Martial Arts over the years has opened the door for me to meet many wonderful and interesting people. This leads me on nicely to this week’s interview with Steve Grogan from Geek Wing Chun inc. Steve is the Author of “The Lone Warrior” a book which is a great guide and insight into the world of self training.
WC&R-So Steve tell us a bit about yourself
I am a native of Troy NY, a father of 4 (2 girls, 2 boys), and a state employee. I started Wing Chun Kung Fu in 95 at Cichon’s Wing Chun in Albany. My attendance came and went over the years due to many different reasons, the most common being not enough time or money. There was also a period where I was in a weird funk that, to this day, I can’t explain. However, I CAN give an example of what I mean: I would be sitting in my car, waiting at a red light while I was on my way to class, and suddenly I would think, “Man, it feels like I’m going to WORK!!!” When that happened, I would try to motivate myself into going by saying, “You already paid Sifu for the month. If you don’t go, then you’re throwing that away.” But not even that did the trick. More often than not, I just headed back home.
“Sifu Russ Cichon is an excellent teacher. He teaches the Ip Ching lineage”
By the way, Sifu Russ Cichon is an excellent teacher. He teaches the Ip Ching lineage. I’m sure a lot of people in your audience know Ip Ching is one of the sons of Ip Man, who of course is the gentleman that taught Bruce Lee. Cichon’s is in Albany, NY. However, even if your audience doesn’t live there and can’t take classes, you can still check out his incredibly informative YouTube channel. Here are some links for this talented Wing Chun man.https://cichonswingchun.com/
also check out http://Russ Cichon Wing Chun on YouTube
WC&R-You’ve been studying Wing Chun for a number of years. Have you trained in any other styles?
Judo, Wushu, Western Boxing, Jeet Kune Do
WC&R-What inspired you to start writing about wing chun?
I was a writer long before I was a martial artist. Therefore, writing about Wing Chun was a match made in heaven. I have a good understanding of the system, as well as some interesting ideas and interpretations about it. I thought, “Well, if I taught a class, most people around the globe wouldn’t be able to attend it, but they could theoretically buy my books, read my articles, and watch my videos!”
WC&R-So tell us a bit more about your book “The Lone Warrior”
First, I want to say that the book is meant to show you activities so that you can SUPPLEMENT your in-person training, not REPLACE it. I am not a Sifu; I am just a Wing Chun fanatic who has been practicing a long time, and I have overcome issues that (from discussions with other people) I know a LOT of others face, and I wanted to share my resolutions so they can surpass these obstacles a lot faster than I did.
“I am not a Sifu; I am just a Wing Chun fanatic who has been practicing a long time”
Over a years research
The book is a culmination of about a year of hardcore research. I was attending a new Wing Chun class, which was held only once a week. I wanted to practice more, but no one outside of that class practiced Wing Chun. I asked the Sifu (Larry London, who teaches the Leung Sheung lineage) what I could do at home to get better. He gave me a handful of great ideas, but I thought to myself, “Why stop with these?” I began to develop ideas of my own. I did online searches. I talked to people on discussion boards. Then I looked at my list and started to assemble them into a training schedule. Ever since I finished the book, my own routine has changed a lot, but the book features the one I was following at the time I originally composed it. If people want to know what I am doing now, they can subscribe to the Geek Wing Chun YouTube channel.
“The book provides activities you can do alone”
The book provides activities you can do alone, ones where you need gear, ones where you need a partner, and ones where you need a gear AND a partner. As far as the activities go, the crowning achievement of the book is in the form of a drill I discovered in a video by Dominick Izzo. The link to the exact video is provided in the book, so I hope it is still posted. He didn’t give a name to the drill, and I just call it “the Chi Sao Substitute.” (I used to call it “the Touching Game,” after something he says in the video, but that got a few too many chuckles.) It’s a way to develop the same skills Chi Sao teaches you, even if your partner has no idea what Chi Sao is. And let’s face it: that is the biggest thing you miss out on if you don’t go to class. In fact, you miss out on ALL the drills that could help you develop reflexes and techniques against an uncooperative partner. That is why the routine I do now incorporates a lot more partner work.
However, the book goes beyond just giving you a list of things to do. It also teaches you time management, which is the OTHER greatest achievement of the book. In fact, it was something that impressed you so much that you mentioned it to me in a message on Twitter. This is an exact quote from your message: “I think it gives the reader no excuse to not train, the way you state that an hour’s training doesn’t have to be in one go.” In my opinion, this is THE biggest concept I have in the book, and I believe it is true of anything you want to do, whether it is training in Wing Chun or even doing an exercise to improve your endurance.
Let’s say a person wants to train an hour of Wing Chun per day, but there is no point in their day when they have a full, uninterrupted one hour. Well, who said it all had to be at once? If you did 13 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes on your first break at work, 20 minutes on your lunch break, 10 minutes on your afternoon break, and 7 minutes when you got home…well, there’s your hour! Fit training in whenever and wherever you can.
WC&R-The book is a guide to self training, do you feel this is an area people struggle with.
Absolutely, although to be honest sometimes that can be an issue of the person’s motivation, not necessarily a lack of ideas as to what to practice. I remember talking to my classmates about how I practiced all my forms 2-3 times per day, and they were like, “Really? I never do.” The only time they did WC was in class. If you want to get better faster (which I did), then you have to practice more often.
WC&R-The book has an app which accompanies it, how does this work.
The app has 6 Levels, each one named after a Wing Chun form. When they download it, the user has access to Level 1 for free, but Levels 2-6 have to be bought. Each Level has 12 different activity categories. At Level 1, they can choose from a limited number of activities. Higher Levels unlock more per category. The user picks the activity they want to do. Then they can set the day and time that they do it, as well as how many reps. If they want to do the same thing for more than one day, they can set it so that activity repeats indefinitely. They will get an alert/notification/reminder (whatever you want to call it) when it is time to do whatever activity they picked.
“I recorded videos for all activities”
I recorded videos for all activities, which are posted as private videos on my YouTube channel. In other words, you need the app to have access to them. (The book does NOT give the access; only the app does.) I did this because I figured there might be some people who are newer Wing Chun students. They might not have been exposed to as much as I have, so there could be certain techniques or drills where they don’t know what I’m talking about. Even if someone is a more seasoned Wing Chun veteran, there’s the chance that I might call something by a different name than they do, so once again the YouTube videos can swoop in to save the day.
A slight correction 🙂
Actually, I made a bit of an inaccurate statement when I said all activities have videos. One of the categories is “Forms,” and there are no videos for them. The reason is two-fold: (1) All lineages do the forms slightly different. In fact, I don’t think I have seen ANY two that are exactly alike. (2) As I said earlier, the book and app are meant to supplement in-person training, not replace it. The assumption is that they are learning forms in class.
Lastly, the home screen of the app includes links to many online resources. There is our website (the globe), YouTube channel, Twitter profile, Facebook page, and best of all a link to a private Facebook group, which is called A Gathering of Lone Warriors.
I do want to make note of one thing: there are certain activities that are meant to be done by DURATION instead of reps. Unfortunately, there was no way to set a timer inside the app. Therefore, if you choose an activity that would be timed, you would just put “Number of Reps: 1,” and then set a timer on your phone or some other device
WC&R-How can our readers purchase the book/app?
Easy. Just follow the links I’ve listed here. Also, there are some freebies they can get if they email me. These are some supplemental guides I wrote up to help them figure out how to shape their schedule. These come with the purchase of the book ONLY, not the app.
http:// http://www.geekwingchuninc.com/TheLoneWarrior.html – For The book:
FOR THE FREEBIES: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
WC&R – Can we expect a sequel?
A sequel, no. Revised editions, yes. I also have other books out. One is on how to teach WC, the other is how to build your own freestanding wooden dummy. In case you want the links to those, they are included right here. http://www.geekwingchuninc.com/HowtoTeachWingChun.html http://www.geekwingchuninc.com/HowtoBuildaFreestandingWingChunWoodenDummy.html
Steve as usual this has been an excellent discussion, I’m sure our readers will be as equally excited as we were to read your full book.
Thanks for giving me the chance to be introduced to them.
For more about Steve Grogan and Geek Wing Chun inc you can check him out via the following social media links: http://www.geekwingchuninc.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/GeekWingChunInc http://www.facebook.com/geekwingchuninc https://twitter.com/geekwingchuninc https://www.instagram.com/geekwingchun https://www.pinterest.com/geekwingchun https://www.reddit.com/user/GeekWingChun https://www.tumblr.com/blog/geekwingchun https://www.tumblr.com/blog/geekwingchun https://mix.com/geekwingchun https://geekwingchun.blogspot.com/ https://geekwingchuninc.wordpress.com/
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