Born in California, USA, Sifu Mandy has been athletic all her life competing in basketball and swimming from age 9-19, later turning to running and surfing, spending three winters surfing Hawaii's North Shore. She became a fan of Bruce Lee and martial arts films at 18. She dabbled in aikido for a while before she learned that Bruce Lee's core art he'd trained for 10 years in China was Wing Chun kung fu. At 22, she serendipitously discovered that Master Joe Sayah who'd learned from Grandmaster Cheung (the man who,along with Ip Man, taught Bruce Lee) had moved from Australia to Los Angeles and opened up a Wing Chun academy ten minutes from her home. 'I did a class and was hooked at first Pak Sao punch!' she says. As fate would have it she later married Master Joe Sayah in 2001.
When asked if she's ever had to use Kung Fu in real life, Sifu Mandy said, 'Here and there, it came in handy when I was on an overnight train in Europe in 2000 and a man was harassing a woman I was traveling with. But, prevention is the best medicine and with heightened awareness I've probably avoided it by not placing myself in potentially dangerous situations. Otherwise, I've just applied my skills during sparring sessions or tournaments I've competed in.' In July, 2010, Sifu Mandy took 1st place in a Loong Fu Pai Tournament in Victoria, Australia. She also competed in full contact kickboxing tournaments from 2008-2010.
The Rosebud and Mornington Wing Chun kung fu schools are one of the few places in Australia where you can be trained by a female instructor, Sifu Mandy Sayah. There's only a handful of women in the world who've risen to instructor level in Wing Chun kung fu. When Sifu Mandy disables a much larger and stronger male opponent it proves that Wing Chun works and it doesn't require size and strength!
Practicing Wing Chun Kung Fu changed Sifu Mandy's life, 'first it empowered me physically which made me feel mentally stronger, safer, and more confident which carried over spiritually to give me greater peace and respect for myself and others. It really united my mind, body, and spirit in a positive way. She co-authored a book with Master Joe Sayah Chi Energy and Prosperity The master's guide to finding success through better health, energy, and balance.
Sifu Mandy Sayah is a gold sash, instructor level, and teaches Wing Chun Kung Fu in the Mornington and Rosebud academies in Victoria, Australia.