William Cheung

Wing Chun Techniques: The Secret Weapon Against Leg Attacks

In 1966, karate legend Joe Lewis rocketed to stardom by winning Jhoon Rhee’s U.S. Nationals in Washington, D.C. Incredibly, it was his first tournament, and he won every single point with only one technique — the side kick.

For six years, Chuck Norris ruled the karate world with his spinning kicks. He won virtually every major title between 1965 and 1970, including six grand championships. He retired, undefeated, in 1970.

From 1974 to 1981, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace dominated the full-contact karate circuit. His lightning-fast left roundhouse and hook kicks rose to legendary status as he stunned one opponent after another. He retired 21-0, with 11 knockouts. Superfoot, indeed.

Those champions and many more have demonstrated their awesome kicking abilities in and out of the ring. In fact, the martial arts in general are best-known for their kicks. Even Bruce Lee is remembered more for his dynamic on-screen kicking than for the intricate trapping and striking techniques of jeet kune do.

If kicking is the hallmark of the martial arts, it follows logically that to become a superior fighter, you have to learn how to deal with those seemingly indefensible lower-limb assaults. How do you stop a technique that, once mastered, appears to be unstoppable? One answer can be found within William Cheung’s traditional wing chun fighting system.

Mechanics of Kicking
The laws of physics hold that a force can have only one direction at a time. The longer a movement is committed to a certain direction, the longer it will take for it to change its direction. It has to run its course before it can move on to another path. When an opponent attacks with a kick as opposed to a punch, his foot must follow a longer path to reach you. Distance equals time, so the greater distance gives you more time to react. In dealing with kicks, then, the first step is to properly train your eyes, or visual reflexes, so you can readily determine how your opponent is attacking and which part of your body he is targeting.

Traditional wing chun teaches you to watch your opponent’s elbow to identify an upper-body strike — punch, palm strike, elbow and so on — because the movement of the elbow indicates the movement of the entire arm. The arm cannot move without the elbow going with it. The knee is to the leg as the elbow is to the arm. Thus, if you train yourself to watch the knee of your opponent’s attacking leg the instant he kicks, you will have the best chance of identifying the kick’s path and target.

If the opponent attempts to bridge the gap with a kick, he must commit himself to that direction of force. As a defense, you can do anything. You have not committed; therefore, as long as you are balanced and have mobile footwork, you are free to move in any direction. Your response should put you in the best position not only to defend yourself but also to counterattack.

Contingency Case
If your opponent executes a kick and it does not make contact — and it is your job to ensure that it doesn’t — he will leave you several openings to exploit:

  • Balance: When he kicks, he must balance on one leg — if only for a moment — and that means he is presenting an opening. In general, a person in a two-legged stance should be able to knock a person in a one-legged stance off-balance. Without a good base, it is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible for him to launch an effective blow.
  • The groin: In most cases, executing a kick will leave his groin open to attack. The vulnerability may exist only for a moment, but if your eyes are well-trained, you will see the kick from its inception and you will be ready to pounce.
  • The supporting leg: Because a force can have only one direction at a time, an opponent who commits to a non-jumping kick leaves his supporting leg virtually defenseless while his other leg is completing its motion. The knee and shin are the most common targets on the supporting leg.
  • The kicking leg: Whenever a kick is in motion, several pressure points on the underside of the leg are exposed. They are small targets, but you can train yourself to attack them with a counter-kick.

Defending against a kick is all about timing. While the opponent’s leg is committed, the above-mentioned targets are most vulnerable. From a balanced and neutral position, you can time your response so you act during this fleeting but critical moment. If you move too soon, he may change course and adapt. If you move too late, you may miss the opening and get kicked.

Step by Step
The shortest distance between two points …

Wing Chun Kung Fu Grandmaster William Cheung Shows You How to Deal With Low Kicks From a Muay Thai Fighter!

If you’re a wing chun practitioner, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Grandmaster William Cheung. A student of Ip Man, William Cheung lived and trained with the legendary wing chun master from 1954 to 1958. During his study of the Chinese martial art wing chun with Ip Man, William Cheung absorbed the traditional wing chun kung fu master’s complete teachings.

In his three-disc martial arts DVD collection, Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Grandmaster William Cheung, the longtime friend and wing chun training partner of Bruce Lee (whom Cheung at one point introduced to Ip Man!), recalls some of his most dangerous street fights and deconstructs the techniques he used to survive the encounters.

WING CHUN DVD PREVIEW | William Cheung Shows You How to Deal with Low Kicks in a Street-Fighting Situation


In Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun Volume 3: Muay Thai Melee, the narrative backdrop takes place in the spring of 1962 in Sydney. A friend of William Cheung’s who is being bullied by a fighter from Thailand asks the wing chun fighter for help. William Cheung confronts the Thai fighters and his partners, and it is a dangerous situation, pitting the traditional wing chun kung fu expert against three opponents with brass knuckles. As the fight went on, William Cheung was injured but still managed to devise some creative solutions to stay alive.

Learn how he did it in this DVD! In Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun Volume 3: Muay Thai Melee, wing chun kung fu grandmaster William Cheung covers:

  • cross-arm drills for close-quarters fighting
  • shin-kick drills
  • execution of stances and entry techniques
  • dealing with elbow and knee strikes
  • defenses against low kicks
  • dealing with multiple opponents

William Cheung is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame (Kung Fu Artist of the Year, 1983), who has trained since the age of 10, originally under the legendary Ip Man. William Cheung currently operates a worldwide network of instructors based in Australia. During his decades of studying martial arts and Chinese medicine, William Cheung has also become an expert in meridians, pressure points and meditation dealing with internal energies. Today, William Cheung’s programs for the treatment of sports injuries and stress-related illnesses using ancient Chinese-medicine remedies are highly sought across the globe.…

Fight Smart in Close-Quarters Combat Using Wing Chun Techniques

In the martial arts, one school of thought holds that you should change your game to match your opponent’s. Example: If you’re a stand-up fighter and you’re facing a grappler, you should immediately switch into grappling mode. Problem is, that requires you to train to such an extent that each subset of your skills is superior to the skills of a person who focuses on only that range of combat. Your grappling must be better than a grappler’s, your kicking must be better than a kicker’s and your punching must be better than a puncher’s. It’s a tough task, to be sure.

Another school of thought holds that you should never fight force with the same kind of force. In other words, don’t try to beat your opponent at what he does best. Instead, use a set of concepts and techniques that will enable you to nullify his attacks and nail him when he’s not expecting it. The best set of concepts I’ve found is called the science of wing chun, as taught by Black Belt Hall of Fame member William Cheung. It offers a strategic approach to combat that’s guaranteed to help any stand-up fighter prevail on the street.

Before beginning, a few words about wing chun are in order. Supposedly developed by a woman named Yim Wing Chun, the system is based on scientific principles that allow the practitioner to achieve peak performance in any combat situation, even against a larger opponent. It does so by teaching you how to fight smarter, not harder. The key to achieving that goal lies in the following seven principles.

Wing Chun Principle #1: Maintain a Balanced Stance

When you’re in a balanced wing chun stance, your opponent won’t be able to read your intentions because you’re not telegraphing the way you’ll fight. He can’t discern your commitment to any move or to any direction.

The stance requires a 50-50 weight distribution at all times. That enables you to move either foot in any direction at any time. Having maximum mobility, at a moment’s notice, is essential for dealing with armed or multiple attackers. Being balanced also conserves energy, which allows you to channel it to other uses while under attack.

Once your opponent moves, wing chun teaches that you should immediately shift into a side neutral stance based on the side of your body he attacks. If he comes from your right, you deal with him by using your right arm and right foot, and vice versa. Your stance is now similar to that of a boxer, except that you’re oriented at a 45-degree angle so you’re less open to his blows.

Wing Chun Technique #1: Leg Sweep

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William Cheung (left) faces his opponent, Eric Oram, in a side neutral stance (1). Oram throws a left jab toward Cheung’s right side, causing Cheung to counter with a right palm strike (2). The opponent then tries a roundhouse punch, which Cheung counters with a finger-thrust block (3). He tries to force his roundhouse punch but Cheung moves with the arm and maintains control of the elbow (4). The wing chun master then hits him with an elbow strike (5) before taking him down with a leg sweep (6-7). He finishes with a series of punches to the head (8).

Wing Chun Principle #2 Attack Your Opponent’s Balance

In any kind of fighting, balance is everything. Strive to maintain yours while attacking your opponent’s. Often, that entails getting him to lean too far into his technique, overcommit to his movement or overextend his body. Without proper balance, he won’t be able to move, block or strike effectively.

In general, grapplers employ a strategy that involves an overzealous commitment to a move. They’ll lean, lunge or throw themselves forward in an effort to take you to the ground, which is their preferred environment. At that point, they’ll attempt to mount you and punch, or they’ll choke you unconscious. That’s all well and good as long as you don’t take advantage of their momentary lack of balance.

In wing chun, you control your opponent’s balance and then deflect his force primarily by controlling his elbow. As Cheung likes to say, if you control his elbow, you can control his balance.

Wing Chun Technique #2: Balance Disruption

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The opponent (left) closes the distance and grabs William Cheung’s right arm (1-2). Cheung interrupts his balance with a palm-strike push aimed at the man’s elbow (3). He then pulls the trapped limb down to effect a standing armbar (4). Cheung pushes the opponent to the floor (5) and neutralizes him with punches (6).

Wing Chun Principle #3: Control Your Opponent’s Elbow

Always watch your adversary’s lead elbow. Why the elbow? Because whenever a person’s arm moves to strike you, so does …

Wing Chun Street Fighting DVD 1 Preview

In the martial arts DVD series Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Grandmaster William Cheung, the longtime friend and wing chun training partner of Bruce Lee, recalls some of his most dangerous street fights and deconstructs the techniques he used to survive the encounters. In Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Volume 1: Choy Li Fut Challenge, Cheung tells the story of a Hong Kong bare-knuckle rooftop challenge against a choy li fut practitioner in the hot and humid summer of 1956. The fight would raise Cheung’’s profile to one of prominence should he emerge victorious, and on-hand were friends Bruce Lee and Wong Shun Leung to offer advice and input. The topics covered include fighting strategies, observing one’’s opponent, the differences between choy li fut and wing chun, controlling the lead elbow from the blind side, footwork and much more! Cheung is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame (Kung Fu Artist of the Year, 1983). He has trained since the age of 10, originally under the legendary Yip Man. From his headquarters in Australia, Cheung now operates a worldwide network of instructors and students in the fascinating art of wing chun. He has also become an expert in meridians, pressure points and meditation dealing with internal energies. Today, his programs for the treatment of sports injuries and stress-related illnesses are highly sought across the globe.


Wing Chun Street Fighting DVD 2 Preview

In the martial arts DVD series Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Grandmaster William Cheung, the longtime friend and wing chun training partner of Bruce Lee, recalls some of his most dangerous street fights and deconstructs the techniques he used to survive the encounters. In Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Volume 2: No-Rules Rumble, loyalties and trust are put to the test as Cheung deals with members of Hong Kong’s gang population in the late 1950s. When intervenes upon four of them committing a violent crime, Cheung becomes a marked man. A friend offers to smooth out the situation, but Cheung finds himself the target of an ambush by three men—one of whom is armed with a sword. Learn how he survived this no-rules encounter! Topics include dealing with an edged-weapon attack, weapon disarms, thinking on your feet, dagger attacks, butterfly sword drills and footwork for weapon disarms. William Cheung is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame (Kung Fu Artist of the Year, 1983). He has trained since the age of 10, originally under the legendary Yip Man. From his headquarters in Australia, Cheung now operates a worldwide network of instructors and students in the fascinating art of wing chun. He has also become an expert in meridians, pressure points and meditation dealing with internal energies. Today, his programs for the treatment of sports injuries and stress-related illnesses are highly sought across the globe.


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