Sparring Protective Gear

Sparring is an essential part of most martial arts. But when it comes to gear, each school decides how much and of what type to wear. While some schools require the use of sparring gear in all combat situations, others are a lot more lenient. They might only require it for designated matches and competitions and in some cases, not at all. Some people argue that sparring gear doesn’t actually keep us safer, but can even increase our chances of getting hurt. Others don’t want to wear it because it can be bulky and cumbersome. So where do we draw the line?

Why wear gear?

If competition is your goal, then the answer is because they require it. The North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) rules require head gear, hand and footpads, mouthpiece, and groin cups for all adult competitors. For competitors under seventeen, they also require chest and face guards. If you are training to be a professional competitor, or are at least serious about competing, your training should always include the gear that you will wear on competition day. If you practice with less gear, or none at all, competition day will feel awkward and slow. In fact, many competitors practice with weighted gear so that when they go back to wearing regular gear they feel lighter and are able to hit faster.

If your goal is to simply stay safe while training, you may need to take a different approach. Depending on what martial art you practice, different gear may be more beneficial than others. For instance, some martial arts frequently incorporate the use of elbows and knees. In these arts you may want to consider adding elbow and knee pads, especially if they are actually making contact. Other arts that heavily rely on kicks to the body may need a chest guard. Or if your art includes more eye and facial strikes, a face guard might be in order.

Could wearing head gear actually hurt?

There is an argument going around that head gear increases your risk of brain trauma over not wearing gear at all. This argument comes from personal opinion though it does rely on facts. Perpetuators of this idea claim that the added inch or two of padding make your head a bigger target, and more likely to get hit. It may also lure fighters into believing that they won’t get hurt, making them less defensive of their head. They also claim that head gear impedes your peripheral vision, further increasing your odds of getting hit. While they have not yet tested this phenomenon, they have tested how effective head gear is at reducing the impact to your brain. Wearing head gear can reduce the trauma to your brain by about 50% (McIntosh & Patton, 2015). While 50% is eons better than zero, it is still a relatively low number. Thankfully this statistic is pushing manufacturers to invest research into creating a more effective head gear. Something that we will hopefully see in the near future.

karate vs wing chun difference kung fu lakeland fl

So what gear will you wear? Personally, as someone who sustained a concussion while not wearing head gear, the choice is easy. I would wear anything with the potential to reduce brain trauma, no matter how annoying or obtrusive it may be. Protecting your brain is not something that should be taken lightly. But for others without the same experience, maybe going without seems like the better option. Whatever choice you make, make sure to make it from the point of sound research and not momentary comfort.

McIntosh AS, Patton DA (2015, September 1) Boxing headguard performance in punch machine tests. In Br J Sports Med 2015;49:1108-1112.

Kung Fu Belt Ranking

Kung Fu in its origins does not have any sort of belt system. The Chinese would wear sashes whether they trained martial arts or not. Sashes were used to help with carrying day to day odds and ends. So then why do you see modern day (typically American) Kung Fu Belt Ranking used by schools? The main reason is here in American we feel the desire to achieve or attain very strongly.

Kung Fu Belt Ranking: Goals

Karate and Tae Kwon Do as businesses have flourished in America. This is partially due to their dynamic movements but also due to their ranking. Attaining a Black Belt brings with it not only a social recognition but also sense of accomplishment. Setting short term goals and hitting them on the way to a larger goal is the key to achieving long term success in anything. Since these systems already had these concepts in place their transition to America was very fruitful.

Kung Fu (Wing Chun in particular) while popular hasn’t been able to reach the same level of success. Since Wing Chun is a conceptual art it is very hard make the teaching uniform. Without a standard it is difficult to reward someone for their achievement. This concept is difficult for Americans, generally speaking, to let go of and stick to for a long period.

The need to feel achievement is not only reason, after all american’s are used to instant gratification. Technology is a big part of that. If a student trains for years on end and feels no achievement or sense of accomplishment their spirit can get dampened. As a result of our culture conditioning us many masters decided to implement something to combat that.

Sifu och wing chun: Belts and curriculum

5th level Master, Sifu Och has been able to create a curriculum and belt system that works very well. The belts provide short term goals that are attainable within 3 months for the lower ranks. As a student progresses the term in between ranks increases and the amount of material grows.


Sifu has broken up he stages to a Black Sash into 4 main sections. Subsequently, he then broke those sections into smaller sub sections. Shirt Colors divide the main sections: White (beginner), Blue (intermediate), Red (advanced), Black (Sifu). The Sections within those shirt colors are divided again by sashes:

White Shirt

  • No Belt
  • White
  • White Black
  • Yellow
  • Yellow White
  • Yellow Black
  • Orange
  • Orange White
  • Orange Black

The above list about a year to year and a half of training depending on how hard someone pushes.

kung fu in downtown lakeland fl, kung fu, sifu och, wing chun, gung fu lakeland fl


Sifu Och uses a rotating curriculum. We group students together by their main sections and have them all work on the same material. For example: if you have a white shirt, whether you are a white black belt, or a yellow white belt, you will all work on 1 of the 5 sections going towards blue shirt. As a result we accomplish a couple of different goals.

First, brand new students are able to work with more experienced students. It is not wise to pair up two brand new students with each other. The old adage, “blind leading the blind” applies perfectly. Neither of them know the techniques but more importantly they do not know how to help the other person train the technique. Having that person a few steps ahead of you when you start out as a partner can make the difference in someone staying or not.

Second, it keeps things fresh. We are able to continue to challenge students who are unable to actually make it to testing. Instead going over the same material again and again, they are able to go over new things and continue growing until they are able move to the next level. As a result of this, students also get a good review of the material once it cycles back around. This ensures that the material is well known before graduating to the next big section.

American Kung Fu

Even though traditional Kung Fu does not use any sort of ranking system, there can be great benefits to having them. Goals and purpose bring a powerful dynamic to ones training.



Fighting Footwork

You can have the fastest hands in the world, but if you aren’t at the right place at the right time that won’t matter. Foot work is literally the foundation to any style. You may be able to block or evade an attack here and there with good hands or head movement. However, if you do not base your counter with fighting footwork, it will be difficult to execute.

positioning your Fighting footwork

Superior angles will make your life much easier. It is much simpler to deal with an opponent when you have minimized their ability to use multiple “weapons” at once. In the same way, striking your opponents key points will also be easier when you are positioned correctly. Wing Chun seeks to dominate the outside angle allowing maximum trapping and striking to occur.

Weight distribution

There is a big debate among Wing Chun practitioners. Not only about weight distribution through the feet but also between the legs. First let’s address weight through the feet.


When a weight lifter squats his weight must drive from the middle portion of his foot to his heels. With proper skeletal alignment his structure is locked in place and only the strongest muscles are recruited to move the weight. If alignment is broken serious injury can occur. When finished correctly the weight will be completely on the heels as seen here.

Just as the weight lifting supports his weight with structure, the Wing Chun Fighter supports his power through his alignment. Following the same rules through physiques the weight is on the heel when engaged. This allows strikes at full power to be stopped and maximum strength can be delivered through blows.


Even though the heels are the source of power and structure, speed is seriously inhibited when the weight is focused there. Weight should only be distributed to the toes when looking to utilize speed. Speed is used to gain the correct position. This is typically done before contact is even made. Once connected to your opponent weight should immediately be transferred to the heels to again for power. Closing the distance with an opponent is essential to the Wing Chun Fighter. If he is unable to get to the trapping range it will be difficult to execute proper techniques.

Stance Distribution

The final aspect of weight distribution to cover is the amount of weight on each foot.  At Sifu Och Wing Chun we typically keep our weight 50-50. The reason behind this is to keep our ability to defend against takedowns. If the weight is distributed to far to one leg you can become susceptible to those types of attacks. Sweeps and single leg takedowns are difficult to stop without even distribution of weight.

To give a specific example, we will look at a single leg takedown defense. First, hand positions: jum to the neck, gan to the arm. (Essentially a Gan Da). This will then become a tan and a fook. The Jum to the neck stops the person from getting to your core. The gan to the arm is used to block them from getting your leg. As a result you gain an underhook. (illustrated below).

In unison the foot that is being attacked must be retracted. The foot must be swept back to avoid getting caught. This all occurs within a split second. If the weight split 70-30, or 60-40, it will be very hard to adjust and defend this type of attack.

In Conclusion

There are many different opinions and reasons about weight distribution. At Sifu Och Wing Chun we keep it mostly 50-50 to maintain the ability to adjust in any direction as quickly as possible. We are then able to shift and adapt to any attack that is thrown our way.

Basic Wing Chun Defense

The first few months of a martial artist are crucial to their success. Instructors must work to instill confidence from day one. The student must learn to trust not only their instructors but also the techniques they are learning. If a student knows what he is learning is practical and useful from the start he will stick around for the fine tuning of those techniques. At Sifu Och Wing Chun we want to help students learn a basic Wing Chun Defense right from the beginning. To help cover some of the most basic attacks we teach 3 defenses right away: Bui Sao, Tan Sao, and Gan Sao.

Bui Sao

Haymakers (wide hooks) are some of the most common attacks you will see on the street. Without training the body’s natural tendency to draw power will be to twist. This results in a chain and ball effect on the arm with the punch being the ball of course. While these can still do damage they can be easily defended with proper training. That is why one of the first techniques we teach to new students is the Bui Sao. The deflecting hand is shaped as if you were blocking light from the sun. Palm facing away from the body pressing from the elbow. The palm will be about forehead height and the elbow in line with the trachea. This provides a wall of cover with the forearm.

Tan Sao

One of the more famous moves in Wing Chun is the Tan Sao. When teaching it to children we call it the “pizza hand”. This is due to the palm facing upward with the arm extended outward. The Tan Sao is used primarily against straight punches. It deflects punches off the centerline either to the inside or the outside opening up your opponent for a variety of follow ups. You can view a video of the Tan Saos on our Instagram by clicking here>Tan Saos.

Gan sao

Used against nasty body shots or uppercuts is the Gan Sao. Translated it means “low plowing hand”, this technique is very effective for defending the lower half of the body. To shape your Gan Sao simply reach your hand out in front of you as if you were shaking hands with someone. Your hand should end up in front of your belly button and your elbow about a fists distance off of your rib cage. This allows your ribs to be covered and consequently, your hand is now fairly close to your opponents body. You are now prepared for an easily follow up such as a palm to the ribs or an uppercut to the face.

Basic Wing Chun Defense Striking

All three of these defenses have something in common; they are paired with a straight punch. As opposed to many other styles most defenses in Wing Chun are combined with some sort of attack. In this case it is the straight punch. There are other variations off of these basics but for beginners we use the punch to begin with. The straight punch is delivered with the fist held vertically at a 45 degree angle. The reason for this is mainly structure. There is also a nice perk associated with it; it fits nicely under the chin to strike the side of the neck. As a result you can easily deliver a crippling blow to an opponent by simply changing the angle of your fist.


To Summarize, the Bui Sao, Tan Sao, and Gan Sao are three effective and important attacks you must know for your self defense. They allow you attack and defend simultaneously. These are so useful that they were borrowed by many Krav Schools to be incorporated into their system as well. Train these hard and you will have a good starting point.

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 the Chinese Lion Dance

The Chinese Lion Dance is a celebratory dance usually enjoyed around Chinese New Year and other special occasions. Two dancers perform each lion, one as the head and fore-legs, and the other as the butt and hind-legs. The dancers both wear pants to match the lion’s fur, with one dancer under the oversized head, and the other bent over under a covering of “lion’s skin.” They then imitate lion like movements such as leaping, napping, scratching, and chasing their tail. The dance is usually accompanied by drums, cymbals, and a gong; playfully, and with lots of crowd involvement. This article will discuss the origin of the Chinese Lion dance and variances in style between the north and south.


Three legends exist in the Chinese culture that try and explain the origins of the Chinese lion. The first tells of a Monk who had a dream many evil spirits were about to attack China. The Monk prayed to the gods to send him a means of saving China from these evil spirits; his prayer led to a vision of a lion. Never having seen a lion before, the Monk created his own version of a lion from creatures including a dragon and unicorn – explaining why the Chinese lion does not resemble actual lions. The second legend tells of a visiting neighbor country who gave the Chinese Emperor a lion. The Emperor loved his new lion, but could not tame its’ aggressive nature. The Emperor commanded many civilians to the taming of the beast, but it was a Monk who was finally able to calm him. With pride, the Emperor showed off his new lion all around his country and stories of the incredible animal spread. The third legend tells of the animal coming down from heaven. Instead of having the natural traits of a lion, this lion was playful and enjoyed playing pranks on the country. At one point, the lion played a joke on the Emperor, enraging him so much that he cut off his head! A Chinese goddess witnessed the beheading and as a result tied his head back on with a magical red ribbon. She then gave the lion a mirror and a horn to drive away the evil spirits.

chinese lion dance, chinese lion dance wedding, chinese wedding, lion dance wedding

North vs. South

Despite coming from similar origins, Chinese lion dances vary greatly between the North and the South. The Northern lion dance is popular north of the Yangtze River. Performed by either one or two people, this lion is often smaller than the southern lion. Covered in tassels, this lion will act surprised, scared, and happy, while climbing, squatting, retreating and rolling. This lion is usually accompanied by a lion tamer, or warrior, who will lead the dance. The focus for the northern lion is on kindness and dexterity. The southern lion, also called the walking lion, is most popular in the Lingnan area of China. These lion dances are more athletic, incorporating jumps, moves, and attacks. The lion will progress through 8 stages of being: happy, sad, joyous, moving, resisting, surprising, and suspicion. Both lions, however, are rich in color and energetic movements.


Today the Chinese Lion Dance is performed by martial artists all over the world, for a myriad of occasions. At Sifu Och Wing Chun, our martial artists practice the dance and have performed for many different audiences. You may see a Chinese Lion at a wedding, a grand opening, or even a birthday party. Significance of the lion will vary between individuals, with some believing in the lion as a great source of fortune and good luck. No matter what the occasion, the lion never fails to bring smiles and good cheer to those around him.

The History of Ip Man Wing Chun Kung Fu

Who was Ip Man?
Wing Chun is popular thanks to Hollywood movies and its flashy style and no-nonsense self-defense techniques. But it’s difficult to hear Wing Chun without also having the name Ip Man mentioned in the same sentence. Ip Man (pronounced “Ip-Mun”) has a very fascinating history and was integral in the modern training and perfecting of this extreme system of self defense. In fact, China Airlines has taken the Ip Man Wing Chun system and made it required learning for terrorist self defense on all of its airlines.

Ip Man was born to Ng Shui and Ip Oi-dor, he was the third of four kids.  He was born under a wealthy Foshan, Guangdong family.   At the age of 7, he began his Wing Chun training under Chan Wah-shun though due to his old age he did most of his training under the second eldest student, Ng Chung-sok.   Chan died three years later but upon his dying wish wanted Ng to continue teaching.

ip man wing chun kung fu martial artsAt 16 years of age he moved to Hong Kong and attended St. Stephen’s College, which was a school for wealthy families.  At this time their, he and his classmate once saw a foreign police officer striking a woman down. With no response when he asked what the woman had done or why the officer doesn’t just arrest her, he intervened.   The officer tried to strike Ip Man but instead got knocked down quickly with a short succession of strikes.  The classmate told a old man that lived in the same building of what happened and the moves that were used.  Oddly the man wanted to speak to him, inviting him to his house.  He asked Ip man what form of martial art he trained, Ip Man replied “the most powerful system in the World, Wing Chun!”.  The old man asked to see his forms, after seeing them saying “not too great” and “poor”, this angered and upset Ip Man.  The old man then asked if he knew Chi Sau (a form of wing chun close quarter reflex sparring), and he jumped at the chance to show this old man what he really could do.  Within just a few strikes the old man defeated him over and over again without effort.

This old man defeated Ip man, upset he ran from this encounter, only to find out something deeper and better.

Ip Man Bruce Lee Chi Sau Wing Chun Kung FuThe next day while in the middle of a class at the college, his classmate told him that the old man wanted to see him.  Ip Man refused, telling his friend he would never see that old man again under any circumstances.  His classmate then told him that the old man was actually Leung Bik, the son of the teacher of Chan Wah-Shun.  With this news, Ip Man’s entire face lit up, jumping out of his seat and running out of the classroom straight to Leung Bik.

Until the death of Leung Bik, he trained with him, even inviting him into his home to stay with him free of charge as he paid him for his Wing Chun knowledge.

Ip Man Wing Chun Police Officer

At the age of 24, Ip Man returned to Foshan and became a police officer teaching friends and relatives.  He became famous for using his Wing Chun to stop every level of criminal and arresting them.  During this time he knocked the chamber out of a old gun pointed at him with the trigger already pulled and half cocked, using just his fingers and the stress of the situation he dislodged the guns rotating chamber before it could fully turn and kill him.

There was once a Praying Mantis Master practitioner that came to Foshan challenging any who fight him, the martial arts Masters and Grandmasters came to Ip Man as he was in his prime and well known.   A day was set for the fight and as it approached the Mantis instructor came to Ip’s place of work.  He told him that he would crush Ip just like this pillar, as he spoke he looked at the concrete pillar closest to him and struck it, taking out a chunk of it with his fist.   When the day of the fight arrived the two stood on top of a large parsons table, surround by spectators ordering food and drink.  The moment came and the fight engaged, the Mantis practitioner came at Ip Man with a flowing barrage which was avoided Ip Man countered with his own attack knocking the Mantis practitioner backwards and off the fighting grounds crashing into a table breaking his ribs ending the fight.

He perfected his training by helping others and thinking of others.  He used what his teacher taught him throughout his life, bringing real life experience to each technique.

Ip Man Loses Everything

During the Japanese War with China Ip Man lost most of his wealth and standing.  Shortly after this, he left Foshan moving to Hong Kong in 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party took over.

After losing everything Ip Man took up opium, though in that time opium was as popular as cigarettes and had no known advertised adverse side effects.  As time went on and his students found out that negative effects of opium and switched his addiction to Camel Cigarettes. Though poor after both the Japanese War took or destroyed everything he had, he taught students the martial art system that was passed down to him.  With his students fighting and winning against many other systems and schools.  He is most well known for teaching Bruce Lee, though he had many great student fighters that were not famous or publicly known.  He found new life in the students he taught and the knowledge he passed down.

Death of Ip Man

Ip Man died on December 2nd 1972 in his housing unit at 149 Tung Choi Street in Hong Kong, from throat cancer from camel cigarettes.  His death came only 7 months before Bruce Lee died.

The truth is after the Qing Dynasty sought out the destruction of the Shaolin Monks and their powerful martial arts systems most martial arts became outlawed and Wing Chun was no different, it went underground and was only passed from family member to family member.  Originally developed by the Shaolin Temple to provide a new way to overthrow this invasive Dynasty by training rebel Chinese fighters.  As time went on chinese martial arts forms became more aggressive and Wing Chun developed into a system of extreme aggressive close quarter combat that could be used by men, women and even children for personal protection.    It was in the 1960’s when Ip Man, who is now considered the Grandmaster of Wing Chun, revived this art and brought it out into the public eye.  The Hollywood legend Bruce lee is a famed student of his, Bruce Lee touted Ip Man as a amazing combat practitioner and teacher of the art.

Therefore, for all those of you looking for realistic self defense know that the system trained by rebels, created by Shaolin Monks that was passed down through family generations.  Due to its extreme capability in close range combat it is now required training for all stuarists and flight attendents for terrorist self defense on China Airlines is available for your training and personal protection

Ip Man has been credited as the greatest Kung Fu Master of the century by many famed magazines and top practitioners of our time.

You should make it a point to be trained at a place where there is a direct link to the Ip Man lineage, our center is just that place. Call today for more information on the Wing Chun Kung Fu system under the Great Grandmaster Ip Man 863.800.0171.


Ip Man Wing Chun "Inner Circle"

Ip Man Wing Chun “Inner Circle”

ip-man-wing chun image yip man wing chun image
tribute to Ip Man (Yip Man)

This article deals with some of the reasons you see combat focused Wing Chun and form focused Wing Chun.  It also goes over why you see good fighting Wing Chun schools and schools that claim they can teach Wing Chun”

(this article can not be copied or used on any other site, permission only to share link) Everything in Ip Man Wing Chun is integrated to work together and off of the body mechanics and structure that is integrally forged into every part of it.  You cannot take one part or one technique in Ip Man’s Wing Chun and add it into another system without understanding the rest of its connective parts.  Instead of using body mechanics and proper redirection of pressurized resistance and stress you will end up attempting to overpower the assailant with the technique.  This will eventually fail as the body can only take so much pressure and stress before it collapses in on itself.

Ip Man Wing Chun as a whole is still left misunderstood by many other practitioner’s due to the fact that it does not act or react like many other traditional styles. It’s forward hips, use of both hands and feet simultaneously, its traps and rapid attacks break a mold that many other styles have been created around or from.   People question its speed and ability to maintain knockout power and mobility.  They question its trapping and fighting capabilities.

All of Ip man wing chun is due to many reasons and misconceptions that have been rumored or unfortunately taught improperly.  Trapping for instance is momentary and should not be thought of as a forever constant, but as a created opportunity to take advantage.  Many practitioner’s hearing and reading about trapping assume that it is like a jiujitsu hold, that cannot be escaped from.  This is not the case.  Ip Man Wing Chun does not wish to hold onto or struggle with an assailant but rather to strike and damage them.  Other instructors who have read or were taught about Wing Chun trapping third party did not fully understand and then taught this partially understood technique to the next generation.  It is unfortunate but there are many instructors of many styles that should never open their doors to teach until they fully grasp the concepts they are about to share.

ip-man-image wing chun image yip man wing chun image
tribute to Ip Man (Yip Man)

Truth, power and what is real about fighting within Wing Chun started when Ip Man started teaching publicly in 1950. Ip Man had two groups of students.  One group was his inner circle, a small few, but very dedicated disciples who Ip Man taught the entire art too and they were  known for their intense fighting capabilities, Bruce Lee, Wong Shun Leung and many others were among them.  The second group, which was much larger than the first were his public students. According to multiple sources and instructors I have met, Ip Man did not wish to teach the entire art or the advanced understanding and fighting portions to this larger public group.  Ip Man supposedly believed that a student who pushed themselves above the rest should be taught in the close circle. Few achieved this goal and were invited into personal or inner circle training.  Instead he had them do forms and supposedly rarely answered a question directly.  According to a Moy Yat lineage instructor Ip Man believed that if you had to ask a question about a technique or application then you had not trained it enough to understand it.  Ip Man brought the art out of secrecy in 1950 yet only taught for fifteen years (until 1964) when he then taught privately for several years after.  For twenty two years (1950-1972) Ip Man taught Wing Chun right up until his death.

I mention this because many people were just another public student, many did not finish their training and others were in and out of class.

Imagine you had one hundred public students that did not finish the training and you did not teach the entire art to this group.  On the other hand you had four to seven disciples that you taught privately and directly that did know the entire art.  Then unfortunately you die, how many students did you leave that knew the art and could pass it on, how many are going to open up schools with the Ip Man name that only know partial instruction?

How many will claim the famous Ip Man as their personal instructor, the instructor of Bruce Lee?  If you have a hundred students who don’t know and a small fraction of a hand full of students that do and there is no youtube, no internet, how many will claim they know it all?  Students of only a few months or years could open a school claiming to have been taught by Ip Man directly. Who would know the difference at first. Students of these masters would only get a small piece of the puzzle which would be even smaller than what their teacher achieved.

yip man wooden dummy ip man wooden dummy
tribute to Ip Man Wooden Dummy

With the influx of individuals creating their own styles, youtube and instructional video’s I have even seen practitioner’s walk in my door claiming to be Wing Chun Instructor’s.  When asked who they trained under they list people from all over the world.  When asked how long they lived there to train under these masters and grandmasters, they proudly admit being self taught through video’s, youtube and “directly by the Master” through digital media. Never meeting or training directly under these men but rather claiming the highest levels of performance and knowledge.  If this is happening now when it is so easy to disprove a practitioner’s lineage and understanding, imagine what it was like back in 1970.

This is how rumors and bad reputations start with an art, and this is why so many good Wing Chun practitioner’s reinforce the essential need to get one on one with a real instructor.  Though an understanding of Wing Chun can be shown through digital media, Wing Chun is an art of sensitivity, direct training and reaction.  Corrections, training and full understanding is extremely difficult through media alone.

You don’t see a professional boxer, combat martial artist, cage fighter or Olympic athlete claiming relationship to greatness achieved by watching a video.  You must get together and train directly in person with the best to become the best.  Ip Man wished to teach only those who he felt would bring the art of Wing Chun to the next level.  Unfortunately,  many have attacked the style for its vast differences, their own personal misunderstandings and instructors who were never fighters.

For training in the direct instruction and complete martial art of Ip Man’s Wing Chun and for a better understanding of Wing Chun contact us today;

For more info watch videos

Ip Man Fact or Fiction, Florida Wing Chun

Ip Man Fact or Fiction, Florida Wing Chun

WARNING SPOILER ALERT for those who have not seen the film Ip Man, this article touches upon some important scenes. To preserve the amazement of watching the film for the first time, do not continue reading, unless you want to know the truth now.

From the Movie Ip Man 2, Combat Scene
Wing Chun Kung Fu reflex fighting

Ip Man fact, a blockbuster from China that hit that the global cinemas and the martial arts world by storm. An instant cult film among martial artists with fight scenes so exhilarating it makes anyone want to take up Wing Chun. But how much of the film is historically accurate and how much is Hollywood imagination?

In the film Ip Man fact is seen teaching an entire cotton mill of workers Wing Chun. In actuality Ip Man taught only a small group of students, mostly the children of the mill workers, in the back of the mill for around a year. Ip Man fact did not charge fees for his classes and there was believed to be around 6 consistent students. One of his students, Chow Guang Yiu, was the son of the mill owner and fabled to have the most potential. However, he later quit Wing Chun and martial arts all together instead choosing to follow in commerce.    Ip Man never worked in a coal mine, as the movie portrayed. During the Japanese Occupation he was a well respected police officer. During his time in the police force, the incident where Ip Man broke a gun really did happen only a thief was holding the gun instead of a fellow officer as the film portrayed. As some legends would have it, Ip Man broke the bullet chamber of the gun with sheer finger strength.

The climatic battle between Ip Man and General Miura was made up for Hollywood audiences too. We should remember through that the movie Ip Man was meant for entertainment. A certain creative license is taken to exaggerate and speed up events to keep an audience interested. Like the Bruce Lee movies that proceeded it the Ip Man fact movies promote and popularize Wing Chun Kung Fu to the masses. Ip Man’s son Ip Chun was an on set advisor to the film. He was pleased with the portrayal of his fathers’ life and struggles.

The film followed an authentic timeline of Ip Man’s life. His beginnings in a wealthily childhood, escape from Communism and the Japanese occupation. Overall the film captured the essence of Ip Man fact as a great fighter, humble, courteous and a faithful practitioner of the ancient Chinese arts in tradition and honor.

Ip Man Fact or Fiction, Ip Man’s life was fact and the courses of the events throughout his life and use of Wing Chun to defend and protect are all true.  How those events are interpreted by Hollywood may be adjusted but the man you must look at the facts of his life.

The movie is directed by Wilson Yip with the battle scenes choreographed by Sammo Hung. Donnie Yen, who portrayed Ip Man fact, had never taken Wing Chun before this role! Donnie Yen approached Wing Chun like skilled game of chess, countering your opponents move as you move in. To get a feel for the role as Ip Man Donnie Yen looked at the nature of the film. Taking place in waring and pre-war times Wing Chun is a very practical, grounded style. Each move and fight took on those elements. No wires or swanky acrobatics were needed to demonstrate the realistic power and effectiveness of Wing Chun.

Elizabeth D. – Wing Chun student and martial art practitioner

Want to join? contact us Today;

Or… Just come on down to our location, we are always training and welcome you to join!

For more info watch this videos


images from the Ip Man 1 and Ip Man 2 movies

Newly remodelled – downtown lakeland martial arts school

Downtown Lakeland Martial Arts Sifu Och’s Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio

After so many years serving the Lakeland, Fl community we recently remodeled our studio for our self defense and martial art clients!

We have been providing Wing Chun Kung Fu and realistic self protection in the lakeland community since 1996 and we are here to stay. With our Adult and teen program constantly growing and started 2011 we have one of the most elite specialty afterschool programs the lakeland communtiy has ever seen.  Providing experts in their field, from professional martial art instruction (wing chun kung fu, chinese jiujitsu, boxing, karate and taekwondo) plus by teaming we have teamed up with Just Dance.  Their professional dance competition instructors (salsa, ballroom, hip hop, girls ballet, and more) theatrical performance, culinary, art, etiquette and on staff 35 year polk county tutor for homework help.  Our Downtown Lakeland Martial Arts studio is customized for the fine arts and the martial arts for all ages!

We have remodelled our studio and created a whole new environment for you and your family.  Classes for adults and teens as late as 6pm, 8pm and 9pm at night or as early as 7:30am-8:30am or 11:30am-12 on tuesday’s and thursdays!  Kids martial arts classes and lakeland afterschool pick up from 2:30pm-5:15 with late pick available till 6pm.

NEWLY remodelled lakeland martial art studio afterschool kids, teens and adults

Our school contains what you need to get to your next level of fitness and self defense.  With Shaolin Wooden Dummies and rice bags for traditional training, mma bags for our mma workout class so you can get fit but not have to worry about the ring fighting, lol.  Chinese Lion Dance performances and Wing Chun Kung Fu demonstrations every two months, training for kids as young as 3.5 to 4 years old and adult training well past retirement, we have a class for you.

We have been providing public self defense seminars, confidence and protection techniques for local women’s batter and refuge shelters, realistic protection and martial arts for clients that drive all the way from Bradenton Sarasota, Tampa, Brandon, Bloomingdale, Riverview, Plant City, Winter Haven, Orlando, Auburndale and of course Lakeland, Fl.  Wing Tsun, Ving Tsun or Wing Chun.

This Chinese martial art in Downtown Lakeland Fl can provide you and your family with serious self defense discipline.  For people that want to get in shape and gain real self defense for their family.  Whether you are looking for a a understanding of the martial arts or you want a martial art that allows you to use intense striking and trapping techniques during close range in-combat scenarios, Wing Chun Kung Fu in downtown lakeland is your centre for training. Wing Chun involves stick defense, knife defense, gun defense and extreme hand to hand combat.

Wing Chun martial arts started more than 300 years ago as a closely-guarded secret. Not too many people know that the popular Bruce Lee was himself was a student of Ip Man the modern founder and Grandmaster who taught the young Bruce Lee the art of Wing Chun. Bruce Lee has only ever had two formal martial art instructors, both were Wing Chun Kung Fu; Ip Man and Wong Shun Leung (the combat fighter of Ip Man). After so many years, and  especially after the 2010 release of the Ip Man Movies from Hong Kong it gave the world a taste of Wing Chun fighting in action.  Wing Chun is now being practiced all over the world, this martial arts discipline used to be limited to only a few very dedicated, worthy and lucky students.

Men and women, no matter their built can learn Wing Chun. You will be surprised to learn that this discipline was created by five shaolin master’s with the most influence coming  from a woman named Ng Mui, a Buddhist nun. She taught the art of Wing Chun to Yim Wing Chun, a female student after whom the martial arts was named after.

If you have seen the once inch punch of Bruce Lee then you have seen a sample of the close range power of Wing Chun. Most students are wary about learning Wing Chun for fear that it is weak as it has been influenced and created by women. But after they discover that this is the discipline behind Bruce Lee’s popular moves, his creation of Jeet Kune Do, and that many martial art styles have tried to take from this quick and direct system of combat they start to think differently. More and more students are starting to seek out realistic street self defense and are being encouraged to seek out and enroll in Wing Chun classes.

This system of self defense involves very effective and direct counter attacks and was developed to protect the weak and small against the large and brute strength of other martial arts.  Wing Chun uses essential techniques to keep you safe and protected.  Wing Chun focuses on the use of quick combat, stance, structure and balance to increase a fighters power and attacking ability. Be just like a bamboo tree, deeply rooted and yet it easily yields and becomes flexible. When pressure is applied the bamboo tree yields, bends and allows might and for to redirect around it though it is not weak because of this but instead becomes stronger.  This is why in China, the Wing Chun system of self defense combat is now mandatory anti-terrorist self defense training for all airline stuartists and crew members.

Come down and see our new remodelled facilty and while you are there feel free to try out a class for only $10 bucks!

116 east pine street, lakeland, florida 33801



2 WEEK FREE TRIAL & Access to our full class schedule

Fill out the form below to get 2 FREE weeks of training at our downtown lakeland facility and access to our full class schedule!

FULL ACCESS to our complete schedule of classes & training sessions!
Learn the ENTIRE System of Ip Man Wing Chun Kung fu, Self Defense, and Close Range Combat!
IN HOUSE training with our instructors ready to help you accomplish your goals!
IN HOUSE Group fitness classes, body weight loss training, and free weight training
DISCOUNTED FAMILY RATES if you decide to sign up for a full time studio membership!
Click to get FREE 2 WEEK TRIAL