Danny Horgan, The Unpacifistic Ghandi of Wing Chun
Danny Horgan, you probably know him as the guy that’s traveled across the country training with various Wing Chun masters. You may also know him as the guy that goes against common Wing Chun practice and lets people attack him their hardest while he effortlessly defends himself. Or you may know him as a writer,
But what you may not know about him is that he is one of the most selfless and ambitious people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Read our interview to find out why.
FighterEmpire: So how would you describe Wing Chun to someone that has never heard of it?
Danny Horgan: Wing Chun is a blitzkrieg self defense system, originally designed as a battlefield art. Over the years it has been watered down into a modern-day stand up style that works particularly well against spontaneous attacks.
FighterEmpire: So it wasn’t originally made to be used competitively?
Danny Horgan: I think most arts were made with the intention of survival, including Wing Chun. The origins of the art have been somewhat unclear, but with recent research by Hendrik Santo, Phil Romero, and Jim Roselando, to name a few, we’re starting to get to the heart of why and how Wing Chun came to be. It evolved during a violent time and was made as a means of defense on a large, chaotic battlefield.
FighterEmpire: I’m imagining a thousand man Kung Fu match, that sounds pretty damn cool. What drew you to practicing Wing Chun?
Danny Horgan: I grew up absolutely obsessed with fighting, particularly boxing. There wasn’t a boxing gym near enough for me to train when I was young, so I got involved in the sport through blogging about it. I did that for about four years until I was 20 years old.
I eventually got to a point where I was sick of sitting on the sidelines for something I loved. I knew I wanted to be a fighter, but I also knew that I didn’t have the athleticism to become an elite boxer. So I started looking into different styles of Kung Fu, and Wing Chun appealed to me the most because of its rapid-fire hand attacks.
FighterEmpire: Have you ever had to use it against someone in a street fight?
Danny Horgan: I thankfully haven’t been forced into a spontaneous fight since I started training. There is nothing that can simulate the violence and unpredictability of a street fight, but to test what I’ve learned, I’ve given people protective gear and told them to try their hardest to hurt me. Doing so has forced me to use my Wing Chun (if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have any teeth right now)
FighterEmpire: Yes I was watching those videos. Very impressive you toyed with them effortlessly
Danny Horgan: Haha thank you
FighterEmpire: Do you ever plan to train in any other martial arts?
DannyHorgan: I train with a mixed-styles group that has allowed me to train Kali, small circle Jiu Jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past year. While that has been a blast, I think Wing Chun is a deep enough system that I truly have a lifetime of learning in the art before I’ll run out of material to try and perfect.
So then in the future do you think you will become an instructor of Wing Chun owning your own school?
Danny Horgan: It’s something I’ve thought about, but I don’t believe it’s my path. Right now I’m focusing on bringing the Wing Chun community together through an organization called the Wing Chun Brotherhood. Ultimately, we’re trying to weed out some of the in-fighting we see between practitioners. Wing Chun – and martial arts in general – is an amazing art form that can enhance lives. Right now, the entire martial arts world is fighting with each other, while real-world problems like depression, hunger, and suicide run rampant. If I can make even a small bit of difference in bringing the Wing Chun community to fight those problems, I’ll feel my mission has been a success.
FighterEmpire: That is a very noble and selfless goal, I like that. Most people don’t want to try and change things for the better, they make it worse or keep it how it is. I don’t see why there is so much in-fighting within Wing Chun. And so much criticism for it outside, why do you think that is?
Danny Horgan: Thank you. The in-fighting stems from a number of issues. There are lineage disputes, different ideas of what “real” Wing Chun looks like, and so much more. It’s truly a mess right now.
As far as why it’s criticized by the outside world –
I truly think there are only two types of people who don’t like Wing Chun – those who don’t understand it, and those who do, but are completely terrified of it. If the rest of the martial arts world could see what I’ve seen and felt what I’ve felt from Wing Chun instructors, the only people criticizing the art would be projecting. Unfortunately, as a community we haven’t done a good job of showcasing the art’s effectiveness in a sport setting. Other arts, like boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, etc. have been modified to work really well in a sport setting. Wing Chun is still behind in that regard, although guys like Alan Orr and his crew are starting to change that tide.
FighterEmpire: Yes I’m aware the Iron Wolves have been proving that criticism wrong, I think Alan Orr is very inspiring. I’m actually doing an interview with him very soon. Do you think you and him together could help end some of the fighting and criticism of wing chun?
Danny Horgan: I believe we’re well on our way. At the end of the day, results speak for themselves. I’ve gone out and tested my Wing Chun in very unconventional ways, and I’ve been successful so far. Alan and his team are taking Wing Chun to today’s most popular fighting forum – MMA – and they’ve been successful so far. We’ve already converted a lot of non-believers, and I think that momentum will keep picking up steam these next few years.
FighterEmpire: I think so too, you both seem to be doing very well in achieving your goals. I could very well see Wing Chun being very popular because of you guys in the near future
Danny Horgan: Thank you, I really appreciate that Dave.
FighterEmpire: Of course, so would you say that your life is entirely dedicated to martial arts or do you have other interests and goals that your not known for?
Danny Horgan: Fighting has been the biggest part of my life these past two years. I’ve been so hell-bent on fighting and crossing hands with as many people as I can that there have been times where the rest of life seemed boring. But I’ve reached a point where I’m looking at the skills of fighting in a whole different light. There are so many people out there who can’t fight their daily battles alone – they need support from people in a better spot. Moving forward, I hope to use the mental skills I’ve learned fighting to help fight some of the biggest problems plaguing the world today. I hope to bridge the worlds through writing and on-camera work.
FighterEmpire:That’s very interesting, I’ve been training myself for a while now and never thought of it that way. I think its very inspiring how selfless your goals are I wasn’t aware of this.
DannyHorgan: Thanks man.
FighteEmpire: So I think this is the last question, you’ve traveled across the country training and sparring with various people. Do you think you will be doing the same thing in the future, but across the world?
DannyHorgan: Nothing is guaranteed, but I will find a way to make it happen. The web series I’m running, Wing Chun Blast, has gained a lot of steam. If it can catch the attention of a big network, you’ll definitely see me in Europe, Asia, and Australia continuing to explore martial arts with my own fists.
DannyHorgan: I also want to thank you for the interview. I think your site is awesome and I will be supporting it fully.
FighterEmpire: Thank you very much I’m working on it very hard daily I want to thank you as well for your time
I’d very much appreciate it if you showed support for my friend Danny Horgan Checkout his site!