Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
George S. Patton

My Sifu once said to me, “In Wing Chun, attacking the head is my obsession.”

I have found this to be the fundamental difference between the other lineages I studied and the ideas passed down to us from Ip Man as refined and modified by Wong Shun Leung, then modified and refined again by Gary Lam, and now as refined and passed to me by Greg LeBlanc.

Wing Chun becomes very simple when you look at it through this lens.

Its about hitting the head.

Everything else is secondary.

We have three free forms plus three equipment forms with a great deal of technique for every occasion.  We have trapping, kicking, standing grappling, pulling and pushing but fundamentally we are a striking style.  To become proficient at Wing Chun, you must learn how to align your body to produce structure (to gain ground power), you must learn how to hit with your body (taking position) and you must learn to chain your attack to a single point  (chain punching).

Then you have a weapon.  Its like carrying a knife.

If your opponent just stands there, you can use your weapon to chain a series of punches (or palm strikes) into their head.

If they throw up their arms, then this is where the second half of our system comes in.  Changing hands are what we use to get past obstructions.

Bong Da.  Pak Da.  Tan Da.  Gan Da.  Kwan and hit.  Fook Da.

We have a line of attack – a straight line from our center to their center, typically their head.  Our idea is to chain our attack into their head.  The head takes the force of the first punch and the neck (and perhaps the body) falls away from the punch, diminishing its power.  The second hit follows on the first, landing on a head with nowhere further to go.  It must absorb all the power.

This is our idea.

If we encounter a defensive hand or an incoming attack, say a punch, our line of attack has been compromised.  We need to change our angle and create a new line of attack or clear that arm from our path (or both at the same time).

This is the meaning of line of attack.  It is sometimes discussed as “angle.”

In Escrima, they flow with their knife from angle to angle, seeking a clear entry.

In Wing Chun, sometimes we flow past and around the arm.  Sometimes we get a good grip on the bones of the arm and pull the whole person into a position of weakness.  Sometimes we smack that arm out the way (Pak) with a helping hand with the punch coming in just behind, like  an offensive tackle and a running back.  The tackle clears the defenders as the running back comes through with the ball.  In Wing Chun, the helping hand often clears the line of attack for the fist coming close behind it.

So the job of each of these helping hands (bong, tan, fook) is to clear the line of attack so you can get back to hitting the head.  Your intent is to hit the head.  You run into an obstruction.  You clear the obstruction and get back to hitting.   They respond by throwing another hand up, you clear that hand and get back to hitting.  You are always getting back to hitting as soon as possible.

The fallacy of some approaches to Wing Chun is an idea of controlling the opponent, using hands like Gan or Kwan.  These are also helping hands that should lead quickly to hitting, taking position, knocking the opponent out.

Keep your eye on this prize in your training.


This is a very interesting documentary in which Nicholas Pettas, a Greek-Dutch fighter, investigates Akido. Pettas studied Kyokushin karate, going so far as becoming an uchi-deshi at the school, where you live in the school for 1000 days. He later won a K-1 championship.

This documentary does a lot fo cool things to explain why Akido works. It spells out the general history, has various demos, and brings in scientists using useful video animation to explain the physics.

There’s one secret to hitting hard, and that is to completely dedicate your body. That’s the difference between a man going forward and a man going backward, no matter how big he is.
Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens

Here is a video with John Smith for the llawarra Ving Tsun School, Australia.

Sifu Smith was a student of Wong Shun Leung. He favors an approach which is analogous to boxing. Simple, aggressive, and built on a foundation of hard work on the basics.

Here is an interview he did with Archimede Tendindo of Omega Wing Chun, Italy.

Yes, Wing Chun is truly an international phenomenon.

For another good role model for hitting the bag, we have Mike Tyson, an outstanding example of the “Grease the Groove” idea.

If you haven’t seen the Youtube show Enter the Dojo (a parody of martial arts), check this out – they finally got around to making fun of Wing Chun.


There are so many lessons to be learned from this one, principally in how to avoid a fight.

The guy in the aisle is so obviously ready to fight.

Look at his body language.  But he almost walks off about four times and each time one of the other people yell something provocative at him.

Right or wrong (I couldn’t figure out from what they were saying), that guy is defending his psychological turf and his lizard brain is in full effect.  He is ready to show who is alpha in this situation, against all comers.

This situation could have been defused if the people would just shut up and let him walk off, his status (in his own mind) intact.

But the others cannot shut up, because they are outraged and (I think) feel they are protected by the presence of the people standing around them.

Never assume anyone has your back, even loved ones.  People will only discover how they act when a fight breaks out when a fight breaks out.  You can say whatever you want, until you have fought or been attacked, you just don’t know.

This is why soldiers in Vietnam would not make friends with new recruits until after they survived the first firefight.  If you survived that first fight, your chances of survival increased significantly.  Now you knew what it was like and how you behaved in such a situation and your fellow soldiers also knew if they could rely on you not to freeze or do something stupid.

A mature person does not want to hurt anyone over words, even a loudmouth in public.  Let it go!  Let them have their “victory.”  Do not go out with women who want you to back them when they are shooting off their mouth in public to dangerous people.

As I’ve shown repeatedly through news reports, you can accidentally kill someone.  Is it worth ten years for manslaughter to put that fool in their place?

Be calm.  Shut up.  Think of Caine on “Kung Fu.”  Self-effacement and peace.

But, like Caine, if they try and become physically (as opposed to verbally) violent, you can defend yourself or others.

But when this moment comes, do not jump on them and grapple.  If you plan to fight, learn how to end altercations with finality.

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