The Teacher

Todd Taganashi

Renegade Wing Chun Todd Taganashi

Martial Arts

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Todd Taganashi, at the time of writing this I am 52 years old. I have spent the past 40 years of my life practicing the martial arts. There were many different teachers and life experiences that contributed to the development of my Kung Fu during this time. Notably, I would like to mention a three teachers because it was through knowing these men that I would go on to learn, practice, and teach Wing Chun Kung Fu.

In the early 1990s I was a student of Master Daniel K. Pai (Dr. Pai). Dr. Pai was master of the White Dragon Kung Fu System. His teachings changed over the years, at that time were practicing a lot of very fast close range hand techniques. The best I can describe these techniques would be like a cross between Kempo Karate and Wing Chun Kung Fu. It was Dr. Pai who gave me my my first introduction to the art of "Iron Palm Kung Fu."  Old students of the Pai Lum in Daytona Beach Florida will remember me as "Tiger" which was the nickname he gave me.

In 2002 while living in Virginia Beach Virginia I met and became a private student of one of Dr. Pai's colleagues, Jow Ga Kung Fu Master Hoy K. Lee. I only trained with Master Lee for about a year. But it was through my relationship with Master Lee that several years later I would become acquainted with Wing Chun Kung Fu Master Hing Fai Chan, commonly known as Sifu Sam Chan. I would become a private student of Sifu Chan for three years. It is Sifu Chan who is responsible for teaching me the entire Wing Chun system.

Renegade Wing Chun Todd Taganashi
Sifu Sam Chan and Todd Taganashi 2012.

Many people have asked me about the meaning behind the name Renegade Wing Chun. Let me explain. Renegade Wing Chun is not the name of a new hybrid Wing Chun system. What I teach is traditional Ip Man Lineage Wing Chun Kung Fu. However, the name Renegade Wing Chun is not just simply the name of my school and business. The name Renegade Wing Chun has everything to do with freedom of interpretation and expression my Kung Fu. Although I respect the masters who came before me, I refuse to be limited to the favorite fighting techniques or teaching methods of any man or organization. I reserve the right to teach and express Wing Chun (and all other arts that I have learned), as a unique extension of my individual experience. My Kung Fu is uniquely my own, and it should not be compared to any other schools or teachers

Mountain Austere Training

I debated whether to title this section Mountain Austere Training or Wildereness Survival Training. Although each title connotates a different meaning. As I teach and practice these methods they are  inseperable of each other. My decision to go with the first title was due to the simple fact that this was what came first in my life. But what is Mountain Austere Training?

Renegade Wing Chun

My first introduction to mounatin austere training came when I was 12 years old. It all started when I read the book "This is Karate" by Mas Oyama. In his book Mas Oyama told of the Yamabushi  or the "Warrior Monks" of Japan. These monks had a special practice they called Shugendo. In this practice the monks would test themselves by making making long difficult pilgrimages to remote mountians. During these pilgrimages the monk's would carry few possessions and live off the land for their daily nutrients. Life on the mountain trail was very harsh, especially during the winter months. Many monks were know have starved to death or were attacked by wild animals. It was imperative that the Yamabushi learned to live in harmony with the mountain. For if they could survive Shugendo the monks were described as "having harnessed the power of the mountain."

This tradition of traveling to and practicing martial arts in remote locations is not limited to the Yamabashi. History tells of this method of training being used by virtually all warrior societies throughout the world. Some cultures have even made mountain austere training a religous rite of passage. While for other, training in secluded wilderness areas was simply done out of the need for secrecy.

For me mountain austere training started out pretty innocent. Living in the north woods of Massachusetts there was no problem finding secluded wilderness areas where I could camp out and practice martial arts. From the age of 12 until my late teens I spent as much time as I could training in the wilderness. I learned many lessons during these early days of wilderness training.  Most importantly I learned to be self reliant and to never fear being alone in the wild.

Renegade Wing Chun Todd Taganashi
Wilderness skills training at Ghost Lake.

As I got older and started to venture further into the wilderness I found the need to develop some basic skills that would make being in the wilderness easier and saver. Most people would refer to these skills as "Wilderness Survival Skills" but I prefer to call them "Wilderness Skills." Although I admitt that over the years I attended a couple wilderness survival courses, I still consider my wilderness skills to be self taught. In fact, a majority of the wilderness skills that I know and practice were learned through reading books and trial & error.  As far as teaching wilderness skills, I believe it is about developing the basic skills to be self-reliant and learning to be at one with the wilderness. But, when you add in mountain austere training, then it becomes a very intense mental and physical conditioning.

To this day I still practice mountain austere training as often as I can. There in nothing like strapping on you're knife and canteen, grabbing you're walking staff and headed off into the wilderness.

Executive Security Training

The year was 1991 and I found myself with some free time and a small amount of cash to invest in my education. I thought it would be nice to visit and train with the Aspen Academy of Martial Arts (AAMA). When I contacted the AAMA I found out that they were no longer teaching martial art courses. In fact, they had changed their name to Executive Security International (ESI) and were now a bodyguard training school. Interestingly, ESI was one of the first private institutions to teach a DOE accredited Executive Security Program outside of the United States Secret Service.

As far as I can remember, ESI only offered a couple courses at that time. Being a "Bodyguard" intrigued me, so I enrolled in the Advanced Executive Protection Program (AEPP). The program consisted of a Home Study Course  and a Residency Training Course. Upon completion of both course you would be certified as a Personal Protection Specialist. The whole program was done through the US Department of Education with all the grants, loans, and finacial commitment that came with it. I passed the Home Study portion of the course with no problem. For financial reasons I decided not to attend the residency training. As I look back was it a waiste of money? Probably yes - but I did study and learn the material.

I didn't think about working in the Executive Protection business again until 2008 when I was given an oppurtunity to do some low level Executive Protection work. I was living in Virginia Beach Virginia at the time and in the state of Virginia all persons working an Executive Security job are required to be certified by the Virgina Department of Criminal Justice System (VA DCJS). You have to meet certain requiremnents like a background check and complete a required amount of training. To get state certified I attended the Executive Protection Institute.  I am a graduate of the EPI's Providing Personal Protection Program - Class #63 - Personal Protection Specialist Certified VA DCJS-32E.

Renegade Wing Chun
Security training with Denny Johnson at GSE 2009.

While training with EPI I was sent to do a "Recon" of another security training company who was located in the same area. That company was Golden SEAL Enterprises (GSE). GSE, at the time was being run by Frank Phillips and Denny Johnson. Both were former SEAL Team Six guys, GSE also runs VA DCJS certfication courses. I won't go into the details of my "Recon Mission" - it was pointless. Denny figured me out as soon as I walked in the room. He invited me into his office and after about 10 minutes of talking I ended up confessing and telling him everything about how EPI had sent me there on a training exercise. So much for mission security, but I don't think I stood much of a chance matching wits with a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief Intelligence Specialist. The whole operation at GSE really impressed me. So much that I decided to continue my training and get certified in two more VA DCJS courses, but this time though GSE. Those two course were the state required PPS In-Service Training and Private Investigator Certification VA DCJS 02E.

 

The Zen of My Life

 

 

 

Renegade Wing Chun Todd Taganashi

"Given enough time, any man may master the physical.
With enough knowledge, any man may become wise.
It is the true warrior who can master both... and surpass the result."

Please feel free to contact me directly via my personal email:
sifu@renegadewingchun.com