Want To Make Your Wing Chun Skills Practical and Usable? It’s As Easy As 1-2-3

A gift from my student and good friend whom I will call “Jim,” since he has requested to be kept off social media. This was taken at a tournament back in the 1970’s or early 80’s and is of him and his partner performing a two-man kata (sequence). The inscription rings most true for anyone who engages in a lifelong study of the arts. Thank you, sir!

One of the biggest diseases in martial arts today which undermines the ability to make one’s skills functional, practical and usable for purposes of self-defense and protection on the street is the issue of rank, belts, titles or whatever else you want to call it.  I have lost count of the times I have seen a soccer mom tote young A.D.D / A.D.H.D / whatever other bullshit acronym-of-the-month-afflicted Timmy into the school I was training in to inquire about lessons and within 5 minutes ask the question, “How long will it take him to get his black belt?”

The problem I have with that is the word “get.”

“Get” a black belt?   If you want one just go buy a friggin’ belt to put on the shelf next to his lacrosse, soccer and baseball trophies.  Shit, I’ll just give you one if that makes you happy.  Sorry honey, if Timmy really wants to “get” one, Timmy is gonna have to work his ass off to EARN one.

Continue reading

Forms, Fighting and Self-Defense…What Is Wing Chun’s “Secret Ingredient” to Effectiveness?

Wing Chun is about self preservation. Anything else is gravy.

Every time you look up anything re: Wing Chun on the internet, you can find anything from what the forms are to what uniforms are used by each lineage to where the big toe from Person A’s lineage rests in the second pivot of the third form compared to  Person  B’s lineage, and so on…

By now I’m sure it comes as no secret or surprise that I think the overwhelming majority of stuff floating around out there online regarding Wing Chun as a system of self defense and personal combat is a pile of sh*t.

My answer to the question I see so much of, “is Wing Chun effective in a real fight?” is YES – with a caveat. Continue reading

“That’s the Chicago Way!” Are You Ready, Willing and PREPARED to Use Your Wing Chun on the Street?

 

I’ll keep this short, sweet and to the point today.  Here’s a little clip from one of my favorite films, The Untouchables.

I was thinking about this scene the other day.  Being from the Chicago area I’ve always liked this scene but what makes this stick out in my head is the mentality that the seasoned cop Malone imparts to the determined but hesitant and somewhat naive Eliot Ness as to the way things work and what must be done in order to achieve his goal.  Much the same way when discussing martial arts training for any semblance of self defense or personal protection, the reality of any encounter must be honestly addressed, and this must be reflected in the way techniques, concepts and principles are not modified per se, but rather adapted to fit any situation. Continue reading

Never Miss a Day of Training Ever Again

Pumped up and ready to kick ass. Times like these are energizing and empowering, but the reality is that not every training session will line up as sweetly as this one did. We have to be prepared to train even when circumstances are not ideal.  That’s how shit gets done.

It is a fact that the human brain cannot distinguish between a real experience and a vividly imagined one.  If you have ever awoken in the middle of the night from a horrible nightmare to find yourself soaked in sweat or clenching your fists or moving around at all, you have just experienced the mind’s (and therefore the body’s) reaction to just such an event.

Top level coaches and practitioners in all disciplines, athletic an non-athletic, all share one training method:   Continue reading

Wing Chun Training for Simple, Effective and Practical Self Defense: The EMOTIONAL Aspect

 

Listen to your intuition about certain places, people or things: it’s there to serve you, not get in your way or f*** you over!

The Emotional realm of any self defense encounter is where people are most often attacked first, many times without knowing it.

This manifests itself in the “gut feeling” one gets when in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment. Many times you’ll hear someone say, “I just have a bad feeling about this place” or words to that effect. This should be your first indicator to increase your awareness, for a bad situation will beget an emotion.

Often times you will feel a certain emotion before you formulate a clear thought about why a person, place or situation is cause for concern.

To experience the power of emotion, I invite you to try this simple exercise: ask a training partner, close friend, sibling, spouse, etc. to get right in your face, eye-to-eye, and hurl insults at you, screaming and staring intently into your eyes like a Drill Instructor. Even though you know in your mind this person is your friend and will never cause you harm, you will feel uncomfortable, your heart rate will increase, you will get fluttery. Continue reading

Wing Chun Training for Simple, Effective and Practical Self Defense: The PSYCHOLOGICAL Aspect

 

wing chun sparring full contact
Confronting the demons of fear and inadequacy head-on. Nothing is better for eliminating hesitation in taking action than gearing up and GETTING HIT!  More people should get smacked around in training a bit more-it would do them a world of good.

How many times have you practiced a certain skill but were unable to grasp it? The harder you tried, the harder it was to perform this skill, until finally you just didn’t care anymore, and then – BAM!  You performed the aforementioned skill flawlessly and with ease.

It seems that I had to re-learn this idea every time I learned a new skill in Wing Chun:  poon sau rolling, stepping, pak sau entries, keeping the wu sau hand up while moving in.  I could go on listing them but any more and I’d probably start weeping,  but you get the point.  Self defense has no room for ego or feelings of doubt or fear, yet self-defense training often involves extensive work in dealing with those topics.

The good news is that once I adopted the mentality of “I’m going to come in here, focus on each drill I’m doing at that moment, put the work in, and f**k it, I’ll get it when I get it,”  things became easier for me and my skills started to improve.

How does this work? Continue reading

The ONLY Way to Approach Your Wing Chun Training For Any Self Defense Situation

Who says a knee to the face isn’t ever a “Wing Chun” move? Idjits, that’s who. If the opportunity presents & it’s simple, direct and efficient then help yourself.  Closest weapon to closest target, right?  Any “critics” can choke on it.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good quote, and whenever I happen upon one that really resonates with me and passes my stringent criteria for some really cool stuff Master Po would say to a young Grasshopper I copy it down in a little journal I have that I use for on-the-spot motivation and reinforcement in my noggin.

One such great quote I read re: all things self defense goes like this:

A tornado haze of windmill violence… brutal defeats refined; simple dominates complicated.

Let’s break this one down bit by  bit. Continue reading

Wing Chun, Self Defense and Fighting Lessons from the “Deadliest Man Alive”

Dante Ad 1
Count Dante: visionary, pioneer, bullshit artist and all around badass.

No figure in the history of martial arts in America has been surrounded by as much controversy, myth, flamboyance and flat-out bullshit as the late John Keehan, also known as Count Dante. The self-proclaimed “Deadliest Man Alive,”  Keehan was once a respected sensei, undefeated tournament fighter and former Midwest Director of the United States Karate Association (USKA) and the one person responsible for entrenching the martial arts in Chicago and the Midwest during the early to mid-1960’s.

After parting ways with his instructor Robert Trias (the “Father of American Karate” who opened the first dojo in the USA in 1946) Keehan began promoting himself as the “Crown Prince of Death” and offered his booklet, World’s Deadliest Fighting Secrets, for sale in the back of comic books and bodybuilding magazines.

An absolute attention hound and fierce self-promoter, Keehan would walk his pet mountain lion down Continue reading

Sun Tzu and YOU: the Key to Wing Chun’s Street Effective Mentality and Mindset

Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu is best known for his classic work on combat, The Art of War.  This book has to be up there with the Bible as one of the most often quoted or referenced books out there.

The ultimate guidebook to the mentality of personal protection and self defense.

Every chapter in this simple little book contains gold nuggets of wisdom for damn near any subject involving any type of conflict with others, from relationships to banking-so much so in face, that so many people have lost touch with the fact that it was created as a guidebook to the mentality and mindset of life or death conflict and combat.

Of the many quotes that have been used, posted and hijacked by everyone looking to make an inspirational meme or poster on the internet, one of my favorites for training Wing Chun for combat, self defense and combat sports such as MMA or sparring goes like this: Continue reading

Be Your Own GURU: One Simple Change To Make Wing Chun Training Twice As Efficient and Practical

The only thing that separates success from failure in defending oneself is the ability to take ACTION and apply the knowledge that is in your head.

Internet entrepreneur and social media phenomenon Gary Vaynerchuk consistently calls the majority of people who listen to his podcasts, read his books and follow him on social media “students,” not “entrepreneurs.”

Why does he say that?  Because they read, plan, strategize, journal, make dream boards, order another book, listen to 7 more CDs, write their 10 year goal list and read some more…but do not GET GOING.  They do not ACT.

A survey was done that found out 90% of folks who invest in a self-help product such as a book or CD set never even begin using it, and of the 10% who do start, 90% of them never finish reading or listening to it!  Whats’ more, out of the 10% who do finish the book or CD set, 90% of them do not implement what they have learned into their lives.  Once they have the course or book in their hands or on their shelves, this is where most people stop.

Makes no sense, right?  Wrong. 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!