I moved to Australia from California in November of 2007, specifically with the goal of becoming a Wing Chun Kung Fu instructor under the private instruction of Master Joe Sayah. Joe Sayah had sold me on his promises of "always taking care of me," and "being my family in Australia." He originally convinced me to move to Australia to be his business partner on his new Mornington Location.
Joe Sayah expected me to pay him in USD once in Australia, robbing me of the slight advantage I had on currency. He had me teach classes for free, without compensating me with free lessons as he did with other students. He routinely and regularly would delay a private lesson for hours without so much as a phone call. He missed 3 weeks of private lessons (4 a week) and initially refused to make them up to me, despite having been paid for them.
Joe Sayah, most recently, was training me in a PRIVATE lesson on May 12, 2008. We had agreed that I would practice specific attacks, to get them smooth and subtle before my grading, what we were doing was NOT random. Joe executed a very dangerous front leg sweep on me without ANY control; dislocating my knee. Moments later, without my consent, he set the knee (he has no training or medical qualifications). He then proceeded to treat it with chinese herbs and heat therapy (though the hospital said I should have applied ice). Immediately he began spouting off apologies and assurances that he would take care of the medical bills. He talked me out of going to the hospital after receiving advice from a "nurse" on the phone. He had me drive myself home 30 minutes later.
Approximately three days later, a friend of mine insisted I go to the hospital for x-rays and a proper exam, since my knee had swelled to 300% and I was unable to walk on it. As soon as I approached Joe to tell him I would be seeing a specialist, the scams continued. First he attempted to have me admitted to a hospital under HIS NAME, fraudulently qualifying me for Australian medical care, reserved for citizens. He did this without my knowledge or permission; once he told me I refused. Upon refusing to use "his connection" at a hospital, he in turn refused to pay for my medical bills. His exact words were "I'm not going to pay $1000.00 for this." The man actually set a dollar limit on it, before even knowing what damage had been done, or how severe the injury was. He later went on to say that "[my] parents are rich, they should take care of it."
Never mind that I had left my life behind to train with this man. Never mind that I was in a PRIVATE lesson with him and he was 100% responsible for violently dislocating my knee.
Turns out that I had a class III/IV tear of my MCL (medial collateral ligament), a variety of other soft tissue tears, and extensive bone bruising. It was estimated that my knee would have long-term stability issues without having a knee reconstruction. Joe Sayah said if I needed anything to call him; but each time I asked him for help he refused or was unavailable, so I stopped asking; especially after he passed the expense of the injury onto me. From May 12, until June 23rd (after surgery) I was on crutches, unable to drive, and ultimately unable to take care of myself. He didn't take me to a single doctor's appointment, buy me a bag of groceries, or even so much as visit me in the hospital. He didn't even offer me the $1000 he originally alluded to, during our earlier conversation.
Throughout the course of my injury and prior to the surgery, he constantly told other students that my injury was not severe, lied about how it happened, and said I'd be back in no time. Physical Therapy informed me 2 weeks ago that it would be 1-2 years before I have full range-of-motion back in my knee. The best part is that he admitted he was wrong for executing the technique. Ironically he is the star of a current article boasting about his skill and control in martial arts. http://www.morningtonpeninsulaleader.com.au/article/2008/06/02/36379_mlv_news.html
Joe Sayah is egocentric and disturbingly greedy. His only interest in his students is how much money he can squeeze them for and how much he can get them to do for free. He regularly accepts/requests "favors" from students for free, never reciprocating in anyway. Example: He requested a student take 1 week of his personal holiday leave from work, only to be used as free labor in building Joe's new school. He had repeatedly used me for computer help, "free" software and other typing/graphic work. He has manipulated one student for over 2 years, simply to keep his website maintained for free.
Joe Sayah promises people certain levels of training (specific weapons, forms, etc.) charges extra monthly fees with these promises and then fails to deliver. When confronted, he regularly spins his wheels and talks in circles until the person confronting him gives up or is too confused to continue.
Joe Sayah makes inappropriate comments, somewhat sexual in nature, to young girls, under 18, in his classes and promotes similar behavior from his most senior students and assistant instructors. He, nor any of his other instructors, are certified to be teaching children in Australia, nor have they gone through the proper background checks.
Joe Sayah boasts about how his highest level students "pick" on lower level students and how they have no control in their movements, identifying the fact that people are getting hurt; but suggesting he'll do nothing about it. In fact, in June, he made the comment of "when I broke Dave's ribs, I hoped he had learned a lesson on what he was doing to others." Dave is his highest level assistant instructor, who is repeatedly seen hurting junior students due to his lack of control. Joe, a 30 year veteran to the style, chooses to "teach him a lesson" by breaking one of his ribs, and without any verbal communication?
Am I to believe that my knee dislocation was a silent lesson or lecture?
Joe also expelled two students from class after my injury occurred. These two students were the two brothers who never left my side and made it possible for me to eat and attend all my doctor's visits. Since they knew the truth, and Joe recognized them to be a risk to his lies, deceit and dishonor, he expelled them before he could be further exposed.