Why Wing Chun in Orange County? – Mark Allen


Are you a three-time black belt? Three, yeah.
Three, three different styles and…yeah kind of–it’s, it’s interesting, um, I have
a marketing company, so I’m hearing all these great,
these are marketing gold, so I mean it’s not, but I know that’s not the intention, but it’s
like, “Wow!” It’s really, uh, I wanted to talk about not just why Wing Chun, but why
THIS Wing Chun. Because, I started out in martial arts, as maybe a lot of you that
have martial arts with Korean, the Taekwondo, because those schools are kind
of on every corner, you know, or at least when I was growing up, that’s the most
common kind of martial arts school you’d see. And I got into it initially, because
I was like a late bloomer in school, and I was a smaller kid when I started
school, and my, my dad played football, and he encouraged me to get into football, to
kind of like, find my balance, and, and be okay with being physical and stuff. And I
remember the first time that I did Pop Warner football and, as a little kid, and
I remember the first time I put on the pads and I got hit, I was really scared, and I was
like, you know, because I didn’t grow up in a bad home, I grew up in a great home, and
it’s like, there was just, you know, nothing but love in my home, but I got
hit and I was like, “Man!” and, and then, but after a while, after I got hit some more,
something completely changed, and I really liked the contact, because I
realized it was like a test of who I was, and if I could, if I could push the fear
down a little bit, I, I could become stronger that way. So, that was kind of
what got me into wanting to do Taekwondo, and also because that was kind of the
only martial art back then, that was really familiar. Started doing that, and
like a lot of you that have done that realized, that it really was business, and
you know memorized kinda choreography routines, breaks some boards,
here’s your certificate, you know, kind of thing, but I also did like that there was
some focus on movement, some angles, and things, and I started to
kind of like, seek out what other arts were out there, and I thought to myself,
and after I got my black belt in Taekwondo, I thought, “Okay we were next
door to a Hapkido school,” which is another Korean art similar, but more on
the combat side–more leverages, judo, you know, locks, things like that. More
restrained, control-type moves. More applicable to kind of, you know, grabbing
and things like that. More, I felt, more suited to combat, and I was kind of drawn
to more–to less sport–and wanted to seek out to combat side, and I thought, “Well if,
you know, if I’m gonna get in a fight, I don’t want to be a sport fight,” so
Hapkido was like, the logical one at the time for me to go in and kind of learn
the combative side. So I did that for another five, six years, got a black belt
in Hapkido, and then ended up teaching Hapkido as an instructor, and it was, it
was great, because I felt like I would break things down in a way, and help
people learn, and that was real rewarding for that class, but I felt like after my
black belt, I felt like, “Okay, this is it. This is kind of, this is kind of it,” and I
thought, “There’s got to be more out there,” because I’m, now I’m starting to see, kind
of, the emergence of MMA and all these other things, and of course, also the
Chinese arts, and I had seen things like people doing the wooden dummy, and I’m
like, “That’s kind of cool,” and, you know, from, from an immature brain, I’m looking
at all that stuff going, “That’s cool!” you know, just, you could kick ass and
stuff, you know, and, so then I started thinking, “Okay, well what about what about
Chinese arts?” and I found out–I was talking to people that were military and
things like that, and they talked about San Soo Kung Fu, and they said that a lot of the Seals, and some of the SpecOps guys did San Soo. So I went and I did San
Soo, and, nothing wrong with San Soo, it was great, but it reminded me a lot of
Hapkido–it’s just kind of combatives and it was, and it was good–angles and
good practice and things like this, but I was like, “Man there, there seems, it’s,
there’s something that needs to be more,” and then through some other people, I met
a good friend that did Shaolin stuff. Had a grandmaster from, from China.
Shaolin guy–sixth generation Shaolin guy, and did a lot of work with
energy, and the energy stuff they did, like, super impressed me and, and that was
like the first time I felt some type of, it was kind of like the ball type
exercise, but it was the first time I kind of felt like, “Man, there is maybe
more to this,” and this guy was a real experienced guy–had done the route. He
goes, “Look, the Chinese arts are never-ending,” and that’s kind of why I
got into that, but when we sparred, it reminded me of this sparring I had done
in the other arts again. So like, I like the energy part, but then I was like, “Man,
there’s gotta be more,” and so then, I’m like, “Well I’m still on the combatives
journey,” I’m looking at others, other styles. I got introduced to Systema–
Russian martial art–and again a lot of energy, but emphasis on combat,
and things like that. I like that as well– the movements were real fluid, which I
liked, and then, around about that same time,
through some other people that I met, and I just I just kept networking, and kept
searching stuff. I ran into the the Jeet Kune Do progressive fighting, which is–and,
and this was a guy that is a real high level kind of celebrity in the martial
arts world. He, in the 90’s trained SEAL Team Six. He developed his own fighting
system for them, and I thought, “Wow that’s, that’s really cool!” He also was Danone
Asano’s top student. Used to Train Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon. So this guy was like
legit. Went and trained with him. Private lessons, at his home, for a long period of
time. Ended up becoming a black belt with him, and become an instructor,
and helping other guys in combatives, and they did all kinds of weapons and other
stuff too, but the weird thing was, is, inside, I’m still thinking, “Man, I feel
like there’s still more,” and I don’t know why, but one of the–they have these group
events that was happening once a year, and all these people from other
countries would fly in and train at this guy’s house, and they were all
disciplined in all types of art. So I mean, I’ve had exposure to just about,
maybe, I shouldn’t even say “just about,” I probably had exposure to every
martial art there is, and one of the people that was a bodyguard for a few
famous celebrities, I would train with him, and his favorite art was Wing Chun,
and he was actually pretty good at it, and it was, even though I had already got my
black belt, with this other guy, I was like, “Man! His, his hands are amazing, and
they’re soft, and I never know where this guy’s coming from,” and he was always like
two moves ahead of me and I’m like, “This is kind of the thing!” And so now, I kind of
was zoned in on what I wanted, and so I thought, okay, we’re gonna wrap this up. We’re getting to Wing Chun, and then we’re gonna get to why this Wing Chun. So, so
then I, I wanted to, I sought out a mission to find, like the number one Wing
Chun guy i could find in Orange County, and I went on Google, because I didn’t
know, and I didn’t, and at the time, the guy that seemed to kind of be appearing
everywhere, was this guy that I went to train with, and I went and did private
lessons at his house every day, and I would, right before I’d go into my office,
I’d be there at 7:00 a.m., training with him, and then, you know, we drink tea and
all this other stuff, and supposedly he was a Wing Chun master for 40 years and
all this other stuff, we trained together, and I thought, “okay,” but I still felt like,
“Man, there’s some cool stuff that I learned,” but it wasn’t, it wasn’t like
this guy that I trained with–the bodyguard guy–and then, and I had driven
by the Dragon Institute like, I don’t know how many, millions of times and this
guy, unfortunately, was dishonest with me, and told me that Adam was one of his
students, or I would have come in and met Adam a lot sooner. But he told me
Adam was one of his students, and I thought, “Well I’m already training with the guy
that taught him, why would I, you know,” and, and he was closer to my house. I lived
literally down the street at the time, in Dana Point.
I could have, like skateboarded down the hill, and I just, but I just kept
continuing to drive all the way over into Irvine area, to train with this other guy,
because I’m like, you know, because that’s what I thought was the truth. And so, and
I don’t know, one of these days, I just, you know, I’m just gonna go in there, and
I went in there, and I met Adam, and I was like, you know, and it was, and it was a
great place. I mean like, the place is beautiful, and, and super great rapport,
like immediately, I just felt like, “Wow this is just like a great culture here,”
the energy was like awesome, and I could just pick up on the fact that everybody
wasn’t like, paid actors, they really were into it, and he’s like, “Well come back
for a class,” so I came back for a class, and that’s what hooked me, because the first
guy that I sparred with was Bruce, and he kicked my ass, and it was like, and then I,
and then I was going around and training with other students and they were all kicking
my ass, and I was like, I came in with a little chip on my shoulder, I thought, “Man
I know some stuff, right, at multiple black belts, I’m training, not just black
belts, but through the top guys I could find and in the top arts I could find,”
and here I am getting whooped by guys that, that weren’t senior students. I
mean, some of the guys that, that were killing me in sparring, were like,
they’ve been with Adam a few months, and I’m just,like, “There’s something to
this,” and so rather than get sad and just leave, because that was one option right
off, like, “Damn this sucks,” right? But I thought to myself, you know, that I need
to learn this. This is it. And then, and I will tell you, not to make it sound easy
at all, because this is like the most difficult thing that I’ve done, because I
learned through the combination of all the external stuff I’ve done,
I had to retrain everything, and really get into the internal and, and really
realized that, that’s something that I, that I needed to do to progress. And
without doing that, there was no improvement for me. So that’s still a
journey I’m, you know, it’s still something that I’m working on every day,
and it’s still something I’m learning and appreciating from everyday, but one
of the things that I, that I will tell you is, without question, you know if you’re
if you are collecting black belts like me, and you’re looking for like, the very
best stuff out there, and you, and you’re and you’re literally on a quest to find
the ultimate of the ultimate, it’s here. And it’s not just Wing Chun,
but it’s Wing Chun at The Dragon Institute, and the reason I say that, is
because, most of the other Wing Chun out there–they don’t, they don’t
teach the important stuff. The important stuff is the little detail stuff. The
detail stuff in Wing Chun, you’ve missed the details? You miss it all.
You miss the whole thing. You’ll miss the art entirely. And you’ll, you’ll, even on
videos it’s weird. You’ll see videos, and it’ll look like they’re doing
similar things, but until you feel the difference, and until you, until you dial
in those details, it is the, it is the exact opposite, and it will not help you. So, so
that’s, that’s it. I’m so grateful to be here, I’m grateful to have my brothers
and sisters, my family here. So, so thank you everybody.

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