Shenzhen Rocky

Gritty Shenzhen expatriate Heinrich “Woody” Potgieter  is training hard to fulfill his dream of becoming Shenzhen’s light heavy weight champion in the 80-90 kg class for Sanda.

Sanda literally translates to “free fighting” and is a Chinese hand-to-hand self-defense system and combat sport.

Woody started studying martial arts as a 16 year old kid, where he studied Taekwondo and Karate. Woody has been coaching kids at Taekwondo and Mixed Martial Arts to adults for the last four years.

At the ripe old age of 27 South African born Woody has thrown himself into Sanda which is similar to Thai Muay Thai, accept elbowing to the head is not allowed.

Woody is quickly moving through to the finals and has been undefeated so far, his coach is Shenzhen legend Du Shan Yen who has been Sanda, Judo and Taekwondo champion for Shenzhen, Kong Kong, Macau and Guangdong so many time its just easier to call him Master and be done with it.

Woody will be having his final fight for the championship in the next few days so all Shenzheners are required to wish him the best.  The fight will take place in windows of the world in front of the Ice Rink.

The last fight was attended by a vocal group of Woody’s fans with his cheerleaders in matching black mini-skirts, their dance routine proving to be something of distraction to the fight fans.

Students interested in being taught by Woody can contact him on 13425156556, it’s probably best to text him to introduce yourself.

31 Comments for “Shenzhen Rocky”

  1. Two photos I found from the night.

  2. Congrats, its good entertainment. Good luck for your next fights.

  3. Woody

    Awsome fight!!! Toe bliksem die boertije die arme sjinees plat op sy gat. Baie trots op jou

  4. Wow, you are truly a Champ! You made us proud and your Students are very lucky to have you as their Teacher and Coach. We love you. Pappa and Mamma

  5. Lots of interest in training here in Nanshan…. how about it Woody?

    • Honestly, we have been venue shopping in the Nanshan area, but haven’t found a place we are happy with yet. I will keep everyone updated on how things are developing and hopefully get many referrals and students from SZ Standard :P


  6. Woody,

    Just watched the video. Like it!

    By the way, do you know the Chinese meaning of your name “Woody”? I heard the judge call you both names in the beginning, then I noticed that “Woody” actually has a meaning. :)


  7. Where can these fights be watched, I don’t see them advertised in the media.

    • These fights were in WOTW, but they are always trying to host some fights in SZ. This was the annual Sanda competition so it will only be hosted again next year. However, there are a few fight nights and other competitions happening throughout the year. I will keep SZ Standard posted if I hear or take part in anything!

  8. I am interested but it’s kind of useless for a female. BUT, I have a son, he is going to be 12 months soon. Will Woody still be teaching in 10 years? I would love my son to be able to protect himself in front of bad guys. By the way, when is the prefect age to start training?

    • Sillygoose,

      Firstly, I have found most women really enjoy MMA training. I have even had a few students who went from training for weight loss/fitness to trying out competitions! What I’m saying is, most people don’t have a realistic view of martial arts. There are so many different trainers, styles and reasons for doing martial arts its very tough to define! I would always invite people to try out, the work outs are safe, fun and very rewarding!

      Anyway, regarding your son. It’ll be up to him. Small kids doing martial arts focus on development not fighting! Its only after they reach 10-14yrs that they should start learning how to be able to really hurt other people. Self Defense is mostly theory, how to avoid, handle or engage bad situations – normally in that order! Most people are relatively ignorant on how to behave in bad situations, but once you think on it and make a choice on how you WILL handle it, the mind then reacts much faster when faced with such problems.

      I would suggest you to let your boy start doing TKD when he is 4-6yrs old, depending on his behavior and social development. Once he is older the choices are many! Street fighting skills learned in something like Krav Maga or Ikedo are great for real fighting, but not useful in competitve sports like Boxing, Muay Thai or MMA. I think once he reaches that age he will be able to choose for himself…

      Hope you found the above informative,


      • Hi Woody,
        Really appreciated your reply. Certainly found some good information from it. Good to hear that LP get to start to train when he’s 6. :) By the way, LP is my son’s name, stands as Little Patrick.

        Most important thing is to wish you good luck to your next match. Hopefully we can go and see you in WOTW. By the way, when is it and how much is the ticket?

        • Thank you,

          I am not sure when my next fight will be. They are talking of having MMA fights next time, and I’m very interested… However, I don’t know when it will be yet!

          I will keep SZ Standard posted!

  9. Support Woody because of JD !!

  10. Support Woody because of JD !!

  11. Congrats Woody,

    Couldn’t make the final but saw the semi.

    Great night, good entertainment, can’t wait for your next one.

    P.S Hurry back the Dragons need you.

  12. Wow, thank for all the support!

    Ended up winning the open weight division 80kg+. I am very happy, shamelessly so :P I have to thank the organizers, my coaches and friends for coming out to support me.

    Yes, I coach in Shenzhen and Guanzhou. I teach kids Taekwodo, because I think its safe, fun and very enriching in multiple facets of a child’s development. Adults I teach MMA, this is my favorite for of competitive fighting and I do it because I love it! I am not a “master” or “guru” just a normal person, who has been training, competing and coaching over the last few years. I also do some self defense coarses when asked. IE In GZ earlier this year I taught the teachers and parents of a International school there. I teach at two venues in SZ. Louhu (a dojo/club) and in Gang Xia (“studio dojo” in my house) The classes at the dojo are on Sat starting at 6pm and cost 400RMB for two months. The classes at my house cost 150RMB for a private session and 75RMB for a group session (2-4) people. Sessions are 90min.

    I do this because it’s what I love and only because of that! If you are interested contact me at potwoody@gmail.com or 13425156556.

    Heinrich “Woody” Potgieter

    PS Thanks for all the cheering during the fights, it was nice hearing some shouts/cursing when I landed a good punch, kick or tackle!!!

    • The fight where you won the Sanda Open Weight 80kg+ Championship was excellent. Coming back from him winning the first round to win the next two took heart. All Shenzhen Dragon and Shekou Python rugby players, present at the fight agree, it was your “mother of all rugby tackles” that destroyed your opponent.

  13. Go woody my man, now you can come for a drink again

  14. Go Woody my man, now you can come for a drink again!!!!

  15. Aiya…sorry….the only woody I can know or can think of is in toy story (the movie)…hehe…

  16. who is Woody…?

  17. Woody does indeed train people. Text him at the number listed up there & he’ll get you sorted. 3X a week in Futian, I believe.

    I went down to his fight tonight at Windows of the World. Mixed-weight fights between Shenzhen’s champions, RMB50 entry after 8PM. Hate to say he lost on points, but it suffices to say that the local refs don’t like watching foreigners win once, let alone walk home with the biggest trophy. Awesome fights regardless.

  18. I have a friend who wants to get into that too, does woody train people also??

  19. rock it…

  20. It was a crazy fight Woody did really well, his rugby move dumping the ex-Sanda champion on his arse won him the fight.

  21. Woody is my hero!

  22. would like to see Woody kick some ass. when exactly is the next fight? ticket cost?

Comments are closed

The Contributor

Marcus Anthony Maher is a China business strategist who has established an assortment of companies and businesses in China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia. The companies vary in scope, including a magazine, a language training center, several consultancy companies specializing in investment, education, immigration and trading solutions, electronic component quality assurance, wine export/import & wholesale, wine bars and shops, retail clothing, carbon market consultancy, property and most recently a fitness lifestyle business.

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