Wing Chun is a martial art that has been around for more than 300 years, and soon, it will be coming to the Sauk Valley.
The driving force behind it is George Depuy, who plans to open Sauk Valley Wing Chun, near the Bazaar Americana building in Sterling, on Aug. 10.
Depuy, 45, was a wrestler in high school, and has tried multiple martial arts. He was introduced to Wing Chun while a member of the army stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1991.
He saw a flyer for Wing Chun and decided to check it out. The instructor, Brian Edwards, asked Depuy to throw a punch at him.
"I nonchalantly threw a punch, he slapped my arm and I thought he broke it," Depuy said. "I tried to act like it didn't hurt."
Depuy later tried to throw a harder punch at Edwards, and the result was the same. That got Depuy hooked.
Some initial research on Wing Chun described as Chinese boxing. It was developed for women to be able to defend themselves against much larger attackers, but it's more than that. Eye gouging is part of it, as is kicking – one of the most important aspects of it.
"Our kicks are designed to break," Depuy said.
Punching and defending are done simultaneously with the arms close to the body, centered, as opposed to a traditional boxer who winds up for a big punch.
"It's a very good art for in-close-quarters fighting," Depuy said. "You can generate a lot of power in a very short distance."
Depuy travels to near Huntsville, Ala., about every other month to train under Dustan Carroll, who operates a Wing Chun facility there. Carroll is Depuy's size, about 180 pounds, and once had to show a 260-pound prison guard who was boss.
The guard was a non-believer in Wing Chun, and told Carroll that. Carroll asked the man to throw a punch at him, and he obliged. The guard's punch was blocked, and Carroll quickly delivered a punch that broke the guard's wrist.
"This art was designed for a smaller, weaker, older person to be able to fight back against back against a stronger, younger, bigger person," Depuy said.
Depuy currently teaches five people in Sterling, and his trips to Alabama are designed to sharpen his skills. He works for the Whiteside County Sheriff's Department, and fortunately has not had to use Wing Chun to subdue any troublesome lawbreakers – yet.
He would, however, if the need arises, but only after trying to diffuse a situation in a more peaceful manner, such as simply talking it out. Wing Chun even helps with that, Depuy noted.
"The main thing about this is it teaches you a little more self-confidence, to be calmer and to handle a stressful situation better," Depuy said.
What is Wing Chun?
• A concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilizing both striking and grappling while specializing in real world, close-range combat.
• For more information, phone 815-878-0592 or go to IllinoisWingChun.com