Red Boat University.

What is Red Boat University?

The Red Boat University is an online learning platform where you can learn Rick Spain‘s Combat Wing Chun in the time and space of your own home and with friends and family.

The most popular membership is the “Wing Chun Renegade” monthly membership. This gives you full access to the entire Red Boat Kung Fu curriculum, plus supplementary seminars and short courses (in weapons, chi sau, wooden dummy, self defense and more added throughout the year).

Other material that is regularly updated that you will have full access to as a Renegade member are: Curriculum Workouts – training sessions mapped out for you so that you are functionally working through the material as well as technically; “Theme of the Week” and “Fly on the Wall” videos which are lessons filmed either formally for the University that reflect our training this week at the headquarters in Sydney Australia, or actual lessons filmed real-time in class (this is found your home screen so whenever you log in you will know what’s new); and Conditioning Workouts which are typically skill specific ie how to improve your kicks – power, flexibility, endurance etc.

On every page within the site there is a comments window, so if you have any questions about any technique, workout or drill, you simply ask there and we will answer with either a description clarifying your concern or a video to help you. We encourage questions!

Your own Grading Portal and Assessment Centre, where you can get assistance in prepping for your grading and of course, send through your grading test for assessment. We want you to succeed, so we have provided advice in how to prepare and if you don’t pass on first attempt we will work with you until you are ready.

Our online students have found the site easy to navigate and learn from and this is reflected in their training and gradings. We are always looking to improve so your feedback throughout your learning and training experience with us is greatly appreciated.

Should you join as a Wing Chun Renegade, we look forward to training with you!

What is Wing Chun?

The Red Boat University is the first of its kind – the most comprehensive study on Wing Chun and it’s still evolving. Wing Chun was developed during a time of war, it had to meet certain requirements such as producing a warrior/soldier in the shortest time possible. This is all while martial arts was outlawed by the ruling Manchurians.

Subterfuge, misdirection, hiding in plain sight – such as travelling the country spreading dissent via the red boat operas, who were allowed to practise kung fu for artistic purposes – were just some of the methods that allowed Wing Chun to proliferate. When the war ended the original system went underground. This is that system.

There are two distinctly different methods of Wing Chun and hundreds of variants.

This University is designed to allow you, the practitioner, the opportunity to train in a unique combat tested discipline unlike any other in the world. As a member, you will have access to forms, techniques, grading curriculum, workouts, mat chats, seminars and to be a part of an ongoing evolution.

Sifu Rick Spain’s mission is to make you feel like you’re on the mat with him and experience being part of the Red Boat Family.

Principles of Wing Chun

“Principles and Theories are just that – they must be driven by men of action” – Rick Spain

  • Operate on the Centreline
  • Watch the Elbows and Knees
  • 50/50 Weight Displacement
  • Don’t Fight Force with Force
  • Create Openings
  • Attack the Blindside
  • Economy of Movement
  • Simultaneous Block and Strike
  • Utilise Touch Reflexes

You need to look at principles from the perspective that there is rarely a singular perfect solution for any particular problem – it’s usually a combination of elements – and to understand that the principles are sometimes just guidelines and that they are not always written in stone.

Adaptability, improvisation and having a contingency plan play a major role in the success of any situation.

Two and a half minutes of Wing Chun in action including fight footage of Sifu Rick Spain

The Key to developing a Martial Art System? Pressure test, pressure test, pressure test! (10 min video)

How we have stayed true to the Origin of Wing Chun Kung Fu

If Wing Chun came about during a time of civil war and was essentially the first Mixed Martial Art, then it only makes sense for the system to keep evolving and utilising modern day resources to enhance the system.

If there was a BJJ Master in the Shaolin Temple when they created Wing Chun, we believe s/he would have been invited into the creation process. If there were a Muay Thai Kickboxing Master at the Shaolin Temple when they created Wing Chun, we are sure s/he would of at least been invited to the discussion. If they had the same understanding of sports psychology and sports science that we do today, we are sure it would be utilised.

There is always an opportunity to learn and grow. It is nice to show tribute to how things were, but to keep Wing Chun applicable to today, and to be true to the Masters who created it, then we must use the resources we have around us to create that perfect system of Martial Arts.

Wing Chun Principles Explained

Operating on the Centreline:
It makes total sense that you put something between you and your opponent. Most guards are designed that way. Operating on the centreline means you have covered the most direct pathway between your opponent and yourself.

Watching the Elbows and Knees:
Using your eyes effectively is an essential component to elite performance. Understanding how our eyes interact with our brain is called visuomotor coordination and is in the field of cognitive psychology. Elite athletes master gaze control using their eyes much more effectively than a novice.

50/50 Weight Displacement:
Similar to the principle of operating on the centreline, prior to attack or defence, you have to find a balanced athletic stance, with your weight distribution approximately 50/50.

Don’t fight Force with Force:
This is a great principle if you can get it right. There’s a saying in our system “technique beats strength every time” but you have to realise that muscles are your friends and that there are going to be times, regardless of how much you try to employ this principle, that you’re going to have to muscle through some techniques.

Creating Openings:
Creating openings is really a universal principle. Other systems understand the principle of faking or drawing (drawing a response) for example, faking low draws the guard down and then the opening is up high.

Attacking the Blindside:
Our system is evolved in such a way now that we are always looking whenever possible, even when we’re on the inside. to escape to the outside. We are looking to get the blindside and then ultimately get the back.

Economy of Movement:
In so much that we have a limited, or what I call a capped energy reserve (you will gas out eventually), we must use the principle of economy of movement as often as possible.

Simultaneous Block and Strike:
This is a brilliant principle, but one that can be very frustrating to get to work as it is often inappropriate to do. This leads the student to become disappointed when s/he cannot employ that principle.

Utilising Touch Reflexes:
Touch reflexes are not unique to Wing Chun, other systems have variations of Chi Sau (sticky hands – a training aspect of Wing Chun that develops touch reflex). All they are trying to do, as we are in Wing Chun, is develop certain attributes that will allow us to interpret our opponent’s movements and his/her intent through touch.