wing Chun history has always fascinated me from the very early days of my training. I had to research the history in many ways; from books, which were confusing as each master had their own story. I also booked very expensive seminars. The best way, I found, to get the TRUTH was to win over Yip Man’s (the Grand Master) students, by way of putting them up in my home, showing them around town and building the relationship out of respect.
The late Grandmaster Moy Yat stayed with me for a week, as did Master James De-Mile in 1989, one of Bruce Lee’s original students. I attended seminars by the late Grandmaster Wong Shun Leung (Bruce Lee’s teacher) and two others who are alive and well today; Grandmaster William Cheung and Grandmaster Leung Ting. I also had the pleasure of meeting Yip Chun (Yip Man’s eldest son), Kenneth Chun and Dan Perzold (Grandmaster Jim Lau’s top student).
My early days were with Siman Lau and although classes were good, it was time to move on, so I had to perservere, build trust and earn respect with all the masters to gain the knowledge. Which has provided me with authentic teachings from the original masters, which is invaluable.
Bios-Master Andrew Sofos
Over three decades have passed and Master Andrew Sofos has appeared on numerous TV documentaries: ‘The Way of the Warrior’, ‘Fighters’ and ‘Combat Masters’ and many West End stages. The highlight of which, was performing at The Saddlers Wells theatre to a full house. He has been involved with many charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital, CLAPA, Whizz Kidz, Thalassemia, Cancer Research, Multiple Sclerosis Society and many others. More recently, Action for Kids. He has carried out security work for countless VIPs, diplomats, including Lennox Lewis, Steven Segal, Simply Red, Wham and Sir Bob Geldof and had his own successful security Company. This led him to work abroad, to which there are many hair-raising tales.
Master Sofos dedicates his life to teaching and sharing the many gems this breathtaking martial art has to offer. Since 1984 he has taught at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in South Kensington and the University College London in Euston. See University section. He has performed demonstrations and organised workshops for the Police, Navy and Army and helped at the YMCA, Buster Bully Project, Hearing Impaired groups and Rape Victim support group.
Master Andrew also produced two sell out shows for Charity, “Between Two Worlds” and ” The Spirit of Kung Fu”. Raising £15000 for Charity.
In 2005 Master Andrew Sofos created SAS Positive Activities. Ltd which umbrellas the SAS Martial Arts Academy (Est. 1986 for the private sector) and Body and Soul (Est. 2004, Sports for the public sector. (Now know as SAS Spartan Youth Foundation) Est. 2014
SAS Positive activities had really taken off to new heights, teaching in the streets of White City Hammersmith, Barking and Dagenham to Universities in Kensington (Imperial College) and in Euston at the University College London
The Wing Chun Kung Fu system had been taken into mainstream schools, colleges and universities, Special educational needs centres, Pupil Referral units. All working in partnership with several London Boroughs, to provide a quality service to Young People.
Master Andrew had been working intensively with his expert team of senior instructors to prepare them for their 8th Rank Grading which consists of the Wing Chun Weapons, Pole and Butterfly knives, the Bil Jee 3rd Form, multiple fighting and strong floor takedowns are a few of their challenges.
Master Sofos has created and trained martial art instructor’s to excellent standards, many have left SAS academy and are teaching their own skills both in the UK and abroad.
He has awarded the title of “Sifu” to 8 students, each able to open their own martial art schools, under the SAS Banner.
29th September 2007, SAS presented a double production show at the Bloomsbury theatre, organised by Master Sofos and his team of instructors, two productions of breathtaking martial arts, skills. The matinee performance titled Zen Zone was performed by nearly 70 young persons from 5 different boroughs of North London, the evening performance titled Tao –The way of the warrior was also a great success performed in front of 500 persons including 4 London mayors and two MPs with distinguished guest from Great Ormond Street hospital and the NSPCC.
Since 2008 Master Andrew has enrolled his martial academy with governing bodies for national recognised accreditation via AQA and ASDAN, has also registered with Learning skills council, the national skills academy and the London Development agency.
11th April 2011 Master Andrew Sofos was awarded the freedom of the City of London, an honour bestowed for his services to charity and working with underprivileged children over the past 30 years.
Master Andrew Sofos successfully set up partnerships with Jack Petchey foundation, which support the good causes the academy provides. Master Sofos won the “outstanding leader award” for services to young people in the area of central London youth clubs. (April 2012)
On the 26th September 2012 he was invited by the master, wardens and court of assistants at Tallow Chandlers’ Hall London EC4 to take part in the official joining and welcoming ceremony to receive his membership warren and sign the roll of the guild. During the ceremony the Master welcomed all new members and conducted the ceremony of the Loving Cup (Traditional ceremony that dates back for centuries) he was later presented with his membership warrant.
Mr Sofos is known for his generous charity projects during the past 30 years, he has trekked in Snowdonia Wales, and later to first camp on Mount Everest –Nepal. He has run countless half marathons, arranged dinner shows, organised 12 Martial Arts shows in London, including the West End. He has been a benefactor for Great Ormond Street Hospital for 21 years, and has contributed back to the community in a positive way. He has helped many individuals from all walks of life. As part of his title in the martial arts world as “Sifu” is to be a father figure to the community, and help change people lives.
Mr Sofos teaches in partnership with youth services in several London Boroughs, with local authority, has completed successful projects to help engage young people to a new positive lifestyle, he has been changing many people’s lives to positive outcomes, he has been teaching since 1984. SAS Martial Arts Academy will soon be celebrating their 30th birthday.
Master Sofos stated “In 2014 SAS Spartan Youth Foundation ltd was founded “it was right to provide a Non profit organisation” for our communities, empowering and organised by young mentors for young people. Changing peoples lives, improving fitness & health, inspiring to achieve outcomes and rewarding outstanding people is the ethos of SAS”
Receiving the document of sheepskin parchment called the “copy of freedom”
By The Lord Chamberlain