Flight Attendants Learn Wing Chun to Deal with Unruly Passengers

(USA Today) — Hong Kong Airlines is asking its flight crews to learn a form of kung fu, something the carrier hopes will help its staff deal with drunk and unruly passengers, AFP reports.

AFP writes “Hong Kong Airlines said all staff had been invited to undergo training in wing chun — a form of kung fu used in close-range combat — but it was only compulsory for cabin crew, the Sunday Morning Post (of Hong Kong) reported.”

The airline deals with about three disruptive passengers a week, according to Hong Kong Airlines spokeswoman Eva Chan.

She says the benefits of adding martial arts training came into focus two weeks ago after a flight attendant used her previous training to help resolve an incident on a Beijing-to-Hong Kong flight.

“One of the passengers was sick but he was probably drunk and felt unwell. The crew member attended to him and she realized her fitness was helping her, especially because the guy was quite heavy,” Chan told the Morning Post.

One of the airline’s newest attendants, 22-year-old Lumpy Tang, tells the Morning Post the martial arts training came as a surprising — but welcome — addition to her job description.

“You cannot predict what will happen on the plane, so wing chun is good because it’s so fast,” Tang said to the paper. “I feel safer because I can defend myself and I’m happy to be one of the first cabin crew to learn wing chun in the world.” (USA Today)

Gracie Confesses

From Close Quarter Combat Magazine – Page 13, August/Sept 2003, Issue 20

G r a c i e C o n f e s s e s

By SGT. Laurence Snell (US ARMY, Ret.)

“Hidden in this CYA statement there is a confession.”

“When I tour the country and give seminars, I am surprised by how many people who are experts in sport jujitsu but do not know the most basic self-defense techniques of ju-jitsu. The problem with this is that you can get a false sense of security from what you know. Just because you can handle yourself on the mat doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do when attacked. In that case, sport ju-jitsu can actually be a detriment because you’ll be overconfident. We were shocked by how many longtime students had completely forgotten, or even worse never learned, the very important self-defense aspects. For my father Helio, the self-defense moves are far more important than the sport moves. Every time I see him, he always tells me that students are not being taught enough self-defense moves.”

– Royce Gracie,

Grapple Magazine

Isn’t it a little late to be telling us this? They are the number one initiator and breeders of modern sport wrestling. After all these years of making undefeatable claims and brainwashing thousands of students into believing they are in some kind of an undefeatable system, he tells us this, now? Questionable marketing and early UFC  shenanigans (trampoline ring floors and that fighter named Kimo that really had only one month of training–not a 4th degree black belt!) had left their deep impression in the early 1990’s. This Gracie style of sport wrestling, which has confused and misled so many as being some kind of ultimate self-defense, has infected the world. So many martial artists feel compelled to offer groundwrestling courses in their programs that the Gracie family name appears coast-tocoast.

So much so, that a few key, naïve, military insiders have embraced it. I am a retired U.S. Army Sergeant and former old-school, Karate black belt. I stood by through the years as I watched my beloved Japanese arts turn into “children citizenship schools” that produce little more than sport kick-boxers. And I am ashamed to say I also stood by as just a few people in “this-man’s-Army” twisted our hand-to-hand combat manuals into some kind of high school wrestling program.

Powerless to interfere again, I watched the process, which started with a small team of Rangers going to Brazil, bringing the criteria back. Next, the material somehow spread into Army doctrine. Newer manuals cover an abundance of sport, wrestling techniques. I spoke with a graduate of these courses and he told me, “…during the randori (freestyle wrestling) work-outs, I would pretend that the real enemy was trying to get me, or that an attacker was after my family and I had to break free and win.” When I reminded him that stabbing your finger into the eye of these killers was just one of many survival techniques missing from their doctrine, he seemed to miss the point.

“Ever wrestle with your backpack on? With an M-16? Wearing a pistol and a knife? Can you? Even as an escaping and unarmed prisoner, is wrestling your first choice? “ I asked him? “I just really like it,” was the only answer. For some, the brainwashing runs deep.

For others in a growing trend, the brainwashing doesn’t run so deep. Early on, the newer UFC fighters, with their emphasis on hardcore striking and kicking, have learned to defeat these sport wrestlers. A recent Tennessee police officer wrote a review of a police-based, Gracie seminar he attended for a major law enforcement magazine. The officer reported that much of what Gracie teaches must be “taken with a grain of salt,” because he lacks experience in the realworld problems of police combat.

I think the Gracies have seen the modern movement toward reality in martial arts and are doing public relations / CYA (cover your ass), actually blaming their students for not knowing what they haven’t been teaching them for 15 years now. But hidden in this CYA statement there is a confession. When will we hear something similar from the Army? I wonder now what these shortsighted, Army H2H manual writers think now, after Gracie’s admission. We will be stuck with this manual for years, maybe even a decade!

By SGT. Laurence Snell (US ARMY, Ret.)

Why are we teaching these (our) troops to wrestle?

Wing Chun Workbook of Skills and Drills Now Available

For those of you looking to supplement your Wing Chun training, there is an upcoming source for valuable insight and new perspectives. My SiHeng (Older Kung Fu Brother), SiFu Dustan Carroll, in Huntsville Alabama, is now providing a monthly newsletter on Wing Chun called the Wing Chun Workbork(TM) of Skill and Drills. Its a monthly email newsletter covering a different Wing Chun concept each month. From everything I have seen so far, I believe the time and energy that has been expended has culminated in a high quality product. The newsletter is $24.97 for a one year subscription. The first issue comes out April 1st, so you will need to signup this week.

More information can be found on the Alabama Wing Chun Boxing Academy website, http://alabamawingchun.com/workbook/. Contact SiFu Carroll if you have any questions. or comments.


SiFu James Sasitorn, Chief Instructor
Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy, LLC
Houston, TX

Wing Chun Warrior by SiFu Duncan Leung

I’ve heard conflicting reports from my students regarding the availability of  the book: Wing Chun Warrior by my SiGung, SiFu Duncan Leung. I wanted to get a copy to keep at the school, and was able to order the book through SiGung’s website at:


The book is also available on Everything Wing Chun:


Unlike most of the Wing Chun books you’ll find, this isn’t the typical instructional book with history, theory, techniques, and applications. Instead, its a collection of stories from SiFu Duncan Leung about his experiences learning and applying Wing Chun, intermixed with philosophy and Wing Chun theory. This book helps elucidate the more intangible and profound aspects of Wing Chun and martial arts in general. It also provides us a deeper understanding up the character of Yip Man and his teachings. Here are two reviews on it:

The story of Duncan Leung – childhood friend of Bruce Lee and disciple of Wing Chun master Yip Man – is valuable not only for the insights it offers into Chinese martial arts but also for its portrayal of the lost Hong Kong of the 1950s and 1960s. Reading Ken Ing’s Wing Chun Warrior, which chronicles Leung’s Kung Fu escapades, will be a jarring revelation to anyone familiar with the manic but orderly and largely peaceful city of seven million people that is Hong Kong today. The city described by Ing is a place where Kung Fu practitioners wielded eight-chop knives in the streets and literally battled their way from one martial arts studio to another to prove their fighting prowess. — Asia Times, May 16, 2009

There are some gems in the text that have the feeling of a 1950s Hong Kong film. For example, when Leung is queueing up for an evening function and two triads jump the queue, he decks them, much to the admiration of the crowd. But he has only a moment to enjoy their adulation before he spots 20 men with broken bottles heading for him. He then runs 2km, loses his entourage and comes to rest at the Queen Victoria statue in Victoria Park, where he promptly vomits. There are also his references to his friend Bruce Lee, who to a certain extent has become more legend than man — that as well as fighting, they were Elvis Presley fans and enjoyed dancing, at which they were apparently skilled. The book describes the two teenagers going to weekly dance classes so they could swivel their hips like the King. –South China Morning Post, March 1, 2009

SiFu James Sasitorn
Houston Wing Chun Boxing Academy