Wing Chun history
Wing Chun is a subtle and complete system of Chinese Kung Fu, evolved over hundreds of years, with its roots in the Shaolin Temple tradition. Legend has it that in 1645 a Buddhist nun by the name of Ng Mui devised the system and taught it to a young girl called Yim Wing Chun, who successfully used her newly learned skills to defend herself against a local bully who attempted to rape her.
Originally a very secret system, the sophisticated art of Wing Chun was only passed on to family members and trusted friends. It was only when the legendary Grandmaster Ip Man (now sadly passed away) arrived in Hong Kong that the style was taught more openly.Wing Chun does not pit strength against strength but rather employs its unique understanding of structural alignment, contact reflexes, and superior positioning to overcome aggression (age and gender are of little
The exercises are scientific in approach and training is carried out in a friendly atmosphere of co-operation as opposed to one of aggressive competition. This allows students to develop freely and at their own pace. It is possible for a complete novice to become competent within one year, although practical ability is only the beginning, there is further scope for coaching and personal interpretation.
Wing Chun is clinically effective as self-protection or as a practical fighting method. Honed for economy and direct application, the style does not easily lend its self to display or sport as some more flamboyant styles do. This is because the systems simplicity disguises the power of its technique.Typical techniques include; swift low kicks, close body control and short, devastatingly powerful strikes from the hands. Wing Chun practitioners also employ a unique sensitivity training exercise known as Chi sau, or sticking hands.
Six Wing Chun Forms
Siu Nim Tao
The first, and most important form in Wing Chun, Siu Lim Tao, is the foundation or “seed” of the art from which all succeeding forms and techniques depend. Fundamental rules of balance and body structure are developed here. Using a car analogy: for some branches this would provide the chassis, for others this is the engine. It serves basically as the alphabet for the system. Some branches view the symmetrical stance as the fundamental fighting stance, while others see it as more a training stance used in developing technique.
The second form, Chum Kiu, focuses on coordinated movement of body mass and entry techniques to “bridge the gap” between practitioner and opponent and move in to disrupt their structure and balance. Close-range attacks using the elbows and knees are also developed here. It also teaches methods of recovering position and centerline when in a compromised position where Siu Nim Tao structure has been lost. For some branches bodyweight in striking is a central theme, whether it be from pivoting (rotational) or stepping (translational). Likewise for some branches, this form provides the engine to the car. For branches who use the “sinking bridge” interpretation, the form takes on more emphasis of an “uprooting” context adding multi-dimensional movement and spiralling to the already developed engine.
The third form, Biu Jee, is composed of extreme short-range and extreme long-range techniques, low kicks and sweeps, and “emergency techniques” to counter-attack when structure and centerline have been seriously compromised, such as when the practitioner is seriously injured. stepping, developed in Chum Kiu, a third degree of freedom involving more upper body and stretching is developed for more power. Such movements include very close range elbow strikes and finger thrusts to the throat. For some branches this is the turbo-charger of the car. For others it can be seen as a “pit stop” kit that should never come in to play, recovering your “engine” when it has been lost. Still other branches view this form as imparting deadly “killing” and maiming techniques that should never be used if you can help it. A common wing chun saying is “Biu Jee doesn’t go out the door.” Some interpret this to mean the form should be kept secret, others interpret it as meaning it should never be used if you can help it.
Muk Yan Jong
The Muk Yan Jong form is performed against a “wooden dummy”, a thick wooden post with three arms and a leg mounted on a slightly springy frame representing a stationary human opponent. Although representative of a human opponent, the dummy is not a physical representation of a human, but an energetic one. Wooden dummy practice aims to refine a practitioner’s understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and to develop full body power. It is here that the open hand forms are pieced together and understood as a whole.
Luk Dim Boon Kwun
Luk Dim Boon Kwun or the six and a half point pole techniques are generally taught as the first of the weapons forms. The form only has six different techniques which are repeated in various directions and the half technique of dropping the pole. Therefore it is much easier to learn than the Bart Cham Dao which has well over 100 techniques.The pole itself is around 9 foot, (one and a half times the height of the practitioner is a general rule). ad other pole based styles which tend to use both ends of the weapon to spin and lash out in various directions. The weapon was mainly for use on the battle field rather than one on one fighting. The impact and the butterfly knives are for close fighting. half technique of dropping the pole is very important all be it a relatively easy process.The form will help the practitioner gain strength in both the legs and arms. This is because a traditional horse stance is used for most of the form putting extra pressure on the legs. Also being around 9 foot in length the practitioner will require reasonable amount of upper body strength just to hold it out straight let along train with it for long hours. The form will also help improve coordination and understand the principles of Wing Chun better. the 9 foot pole it becomes obvious. Therefore training the pole will help the practitioner identify his technique which applies to both empty hand and weapon techniques.
Bart Cham Dao
The Bart Cham Dao or eight cutting knives is usually the final form taught to a Wing Chun Student. Ip Man only taught a hand full of students this form in his entire life. Ip Man learned the form off of Leung Bik. The form has 8 sections. People mistakenly believe this is where the forms name comes from. However the eight actually refers to the number of different angles the blade cuts through whilst performing the techniques in the form, hence the name ‘eight cutting blade’. A student may ask may be fun to learn and nice from traditional perspective, why should I learn the Bart Cham Dao in this day and age? I am never going to use it in the practical sense. So what else does learning the Bart Cham Dao help with Wing Chun principles seen in the other hand forms, economy of motion, deflection etc. It will also teach the practitioner a new type of stepping that can be used in certain situations With Wrist Strength. Bart Cham Dao can be learned it is very important to of all the other hand forms first. stepping in the Bart Cham Dao is not effective without the stepping from the second and third hand forms (Chum Kiu and Biu Gee). The system is designed to grow from the Siu Lim Tao to Bart Cham Dao and it is not wise to try and miss (or rush).