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Martial Arts: Focus on founder of Kung Fu in Malta sifu Charles Gaffiero
Posted on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:12 am
by IDMA Editor

An article by Noel Gatt about sifu Charles Gaffiero, founder of Kung Fu in Malta, has been published in the prestigious magazine Combat.

In it, Gatt gives a detailed account of how Gaffiero has become a well known personality in this Martial Art.

He learned the trade in England and Malaysia. He started at the age of 17 when he migrated to the UK and stayed in Nottinghamshire for a whole eight years. Soon after he arrived there, he joined a judo club in Nottingham and trained every day for six months.

But he realised that judo was not the right style for him as he became more intent on punching and kicking techniques.

While there, he attended Kung Fu training session with Masters from China. When he applied for a job in Malaysia he was successful and transferred there assuming that he would be able to broaden his knowledge in Kung Fu.

He remained there till 1966, gaining a Black Belt under the charge of famous Kung Fu master Leong Fu.

Back in Malta, in 1968, he started training at the Sliema Gymnasium Club where he met the late Charles Saliba, then the Strongest Ironman in Europe.

Sifu Gaffiero started giving Kung Fu lessons at this club later on, even if it was not yet well known on these islands.

It was in 1970 that Gaffiero opened his first Kung Fu School where sailors, police trainers, British Commandos and Filipinos regularly visited him from the merchant navy.

In the article, Gatt also writes that on one occasion in the mid 1970s, Gaffiero had challenged the world famous boxer Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) to an open fight, but somehow or other, this fight never materialised.

Among other things, Gaffiero was awarded membership of the German Karate Union in 1978. That year, he also opened a school in Gozo.

Several top personalities came over to lecture to his students at his kwoon. In the 1980s, he hosted in his kwoon the well-known Ju-Jitsu Karate exponent sensei George McKenzie. The latter then held the prestigious titles of world, European and British WAKO kickboxing heavyweight champion.

Another top personality he hosted at his premises was film star Sho Kosugi. Others included Jean Claude van Dam, sensei Colin Williams and Brian Dossett.

Gaffiero now has almost 50 years of experience in Kung Fu. He has become a legend and a much respected man. He presently trains at the Body Culture Group, formerly the Sliema Gymnasium Club.

If anyone is interested in meeting Gaffiero, he can be contacted at the club at 166, Manuel Dimech Street, Sliema, SLM 1051.

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