Random Idea for the Future of My Wing Chun

I don’t know what got me thinking about this the morning after Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because of a blow-up that almost got out of hand at my house yesterday, a situation with a loudmouth that could have easily gotten physical. In any event I was thinking to myself, “If it hadn’t been for my fitness and wing chun training, I wouldn’t have felt like I could handle myself.” Instead, I would have let this person keep talking disrespectfully instead of putting them in their place.

After dwelling on this for a while, my brain linked this thought up with something we hear a lot about these days: the fight against bullying. I asked a teacher one time what they do to prevent bullying. She said, “Well, that’s something called an unfunded mandate. The district wants us to have programs for that, but they won’t give us any MONEY for it.”

My mind cross-referenced that with thoughts about victims of domestic violence. This is basically just another form of bullying. And I wondered: why do all these people allow themselves to be bullied? Why would a woman stay with a guy who beats them repeatedly?

I have seen only one abusive relationship in my life: my mom’s marriage to my stepfather. (It was verbal/emotional abuse not physical…thankfully.) From my experience I have formed an opinion that the answer can be summed up very simply: low self-esteem.

I watched my stepfather wear my mom’s self-esteem down, convincing her he was the best she could do and, if she left him, she would get no one else. For a long time she believed it. Eventually she found a way to rebuild her opinion of herself, and she kicked his ass out. But she went through a lot of crap to get there. This guy must have moved in and out of the house at least a dozen times. Every time he did, he moved back in with the woman he’d been seeing before my mom.

In any case, I was thinking: I’d like to use my wing chun to help people. There is a wing chun instructor I know in Chicago named Dominick Izzo who formed a non-profit group to teach women self-defense. As far as I know, there is nothing like that around here.

Well, I’d like to change that. When I am good enough to get Sifu’s blessing to go off and teach, I want to create something that would benefit victims of bullying, whether that means the kid who constantly gets stuffed in his locker or the woman whose husband takes his anger out on her.

The power that comes from wing chun doesn’t necessarily stem from the techniques themselves. It isn’t that the bullied person goes home thinking they can beat up their bully.

The power they will get will come from the PRAISE they get. When they run through a form, when they practice a self-defense drill, when they point out something they noticed about the style or a certain technique…they will have someone there patting them on the back saying, “Good job. You’re doing great.”

THAT, my friends, is what will give them power. From that they can make a connection in their mind (whether they make it consciously or not) that says, “I AM good enough. I DON’T deserve crappy treatment. I deserve the kind of respect that I get in this class.”

This is what I hope to do with my wing chun. I can’t wait to get there with it someday.


About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
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25 Responses to Random Idea for the Future of My Wing Chun

  1. Robert Mitchell says:

    Thumbs up. As a person who, 27 years ago, walked into a martial arts school with very low self esteem and carrying an extra 80 pounds of obesity, I agree that martial arts help. But it was terrifying to start, and some people just can’t make the leap. All arts build self esteem — painting, carpentry, photography, etc. — because skill acquisition builds confidence. Victims need to get out from in front of the T.V. and into creative activities (that goes for kids and adults) and those of us who have the confidence need to put bullies in their place.

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment, and I agree wholeheartedly. Granted, there are some bullies you can’t put in their place in a traditional way because they cower behind the anonymity of the internet. However, the way to get to those fools is, like in the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, you take their power away by ignoring them.

  2. Admit that I never thought of martial arts as a way to build self-esteem…great thought, and of course it makes sense!

    • wcman1976 says:

      Jacquie, thanks for the reply.

      Martial arts has been known for ages as a tool for building self-esteem, the reason being the positive reinforcement I discussed in the article. Not only do you get the feeling that you know how to handle yourself, but you are being patted on the back and told “good job” every time you go to class.

      Now granted, sometimes you get a school where they tell you that simply to pad your ego so you will keep coming and keep paying your tuition, but that is a topic for a whole other article.

  3. cassi9879b says:

    I’m glad you found your focus! Also, kudos to you for wanting to help others build self-esteem.

  4. Claire Cappetta says:

    I read your About me page too and you say you completed the P90x fitness program, whoa! Well done, that is one thing I dream I might complete one day! : )
    Before I left my first husband which was a domestic violent situation, I decided to go to the local fitness center. It included step, weights, swimming etc all in 3 mornings a week. It gave me confidence which was being hammered down at home and I left.
    I have found situations like that always start with mental abuse first being told your useless, you’re no good, no-one would possible want you, you’re mother’s right you should be put into a straight jacket and locked up (my mother was abusive too by the way) hence not seeing any red flags. Then comes the emotional abuse followed by the physical abuse, the fists, thrown down… Some memories are still tough, though he did apologize to me this year for all he had done. He understood it clearly after I wrote my book!
    I have worked with Dennis Golden of IM-Safe who runs a self-defense class out of Connecticut and runs a Forum for women with his daughter as a safe place for women to meet and contact others who have been in similar situations.
    I believe your win chung would be amazing for women to help build self-esteem, even abused men too.
    Maybe one day we could do something together to help people raise their confidence and self esteem : )

  5. wcman1976 says:

    Claire, thanks for the lengthy and well-thought reply! I’m glad you were able to rise above that horrible situation and get out with your life. Not all women are easy enough to escape the maniacs they wind up with.

    P90X, other workout programs and wing chun have had a synergistic effect on my self-esteem. Also, the legend of wing chun holds that it was created by a woman, so it is definitely better-suited for them than most styles.

    At any rate, I like your suggestion and would like to talk more. Naturally, if we want to encourage people to do these things, then WE need to do them ourselves! So feel free to reach out to me privately, and we can discuss it.


  6. Greg Narayan says:

    Hi Stevie,
    That’s gripping stuff. Sorry to hear about the abusive stepfather. I love how you call this blog a “home fitness journey.” So original.

    Thanks for introducing me to Wing Chun. I’ll look up an instructor in NYC to deal with the aggressive people I encounter!

    Just getting to know folks in the Bloggers Helping Bloggers community. Hope to hear more from you at MY community soon!

    • wcman1976 says:


      Thanks for the comment. Depending on how in-depth you want to get with it, you can look up wing chun instructors who are descended from the lineage of Yip Man. Then you would be studying a version of wing chun similar to me.

      And don’t worry about the stepfather. That tool was out of my life when I hit my freshman year of college. On top of that, he went out of this WORLD in the mid-2000’s due to cancer.

  7. Pamela Heady says:

    Your passion for helping others through your own journey and experiences is wonderful. I was right along with you saying out loud that the answer is self-esteem. I am trying to help my husband’s 14-yr old son deal with his own self-esteem and respect issues and it’s definitely a challenge. But I’ve found that explaining things to him a certain way and praising him for respectful behavior speaks volumes to him. He treats me with respect because I do the same with appropriate boundaries of course. A very timely post for me to associate with!

    • wcman1976 says:


      Thanks for the reply! To be honest, wing chun was only half the equation. Fitness was the other half. While I had SOME confidence when I did only wing chun, it really shot through the roof after I went through P90X and Insanity. I may still have 20 pounds to lose, but I still did those programs when others in better shape than me did NOT.

      In any event, I hope things go well for him. If you think some of the things that helped me might also help him, you know where I am!

  8. I think this is a great idea. Building self esteem is so important as well as knowing how to defend yourself. The benefits of doing something positive for yourself has a impact on how you carry yourself. I commend you for wanting to make a difference.

  9. patweber says:

    Both my husband and son are black belts in karate. Not sure of the school. I will say for each of them, it was both esteem building and brought new discipline to them.

    You said you will do it someday. What are you doing to make that more specific?

    • wcman1976 says:

      Well, I need to learn the whole system. I know four out of six forms…but then again, tied to that is the fact that it doesn’t always matter HOW MUCH you know, but HOW WELL you do it. I have to get my structure better. By that I mean my body mechanics, using not just upper body strength but MY ENTIRE BODY in unison.

      Every day I practice my forms. Also, I am going to start attending at least one wing chun class per week. It may not be much, but it’s better than nothing. In fact, I went back today for the first time in months.

      I want to bring the idea before Sifu. Out of respect for him, I can’t just charge out into the world and say, “Hi! Learn a wing chun-based self defense system from me!” He isn’t overly “old school” for the most part, but if there is one thing he won’t stand for, it would be someone striking out on their own without his blessing first.

  10. I’ve always been intrigued by martial arts, but like many things in life have yet to act on the impulse. Maybe you’re blog will serve as a much needed motivator.

  11. americanjay says:

    I hope you plan on following through with this new dream. The desire to teach to help others will make teaching powerful, and your attitude of “seeking a blessing” is the humility needed to give that extra strength and “oomph” to what you will be doing.

    • wcman1976 says:

      I will. It’s just a matter of being able to get the time and money to complete my own training, so I can get Sifu’s blessing to go out and teach. Also, it’s a matter of figuring out how to do it. People who take self-defense might not be interested in learning all the principles and theories behind the moves…but without that, you can’t do it right!

      I guess the best way to do it would be to offer self-defense training as a “teaser,” and then mention, “By the way, if you truly want to understand what we’re doing, then I can teach you the whole system.”

      Only time will tell.

  12. Arleen says:

    Martial arts is such a good way to build self-esteem. It is great for children that feel that they are not popular in school. Martial arts is becoming more and more recognized. My web developer stopped doing websites and opened a martial arts studio called Krav Maga for self defense, which increased levels of confidence and fitness.

    • wcman1976 says:

      Thanks for the comment! I have never practiced Krav Maga, nor are there any schools for it around here, but I have heard great things about it. Any martial art created for Special Forces can’t be all bad.

  13. brohawk92 says:

    Bullying and drops in self-esteem take on all forms, you are spot on with this. I see this occur in the workplace as well. In the 1980’s, during the cold war I remember terms like MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) and Detente (Peace through strength) being commonly used terms. The center pieces of these terms were that avoidance of confrontation was more important than an actual confrontation. In interpersonal relationships anytime you have the confidence that you can handle any situation thrown your way, you are always in a much stronger position.

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!!

    • wcman1976 says:

      And thanks for commenting!

      I agree: workplace bullying is the worst, especially when it comes from someone the boss favors because then you are in a bind. Supervisors tell you to come to them with problems, but what if it’s one of their blessed ones? Next thing you know, you are in the unemployment line!

      Luckily, I work at a place now that doesn’t tolerate that kind of nonsense. 🙂

  14. As a Police Officer, who’s biggest passion is Women’s Self Defense as a prevention to Domestic Violence, I applaud you and would like to help support you. Please contact me at your convenience. 847-875-0458

    -Dominick Izzo

    • wcman1976 says:

      Hey Dom, it’s me…one of Russell Cichon’s students! We have spoken multiple times in the past. I don’t know if you recognize me from any pictures on here! At any rate I absolutely plan on it, when the day comes.

      Also, I think a seminar between you, China Boxer and Sifu would be the most kickass thing that could happen in my wing chun world.

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