Wing Chun is a fighting system which evolved from a number of sources including classical Shaolin Kung Fu, it was created by a Buddhist Nun by the name of Ng Mui who was famous for her skills as a boxer. It uses no high kicks (unstable and groin exposed to attack) so no painful stretching exercises required. It is designed for fighting multiple armed attackers, so no, or minimal groundwork training, if you are wrestling on the floor you are defenceless against other attackers with weaponry. It is also designed to turn out competent fighters within as short a time frame as possible, so you can pick it up really quickly. It was made famous by Bruce Lee best known student of Grandmaster Ip Man.
Wing Chun uses bone structure, muscle memory and the power of the subconscious to overpower larger opponents with minimal use of muscle strength. With correct training a student can spasm their body and Fa Jing enormous amounts of energy from apparently minimal movement. Wing Chun redirects an attacker’s force whilst simultaneously counter striking to the central core of the body so that all the energy has to be absorbed.
Siu Lim Tao
Training starts with Siu Lim Tao (little idea) form. This form is critical for establishing a sound foundation. Many important concepts are included in its movements. One of the first things you learn is how to align your bones towards a point in space so that you can deal with an opponents strength without having to rely on muscle strength. The stance starts to become rooted and all hand movements become extensions of the Ma (horse stance). With the correct intent and awareness of your own body the joints can become connected to back each other up which gives the hand techniques more power.
Physically the tendons, ligaments, muscles and internal organs are strengthened, while the mind is trained to work with the body, as awareness is gradually spread throughout the whole.
From the first lesson students are introduced to basic two arm rolling poon sau or dan chi single arm rolling, both are extremely important. You need to be able to independently task both hands simultaneously and also shut down movement on one side or the other whilst still rolling with the other hand.
Chum Kiu bridge seeking/establishing form shows how to favourably bridge the gap to an opponent. Most of the emphasis is on counter attack assuming that you are defending yourself against incoming attacks. This is ethically sound as you should learn how to defend yourself before learning how to attack people. The bone structures of Siu lim Tao are now used in motion with the Huen Ma rotating horse stance to generate formidable power.
Two way energy is developed much further than in Siu Lim Tao and as the student practices the form a bridge is formed between Siu Lim Tao and Biu Jee energy. First of all they will co ordinate all the joints on the forward moving side of the body then also on the backward , then both together, then starting to whirlpool as in Biu Jee as their power starts to manifest properly and “you can hear the sounds”. The form provides an environment for training rooting stance whilst moving, rooting limbs, casting, coiling ,and iron wire. The subconscious is a very powerful tool, if you can find the right key words you can unlock great power. Different people need different keys to unlock their potential. Once the lock is opened there is no turning back and no need to reinsert the key.
Mook Yan Jong
Great fighters are forged on the wooden dummy man. Huen Ma power in all movements serious rooting of stance. Striking with the whole body, including internals. You experience the principles of Wing Chun on the Jong.
Lok Dim Boon Kwan
Shaolin power generation, thanks to Chee Shin ( Zen monk).
If you are going to attack then you will need to know what to do when things go wrong. Fa Jing power now whirlpools as we use what has been learnt from the previous forms and take it further.
Antagonistic stances wind up from one strike to the next like bamboo in the wind. More use of internal/mind in conjunction with Fa Jing as a delivery system. Now you see why so many Huen Sau in the forms at full arm extension and why the pole is so important for elbows not just for the Ma. Stirring the soup allows the Chi to flow through the shoulder joint without interruption.
Bart Cham Dao
An impressive repository of knowledge about attacking. Advanced attacking footwork, covering all the angles and setting up the muscle memory for chopping and slashing with a Dao in your hand.
Wing Chun Lifestyle
Wing Chun is not just a martial art it is a way of life. The relationship between teacher and student is for life and the teacher should have a positive influence on the students personal development. To communicate efficiently the concepts involved requires a bridge between the students view of the world and the Sifus.
To perform the movements powerfully fluidly and without thinking requires the student to be at one in the moment. When you can be at one with yourself you can be honest with yourself, then you can be humble and yet respect yourself. When you can respect yourself you can respect others.
Although Wing Chun is a very quick fighting system to acquire skill in it takes many years to master. The journey is a long one, you could say it lasts a lifetime and along the way are many traps and distractions from the middle way or centre line. Fighting skills are but a part of the journey, development and forging of a persons character is far more important. Pride and arrogance are traps to be very wary of and guidance in this is part of the role of Sifu.
A good student should be humble and polite, yet confident and questioning. To help them grow and develop in the right way requires attention like the detailed training of Bonsai or Penjing. The Sifu has a great deal of responsibility for their influence on the student. The Sifu must strive always to influence their student in a positive manner. Their Sum Faat will influence the students Sum Faat. Any character defects in the Sifu may well influence their students so the Sifu must strive always to behave in an honourable way, and uphold the code of conduct. Sifu always leads by example. Like a father to their children.
Code of Conduct Remain disciplined uphold yourself ethically as a martial artist
Practice courtesy and righteousness, serve the community and honour your family
Love your fellow students or classmates, be united and avoid conflicts
Limit your desires and pursuit of bodily pleasures, preserve the proper spirit
Train diligently and make it a habit, maintain your skills
Learn to develop spiritual tranquillity, abstain from arguments and fights
Participate in society-be conservative, cultured and gentle in your manners
Help the weak and the very young-use your martial skill for the good of humanity
Pass on the tradition-preserve this Chinese art and its rules of conduct.
Mo Duk….Martial Morality by Master Bill Davidson
The Chinese Martial Arts are supposed to be built on the foundation of a concept called Mo Duk. Mo Duk is translated as Martial (Mo) Morality or Virtue (Duk). This concept has even found its way from the Chinese arts into systems that have developed in other countries. Korean Tae Kwon Do for example has an association called Mu Duk Kwan, which means “Institute of Martial Virtue”. The Japanese arts developed the concept of Bushido…the way of the warrior. All of these are systems of morality that is supposed to accompany the training of the Warrior.
Grandmaster Ip Ching explained recently that Mo Duk is a very important component in the Martial Artist development. He explained the concept of Mo Duk by using the example of the structure of old Chinese coins. You have probably seen the old coins which were round on the outside but had a square cut out in the centre of the coin. As Ip Ching explained, “The outside of the coin is round and smooth. This is an example of how you interact with those outside of your family. Even if they do something wrong, you should be understanding and not harsh with them. They are outside of your family. Perhaps they have not had the benefit of the teaching of Mo Duk and good manners that your family have been taught. So being an outsider, they have a little more latitude in their actions; they are not held to the higher level you hold your own family to.” The Grandmaster went on to explain “The Square in the centre of the coin represents the way you interact with those within your own family (School, Clan, Association). The straight lines and sharp corners represent more stringent boundaries. Within the family there are rules and regulations. There are expectations as to personal conduct, respect, discipline and action. A father expects more and exerts his influence more on his own children than on a stranger. This is true also in a Kung Fu family.”
In my descipleship ceremony with Grandmaster Samuel Kwok, in the prescence of Grandmaster Ip Ching I remember well part of his instruction to me was in relation to Mo Duk. He explained that as his disciple he expected me to uphold the standards of the Ip Man Wing Chun system, and respect and honour the source from which our Kung Fu flows. I was instructed to follow and pass on to my own students the rules of conduct that had been passed down through our Kung Fu family. That day I swore to my sifu that I would follow and pass this heritage, and I demand the same from my students. To do less would be disrespectful to the warriors of the past who have passed to my generation the heritage of the Wing Chun Kung Fu system.