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.
Listed below are those DVDs I have found to be of the greatest value to myself as I continue in my never-ending quest to functionalize and apply my art in the only manner that counts for anything: self defense and fighting skill. It would serve you well to pick them up and make use of them. Your understanding of functional, practical and effective application of the art of Wing Chun will grow exponentially-but don’t take my word for it. Pick these gems up and see for yourself.
MY PERSONAL LIBRARY OF THE BEST WING CHUN INSTRUCTIONAL DVDS for 2020
Wing Chun: The Science of In-Fighting – Wong Shun Leung
What better place to begin than watching ‘The Man” himself, the late Sifu Wong Shun Leung, perform the basic movements of the system. This provides an excellent resource to observe how GM Wong Shun Leung moved; one can see how practical his approach to Wing Chun was by observing his motions in each of the techniques and indeed in every motion throughout the video.
As a bonus, there is a 10 second clip at about 3 minutes in that shows Wong dispatching 3 attackers at once. That little scene provides a great insight both as to how sloppy a fight can get quickly and how one needs to adapt the techniques of Wing Chun to survive a life-or-death encounter in the street. Wong’s motions all have a crispness to them that lets you know that his art was used on the street and his approach to training reflected this.
SIFU DAVID PETERSON DVDs
Sifu David Peterson has been referred to by Grandmaster Wong Shun Leung himself as his best technical student, and his videos demonstrate why. Sifu David is an extremely detail oriented instructor and having the ability to speak both English and Cantonese allows him to pass on GM Wong’s ideas, concepts and theories without any loss of nuance or subtlety. These videos are professionally done, with repeat performances from various angles of the entire form as well as chapters broken down by section. What I find most helpful is the chapter breakdown by section as well as the complete forms available in 2 different angles, as I sometimes tend to pick things up better watching from a side or even rear angle since it feels like I am actually following along with Sifu David. In short these are HIGHLY recommended resources I turn to regularly to re-upload proper Wing Chun theory and techniques into my head so it can seep into my subconscious. Go and do likewise.
Siu Nim Tau Seminar
The Siu Nim Tau set literally means “small idea” and is based on the notion that each time the form is practiced one small aspect should be focused on so as to internalize its’ lessons into one’s muscle memory and mind.
With so many concepts that both stand alone and intertwine it can be quite confusing and frustrating when training since one may tend to feel like they are not focusing on what they should be to maximize their training time. Sifu Peterson’s Siu Nim Tau Seminar DVD has been a fantastic resource for me and my own training.
I frequently re-watch this DVD to make sure that all of the “juice” gets extracted out of my time spent practicing this form. The form is shown from different angles and each section is broken down separately with full attention placed to both the section itself as well as its’ place in the form.
This form is one that should be performed by all Wing Chun folks at least once per day, however, understanding the totality of exactly why this form is so important and why it should be practiced with full attention and feeling is what makes this DVD such a valuable resource for me. Having an atypical Wing Chun build (I’m built more like a mailbox than Ip Man) I find it that much more important to have a reference guide of sorts to review proper placement and technique especially insofar as forms training is concerned.
This DVD delivers and is one I will continue to use.
Cham Kiu Seminar
In my opinion the Cham Kiu, or “seeking the bridge” form along with the Siu Nim Tau set make up 80-90% of the Wing Chun system. If the SNT form is the foundation, then the Cham Kiu set is where the rubber meets the road in application of Wing Chun theory within the range of possible situations one may find oneself in.
Just as with Sifu Peterson’s Siu Nim Tau DVD, this one is another “moving textbook” of theory and technique, especially since the form is predicated on addressing any situation within the 180 degree range of motion that our Wing Chun structure trains us to operate in without having to resort to the Biu Jee form (whose sole purpose is to get us back into that 180 degree range of Wing Chun operational effectiveness anyways, but more on that later).
The same DVD setup – full form from different angles, as well as sectional breakdowns and concept demonstration and analysis-applies, and the result for me is the same as well: A DVD that I need to re-watch on a regular basis to download into my brain and my skeletal system.
Muk Yan Jong Seminar
Ah, the Muk Yan Jong, aka the wooden dummy-probably the most misused piece of equipment in the Wing Chun system (I can’t help but think of Danny Bonaduce punching it and breaking his hand on that episode of his reality show, which was a real Mensa move).
The dummy is not a conditioning tool-as it stands to reason that if you go toe to toe with a hunk of wood, you will lose-although that will happen on its’ own through constant and dedicated practice; rather it is a tool to teach one how to recover one’s positioning if and when one finds oneself off of their game and compromised in position.
Sifu Peterson presents the complete and undiluted Muk Yan Jong form as taught to him by GM Wong Shun Leung, and breaks down each section as well as giving practical application and real-world scenario examples for all of the sections of the dummy form.
I am a firm believer that in order to cultivate a Wing Chun fighter’s mentality you need to give your mind the proper raw materials to work with. All of Sifu Peterson’s DVD’s provide such raw materials for the proper understanding of Wing Chun to take root.
SIFU GARY LAM DVDs
Sifu Gary Lam is one of GM Wong Shun Leung’s most trusted students and a former full-contact champion fighter. What I personally find most useful about Sifu Lam’s approach is the fact that being a bigger guy his body type is more similar to mine than most other Wing Chun folks out there; this gives me a visual frame of reference and example of how to apply the Wing Chun system in an undiluted manner with a build that is not the norm for a Wing Chun guy. His approach to Wing Chun takes this into consideration while also not altering or modifying the system. As an aside, I enjoy how Sifu Lam’s DVDs are filmed in his backyard training studio, giving me a sense of being in class with him and his students. Some folks may not jive well with this way of presenting info but my take is this: all that matters is information, not fancy intros or fade in/fade outs. I find Sifu Lam’s approach engaging and informative.
Wing Chun Backyard Chi Sao
This DVD is filmed during a live class in Sifu Lam’s backyard. I love that feel to a DVD. Unlike the logically laid out and orderly structure of Sifu Peterson’s instructional DVD the purpose of this DVD is to demonstrate the many situations in Chi Sau one may find oneself in as well as offer several specific techniques for those situations in an organic, live environment.
It is undeniable that Sifu Lam is a badass but what I find more impressive is his ability to move fluidly and effortlessly while imposing his will on his students to illustrate a point, knowing just when to bend the Wing Chun rules a tad to suit his build without deviating from the system.
It is obvious too that Sifu Lam is not a native English speaker, but I personally find that aspect of the DVD (or any of his for that matter) a very unexpected bonus. Why? It necessitates us listening intently and paying attention to what is being said while watching Sifu Lam’s body motions to fully understand what he is putting across to his students. This then triggers the mind to look at what is being taught in a more broad, sweeping lens way.
Making Gwoh Sau (Crossing Hands) Work For You
We are always taught in Wing Chun that “elbows-in” reigns supreme and that straight in is the way to go. That is all well and good, but what if a situation in the street gets real sloppy, real quick? How about if your build isn’t very Wing Chun friendly? Chances are excellent you will need to adjust your approach to address the realities of the street. That is what this DVD shows you.
I respect and admire Sifu Lam’s approach to Wing Chun- he makes no bones about stating through word and deed that the purpose of Wing Chun is for street combat and that training must address that. This DVD presents a variety of scenarios where hands will get crossed – known as gwoh sau – either as a result of a defense against an attack, or the build of the Wing Chun practitioner or the ambush nature of an attack – all of which result in one’s hands being crossed in front of them or otherwise taken of the centerline.
Sifu Lam is a testimony to the concepts I consistently put forth as being those attributes you will consistently hang your hat on-TRIANGULAR STRUCTURE and FORWARD PRESSURE. Once those two attributes are in place and working on your behalf to jack up some sh*tbag who is threatening you, the system can work as it was designed to do.
The bottom line is this: both Sifu Peterson and Sifu Lam are bad-asses whose products I equally love and would be very reluctant to part with but for different reasons based solely on the benefit they give me.
As far as the forms and wooden dummy are concerned I prefer Sifu Peterson’s DVDs for their in-depth, meticulous, technical and encyclopedic nature as they contain a more thorough analysis and breakdown of the intricacies of each section of the forms. Sifu Lam’s DVDs are invaluable resources for me regarding Chi Sau and its’ combat applications; this is a topic which Sifu Lam is extremely adept at and one that is very well suited to my own approach to training since both his build (being larger than a typical Wing Chun fighter) and his style (being very aggressive) as well as his mentality to fighting are more in-line with my own approach to Wing Chun and why I train the art.
Don’t take my word for it though-I’m just giving you the goods based on how I use them and the benefits I receive from their use. Try them out and make up your own mind.
Wing Chun Mechanics – Sifu Greg LeBlanc
Sifu Greg LeBlanc is the highest ranking student of Sifu Gary Lam-actually the first one to whom Sifu Lam awarded the “Coach” certification (his version of granting someone Sifu status) which one can tell when watching Sifu LeBlanc that he is of the Lam lineage.
Sifu LeBlanc’s unique martial background -including among other things holding a black belt in Aikido directly from Steven Seagal-and keen ability to articulate even the smallest of details (he is among the most well spoken yet articulate, concise and adept instructors of Wing Chun I have seen) make this DVD a very useful resource to be used and put to practice. A word of warning: you will need to watch this one more than once, so be aware. Lots of “meat and potatoes” here.
What I especially find useful re: Sifu LeBlanc and his approach to Wing Chun is that he is another example of how a larger individual with the right skill set and mentality can and does make the system work for him or as GM Wong said, being the master and not the slave. I love watching Sifu LeBlanc explain the Wing Chun system through words and actions, as he is very thorough and very good at what he does as both a fighter/technician and an instructor.
WSL VING TSUN Core Concepts– Sifu Jerry Yeung & Sifu Mark Wong
Two noted students of Wong Shun Leung, Sifu Jerry Yeung and Sifu Mark Wong, provide excellent detail and very thorough technical breakdown of both the science behind and the application of the WSL system of Ving Tsun.
It takes a scientific approach to this kind of training to fully grasp both the simplicity of the Wing Chun system as well as the effectiveness of its’ usage and approach to combat in all its’ forms. This DVD does not disappoint. Well worth picking up and watching over and over since, as stated before, the sheer amount of technical detail can’t really be picked up in one viewing.
The challenge for me is to view it through the lens of someone built like me, as everyone in the video tends to have a much slighter build-but I quickly remind myself to suck it up and pay attention, because the level of detail in this DVD is fantastic and the skill levels of Sifu Jerry and Sifu Mark are top shelf.
Conclusion: Why The Right DVDs are SOOOO Important
There are literally hundreds of Wing Chun DVDs out there, so why are these the best ones for you to invest both your hard-earned money in purchasing as well as your precious time in watching?
- Each of these DVDs feature instructors whose primary aim in training Wing Chun is in applying the techniques and principles of the system for self defense and fighting skill first and foremost, which is evident in their approach to training.
- Each of these DVDs will guide you step-by-step in both the techniques, forms and motions of the Wing Chun system as well as demonstrating WHY Wing Chun works when harnessed properly.
- Each of these DVDs is laid out in a clear, concise and easy to follow format allowing you to extract all that you can each time you view them-and you should view each of them repeatedly and consistently to glean the most benefit from them.
You should set aside a set amount of time each week-one hour, two hours, whatever you can budget into your schedule-to furthering your Wing Chun education outside of class or training time by feeding your mind the raw material necessary to allow your subconscious mind to “connect the dots” and put these concepts to work in your mind. They will then express themselves when you train.
Wing Chun is a skill, make no mistake. Just like any skill-be it carpentry, cooking, playing the guitar or painting-it warrants both constant practice and constant learning to really achieve the results you seek being so dedicated to your craft.
Learn from them, make use of them and reap the benefits of all of the knowledge contained within them. You have nothing to lose, but you have a lifetime’s worth of skills to gain, so make 2020 the most ass-kicking year for your own Wing Chun development.
Train Smart, Stay Safe