What The Dragon Institute – Wing Chun Orange County is All About
The Dragon Institute – Wing Chun Orange County is where martial arts blackbelts turn for the best Wing Chun in Orange County.
Our insane dedication to practicality and efficiency are why publications like the Dana Point Times, CityVoter, and FoxLA KTTV have named us Best Martial Arts in Orange County.
And our founder’s passion and vision are likely why VoyageLA and Wing Chun Illustrated recently featured Adam Williss in their magazines.
But here’s the deal:
Although we are traditional in our principles, our modern training methods (at The Dragon Institute – Wing Chun Orange County) are some of the most progressive in Wing Chun today. Practicality, innovation and efficiency guide our continuous Wing Chun evolution. Nothing is practiced simply because of tradition. Everything we do is deliberately practiced for functional application.
Our instructors, are all professionally accredited specialists – compassionate, knowledgable, problem solvers that love what they do.
Find out more by reading our Frequently Asked Questions.
Our schools are located in Irvine & Dana Point offering group martial arts classes and private lessons. We specialize in traditional Chinese martial arts (aka Kung Fu)… with practical & modern training methods for today’s realistic self-defense threats.
You stand on the threshold of a very important first step in your martial arts journey that, if you let it, will change your life forever! For us, our Orange County kung fu practice is a dedication to excellence. It’s about a vision of your future and reaching higher levels of potential in ALL areas of your life.
The bottom line:
This isn’t just any kung fu school.
Our martial arts schools beam with the kind of honest dedication to excellence all too uncommon in today’s world.
And that’s why our school isn’t for everyone.
Honesty is difficult. Humbling yourself is hard. But that’s what excellence requires.
The more you learn about us, the more you will want to be part of our uniquely exciting Orange County kung fu family.
Yours in Wing Chun,
Sifu Adam Williss
Founder of The Dragon Institute
Meet our Instructors
Wing Chun is our passion! We fell in love with the art’s beauty, intelligence and efficiency. We believe everyone needs to learn Wing Chun. That’s why we have dedicated ourselves to helping others through Wing Chun. The benefits are just too many to ignore.
Each of our instructors has a gift. Their gift is the ability to change lives through their work. Our instructors all have patience, compassion, encouragement and an amazing ability to get through to students. Led by Sifu Adam Williss and Sifu Derrick Mansell, humble badass takes on a real world possibility like never before. Both are some of the very best in the world, yet you’d never know it when you meet them. Its precisely because of their selfless, example-based leadership that The Dragon Institute has such ego-free, high quality students.
Our coaches have all trained for several years and were hand-selected based on their qualities of character, integrity and compassion. Each of our instructors have been fully certified specifically for their teaching position at The Dragon Institute through our extensive Apprentice Instructor’s program.
Sifu Adam Williss is the founder of The Dragon Institute. For the last 22 years, he’s dedicated his life to becoming “Wing Chun”. From this commitment, he has become one of the world’s foremost experts in the art.
Sifu Adam Williss has made it his life’s mission to empower individuals of all ages and all walks of life with Wing Chun’s physical, mental and life-changing benefits through his local classes, private martial arts training, online learning program and workshops. His students include FBI agents, homeland security personnel, active soldiers in the Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force as well as other law enforcement and security professionals. His training includes both hand-to-hand combat as well as real-world self-defense against weapons. He is also a self-defense expert instructor to large companies, community-based service clubs, local Orange County businesses as well as amateur and professional athletes.
In addition to the practical self-defense capabilities of Wing Chun, Sifu Adam also specializes in its unique personal developmental benefits. This includes its “Be Like Water” philosophy of leadership, efficiency and life balance as well as the internal, energy-based health aspects of the art. He leads a regular morning Tai Chi / Qigong (Chi Kung) class isolating the more internal and intrinsic benefits of his training for the mind, body and energy cultivation. Through the years he’s also helped many seniors, those with with disabilities, stroke victims, recovering drug addicts and alcoholics through his qigong work with them.
Sifu Adam is the State of California representative of The System Wing Chun under Florida-based Sifu William (Bill) Graves of the Leung Sheung line of Wing Chun. As such, Sifu Adam is an official lineage holder of the Worldwide Leung Sheung Lineage Association. Sifu Adam Williss was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2010, founder of Wing Chun Against Bullying, president of the Dragon Family Wing Chun Association and member of the International Kung Fu Federation, Independent Martial Arts Federation, International Combat Martial Arts Unions Association, United States Kuo Shu Federation, Ving Tsun Athletic Association and National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association.
Sifu Derrick Mansell
Head Instructor – Irvine School
Sifu Derrick Mansell is a fully certified “Sifu” 師父/师父 and the senior-most student of Sifu Adam Williss. As such, he is a lineage holder of the Dragon Family Wing Chun and the Worldwide Leung Sheung Lineage Association. With 8 years experience, he has dedicated his life to Wing Chun and in helping others through the art he calls “the best thing I’ve ever done”. Sifu Derrick is the former president and current vice-president of the Dragon Family Wing Chun Association. He serves on the Board of Directors for Wing Chun Against Bullying.
Coach Zach Ismirnioglou
Youth Instructor – Dana Point School
Coach Zach is an integral part of our kids kung fu program. He is a recent graduate of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, yet his demeanor and actions are some of the rarest you’d find in anyone regardless of age. With 3 years experience, he dedicates himself to helping kids succeed and developing in them a feeling of confidence, security and happiness. His people skills, compassion and unshakeable character make him a natural at bringing out the very best in kids.
Coach David Vang
Youth Instructor – Irvine School
Coach David loves what he does. With 3 years experience, he uses his knowledge to guide kids with his excitement and passion for teaching. A high school student, David is intrinsically drawn to leadership and helping children. His encouragement and sincere belief in kids empowers them to believe in themselves and unleash their hidden power.
Coach Henry Schreiner
Youth Instructor – Dana Point School
Coach Henry is one of the kindest and most intelligent people you’ll ever meet. Always with a smile on his face and heart of gold, Henry leads by example with compassion, patience and encouragement.
Coach Jake Ginsberg
Youth Instructor – Dana Point School
Coach Jake just loves teaching. He doesn’t feel like being a coach is a job. For him, the joy of teaching is simply fun to do. He loves seeing kids progress and really enjoys making an impact on them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Wing Chun and other martial arts?
Wing Chun is unlike anything you’ll ever do. Its benefits are immeasurable. Wing Chun is:
- one part highly effective self-defense for real world scenarios
- one part a daily mental health and physical exercise discipline
- one part life philosophy
Unlike most martial arts, Wing Chun is not a sport. Wing Chun doesn’t compete in point-based tournaments or sports competitions. When it comes to the combat application of Wing Chun, we are focused entirely on self-defense. Practicing a martial arts system for self-defense is entirely different from a sport-based martial arts approach. Participating in tournaments and matches changes the way your mind approaches a self-defense situation. So our training is completely different than those martial arts you see competing in competitions. That mindset transfers directly to how you respond and deal with the realities of self-defense. Wing Chun is a guide that takes you through a never-ending pursuit of an ideal. It is both a martial art and a philosophy that becomes a way of life that encompasses the full mind, body and spirit. Many martial arts today lack this very necessary integration.
What sets you apart from other martial arts schools?
QUALITY – The phenomenal masters that have come before us have set a precedence. Because of them, we are able to offer a deeper understanding, exceptional quality and provide such meticulous detail in our training.
EFFECTIVENESS – This is self-defense, it works against real-world attacks. We train for practical application and providing street-proven realistic knowledge. You aren’t practicing to “participate” or “win” a competition or tournament. You’re training for what really works when your life is on the line.
CHARACTER – This is an ego-free school. Arrogant and pompous people are not welcome. Our school is about helping you, not competing with you. You just don’t find the kind of arrogant people you often find at other martial arts schools.
GENUINE – Authentic lineage, experienced instructors, fair prices with no long term binding contracts, a focus on sparring and handling all threats including take-downs. We also don’t charge for testing. We don’t believe in it. Despite the reason a martial arts school tries to justify charging for testing, it is simply not necessary.
What kind of time commitment is involved?
Committing yourself to your training is a requirement of The Dragon Institute. We recommend coming to class twice a week or more when available. You’ll also need to regularly practice drills and forms at home.
What kind of financial commitment is involved?
Classes at The Dragon Institute are valued at $300/month. But tuition is set much less than that. It would prevent many from being able to enjoy the immeasurable benefits of Wing Chun. Although a financial commitment is required from all of our students, we are driven by helping more people. In fact, you’ll find that our prices are even less than most other martial arts schools. The truth is, we’re not competing with them. You’ll see this in our uniquely genuine attitude, in the quality of our program, in the level of our instruction and in the passion of our students.
How long will it take to get good?
You’ll notice a real difference within 3 months. We’ve had students successfully defend themselves on the street within 6 months. However, due to our high standard, instructor level certification takes quite a few years (depending on the student’s ability to apply). Only ability can determine your level. Ability is not determined by how many forms or combinations you can rehearse. Therefore we are very discriminating upon who we certify. (Please note only adults may earn “black belt level” certificates, we do not award children black belts).
How easy is Wing Chun to learn?
The beginning is the hardest part because you’re learning to think and move in a completely new way. There will be an adaptation period (called the dip) where you’ll feel awkward. The dip can last anywhere from two weeks to a couple months. Hang in there, with time, dedication, and guidance it will eventually feel right.
Do you guarantee your program?
Absolutely. Our risk free program offers a full 30-day 100% money back guarantee. It is the perfect way to start training with us without worrying about getting into something that you can’t get out of.
Do you have any age limits?
We have different classes for adults, juniors, kids and preschoolers. Our adult classes include many well into their 60s. Kids as young as 3 can start in our preschool classes. The next age group is 5-10. And our junior Wing Chun program is ages 11 -15.
Am I too old for Wing Chun?
Wing Chun can be practiced with great benefit well into your later years. Its focus on efficiency and low kicks are practiced by students well into their late 60’s. Unlike other “hard” martial arts, you don’t tear your joints down. In fact, it has sometimes been referred to as the “old man’s art”.
What benefits does your kids program offer?
Our rewards system improves self-esteem. Our structured kids classes teach mental discipline. Our activities help channel aggression into a positive outlet. Our kids classes enhance assertiveness and teach lifetime self-defense skills. Kung Fu is one of the best things you can do for your child!
What benefits does your adult’s program offer?
True confidence in your ability to defend yourself. Our classes are a great way to become healthier, relieve stress, build discipline in your lives, develop shaper focus and build authentic confidence. Everything we teach is reality-based and can very well save your life!
How does Wing Chun work?
Wing Chun students defend themselves by using the simplest actions possible as well as leverage and angles to turn attackers’ strengths against them. Wing Chun is effective for everyone, regardless of size, strength or gender. It teaches smaller, weaker people to be able to overcome stronger, larger people.
Does your Wing Chun system have all the traditional forms and principles?
Absolutely. Our Wing Chun system includes all the traditional Wing Chun material as passed down through Ip Man (aka Yip Man), his senior-most Hong Kong student, Leung Sheung. Our school has the honor of continuing this amazing legacy through our Sifu, Adam Williss, as passed down by some of best practitioners in the Wing Chun world today (Kenneth Chung, Ben Der, Karl Godwin and Bill Graves).
Is The Dragon Institute a fully-accredited Wing Chun school?
The Dragon Institute is a fully-accredited, full-time professional Wing Chun school. We have received recognition by several national and international associations including Ip Man’s VTAA association in Hong Kong. Both of our Sifus are recognized as official lineage holders of the Worldwide Leung Sheung Lineage Association. Our founder, Sifu Adam Williss, has been training Wing Chun for the last 21 years and Sifu Derrick Mansell for the last 8 years. All of our Youth Instructors are certified under the The Dragon Institute Apprentice Instructor course prior to leading children’s classes.
Do I need to be in shape to join?
Absolutely not! Wing Chun training is geared toward the individual. Everybody trains at his or her own level, pushing a little bit more every time. There is no pressure to do things that your body isn’t able to do. Most students notice and increase in fitness, joint flexibility, and general strength after as little as a month.
Is our training good for self-defense?
Second to none! Our training program is designed to teach students what REALLY works on the street. Our Wing Chun training places a strong emphasis on giving students solid responses to real-world attacks, not for the ring, octagon or some other sports competition. Regardless of your size or age, the bottom line is that our methods work when it matters the most!
Is our training good for sports competition?
Wing Chun is not a sport. If you want to participate in sports competition, we suggest you chose another martial art that specializes in sports competition.
Do I need previous martial arts experience to start?
Nope. In fact, students with little or no previous martial arts experience tend to have fewer bad habits to break. However, if you do have previous experience, please do your best to “empty your cup” and come to us with an open mind.
Is Wing Chun good for women?
According to Wing Chun’s legendary history, Wing Chun is the only martial art to be created by a woman. It is geared for smaller or weaker individuals to enable themselves to defend against stronger or more aggressive attackers.
Is Wing Chun for everyone?
No. Wing Chun is not for everyone and we don’t accept all applicants into our program. Students must leave their egos at the door and humble themselves. Our school is built on good people and helping others. A good character, integrity and sincerely humbleness is required to become a student.
Is our training safe?
Student safety is a primary concern during all classes. Students are taught how to train intensively and safely with a partner. In addition, the completion of our basic training program reduces the possibility of injury to a minimal level.
What can I expect in the training?
The classes are fun and challenging! They are taught in a friendly environment where the students engage in a wide variety of drills, exercises and training routines helping each other in a family-like atmosphere. Beginner level classes consist of form training, footwork, drills and light sparring.
In class, students engage in:
Forms and Moving meditation training – energy development exercises which teach muscle memory, concentration, mental focus, and precision body movement.
Strength training – to build and improve your abilities to apply the powerful actions of Wing Chun.
Reflex training – used to improve hand-eye coordination and timing. Chi Sau – a training exercise unique to Wing Chun which uses tactile reflex development and muscle memory to “program” the limbs to react to contact with an opponents attack.
Analytic Sparring – a unique interactive approach to learning that teaches th
Sparring – application training where the student learns to use the movements of the forms, drills and chi-sau for actual fighting.
Footwork and kicking drills – provide for mobility and agility in attacking and defending.
Equipment training – Using equipment such as wooden dummies, sand bag training, wooden blocks and 4×4 platforms to help the students develop striking force, structure, energetic connectios within the body, coordination, body conditioning, rooting and stance development, distance measure, angle orientation and just to improve general fitness.
Note: You will get bruised in our classes (usually on the forearms and shins). If you are looking for a kickboxing work-out where you do not get bruised, our training may not be right for you.
As I am a student of another Martial Art/Wing Chun organization, can I attend just to learn some of your techniques?
At The Dragon Institute, we do not discriminate based on previous martial arts background or affiliations. If you are visiting from out of town, we suggest private lessons. However, all new students in our group classes start as a beginner regardless of previous experience. If our own students have to work hard to earn the right to learn, why should we just sell them to outsiders? On the other hand, if a student is very talented or gifted, then that student will be promoted and advanced accordingly.
What should I wear? Do I need special clothing or equipment?
Wear comfortable clothing. There is no special requirement for intro students. All jewelry that can be readily taken off will need to be removed. Once you become a student, the uniform consists of an official Dragon Institute t-shirt, arm sleeves, kung fu pants and kung fu shoes. A groin protector (cup) and mouthpiece will also be need to be purchased to be used after about a month into beginning your training.
What should I do to prepare for my first class?
No preparation is needed. Just show up and our instructors will handle the rest!
Do you offer private lessons?
Yes, please contact us for more information.
What values do you profess?
We use martial arts as a way of life. We are deeply committed to meeting life’s challenges head-on, constant growth through facing our fears, taking ourselves out of our comfort zones, being truthful to ourselves and to others, seeking to constantly improve ourselves, focusing on priorities, having courtesy for others, being respectful to others – especially those that are different than us, serving the community, learning from those that have come before us, mentoring our juniors, having the passion and determination to work harder than others have the will to do, and many more. Our developmental journey through Wing Chun influences every aspect of our lives. The concepts, philosophies and training experiences bring about a refreshing perspective of life’s challenges- helping us deal with life’s situations in a whole new way.
Who is the Sifu/Head Instructor of The Dragon Institute?
Our sifu is United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee Adam Williss. With 20 years experience, Sifu Adam has dedicated his life to empowering and educating people of all ages through his classes, private training sessions and seminars. He has trained numerous professionals, athletes and corporate executives. Sifu Adam is an instructor to groups ranging from employees of large corporations to university students. He is also the expert behind “Ask Sifu” – an online platform where he answers Wing Chun questions free of charge. He is also the author of “Self-Defense Advice with Adam Williss” as well as other publications where his work has been featured both online and in print. Most recently, he was featured in Wing Chun Illustrated and interviewed by Wing Chun Blast. Previously, Sifu Adam Williss was the editor-in-chief of Wing Chun Magazine. In 2014, he founded WING CHUN AGAINST BULLYING, an international project to unify the Wing Chun community to fight against bullying of all shapes and sizes.
What affiliations, associations and accreditation does The Dragon Institute have?
The Dragon Institute is Orange County’s official representative of Ip Man lineage Wing Chun Kung Fu under his senior-most Hong Kong student, Leung Sheung. We are internationally recognized under the Hong Kong-based organization founded by Ip Man (Ving Tsun Athletic Association), a proud affiliate school of the Worldwide Leung Sheung Lineage Association and the official representative of California for Bill Graves’ The System Wing Chun. We also have affiliations with Ben Der’s San Jose Wing Chun, Karl Godwin’s Seminole Wing Chun, Jesse Moon’s North Florida Wing Chun, Kenneth Chung’s Stanford University Wing Chun, Jonathan Petree’s Atlantic Warriors Wing Chun, Tim Faughn’s Wing Chun Fight Club and Wesley Lim’s Leung Sheung Wing Chun (Singapore).