What is Wing Chun?
Wing Chun is a holistic and lifelong martial art skill. The original concept of Wing Chun is to help smaller people defend themselves against bigger, stronger opponents. Grandmaster Ip Chun says, “The highest level martial art skill is the one that uses the least amount of energy to defeat an opponent.”
This may seem difficult to believe, or understand, but through Wing Chun, a student can explore their sensitivity, skill and power to overcome stronger opponents.
In Wing Chun we learn how to use minimal energy to defend ourselves and use our opponent’s energy against them. Wing Chun also uses footwork to move when attacking and defending, creating more possibilities without using a lot of energy.
Wing Chun is not difficult to learn and very quickly you can begin practicing techniques and footwork to improve your skill level. Grandmaster Michael Tse says, “My Sifu, Grandmaster Ip Chun, is only a small man, weighing less than 100 lbs. However, I have seen him do Chi Sau (a way of practicing the Wing Chun techniques in training with a partner) with people much bigger and taller than him, and every time he easily controls them.”
“They always try to use strength against him, but being smaller, he knows that he does not have the same strength to fight back. He uses his sensitivity to “listen” to his opponent’s hands and body movements. In small ways, they will give their intentions away before they have actually committed all of their energy. He can then move or change his position to defend and even change their energy to trap them and attack back. Anyone who sees Grandmaster Ip Chun is impressed by his skill, especially as he is now over ninety five years old and still very fit and healthy!”
Wing Chun skill is a martial art that you can practice for life and is not for just the very young or strong. With proper practice, you will become healthier and more balanced and will understand the true nature of learning a traditional Chinese martial art.
History of Wing Chun
The history of Wing Chun Kuen can be traced back to the Southern Shaolin Temple, in Fu Jian Province and dates back 300 years to the Qing Dynasty.
At that time, people were still loyal to the conquered Ming Dynasty and were not happy being ruled by the Manchurian’s. Ordinary people could do little about it, but if someone had a martial art skill, they may be able to fight against the government. At the Shaolin Temple, all the monks practiced martial arts and their skill was very high. They made the Qing government feel insecure, so they sent an army to attack Shaolin. At first, they were unable to defeat the monks. However, the Qing army was able to corrupt one of the monks and with his help, they burnt the temple down and killed many of the monks. Fortunately, five of the leading monks and a nun escaped in the fire.
The nun who escaped was Ng Mui (Sitai), and she was very skilled in martial arts. She made her way to the southwest of China to the White Crane Temple. One evening, she saw a crane fighting a wild cat. Each time the cat attacked, it failed to hurt the crane. The crane seemed very calm and looked as if it knew what to do. Eventually the cat became exhausted and ran away. Ng Mui noticed that the crane used very skillful methods to fight the cat: it did not use a lot of energy and it appeared very relaxed. This gave her much to think about, and she stared to create a new martial art…
Philosophy of Wing Chun
The philosophy of Wing Chun teaches you how to keep yourself centered. This idea comes form the principles of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. Through the practice of Wing Chun you can understand how to balance your life. In life, there may be something you want, but you can’t do just as you please to obtain it. You have to make the circumstances appropriate before things fall into place. This takes experience and a lot of practice, it is not just good luck. Without skill, luck will not last. Good luck is made from a lot of experience, just like the flowers and fruit you see on the tree. They only appear when the tree is growing in the right conditions, with the correct amount of water, air and sunlight.
A Wing Chun practitioner has to practice hard as well as contend with difficulty and failure in order to become successful. Wing Chun has two parts which we all have to practice. One part is based on skill and the other part on energy. Through practicing Wing Chun, you can train yourself to become more centered and grounded person.
A true martial art must cover both internal and external training so that you can continue to practice as you get older. You should be able to practice until you are sixty, seventy or even eighty. Martial arts are not just for the big and strong. They should also be suitable for those who are small and weak.
Principle of Wing Chun
The principle of Wing Chun is to defend and maintain your centre and consider the centre-line of your opponent and the shortest distance it take in which to attack him or her. Following a straight line is the fastest way to attack an opponent, but when this line is obstructed we curve around to hit the target. In addition, once we attack an opponent, we continue to attack, alternately, with both hands and even kicks. So Wing Chun Kuen is both fast and direct.
Our Wing Chun Lineage
- Ng Mui
- Yihm Wing Chun (circa 1700)
- Leuhng Bok Chauh
- Leuhng Laahn Gwai
- Wong Waa Boh
- Leuhng Yih Taih (exchange for six a half pole)
- Leuhng Jan
- Chahn Wah Seuhn
- Leuhng Bik (Hong Kong)
- Ip Man
- Ip Chun
- Michael Tse
- Tom Rogers
- Costa Stratikopoulos