Yip Chun – a profile of a true master


A friend of mine told me of a Wing Chun seminar he went to. The master was from Hong Kong, and he was then: on the invitation from one of his UK instructors. My friend asked if
he could do sticking hands with the visiting master. The master’s reply was that he “Did not do sticking hands with grand students.
There are two kinds of ‘Masters’.
There are the sort that stand aloof from their students, and there an: the kind that ‘like to get their hands dirty’. In a style that relies on a great deal of forms training, it is possible to keep a certain amount of detachment from the day to day running of a. class, but in the case of Wing Chun, where sticking hands is the backbone of the training syllabus, not
practising with the studems is a sure: way to loose your skill. Wing Chun teaches freedom from fixed responses, so a Wing Chun class should never concentrate too much on drilling fixed sequences of techniques.

Someone who is living proof of this is Yip Chun, the eldest son of Yip Man. During seminars around the world, he has been known to practise one to two hours of sticking hands with the seminar attendees. Sometimes he gets to stick with everybody at the seminar. At over seventy years of age (article written in 1995), five foot and two inches high, and only one hundred and ten pounds in weight, it’s hard to imagine why he puts himself in these situations. The reason is simple it is the only way to improve yourself.

People have a lot of respect for Yip Chun, so when doing sticking handsmwith him they won’t try to take advantage. After all sticking hands is a game, and not an opportunity to ·take pot shots at your opponent to try to make yourself look good. Nevertheless there have been some ignorant people who have pushed their luck, and regretted it. When
talking about Yip Man, he points out that his father never had the opportunity to travel around the world doing sticking hands with everybody, so in this respect Yip Chun has been able to develop sticking hands even more than his father.

You never forget the first time you do sticking hands with Yip Chun. You expect his hands to be soft, but they are not soft in the way you anticipated. Its a bit like putting your hands in moving water – on the surface there is not much movement, but once submerged you can feel something pulling at you, and it feels unpredictable and full of danger.

In teaching the Wing Chun forms, the explanations he gives are clear, to the point and his technical knowledge is simply incredible. He makes it seem so obvious and full of common sense, and you wonder why you never thought of it yourself.

Qi Magazine Issue 22, Oct-Nov 1995, Page 27
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