Wing Chun or Qigong

From time to time people ask me “Does Wing Chun have any Qigong?” Many of you may be surprised to learn that the answer is “Yes!”

The problem is just that a lot of teachers and students concentrate only on fighting and miss the Qigong side. For example, did you know that the first form ‘Sui Lim Tao’ includes some Qigong?

When practising the first part of the form, slowly pushing your Tan Sau out, try to forget everything. Relax your joints and muscles, just keep the thumb closed. From Tan Sau, you change to Wu Sau by performing Heun Sau. Still relax but keep a slight tension in the wrist.

Doing the form in this way your arm will become very sensitive and your elbow and wrist will become very strong. We do it this way because this part of the form trains our internal energy. If you do it quickly, then you miss the internal training of the form. When I was fourteen years old and was studying with my uncle, Tse Chiu-Hung, I was not allowed to finish the form quickly. It took me at least forty minutes to do.

So, what is Wing Chun Qigong? First you must understand what Qigong is.

Within the martial arts we concentrate on ‘internal training’. This is different from Qigong for health. We train the mind, the breathing, position and movement, of course we also cover internal Qi, acupuncture points and channels.

Many martial arts have a Qigong side, but during their training they only consider breathing and miss the importance of relaxation. I have watched many Karate classes training and how they perform their Kata’s. When they perform them they are all very tense. So they quickly become tired and this causes problems with their breathing. If you don’t relax, are just tense, then you will damage your body. All your joints and muscles will have suffered, and if your breathing is incorrect then you will damage your lungs. This we should avoid, we should do things correctly.

During Wing Chun training we do not need to do press ups, sit ups, or other similar physical training exercise.

What we do is stand in the correct postures for as long as possible. When you hold a posture in this way, you will find that your Qi will flow strongly through your whole body. You will become hot, you will sweat and your breathing will become very deep. All you do is stand as long as you can and relax. Relax your eyes, don’t focus and stare at anything. When you can stand no longer, change. e.g. change leg. The longer you can stand the stronger your internal energy.

This then is Wing Chun Qjgong. If you practise and build up your internal energy you should be able to stand in the posture for half an hour. no problem!

Written by Michael Tse

Qi Magazine Issue 6, Nov-Dec 1992, Pages 15-16