“You’re having the opportunity to develop the instinct to use full power.”
When I first started studying Wing Chun (back in 1999), it was almost impossible to get any information about this fighting method. There were a couple of books available (J. Yimm Lee’s book with Bruce Lee was about it) and you could find articles here and there in the magazines of the day, like Black Belt Magazine or Inside Kung Fu. So Westerners who got excited about this style (often because of the Bruce Lee connection) would often travel very far to get training. Some went so far as to travel to Hong Kong. Back then, there was no real way to even find out if a city near near you had a school, unless you went there and they had an ad in the Yellow Pages. The internet has changed all of this,
Now we have a glut of information, most of it bad, but some of it for free and of the highest quality. 80% (or more probably) of the information on web sites and Youtube is from beginners or hustlers trying to make a buck.
I started this site mainly because when I started it, there was little good, proven information and I had spent a lot of time training with poor results. After 9 years of training with modest improvement in my fighting skills (in my opinion, based on my skills comparisons with people outside the system), I was fortunate enough to have Greg LeBlanc move into my city (Oakland).
In my experience (which is all this site contains , my opinions and experiences and my recommendations out of what is available out there), the Wong Shun Lineage has a degree of street legitimacy not found in some of the other Wing Chun lineages. The information that has come down to us through Wong Shun Leung students like Gary Lam, David Peterson, and Philipp Bayer has a certain quality that I might call street credibility. Because of Sifu Wong’s testing of the system in his challenge matches and his subsequent tweaks and modifications of the system and most especially the resulting mindset (feeling the need to keep testing and questioning the system), the method we’ve been given by these men is a truly pared down, logical, and effective system of fighting.
And the amazing thing these days is how much of it is just out there for free on the internet, just waiting to be learned! For instance, my Sifu Greg LeBlanc is currently putting up videos regularly on his Youtube channel (LeBlanc Wing Chun) that is a master class in the system. He has taken the system taught to him by Sifu Gary Lam and really thought about it and boiled it down to its essence. He has found the language with which to clearly describe it. Being able to explain what are essentially abstract concepts and body feelings is not easy. The qualities that distinguish good Wing Chun from malfunctioning Wing Chun are often indiscernible to the untrained eye. So you NEED proper explanations and demonstrations to understand it. Then getting it into your own body is a whole other thing! But, take it from me, if you aren’t watching his videos and listening to his little mini-lectures (given out free), you my friend are missing out!
For instance, he has recently added another tool to the toolbox by adopting a new piece of equipment called Predator Armor (designed by Bill Kipp) to add an adrenal-stress training element to the curriculum. Sifu Gary Lam calls tools like the pole and the dummy “second coaches.” This armor is another “second coach.” I’ve been out of class rehabilitating my shoulder, but I am very excited to get in and try out this new wrinkle on getting the system fully into my nervous system. In Hong Kong, they had beimo. Or they might go into the ring with Muay Thai, like Gary Lam. But we modern city dwellers who want a degree of the skill, but don’t want to be professionals, can use this training to get that one step closer and develop the skill to that one additional level of realism.