Please help me choose a school

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by dan.h, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. dan.h

    dan.h Yellow Belt

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    I'm trying to decide on which of the two wing chun schools I should join in my city? My two instructor choices are:

    Bill Stewart
    - learned under Brian Lewadny (2nd generation from Yip Man - William
    Cheung)
    - Great start times at 5:30pm (right after my work)
    - Runs Beginner Classes
    - $75/mo. 3hrs/week

    Jim Kragtwyk
    - learned under Sunny Tang (2nd gen. from Yip Man - Moy Yat)
    - Bad start times for me at 7:30pm
    - Possibly no beginner class
    - Great price and double the instruction time. $50/mo. 6hrs/week

    Which of these two would you learn from? Something doesn't feel right about the first one (Bill) since he doesn't offer a free trial lesson. Seems like buying a new car without being allowed to test drive it first.
     
  2. Tensei85

    Tensei85 Master Black Belt

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    Personally I can't really give a definite, however ill give you a few of my opinions.

    Personally I would go with the latter of the 2, reason being is you are given more training sessions which will only improve your Wing Chun skills. However I'm familar with neither of the two mentioned but I originally came from the Moy Yat lineage and haven't met or heard of any bad things about Sifu Sunny Tang's "to dai".

    But another variable is the quality of instruction, how they transmit the system to there to dai, but I haven't met either Sifu so I can't really gauge them on that line. So I would say take the intro class from the Moy Yat family Sifu, then if you feel your needs aren't being met I would pay for a month's worth of tuition from the William Cheung lineage Sifu and see if they meet your criteria better.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

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    I too would suggest the latter to start with, if like tensesi says, it's not meeting your expectations than perhaps switch to the other, either way you should give it a few weeks before making up your mind fully, at least the second class gives you a chance to get some food in ya and digest it. good luck!
     
  4. dan.h

    dan.h Yellow Belt

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    Thanks for the quick replies! The only down side to the second guy that I can see is the start time. Means I'll have to wait around downtown after work for 3hrs each time before class starts whereas the other guy's class is just an hour after work. I'll do the free lesson first and see if I really like the class though. The first guy wrote me saying he charges $20 for me to come check him out for a trial. If I like the class and sign up for 3 months on the spot, I get the $20 back. Gee, what a nice guy. lol
     
  5. Domino

    Domino Black Belt

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    $20 trial sounds a bit much.
    Check them both out regardless of the fees, if the class times aren't appropriate, next option would be to choose the ones that are.
    Get Sifu to work with you for 5 minutes ;)
     
  6. Si-Je

    Si-Je Master Black Belt

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    No William Chung. Really. The second guy is giving more for less and well.,, if you want try both out for a class and see which one made you feel more at ease learning especially as a new student. Are the classmates friendly? does the teacher help you get accuaited with everyone and the system your fist class? etc.?

    But, I don't want to come off "wrong" by saying don't do the Chung lineage. try another. If you have to wait around downtown for three hours after a couple of classes you'll have stancework to do. lol! You could do that on the curb. Good balance practice. ;) It will make you better really fast! stance, stance, stance!
     
  7. TinTin_57

    TinTin_57 Yellow Belt

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    That reminds me Domino, paid your annual membership yet that was due last January? ;-)
     
  8. Domino

    Domino Black Belt

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    Hows your training coming along Dan?

    Glad sifu understands Tin, but no, next month i think ! :)
     
  9. dan.h

    dan.h Yellow Belt

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    After writing my last post, I messed up my back by doing an exercise (probably incorrectly) that I have never done before. Supermans. Heard a loud snap in my back and have been in some pain until today. Also I have the "privilage" of having my in-laws visiting until next week. So probably next week I'll do a free trial class of the sifu Jim's studio.

    Jim's bio is here. Looks like quite the medicine man including his many years of Wing Chun experience. http://www.medicinemoves.ca/bio.html Sure hope I find what I'm looking for anyway. Thanks guys.
     
  10. dan.h

    dan.h Yellow Belt

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    Quick question. I've just been looking more into the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu and I'm reading a lot about this being more aimed towards smaller people. Honestly, do you guys think I should be finding an art more suited to my size? I'm 6'7", 230lb, average to athletic build I guess. I hear that long arms such as mine could just get in the way with the close quarters fighting such as wing chun.
     
  11. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

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    You at least seem compact, i'm tall and skinny as a toothpick, wing tzun still seems to work for me, I fantasize about having a more "suitable build" from time to time, but when it comes down to it, the bigger stronger fighter of equal skill will smash the smaller weaker fighter of equal skill. Good luck finding a school!
     
  12. dan.h

    dan.h Yellow Belt

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    Thanks Nabakatsu. For a while now I've been having a hard time deciding if I should go for Krav Maga or if it should be Wing Chun. I want to be more confident and able to handle myself (if needed) on the street and that's where Krav Maga comes in, but I also want an art I can sink myself into for years to come. I have no martial arts/self defence experiance at all so it's difficult deciding. I'm glad for all the great help on this forum though! :)
     
  13. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

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    I've studied wing tzun for only 10 months roughly, I'm 5"11 145 pounds, and I can confidently say I think I can handle a majority or the larger opponents I would face on the streets, with proper instruction and a decent emphasis on application I'm sure within 3 - 6 months you'd be able to defend yourself quite well using just the basics of wing tzun.
     
  14. Si-Je

    Si-Je Master Black Belt

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    For a long time I wrestled between taking Krav Maga, Silat, and Wing Chun. I was exposed a bit to Silat and it seemed simalar to wing chun. But, Krav Maga seems like it would work in the street.
    Which it does. And that's why the Israli army developed it.
    But, it is a mixed MA with components of WC, and other streamlined arts. You'll get a broad overview of silat, WC, judo, even kempo. (whatever the other arts I haven't included. It's a military art, plain and simple. were not milatary folk with military needs. not all of us anyways. )

    But, if you stick with a good wing chun teacher, even if you change teachers (this is to be expected because you'll probably study for a long time. not everyone can teach all the time forever) You will still be able to more than easily defend yourself if attacked, but unlike arts like Krav Maga, the higher up you learn in wing chun the less you'll have to hurt someone that is trying to attack you.

    Hense, a military art. They don't teach "mercy". Neighter does Wing Chun so to speak, but the more you learn, the less you have to physically do to someone to "make" them stop trying to hurt you.

    i.e. learning to "break the structure" of the opponent. You don't have to chain punch the crap out of them to defend yourself, thats' grade 1 stuff. You soon learn how to "re-direct" them to the floor, or the wall, or just away from you just enought to where they can't hit or kick or tackle you. (but you still have direct contact.)

    Now, I'd still to this day go to a Krav Maga or Systema seminar if the money and the babysitter arose! lol! good stuff! As much as possible.
    But, it all depends on the end product you wish for yourself as a martial artist. ...

    do you want more options than to maim or kill? or do you just want to learn the fastest way to kill or maim?
    I'm not fighting people for a living every day, so... I have extra time to train and learn more about myself, philosphy, others and just life in general. Not looking for the "quick kill".

    But, if I train enough in wing chun the quick kill is always there. (and unfortunately I know several ways) you just have other options than to HAVE to use it and still be effective in defense. Defense is Offence true, but there is a time when your so good you can just defend without the offence. :) That's a true master of any art, I don't care what art!

    Besides..., you don't need to be physically strong to be excellent at Wing Chun (WT/WC/VT) you just have to feel yourself and your opponent. And believe in that type of "hokie ****" long enough to learn about it and be able to use it. It will surprise you. It will always come through for you.
    When your not thinking about it, of course.
    But, when you take wing chun, your always thinking about it. trying to figure it all out. It's definately a life long pursuit.
    ;)
    I'm glad you chose to take wing chun for now. If later you feel doubt. Just go to another school (like Krav Maga) and just humbly ask to spar. talk to the folks, be friendly and make friends. Share, more importantly. (lol! Like kindergarden, play nice and share! sorry, I have a little one.)
    But really, this simple stuff works. Just ask to do some light sparring and make some friends. It's fun.

    With the right folks.
    If the other school is any fun, then they will enjoy it. Hubbie (okay x-hubbie) and I and our students used to go to different schools and "play". Just friendly spar with Kenpo/Kempo, JKD, TKD, etc..... MMA, (well, their not so friendly. they want you to pay alot of money to spar with their students. lol! like, whatever. And then they come to your school acting like their going to challege, but never do. )

    But a Krav Maga school. Just make sure you are very respectful and convey your intention to just wish to spar. (they love to "fight" and will do it at the drop of a hat!) Use gear or not (they probably won't want gear, but are still very controlled unless they think you really just want a challenge. like I said make friends.)

    Anyways, test it out (after a good 6 months to a year of WC/WT training) with another school. No matter the style.
    This is usually how a wing chun practitioner has to get experience using WC/WT against other arts. (in our school and GM Fungs and GM Emis school they train to fight against other styles. often get students from other styles in a high level to help teach the other students)....

    unfortunately, many teachers see this as a threat. Just make sure that they know it's not. And if you can't convince them, and they act like it's all friendly and you find yourself in "hot water" (as I have found myself a couple of times. lol! funny how big guys always want to jump at the chance to "beat up " the little gal.! lol!) Then, make sure you've got a good full year training in WC/WT/VT before you "dabble". so to speak. :)

    When you do, you'll be a avid "believer" like most of us here. ;)

    Man, I didn't mean to be so bossy, just giving out alot of advice hoping it works for someone else too. :)
     
  15. Domino

    Domino Black Belt

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    Thats something else to research in your local area, Silat.
    I too am going to start class'.
     
  16. dan.h

    dan.h Yellow Belt

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    Thanks Si-Je for the advice. I'll definately go for the Wing Chun free trial, maybe as early as next week. I've heard some people say it's good to cross-train in Wing Chun & Kali/Escrima/Arnis. I have one instructor in town who seems like a great guy. His school is actually only 5min away from my house and he teaches Modern Arnis which I believe is the same thing as Kali. What are your opinions on an absolute MA beginner like myself doing cross-training right away? His classes are only 1hr long, twice a week. My schedule would look like this:
    WC: M/W 2hrs ea class
    Kali: T/Th 1hr ea class
     
  17. Tensei85

    Tensei85 Master Black Belt

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    I think Wing Chun is one of the systems that can be tailored to suit the needs of the students not just small or short students but all sizes. Of course as with anything there may be specific bad habits that have accumulated through your physical nature because of your size or body frame.

    But look at Ip Man & certain techniques that he tailored including the "Bong Sau" & "Tan Sau" they were different than a lot of students and in fact wouldn't work for a lot of students but at the same time they didn't depart from the nature of Wing Chun either.

    So as "Sije" brought out one portion of the equation is having a Sifu that can transmit the system to meet the needs of the potential student(s), the next phase is for you to make the system your own.

    So best of luck!
     
  18. Si-Je

    Si-Je Master Black Belt

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    I'm glad if I can help. I've studied several arts over the years. I haven't "perfected" any of them, but I learned alot.
    Everyone knows I'm not a big fan of a new student to MA immediately crosstraining. So, I'll try to explain nicely.
    Now, of course, like anything elese in life it all depends on the individual and you as one will have to learn and decide for yourself what is best for you. But.,.
    With WC starting out will just kinda blow your mind and you will learn so much so quickly that you won't really be understanding where exactly all this WC stuff is going at first. But, right away you will be doing many movement simoltaneously. But structure, stance, and relaxation are the big keys here and so delicately cruitial to your advancement in skill in WC.

    Now, Silat you may find many striking similarities to WC hand techniuqes stance, even application and approach. But, again, the differences are sometimes too slight for a beginner to recognize at first and which may confuse your reflexive movements in both arts.

    Personally, me., when someone shows me a techniques and we drill it I use it without thinking much no matter what class I'm in next time. You drill enough the technique just becomes another way your body moves and responds. Now, sure, you can train slow and instructed in Silat and WC at different days of the week and learn all the techniques from both. But what you use when sparring, or when pressured will be the real test to see what techniques your body/mind/sensitivity are favoring. Wing Chun or Silat? You won't know until someone does reaction drills with you or sparring.

    Now, that said. If you do your Silat stuff in WC class while doing reaction drills with your teacher it could frustrate him and you because he's going to try to teach you to feel and not think so much after you get the "mechanics" of the movements down. It's so hard for a teacher to teach a student one thing when the student has or is already using or learning another thing. You might find that alot of the Silat doesn't work on your WC teacher and then get discouraged with your training in Silat.
    You might find that your limited knowledge of WC doesn't work against your Silat teacher and get discouraged with WC.
    It's just a "conflict of interest" for most all involved. Like working two jobs and trying to balance home life at the same time. I just rarely works out.

    I know your eager to learn. Me too. There was a time I crosstrained 5 different arts with the same teacher everyday. (that was so cool! I practically lived there. even vaccumed up the dojo for him and cleaned up the matts!) Now, I loved that. I trained a little Goju Ryu, JJJ, Wu Wei kung fu, Tai Chi, Kali, even a bit of WC. He just taught all those arts all day everyday, back to back. really neato.
    But, what happend was that I became this MMA stylist (before the concept or the term was invented or such a fad. lol!) And I mastered nothing. Just a "rogue" of martial arts. Sure, I could spar and fight and defend, but what came out in sparring was confusion and even surprised me. I didn't know what my body was doing when it reacted, never knew what to expect or if my reaction would work or not. Kinda a "russian roulette" of martial arts.
    Sure, it usually worked pretty well, but against someone of skill or luck or both I found that I could only defend against the level of the art that I was using.
    So, if your like a white belt in TKD and use it then your only as effective as that level of TKD, and then you try to "slip" into JJJ because I was a brown belt in that and better, it was an akward transition in spontaneous fighting to stop TKD approach to try to use my JJJ. Took too much time, and cost me.
    You can "make it work" but it takes more effort.

    If your going to learn WC you need to just be lazy in your thinking. You want the maximum amount of effeciency with the minimal amout of effort. (a Japanese saying I know. lol! See what cross training so early has done to me?! lol!)
    If your going to spar using Silat, use Silat learn Silat focus on understanding Silat first before crosstraining. Or the same with WC.
    Get a few months in one 6-8 months where your feeling really comfortable with your understanding of it. Then try the other art.
    At least give yourself a good foundation in one MA before conflicting that foundation in another.

    Trust me, I know from experience. I had the weirdest mixture of several arts crappy stance for years. Sure, it worked most of the time, but had serious flaws. Because it was something my body just "made UP", not something that was cultivated as a functional good stance through years of study and training by me and my teachers. That's just a small example of what can go awri.

    Many will argue with me, I know.
    Just my advice to a new student taking any MA. Focus on the basics of what your training first before "contaminating" it with another art. It will save you money, time, and heartache (headache and possibly a couple of bloody noses. lol!)
     
  19. Si-Je

    Si-Je Master Black Belt

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    Okay, wait. A clearer example. I had to really think about my position on this more.

    I learned WC/WT as my first introduction to wing chun. Two totally different lineages that focus on totally different aspects and approaches to applying Wing Chun.
    Now, I understand some of both maybe even quite a bit, but, I have no strong foundation of understanding of either. And their both wing chun@!

    Ack@! frustrating. So, basically, I've got a kinda peice meal collection of techniques, drills, applications, and focus of energy (that is totally different from the other!) of two different styles.

    Now, does this make me "bad" at wing chun. no, I don't think so. To some maybe. Does it make me an ineffective "fighter"? No, but a limited one.
    Limited because I don't have the full spectrum of either art, or version of the same art.

    I can only do things "to a certian point" with either style of WC/WT I utilize which make me vulnerable to trapping, and other such simpler levels of technique in the WT system or WC system. Now, sometimes my WC stuff cancels out WT attacks and sometimes my WT stuff cancels out WC techniques. But, it's just anyones ball game because I'm never "sure" which my body will use in a situation and to what extent I can take it when sparring another WC/WT person.

    Now, sparring another MA styist, well, it doesn't much matter. It all works. And I don't mean to sound arrogant, it's just been my experience. It's just easier to use WC/WT against another MA style. You don't have to worry about their counters hardly at all.

    But, All I'm saying is that cross training any art right off the bat will just make it take longer for you to reach a fuller understanding of what your training and longer for you to find YOUR fighting style.

    Look at it like this, math is math right? But do you learn Geometry in the same day or week that your learning Algebra or Trig? No. Because it would just confuse the hell out of ya.
    Learn one or the other first, then with better understanding of the application of that art, sure, train the other. Just get your base first. The pillar cannot stand without a base.
     
  20. Domino

    Domino Black Belt

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    Sounds great, any training is better than none, hope you enjoy it, you will find one style that you like better imo.
    Im actually starting Silat and Kali very soon, between 2 class' of wing chun a week.123
     

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