Be Safe, Be Aware

Be Safe, Be Aware


With the start of the new academic year and students starting and returning to classes, safety on and around Campus is a real concern among students and parents. Helping people be safe is a primary goal of our Chicago-based self-defense and martial arts organization, Wing Tsun Kwoon This year we have developed a new program entitled, “Be Safe, Be Aware” to provide women with essential information on being safe in their surroundings and physical knowledge on how to deal with potentially aggressive situations.

Our self-defense/martial arts program is unique because we focus our self-defense program on simple effective movements that one can apply quickly. We know that if a movement too complicated to perform with the appropriate timing, it is not realistic to use in any situation.  In addition to the physical aspects of our program, we also talk about one’s innate mental aptitude to be safe and how to use this as a guide on potentially threatening situations. Over the past few years, we have taught women ranging in age from twenty to over sixty.  Each of our instructors have over fifteen years of experience in martial arts.

On October 15th, we will be hosting a 2 hour class (9:00 AM to 11:00 AM) at Wing Tsun Kwoon, located at 820 N. Orleans (River North).  The cost is: $15.00 when registered by October 12th and $20.00 when registered after October 12th. Click on the link below to register.

Be Safe, Be Aware

SiSok Haw Kuo is Back in Chicago!

SiSok Haw Kuo is Back in Chicago!

SiSok Haw Kuo of Art of Wing Tsun ( was back in Chicago from August 21-23, 2015, to train the WTK Instructors on the Luk Dim Boon Gwan (Long Pole), Classical Wing Tsun forms/movements, and to continue building our foundation of a principle-congruent Wing Tsun.

SiSok Haw 2015 Visit

Long Pole Training:

First, SiSok showed us the body unity exercises we needed in preparation for wielding a long and heavy weapon.  Body Unity is the culmination of balance, looseness and sensitivity working together to properly align your body to work in the most efficient manner possible.   The arm muscles alone will not be able to generate enough power to move the long pole effectively.  Subtle muscle control along with the proper body alignment is the key to explosive power.

Long Pole Training 1

Afterwards, SiSok trained us on the seven (or six-and-a-half) movements which make up the content of the Luk Dim Boon Gwan form.  When all of the proper movement dynamics come together, performing a long pole movement seems effortless (e.g. like hitting through a golf ball, or a tennis ball on the sweet spot of the tennis racket).

Long Pole Training 2

Then SiSok taught us the entire form.  We have seen the form in the past, but this was the first time we actually performed the entire form ourselves.  The Luk Dim Boon Gwan form is short but it requires proper mental focus, control of your own movement and body unity and not allow the long pole to control it for you.  It was great to see SiSok perform the form in such an economical manner that he appeared to glide through the air as he performed each movement.

Long Pole Training 3

Finally, SiSok showed us several partner drills that will help us understand and apply the long pole movements.  There is a movement in the partner drill where we perform a controlled strike against our partner’s long pole and flow immediately into a thrust that must strike within the body width of our partner.  Whenever we don’t have body unity and muscle in the strike against our partner’s long pole, we will either push away our partner’s long pole and then overshoot the strike area when we thrust, or bounce off our partner’s long pole and be forced to recover with additional movements and miss the opportunity to counter immediately and effectively.

Long Pole Training 4

Classical WT:

SiSok helped us fine tune our forms (e.g. SNT, CK, BT) by explaining the proper movement dynamics of each movement in the forms.  We also discussed and drilled the Magnetic Zone, Plum Flower steps, Poon Sau, Pak Da, and multiple CK/BT/WD Chi Sau sections.

Note:  We need to remember to take pictures next time!

Principle-driven WT:

“The challenge is not to act automatically.  It’s to find an action that is not automatic.  Not deliberate, not random.  Some place in between.”

SiSok showed us the next group of partner training methods that will help us continue to develop our base level capabilities.  Then we revisited our Chi Sau sections and were instructed to discard our ready-made techniques and combinations.  We let movements of the moment happen and our form to follow its function.  It was refreshing to be freed from techniques.  It resulted in effortless efficiency that was both fluid and spontaneous! Counterattacks that used to take multiple techniques (e.g. Jum Sau-Lan Sau-Shift-Pak Da-Character Two against 1st CK Chi Sau section entry) is distilled to an efficient way of moving that absorbs the opponent’s attack (e.g. send our arms towards the attack, then flexing slightly, we absorb the pressure with the abdomen and slow it down and transfer it to the front and then the rear leg to give it back).

Since the aim is no longer to carry out specific movements by design, it encourages us to find our own logical, practical and efficient solutions, and frees us from limiting our questions only to those associated with ready-made techniques and combinations.

Note:  We PROMISE to take pictures of this principle-driven WT the next time!  We got so caught up in our training, that it didn’t cross our minds to take pictures until we were writing this blog.

After the training, SiSok held a Q&A session with us to talk about the WT concepts, principles, training methods, and teaching methods.

We would like to thank SiSok for coming back to Chicago and sharing his knowledge and experience with us at WTK!  Again, if you are ever in the Bay Area or have the opportunity to bring him to your martial arts school, we highly recommend training with him.



Training with SiSok Haw Kuo in Chicago

Training with SiSok Haw Kuo in Chicago

On August 1, 2014, SiSok Haw Kuo of Art of Wing Tsun ( arrived in Chicago to train the WTK Instructors on streamlined self defense tactics and the foundation of a softer, principle-congruent Wing Tsun.


The following morning, SiSok showed us a streamlined self defense program that was condensed in order to simplify Wing Tsun for the beginner who seeks a fast route for self-protection.

The simplified program distilled the number of combinations to just a handful, so that the beginner will have the tools to protect themselves against everyday aggression and attacks within the shortest training time possible.

We worked on stance, positioning, using a trigger word, power generation of the falling step, dominant hand hit delivery, and control using the off hand.


Towards the end of the morning, we requested to see how SiSok practices his Biu Tze and he happily showed us how he generated the whole body whipping power of the movements.


In the afternoon, we focused on building the foundation of a softer, principle driven WT which we had heard about but only Allan had previously experienced when visiting Art of WingTsun. It dispensed with fixed, canned combinations and movements limited to only the WT forms, chi-sau sections, and automatic responses in favor of true feeling, proprioception, and mass transfer instead of rigid muscle use for power generation. It seemed literally an expression of Daoism’s Ying and Yang.

SiSok showed us training methods that will help us develop our base level capabilities such as timing, flexibility, and awareness rather than just adding more ‘techniques.’


We needed to move on every physical axis (lean forward, lean back, shift the body weight in all directions, pivot) while keeping our balance, paying attention to the attack, and making sure that we have the correct responses to distance, speed and timing, while also not being tense and not giving an opponent any exploitable input.


After the training, SiSok held a Q&A session with us to talk about the WT concepts, principles, training methods, and teaching methods.


“You cannot feel that you are not feeling what you don’t feel.” (

“Spent last weekend being introduced to zero pressure Wing Tsun!  Streamlined self-defense, surfing, yielding, circular attacks, adaptation, and drop step power… It’s all in there!

Thank you SiSok, for your preparation and passion for the principle driven WT, and also for your openness to free chi-sau and demonstrate.  We truly felt the vacuum and explosiveness!  Hope to have you back sooner than later!  Now gotta practice… ;)”

– Ray

“I was excited to experience the principle driven WT in action.  It was refreshing to be free of sections and focus on base level capabilities.  Thank you, SiSok!”

– David

“I first met and trained with SiSok back in March 2011.  During that period of my training, I was only exposed to the “Big Man” way of Wing Tsun.  He was the first person to show me how a smaller WT person moves and generates power.  This changed the way I trained WT.

Fast forward to April 2014 and I was fortunate to once again train with SiSok and SiBak Marcus at Art of Wing Tsun.  This time, I was introduced to the principle driven WT.  It was a new way of understanding and training WT.  It didn’t look like WT!  They asked me to move in ways that was not in classical WT.  I was skeptical, but I saw the passion in SiSok and SiBak’s eyes and their absolute commitment to this principle driven WT.  They explained and showed me how their WT evolved and distilled to its essence.  A lot of classical WT folks would probably dismiss it as ineffective and unnecessary.

I read this recently.  “Not following in the footsteps of the ancients but seeking what they sought.  People don’t understand the deeper essence of their own traditions.  Caught up in the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law.”  I think that continuous improvement is what keeps WT or any martial art alive.  It allows me to grow and develop personally as I continue to expand my understanding of WT.  It doesn’t mean that I throw away the classical WT.  It is still essential to learning WT, but building and improving on my baseline capabilities will take my WT further.

Thank you, SiSok for coming to Chicago and sharing your WT with us!”

– Allan



We would like to thank SiSok for coming to Chicago and sharing his knowledge and experience with us at WTK.  We hope to train with him again in the near future.

If you are ever in the Bay Area or have the opportunity to bring him to your school, we highly recommend training with him!



WTK Beginner Level Reaction Drills

We have created several WTK Beginner Level Reaction Drills in order to help our students develop their sensitivity to the different forces they will encounter during a fight.  The Reaction Drills begin with the Lap Sau cycle.  In this particular video, the Attacker’s punch is not moving towards the center.  Instead, the punch is moving towards the Defender’s shoulder.  The Defender feels this force and the Attacker’s punch creates the Defender’s Tan Sau movement.  In addition, the Defender’s Wu Sau thrusts forward since the way is free.  Finally, the Defender follows through with a Pak Da.

Wing Tsun in MMA

On Saturday May 10, in the headlining fight between Matt Brown and Erica Silva on UFC Fight Night, we were treated to one of the best displays of wing tsun in MMA.  No, there weren’t any chain punches thrown. And there was not a bong sau or tan sau to be seen.  But what Matt Brown showcased beautifully in that fight was how to close the distance and maintain pressure on an opponent through relentless in-close attacks. This is a core principle of wing tsun’s fighting strategy and there are few fighters who do it well as Matt Brown. Check out this excellent write up of his performance that night, and his style of fighting more generally, by Jack Slack at Vice Fightland.

Drop us a line and let us know what you think.