GUARD YOUR LOW-LINE, ATTACK THEIRS! Best Shin Guards for Wing Chun Training 2020

Wing Chun is a close-quarters system, and it doesn’t get more close-in than a boot to the shin or a stomp to the instep. Think you can realistically train without using the right gear  (such as the Fairtex SP5 Competition Shin Guard shown above)? Think again, Grasshopper.

One aspect of Wing Chun that does not get enough attention is its’ use of the kick. The Wing Chun kick is a low-line technique most often delivered to the shin, the kneecap or the hip in order to displace the opponent’s energy by immobilizing or causing pain. Training this very valuable but often underutilized aspect of the art requires the right gear and shin guards are the only way to realistically train the kick. The question then becomes: what kinds of shin guards are best suited for Wing Chun training, not only for self-defense but for applying the art to full contact combat sports such as MMA, muay thai or kickboxing? 

Choosing the best shin guard for your Wing Chun training, both for self-defense practice (first and foremost) and for full-contact combat sports participation such as kickboxing, MMA or sanshou fighting is of the highest importance as your training progresses. Continue reading

FORM & FUNCTION: Best MMA Gloves for Wing Chun 2020

MMA gloves are a Wing Chun guy or gal’s best friend and most valuable training aid. It is imperative to know what to look for to best suit your needs.

To make your Wing Chun skills truly functional, practical and effective – for self-defense or full-contact combat sports such as MMA, muay thai and sanshou kickboxing – depends on several factors, not the least of which is the gear you train with.  Shin pads, mouthpiece, chest protector, groin cup and headgear are all necessities to have in your gear bag, but the single most important item of your gear will always be the gloves you have to punch with.

MMA gloves offer a very specific benefit to us as practitioners of Wing Chun as their open-palm design, loose fingers and minimal weight allow us to train, for all intents and purposes, as if we had no gloves on at all.  Choosing the best MMA glove to suit your needs is of the highest importance when training to make your Wing Chun skills work for you in an efficient, effective and ,above all, realistic way. Continue reading

SIX (AND A HALF) POINTS OF POWER: Best Wing Chun Long Poles 2020

My instructor Keith (front) and me (back) demonstrating Wing Chun’s luk dim boon gwun, or six-and-one-half-point-pole set during one of Chinatown’s annual summer fair celebrations.

The Wing Chun itself system is very small in its’ core teachings and curriculum, and is designed that way for a very specific purpose. There are only three empty hand sets,  the muk yan jong or wooden dummy set, and two weapon sets: one for longer range and one for shorter.  Together they comprise a complete progression taking one through all facets of self-defense and close-range combat skill.  Each one is vital to the mix and contains lessons which will enhance your ability to protect and defend yourself and your loved ones. 

Once the foundation and basic principles, techniques and concepts have been ingrained in your muscle memory by way of the forms, dummy and chi sau drills, weapons are introduced in order to reinforce those ideas and key principles by applying them to something outside and independent of your physical body.  Continue reading

THROWING BOMBS: Best Boxing Gloves for Wing Chun Training 2020

A solid pair of high-quality boxing gloves, such as the classic Fairtex BGV1 Boxing /Muay Thai Glove shown here, can raise your Wing Chun skill set to the next level by preparing you for the realities of hard contact during training.

When seeking out the best training equipment for Wing Chun, self defense or full-contact training, it’s hard to beat a solid pair of boxing gloves.  While everyone can see the place and role boxing gloves play in training for full-contact combat sports such as boxing, kickboxing or MMA, what many Wing Chun folks do not realize is that a good pair of boxing gloves can be just about the most useful training aid towards functional and practical use of Wing Chun. 

Choosing the best boxing glove for your training needs is one of the most essential yet overlooked aspects of Wing Chun training, as they can take both your self-defense training and sparring experiences (either for class training or for combat sports participation such as boxing, kickboxing and MMA) to the next level by allowing you to apply as well as defend against techniques thrown with speed and power. Continue reading

MOVING TEXTBOOKS: Best Wing Chun Instructional DVDs 2020

When seeking out qualified instruction via DVD, make sure the instructor’s lineage is beyond reproach and his or her mechanics and grasps of basic principles are sound and presented in a way that is easy for you to understand. One such example is this DVD by Gary Lam’s top student, Sifu Greg LaBlanc.

Learning any martial art from a DVD is a daunting task.  Nothing will replace finding a qualified instructor to guide you through the nuances and subtle points of the Wing Chun system, since Wing Chun is an art and system of self defense predicated on feeling and close-in contact.  Given today’s high-tech world we live in, however,  the landscape of learning has changed. Finding the best DVDs on the market to guide you through the Wing Chun system and serve as “go-to” references for clarification is not only doable but necessary to gain a firmer understanding of what makes Wing Chun such an efficient and effective fighting art. Continue reading

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE: The Single Best Functional Wing Chun and Self Defense Training Headgear for 2020

 

There can be no room for “what-ifs” or error when deciding on the right headgear for dedicated Wing Chun or close-quarter self training. Fortunately , the ProForce Thunder Combat Padded Head Guard, shown above, wraps them all up and ties them with a pretty bow.

Wing Chun system of close quarter combat and self-defense is unique amongst martial arts as it is predicated on close-in fighting in the very lethal range of trapping.  The right headgear, therefore, is essential for our training Wing Chun in an open, honest and no-bullshit way not only for self-defense and close-quarter combat but for the functionalization of Wing Chun’s basic techniques and principles (which can be translated into productive combat sports training as well). 

It behooves you, therefore, to select the best headgear for the very specific needs of functional Wing Chun training as well as being able to apply your Wing Chun skillset for both self-defense training and combat sports such as MMA, kickboxing or tournament competition.   Continue reading

TAKING CARE OF THE “TWINS” Best Groin Guards/Protectors for Wing Chun Training 2020

Training scenarios like these are why a solid groin cup or protector in your gear bag is a non-negotiable, since everyone knows that nothing gets the point across faster than a well-placed ball shot.

Proper Wing Chun training for self-defense involves contact (and lots of it) aimed at the most sensitive and pain-inducing areas on an opponent’s body: their eyes, throat and groin.  Every male on Earth knows which one is the worst to get hit, which is exactly why the first piece of equipment you put on before each and every training session should be a groin cup.  Choosing the best groin protector/guard, also known as a groin cup, is vital for proper and productive Wing Chun training in any capacity (be it for self-defense or for full-contact training for combat sports such as boxing, kickboxing, muay thai or MMA) for 2 main reasons: Continue reading

BUILDING YOUR “SELF DEFENSE SUCCESS LIBRARY” The Top 5 Self Defense Books You NEED On Your Bookshelf 2020

What “secret weapon” do all successful people in any skill have in their homes? I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with LIBRARY.

I am a firm believer in having and building a “success library.”  Anyone who is successful at a certain skill – be it cooking authentic Italian food, playing the saxophone or repairing lawnmower engines- more than likely has quite a few books on the subject.  Training Wing Chun for the purpose of developing and applying simple, effective and practical self-defense skills is no different.

After sifting through my extensive collection of books I have compiled a list of the top 5 best books on no-frills self defense out there.  The books listed on this review are those I feel have the proven to be the most useful and valuable to myself as a Wing Chun guy, specifically as it relates to integrating my Wing Chun training into the matrix of simple, effective and practical self defense, thereby making Wing Chun work for me as a system of pure combat and fighting skills. Continue reading

THE SECRET TO WING CHUN’S ROOTING POWER: Best Wing Chun Training Wall Bags 2020

In order to fight, you need to train and train correctly. Wing Chun’s effectiveness boils down to structure and power. Wall bag training gives you both; to neglect this mode of training is to invite defeat.

I have said this so many times thus far, and I will continue to do so until my tongue falls off and I puke up thumbtacks: Wing Chun as an art is based off of structure.

Everything you will do in Wing Chun has its root- literally-in the structure of your body. From solidifying the Wing Chun yee jee kim yeung ma stance to the body unity expressed through the forms, from the reinforcement of basic concepts through the weapons of the long pole and butterfly swords to the application of Wing Chun theory and technique in a combative sense by way of chi sau and sparring training, everything boils down to one thing: structure.

A key component in training your structure is the use of the wall bag. The wall bag is to Wing Chun what the heavy bag is to a boxer.  Boxers use a heavy bag to develop power, structure and rooting which forms the bedrock foundation of their entire game plan in applying their skill set.  Wing Chun is no different; we need a tool to reinforce our body’s structure, rooting and power generation which will then bleed over into all aspects of training, from our forms to applying the techniques of the Wing Chun system to chi sau, weapons training and sparring.  That tool is the Wing Chun wall bag.  

Much care should therefore be put into choosing wall bags that most accurately and completely reinforce your structure in Wing Chun training, since the rooting and structure you develop will bleed into every area of your Wing Chun fight game, without exception.

Continue reading

BUILD YOUR BASE: Best Shoes for Wing Chun Training 2020

Choosing the right footwear is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of proper training. Martial arts shoes such as the famous Feiyue line from China as well as leather dress loafers (both seen here) each have their place in training, ’cause you just never know…

Picking the right training equipment begins literally from the ground up, with the right shoes.  Once the heart of a Wing Chun fighter is born, it must be cultivated through a “trial by fire” training process which begins from the soles of the feet.  Choosing the best martial arts training shoe is vital for your Wing Chun training, be it for forms practice, a reality-based self defense scenario or for sparring or other full-contact training for combat sports like MMA, kickboxing or boxing.

The reason shoes are so important in training is simple: once someone has made the decision to make their Wing Chun training useful and practical for the street and in real-life situations, a shift in training must occur.  Mentality in training changes, techniques are approached differently and so on.

All of those are essential and immensely valuable for whoever seeks the “truth of combat” in their Wing Chun training; however, the the main ingredient in Continue reading

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A WORD OF WARNING: I tend to speak and write how I think, so some of what I say may come across as insensitive, rough around the edges and maybe even a bit arrogant. If sarcasm, political incorrectness and occasional "naughty words" offend you, you may want to move on - but if you're serious about making your Wing Chun WORK, then fill out the fields above and let's get started!