Sifu Och’s Three Sections of Teaching

Wing Chun is not the easiest martial art to teach. The techniques come from a philosophy and list of principles. Due to this, the application of the techniques can be done with many variations that can be considered “correct”. These variations can cause added frustration. This is due to the details when it comes to teaching the variations. So that being said, you need to give ample attention to your students to genuinely help them understand, learn, and apply their Wing Chun. Sifu Och’s three sections of teaching his main classes help accomplish that.

Sifu Och’s Three Sections of Teaching

Beginner Class

women wing chun, kung fu, women wing chun class, high block, biu sau, punch, wing chun kung fu, lakeland, florida, usa, women wing chun kung fuThe beginner class is for those students that are within their first year of training. We typically have one main instructor on the floor who has trained for at least 3 years. He or she helps the new student’s build their fundamentals. The focus of this section of class is to build their immediate ability to stop basic, common attacks. In our article When to Learn Chi Sao & Wooden Dummy we cover in more detail what our philosophy is for that class. We want to make sure that when a student leaves our doors the are able to hand dangerous situations as quickly as possible.

Much like a building we must set the groundwork. Within someones first year of training we teach them the basics to a few things. First, we guide them through the basics of footwork. Second, while building their footwork we help them through the concepts of using two hands at the same time. Thirdly, we want to build an attacking mindset. Instead of being focused on the perfect counter, block, or defense, we want our students to build an immediate offensive mindset.

Intermediate Class

Coach Level Training, Wing Chun Combos, Wing Chun TimingFor our Intermediate class we move past our basic footwork and attacks and start building our combinations. After initial contact you must follow up to finish your opponent. Building on the foundation of attacks we begin to teach students how to effectively and efficiently follow up.

Not only do we build in the ability to follow up and finish an opponent we also begin to lean heavier into reaction training and sparring. There are three main stages of development which I go into more detail in my article Three Cycles of Martial Art Training. The last of these stages is reaction which is the hardest to master. Speed, technique, power, all mean nothing if you do not have the correct timing.

Conner McGregor said “Precision beats power, and timing beats speed” in a post fight interview. You can take this one step further and say that without any form of timing you cannot fight. So you MUST develop your timing. Wing Chun is very effective when used properly. But due to many attacks being intercepts versus blocks, learning the timing can be tricky. You must devote consistent hard work in sparring and active attacker training.

Advanced Class

Wing Chun Long Pole, Weapons, Wing Chun Instructor

At our advance class level we begin the refinement of the techniques. We being teaching and using the Wooden Dummy at this level. Now that there has been years of using the Wing Chun shapes and applying them against pressure we can now upgrade them to the fullest level.

The Wooden Dummy training helps conditioning of the arms as well as tightening of form. Since the dummy does not hit back it serves no purpose other than that refinement of techniques. Spacing, shapes, rooting, all can be worked on using the dummy.

When at the advanced class we now also pass on the more traditional aspects of Wing Chun including Long Pole and Butterfly Swords. Wing Chun needs to stay applicable to the current martial arts you might run in to. However, you must keep your roots strong in the history of your training. Now that your training is coming full circle we finish the circle with advanced techniques and weapons.


Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu
Call us: 863.800.0171
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, FL 33801 (Downtown Lakeland)

Tony Plasse: Becoming an Orange

Here on Tony Plasse: Becoming an Orange I explain my story but first, some history. Wing Chun a southern Chinese martial art mentioned during the period of the Red Boat Opera in the Late 1800s. Developed by southern Shaolin monks to help combat the Manchurians. It is influenced by other Fujian martial arts that preferred short steps and close fighting, with arms placed close to the chest and elbows close to the flanks offering protection. A simple boxing form quickly mastered by dedicated practitioners.

Two key figures keeping Wing Chun system alive after the burning of southern temples were Yat Chum Dai Si, 22nd generation Siu Lam Grandmaster monk, and Cheung Ng, also known as Tan Sao Ng within the opera. It was taught to other rebels taking refuge with the opera. From there it spread along the coast and rivers of south-eastern China by people who lived by and on the water. The Shaolin nun myth was most likely created to protect the identities of the creators and perpetrators of the Wing Chun system. Wing Chun translates to Spring Chant or Spring Praise.

Tony Plasse: Becoming an Orange

I remember my first introduction to Wing Chun Kung Fu was an Ip Man movie three years ago. Did not know much about it, but the movie inspired me to research it. I liked the theory behind and thought it would be more practical for myself. High flying kicks, although cool looking, are not my style. When I finally had the opportunity to attend a class near my house I thought to myself, “this is great”.

My Reaction

I have spent the last year training with Sihing Garret and I have noticed improvements in myself. Garret emphasizes physical training at the beginning of each class. I have improved muscle tone and stamina. Wing Chun techniques taught to me have improved my reflexes much to my surprise. Not just in wrist against wrist but in everyday applications. I react to things such as doors flying at my face. I caught one once with a Jum Sau action. The lady next to me said “Wow! That was like a ninja!”. I also catch the items knocked off shelves with a lot more ease.

My Confidence

Tony-Plasse-Wing Chun Kung Fu Tampa Bay FloridaThe wrist against wrist drill has helped my sensitivity improve into reaction. It has given me more confidence in handling myself. I always knew my normal movements gave me power. But now I am learning to channel that power more efficiently through stance and technique. I am more confident that I’m more prepared for situations when I’m out on the town or at work. I believe there are many applications I could have used previously in my life as a football player. Namely the footwork and center line punch drill. Both would have greatly helped me as an offensive lineman and coach. It also adds to my overall scariness.

My Future

As the days grow closer to my son’s birth, I look forward to sharing Wing Chun with him. I hope he will benefit from Wing Chun training developing skill, balance and confidence. I see Wing Chun as an opportunity to develop father and son bonds.

The instruction and encouragement I receive is outstanding. Sihing Garret and Sifu Och inspire me to dedicate myself and continue training. I hope to be an inspiring instructor one day. I look forward to progressing and to be a good representative of Tampa Bay Wing Chun Kung Fu and Sifu Och Wing Chun.

Your Black Belt Journey

There is a reason the title is “Your Black Belt Journey”, it’s YOUR journey. No one else can walk your life. You were created for a purpose and it’s your job to walk it to the best of your ability. That being said, too many times we see students comparing themselves to another student. In this article I will discuss what it means to walk the journey on the road to a black belt.

Your Black Belt Journey

Anything worth having takes time to get. Earning your Masters degree in Engineering, finishing Ranger school, a successful life long marriage. All of these things have something in common, they took a long time and a lot of hard work to achieve and/or maintain. People tend to treat martial arts different. As if learning to defend yourself from a threat is easier then one of these skills. Defending your family while fighting off multiple attackers or maybe even just one is not something you can learn in a weekend seminar. Yet, people continue to say they’ll “give it a try”. Or they will “do some Wing Chun” as if it were finger painting session with their friends.

Building a lifestyle

contact sifu och wing chun, kung fu, lakeland, florida, sifu och wing chun, contact us, kung fu lakeland, wing chun lakelandTo really learn self defense you must embrace it as a lifestyle. The same thing that is said about being healthy is true here. If you “go on a diet” you will eventually go back to your un-healthy ways. You must change how you live as a whole. You must become a healthy person. They choices you make a the grocery store, restaurants, and gym time. This is who you are and what you do. Not an activity you participate in for a few weeks. The same is exactly true in training self defense.

But I’m High enough ranked I’ll be ok

In my previous article 3 cycles of martial arts I explain that there are 3 main stages to training: Programming, Application, Reaction. Advanced Wing Chun classes sparring trainingAll 3 take time to develop in reference to a technique. But the most important thing is they must be maintained. If you do not keep up your training then you will NOT BE ABLE to respond to a threatening situation. Reacting to an attack takes split second reflexes as well as a situational awareness that maximizes your time. You may remember techniques from your training time but applying them quick enough will be very hard to accomplish.

The proof of this is many previous higher ranking students will come back from a hiatus and will struggle greatly with sparing and gor sao and lower ranking current students. That being said, setting goals and reaching them is a huge help when it comes to training as you go. But you should not have a rank as an end game. Living your life like a Black Sash is the key.

You Must Change

The Sash itself is NOT the goal in martial arts. It is the person you become while trying to obtain it. When you envision a person who is a “Black Sash” you typically picture someone who is wise, patient, hard working, compassionate. You must become the person you envision as a Black Sash. That transformation into something new only happens under the heavy anvil of rigorous, consistent training. Be reaching for small goals (i.e. your next rank) you have something you can slowly move towards and develop those characteristics on the way.

Nobody else can walk this path for you. You must accept where you are as a human. Recognize the type of person you must become. If you were a Black Sash how hard would you train? How compassionate would you be towards others? How loving would you be towards your family? These characteristics are what make a Black Sash. What are you doing to become that?

3 Training Cycles of Martial Arts

If you have just begun your training in martial arts you know it can become very frustrating. You can feel lost in the material. Confused on a technique. Or you feel like you are behind where you should be. All of the these factors make starting martial arts difficult for the newbie. In this article, 3 Training Cycles of Martial Arts, we will explain a concept that will hopefully help you push past the first slump.

The 3 Training Cycles of Martial Arts

There are 3 basic stages of learning a new technique. Once you understand these stages you will be able to identify where you are and what you need to work on. What you must understand is everyone develops different. Some learn the initial technique faster than others. Yet those same students may struggle in applying it. Everyone learns different. You must accept where you are so you can focus on YOUR development. Don’t stress about the progress of others. That being said, lets look at these 3 stages.

Stage 1: Programming

learn self defense nowThe first stage of training begins with programing. This is exactly like installing a new system into a computer. It takes time. When a new technique is shown it comes with a new set of motor functions the body is not used to. To overcome this the body needs time to “program” the new function into the “hard-drive”. Some students are more prone to certain techniques. Maybe they grew up doing a certain sport that had a similar movement to what they are learning now.

For instance, in Wing Chun there is a lot of rooting through the heels. If someone spent a lot of time lifting growing up they might be able to grasp that concept a little quicker. As opposed to someone who played soccer for instance. They would have been taught to always be in their toes. Therefore, they would need to spend more time teaching their body to draw power from the heels then the first person.

Stage 2: Application

Developing the Student MindsetSecondly, after you have learned what the new technique is and how to perform it you must learn WHEN to perform it. This is called application. One technique can have many applications and then variations from that original. Applying the technique must also be treated like the programing because you are learning how to time it against an attack. You must be attacked over and over again to get the timing down.

Along with timing the technique another very important part of application is learned and testing: structure. Without structure a block or attack will be ineffective no mater the timing. Just like gold is refined in fire so must the structure of a technique be refined through the fire of pressure. Pressure testing your structure helps develop your shapes that shadow training (or practicing in the air) can never do. Real attacks must be thrown and you to really develop your structure. Combining the timing and pressure training will give you the ability to fully apply your techniques.

Stage3: Reaction

Thirdly, the final stage of developing your technique is reaction. You have could structure and timing, but how will your fair when you do not know when the attack is coming? Reaction is the hardest part of training. You must build one technique at time. Learn how to react to one certain attack. Once you have dealt with that you build again from step one. Program a new technique; apply it to real attacks; react to it in a sparring scenario. You must learn how to deal with skilled and un-skilled attacks. Single attackers and multiple attackers. As well as Feinting, counter striking, grappling, High-low hit combos. All of these things and more must be thrown at you.

In conclusion, this cycle must be repeated over and over again. Day by day, technique by technique, this must be done. Consequently, if you stay consistent with your training you will master every technique given to you.



Jacob Cramer: Orange Sash Pre-Requisite Paper

Where to Begin? Where does one begin divulging the effervescent determination surrounding my growth in Sifu Och Wing Chun? But also the growth in myself.

Jacob Cramer: Orange Sash Pre-Requisite Paper

The Beginning

Ultimately the scrupulous truth would be in my young age of six when I as many martial artist has divulged found my passion for martial arts watching Enter the Dragon featuring Bruce Lee. It was my favorite movie to rewatch and practice the moves of in my mom’s living room. From that moment on I knew I wanted to learn more about Bruce lee but also learn more about martial arts. Growing up we didn’t have much extra money so my passion laid with tutorial videos, school wrestling team, and books explaining how to train and learn new moves or techniques.

Ip Man

Ip Man, Yip Man, Grandmaster Ip Man, Grandmaster Yip ManFast forward to the important part, the year 2009 when the film Ip Man was released in the united states red box system, I was helping my grandpa move when he out of kindness decided to rent a movie for me and my brother. He casually strolls in and I will never forget what he said “you Know you guys have worked real hard and I wanted to show a small gesture of appreciation, I know you both love martial arts so I saw a film on Bruce lee’s master in red box and thought it would be interesting for you to check out.”

Little did I know that night after years of watching, reading, and jumping styles when able I would find my passion. I watched the film and fell in love with the pure flow of combinations, relentless ferocity in each hit and it wasn’t flashy but it was unprecedentedly fast and effective.

I begin with this prelude only to set the proper background for why I study as hard as I do and why I have such an appreciation for every moment I spend learning something in Sifu Och Wing chun.

The Search

In my years of martial arts fanaticism and study I have trained in my styles of course seeing as I have landed in Sifu Och Wing Chun never were for very long. The complete breakdown would be six months of high school wrestling, a month of Muay Thai, a month of Goju-Ru karate, and Six months of Sport Judo. I gained a proper understanding of what most martial arts schools were about because of the many styles that I bounced around in.

The schools primarily focused on the money, they would show you a couple moves leave you on your own and then after a bit would ask if you want to join up. This was an industry standard I did not like, so I often parted ways, if I wasn’t sure I maybe stuck around for a bit to maybe see if I was judging to quickly or harshly. I feel that my jumping styles did in fact help me grow as a martial artist however the training only took me so far and let’s be honest it wasn’t very far at all. I still had nervousness in fighting situations or even in confrontational situations.


Sifu Och Wing Chun has and will always be a blessing to me. It’s not simply a school to learn how to defend yourself, for me it’s so much more. To elaborate in greater detail and analysis it’s a family that helps me when I’m struggling. It’s a support group to help me further grow as a martial artist however the training only took me so far and let’s be honest it wasn’t very far at all. I still had nervousness in fighting situations or even in confrontational situations.

Sifu Och Wing Chun has and will always be a blessing to me, its not simply a school to learn how to defend yourself, for me it’s so much more. To elaborate in greater detail and analysis it’s a family that helps me when I’m struggling. It’s a support group to help me further my physical and mental goals. And it’s also the one place in the world where I feel myself separate from my troubles.

The Training 1

Growth in Wing Chun Kung Fu lakeland FlFirst note I am going to touch on is the benefits of the training I receive from Tampa Wing Chun and Lakeland Wing Chun with my martial arts growth. When I began a little over a year ago I was nervous when entering a physical confrontation, however from the moment I joined (Like literally Day One) I was put into wrist vs wrist. This automatic exposure with the accommodations of the further advanced students I could not only overcome the fear but also conquer it. Now I love sparring and wrist vs wrist.

As a result when situations outside in my daily life seem to be escalating I don’t worry, I am able to keep a level head. This allows for proper understanding of my surroundings and better problem solving analysis. Sifu Och wing chun also gives realistic defense training. Whereas in other schools I have found what felt like rigid motions that are supposed to at some point just become natural. Sifu Och Wing Chun has offered close quartered and naturally fast movements that take your body no time to understand and implement. It may take years to perfect or tweak to get it in the state you most desire. But in the beginning, you already see significant differences.

The Training 2

Second I also found a school that talks to each other. Where older, more intimidating students walk up to the newbies and say hello.Give praise while also offering helpful criticism instead of sink or swim. It’s a place where I feel at home, not judged and where only growth is possible. Growth of the self, growth of the heart, and growth of body and mind. Nowhere I have crossed paths with has ever come within striking range of what is offered.

All of what I wrote hopefully explains why I love what I do at Sifu Och Wing Chun, why I drive 2 and a half hours for private lessons, tests, classes, and get together, and dream of one day offering a place of Sifu Och Wing Chun where I end up when I become Sifu.

Top 10 Reasons to Send Your Kid to Summer Camp

Sending your kid to summer camp can be one of the most difficult and rewarding choices you’ll make this year. Whether it is an all summer long day camp, or a week long overnight camp, the benefits are infinite! But for the sake of brevity, we’ve narrowed it down to ten:

Top 10 Reasons to Send Your Kid to Summer Camp

  1. Fun – Let’s start with the most obvious reason. At any summer camp that you choose to send your child to, fun will be the number one priority (apart from safety of course). The days are full activities, barely allowing a moment’s rest. Children leave camp brimming with excitement over the day’s events, often ready for a quiet evening after having exerted themselves all day.

  1. Time away – On top of having quieter evenings, the days are entirely quiet! Whether you are a stay at home parent or working during the day, camp days are often longer than school days and allow for a little bit of extra rest.

  1. Socialization – While you are enjoying a bit of rest (or productivity), your child is participating in a variety of activities that all encourage different aspects of socialization. They may be learning to share through arts and crafts, the value of teamwork in sports and trust exercises, or even simply how to get along with people that are different than they are.

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  1. Structure – Throughout all of this, there is always a strong sense of structure. Children thrive off of a solid structure. They know the boundaries and are free to operate within them, they also know that there are consequences to breaking the structure; further preparing them for life after childhood.

  1. Increased Creativity – Though camps are certainly structured, there is often designated free time. It is especially during this free time that kids will develop their creativity. The kids will be without direction from their mom, dad, or counselor. This freedom spawns their creativity and the camp environment is the perfect place to let them explore!

  1. New Skills – Along with increasing their creativity in free time, the skills that they learn at camp will broaden their mental and physical capabilities overall. New skills learned at camp will certainly vary among camps, but a few of the most common are: arts and crafts, yoga, swimming, horseback riding, ect. And if your camp specializes like at Sifu Och Wing Chun, they could even learn martial arts or dance.

  1. Active – Many of these new skills will get your kid moving, instilling a sense of how important frequent physical activity is. Summertime was once a time of outdoor exploring and activity, summer camps keep this tradition alive with plenty of activity.

  1. Nature – Recent years seem to have pushed summer activities indoors, limiting a child’s exposure to sunlight and nature. Summer camp ensures outdoor activities in nature, often way more than any of us see in a week.

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  1. Unplugged – Going along with exposure to nature is the huge benefit of unplugging at camp. This is personally my favorite reason to go to camp. Cell phones have taken over our world in a huge way, and this generation’s children will be the first to grow up surrounded by this phenomenon.

  1. Immersion – Being unplugged allows for your kid to be completely immersed in their surroundings at camp. They are able to focus their whole attention to the task at hand and grow as an individual on a higher level than they would be able to with the distractions of daily life. This has the opportunity to start combating ADHD tendencies and possibly reduce the need for medication.

I like to consider summer camp to be education without the rigidity and monotony of school. Children are able to learn so much at camp without ever getting bored! A feat schools have been trying to pull off for decades. So this year consider sending your kid to summer camp. Watch as these ten reasons come to life in the little person in front of you.

Sparring Weaknesses: A Checklist

Almost every martial art will include sparring in one way or another. Some may start it right of the bat, while other schools may wait until the student is more familiar with techniques; but either way, it is very often incorporated into training. Sparring can be a great tool for applying techniques learned in class in a less rigid and more organic activity. Despite its usefulness, many of us are not as skilled at sparring as we would like. Here in Sparring Weaknesses: A Checklist are some of the most common sparring weaknesses and how to avoid them:

Sparring Weaknesses: A Checklist:  

Dropping your hands

This one is a no brainer but happens way too often. Fighters will drop their hands when they back away from the opponent, thinking that they are safe – and then get hit with a kick. Or, even more likely, they will drop their hands while kicking. Focusing on the legs and forgetting about the arms, making you a bigger target for a follow-up attack or even a simultaneous one. Keep your arms up at all times and check to make sure that those arms aren’t telegraphing any of your moves (i.e. twitch or downward movement before a kick, pulling back or clenching before a punch, etc.) 

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Pendulum fighting:

This is when the fight swings back and forth like a pendulum. One fighter will attack, then the other, going back and forth as if the opponents were taking turns. In any sparring match, you want to avoid getting into a predictable rhythm. If your opponent is more experienced, he or she will exploit that rhythm and attack off-beat catching you in the middle of a sequence. To counteract this weakness add more variety to your attacks. Maybe charge the opponent without giving them the opportunity to hit back, add in combos, or dodge their next attack and move in.


Single attacks

Too many people come in with a single jab or front kick thinking it’ll get the job done. While it is okay to employ some single attacks throughout your match, make sure that you aren’t relying on them. Try adding in a low and a high strike, or a combo that includes both hands and feet.


All defense/offense

Many of the more timid fighters may focus on their defense in the beginning, looking to minimize the damage rather than gain advantage over their opponent. This may be a good place to start but if you are looking to improve your game, their needs to be a good balance of both defense and offense. Other people, however, may focus more on offense and neglect their defense. This weakness may not be much of a problem in the dojo, but would certainly be in a real fight. Increasing your awareness of the problem should lend to solving it. If that isn’t enough, shift your entire focus to the opposite problem. If you are a defensive fighter, try to go a round entirely offensive and vise versa. Your muscle memory should kick in and make it a fairly balanced fight of what you know and what you are focusing on.


All hands/feet

Similarly to the offense/defense problem, some people find that they are more comfortable with either their hands or feet and will focus in on one or the other. It always comes down to balance. Entire martial arts will prioritize hands over feet or vise versa. It is really up to the individual to find what works for them within his or her style. If you feel like you are too frequently using your hands or feet, find a good technique you like and drill it like crazy. If you are more of a foot sparer, find a good hand technique and practice until it flows in easily with your sparring. From there it will be easier to add in more techniques, creating balance.


Sparring with an ego

This one is probably the most dangerous of all the weaknesses. Sparring should be used as a tool to learn and better oneself, not as a means to assert dominance or ‘win’ a match. When you focus on whose better or winning a match, the focus shifts from inward improvement to outward comparison. And although competition can be healthy and helpful, if it’s used in the wrong way people can get hurt.

Consider the last time you sparred. Do any of these sound familiar? Frequent assessments of your strengths and weaknesses are healthy in order to develop as a fighter. Don’t ever settle for average, constantly strive to be better.

Krav Maga Versus Wing Chun

Krav Maga is renowned for is brutality and viciousness. The Israeli military adopted it because it can be taught in a short amount of time. Wing Chun, made famous by Bruce Lee and the recent “Ip Man” movies, is known for its speed and ability to devastate an attacker. In recent years there has been a rise in both across the US. How are the two connected and why the sudden growth in popularity? We will delve into that in this article.


In a post WWII world interaction and fascination with Japan was at it’s height. Many Japanese now lived in the US. Interaction with the American culture grew and grew. With the interaction came Karate which spread across the US like wild fire. However, as with any trend, there are people that would take advantage of that only for monetary gain. Karate, as a legitimate art, began to become watered down. Even though there existed many good schools (and many still do), the general public started to notice the negative trend. By and large Karate in the US morphed from a powerful, dangerous art, to a weaker cousin that was only suited for tournaments and scoring points. This shift paved the way for something new to take hold.

(Writer’s note: This section of the Article is not a stab at Karate. It is simply pointing out the unfortunate decline of authenticity as a whole in the US.)

 Modern Krav Maga Versus Wing Chun

With Bruce Lee’s explosion onto the scene, Kung Fu (specifically Wing Chun) started to get some of the limelight. Around the same time Krav Maga started to make it’s way to the US. With Wing Chun focusing on the most direct route to it’s target and Krav using a blend of styles to achieve maximum brutality, the stage was set for the two to emerge. However, before we continue with their growth in the U.S. lets look at some differences and similarities between the two.

Learn These Three Moves


Both Krav and Wing Chun were designed at a time of war. Wing Chun during the 17th century China at civil war and Krav during the 1930 right after WW1 and prior to WWII. Wing Chun was designed originally to be a system that could be learned in a fraction of the time of the available Kung Fu systems. In the same way, Krav fused boxing, judo, juijistu , and aikido to create something that Jewish civilians could immediately defend themselves with. In recent times Krav has added Maui Thai and actually some Wing Chun (through Jeet Kune Do) into its system. They both seek to dispatch their opponent as quickly as possible. Additionally, both systems “fight dirty”, using any means necessary to prevail.


Now even with Wing Chun’s addition to Krav Maga there will obviously still be differences. First to be addressed would be training time. Modern Wing Chun takes anywhere from 8-10 years to finish the system.* Whereas the entire Krav system can be learned (on a military style training regiment) in four months to a year. Both of these depended on the dedication of the student of course. Second, Wing Chun was designed as a complete system with which all parts fuse together and flow seamlessly. Comparatively, Krav fused many styles so there will naturally be some disconnect systems.

The third difference would be training style. One perk of a Krav School is that they tend to really focus on the brutality of combat. Understanding, right from the beginning, how chaotic combat can be. The right mindset is instilled right from the start and can be seen all throughout their training. Wing Chun on the other hand does utilize more finesse. In training the “soft” side the harshness of combat can sometimes be lost in some schools.

In Closing, both systems are effective in street combat. With Karate, and a few other arts, becoming very commercialized, the public wanted something new. Something that gets right to the point and gets the job done. That is the reason for the two arts quick rise to fame. Now with all arts both Krav and Wing Chun have also fallen prey to commercialization. So before choosing a school do your homework on the instructors! Once you choose, train hard and stay committed!

*(Writers note: Wing Chun in the 17th century was designed to be learned in 3 years. This was accomplished by monks training 8 hours a day consistently.)


History of Kendo – The Way of the Sword

Not many martial arts base their concept on the use of an object. Fencing, Iaido, and Kendo are the few which do. Fencing revolves around the use of the rapier. Iaido Practitioners utilize the katana. Finally, similar to Iaido, Kendo’s training involves preparation for the use of a Katana with a Shima. Here in Kendo’s History, we will focus on the history of Kendo including its origins as a 2 part series. In Part 2, we will change our focus to its practice.

KenDo’s Meaning

Kendo structures its art around the Japanese sword. Coincidentally, Kendo derives its name from the same. “Ken” is the Japanese character meaning sword, and “Do” is the character meaning way or path. Kendo is literally translated as “The way of the sword”. Like Wing Chun kung fu, the exact origin of the art is unknown, and its history does not link back to any founder. Based on historical studies, the history of Kendo stems from kenjutsu (the art of the sword) over several centuries. Both swordsman and Samurai played key roles in keeping it alive.

HISTORY of Kendo

Like Kendo, Kenjutsu’s origin is uncertain. The history of Kendo can, however, be traced back to the Heian period (794-1185). During that time its congruent years allowed the Samurai to perfect their sword techniques. The martial art was not highly sought after until the late Muromachi period (1336-1568). At that time, a long civil war ensued and resulted in the establishment of more Kenjutsu schools. After the turmoil in the early years of the Edo period (1603-1867), the concept of kenjutsu underwent a change. The techniques of the art initially focused on killing. Setsunin-to (the life-taking sword) eventually changed to the opposite: katsujin-ken (the life-giving sword). Katsujin-ken focused not only on swordsmanship but also on the discipline of one’s inner-self. Swordsman published many books relaying their theories on swordsmanship. One notable work is Musashi Miyamoto’s “The Book of Five Rings”.

Modern Kendo

Modern kendo did not take its form until the Shotoku era (1711-1715). Naganuma Shirozaemon Kunisato of the Jiki-shinkage-ryu school improved on the use of the bogu (armor) as well as the shinai (bamboo sword). He also established a shinai training method. In this continuing era of peace many Samurai established schools (dojos), teaching their art of kenjutsu or traveling from region to region honing their skills in inter-school competitions. Of the many schools during the Edo period in the 19th century, three schools became recognized as the “Three Great Dojos of Edo”. These included Renpeikan led by sinsei Saito Yakuro, Shigakken led by sinsei Momoi Shunzo, and Genbukan led by sinsei Chiba Shusaku. Several of Chiba’s techniques are still practiced today.

Kendo’s Rise

With the rise of the Meiji Restoration in 1868, and the abolition of the Samurai, the practice of kenjutsu witnessed a drastic decline. It was not until after an unsuccessful resistance movement on the government in 1877, that the government noticed the benefits of kenjutsu. It began teaching the practice to its Tokyo Metropolitian Police. The forming of the Dai-Nippon Butoku-Kai organization in 1895 allowed for the nationalization of the practice of kenjutsu. The rapidly growing popularity of Kenjutsu soon demanded a universal form. After careful deliberation between schools, Kenjutsu masters created the Nihon Kendo Kata, a set of kendo regulations.

Kendo Resurrected

Kendo and its practice remained uninterrupted into World War II, where the occupying allied forces saw kendo as undemocratic. They also saw it as having militaristic associations and outlawed the practice. This also resulted in the disbanding of the Butoku-kai organization. The Ban did not last long. The All Japan Kendo Federation revitalized Kendo with its founding in 1952. The Federation changed Kendo to take the shape of a “pure sport” martial art which was vital to its resurrection. The focus shifted from combat to the development of mind and body with the purpose of obtaining a better life for oneself. Furthermore, since the establishment of the International Kendo Federation in 1970, Kendo has made a popular appearances globally with many people wanting to practice the art.


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