Wing Chun is Easy!
Wing Chun must be one of the most popular styles of Kung Fu in the world. Just thumbing through any martial arts magazine you can find lots adverts with slogans like: ‘Famous Street Fighting System!’, ‘Scientific Fighting Principals!’ ‘Explosive Art Of Wing Chun!’
Why should Wing Chun be so popular’? For people wanting to start a martial art a little research will show them that Wing Chun has a comparatively short training syllabus, it is very direct and efficient and to gain a working knowledge takes a relatively short space of time. ‘If you want to learn a martial art then Wing Chun is an easy option!’ Yes! Wing Chun is easy!
What makes an effective, practical martial art’? The obvious answer is: Techniques that work. There are people out there practising hundreds of different techniques: kicks, blocks, punches, locks etc. You see there are many techniques, but what makes these techniques work? A detailed analysis of all these techniques would be a huge task for anyone to undertake, so for now just assume that given the correct situation every technique works. Once during a discussion I heard the comment “every style works.” Again assuming the above conditions I totally agree, but what makes up a style?
Personally, for me, a style is just a way of moving, but it is more than just a set of techniques. A style must have something that connects all it’s techniques together,
something that gives it the intelligence to adapt to different situations. This ‘something’ gives it a distinctive individual taste, this ‘ something’ is principal.
I was once told a story of a Kung Fu man who with just one technique defeated all who came to challenge him! Maybe this is an impossible tale, but then again, maybe it isn’t! It was also once said to me that Grand Master Yip Chun when he practised Chi Sau (Sticking Hands) had no technique! If this were true then why is it that no one can touch him?
What makes one story fact and the other remotely possible is a again principal. You see, if you have a good enough principal then you can answer all the questions on that subject, only do you fully understand the principal? Learning techniques does have it’s worth, but
I know people who just collect techniques with the thinking that ‘ it’s nice to know that I have a technique for every situation.’ A technique for every situation? Even if this were possible, to be able to use any one of their techniques would require them to know every
one instinctively. Surely it is better to understand a principal so that when the need arises the techniques you use just come from inside you. You may have never used the technique before or even thought of it but because you understand the principal that brought it in to
existence then to you it is obvious. You don’t try to remember every number, instead you learn how to count and when you understand counting you realise that knowing how to count from one to ten is enough. If you fully understand the principal then you don’t need to memorise lots of techniques.
It’s true that Wing Chun has a comparatively small training syllabus, but what it also has is a very good principal behind it The techniques of Wing Otun are direct and explosive but to those that understand they are also beautiful and elegant. and when performed by one who understands they are even more effective. As for Grand Master Yip Chun having no technique, no he has perfect technique. He more than anyone understands the principal of Wing Chun and in fact embodies it. So the techniques he performs are very small, very subtle and if you don’t understand Wing Chun then you won’t even see them!
To master the principal of Wing Chun you must practise Chi Sau. It’s like walking: First you have to learn how to crawl, then you place your first shaky steps, with practise you understand walking. Now you can walk, run, jump,hop, skip, etc. You can handle any surface: Rough, smooth, slippery, etc. All from just understanding how to put one foot in front of the other, it’ s easy! Wing Chun is the same, the easy part is getting up on to your feet. it’s the practise that counts .
Article taken from Qi Magazine, Issue 7 – 1993, Pages 22-23
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