Derek’s first became interested in the Chinese arts through contact with Chinese friends in the early 60s this time was spent just working techniques. He joined his first club in Leicester in the mid 60s again the club concentrated on self-defence style techniques without formal training of any style of Chinese martial art in particular.
He continued training through out the 70s and in the end inherited the group by default; it was in the early 70s that he started training in Manchester in a new mystical style call Taijiquan. It was through his teacher Sifu Danny Connor that he had his first introduction to Seven Star Prying Mantis and Wing Chun under MasterJoseph Cheng who taught seminars for Sifu Connors group.
Master Cheng studied with Grandmaster Lee Shing who knew both the Yip Man Wing Chun and the Guo Lo Wing Chun (Pin San) attributed to Master Leung Jan.
Derek Continued to train in Wing Chun under Sifu Connor and another Joseph Cheng student Sifu John Darwen, Sifu Connor, Sifu Darwen and Sifu Frearson were instrumental in forming the British Kung Fu Union.
During this time Derek also continued to practise Seven Star Praying Mantis from Sifu Connor, Sifu Connor had been studying this style in Taiwan.
The British Kung Fu Union was a founding member of the British Kung Fu Council which was later renamed the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts.
Later Derek formed his own Association the then British Taijiquan and Shaolin Kung Fu Association as the association grew internationally it was renamed the International Taijiquan and Shaolin Wushu Association which joined the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts in its own right. Derek held various posts over the years including Vice Chairman, Head of the Technical committee and committee member.
Derek went to Boston USA to study Taiji with Master Bow Sim Mark in 1980 and also studied Wah Lum Mantis Style from Sifu Yao Li and the Grandmaster of the style Chan Poi.
He became a teacher of this style and taught it in several countries around the world.
Derek made his first visit to China with his Taiji Teacher Master Bow Sim Mark Boston USA in 1984 and attended the first International Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) meeting in Wuhan the group also visited Beijing and Guangzhou it was in Guangzhou that the group visited Master Fu Wing Fay the son of the Great Grandmaster Fu Chen Sung.
Some years later Sifu Connor introduced Derek to Ip Mans eldest son Ip Chun this enabled Derek to train with Master Ip in Manchester, host seminars in Leicester and to train with him in Hong Kong.
In 1988 Derek made his first visit to the Shaolin Temple and was fortunate to travel with Master Mok Poi On and his student Sifu Leo Man of the Pao Fei Lein (Pou Fa Lin) Wing Chun style, this brought about an introduction to the great Pao Fei Lein Master Chu Chung and his sons and also developed a lifelong friendship with Sifu Leo Man.
Later that year Derek was an invited guest at the grand opening of the Shaolin Wushu Training Centre in Dengfeng China it was after this opening that Derek made his first visit to Foshan (Fat Shan) to research the various branches of Wing Chun.
On this visit he met Master Pang Nam (Black Face Pang) (Weng Chun), Master Pang gave Derek copies of his books detailing the forms of his Wing Chun he also met Master Kwok Kai (Guo Jia) of Pao Fei Lein Wing Chun. Master Kwok and Master Chu Chung were class mates in the old days in Foshan when they were training with their SifuLiu Da Sheng Derek and Master Kwok became instant friends as Derek was able to give details of Master Chu Chung and his life in Hong Kong, Derek would relay information and even made a video tape for Master Kwok to send a message to his class mate. Derek and Master Kwok have remained in contact over the years.
In 1989 Derek was elected as the Vice Chairman for British Council for Chinese Martial Arts and held many other posts including Membership Secretary and Technical Committee chairman until 1999 when he stood down.
In 1990 Derek had his first lesson directly with Master Lee Kam Wing in Hong Kong and has followed his master in the Seven Star Mantis style ever since eventually becoming a closed door disciple and graded to Master level by Grandmaster Lee Kam Wing.
Derek has met and had exchanges with many of the Wing Chun Masters now teaching in Foshan in fact there are 13 different styles registered as Wing Chun styles of Foshan
Derek considers his greatest find however was to meet the two remaining Ip Man students alive in Foshan Master Lun Gai and Master Kwok Fu. Derek became the first non Chinese student to train with Master Lun Gai and to promote his style outside of China.
Since first meeting Master Lun Derek has returned to Foshan once or twice each year the only year he was prevented from travel to China was when the student troubles were taking place in Tiananmen Square and the British government advised its citizens not to travel.
In Derek’s words “After meeting Master Lun I made a commitment to myself to return every year which I still do even long after completing the system”
Derek was an invited guest at the “Foshan, Hong Kong and Guangzhou Chin Woo Rose Cup Yong Chun Sticking Hand Invitational Tournament” which took place on 21/22 October 2000. This was the first sticking hands event ever to be held in China.
Derek became a Permanent Member of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association of Hong Kong (VTAA) in January 2002 and in November the same year received his certificate of registration as a Wing Chun instructor receiving his training from Master Lun Gai.
In November 2002 the Ip Man Museum opens and due to his fund raising effort Derek is made a Hon. Director and his school photograph is placed inside.
In 2004 with Master Lun’s permission Derek formed the Lun Gai Foshan Wing Chun Association to promote and preserve master Lun’s style.
In 2008 a stamp collection and commemorative edition to celebrate Wushu and the Olympic Games was produced under supervision from the Chinese Wushu Association “ as a gem of traditional Chinese culture, Wushu finally gets the opportunity a special kind of tournament in the Olympic Games as an ad hoc sport is the result of effort of Chinese people and the Chinese government”
As a hot bed of Southern Chinese martial arts many of Foshan’s deceased and current Masters were shown including Lun Gai and Kwok Fu Derek was thrilled to see his own photograph included in the Wing Chun list.
August 02.08.2009 Derek was an international judge for the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of the Peoples Republic of China and to Welcome 2009 East Asian Game in Hong Kong.
Master Derek Frearson – 霍恒信
President and Chief Instructor
International Taijiquan & Shaolin Wushu Association
President and Chief Instructor Master Lun Gai Foshan Wing Chun Association
Lifetime member of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association of Hong Kong
Certified Instructor Ving Tsun Athletic Association Hong Kong
Hon. Director of the Yip Man Museum Foshan China
Corporate Member Hong Kong Wing Chun Union
Seven Star Mantis Style
President and Chief Instructor Lee Kam Wing Martial Arts Association UK
Closed Door Disciple of Grandmaster Lee Kam Wing
Awarded 9th Level Master by Grandmaster Lee Kam Wing
Vice President International Seven Star Mantis Style Lee Kam Wing Martial Arts Association
The World of Traditional Seven Star Mantis Style Federation
Yang Style Taijiquan
President and Chief Instructor Yang Family Taijiquan Association
Member of Master Bow Sim Mark Taijiquan Association
Representative of Grandmaster Ou Rong Ju Yang Family Taijiquan
Hon. Director of the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain
The Global Chinese Martial Arts Federation Hong Kong
Overseas Founding Member
World Masters Traditional Kung Fu Association 8th Level
Vice President Hong Kong Southern & Northern Martial Arts Association
President of Hong Kong and China Shandong Mantis Association
Lifetime Member of:
Chin Woo Athletic Association Hong Kong
Chin Woo Athletic Association Foshan
Shaolin Boxers Association Deng Feng China
International Chinese Physician (Rheumatic Research & Orthopaedic Problem) Association Hong Kong and China
Combat Hall of Fame Awards 2003- 2011
Presented to Derek Frearson In recognition of his COMMITMENT and DEVOTION To Development of Martial Arts in the United Kingdom and around the World