What is Wing Chun?

Wing Chun, is the world’s most popular form of southern Kung Fu and the form which I have been studying for several years now. Wing Chun consists of 7 key Principles:

  • Always protect your center, whether in attack or defence.
  • Use the opponent’s strength to turn it against them.
  • Uses the principles of deflection of force for defence and the straight line for attack.
  • Once you have made contact with the opponent, try to stay glued to their forearms as information passes more quickly through contact than through the eye.
  • If the opposing force is too great, give in and use your movement system to restructure.
  • If the opponent retreats, follow them and keep the pressure; don’t let them rebuild new plans.
  • Do not use your punching force but the speed and mass of your body.

Wing Chun’s history is shrouded in the past and is still a mystery. Documentation of the art began appearing during the era of Wing Chun master Leung Jan (1826–1901). However, legend has it that its origins come from Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun teacher, Yip Man, popularised in the Western world by the Ip Man films. One of the legends of how Wing Chun originated goes like this:

After the Qing government destroyed southern Shaolin styles and its temples, a Qing warlord offered to marry a woman named Yim Wing Chun, only to be faced with rejection. The warlord agreed to stop pursuing her if she could beat him in a martial arts match. Yim trained with a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui, who taught her a nameless style of fighting. Her training later helped her defeat the warlord, and she eventually married a man named Leung Bac-Chou. She taught her husband the style of fighting she had learned, and he gave it the name ‘Wing Chun’ after her.

Wing Chun utilises a relatively high, narrow stance with one’s elbows close to the body. When in the stance, arms are generally positioned in front of the body’s vitals along the centerline with hands in a vertical “wu sau” (“protecting hand”) position. This style places the practitioner in such a situation that they can make readily placed blocks and fast-moving blows to vital striking points down the center of the opponent’s body; neck, chest, stomach and groin. Some Wing Chun substyles discourage the use of high kicks because this risks counter-attacks to the groin.

In general, Wing Chun is designed to defend yourself on the street and in everyday life. This is why I believe it is extremely useful to practice and understand. Having learnt a few simple moves of Kung Fu (either from my book or videos), you would be more confident and better prepared on the streets.

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