Sifu Phil Romero

Sifu Romero began martial arts at the age of 14, studying Northern Shaolin and TaiChi in Albuquerque, NM. After high school, he moved to Culver City, Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. There, he met Grandmaster Hawkins Cheung, a childhood friend of Bruce Lee and Ip Man’s most senior US student. Although only 5’1” and 110 lbs, Sifu Hawkins was world renowned for his ability to fight men twice his size.

At the Hawkins Martial Arts Academy, Sifu Romero and other early students drew attention as they regularly fought in challenge matches and street fights. Nicknamed, “Phil Iron”, Sifu Romero was known for his iron-like body density, phenomenal striking power, and innovative approach to Wing Chun. Although Wing Chun is typically known for striking, Sifu Romero pushed the boundaries, incorporating joint locks/breaks, throws, and grappling and applied them to real combat situations.


After a family illness in 1990, Sifu Romero returned to Albuquerque, NM as a veteran of the martial arts and classical combat. There, he opened a school of his own and led the growth of martial arts in the community. He co-founded UNM’s Institute of Traditional Martial Arts (ITMA), the Desert Dragon Kung Fu Competition, and was also a member of the Safety Committee for UFC’s 1 and 2.

Today, Sifu Romero has an international organization that promotes a classical Wing Chun curriculum based on his decades of experience. He added the 5 Elements into the art, re-adding the missing pieces of what makes up a traditional Chinese martial art. Through his research, he also ascertained Wing Chun’s original Taoist roots in Ermei Qigong. He also trains with the current Ermei lineage holder, Grandmaster Fu Wei Zhong.


Like more than 150,000 other New Mexicans, Monica Duran lives with diabetes. The disease has claimed her eyesight, but thanks to the medical care she receives from UNM Hospitals and to an active lifestyle that includes martial arts training, Monica is working to help others who may fall victim to diabetic retinopathy.

Sifu Romero’s research into the internal side of Wing Chun has led to tremendous breakthroughs in health and wellness. He is most known for his work with Monica Duran, a blind diabetic, who regained some of her sight through the training. The results and training were featured by University of New Mexico’s (UNM’s) Health Sciences Center. Sifu Romero bridges the gap to modern science and regularly collaborates with engineers, western doctors, and doctors of oriental medicine to make qigong’s health benefits available to the modern world. His clients include professional fighters, Hollywood actors and stuntmen, diabetics, cancer patients, and entrepreneurs.


Sifu Romero Chi Sauing with Actor and Kung Fu Brother, Phil Morris.

Sifu Romero Chi Sauing with Actor and Kung Fu Brother, Phil Morris.


·      Official Hawkins Cheung lineage holder (Inducted into Wing Chun Association Hong Kong Genealogy of Wing Chun)

·      Experience in numerous fighting bouts

·      Regular Contributing Author to Wing Chun Illustrated:

               Wing Chun in a Modern MMA World

               Hawkins Cheung: A Trip Back in Time

·      Member of Safety Committee for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 1 and 2

·      Co-founder of UNM’s Institute of Traditional Martial Arts (ITMA)

·      Referee in 1st International Wing Chun Chi Sau Competition Sponsored by Sifu Jeff Belt(Houston, TX)

·      Co-founder of Desert Dragon Kung Fu Competition

·      Featured in Documentary, “Bridging the Gap” (2014); Filmed in Detthousen, Germany

·      Featured in “Wing Chun Blast” Youtube series

·      Co-creator of Self-defense program with Sifu Frank Rivera

·      Author in Wing Chun Today: "The Structural Integrity of Wing Chun"


Satellite Schools and Authorized Sifus: 

  • Barnaby Hazen (Taos, NM)

  • J Seth Wiggins (Denver, CO)

  • Maytee Lerttamrab (Bangkok, Thailand)

  • Jason Smith (Las Cruces, NM / El Paso, TX)

  • Michael Gidwanie (NYC)

  • Aaron Richardson (Abq, NM)

Let's Work Together!