Wing Chun and the science of body
Wing Chun is not just a martial art, but rather a way of living and breathing. It is not unchanged tradition but always developing and growing system of techniques that have never lost the original roots of its background. Preserving the main principles it continues to develop obtaining new methods of self-defense. The reason why this martial art has become so popular and widespread is that it is very practical, simple and is designed for everyone regardless of their shape or size to learn rather fast. This is an empty-handed system that allows using it even in confined spaces. The system is based on reflexive movements. The person responses to the attack automatically, this way he surprises the opponent and while he was shocked he uses the time to continue hitting which leads to more effective fight. Such direct and simple technique is the most effective one. When practiced regularly and constantly the whole system is possible to learn in only two years which is rather short period of time compared to other forms of martial arts for both men and women equally.
In Wing Chun structure and timing are more important than strength and speed. The basis is human anatomy, though the movements were originally imitated from animals. Being natural art one does not need to be extremely flexible or athletic. The constant practice develops a high degree od physical fitness and improves mental concentration. One will gain special sensitivity, coordination and balanced control. The obtained endurance will help to calm the mind and be more careful. The body is on a relax mode and the tension will be gone from the body. So you will reach the natural state of stability and internal strength. This is the key point of Wing Chun that allows different people to efficiently protect themselves even from larger or stronger opponents. Another benefit is that this system is quite witty. To attack with high speed and violence one can give a simple reflex response to prevent the attack and make the opponent lose the balance so that he will no longer control the fight. As you can protect and attack at the same time you can hit without warning from any position that you will be. It is based on the body itself to build power even in small space. If compared to other types of martial arts inn Wing Chun the person does not need to hit back and forth until the opponent is defeated. It offers endless chain of strikes for the win not giving the opponent time to recover. This is not a training time when students spent spend with heavy things, but rather the focus is on the posture of the body to make it move more effectively with huge precision. The structural position will win over sheer strength. Not to waste the energy and economy the moves there is a special practice in the system that is called striking hands which helps to develop this ability. The basis is easy: to have maximum effect one should use as little effort as possible. In each technique the position of the body and the movements from toe to head are of great importance. As you are strongly rooted to the ground ot goes the same way from the legs to spine and arms. The hit is full of intention and balance. So the effective strategy of self-defense is the result of correctly set force generation and body moves. Joining with explosive body moves the full body mass can be used to generate force. The important part is to make the correct use of body that is to learn how to move without any tension. When you reach the natural state of generating force rightly you will be able to use the maximum force potential instead of leaning only on physical strength. To result in more effective and powerful movements that allow using the body structure and not the brute strength one should improve the exact posture. This is the secret to gain the capacity of winning over stronger opponents without much physical strength. This is all due to the space the body occupies. In fact when you are on the line of hitting you can easily prevent yourself from being attacked. Moreover now you have the right position to attack back at the same time. As the opponent needs some time for the next attacks your chance of success increases. You do not need to get ready to hit again as your position already fits for that. So you are blocked and you can attack at the same time.
Wing Chun is based on the natural body movements that is why it is easy to learn, simple to understand and can easily be used in any situation without taking into consideration the environment and space whether it is closed or open. The hands and legs are the only tools one can use for the success without wasting effortless movements. Instead just use short and direct method of hitting so that the defense also is possible simultaneously. The direct way of hitting is the most effective one as your moves will achieve their goal quicker and on point. Attacking and protecting at the same moment will give an advantage to use the situation in their benefit. As it has already been mentioned Wing Chun is used even against those who are stronger or bigger and the chance of success is even greater. The effective body position will show one’s potential. So what should they do to win? Firstly it’s important to overcome the force using redirection and deflection. Secondly is the force generating method using the whole body with correct moves. A long period of time practice will guarantee the special capacity. Digging deeper and deeper you learn the unique style of this martial arts that differs from the others with its simple but at the same time meaningful techniques putting the system on the top.
The greatest masters of Wing Chun Kung Fu
Ip Man is on e the most influential representatives of Wing Chun. He dreamed that one day traditional Chinese martial art would be accepted in the world as one of the respected systems. It is said that Wing Chun originated from Ip Man and some claim they were his direct students. Ip man never considered his world so political because he only wanted the development of this art. He tried to preserve the system as he trained it, so he set his sons onto a film so that it would serve as a source and reference of his family system. With the help of this film he wished to teach how he practiced the forms and also the way he wanted his legacy to be remembered. It would be an undeniable evidence for future students. Even in his old ages he was able to preserve his skills, which shows that correct practice and full understanding of the forms will let you remain a practitioner till the end. This was the way the master wanted his students to continue the traditions. Samuel Kwok has played a great role in making this art one of the forefront systems as it is today. He is the author of several essential books of Wing Chun and he made many videos to help the learners all over the world to develop their skills. Many instructors in various schools across the world have been influenced by Samuel’s teaching style which led to a better understanding of Ip man’s style. Even now Samuel continues to spread the legacy of traditional Wing Chun in Europe. He has practiced with different masters across the world to make the art more practical and effective. That is why Samuel’s technique is considered as one of best forms with the high quality and practical.
Bruce lee was one the Ip man’s famous students. His practice of Wing Chun influenced his development greatly. He was only sixteen year old boy when he became Ip man’s students and started training Wing Chun because of the continuous fights he had with local gang members. There was no exact form during the classes as he gradually tried various techniques. His teacher encouraged him to perform in competitions instead of using his skills in the streets with gang members. However when other students learn about Lee’s origin they refused to study together with him as they were against the idea to teach this martial art to non-Asians. Lee had a great interest in Wing Chun so he kept on practicing in private with Ip Man. He differs with his quickness and accuracy and how correctly he delivers his kicks. He continuously developed his techniques all the time promoting the spread of Wing Chun.
Ip Chun specialized in Wing Chun was the eldest son of grandmaster Ip Man. Thought he works as an reporter and accountant in Hong Kong, he never stopped training and mastering his skills as his father had taught him. His father wanted him to take part in the event of Athletic Association and later he became one of the founders of when it officially opened. At first he was only a curator and later he became the chairman. He began training Wing Chun in Hong Kong and even now he continues teaching some of his former students. He is persistent and intense to keep his father’s legacy and he was chosen to present the system as the successor of the legacy of Wing Chun. He holds seminars and trainings in various cities across the world, in Australia, England and The United States.
Grandmaster Steve Lee Swift has forty years of experience in Wing Chun. He traveled around the world to learn exact and efficient techniques from the sons of the legend Ip Man and other respected masters. He practiced hard all the time to improve his art and now he is an iconic master not only for beginners but also for many instructors. Until he was seventeen he practiced a great number of arts but there was always missing something and soon he discovered for him Wing Chun and filled his curiosity. He needed the art desperately to win against his opponents. He was seeking for a quick and practical form to defend himself. So managed to find the one to save his life designed for self defense where you do not have to follow tournament rules to fight. This system kept him alive. So when he graduated in England he was eager to come back to Hong Kong to continue to learn the full system of Wing Chun. He had different masters and practiced under Simon Lau, Wong Shun and Yip Ching to complete his education. He became an instructor in Hong Kong and since then started running some of the greatest Wing Chun schools all over the world. Soon he established his own academy and started to develop the essential fundamentals to create the highest quality school in the world. Steve’s wish, one of the smartest and the quickest masters’, is to pass the legacy on with love to teach the generations the complex forms of Wing Chun. Steve made Ip Man’s desire true. The art of Wing Chun was taught to many young people in Chicago. The ones who practiced tougher with the master share the same feelings and encouragement to succeed anyway. Master Steve was honored in many articles and news reports as an influential representative of Wing Chun who saved a number of women and men. He promotes the art even now continuing the wish of his masters to teach with great heart and pass on the knowledge to younger ones, to show them the efficiency of Wing Chun as art.
The psychology of Wing Chun Kung Fu
Wing Chun is an art for body mind and spirit at the same time. It is not only express students’ self but also reflects their future. People are nothing compared to what they are able to become. This style requires focused hard work with devotion, honor and union included. This is what makes Wing Chun a true art. This is the art that helps students not only develop themselves but to better the lives of others as well. Martial arts give the opportunity improving your skills and techniques and your self, your mind. Putting you efforts, time and hard work makes you what you are, helps design you path and build the bridge with the structure and materials that you will need in your life. This path will change something in you adding or lacking things, building you true identity in the end. Wing Chun’s real spirit will introduce itself to you. The main goal of Wing Chun is higher than just martial art practice. The system passed through generations and was taught to public and the masters presumed higher stat than pure exercises. A true inheritor should have humble nature and virtue, a person of fairness. They encourage the learners for soothing better and soon the students learn that devoted soul practicing is much tougher than physical training. Respect is of central importance in the system. Take away the egos and obtain self-respect and respect for others and your mind will be free from any kind of obstruction and disappointment. Students will have more responsibility in their actions and a sense of self-righteous will disappear. Wing Chun is known as aggressive martial art for its quickness and accuracy, however, with the help of the highly qualified masters students manage to reach higher sense of self letting the mind to go back and the body to react and see through the movements and intentions in a real life situation. Assaulting the opponent and protecting yourself at the same time rapidly with dexterity and skill is the key secret of the system. The students need the ability to understand the intention of every move so that they will be able to analyze the situation correctly and hold sympathy even to their opponents they fight. Studying Wing Chun is not an easy task just like altering the way you think and live. It is complicated path that will bring you in the end something of your own that nobody can carry away. Maybe you will not have money or other precious things but you will have your brotherhood and your honor to complete yourself. We continuously gain and loose the material things and what remains in the end? Only our education our abilities and experience, the expression of our mind through the body movement are the things that will never leave us. We do not have to shout about them because they are visible anyway. The true masters of Wing Chun fight only to preserve their honesty and integrity, to protect yourself and those around you.
How to split your attention in a several various directions at the same time? Well Wing Chun masters give you the chance to learn to make an efficient use of your attention and develop your concentration. Training martial arts improves you focus, control of feelings and self-control. Wing Chun requires complete devotion and involvement to the moment. Students should acquire thorough awareness to be able to practice the techniques of self-defense. An essential component is attentiveness to make you get involved in the process completely. The effectiveness of practice directly depends on how much we are connected to the real moment on what we are doing instead of worrying of the future or considering the facts of the past. Wing Chun helps improving such kind of ability. The fight always includes more than one person so students usually learn in a group and practice with many opponents at each class. While working together students get to know each other. Mastering punches and small talking will make the training perfect. So Martial arts practice becomes more useful the same way as the temporary health treatment. There are moments when you are upset and you want to isolate and avoid people but martial arts practice makes you to contact others even if you do not want to. The reason is that isolation always makes the situation worse. Social interaction helps so the class will serve as a therapy. Wing Chun training especially when it includes competitions makes you to overcome fears that are a great problem for most people. People are afraid to get hurt or to fail and lose the battle, they are afraid of unpredictable situations but the more challenges you have in life the more you develop you self-respect and appreciate your abilities. So your skills become inseparable part of your life.
The essential ground for Wing Chun serves the balance. Masters praise themselves as they never get caught in a poor protective position. The stable position is to protect the vital areas of the body. Students tend to make simultaneous attacks and leave them immobile. What makes Wing Chun style so great? The essential parts of this style are practicality, effectiveness and economy of movements as they should be as accurate as possible. The technique focuses on these to preserve the ideals on efficiency. Students need to use the least amount force in fighting. The exact movements can defeat the opponent due to the balance and body position and calmness.
However the success in Wing Chun should be two sided. The pure physical skills will not be enough to achieve your goal. Another vital component of success is spiritual. Something that is even more complicated than exercises. The students need complete concentration and much effort while practicing. Whenever they reach absolute balance inside them and get the full understanding of the system will they be able to acquire high level of proficiency.
The main purpose of each Wing Chun school is to teach the martial art with an effective technique. Though it has various branches the main principles that all the instructors follow are the same. The system itself is a simple and complete form which, however develops and changes over time improving the existing one. The key concepts in the system are the same for all masters in spite of the personal interpretation of the masters to refine the form. It is more based on scientific and mathematical method so it has the shortest plan when compared to other martial arts. The policy in schools is straightforward: no politics and no magic. This style is a realistic and commonsensical form of art. It is more important what your approach to it is. What is the reason you learn it? It can be taught for self-defense, energy and health. The basic training in each level is focused paying attention to every detail. There are certain requirements before starting to train it, a special level of fitness so that students will correspond to the standards. The experienced and skillful masters are also essential part of the training. So each school offers its own possibilities and opportunities for students to learn. Based on the basic system different forms are differentiated in Wing Chun.
One of the earliest forms is the empty hand form which has the basics of all system hand attacks and protection methods. At first sight it may seem too easy and simple but the main meaning in Wing Chun is simplicity. Training Sil Lum Tao one masters the art of palm punch central lines how to block different positions, breaks and locks working with legs. The students appreciate the little steps they make and understand how it works. This form has all one need to completely grasp the main idea of the system. It is not hundred percent but it gives the basics. It concentrates more on hands, the upper part of the body. The slowly movements make it more interesting as you will have time to focus on your position and breathing, staying in balance.
Moving to the next form one make use of both arms instead of one. Chum Kiu is a form that alloys working with two hands at the same time. Next step is the practice of footwork. Students try to keep in balance while using both hands and kicks. So now the number of movements is increased taking place in a small area. In many fighting styles the distance is essential part but in this case in a close distance, a vital ability to develop Wing Chun.
The last hand form of Wing Chun is thrusting fingers. It is rather complicated one as for the use of this form one should make a perfect use of kicks, balance and timing. To exactly hit the pressure points students develop chi sao skill to keep the opponent under control. This is the main idea of the form. The movements are ending moves because they are used to finish the battle. But the fact is that lack of control can cause a serious damage to the opponent even without any intention. Along with footwork and arms it also involves elbow strikes. When students achieve the form fully they are like walking weapons. Those who train the same for hundreds times are more respectful than those who try hundreds of different things at the same time. Otherwise this form is called Biu Ji which allows the students completely engage into the world of Wing Chun.
In the next form one should practice against a huge piece of wood that is why it is sometimes called wooden dummy. Today most often they use metal instead of wood. To succeed in this form endless efforts are needed. It seems it is time to use force as the materials are heavier and one cannot handle them without force. But force is not used in Wing Chun so instead students practice attacks and when something gets in the way they have to change the technique. Continuously repeating the same thing over and over again gradually you can acquire speed and fluency. While using imaginative partner like wood one gains power and strength.
Another form is so called Wing Chun butterfly swords. Whether they use small swords or large knives is not of great importance. The truth is that the weapon that is used was traditionally used by monks, though they were not allowed to hurt someone. So they are not designed for stubbing. Monks could only protect themselves by parts of their body. The importance of usage of metal swords is essential as they are heavy. They strengthen the power of the hands and help to keep the balance. You learn to balance the hands and develop stale. The important fact is that it is adaptable and there can be several items easily substituted with the swords.
The six and half point pole has its name because of its number of the movements used in this form. Though various schools have different statements about the number, how long or how thick it is. Though some families have greater number of movements it is something historians should examine. However the basic in Wing Chun is simple technique. Dragon Pole is a long stick that allows hitting the opponent from the distance. It is similar to the use of swords as now you fight with two sticks. In fact they are very practical for the usage as they are lighter and easy to practice with. In fact this form includes only six techniques which are repeated in different directions all the time so it is simpler to learn than other forms which have more than hundred techniques.
It is hard to say which form is more useful. In fact all of them complete each other making the students to understand the system fully and make perfect use of this martial art.
Wing Chun legacy
Wing Chun Kung Fu is name that was given to a special martial arts. It was created in China. The data goes back nearly three hundred years ago. At that time special thorough art movements were being taught in the Shaolin Temple situated in Southern China. In fact the history is a mixture of legends and facts. The monks faced great threats from the Manchus who were powerful at that period keeping everyone under their strict rule to control them. The temples were being burnt and the monks were being killed. Those who managed to escape had to hide to keep themselves safe. However they continued to guard and pass on the secrets of this art to only devoted students. They continued practicing and inventing new forms to fight the soldiers. The stories passed from masters to student orally making it complicated to confirm the real origination of Wing Chun. That is why it lacks constant records or documentation of its origin.
The origin of Wing Chun
The most popular story of Wing Chun is that of Ng Mui’s. It is said that she was one of the Five Elders of the Temple who was able to escape before it was destructed. His first student became a young lady. She was Yim Wing Chun. During this period monks who went against the Qing Dynasty were murdered. Yim Yee who was once a master in Shaolin Temple, was earning his living selling tofu in his shop. He was wrongly accused of a crime so he had to run with his family and settle down near the Tai Leung Mountain. Yim Yee’s daughter was Yim Wing Chun. Her father had trained her in secret in Kung Fu since she was a child.
When she was a girl Yim was in love with Leung Bok Chau. But they were not able to get married because a local warlord was attracted by her beauty. He wanted to make her marry him so he continuously treated her. She rejected him every time so he offered a special suggestion for her: the proposal would be annulled if she could win him in a battle. Yim Wing Chun consented, and her father asked for some time. The time was only until the following spring: to get ready to win or to be his wife. Everyone in the village was aware of Yim Wing Chun’s unfortunate situation. Soon Ng Mui learned about this and felt pity for the girl as they knew each other back then when her father was a tofu merchant. She understood that the Wing Chun was too weak and unskilled so she could not fight with the savage warlord. That is why she thought of a new technique to help. Ng Mui was trying to create a new form of Kung Fu that would be suitable for a woman who could not use the advantages of weight and strength. Her inspiration came from the movements of animals and she started to train Wing Chun, focusing more on the necessary movements that could be taught in a short period of time. The whole village was watching her demonstrating a new version of Kung Fu that nobody had ever seen before. Despite a size difference, she managed to throw herself into special spots that shook the man’s stability and left him helpless to her endless attacks. His huge body was lying unconscious on the ground so the crowd met the winner with a roar. Now Yim Wing Chun could marry the one she truly loved. According to the tradition of that period she could teach her knowledge to her husband. The entire village had witnessed how powerful the newly developed form of Kung Fu was. The couple created a school for those who also wished to study the new art. When her father died Yim Wing Chun and her husband left the village and settled in Zhaoqing. There they started to spread this martial art which now had a name: Wing Chun Kung Fu.
The spread of Wing Chun Kung Fu
The verbal stories tell that Leung Lan Kwai was one of the first students, who was educated in Zhaoqing. In the first half of 19th centaury Wong Wah Bo came to sing there and studied with Leung Lan. Wong taught Leung about the opera, and Leung helped him with his Kung Fu. When he returned he started to educate others on the ship, known as the Red Junk. While practicing it turned out the boat’s cook was once the abbot of the Shaolin temple, Chi Shin, living in secret. Chi Shin was the one who created the techniques of the Six and a Half Point Pole into Wing Chun. During its travel the people on the ship train Leung Jan, a famous doctor. They say he was able to obtain all the secrets of Wing Chun and reach the highest level of mastery. He was very famous and many Kung Fu masters challenged Leung Jan. It is said nobody was able to defeat him. As Leung Jan’s popularity continued to grow, the government made him head instructor for the military but he stayed a short time there. After his retirement he continued to train Wing Chun Kung Fu until his death. Chan had his final student when he was in his 70s: a boy named Ip Man.
Ip Man’s legacy
Grandmaster Ip Kai Man grew up during the unstable years of a Chinese war against Japan. Ip Man was fascinated by the art, he asked the teacher to have him as a student. Master Chan required a huge payment to get rid of a spoiled rich child. But the following year, Ip Man came back with the money. At first he thought they were stolen. He wanted her father to punish the boy, but when he learned that he had worked the whole year to earn the money Chan had no choice but to accept him. After some time of practice in Hong Kong he met Leung Bik, another master and continued his studies with him for nearly ten years. When he was 24, he started to work as a policeman. He taught Wing Chun to other officers, friends. In 1949 when a new political party was established in China he was forced to leave for Hong Kong. Ip Man founded a school and trained many students. He became very popular as a Kung Fu master. In 1967 Ip Man founded the Wing Chun Athletic Association. Continuously he educated the art till his death. The stories and legends of Ip Man are popular, that inspire various books and movies.
Yip Man has become a legend in Wing Chun history and even today one of the greatest masters. He was the one who is considered to have rescued the form having been wiped out. As a renowned teacher and incredible fighter he managed to refine and perfect the system. Later one of his students Chu Tin became the continuer of his legacy and he is one of the world’s head authorities in Wing Chun. The latter’s student Jim became one of the few people practicing Wing Chun who managed to learn the whole system and had the level of capacity and comprehension to be identified as a grandmaster. The art of Wing Chun Kung Fu continued along its history Grandmaster Moy Yat. He was from Chine who moved to Hong Kong at the age of nineteen and there he started to practice with Ip Man. Besides being a devoted student he was also a good friend of the grandmaster. At a very young age the grandmaster helped him to become an instructor and teach the system in school. After teaching in Hong Kong for a while he moved to the United States with his family the following year grandmaster died. Together with his brother he continued teaching and introducing the art of Wing Chun in the U.S. Travelling all over the world he keep on spreading the system training people at various seminars and workshops. Besides being master of Wing Chun he was also an author. He wrote six books about this martial art which include the history of his lineage, the main principles of the system and the life of his greatest successors and students. He retired when he was sixty after teaching thousands of students.
The development of the system
Now Wing Chun has a history of three hundred years. It has been constantly developed and adapted by thousands of people. From its orgin till now it has changed becoming more and more effective. However, there are facts that the inspiration to create this style came from the fight of a bird and gnawer. The animals used their wings and legs at the same time to hit the opponent and to protect themselves. Though being the youngest system created during the Qing dynasty in China, it has the goal to make easier and more efficient fighting methods instead of the brute ones. Wing Chun varies greatly from other systems in many other ways. The movements are more natural and the means of generating the force is different. The key to the system is not just the direct imitation of animal movements: they leave out the unnecessary ones using the strength in the most effective way. It is important to be free and relaxed because it is the ultimate goal of Wing Chun. So one should free himself both emotionally and physically from the dependence on the techniques. Rely on the body and let it protect yourself: this is how it works. The ability to do things right is what one need to develop his skills. The secret of effective and efficient practice is the deep training. Every minute of the practice should be entirely involved, greatly concentrated and challenging. Deep training is not just about suffering but it includes a cycle of peculiar actions, developing skills beyond your current capacity to surpass your grip. Wing Chun has created a specific learning style during the period of its development putting the main idea in one phrase: You will not change unless it challenges you. The system allows learning some skills faster now but the plank should not be entirely shaded unless you learn to demonstrate the skills under pressure surely and predictably. The learning time is very subjective for individuals. One cannot progress simply in a training session. Even the masters need over a dozen practice sessions to succeed. The speed is not the most important thing but the quality is: this has been the motivation of the Wing Chun masters along the history. The key steps of each form and the essential points and strategies have changed a little during of its history. Before advancing to each level one should be sure of the skills and the abilities they have acquired. Examining every movement is required for self-evaluation. With every level it goes deeper and deeper for the comprehension of the meaning behind the moves.
What makes Wing Chun so popular?
There are many ways martial arts can improve a person’s life. Wing Chun has become not just a fun hobby to learning a few tricks to impress your friends but a purpose of life that makes you disciplined, help you to make a family and challenges for something new. For ones it can be something that saves their life for others it is a life changing experience. What you will learn about the system is that the more you practice and understand it, the deeper it takes you. More and more opportunities open to you. It may seem simple art but the fact is it is deeper compared to other complicated styles. There is no limit in learning Wing Chun. Even the grandmasters keep on practicing and developing their abilities all their life. Though it has some similarities with other styles it is an art that will be a part of you changing the way you live and move. A long practice will result in gaining the automatic sense of movements. They will be faster than your analytical mind will work. In the high levels you never think how you move or what is the opponent doing because you simply feel it. It seems as if the body reacts to attacks itself. This is the level when you have the full understanding of the system. It is always practical that allows various people to practice it regardless to their size and athletic ability. Based on the reflexive movements it gives one the opportunity to defend himself with bare hands. The tradition of Wing Chun will continue to progress due to its dedicated students who keep on spreading and developing it all over the world.