Ambrose Academy
Wing Chun Do Lineage FAQs

What makes you different from other martial art schools?

Students and their families describe the school's atmosphere as welcoming, inclusive, and very positive. When a student, child or adult, feels comfortable in their surroundings the learning process is enhanced and much more enjoyable. We create an environment that encourages camaraderie among students and families, leaving egos at the door. Read what our clients have to say on our testimonial page.

Ambrose Academy is an award winning school, recognized by Nickelodeon's Parents' Pick Awards, two years in a row 2009 and 2010, as one of the top schools in Michigan for Best Family Friendly Business and WDIV4 The Best - Top 5 Best Martial Arts School in Metro Detroit.

We are the only school that offers the unique style of Wing Chun Do with its history and undisputable lineage to Bruce Lee, through our founder (sijo), James W. DeMile. Instructor Rocco Ambrose is the highest-ranking instructor in WCD and named inheritor of the system. He brings years of experience and comprehensive knowledge not often found anywhere else. Check out our history page for more information.

What is Wing Chun Do Gung Fu?

Wing Chun Do is a uniquely scientific, modern martial discipline. It is a self-defense system designed for only one purpose, practical street defense. To ensure efficiency, all techniques are based on a set of clearly demonstrable body mechanics and held to a standard of simplicity, efficiency and practicality. Our concepts and principles have been proven and refined over the last 36 years. Wing Chun Do began in Seattle, Washington in 1959 when James DeMile began his training with the legendary Bruce Lee. WCD is based on the modifications made by Bruce Lee to the traditional kung fu style of Wing Chun as defined by DeMile. After training with Bruce, Jesse Glover Bruce’s first student), James DeMile, and Leroy Garcia went on to open a “wing chun” school in northern Seattle teaching what they had learned with Bruce’s blessing. Shortly after, Bruce left for Oakland. In 1969, Bruce requested that none of his students teaching use the name Jeet Kune Do. A few years later DeMile started teaching in Hawaii, calling what he did Wing Chun. A prominent Wing Chun master informed DeMile that what he was teaching wasn’t in fact Wing Chun. After a talk and a display of the differences between the two arts, DeMile agreed that the difference was indeed present and added Do to the name to signify Wing Chun Do’s roots in Wing Chun.  In 1973, Sijo wrote several books on Wing Chun Do and began to define and format a teachable curriculum. Two years later, he completed the system and began to hold seminars across the United States. Between Jun Fan and Jeet Kune Do you will find Wing Chun Do one of the most effective self defense systems offered today.

What is the difference between Wing Chun and Wing Chun Do?

The basic differences are the result of Bruce Lee’s experiences fighting in America. He found that some aspects of the traditional technique didn’t work as effectively as he needed them to – especially against the larger very aggressive western style fighters he assembled for his research and development. He began making modifications based on his personal study of natural human biomechanics.  These modifications include: a more linear use of the bijong, a forward-learning body angle, alignment of the centerline to the opponent’s central axis, application of the powerline punch, and the development and application of spring energy to the sticking and trapping techniques.

What is the difference between Wing Chun Do and Jeet Kune Do?

In a 1971, Black Belt Magazine article, Lee said, "Let it be understood once and for all that I have NOT invented a new style, composite or modification. I have in no way set Jeet Kune Do within a distinct form governed by laws that distinguish it from 'this' style or 'that' method.”  As there is no outline or curriculum constructed by Bruce himself, any permutation of Jeet Kune Do being taught is someone’s interpretation of his or her experience with Bruce Lee. The difference is that the Seattle students had almost daily interaction with Bruce – fighting. Their knowledge was nearly all experiential – fighting with Bruce, without protective gear, or mats – nothing could be obfuscated or held back. The Seattle students came away with a unique and intimate knowledge of the true nature of Bruce’s personal fighting method.

Do I need to be in good physical shape to start classes?

Wing Chun Do is a great martial art to learn regardless of your age, gender, or level of fitness. The adults' basics class is specifically designed to safely and effectively get you into great physical shape. Since our techniques are based on body mechanics, Wing Chun Do teaches you efficiency of simple, natural movement helping you develop extraordinary speed and awesome power.

View our classes and you will notice a wide range of ages. Baby boomers make up about forty percent our adult student body. Our eldest student started when he was 65 years old and is turning 80 this year! WCD can be started at any age and will help you regain that superior edge. No high kicks, no board breaking, no low stances, no flowery moves, no mystery, just an adult martial arts that works.

Do I need any previous martial arts experience?

Not at all, we actually prefer students with little to no previous martial arts experience. Wing Chun Do is very different than any other art you may have experienced before, so everyone starts fresh.

Do adults train with children?

Our programs are age specific and tailored to optimize personal growth in each age group. Ages 4-6 are in Lil' Dragons. Ages 6-11 are in Kid's Class. Ages 11-15 attend the Juniors Class. Ages 15 and up attend the Adult classes. Adult classes are scheduled right after children's classes giving families an opportunity to train on the same days. There is a play area and activities for the children while they wait for their parents.

What will my child learn while attending Ambrose Academy?

With over twenty years of experience teaching children, we have developed an age specific curricula that focuses on developing traits that help create a more secure and confident child. This is accomplished by a unique approach to discipline through positive reinforcement without the military attitude. We create an exciting fun-filled environment to keep children engaged and learning. Martial arts training is an excellent vehicle in teaching important success traits such as the ability to set and achieve goals, to develop the "Yes, I can." attitude, to feel real confidence in saying "No" to unhealthy peer pressure.

In class, children study three areas of martial arts, the defensive side of Wing Chun Do, sport ju-jitsu for groundwork, and weapons. Other topics included are Stranger Smart, anti-bullying and conflict avoidance, and discussions on peer pressure, and nutrition. It is a well rounded, balanced, and effectively teaches physical and mental self-defense. A secure and confident child is more than just about safety, it has more to do with how a child feels about himself and the world around him or her. This is what makes our school unique.

How long will it take me to get a black belt?

In a model scenario, if you come to class at least twice a week, you're an attentive student, absorb knowledge like a sponge and you're highly motivated, disciplined and practice at home, then you will reach your goal of black sash status quicker than others.

Realistically, if you like the art enough to commit to the black belt/sash, then you're talking about four to five years, depending on time and effort you put into it. Sounds like high school or college, doesn't it. Any thing learned well, a craft, a skill, a profession, an art, a goal usually requires the lauded "five year plan."
Everyone has different learning skills, abilities, and motivation. But we guarantee you will learn more about self-defense and feel confident in your abilities by the time you leave Basics Class and enter Advance Class. Acquisition of true skill and personal development will become your goal and when you test for your Black Sash in Wing Chun Do, there is no question of your abilities, confidence, and skill.

Do you spar in class?

Yes, sparring is included in our more advanced classes. Beginning sparring is partners oriented, where students trade primary and secondary roles. Students are required to wear protective gear including headgear, goggles, gloves and pads when sparring or doing certain drills. No student engages in advance sparring until after he or she has demonstrated that they have the proper skills, control, and foundation needed.

What other programs do you offer for adults?

Our Specialty classes will introduce you to new skill sets, such as weapons training (forms, defenses and offense), Chi Sao (sticking hands), Mok Jong (wooden dummy), and grappling (on the ground and "stand up" Small Circle jujitsu). Offered as a six-week course or a one-day seminar.

Adult Self Defense classes, Women's Anti-Abduction and Campus Safe Walk - Learn comprehensive safety skills and techniques to fend off an attacker and escaping common street attacks, using the most simple, direct, and proven effective techniques. Anti-Abduction and self-defense skills can be learned by everyone, novice or experienced, regardless of age, size, or level of fitness. Offered as a six-week course or a one-day seminar.

Second Self Defense for the Visually Impaired is a self-defense program that teaches personal protection skills to the blind. Meets once a week.

What other programs do you offer for children?

We have many activities planned throughout the year, special events including WCD Lock Ins – ( Parents Night Out and holiday parties) and clubs that promote and motivate students to do their best. Perfect Attendance Club, Academic Achievers, Black Belt Club, Leadership Team, Demo Team and occasionally a Tournament Team – We don't often go to tournaments, but when we find one that is run well, is kid friendly and fair, we'll go.

Stranger Smart - This anti-abduction safety program is disguised as an entertaining and fun program to teach youngsters the tools for dealing with strangers. Ambrose Academy presents this show every spring and fall at our school and throughout the year at area elementary schools, community centers and to youth groups like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Summer Fitness/Sports/Martial Arts Day Camp – one week during the summer, half day or full day. Each day is filled with activities to keep your child moving and expending lots of energy. Field trips include bowling, swimming, and park days. Focus is on making life long fitness and exercise a top priority in your child's life.

Keep Kids Safe After School Program – an alternative to the typical latchkey program. Save yourself time by combining the need for latchkey services and your child's martial arts class. It's like getting mutiple services for the price of one. Everyday martial arts class, life skills, arts and crafts, nutrition discussions, and lots of exercise give them a healthy outlet for all that pent up energy. Added Bonus – as recommended by health professionals around the country, we take care of your child's minimum daily requirement of 60 minutes of exercise everyday.

I'm interested in Wing Chun Do classes. May I come and watch a class?

Definitely. We welcome you to visit our school and watch a class. If you are interested in the children's program, bring your child too. This gives you an opportunity to check out the school, view the teaching method and how the instructors interact with their students. If you like what you see, sign up for the Intro Program.

View an Adult class Monday or Wednesday at 6:30pm or Saturday morning at 11:00am

View a Children's class Tuesday or Wednesday at 5:30pm or Saturday morning at 10:00am

What is the Intro Program?

The Intro Program gives you the opportunity to try our classes. It consists of three lessons and a Free uniform. The cost is $29.95. The Introductory Program gives you an opportunity to experience the teaching method, get an overview of Wing Chun Do, see how we fit into your schedule, and if we are the art and school for you. No obligation to join.

What type of payments do you accept? Do you take credit cards?

At this time, we don't take credit cards at the school. Payments may be made with a check or postal money order, or cash. In the future, we may put a link to paypal for those that want to pay in advance.

What do I need to participate in class?

We ask that you bring in a pair of clean, dry, gym shoes to change into before the Intro. You don't have to go out and buy a new pair of shoes, just clean up an old pair, remove the debris between the groves and you're good to go. We have a policy that street shoes be removed before entering the parent gallery or training hall. We endeavor to keep the training hall (kwoon) clean and free of the debris found on the average city sidewalk.

When I join, what equipment will I need?

Initially as Basics students, adults need protective arm pads, eye protection (goggles), bag gloves. In the children's classes, Kids and *Juniors will need arm pads, foam nunchaku, and *bag gloves. No equipment required for Lil' Dragons. Also, don't forget a pair of clean, dry, non-marking, gym shoes. For your convenience, all required training and safety equipment is available for purchase at the school.