If you’ve ever wondered:
“Where can I find practical martial arts in Orange County”, you’re in the right place.
The Dragon Institute is where black belts turn for “practical martial arts in Orange County.”
What they know is how different we are at The Dragon Institute. They’ve invested their time in other martial arts. They know what’s out there. And time and time again they choose The Dragon Institute.
Our insane dedication to practicality and efficiency are likely why publications like FoxLA KTTV, CityVoter and OC Weekly have named us “Best Martial Arts in Orange County”.
Look: Wing Chun is hard to find. But high quality Wing Chun???
Much harder! How about world-class Wing Chun???
Only a few places in the world!
And that’s why we don’t have any “real” competition…
The honest truth is that no one has the ability to offer our level of Wing Chun.
A Message from Our Founder
Welcome to The Dragon Institute… the true culmination of my life’s work. For the last 23 years, I’ve dedicated myself to practicality and efficiency in everything I do. And I mean everything! And because of that single-minded dedication, I’ve been able to inspire that level of commitment in my students. This has become our schools culture. And I honestly believe that this is why our school has been recognized as one of very best Wing Chun schools in the world.
You see… I made sure that we weren’t distracted by flashy things. I made sure we specialized in high quality Wing Chun Kung Fu. Plain and simple. An art that doesn’t deliver the cheers of a crowd. In my approach to Wing Chun, reward comes in the form of cutting through complexity and in moments of honest application.
If you’ve experienced other martial arts before, other types of kung fu or even other styles of Wing Chun… brace yourself for an entirely new level of depth, insight and application.
The more you learn about us, the more you will want to be part of our martial arts family.
Sifu Adam Williss
Founder of The Dragon Institute
To receive an invitation to apply for admission to The Dragon Institute, the student must meet the following requirements.
Who Are Our Students? Why Are They Different?
• Our students refuse to settle for mediocrity
• They demand the best from themselves and are highly motivated to improve their quality of life
• They hold themselves to a high degree of accountability with a deep sense of personal responsibility
• They value professional, expert instruction instead of cheap classes. Their priority is value and quality.
• They are willing to “empty their cup”, put their ego aside and fully immerse themselves in learning
• They are serious about improving their functional abilities, their health and honestly want to feel better
• They are willing to invest in themselves, their mental, physical and spiritual health
• They are willing to build relationships based on mutual trust and respect
• They work hard and follow-through on the instruction/advice given to them
• Our students want a place to feel comfortable, whatever their current fitness level
Meet our Instructors
Each of our instructors has a gift… the ability to change lives. With patience, compassion, encouragement and an amazing ability to connect with students, we believe no other practice or activity has the same power to change people (young and old). That’s why we KNOW everyone needs to learn Wing Chun… Its benefits are simply too many to ignore.
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. They are easygoing, unassuming masters. Its precisely because of their selfless, example-based leadership that The Dragon Institute has such ego-free, high quality students.
Under them are our assistant instructors (aka coaches). All have 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 recently went off to college at Biola University, a nationally ranked private evangelical Christian university located in La Mirada. He has played an integral part in our kids kung fu program for several years as he dedicated himself to helping kids succeed and develop in them a feeling of confidence, security and happiness. His people skills, compassion and unshakeable character made him a natural at bringing out the very best in kids. His demeanor and actions are some of the rarest you’d find in anyone regardless of age. Although he will be missed, we wish Zach well in his studies as he continues to grow.
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 is a high school student who knows what its like to be small for his age. Yet no one messes with him because of how sure he is of himself and his abilities. He loves empowering kids to believe in themselves and their own abilities regardless of their size. Seeing kids progress means a great deal to Coach Jake. Knowing that he has the power to help them, he genuinely enjoys teaching.
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).
Are you a fully-accredited Wing Chun school?
You can’t get much better than our credentials. First of all, our founder is none other than internationally acclaimed Wing Chun expert, Adam Williss (probably the most passionate Wing Chun man you’ll ever meet). For the last 23 years, he’s dedicated his entire life to Wing Chun… and it shows through in the quality of our program, system and instruction. But its the ability of our students which is noted by experienced martial artists and other visitors. Due to the quality of our standards and consistent dedication to excellence, we have received recognition by several national and international associations including Ip Man’s Ving Tsun Athletic Association in Hong Kong. We are also proud affiliates of the Worldwide Leung Sheung Lineage Association.
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 a 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, a project that uses the principles of of Wing Chun to fight against bullying.
What affiliations, associations and accreditation do you have?
Our Wing Chun school is the only representative of authentic Ip Man Wing Chun in Orange County 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).