About Wing Chun
Thanks to movies such as
Ip Man and the iconic martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Wing Chun is fast becoming a martial art as popular as karate or kickboxing. A traditional Chinese kung fu that traces its roots all the way back to the Southern Shaolin Temple, Wing Chun is now considered one of the most efficient self-defence systems in the world. With its emphasis on simple movements and body mechanics rather than on strength, it is suitable for both men and women, young and old, regardless of current fitness levels.
A Brief History of Wing Chun
The origins of Wing Chun are shrouded in mystery and legend. The most popular story of how Wing Chun evolved involves Ng Mui, a Buddhist nun who escaped the razing of the Shaolin Temple by the Manchu government. Ng Mui created a new system devised to counter the larger, more powerful movements of other styles, one that could also be mastered in a shorter period of time. She named the style after her first student, a woman named Yim Wing Chun.
Whether this and subsequent stories are true is very hard to say, as there is little documented evidence from that time. More information is available from the 1800s, where the art was passed from Leung Jan of Fatshan, to Chan Wah Sun, and then on to the late Great Grandmaster Yip Man (or Ip Man), whose Wing Chun system is currently the most widely practised worldwide.
A Quick Guide to Wing Chun
Regardless of level, the 4 key stages inherent in all Wing Chun training are:
- Freeing yourself from your own strength -- with relaxation comes power
- Freeing yourself from your opponent's strength with the use of correct shapes and techniques
- Using your opponent's strength against them
- Adding your strength to that of your opponent's
Wing Chun is a complete self-defence system covering all 5 ranges of unarmed combat:
- Elbows & knees
- Ground fighting
Unlike some martial arts that teach hundreds of fixed techniques, Wing Chun's effectiveness stems from just a handful of simple concepts and principles. These principles apply to all situations, and can be learnt by anyone, regardless of strength, stamina or overall fitness.
The Basic Wing Chun Concepts
- Control this line during attack & defense
- Attach to the core (vertical central line) of the opponent
Economy of Motion:
- Small (therefore quick) direct movements
- No drawing back before strikes (it telegraphs your intentions)
- Simultaneous attack & defense
Strength vs. Strength:
- Pointless. The stronger person always wins
The 4 Basic Wing Chun Principles
- If the way is clear, go forward
- If resistance is met, stick with it
- If you encounter greater force, yield
- If the opponent withdraws, follow
Every motion in Wing Chun is an application of one or more of the above principles. This may sound simplistic, but in a life-and-death situation, less is often more. Our teaching system addresses realistic self-defence situations, and adapts ancient techniques to suit the needs of the modern man.
The complete Wing Chun system teaches total self-defense across all the unarmed ranges mentioned above, and includes programmes on dealing with multiple and armed assailants. We hold additional seminars on advanced techniques, ground fighting, and sparring. We will also cover the internal components of the art, called
Chi Kung – the Art of Healthy Movement.
How We Teach Wing Chun
It is important to remember that Wing Chun is, first and foremost, a martial art for self-defense. It is
not a competitive sport centred on points-scoring in sparring matches. Our teaching system constantly addresses realistic self-defence situations, and adapts ancient techniques to suit the needs of modern society.
Learning Wing Chun can be very much like learning a foreign language: at first, everything will seem odd and unfamiliar, especially as the Wing Chun principles, although logical, are not always instinctive. With constant practice, we aim to re-train your reflexes, such that the correct movements will happen without conscious thought.
You will begin your Wing Chun training at the 1st Student Grade (1SG). This takes around 8 weeks to complete, providing you with a basic foundation of the Wing Chun system. Areas covered in the 1SG include:
- Basic concepts and principles
- Basic guard and awareness of range
- Chain punching and the correct power line
- Basic kick defenses
- Stances and footwork
- Basic movement
- The beginning (Sections 1-3) of the Siu Nim Tau Form (The 'ABC' of Wing Chun)
- Pre-emptive attacks against the most common attackers: right- and left-handed.
- Basic 'what if' situations: headlocks, grips, chokes, rugby tackles, etc.
After the first couple of months, we are confident you will be better able to defend yourself. Other benefits you will notice is improved relaxation, coordination, feeling more at ease in close quarter situations, as well as increased awareness of yourself, and of aggressive intent in others. The
complete system of Wing Chun, however, cannot be taught in mere months, which is why you are then able to continue training for as long as you wish.
The Wooden Dummy - Muk-Yan Chong
The wooden dummy, Muk-Yan Chong has a distinctive dulcet
clack sound when stuck. The different elaborate strikes and timing of the
wooden dummy form sections have their own tempo and rhythm and after a while
they make a soundtrack for you whilst you train which becoming music to your
ears. The dummy's unique nature also ensures there is a close connection
between the martial effectiveness of the wing Chun attacks and the ability to
grasp and recreate the percussive patterns.
The nature of these cultural traditions leaves them
invisible to many students who draw upon them in their daily training. It takes
a conscious effort to understand and bring questions of rhythm and aesthetics to
discover the ways in which they are linked to the strategies of the Wing Chun
Learning to identify these will improve both the practical
and academic understanding of this Martial Art.
The Wooden Dummy techniques are for the advanced practitioner
after they have learnt, understood and mastered the first three Wing Chun
forms, Siu Nim Tau (A Little Idea). Chum Kiu (Seeking the Bridge) and Biu Tze
There are 116 movements in the Wooden Dummy Techniques 16 of
which are kicking movements (8 for the left foot and 8 for the right foot). These
techniques are the most superior and knowledge of the applications will enable
you to react more swiftly than a fellow student who only applies the
fundamental techniques of the other forms. A student who applies complicated
movements to defend an attack will usually find that the Wooden Dummy
techniques will simplify the movements of the counter attacks should they use