Martial Arts School Safety

The title of this article may seem like an odd question, but it is something everyone should ask themselves. This is only for their own benefit and health. Safety in this respect refers to the physical environment, cleanliness, and set up of the martial arts school. There are certain warning signs and things you should take note of. Not only should you observe when you looking for a school but even after you enroll.

So what should you be looking for when you enter a martial arts school to ensure that it is going to be a healthy place to train:

Look at the physical arrangement of the studio

Is the training area around anything that you could bump into, trip over, fall on, be pushed into, etc. (Chairs, weights, brooms, tables, training equipment, other students bags/gear?) A responsible martial arts school will have specified places for these items. They will also be sure that those items are kept there to ensure the safety of the students.

Are there mirrors in the studio? If so, are they far enough away to not cause injury? Most studios are going to have windows to let in light and to allow the public to be attracted to what is going on inside. However, all training should occur well away from any windows to avoid potential accidents.

Look at the training floor

Wherever you will be doing your martial arts training, you need to be sure that the floor is going to be safe. Concrete floors, or floors covered with only a thin matting are a red alert that your safety may not be a high priority at the studio. If you were taken down, swept off your feet, or knocked down doing a technique, would you feel safe landing on the training floor? (Sifu Och Wing Chun has professional martial arts mats covering our training area so our

Also, does the floor look clean? If there are mats on the training floor, it is essential that the mats are cleaned with a hospital grade disinfectant on a regular basis. Martial arts mats can be breeding grounds for staphylococcus and other communicable skin diseases. (At Sifu Och Wing Chun we sweep and disinfect our floor, mats, and bathrooms a minimum of 2 times a week for the health and safety of our students.)

Use your nose and your eyes. Does the martial arts studio look or smell moldy or foul? Can you see dirt on the floor, can you smell garbage that needs to be taken out, are the bathrooms in a clean state? If you are in doubt about the cleanliness of the studio that you are looking to train in, ASK! Your safety should be as important to the owner of the martial arts school as it is to you! If you feel uncomfortable about anything when you visit a training studio, trust your gut and find a place that makes the safety of its students a top priority!

Learning Ground Game Tactics in Wing Chun

Safe sparring

As a side note, sparring also needs to be addressed.  The area where sparring is done should be void of  windows, concrete, or thin mats which could injure individuals. If they are are taken down, get swept, thrown, or fall these areas could cause serious damage. Halt training if the place you are at has hazards to you before they become a injury. Along with location you should also check equipment every time. The death of a martial artist is inactivity. That inactivity should never be because of an injury due to faulty equipment.

Just as your training requires discipline, so should your safety.

Making Use of Soft Targets in Wing Chun

When I think of the many devastating Wing Chun Kung Fu techniques that I have learned so far, I realized that while these techniques can be applied to hard targets of the body, delivering them to soft targets increases their effectiveness. Let me explain the difference between a hard target and a soft target. Basically, a soft target defines any part of the body vulnerable to attack due to its lack of natural protection. It either lacks protection by the body, or has a high amount of nerve bundles/pain receptors in the target area.

Defining a Soft Target

An area falls under vulnerable soft targets when it isn’t covered by thick skin, tough muscle or hard bone. Examples are:

The Eyes

The only protection that the eyes have are the eyelids. The thin skin of the eyelids leaves the eyes open to attack even when the eyelids are shut.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the eyes include:

The Throat

The throat includes the sides where the carotid arteries are located. It also includes the jugular notch—the indentation under the Adam’s apple. If the carotid arteries are attacked, the victim could be rendered unconscious from the momentary loss of blood-flow to the brain. The jugular notch is effective as it doesn’t require much force or pressure to cause someone pain. Hitting it also results in difficulty of breathing.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the throat include:

  • Faak Sau Chop (uses outside of hand)
  • Knife-hand Strike (uses the boney part of the inside of the hand)
  • Turning backfist
  • Phoenix Eye punch (a protruding knuckle punch)

Soft Targets Above and Below

The Lips and Mouth

The areas around the lips and mouth are naturally made of soft tissue/ They have no real protection except the skin that covers them. A forceful blow to the lips and mouth will drive the lips into the teeth causing painful injury to the soft flesh of the mouth. It will also be likely that the teeth will be affected as well.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the lips and mouth include:

  • Wang Jeung (Upward forward palm heel strike)
  • Chain punches
  • Turning backfist

The Groin

Though this area is a more vulnerable soft target area for men, women also have nerve bundles in the groin area. Attacking these soft targets causes real pain. The groin is also a great soft target area for attacking a male, especially in self-defense situations. This is simply because of the fact that only skin protects the male organs. You can inflict a great amount of pain to the groin without needing a source of great strength or power.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the groin area include:

  • Fish Kick (a quick upward front kick with the top of the foot)
  • Elbow strikes
  • Knee strikes
  • Uppercut punches
  • Tok Sau Strike (Upward cupping hand)

Concluding Thoughts

A Wing Chun style punch delivered straight to the cheek will cause a great deal of damage. Imagine, however, how incapacitating that same technique would be if you delivered the punch to one of the soft target areas? Of course, in sparring, many if not all of these techniques would be illegal. They remain unsportsmanlike at the very least, and we don’t ever recommend their use. However, if one is using one of the above techniques in self-defense from an attacker, then all rules are off. You can, and should, do everything necessary to protect yourself.

You can start your training today at Sifu Och Wing Chun. Learn self-defense techniques applied to practical, real-world situations. Sifu Justin Och will show you effective ways to protect yourself and those you love.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Having Situational Awareness of Your Surroundings

We’ve all heard the saying, “The best defense is a good offense.” Well, a good offense begins with having good situational awareness of your surroundings and being aware. Being aware of the people, the vehicles, the number and location of exits of the building you are in, etc can all mean the difference between becoming a target and avoiding an attack. We must train ourselves to always be aware. It’s not just for at night. Situational awareness isn’t only when you’re in strange areas. It’s also not just for when walking to your car. Situational awareness is needed at all times.

How often are you aware of your surroundings? In general, most people think they have a pretty good idea of what surrounds them while out and about. If you’re honest with yourself, you may be surprised at what you may have overlooked. Think about the about the last time you left a shopping center. Now ask yourself these questions:

How many people were sitting in their cars as you were leaving the shopping center? If so, what were they doing?

Did you walk by any trucks? Did any of them have open truck beds? If so, were you walking close enough to that truck that someone could have jumped out of it and grabbed you?

Living With Better Situational Awareness

Granted, most people sitting inside their cars or who happen to drive a truck are not out to attack anyone. Still, it’s better to be aware of the potential for a problem to arise than to assume there never will be one. Both of these first two awareness situations can also be practiced with your children. Make it a game. Ask your kids to count how many people they noticed who were sitting in their cars. How many pick-up trucks did they count on the way to their own car?

Were your hands full as you walked to your car? Would you be able to use them to defend yourself? When possible, use a shopping cart to transport your bags to your car. Not only does this give distance between yourself and a would-be attacker, but the shopping cart can be pushed into an attacker if the need arises.

Did you have your keys ready and in your hand before you left the shopping center? Always have your keys in your hand before you leave the relative safety of the shopping center, building, etc.

Were you on your phone (texting, talking, playing a game, etc.) as you walked to your car?

Stay Alert When Walking

Keep your head up and avail yourself the use of all of your senses. Don’t use your phone as you walk to your car.
Whether your hands are weighed down with shopping bags, you have to reach into your pocket or purse for your keys, or you’re on the phone, you’re distracted—even if only for a few seconds. An assailant can use those seconds to spring an attack when your awareness is compromised.

Situational awareness extends well beyond just leaving a location and getting to your car safely. You need to learn to extend your realm of awareness into all areas. Other situations and ideas for using situational awareness will be discussed in a further article.

Practicing situational awareness is a great starting point to decrease your chances of becoming the victim of an attack. However, if you are attacked you will need to have the skills to defend yourself. That’s where Wing Chun kung fu classes come into play. Sifu Och Wing Chun can help you learn to protect yourself and those you love.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Top 3 Reasons to Train at Sifu Och Wing Chun

trtrainIf you’re looking for a place to train in the martial arts, Sifu Och Wing Chun is where you want to come. Here are just the top 3 reasons to train at Sifu Och Wing Chun. These are just the reasons why I would recommend Sifu Och to anyone who is looking for a realistic, supportive, and fun environment to learn the martial arts!

Top 3 Reasons to Train

1. You will get to learn from Sifu Justin Och, the SouthEastern Regional Director of the World Ving Tsun Association!

Earning his Sifu level twice under two different Grandmasters, Sifu Justin Och has been tested and certified to teach under four Ip Man lineages (Ip Chun, Ip Ching, Moy Yat, and Simon Lau). These are directly connected to Grandmaster Ip Man. Sifu Och has trained in over 10 countries, gathering more and more information to perfect and enhance his Wing Chun and pass on this knowledge to his students. His dedication to Wing Chun is truly impressive. Last year he was able to train in China directly with Ip Chun!

Sifu Justin Och Ip Chun Ip Man son
Sifu Justin Och training Chi Sau overseas with Ip Chun, eldest son of legendary Wing Chun Master Ip Man

2. Classes are available six days a week, so there’s always time to train!

Sifu Och Wing Chun has classes to fit your schedule. With classes offered Monday through Saturday, you can find a time to train. We have morning classes, evening classes, Saturday classes, and private lessons (by appointment only.) You have no excuses!

3. We offer Wing Chun, Jiu-Jitsu, and Kickboxing classes all in one location!

Whether you want to focus on self defense, weight loss, groundwork, strength training, or all of the above, Sifu Och Wing Chun can help you. Kickboxing classes will help with strength, endurance, and cardio fitness as well as learning kicking and punching techniques. Jiu-Jitsu class will also build up your cardio fitness and strength, but it will also help you learn to defend yourself from the ground. Learning Jiu-Jitsu can complement any martial artist’s arsenal of techniques. And, of course, Wing Chun is our specialty! This extremely effective close-range self defense fighting system uses simultaneous attacks and defenses against the assailant. Wing Chun is a practical martial art for realistic self-defense.

Top 3 Reasons to Train with Sifu Och family

Sifu Och Wing Chun
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801
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Online Certified Sifus – Bad or Convenient?

There are many ways to get martial arts “certifications” online. Options range from eBay to online courses in Wing Chun Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiujitsu, or a host of other styles. In this day and age, it can be as easy as paying a fee, taking some online courses, and getting your Instructor level sash. Do you consider online certified sifus to be real, genuine teachers? We don’t. If one opens a school and begins teaching, how do students know if this is the best person to give their money to? We have some suggestions.

Online Certified Sifus – Would You Like Fries With That Sash?

Is there a real check and balance on these online certifications? Are they truly doing any real training? Or, are they simply “buying” their certification and then coming out the other end as a “certified” Wing Chun instructor? Online certified sifus represent an unfortunate, growing, problem in martial arts.

My sifu, Sifu Justin Och was trained in person by each of his Masters through weekly group classes and private lessons. Typically, I have a hard time believing that you can get the same full understanding without touching the hands of an advanced instructor on a weekly or even daily basis. However, does that mean that online Wing Chun training can’t be beneficial? No, but getting “certified” as a Sifu through online training doesn’t seem to be worth much more than the paper it comes with.

We can all agree it’s getting too easy to buy your way (or even fraud your way) into everything from certifications to Hall of Fames. But does that make online training certifications and weekend seminar courses “fraudulent”? Does this make your sifu a fraud? That depends on what questions you’re asking, and what answers you’re getting in return.

Do Your Research

Some instructors are out for the rank, but they aren’t willing to put in the years of work, time, effort, and devotion to truly earn their title. Do your research. Don’t be afraid to run a background check on your potential instructor. You need to know who you’re going to be devoting yourself to as your sifu. Be informed, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If your sifu’s certifications are reputable, then the next thing you need to look at is how the instructor teaches. Some martial arts instructors have been trained extremely well, but are not gifted with the ability to communicate that training to others. This is an unfortunate situation. It’s not going to be a productive environment for you if you cannot learn or properly understand the techniques. Unfortunately, some instructors try to hide this lack of teaching ability by having their assistant instructors teach the classes. Don’t be afraid to ask who actively leads the classes that you’re interested in taking. If you’re paying for a quality sifu level instructor to teach you, then be sure that’s what you’re getting.

Personal Training and Improvement

If you can see your sifu is qualified with legitimate certifications and has the gift to be able to teach others, then the next thing I would look for is how the Sifu trains and keeps his own skills sharp. If I’m seeking Wing Chun training from an instructor, then I expect my sifu to take his own training seriously. Does he still train on his own to keep his skills fresh? Does he meet periodically with other sifus so they can exchange ideas and learn from each other? If your sifu is still showing personal motivation and devotion to his own development and growth in Wing Chun, then he will be able to pass this same dedication on to you!

Digging Deeper

I did the same thing I’m telling you now before I began training with my instructor, Sifu Justin Och. I checked his background—all of it. Next, I contacted the people he got his sifu level from. Finally, I even checked on his overseas visits with other grandmasters and instructors.

After my research, I have no doubts that my Sifu, Justin Och, is the real deal. He was not trained online. Sifu Och was trained in person through weekly group and private lessons for many years. He was tested and certified under master’s from 4 different Ip Man Wing Chun lineages (Moy Yat, Ip Chun, Ip Ching, and Simon Lau) after years of arduous training according to his master.

The World Ving Tsun Athletic Association, a group of Wing Chun Kung Fu masters and grandmasters appointed him as the Regional Director for the Southeastern USA. Sifu Och trains in Jui-Jitsu with black belts in BJJ and has had a professional MMA fighter and black belt in BJJ as his coach for years. Sifu Justin Och has traveled to 11 countries seeking out the full understanding of Wing Chun Kung Fu. This is on top of being three times certified as a Sifu in the Wing Chun system.

International Training

His travels have expanded his own Wing Chun training, and he brings that training back home to his Lakeland, Florida students. He has even met and rolled Chi Sao hands with Ip Chun (eldest son of Ip Man).

Sifu Justin Och Ip Chun Ip Man son
Sifu Justin Och training Chi Sau overseas with Ip Chun, eldest son of legendary Wing Chun Master Ip Man

Sifu Justin Och is by all means the real deal when it comes to Wing Chun. His constant strive to grow and learn pushes me to no end.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Injuries in Martial Arts: Setback or Opportunity?

Regardless of the style of martial arts you practice, sooner or later you’ll get injured. It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hurt as you pursue your path in martial arts. It’s just a matter of when (and how badly). You don’t have to be a full-contact Mixed Martial Arts practitioner in order to experience the bruises, sprains, muscle tears, and even possible bone-breaks that come with training in the field of Martial Arts. The big question is what you do with these. Are injuries in martial arts a setback or opportunity?

That may depend on your attitude.

Injuries in Martial Arts – It’s Gonna Happen

Every style, from TaeKwonDo and Karate to Kung Fu, is going to involve some level of aggressive physical contact. This can result in minor (or, occasionally, major) injuries. When that injury does come along, and it will, how you choose to handle it can mean the difference between a setback or an opportunity.

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may not be able to fully participate as much as you could before the injury. However, as you allow yourself the time to heal, that doesn’t mean you can’t train at all. Whatever the injury, you should give that damaged area a chance to mend. Not allowing your body the time it needs to repair itself could lead to permanent damage, so you will need to avoid using the injured area.

Don’t be afraid to consult your martial arts instructor for advice on how to handle an injury. He or she has probably seen many different types of trauma. Always consult a doctor’s advice if you have any doubts about how to best treat and heal your injury.

The Mental Game

Now, comes your chance to decide how you will mentally handle the fact that you are not going to be able to train like you had before the trauma. You have a few choices:

  1. You can mope and bemoan your situation until you heal.
  2. You can ask your martial arts instructor or other students about how they would handle the injury.
  3. You can give up on martial arts altogether.
  4. You can look at the abilities you do have, and make the best use of them that you can.

If, for instance, you have a hand injury, you could use it as an excuse to keep from training. Alternatively, you could look at it as a chance to analyze all of the elements of your martial arts style and see what can be made better. This may be just the opportunity you need to improve on your footwork or your kicks. Just because your upper body may not be at your full disposal, your lower body could become an amazing weapon that you can fine tune as you wait for your return to full strength.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Don’t Wait. Learn Self-Defense Now

An old saying goes, “Don’t wait until you need a drink to begin digging a well.” So why do people wait to learn to defend themselves until after they’ve been attacked? Or, they wait until they’ve heard about a home invasion in their neighborhood. Or, perhaps, a sexual assault story hits the news and stirs them to action. Don’t wait to learn self defense. Learn self defense now, while you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Most people go through life with the attitudes such as: “I live in a safe community. Nothing like that would happen here. I don’t need to worry about becoming a victim of a violent crime.” While I don’t think we should live in a constant state of paranoia for our personal safety, we do need to be aware that anyone of us can become a victim. No one is exempt. No one ever thinks it will happen to them. We have to change our mindset.

For example, you could find yourself on a date that turns into a situation that gets physically or sexually violent. Normally, we don’t think about having to potentially defend ourselves from someone with whom we’d trust enough to go on a date or get in a car. Again, no one ever thinks it could happen to them. However, if that situation occurred, I’d want to have a solid arsenal of self-defense techniques at my fingertips. I wouldn’t want to wait until after I’d been assaulted to learn what I could have done to protect myself.

There is one simple thing we can do to keep ourselves from becoming victims, but many of us don’t do it!

Be aware of your surroundings!

  • Don’t text on your phone as you walk, especially if you’re alone. Don’t sit in your car and text even if you’re parked. You’re a sitting duck to anyone who may have watched you walk to your car and knows you’re not paying attention to what is going on. Keep your head up. Be alert. Always be surveying the scene to see who and what is happening around you.
  • If you’re going for a run, and you want to listen to music, only use one earbud. Allow, yourself the ability to hear the things going on around you with the other ear. You will be better able to hear footsteps or people talking which is especially important if someone was to try to sneak up on you.
  • Always try to use the buddy system. You are less likely to become a target for crime if you are with another person. An attacker is usually looking for a target who will be easy to overpower. Two or more people in a group make for a less easy target. Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted person to walk you to your car. It’s a much better choice than being attacked because you walked by yourself.

So, let’s say that you followed these general suggestions for being aware of your surroundings, but you are physically confronted by an attacker. Just being aware that there is someone who is trying to hurt you is no longer sufficient at this point. Now, you have to decide upon your course of action. You have two options: 1) fight your attacker off, or 2) give in to your attacker because you don’t know what to do.

If you’ve been trained to defend yourself, you’re much less likely to let someone take advantage of you. No one has the right to take anything from you! You have the right and responsibility to protect yourself from those who would try to physically harm you!

Learn to protect yourself and those you love. We recommend Wing Chun training as a practical, real-world solution. No one deserves or asks to be a victim of violence, but nonetheless it happens. Prepare yourself to protect yourself! The time to learn self-defense is well before you need to use it! Remember: “Don’t wait until you need a drink to begin digging a well!”

You can start your training today at Sifu Och Wing Chun. Learn self-defense techniques that are applied to practical, real-world situations. Sifu Justin Och will show you effective ways to protect yourself and those you love.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Is Your Sifu a Fraud or the Real Deal?

There are all kinds of martial arts instructors out there running all types of martial arts schools. Some teachers are well intended but poorly trained. Others are very skilled martial artists, but they don’t have the knack for teaching. Still others are simply out there to push their students through the belt or sash system. Their goal is to make as much money off of those students as they can. So, is your sifu a fraud or the real deal? Read on to find out.

How exactly can you tell if your martial arts instructor is the real deal? While no one is perfect, there are characteristics you should identify in the person to whom you’re going to entrust your martial arts training. There are things you should look for and things you should avoid. I happened to find all the right qualities in Sifu (teacher, master, mentor) Justin Och and hope this article will help you find a true master for yourself.

Is Your Sifu a Fraud? Check Their Credentials!

Are they in a Hall of Fame? Great, but remember most hall of fames are businesses that you can write in what you get and pay them for the award and banquet. Sure, you dressed up, met a bunch of famous people, and took some photos. That doesn’t make you a Sifu.

Look for the certifications that your sifu has earned. Also, how did they earn it? Was it a weekend training course? How would you know? Was their main instructor from outside the country? If so, how did they truly learn the entire system from them? It could be likely they have only been to seminars with this person and done mostly DVD or distance training. How did they train with them if their instructor wasn’t accessible. It takes years of daily, hands-on attention in order to become a sifu. This is a warning sign that the certifications are less than genuine.

Remember, unlike many other systems of martial arts, Wing Chun needs one on one, personal instruction with an upper level master to become better in the finer aspects and details of the system. So what level of understanding and capability does your instructor have compared to others in the USA or other countries?

Training overseas or away from home is amazing and can improve your ability, but claiming certification from someone in another country is a red flag you should watch out for.

Instructors claiming they trained with “so and so” for years but who only have a photo of them standing next to their teacher sitting on a chair, may not be genuine sifus. Look for photos of your instructor in their youth training with the same teacher they claim, and then photos or video of them being older and doing the training. Without REAL (time-spanning) training photos or videos of them over time…well, this is possibly not a genuine instructor.

“But, Sifu is my friend and he is nice to me!” We’ve heard this before, but being nice to you or being your friend doesn’t make them a sifu or a good instructor.

Trust, But Verify

Check their claims. Stop believing things just because people have told you. If a person tells you they had cage fighting experience, look online and type in their name and check for records, photos and video. If you can’t find it, then they might not be a genuine instructor. If they told you they have a purple belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, but you can’t find any evidence online or otherwise (and the person’s name doesn’t really exist or is unreachable), they might not be a genuine instructor.

Most genuine sifus had to train for a multitude of years one on one and are going to proudly display their certifications and awards in their studio so they can be viewed by their students. Look around. Check out their website. Does he or she say she is certified at all? If so, in what are they certified? Who certified them—and is that organization reputable? Are those certifying organizations huge with hundreds of instructors under one teacher that resides in another country? If so, this could point to the fact that you are not in the presence of a genuine sifu with full training under their sash.

Final Thoughts

Remember there are some fantastic instructors out there that aren’t sifus and can give you a ton of information and make you into a fantastic Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioner. But you should look around, check out different schools, and separate the great ones from the mediocre.

A great instructor doesn’t have to be a sifu, or have a amazing lineage to show you. But how would you know the great instructors from the frauds unless you understand how to tell the difference?

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

How to Wu Sau Correctly – Technique is Everything

The Wu Sau is a basic defensive position for many Wing Chun moves. If one hand is attacking then the other hand is usually going to be in the Wu Sau position. The Wu Sau not only serves as a back up block, it can also be turned into an offensive technique (punch, grab,chop, etc.) if the need arises. Understanding how to Wu Sau correctly is more important than you may think.

How to Wu Sau Correctly

The problem with the Wu Sau for many students, especially in the beginning, is the Wu Sau is not being performed correctly which will make the Wu Sau ineffective. The most common issue with a Wu Sau is that it is held too close to the body to be useful as either a block or an attack. When the Wu Sau is held close to the body, it is “collapsed” meaning if it was meant to be a block then it has no power to withstand the force of the opponent’s attack. If the Wu Sau was meant as a way to attack and its still too close to the body, then it is also going to be ineffective because the ability to produce any power behind a punch, paak, etc is going to be compromised because of its collapsed position.

Being sure your Wu Sau is in the correct position is not as difficult as it may seem. Be sure your Wu Sau hand is no closer to your body than the inside crease of your opposite elbow. Its also very important that the Wu Sau hand is pressing outward and the fingers are pulled back toward the body. The boney part of the wrist is what should be pushed outward. While the fingers are being pulled back, don’t forget to keep your fingers together and your thumb should not stick out.

Examples of How to Wu Sau

Below are some pictures that I hope will be helpful:

How to Wu Sau correctly
Correct Wu Sau hand position
Wu Sau incorrect
Incorrect Wu Sau hand position

Hopefully this article was helpful in understanding how to Wu Sau correctly. Getting this form right can help in both offense and defense during a fight.

For more information, please visit us at:

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu and Kickboxing
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, FL 33801

Master the Wing Chun Double Punch

Wing Chun Kung Fu is known for being an extremely fast martial art. Allowing the practitioner to counter and intercept in the blink of an eye. Following these with a continuous flow that can utterly stun and surprise most, if not all opponents. Within this flow is a special technique that Wing Chun uses that can cause an immediate concussion if done properly. You need to master the Wing Chun Double Punch.

Most styles popular styles, Karate, Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Muai Thai, alternate their punches typically from left to right to create combinations. For instance in boxing: Jab, Cross, Hook, Upper Cut, is a very basic combination taught from the beginning. From there, further combinations can be created. To do this, a practitioner must turn his body away to complete the strike. The body is then rotated back into the strike from the opposite shoulder to allow the other hand to strike. While of course, not every combo alternates at every strike, that is the bulk of the attacks.

One of the main differences with Wing Chun, is that while in some instances also alternating between the left and right hand, it does not twist the body. Wing Chun keeps both hips forward allowing both hands to stay in range. When a punch is thrown the entire body lurches forward to give power to the strikes. You can also see this with the Wing Chun whipping punch.

A Double Punch Concussion

When the brain collides with the skull, a concussion usually follows. Imagine a strike that causes the brain to rattle inside the skull resulting in extreme damage. That is the purpose of the Double Punch. With the Wing Chun Stance allowing both hands to be forward the Double Punch can now be used. It is shaped by placing one fist at the wrist crease line of the first fist. Since the elbows are kept in tight, it gives the shape of two “straight” punches lined one behind the other.

Both fists travel out together until contact. Once the first fist has made contact it is lowered and immediately followed by the second fist. Since the entire body is thrown into the strike both hits have the full force of the body. The initial strike rocks the head back and the second causes the rattle due to the quickness between the strikes.

At Sifu Och Wing Chun the Double Punch is taught early on. They are difficult to understand and train but once understood they can be placed into almost any combination to compliment and enhance an attack. They are quick and powerful, and most of all effective. Along with the attack capabilities The structure of the double punch also allows for a quick and easy cover should an uppercut or body shot come from the opponent. Since the elbows are kept tight the arms are able to sink in and protect the ribs very quickly. With the ability to throw this type of strike at any point in a fight it gives the right person, with the right training, a chance against any attacker. This attack allows one to fire a powerful attack from a defensive starting point.


Finally, the only way to develop your double punch is resistance. Using a heavy bag for raw power and focus mitts and a partner for speed, timing, and distance, the Double Punch can be fully developed. Just like boxers learn how to strike right from day one, so it is with Sifu Och Wing Chun. To many schools get lost in forms, and drills and forget to hit! Find a good bag and friend. Train hard and long. If you can learn the Double Punch, develop it well, you can actually say that you have a punch that’s faster than most others!

Seeing Wing Chun Progress During Training

In martial arts, as well as many other activities, students can often get the feeling they aren’t making any progress. They can get frustrated or just feel as if they don’t seem to be picking up on a technique. If you come to class and put forth effort, you’re likely making progress. You just may not recognize that you are. So how can you start seeing Wing Chun progress during training? Well, here are some suggestions:

Seeing Wing Chun Progress Means Looking Back (Literally)

If you do not record yourself training, or you don’t take pictures already, I highly recommend you start.


I’m a big fan of taking lots of Wing Chun photos or videos in training and (if allowed) during testing. Not only is it helpful in that moment to correct mistakes you may not realize you were making, it’s helpful for seeing your Wing Chun progress.

When you record yourself, you can look back later and see how much you really have learned. Even if the picture or video is only from six months ago, you’ll begin seeing Wing Chun progress in the form of positive changes you’ve made in that short amount of time.

Your hand positions, Wing Chun stances—even the execution of your technique—are going to be better than they were six months ago. You are progressing. Even if you don’t move as fast as you had hoped, or even as much as you realized, you should be able to look back at the Wing Chun student you were six months ago and say, “Yes, I am better martial artist then I was six months ago.”

Celebrate the Small Victories Along Your Wing Chun Journey

If you are waiting to give yourself that pat on the back. Don’t wait until you’ve made it to an advanced level sash—you’re selling yourself short. When you’re just starting Wing Chun, and you’re having trouble coordinating a Bui Sao (and stepping forward with the correct foot), capture it. There will come a day (soon) when it just clicks, and you realize its become muscle memory! When those movements are no longer something you have to consciously think about in order to execute, you’re seeing Wing Chun progress that’s huge. It’s not the belt. Enjoy moments like these, and celebrate all your victories!

Keep a daily Wing Chun journal of positive achievements

This may sound a little unusual, but when you reflect upon (and write down) the positive things that happen after every class, you’ll start to see your progress. You don’t have to write down something absolutely amazing that happened. It could be “I didn’t give up when I was chain punching even though my arms were tired.” or “I put more power into my double punches.” Give yourself credit for the positive things you are doing to progress as a Wing Chun student, and seeing Wing Chun progress will be something that happens regularly!

Sifu Och Wing Chun
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801
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Bowing in the Martial Arts: A Necessary Element Misunderstood

Though bowing is not a typical way of displaying respect in American culture, anyone who has trained in just about any martial art will see the practitioners bowing at various times throughout the training session. But why are they bowing? Some people may not understand the meaning of bowing in the martial arts. Is it a sign of subservience? Inferiority? Self-deprecation? NO!

Bowing is anything but a gesture by one person saying that he or she is below the other! If this were the purpose of bowing, then bowing would not be a mutual gesture between two people but rather a one-sided action. It is actually a great insult for one person to bow and then the other person to not acknowledge or return the gesture. Bowing is a sign of mutual respect and humility.

There are many times when a martial artist may bow. When one bows upon entering a Wing Chun kwoon (training area), they are not merely performing a training formality. They are demonstrating through a motion of their body that he or she respects the environment into which they are entering and the people with whom they are going to train. In the Sifu Och Wing Chun kwoon, a student will bow to the pictures of the elders of our Wing Chun lineage (Ip Man, Ip Chun, Ip Ching, Moy Yat, Simon Lau, and Dr. Master Nelson) as a sign of the high regard for their devotion, self-sacrifice and dedication to the training they gave so that we may have the opportunity to continue to learn the art of Wing Chun. The Sifu (teacher, father, master, mentor) of his own school should always be shown the greatest respect by his students because he is the living legacy of the Wing Chun lineage handing down his knowledge first-hand.

Students at Sifu Och Wing Chun will often stand inside the doorway to the kwoon, if they have seen that Sifu is already in the building, and will remain in a Wing Chun hand salute position until Sifu has seen them so they may exchange the traditional salute and bow to each other. The student shows respect to his Sifu, and his Sifu returns the gesture to his student demonstrating the respectful bond between student and teacher. The same bow and salute is done upon leaving the kwoon.

Bowing in the martial arts can also be used as a sign of thanks, as well as of respect. If Sifu or a Sihing (student of a higher rank) is teaching, demonstrating, or correcting you, the student will often initiate the Wing Chun hand salute and bow as a sign of appreciation for the personal time given to the student. Sifu or the Sihing always returns the gesture to the student.

If training partners are going to spar, do reaction drills/wrist against wrist training, or Chi Sao, the Wing Chun students will perform the Wing Chun salute and bow both before and after they have worked with each other. This is also used as a respectful gesture if one student accidentally causes another student a small injury, the offending student will show his regret for his infraction by using the Wing Chun salute and bowing to the partner. The gesture is returned by the other to show that all is forgiven and signal that respect is still shared between the two students.

The Whipping Punch Broken Down and Explained

I personally never used to be a fan of the whipping punch because I found it complicated to understand and therefore difficult to execute. Many of my fellow students shared my concerns. However, once I had the whipping punch broken down for me by Sifu Justin Och, it was no longer an elusive technique! Here’s how you break down the whipping punch in three easy steps.

Moves Toward a Correct Whipping Punch (to the outside)

1. Rotation

Often, one of the biggest challenges to the Whipping punch is the first step: “Rotation.” It’s common to feel the need to perform the rotation to the other side of the opponent’s arm either by rotating at the wrist or by a “flicking” motion of the fingers as a whole. Any rotation of the wrist or fingers is a useless movement because it does not allow you to get around the attacker’s arm. If you are rotating at your wrist and not at your elbow, then all you are accomplishing is a downward motion that will not allow you to actually move around to the other side of your attacker’s arm. You will have simply let your hand slip under the attacker’s arm, but not around it. Think of your wrist as not being able to bend, but instead as an extention of your arm. (The only rotating movement should be at the elbow!)

NOTE: A common mistake is to pull back your elbow. There is no need to “rev back” your elbow, which is a common mistake in trying to do a whipping punch. Pulling back your elbow doesn’t help you to get around the attacker’s arm. If anything it will allow the attacker’s punch to reach you faster!

2. Jum

Once you’ve successfully rotated at the elbow and gotten your hand to the other side of the attacker’s arm, you need to adjust your arm to execute the punch. This is where the Jum part of the whipping punch is used. You need to get your arm more to the inside of your centerline because after the rotation, though you will be on the other side of your opponent’s arm, his or her arm will most likely still be in the way of your path to punch. How do we fix this problem? Simply Jum the attacker’s arm in and out of the way to clear it. With the whipping punch broken down into this second step, it’s crucial that you get it right before you proceed to the actual punch itself.

NOTE: Make sure the Jum is an inward movement of your arm to your center which knocks the opponent’s arm off of their center. It’s not a movement across the body.

3. Punch

This is the easy part if you have done the Rotation and Jum correctly. Just let your 45 degree punch shoot out from your Jum! Be sure your other hand is up in a protective Wu hand. Always protect yourself!

NOTE: There is no need to “rev back” your elbow, which is a common mistake in trying to do a whipping punch. Remember, pulling back your elbow doesn’t help you to get around the attacker’s arm, nor does it make your follow up punch any stronger. It will make your punch delayed getting to its intended target and most likely it will be off of the center line. You don’t want to go backwards to go forwards!

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu and Kickboxing
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, FL 33801

Getting Through Frustrating Times in Martial Arts Training

Whether you’re an advanced martial artist or just beginning your martial arts journey, you’ll have many times where you feel that you’re doing well in your training. Your punches feel strong! You’re confident in your combinations! You feel like the martial arts applications you are learning are being executed almost perfectly! All is well in your world…for now. You must also handle getting through frustrating times in martial arts training as well.

That’s right. Eventually you’ll have a day, week, or even a month or two where you’ll feel like you’re never going to progress as a martial artist. You can’t remember your combinations. The form you knew flawlessly for the previous month is suddenly confusing you. Your fellow students seem to be moving ahead of you in their training. Are you really at the end of your success as a student of the martial arts? Have you peaked? Of course not! You’ve simply hit the notorious “wall of frustration”!

So, what do you do now? The way you choose to answer to this question is extremely important! There will, of course, be the temptation to take the easy way out and simply give up. A devoted student, however, cannot give in to this temptation and will never give up. What are the other options that could help you get through frustrating times in martial arts training and deal with the “wall of frustration”?

Get Through Frustrating Times in Martial Arts Training

Here are some options that have helped me get through frustrating times in martial arts training and Wing Chun classes in general. I hope you will find these options useful as well.

Give Yourself a Reality Check

Take an honest look at your training. Getting through frustrating times in martial arts training involves taking a hard look at your practices. Have you been coming in to class as much as you were before you were experiencing the frustration? Have you been skipping training or leaving early? Are you socializing more than you’re actually practicing? If you have examined your training, attendance, and dedication and can truly say you have not changed your routine, I would recommend that you check your perception of reality with your Sifu (teacher, mentor, master) or your Sihings (advanced students). Sometimes others can give us insight into how we may have changed in our level of dedication or attendance in our training.

Seek Advice From Advanced Students

Getting through frustrating times in martial arts training may mean involve seeking help from above. Yes, that kind of above—but also from others ranked higher than you. It’s a guarantee that the seasoned higher ranked students have been there before you. Whatever walls you are running into, I bet your Sihings will have an idea about how to help you get through frustrating times. Let your Sihings know how you are feeling about your training, and be as specific as you can about your areas of frustration. Since your Sihings are more advanced, they will be able to tell you about how they overcame the challenges you faced when they were in your position. Make sure you are open-minded to what they are telling you. They are there to help you grow and move beyond any obstacles you may have in your training.

Look at the Goals You’ve Set for Yourself

If you have set goals for yourself on your path to achievement in martial arts, which I suggest all martial arts practitioners should, then you may need to review them. Is your frustration a result of setting goals for yourself that are unrealistic? Have you given yourself too strict a timeline to try to meet your goals? You can’t expect yourself to be Bruce Lee or Ip Man overnight! Your training will take time. If you think you should be able to achieve the same level of power and accomplishment in 6 months of Wing Chun that your Sihings have taken 3 years to accomplish, then you are definitely setting yourself up for feelings of frustration. It is difficult not to compare ourselves to others with whom we train, but we have to remember that we train to improve ourselves, not to be somebody else.

Let us know if these tips help you get through frustrating times in martial arts training by visiting us on our Facebook page.

Sifu Justin Och Wing Chun Kung Fu
Regional Director for the SE USA, World Ving Tsun Association.
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Practical Self-Defense: The Importance of Stance and Structure

As a martial artist, I have tried different styles of training throughout my journey with most of my time being in traditional (Korean style) TaeKwonDo and traditional (Chinese style) Wing Chun Kung Fu. I spent 10 years, beginning in college and continuing through my early 30’s, studying, competing and progressing through the facets of TaeKwonDo. Having devoted a significant amount of time to my training, I felt confident I had a strong base of skills that would successfully allow me to protect myself. However, after walking into the Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu studio, I quickly realized—at the end of just my second day of training—that I had totally deluded myself about my ability to protect myself with in any practical self-defense.

Practical Self-Defense Starts with the Stance

Fortunately, Sifu Och didn’t belittle or condemn my TaeKwonDo or the art itself. Truth be told, I was desperate to see what I could use from my TaeKwonDo background that would be successful in a real self-defense situation. On the first day, I heard a lot about Wing Chun stances and structure and a thing they called “rooting.” At that point I didn’t really understand what “rooting” was, but I was fully confident my traditional TaeKwonDo fighting 80/20 T-Stance would keep me in good balance.

Note on the TaeKwonDo 80/20 T-Stance
An 80/20 T-Stance has 80% of the fighter’s weight on the rear leg and 20% on the front leg. The stance allows for fast front leg kicks while being able to lean back on the rear leg and keep your head out of your opponent’s range.


I asked Sifu Och why I couldn’t just use my TaeKwonDo T-Stance. He politely asked, “May I demonstrate?” (I would later learn to love those words because it means he wants to show me something—not just tell me why something was correct/incorrect, stronger/weaker, or better/worse, etc.) I agreed to let him demonstrate. He asked me to take my T-Stance and cross my hands over my chest. He also had 2 people stand behind me. Sifu pushed me evenly at my shoulders and the next thing I knew, I was totally off balance going backward into the waiting arms of the 2 students behind me. He told me to reset and we tried it a few more times with the same result. I was honestly shocked and a little disappointed that I couldn’t keep my footing against a simple push. However, I’d never had to defend against a push in TaeKwonDo because pushing was an “illegal” technique.

Pushing happens ALL THE TIME in real-world street combat situations. I had no idea practical self-defense had so much to do with my stance.

Next, Sifu had me put my hands up in a typical fighting stance and keep my TaeKwonDo T-Stance to see if this would improve my balance against the push. My fists collapsed into my body, and I still went backwards. Next, he said to try to come forward and attack him in any way I wanted. Since my main arsenal from TaeKwonDo was kicking, I attempted a round kick from the front foot to the ribs. Before my kick even came out to its full extension, Sifu had gently swept my rear leg, and I was again on my back. I reset and threw a side kick from my back leg. This time Sifu stepped forward, caught my kicking leg and just pushed forward with his body, and I was off balance and on the floor.

How could something so simple as a push destroy the TaeKwonDo foundational stance I’d been taught and used religiously? Even worse, if this was my chosen stance for fighting, what would happen if I was really attacked on the street? How could I use my kicks against an attacker, if my stance made me vulnerable? All my attacker would have to do is shove me and I’d be knocked on my behind.

Obviously, I found this realization disturbing and knew I had to learn a more practical form of self-defense than what TaeKwonDo had offered me. I began my journey into the study of Wing Chun almost two years ago and have seen its effectiveness—not only in its stances but also in many other areas. If you would like to learn more about Wing Chun, I encourage you to contact Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu!

Learning Ground Game Tactics in Wing Chun

Many, if not the majority, of traditional martial arts systems (Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kun Do, Karate, Wing Chun, etc.) are designed primarily for stand-up attacking and defensive situations. Without question, these stand-up techniques are invaluable to the student. However, what is the practitioner to do if they have only trained in a stand-up martial arts system and the fight is suddenly taken to the ground? Learning ground game tactics in Wing Chun is imperative to success in these situations.

Learning Ground Game Tactics

No matter how prepared or how many years the martial arts student has been in training, if they have only been taught to attack and defend from an upright position, they may find themselves in a very dangerous situation once they go to the ground. Once there, they may find themselves in a situation where they are at a loss about how to proceed. The panic of being taken out of the stand-up comfort zone in a real fight to having to deal with ground game tactics will be intimidating enough, but not knowing what technique to use or how to defend themselves could be deadly. Learning ground game tactics and techniques suddenly begins to make sense.

By learning some Jiu-Jitsu techniques (be they Brazilian, American, or Combat) the traditional martial artist will be better prepared for a fight if it goes to the ground. Coincidentally, we integrate these ground game tactics in our Wing Chun training. Being trained in defenses against guillotine and rear-naked chokes; escapes from being on one’s back, prone, or side positions; and how to submit an attacker by putting him into an armbar, leg lock, or choke will be great additions to any martial artist’s skill set. Learning ground game tactics in Wing Chun can make all the difference in whether you ever get the chance to walk away from an encounter victorious.

If you are interested in enhancing your martial arts experience in traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu or ground techniques, then please contact Sifu Och Wing Chun at 863-800-0171 to set up an appointment to visit the school. We will be happy to show you around the studio and meet Sifu Justin Och in person.


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