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International Academy of Wingchun, Berkeley - Legit, or Bullshido?

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    International Academy of Wingchun, Berkeley - Legit, or Bullshido?

    I live in Berkeley, California and was looking to take up martial arts classes. Unfortunately, the only two schools that are close enough to me are West Wind Schools or the International Academy of Wingchun - you can imagine my dismay (with a large helping of hilarity) when I discovered what a total scam/cult West Wind is. So, simple question: does anyone know whether IAW is legitimate, or is it just another McDojo?

    Just to clear up exactly which school I've got in mind, here's their website:

    Any info you guys can give would be appreciated. Thanks!

    If you're close to those two schools, you're close to several others, including a Straight Blast Modern Combatives gym on San Pablo, the Gracie Fighter place in that little mall on Durant (by Revolution Books and the Friends of the Library), and a little further away the Ralph Gracie place. Most of these are on bus lines or in walking distance. If you can walk to West Wind, you can certainly walk to the first two I listed.

    If you're not interested in MMA, you can also take martial arts classes at UC Berkeley itself:
    (Again, if you're close to West Winds, you are close to the campus and can take judo, taiji etc.)

    If you have a particular interest in Chinese martial arts, there's also that southern praying mantis joint on University. I have no experience with it, or with the Wing Chun school you're asking about, but I would not be surprised if the quality of instruction is low. Partially simply because WC instruction tends to be low quality, and when there are a bunch of trademark symbols on the site and expensive-looking flyers all over the place, it's likely not an exception to that rule of thumb.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, I live near you and I actually drag my ass to Golden Gate Park in SF early mornings to study with my teacher, passing god knows how many East Bay CMA schools on the way.

    But if you don't have a special interest in CMA and are just looking for martial arts classes in general, there are many high-quality arts in town. There's also a push-hands meet-up in Willard Park on the first Sunday of each month and you can ask the guys there for their experiences. I play there occasionally myself, when I'm free on Sundays. (Not often.) It's a mixed CMA crowd.

    PS: You'll note that your post has been moved to "Newbietown", which is the place for general inquiries from new posters. The MABS section is for serious analysis of potential frauds.


      Salute, my name is John. I operate the Southern Praying Mantis school at 1640A University Ave in Berkeley, Ca. Please check out my website, We offer a free intro class if you are interested. I appreciate the consideration. Thanks!


        I'm not looking to do MMA, and although I'm close enough to campus to try the programs they offer, they didn't look too promising (I was also hoping for a place with smaller classes). Do you know if they're worth checking out?

        John, I had a look at your website, and I might try out the intro class - thanks for your reply.



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