Wing Chun Information
What is Kung Fu?
As popular as the media and the movies have made various martial art forms, few people understand the real essence of the Arts (as the movie image and the real thing are rarely the same). Kung-Fu is the original and the oldest of the martial art forms and is the predecessor of martial arts as we know them today. In Kung-Fu the emphasis is on understanding what you learn as opposed to merely memorizing movements. This leads to greater proficiency and higher levels of comprehension and achievement.
History of Wing Chun?
Wing Chun, is relatively young style, can be traced back to the Ching Dynasty aprox. 350 years ago when the Manchus who made up about 10% of the population ruled the Hans who comprised the other 90% of the population. When weapons were banned by the repressive Manchu government, the Hans began organizing secret rebel groups within the Sil Lum (Shaolin) Temple. Because the classical animal styles of Kung Fu took 15-20 years to master it was necessary to develop a new style that would enable students to become proficient fighters in a much shorter time span. As the Manchu soldiers were often trained in classical kung-fu styles, it was important that this new style be designed to be effective in neutralizing the existing styles. Five masters pooled the knowledge of their respective styles in order to come up with a new, more economical style utilizing only the most effective methods of combat. Before they could teach anyone the new style a traitor within the temple opened the gates to Manchu soldiers and the temple was burnt to the ground. Only one Master, a Sil Lum Nun named Ng Mui escaped. She later passed her knowledge to a young orphan girl who she named Yim Wing Chun who shared this knowledge with her husband Leung Bok Cho. Through the years the style became known as Wing Chun Kung Fu.
How does the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu work?
In a real self defense situation chances are your opponent will be bigger than you, stronger than you, or both. It would be rare to see a small, weak person attack a larger, stronger person. Wing Chun teaches economy of energy and movement and believes in the importance of not confronting your attacker’s force directly. Instead, in Wing Chun you gain the ability to work around and with your attacker’s energy, working against his weakest point thereby turning the advantage to you, the Wing Chun practitioner.
Who can learn Wing Chun Kung Fu?
It is not important that you be a super athlete to learn Wing Chun. Its design makes this style attractive to men, women, and children alike. People of all ages are increasingly being drawn to this system for its health benefits, self-defense, practicality, development of confidence, and increased powers of concentration.
We recognize as well that the practitioners of Wing Chun will hopefully spend only a small fraction of a percent of time in their lives fighting if at all. It is important, therefore, to be able to use the same concepts and principles used in fighting to better other. Each fighting principle can also be interpreted philosophically. We believe that the practice of Wing Chun, and an understanding of its principles and philosophies, should be a catalyst to putting each practitioner in the driver’s seat of his or her life. The development of great fighting abilities should give each of us the ability to be kind, compassionate, and loving by overcoming the fears that often manifest themselves as anger, sadness or feelings of agitation. The truly competent warrior is not boastful. The truly secure person is free from the need to impress others with his or her physical prowess and free from the need to have the approval of others. He or she can be understanding, acceptant, and kind without the fear of being thought weak for his or her kindness.
It is important to tap into the inner power that you all have and to take control of and responsibility for your own life. Our worst enemy is often ourselves. Look inside of yourself and overcome your demons of fear and insecurity and you will find a path to a happier life. No matter how many people a person can beat in battle (real or metaphorical battle), he or she will find no lasting happiness in bringing harm to others. Competent fighting skills are important but should be used to protect yourself or those you love in times of danger. Wing Chun Kung Fu skills can give you peace of mind, therefore eliminating insecurity and giving you the capacity to be at peace and in harmony with others.
Elements of Wing Chun ?
It is important to understand the purpose of the tools of Wing Chun training. These are often mentioned and demonstrated but too often their purposes are misunderstood. Here, in brief, are listed some of the important tools that every Wing Chun practitioner needs to understand…
Sil Lum Tao – Teaches how to form a good base, the fundamental hand positions and how to move one’s energy away from (down the center line) one’s body.
Chum Que – Teaches proper assessment of angles and angle structure to allow safe movement while bridging the gap. It also coordinates multiples of the movements from Sil Lum Tao in combination.
Bil Gee – Teaches the wrist rotation movement for finger thrusting, the elbow rotation for elbow strikes, recapturing the center line, additional footwork, and coordinates additional hand movement.
NOTE: In Wing Chun, forms do not teach application. Attempting to impose application on the movements in the forms will only serve to restrict their usefulness in battle.
2. Wooden Dummy – The Wooden Dummy translates the movements and positions in the forms into textbook/root applications.
3. Chi Sao – Is not a form of sparring and should never be viewed as such. Utilizing Chi Sao as sparring totally defeats its purpose. Chi Sao is used to develop contact reflexes or the ability to interpret movement through touch.
4. Self defense sets – Are for the purpose of simulating possible street encounters and should synthesize as closely as possible real life threatening situations.
5. Micro Study Sparring – Light sparring (not prearranged) where one can practice new applications in a less threatening atmosphere.
6. Full Contact Sparring – Full contact, virtually anything goes, sparring. Protective gear should be worn for this sparring. This helps the student learn to penetrate with powerful hits and also to perform well under stress.
Remember that Wing Chun was designed to enable the user to overcome a larger stronger opponent. For this reason mobility and the concept of never fighting force with force are very important.
The training tools outlined in this article show the importance of training in a way that effectively prepares you for the street. What looks good in the classroom, where all must abide by the same rules may, not work effectively on the street. On the street there are no rules, no referees, and no timed rounds. If you are hurt, you can’t stop to lick your wounds. Also, on the street do not expect your opponent to “fight fair”. Your attacker may have a weapon, or more than likely there will be more than one attacker. Ying Gi Ga Wing Chun prepares you for this and more.
Many students in Wing Chun (and probably other styles as well) learn the mechanical moves without ever gaining insight into what makes the system work In order to get the maximum advantages from the Wing Chun system there are certain principles that it is necessary for a practitioner to understand.
In the Ying Gi Ga Wing Chun method, we believe there are 39 + 1 key principles that it is especially important to understand. Some instructors may refer to these by different names. That does not matter. As long as you understand the nature of these 39 + 1 principles, getting the most out of Wing Chun will be easier for you. Without knowledge and understanding of these principles, high levels of proficiency will be impossible. See how many of these you understand.
Concepts and Principles of Wing Chun
1. Radial positioning Area
2. Center Line
3. Six Gates or zones
4. Angle the Stance
5. Three Lines of Defense (Sometimes Called the Rings of Protection)
6. Simultaneous Deflection and Counter Strike
7. Face the Point of Contact
8. Whipping Power and Bone Joint Energy
9. Elbows in, Knees in
10. Contact Reflex
11. Economy of Energy
12. Economy of Movement
13. Simplicity (Less is More. Bring Everything to its Simplest State but no further. Make the smallest movement within the realm of safety.)
15. Occupation of territory
16. Energy Transfer (Offensive/Defensive)
17. Emotional Content/Personal Detachment
18. Join with the Energy
19. Line of visual perception and use of peripheral vision
20. Evasive Maneuvering
21. Angles of Deflection
22. Unification of intent (Coordinated Body Mechanics)
23. Take the inside (Circular – get inside the loop; Linear – Shadow the Elbow)
25. Levels of Threat – High level, Mid Level, Low level
26. Levels of response – Management/Survival
27. Recognize the threat
28. Threat de-escalation and elimination
29. Disruption of the base (Applied applications coming out of the Chi Gerk Exercises.)
30. Tightening the Rope
31. The Tripods missing leg
32. Lead Hand/Lead Foot preferred attack
33. When Kicking the heals face each other
34. Take the Bridge
35. Seek the Tunnel
36. The Five Elements or Stages of Combat
37. Always relax your mind, your body will follow.
38. Yin and Yang – Never fight force with force (When the opponent tenses, relax/soften, when there is no obstruction, spring out. When the opponent retreats go in.)
39. DO IT (You can not learn to fight unless you fight)
Dear Students, Members, and Friends,
From time to time people ask about the meaning and significance of our logos. The following information is to provide that information.
The North American Wing Chun Association Inc. logo contains a shield, that represents the protection that Ying Gi Ga Wing Chun provides. The three stars represent the three forms. The lines dividing the colors of the shield (red, white & blue) are made from dragon poles. Also represented are the Bart Jarm Doa (swords) and the wooden dummy.
The Ying Gi Ga (House of the Eagle) Wing Chun logo shows the six zones or gates. In the center (and at the ends) are lines representing the radial positioning area. These are all sheltered under the eagle’s wing.
The North American Wing Chun Association Inc. is the organizational entity that is made up of you and I and all of our members and member schools. It is the vehicle through which we accomplish our goals. The Ying Gi Ga Wing Chun System is the method of Wing Chun that we use to achieve these goals. Ying Gi Ga Wing Chun has done much to re-integrate many aspects of the system that have, in the past, been fragmented by instructors that only taught certain things to certain students (never giving any one student the whole picture) and because of petty politics between different Wing Chun organizations. Through the Ying Gi Ga method we hope to give our members and students more of the art. Our registered and copyrighted trademarks/logos represent important concepts of our system.
Grandmaster Philip Holder