BJJ and Wing Chun
Article by Phil Nearing added on 29 Aug 2012. Last updated on 30 Aug 2012.
A winning combination
From Phil Nearing
In recent years that old friendship between Wing Chun and BJJ in Chicago has developed anew. The productive relationship between the two arts began in 2003 when wing chun teacher, Philip Nearing, began crosstraining jiujitsu with Carlson Gracie sr.. Phil later introduced Carlson to his sifu, Samuel Kwok, and a friendship developed that resulted in the joint seminars both masters held in the UK in 2004. In 2008 Nearing resumed his BJJ studies with Andre “Negao” Terencio and also encouraged his Wing Chun student, Sharon Gosun, to take up BJJ with Andre’s wife and reigning women’s world champion, Hannette Staack. Currently, Hannette has ten world titles to her credit, among them 2009 Women’s World Champion in her black belt division and 2009 ADCC Women’s Champion. She was recently named Women’s BJJ Fighter of the Year by Graciemag.
Hannette’s ten world titles speak for themselves, however, she is also a first rate teacher and coach. Hannette developed Sharon Gosun into the current International Women’s Novice Champion in the featherweight category in fifteen short months. Sharon won her title at the World Jiujitsu Championships in June of 2009.
Sharon credits her teacher, Hannette, first and foremost for her success in BJJ competition. However, she feels that the chi sao skills she developed in Wing Chun under her teacher, Philip Nearing, were helpful in winning her title. Her chi sao experience, specifically in the interplay of the hands when getting a grip on the gi as well as the ability to switch her energy on and off, gave her an edge when it came to mixing it up in world class competition.
In the fall of 2009 Master Kwok was in Chicago to give a seminar for Philip Nearing’s academy and took the opportunity to visit Hannette’s class. He also had lunch with her accompanied by Andre, Sharon and Phil. Both Andre and Hannette had the opportunity to observe Master Kwok’s student, Philip Nearing, teach Wing Chun on a daily basis for 6 months in 2008 and very much appreciate the effectiveness of Ip Man’s system. The conversation ran from business to the specific discussion of different aspects of both BJJ and Wing Chun. It was a great afternoon of exchange and mutual respect between world class practitioners of two great systems. Despite Carlson’s untimely passing, in Chicago, Wing Chun and Brazilian Jiujitsu are still strong friends and allies.