Frequently Asked Questions

Read replies to inquiries from visitors of this website. If you have a question not answered below, please send us a message.

 

What will I learn in the Regular Classes?

The Regular Class is 90 minutes. The first half is usually solo training, which includes forms and exercises. The second half progresses to partner training, which includes drills and applications. In the initial couple months of training, you will learn the concepts and movements of the First Student Level Program. With each successive class you become better at WingChun techniques and strategies, which increase your personal confidence in your body for life in general and Self-Defense in particular.

I don't live near an IAW-US location but want to learn WingChun. What should I do?

Firstly, you are welcome to visit the US Headquarters in Berkeley, California. If you let us know ahead of time, we can make sure to maximize training opportunities during your visit whether that is for a weekend, week or month.

Secondly, you may host Sifu Paul Wang for a seminar in your city. To do so, simply email sifu@iaw-us.com with your interest. He will reply with his availability and a plan to conduct the seminar.

In my online research, I noticed many styles of wing chun. How is IAW WingChun different?

Every wing chun style has a main objective. Some focus on upholding lineage and tradition, others on developing sensitivity or structure. The IAW system takes nothing for granted. We assess everything based on logic, biomechanics and physiology regardless of its origin east or west, weaponed or weaponless. The only methods we retain, refine and teach are those conducive to increasing your Self-Defense skill, knowledge and confidence.

I am a petite woman. Can I train WingChun without getting hurt or feeling intimidated by men or bigger people?

Your safety and comfort is our concern. Regardless of your size or gender, we want to upgrade your sense of Self-Defense security. Training can sometimes be challenging but not so intense that you get physically injured or psychologically overwhelmed. Never feel shy or embarrassed to tell your teacher or training partner to use less force or be less aggressive.

I found out about wing chun from the Ip Man movies and am looking to join a class. Does the IAW have any connection to him?

Ip Man (or Yip Man) was a wing chun grandmaster who primarily taught in the 1960’s. Our Grandmaster was born while Ip Man was still alive, but they never met. Thus, although we acknowledge his general contribution to the field of wing chun, the IAW has no immediate relation to Ip Man. What you see in the dramatized films about his life is not IAW WingChun since our goal is teaching you functional skills rather than an entertaining, albeit cinematic, style.

I am an older person. Can I train WingChun without feeling embarrassed because I may learn slower than younger students?

Although our average student age is in the 30’s, we have students in their 40’s and 50’s. We recognize that everyone learns at a different pace regardless of age. Anytime the information is too much, an instructor will be happy to break things down for you. Just ask for assistance. How fast you learn is unimportant as long as you don’t give up.

I have some physical disabilities. Can I train WingChun effectively?

To train WingChun, you need not be extremely fit nor very athletic. In fact, WingChun will improve your alignment, balance and coordination. A basically sound body is sufficient to start. That means you should be able to walk with your legs, reach with your arms and see with your eyes.

I want to learn to defend myself because I have been assaulted before. Now I have post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and am afraid the training may be too violent. Can I train WingChun without aggravating my condition?

If your PTSD is severe and you are easily triggered by simulated Self-Defense situations, you may require psychotherapy, acupuncture or even medication before training WingChun. If your symptoms are mild and you can mentally and emotionally separate present training from your past trauma, take an Intro to WingChun. Over time, empowering yourself with new WingChun Self-Defense skills may give you the strength and assurance to overcome your fears.

I cannot afford the monthly tuition. Do you have work-study positions?

We expect our Members to find the financial means to invest in their WingChun education because your tuition directly sustains the many operational costs of the Academy. However, occasionally we may have one or two work-study positions (3-6 months long) available for those that really need assistance. Feel free to ask by emailing hq@iaw-us.com.

Why does the IAW have a Graduation System?

A step-by-step curriculum makes WingChun more digestible. You learn pieces and how to connect them. IAW Grandmaster, Sifu Klaus Brand, instituted a Graduation System to distribute the technique, theory and terminology of WingChun. Each level has a defined set of skills and knowledge you must absorb prior to advancing. We test your proficiency and graduate you (every 2-6 months depending on your level) during WingChun Seminars.

What does the IAW logo symbolize?

A yinyang sign is central, which represents perpetual dynamic balance. Five circles point out the virtues of WingChun, which are will, courage, diligence, perseverance and honor. The flower is a reminder of natural progression. To eventually flourish, we must first plant a seed. This sprouts into a sapling and grows into a tree which blossoms as a sign of maturity.

I am super busy but have always wanted to learn WingChun. What recommendations do you have?

Just start. Commit yourself to attend the next class. There is never a perfect time to begin, especially when you are busy. If you wait, you may wait forever. Simply email us now at hq@iaw-us.com to schedule your first visit.

I am unable to attend the Regular Classes of the current Schedule. What can I do?

Unfortunately, our Regular Class schedule cannot accommodate everyone. Until your current schedule changes, you can attend the next WingChun Seminar or request a Private Lesson.

What does Sihing and Sifu mean?

Sihing means “Teacher” and Sifu means “Master”. They are official titles conferred to qualified instructors by Grandmaster (Sifu Klaus Brand) upon nomination by another Sihing or Sifu. Sihing (or its female form Sije) indicates an instructor who displays a character and ability to responsibly lead students in WingChun. Sifu is bestowed upon a long-time Sihing who has completed the teacher training track, led an Academy for many years, contributed greatly to the IAW reputation and thus been recognized internationally as an authority in WingChun.

I don't like fighting but want to feel more confident in Self-Defense. Are the classes too hardcore or violent for me?

Although we model Self-Defense situations as case studies, you are not in actual danger because your safety is always first. As a beginner, you practice resolving relatively low-stress scenarios. This is achieved by emphasizing technique foremost and reducing the power and speed of the simulated attack. Only when you are ready and comfortable in the Middle and Upper Levels do we increase the intensity.

Can I get a good workout with WingChun?

Yes, if you train hard enough it is possible to increase your heart rate and burn calories with WingChun exercises. WingChun is a skill-based practice so our essential focus is Self-Defense technique via upgrading your nervous, muscular and skeletal systems to quickly end a violent situation. We do teach you how to optimize your mind and body for power and speed, so if you want to stress your cardiovascular system, simply increase your intensity.

Do you have a wooden dummy and will I get to learn it?

The wooden dummy is a tool we use to train the fourth WingChun Form. If you persist in the system, you will learn it. However, it is much more valuable to start practice with live, dynamic partners who can intelligently simulate a real attacker more accurately than the static wooden dummy.

I've heard that WingChun won't work in real Self-Defense situations. Is that true?

Based on the principles of how conventional wing chun styles train, this statement is correct. On the other hand, the IAW training methodology primes you for Self-Defense functionality. Rather than claim that every WingChun movement is usable for effective protection, we offer you first-hand experience in our classes to see, hear, feel, train and prove that to yourself.

I have trained other martial arts like karate, taekwondo, judo, jiujitsu, boxing and wrestling. Will this help my WingChun?

Yes, if they have increased your physical control, learning ability, cooperative skills and training ethic. However, WingChun is a martial art with a distinct body language, movement vocabulary and functional purpose. Since the styles above are mainly practiced as combat sports with competition rules, you will need to reframe everything you learn in WingChun in terms of Self-Defense.

I have trained another style of wing chun and notice that IAW WingChun does not follow the principles I learned like occupying the centerline, maintaining contact to the opponent, keeping my elbow and knees in, throwing rapid chain punches and borrowing force. Why is that?

Those principles commonly define wing chun and confine its efficacy to a specific context, often wing chun against wing chun. We believe WingChun must resolve all attacks from any attacker or attackers, with or without a weapon. At best, the wing chun principles above can work in rare scenarios but actually heighten your vulnerability in others. Thus, based on the traditional weapons forms of the long pole and double knives, Sifu Klaus Brand rebuilt a novel system. For this reason, he called it WingChun rather than another name.

I am interested in mixed martial arts (MMA) and want to add WingChun to my repertoire. Is that possible?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport, so you practice to not attack certain targets such as the throat. They also separate genders and don’t allow weapons or multiple attackers. Since IAW WingChun wants to expand and maximize, rather than restrict and reduce, your viable options for successful Self-Defense, it may be incongruent with MMA objectives.

I am interested in internal Chinese martial arts such as taiji, bagua and xingyi which develop qi, tendons and intention. Is WingChun an internal or external style?

IAW WingChun trains the full body and mind as well as what connects them. Mind, energy, body, breath, emotion, organ, nerve, muscle, tendon, bone and movement cannot be separated as internal or external. They are all developed if you correctly train WingChun over time.

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