Martial Arts instruction: Wu Wei Wing Chun Gung Fu/Filipino Martial Arts
Martial arts in Marshall, Minnesota. I teach out of my garage/basement in the evenings and weekends. If your interest is sport, look elsewhere. If interested, contact me via the contact tab above. For an idea of my approach to martial arts, click martial arts on the categories menu to the right.
I’ve trained in the martial arts on and off since I was a teenager, beginning in Judo/Jujitsu, Karate, and fencing. I only really began to progress in my late 20s when I encountered the Filipino martial arts and teachers of the Bruce Lee lineage. (And by the way, that’s why it’s spelled “Gung Fu,” it’s the pronounciation in the Cantonese dialect of our Jo-si (founder.)
Gung fu, or Kung fu if you prefer, means something like “accomplishment,” or “skill.” Skill in fighting is only one aspect of Gung fu.
A Hung Gar master I studied under once defined it, “the worthy gentleman who has reaped the fruits of his labor.” (Well, Chinese aren’t Spartans…)
Before moving to Eastern Europe in 1991 I was for several years an associate student of the late Terry Gibson at the Inosanto-affiliated school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the opportunity to train in Jun Fan Gung Fu, Pentjak Silat, Kali and Muay Thai under Sifu Gibson and many masters brought in for seminars such as: Danny Inosanto, Paul DeThouars, Surichai Surisute, Paul Vunak and others.
I was awarded a black sash in Wu Wei Gung Fu in 1990, training under Sifu John Haynes and Sifu John Douvier in Oklahoma City. Recently Sokedai/Sifu Douvier promoted me to the rank of dai saam (third degree black sash.)
In the Filipino arts I hold a lakan isa (black belt) in Modern Arnis, awarded in 1999 at the Dahran Arnis Club in Saudi Arabia, and am a Recognized Instructor in Pekiti Tirsia Kali, training with Maginoo-Mandala Uli Weidle in Germany, and Maginoo-Mandala Tim Waid in Dallas, Texas, under Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje.
I hold a Mushin-Kan Blademaster certificate, a military knife fighting curriculum devised by Sokadai John Douvier for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP.) Recently I received my Advanced Blademaster Certification.
I am a Military CQC Instructor of the Military Edged-Impact Weapon Close-Quarters-Combat System of PTK-SMF.
In addition I’ve trained in Yip Man lineage Wing Chun Kung Fu, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), Israeli combatives, classical Jujitsu, Brazilian Jujitsu and classical Western Swordsmanship.
Fitness: Let’s face it, most of us aren’t going to be MMA fighters, and many of us aren’t 18 anymore either. I emphasize martial fitness training for the non-athlete. Most of us have sedentary lifestyles and need physical training that helps attain a level of fitness that enables us to defend ourselves if needed, is fun to practice, and helps maintain our health and zest for living.
I train with gentle non-impact Chinese Chi Gung exercises, Yoga stretching, Indian clubs and Russian kettlebells for strength and flexibility; iron ball, heavy and light bags for power; Thai pads and focus mitts for speed and form, and others.
My primary arts.
Wu-Wei Wing Chun Gung Fu is a Wing Chun-derived style with influences from several other martial arts, including aiki-jujitsu, western boxing and fencing. It was founded by Joseph Cowells who studied with Bruce Lee during the Seattle period of Lee’s evolution towards Jeet Kune Do. It is taught in autonomous schools by instructors who are encouraged to follow their own path, but it was the founder’s wish the core curriculum be centered around the three empty-hand forms of Wing Chun: Sil lum tao, Chum kil, and Bil jee.
Pekiti Tirsia Kali is the family style of the Tortal family in Negros, whose current Grand Tuhon is Leo Tortal Gaje. It is the official training style of the Filipino Force Recon Marines.
Like all classical warrior arts, Filipino martial arts start with weapons training and includes unarmed combat as an auxiliary sub-specialty. Classical martial arts did not make a distinction between armed and empty-hand arts. You could be armed, but attacked by surprise with no opportunity to draw a weapon. A weapon can be dropped or broken in combat, or a makeshift weapon could be acquired from the environment. Armed combat can turn to unarmed in the heat of battle – or vice versa.
The training progression of Pekiti tirsia kali is: single stick/blade, double sticks, espada y daga (stick/sword and knife,) mano daga (single and double dagger,) and panantukan (Filipino kickboxing.) Advanced training covers long weapons (staff and spear,) flexible weapons, thrown weapons, and modern adaptations to firearms and bayonet.
Reading (Yes, there’s a reading list, see quote by William Francis Butler below.)
No Nonsense Self-Defence website by Marc “Animal” MacYoung, is the best and most comprehensive single source on the web covering self defence issues, martial arts training, the psychology of aggression and predation, martial ethics and philosophy, and you could probably find a kitchen sink in there if you looked hard enough. I know Animal slightly and trained with him in Sweden at a seminar of the International Police Defence Tactics Association. This site is required reading for students who wish to progress in my classes – and who want to study the more dangerous aspects of the arts.
Self Defense with a walking stickA good Kali man should be able to find a weapon in his environment, the world is full of sticks. A walking stick is just one possibility. With techniques taken from Kali, Japanese Kenjutsu, Thai Krabi Krabong, and French La Canne de Combat, whatever your age or disability you need never be helpless.
Way of the Sword
As part of advanced training we’ll be handling different designs of swords from different cultures: Japanese katana/bokken, rapier, western saber, Chinese willow leaf saber, straight sword, etc. I’m a present beginning my study of Highland broadsword as recorded in military manuals of the British Army. We’ll play with basic guards, parries, cuts, thrusts etc.
The idea is to get a feel for how the design of the weapon dictates how it is used, and to apply Kali principles to anything to hand. A PTK teacher once said, “Karate means empty hand. We are not the way of the empty hand, it’s just that whatever is in the hand is whatever is in it.”
The “science of fear.” How to deal with it. What it’s for. Why it’s a gift.
“After having trained intermittently in martial arts for most of my life, I find that I am still not Superman, nor am I 18 anymore. If I can’t be stronger than my opponent, perhaps I can be smarter.”
“Everyone gets into martial arts at first because of fear. Afterwards you discover better reasons.”
Sokedai John Douvier
“I believe in having a few pupils at one time as it requires a constant alert observation of each individual in order to establish a direct relationship. A good teacher can never be fixed in a routine… each moment requires a sensitive mind that is constantly changing and constantly adapting.
A teacher must never impose this student to fit his favourite pattern; a good teacher functions as a pointer, exposing his student’s vulnerability (and) causing him to explore both internally and finally integrating himself with his being. Martial art should not be passed out indiscriminately.”
Lee Jun-fan (Bruce Lee)
“Using lethal force is like chemotherapy. It is a horrible, traumatic, painful and life altering experience. One that no sane, healthy person would willingly submit himself to. But when the choice is that or dying of cancer — you take the treatment.”
“All men with even a small store of reason, know that peace is chiefest of blessings.”
“The good solider fights, not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
“So what is self-defense? The working definition we use is: Using whatever means necessary to quickly end a situation that offers you grievous bodily injury…Self-defense is never oriented towards ending a perceived emotional threat, such as hurt pride, wounded feelings or to prove yourself right. It is not a form of punishment or to prove your superiority over another human being.”
Marc “Animal” MacYoung
“Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”
“If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, you must be prepared to accept barbarism.”
“A fair fight is the result of poor preparation.”
An alternate way of stating the above: “If you find yourself in a fair fight. YOUR TACTICS SUCK!”
“To get good at unarmed dueling is to develop skill at a very bad strategy, a strategy which has the sole purpose of stroking your ego. Don’t quit playing. I love to play. But don’t make it something it’s not. If someone was trying to kill someone you loved would you tap them on the shoulder and step back so that they could face you at the appropriate distance? Or would you hit them in the back of the neck with the best tool you could find? Your choice, but one choice is stupid and that choice is the one you have likely practiced most.”
“The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.”
Lt. Gen Sir William Francis Butler
“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.”
Gen. George S. Patton
“The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.”
“Anger is momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.”
“Courage first, power second, technique third.”
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”
“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”
“The strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must.”
“If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win.”
“Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.”
O sensei Morihei Ueshiba, rounder of Aikido
“Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.”
Joe Lewis “the brown bomber”
“My teaching is principle based. True self-defense has one purpose and one purpose only. Like I said it’s to cover your ass while you are leaving: ending it now and escaping. That is my work regarding self-defense. I try to run a balance between the realities of self-defense and understanding the depth of your martial arts beyond what you are being taught. You can do both if you understand. The difference between knowing and understanding is that if I know something I know it from one perspective, if I understand something that means I know it from many perspectives … I understand it’s implications, strengths, limits, etc. When you seek understanding rather than just knowing you can take your martial arts training and apply it to self-defense because you know what not to bring along and what not to do. This is a different ballgame with different rules. In order to survive in a self-defense situation you have to think. I cannot teach you how you are going to be attacked. What I can show you, however, are principles that if you understand them and apply them you can use them anywhere and at any time. No matter what is happening you will see the opportunity.”
Marc “Animal” MacYoung
“People always die for their inability and suffer defeat for their lack of training. Therefore education and discipline are priorities of the art of war.”
Wu Qi’s Art of War
“If you want to kick the tiger in his ass you’d better have a plan for dealing with his teeth.”
“If you ever get into a real fight, you forget Wing Chun.”
Wing Chun Master Wong Sheun Leung, one of Bruce Lee’s seniors in Yip Man’s school. (Personal communication to me and my Polish comrades in the Wing Chun school of Sifu Janusz Szymankiewic in Warsaw. When you understand this, you will understand a lot about martial arts training.)
“You are the weapon. Everything else is a tool.”
“I come in peace, I didn’t bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”
Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
“Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.”
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Am fear nach gheidh na h-airm ‘nam na sith, cha bhi iad aige n’am a chogaidli.
(Who keeps not his arms in times of peace, will have no arms in times of war.)
-Scottish Gaelic proverb
“A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat.”
“A warrior may choose pacifism; others are condemned to it.”
“Being scared can keep a man from getting killed, and often makes a better fighter of him.”
- Louis L’Amour
“If you wish to argue convincingly for peace, you must be neither a bully nor a wimp. If you are a bully, a plea for peace will be seen as a demand for surrender or playing for time. If you are a wimp, it will be seen as a willingness to submit.”
“Claiming to teach self-defense without teaching self-defense law is like teaching someone to drive without teaching them about traffic laws.”
“It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.”
“Of old the expert in battle would first make himself invincible and then wait for his enemy to expose his vulnerability.”
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
“But, the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
“Never underestimate a coward! Cowards, like alcoholics and sociopaths, can be very sneaky, and if you’re not careful always a step ahead of you in their thinking.”
The nine principles:
1. Do not think dishonestly.
2. The Way is in training.
3. Become acquainted with every art.
4. Know the Way of all professions.
5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.
6. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything.
7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen.
8. Pay attention even to trifles.
9. Do nothing which is of no use.
Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings
“If you would have peace, prepare for war.”
“Many years ago, as a cadet hoping some day to be an officer, I was poring over the ‘Principles of War,’ listed in the
old Field Service Regulations, when the Sergeant-Major came up to me. He surveyed me with kindly amusement. ‘Don’t bother your head about all them things, me lad,’ he said. ‘There’s only one principle of war and that’s this. Hit the other fellow, as quick as you can, and as hard as you can, where it hurts him most, when he ain’t lookin’!’”
Field-Marshall Sir William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim
“The traditional martial arts tend to teach young men to undertake flashy and impressive, but not terribly effective, fighting techniques. Only as you grow older do the masters of the art teach you the real secrets–the subtle, quick, physically simple ways in which the human body can be destroyed. In this way, the old retain their power over the young–although they lack the speed and strength, they have in discipline in training more than enough to maintain the order. Social harmony is maintained in the dojo: the young revere the old, and seek to emulate them.”
“Beware the fury of a patient man.”
“How can a man who is so tough be so gentle?” she wondered.
“If I weren’t tough, I wouldn’t be alive. If I couldn’t be gentle, I wouldn’t deserve to be alive.”
Master Azato (one of the karate teachers of Gichin Funakoshi – founder of Shotokan) said, “A true martial artist is one who’s smile will warm the hearts of little children, and who’s anger will make tigers cower in fear.”