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Enter The Wing Chun Time Machine by Michael Nedderman

Author's Note:The following is presented in the interest of preserving and promoting the history and practice of Wing Chun Kung Fu. The information contained in this article was obtained from a recognized Master of the art and is in no way intended to offend anyone or to disparage any organization or in any way to demean the history and practice of Wing Chun as it is taught by the disciples of Yip Man. It is recommended that, before conclusions are drawn, both Part I and Part II should be carefully read and even reread because most answers are contained in the text. WHO REALLY ORIGINATED and developed Wing Chun? Exactly which martial arts did its originator draw upon when formulating Wing Chun? Since it is supposed to have originated in the Shaolin Temple, did any internal arts influence its development? The information which follows addresses these intriguing questions, and is derived from a small book commissioned by Master Pan Nam, from information told to Sifu Eddie Chong by Pan Nam, and from the observations and opinions of the author. Wing Chun's unusual approach to empty hand fighting has generated much speculation regarding its origin and practice. Some have tried to draw parallels with the techniques of other fighting arts, speculating that in the past there may have been some cross-influence. Due to the lack of information, these and other questions have remained unanswered. The fact that the history and practice of Wing Chun has literally come down to us from one individual, Yip Man, has in itself caused speculation, debate, animosity, and on occasion, even violence. Anyone who has been fascinated with Wing Chun, studied its "family tree" and read or heard its history, knows about the legendary figures who developed and refined this amazingly effective fighting art. As the accompanying chart "A" indicates,some of the notables are the Buddhist nun Ng Mui, Ng's student Yim Wing Chun who taught her husband, Leung Bok Chau, who taught Leung Lan Kwai, who taught both Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tei each of whom taught the great Dr. Leung Jan who became known as "King of the Boxers" because he defeated all challengers. Leung Jan taught, among others, his son Leung Bik and Chan Wah Shun, who each taught the world renown Yip Man, the undisputed Grandmaster of the Wing Chun system generally known outside of China today (often referred to as "Hong Kong Style" to distinguish it from several others). While training for the past half dozen years, this author has often contemplated what those individuals must have been like both as people and as martial artists. Unfortunately, except for just a handful of stories, there are few details regarding the lives of the early practitioners or regarding the development of this unusual fighting art. One cannot look at the chart hanging in the Sacramento Wing Chun school for very long (reproduced in part as "Chart A") without wondering what it would be like to travel to China and find the descendants of the "others" referenced as having been students of Leung Jan or to find students descending from other unrecorded "branches" of the Wing Chun family tree. How fascinating it would be to see how their Wing Chun compares to that known to us here in the West and to hear the history they have preserved. Sacramento based Wing Chun instructor Eddie Chong has done just that. Sifu Chong (who taught in San Francisco from 1972 to 1990, has two schools in Sacramento, one since 1981, and currently has affiliated schools in thirteen American cities and one each in Singapore and Germany) has recently returned from a lengthy trip to Fatshan, China where he traced the "roots" of his martial art to Wing Chun Master Pan Nam. Master Pan is very well known in the regions around Fatshan by the nickname "Blackface Nam" due to a large birth mark on his right cheek. (Author's note: Fatshan or "Fat Shan" is Cantonese. On many maps the City, about 20 miles Southwest of Canton, is referenced by its Mandarin spelling, "Foshan" or "Fushan".) From the age of thirteen until he was about 30, Pan Nam was a practitioner of Sil Lum Kung Fu. He then changed to the Wing Chun System which he has been practicing and teaching now for over fifty years. Pan Nam's first Wing Chun instructors was Chiu Chau who learned from Chan Wah Shun's son and Yip Man's classmate, Chan Yu Mint. Pan Nam's second teacher was Lai Yip Chi, who was another of Yip Man's classmates under instructor Chan Wah Shun (in fact, Lai was Chan's live-in apprentice). When Chan became an invalid as the result of a stroke, Lai Yip Chi continued training for a time under senior classmate Lui Yu Chai, while Yip Man followed Ng Chun So. Subsequently, Lai Yip Chi apprenticed to teachers whose lineage goes back to the founder of Wing Chun on a branch of the family tree about which most practitioners are totally unfamiliar.

The Shaolin Temple monk, Yi Chum, is said by Pan Nam to be the true founder of Wing Chun. Yi Chum taught Tan Sau Ng who taught Dai Fa Min Kam, Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tei (Leung Jan's teachers). "Dai Fa Min" is a nickname meaning "painted face" and refers to the makeup he wore as an actor. "Kam" is all of his true name that has survived. Painted Face Kam taught Lok Lan Koon and his nephew who taught Pan Nam's teacher Lia Yip Chi. This branch of the Wing Chun family tree has not only preserved a different, possibly older, form of Wing Chun but has preserved the chi gung exercises that Master Pan says have been a part of the Wing Chun System from its inception. When Sifu Chong learned that there still lived a Wing Chun practitioner who had preserved this older form of the art, he fairly jumped at the opportunity to meet and become his student. Prior to meeting Master Pan, Sifu Chong's dedication to his art brought him to the realization that something was lacking. While it is obvious that, at the highest levels, the proper execution of Wing Chun involves characteristics that fit the definitions used by internal stylist to describe that which makes their systems "internal," there existed a missing "connection" with regard to history, theory, and, to a large degree, technique. In the West, Sifu Chong observed that the fighting art taught at many Wing Chun schools varied, sometimes dramatically. Although a highly effective martial art, he recognized that the system had been modified, and therefore resolved to trace back and find as original a form of Wing Chun as possible. Obviously, the closer he could get to the system's founder, the more pure the art would be. Eddie Chong realized the possibility existed that a practitioner might still be living who had been trained by one of the early masters. With China now open to travel, Sifu Chong decided to seek him out. On a trip to his Singapore school, Sifu Chong took an excursion to Fatshan, the traditional home of Wing Chun. While in Fatshan, his inquires regarding local Wing Chun instructors brought information about 81 year old Master Pan Nam, the last known disciple on Painted Face Kam's branch of the family tree. Sifu Chong learned that Pan Nam had ceased teaching in 1990 and had, in fact, "closed the door" to his gymnasium. Unknown to Sifu Chong, Master Pan had delayed officially retiring (involving certain formal rituals) because he had a premonition that someone, his final student, was coming. There are great changes occurring in China today, everyone is busy trying to make money, and sadly, interest in the martial arts has declined. Because of this, Pan Nam had nobody outside of Fatshan he felt could or would perpetuate the art entrusted to him by his teachers, an art which, while a young man, he had gone to great lengths to trace back to Painted Face Kam's version of the art, and which he has spent 50 years perfecting. And so Pan Nam waited for the last student to whom he intended to give his knowledge. When they finally met, Master Pan recognized Eddie Chong's desire and sincerity, and accepted him as his final student and, eventually, as the heir (outside China) to the original Sil Lum (Shaolin) Wing Chun system of his teachers. Sifu Chong told Master Pan that, in order to promote a better understanding of this very popular fighting system, he wanted to let the people in the United States see the difference between the Wing Chun they had been practicing and the original Sil Lum Wing Chun system preserved by Master Pan. Mr. Chong went through the traditional Chinese ceremony of kneeling and giving a cup of tea to the old Master, asking to be accepted as his disciple (see photo above). This was followed by a special meal. Afterwards, Master Pan took out his family tree and entered Eddie Chong's name as his closed-door student, the last he would accept. Having fulfilled his desire to train a successor, Master Pan Nam officially hung out the scrolls that proclaimed his retirement when Eddie Chong left Fatshan in late Spring of 1992. Sifu Chong has returned to visit Pan Nam every year since. This article will discuss the fighting art of Wing Chun as it has been preserved by Master Pan Nam, and now by his designated heir, Sifu Eddie Chong. Motive is everything For those who may be wondering, Pan Nam has not been in hiding. Many well known Wing Chun instructors came from Hong Kong and the West to see Master Pan in Fatshan but, apparently, none were prepared to "empty their cup." They listened to the history and saw the art preserved by Pan Nam and, for one reason or another, decided not to accept this knowledge (some of these visitors borrowed and never returned irreplaceable books depicting the historical and technical aspects of Wing Chun). It is unknown whether they were merely comfortable with their own system or too proud to acknowledge the possibility that, just as there are different styles of Tai Chi, White Crane, etc, there exists another style of Wing Chun which has preserved a somewhat different practice and history. Being comfortable with one's martial art is understandable and will not cause malicious contention. However, the unfortunate nature of ego is often to favor the protection of vested interests, and to reject anything that does not conform by attacking dissenters and by "playing politics."

Sifu Chong sincerely hopes that his efforts to preserve this significant part of Wing Chun history and practice does not meet with such animosity. He hopes that the information presented here and in subsequent articles and books will be met, if not with acceptance, at least with the open mindedness and tolerance befitting mature martial artists. After all, this isn't a religious discussion. The conflict between the stories of the origins of Wing Chun and between the theories and techniques of the various Wing Chun systems is not really a problem when understood and considered objectively. Though at first glance some of the differences are dramatic, each system in fact complements the other, and knowledge of the theories and techniques of the Wing Chun taught by Master Pan can only improve one's martial skills. Understanding the differences and the reasons for any changes that have occurred gives us our only glimpse into the martial minds of the early masters, a type of "martial arts time machine," if you will. Certainly, the history Pan Nam has preserved fills in many gaps and explains much. Even the renown Dr. Leung Ting expresses doubts about the traditional story of Wing Chun's origin (sometimes spelled "Wing Tsun" or "Ving Tsun"): "I have some doubt about the authenticity of Buddhist Mistress Ng Mui's creating the Wing Tsun System after seeing a fight between a fox and a crane, of Miss Yim Wing Tsun's encountering the local bully, of the fire at the Siu Larn Monastery or even of the existence of Ng Mui herself! *** Of course, the final decision on their authenticity still rest with the reader." From WING TSUN KUEN, eighth edition (1986), pages 30-31, by Leung Ting. (note: others record the legend of the fight observed by Ng Mui as being between a fox and a snake). Similar opinions regarding the story of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun are expressed in an article entitled "Researching the Origins of Ving Tsun" by Yip Man's son, Ip (Yip) Chun, thatj _ _appeared in the recently published GENEALOGY OF THE VING TSUN FAMILY, 1990, pages 27-29, edited by Leung Ting, and published by the Hong Kong Ving Tsun Athletic Association Ltd. On page 28 of that article, Ip (Yip) Chun reports having visited Pan Nam in Fatshan, and that Master Pan credits Tan Sau Ng as bringing Wing Chun to Fatshan "from the North" ("Tan Sau" is a nickname meaning "palm up," and refers to a particular technique unique to Wing Chun). On page 29, Ip (Yip) Chun also notes that Painted Face Kam was a contemporary of Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tei. On page 28 and 29 of his article, Ip (Yip) Chun reports independent substantiation in two books of the historical existence of Tan Sau Ng and of his martial skills. First, from A STUDY ON THE HISTORY OF THE CANTONESE OPERAS, by Mak Siu Har: "In the years of Yung Cheng (Manchu emperor, 1723-1736), Cheung Ng of Wu Pak, also known as TanSau Ng, brought his skills to Fat Shan and organized the Hung Fa Wui Koon (now the Chinese Artist Association)"; (author's note: Hung Fa Wui Koon is literally, "The Eight Harmony Union"). Webmaster's note: Hung Fa Wui Koon is literally "Red Flower Union" - The "The Eight Harmony Union" (Baat Hop Wui Koon) is the association which followed the Hung Fa Wui Koon (usually called the King Fa Wui Koon/Fine Jade Flower Union). And from the same book: "Besides being very accomplished in Chinese opera, Cheung Ng was especially proficient in martial arts. His one Tan-Sau was peerless throughout the martial arts world." And, secondly, from A HISTORY OF CHINESE OPERA, by Mang Yiu, Vol. III, page 631: "For some reason, Cheung Ng could not stay on in the capital, so he fled and took refuge in Fat Shan. This was during the reign of Yung Cheng. This man, nicknamed Tan-Sau Ng, was a character "unsurpassed in literary and military skills, and excellent in music and drama." He was especially proficient in the techniques of Siu Lam. After settling down in Fat Shan, he passed on his knowledge in traditional opera and martial arts to the Hung Suen (Red Boat) followers, and established the Hung Fa Wui Koon in Fat Shan. Today, Cantonese opera groups revere him as Jo-Si (Founding Master), and refer to him as Master Cheung." It is highly probable that Tan Sau Ng had to flee the capitol because of his revolutionary activities. Also, note that the reference to "Siu Lam" (Sil Lum or Shaolin kung fu) and not to Wing Chun is probably because, as will be explained, the system did not receive its name until sometime after Tan Sau Ng.

What conclusion did Yip Man's son, Ip (Yip) Chun, draw from this astounding information? From "Researching the Origins of Ving Tsun," page 28 of the GENEALOGY OF THE VING TSUN FAMILY, 1990: "Comparing the legend of Yim Ving Tsun with the information on Tan-Sau Ng, I consider the latter more acceptable in our examination of Ving Tsun's origins." Even though there are some differences and inconsistencies (especially regarding dates), if Sifu Chong's introduction of this information is objectively considered by each of the contending factions of the Wing Chun community, perhaps the individuals involved will reconsider any animosity felt and be drawn closer in the realization that each system's history and practice is a legitimate part of Wing Chun tradition. As for the story of exactly who originated Wing Chun, Yi Chum the nun and her disciple Tan Sau Ng, or Ng Mui the nun and her disciple Yim Wing Chun, Dr. Ting's advise is sound: let the reader consider each version with an open mind, and then decide which makes more sense. Actually, no decision is really necessary. Whatever its origin, both histories are a part of the art's tradition, and both tell us important things about the old masters and the forces that shaped Wing Chun. Personally, this author likes the story of Ng Mui and of her first student, Miss Yim Wing Chun. At the very least, it is very romantic. However, intellectual honesty demands open-mindedness, and an objective review of the details of the history Pan Nam has preserved and of the independent corroboration of that history discovered by Ip (Yip) Chun cannot permit an out-of-hand dismissal of this information. Perhaps the examples set by Sifu Ip (Yip) Chun and Sifu Eddie Chong will be followed by others, and further efforts can be made to trace this fascinating history so that the Wing Chun community can better know its illustrious founders and the fighting art to which they were dedicated. Critical to the following discussion of the two systems are these facts: 1. Pan Nam's association with instructor Chiu Chau gives him intimate knowledge of the system of Wing Chun taught to Yip Man by Chan Wah Shun (Master Pan refers to this as "fast hands" Wing Chun) 2. Pan Nam's association with Lai Yip Chi gives him not only intimate knowledge of the earlier version of Wing Chun as it was practiced by the opera actors (Painted Face Kam, Wong Wah Bo, Leung Yi Tei, and Lai Fook Shun) of the Eight Harmony Union, but because of his own and Lai's knowledge of "fast hands" Wing Chun, he has a solid basis for comparing the two. Therefore, Pan Nam has the rare qualification to authoritatively comment on the Wing Chun practiced by both branches of the family tree. In Pan Nam, and now in Eddie Chong, this knowledge is perpetuated, and a better understanding of the differences between the two histories and between the fighting theories and techniques of these two great systems of Wing Chun is now possible for the first time outside of China.

Malaysian Wing Chun Q&A with Wong Kiew Kit


Question: Is your Wing Chun similar to the one practiced by Yip Man or Bruce Lee or the many other of Yip Man's students or followers all over the world? Answer: The type of Wing Chun I learned is different from the type taught by Sifu Yip Man, Bruce Lee or their students, but the fundamental principles are similar. A noticeable difference is that many of my Wing Chun sets employ wide stances like those of Southern Shaolin Kungfu, whereas Sifu Yip Man's Wing Chun generally uses narrow stances. I learned from Sifu Choe Hoong Choy, a well known Wing Chun master in Malaysia. My line of Wing Chun is traced to Leong Yi Tai, whereas that of Sifu Yip Man is traced to Wong Wah Poh. Wong Wah Poh and Leong Yi Tai were the two students of Leong Pok Kow, the husband of Yim Wing Chun. Leong Yi Tai's successor was Yip Tak Sheng, who was previously a Choy-Li-Fatt master. Hence much of my Wing Chun also has Choy-Li-Fatt characteristics. Comment: (In addition) the Venerable Chi Sin (which means "Extreme Kindness") whom we honoured as the First Patriarch of Southern Shaolin Kungfu, did teach kungfu to Painted Face Kam on a Chinese junk. In fact the Six-and-a-half-Point Staff (Lok Tim Poon Khurn), the famous Wing Choon staff techniques, originated from here. Question: As for your Wing Chun, how does your lineage look like? Is yours the Wing Chun brought to Malaysia by Yip Kin, the founder of Malaysian Wing Chun or the Penang version of Wing Chun which was brought to the island by the Cho family? If it is not both of them, if you don't mind, can you tell me how your Wing Chun came to Malaysia? Answer: My Wing Chun is from the Choe family. My Wing Chun master was Sifu Choe Hoong Choy, who was the first to teach Wing Chun of the Choe family outside the family. Sifu Choe Hoong Choy learned from Sifu Choe On, who brought Wing Chun from his native Ah Wu district in south China to Malaysia. Sifu Choe On learned from Sifu Choe Chun, who in turn learned from Sifu Choe Tak Seng, whose teacher was Sifu Yip Kam who was specially employed by the Choe family to teach the family members.

Sifu Yip Kam was originally a famous Choy-Li-Fatt master. After being convincingly defeated by Sifu Leong Yi Tai in a friendly sparring match which Sifu Yip requested, Sifu Yip became Sifu Leong's student. Sifu Leong Yi Tai was the classmate of Sifu Wong Wah Poh, from whom the Wing Chun of Sifu Yip Man of Hong Kong issued. Sifu Yip Kin is the son of the famous Sifu Yip Man. While I have no doubt that Sifu Yip Kin is a great Wing Chun master, I would disagree that he is the founder of Malaysian Wing Chun. Long before Sifu Yip Kin came from Hong Kong for a short period in 1960s or 70s (if I am not mistaken) to teach Wing Chun to a group of people in Kuala Lumpur, who later formed the Malaysian Wing Chun Association, led by masters like the late Sifu Wong Yim Sun and Sifu Yip Fook Choy (both of whom I personally know), Wing Chun of the Choe family was already established in Penang, although the Penang Wing Chun group taught Wing Chun only to selected disciples. I would say that Sifu Choe On should be called the father of Malaysian Wing Chun. (Editorial Note: Hian later wrote to clarify that he meant Sifu Yip Kin was the founder of the Malaysian Wing Chun Association, and not Wing Chun Kungfu in Malaysia in general.) Question: Last year, one old master of this branch from Penang demonstrated a set in public in one national demonstration held in Penang. Answer: The old master you mentioned is probably Sifu Yeong Cheong, my Wing Chun "siheng" (senior classmate) under Sifu Choe Hoong Choy. Uncle Cheong, as Sifu Yeong Cheong is respectfully called in the Penang martial art circles, is the most senior Wing Chun practitioner in Penang today, and probably the most senior in the whole country as well. Question: From the list of all sets I have glanced thru, Penang/Cho Family Wing Chun has a lot of empty and weapons and sparring sets including the famous Drunken set. Yet, my sources told me that the late Grandmaster who was the first to reveal the art to the public never really taught all the forms to his diciples including this Drunken fist. If Wong Sifu is the fortunate one to have learn this Drunken fist set, if Wong Sifu don't mind, can Wong Sifu briefly illustrate to me how do the concepts found in this set fit into the frame and structure of Wing Chun. Answer: As Sifu Yip Kam, the master who transmitted Wing Chun Kungfu to the Choe Family, was originally a Choy-Li-Fatt master, many Choy-Li-Fatt kungfu sets are also found in the repertoire of the Choe Family Wing Chun. The Drunken Eight Immortals set is one of them. There are, nevertheless, some sets that are originally Wing Chun, such as "Shui Ta" (Miscellaneous Combat) and "Fa Khuen" (Flower Set), whcih happened to be my favourites. I did not learn the Drunken Eiight Immortals but I saw my classmates performed it. Its techniques and principles are ChoyLi-Fatt's, with little resembling what many people would consider Wing Chun characteristics. This Drunken set generally employs wide stances and sweeping movements, much in contrast with the short, straight moves of Wing Chun. Miscellaneous Combat and Flower Set have Wing Chun characteristics but use Choy-Li-Fatt footwork. It is perhaps worthwhile to add that Choy-Li-Fatt and Wing Chun Kungfu compliment each other very well. While Wing Chun Kungfu is excellent for close combat, and fighting at masters' level, it is not so suitable for mass fighting. Because of its innate characteristics, even a Wing Chun master, using purely Wing Chun techniques, will have difficulty fighting to escape an ambush, whereas Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu, with its long range techniques and wide-sweeping movements, is well suited for this purpose. We (disciples of Choe Family Wing Chun) are lucky to have the advantage of this Wing Chun-Choy-Li-Fatt combination. I clearly remember I asked my Wing Chun teacher, Sifu Choe Hoong Choy, the following two questions. Why was it that the Wing Chun of Sifu Yip Man of Hong Kong comprised of only five sets -- the three unarmed sets of Siu Lim Tao, Cham Kiew, Phiew Chi, and the two weapon sets of Eight-Chop Knives and Six-and -a-Half Staff -- whereas our Wing Chun had so many other unarmed and weapon sets besides these five sets? Why were our stances not Wing Chun stances? Sifu Choe's answers, befitting of a master, were as follows. Different schools and different masters had different ways of doing kungfu. Moreover, besides Wing Chun Kungfu, our school also had the advantage of inheriting the Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu of Sifu Yip Kam. Regarding the stances, Sifu Choe said that I was referring to the Wing Chun of Sifu Yip Man. Our stances were Wing Chun stances, he said. In our school of Wing Chun, we used the horse-riding stance, the bow-arrow stance and the false-leg stance besides the four-six stance and the goat-stance. These were the stances Ng Mooi Si Tai (Lady Grandmaster Ng Mooi) used when she taught kungfu to Yim Wing Chun. Interestingly, I had some old kungfu magazines with stories and pictures of Leong Chan, the famous Wing Chun master of Fatt-Shan in south China, from whom Sifu Yip Man's line of Wing Chun descended. The stories and pictures mentioned and showed the use of many different types of weapons, including the knife, the spear and the soft-whip, and of the horse-riding stance, the bow-arrow stance and the false-leg stance.

But having a lot of kungfu sets is not necessarily an advantage. The various styles of Taijiquan has only one standard set each, yet that one set can be applied to counter any combat situation. Wing Chun practitioners of Yip Man's line have only three unarmed sets, yet they are formidable fighters. If a person knows too many sets and pays too much attention to them, his kungfu is likely to become merely dancelike forms. Question: The old man in Penang denied the fact that he knew all the sets. So if there are still some survivors of Penang Wing Chun out there, it will be nice to know how are they going to pass the art to the next generation. Answer: Sifu Choe Hoong Choy had many students, most of whom are in Penang. Although they do not teach kungfu publicly, they have their own privately selected students.

CHI-SAU WING CHUN'S "AUTO-PILOT" by PAUL BARRINGTON Every day the art of WING CHUN grows towards becoming a household name. Most Martial artists know of Wing Chun's reputation as a simple, efficient and very effective Martial Art. But "what makes it so effective?" people ask me daily. After years of explaining the process of SENSITIVITY TRAINING (known as CHI-SAU or sticky hands training) I have developed an analogy that can be summed up in one phrase; AUTO-PILOT. I hope this article will help my Martial Arts brothers and sisters to better understand Wing Chun's genius of CHI-SAU through my analogy. First I will give a brief history of my experience so that you might better appreciate my insights.

Previous to my current Wing Chun training, I trained in; JUDO, JU-JITSU, TAE KWON DO AND MODIFIED WING CHUN. In each of these I spent at least four years of study. In the last ten years of my twenty four years of Martial Arts training, I have had the rare honor of helping to bring YIP MAN'S Wing Chun to our nations capital. I belong to Sifu-Dunn Wah's (English translation - Sunny Tang) Kung Fu family. Sifu-Tang is a second generation student of the late GRANDMASTER YIP MAN, under Sifu MOY YAT of NEW YORK. SIFU-Tang's headquarters in Toronto, as well as his Wing Chun studios across Canada have a reputation for turning out world class Wing Chun students, as well as true Martial Arts brothers and sisters. Watching Ottawa's Martial Arts community greet Wing Chun's arrival with such enthusiasm has been a very gratifying experience. Since the release of BRUCE LEE'S life story "THE DRAGON", in which Wing Chun is depicted as Bruce's first love and the basis for his development, the phone hasn't stopped ringing! In my many talks with the public as to the virtues of Wing Chun, two misconceptions seem to be common and I would like to address them before moving on. The first is; "If Wing Chun is so effective, why did Bruce Lee criticize it and work to improve upon it?" To this I would like to keep it very short and simple as not to offend the millions of his devotees. Simply, it is a known fact that Bruce Lee did not complete the Wing Chun system. How can anyone, no matter how gifted, make sound conclusions about anything without all the facts? Agreeing with this, we must then take Bruce's opinions as exactly that - OPINIONS. I must add that I believe Bruce Lee to be one of the most gifted Martial Artists of past, present and future. Bruce brought Martial Arts to where it is today and for that we all owe him great respect. Upon further study one can conclude that the foundation of Bruce Lee's JEET KUNE DO was in fact WING CHUN. The second misconception about Wing Chun is that "when using Wing Chun, one cannot fight at long range". This statement is absolutely ridiculous! To physically fight, molecules MUST touch molecules ie. to hurt an attacker you MUST contact him. Thus there is only one range in the actual physical fight - the contact range. In Wing Chun we call this Bridged contact". Anything prior to Bridged Contact is merely a prelude. Whether it be assuming a ready stance (Chong Sau), shouting \ threatening or dancing around with hands flailing. The only way these situations become a physical fight is if the "Gap" is closed and contact is made!

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Previous to my training with Sifu-Tang, I believed that Wing Chun was weak at "Closing the Gap". This couldn't be more untrue! In Wing Chun, we spend a large amount of training time working on this concept which is called "Mai San Jong "or "stepping attacks". This, combined with the endless footwork drills, develops "Gap Closing' technique second to none. Wing Chun practitioners believe this necessary especially for multiple opponent situations. The sooner you "Close the Gap", the sooner your "AUTO-PILOT" is turned on, thus disposing of the attacker. Now you ask "what is this "AUTO-PILOT "and how does it allow one to dispose of an attacker?" My answer follows. Wing Chun, like all Martial Arts uses its forms (SIU LIM TAO, CHUM KIU, BIU - JI AND THE MUK YAN JONG (WOODEN DUMMY) to teach techniques, balance, efficiency of movement, awareness of ones body and power and speed. You must then be able to transfer these skills into fighting applications. This is where Wing Chun differs from all other Martial Arts I have been exposed to. Others use scenarios ie. "if a guy does this, you do that" etc. I refer to this as the "if, and, or, but" style of applying. Wing Chun teaches that you cannot effectively anticipate the movements of others and survive a life threatening situation without leaving a lot to chance. Wing Chun chooses to opt for sensitivity training ie. CHI-SAU. CHI - SAU training is accomplished by two students joining their forearms (the BRIDGE) and "rolling" through a preset series of movements. The preset movements are only the starting point to come back to after there is action ie. an attack, counter attack, etc. While rolling through this cycle the students are "feeling" the other students "bridge" in order that they can properly react to any weakness in the others defense or an attack from the other. After time, the reactions become "AUTOMATIC" and the techniques learned , apply and adjust themselves as the heightened sensitivity dictates. Simply put, the hands auto-automatically find the holes, thus, the reaction literally becomes an "AUTO-PILOT". Another analogy is "water against a dam". Normally, the water has a neutral pressure against the dam, but if a hole develops the water rushes through with all the potential energy behind it. If the hole is blocked, the water becomes neutral again, until another hole develops.

After a few years of CHI-SAU training, the sensitivity developed is absolutely incredible and one hard to put into words. It needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated! After years of "breaking down" your CHI-SAU sessions, one can appreciate that "if, and, or but" does not come into an actual exchange of techniques. Maybe I

can make it clearer by explaining that if two students of equal skill are doing CHI-SAU and one attacks, the other will stop the attack because of this extreme sensitivity developed through CHI-SAU training. At this point Wing Chun starts to train the legs for the same purpose through "Sticky Leg" training or "Chi-Gerk". As the Wing Chun idiom says: "Hands take care of hands, legs take care of legs." 3
Two other fundamentals are married to this "AUTO-PILOT" to make Wing Chun so street effective. They are, the center line theory and the technique of simultaneous block and attack (Lin Sil Die Dar). The center line theory dictates that no two objects can occupy the center without colliding with each-other. Therefore, all Wing Chun techniques are initiated from, and occupy, the center thus colliding with "incoming traffic". The result is excellent defense, but more importantly "the turning on of the AUTO-PILOT SYSTEM". During CHI-SAU training, if a hole is found and control of the "center line" is gained, it is next to impossible for the opponent to regain control as the center is now being filled with a barrage of punches and traps. It is like a WAR. Once ground is gained, the Wing Chun practitioner never gives it back! Simultaneous block and attack speaks for itself. Why have an idle hand? To block with one hand while striking with the other follows the basic Wing Chun principles of Simplicity, Efficiency and Practicality. Also using two hands together, like antenna, keeps contact established and the "AUTO-PILOT" switched on. To summarize, Wing Chun believes there is no fight without contact. Contact turns on the "AUTO-PILOT" and sound principles based on the assets and limitations of the human body allows one to dispose of an attacker quickly, simply and effectively. This "Craving" for contact is the basis for the three main "idioms" of Wing Chun. They are: 1) He comes - I stay! 2) He goes - I pursue! 3) Break apart - Close the gap! In closing, I would like to say, as someone who believes in "Cross Training", Chi-Sau training can be added to any Martial Art system. It is simply a training method to allow for realistic application of technique. I truly believe that Chi-Sau training will become the "WAVE" of the future. Wing Chun is not the only effective Martial Art, but I do believe that Chi-Sau training is the best way to develop the "AUTO-PILOT" type of reaction needed to survive in the street!

PAUL BARRINGTON is an OTTAWA based Martial Artist. He is a third generation student of YIP MAN, under SIFU- SUNNY TANG ( DUNN WAH). View from the Cheap Seats:

"Foshan" Wing Chun


by Rene Ritchie Many systems have used the name Foshan Wing Chun Kuen in their marketing. This has come about in large part due to the popularity of Yip Man's Wing Chun Kuen and its sometimes classification as "Hong Kong Wing Chun Kuen". None of these geographical names, however, properly serve to illustrate their diversity of Wing Chun Kuen. Foshan (Fushan or variously Futsan, Fatshan, etc. in Cantonese) is the modern birthplace of Wing Chun Kuen. In fact, almost all modern Wing Chun Kuen can be traced back to this town in China's Guangdong province. How did Foshan come to be home to so many Wing Chun masters? The answer lies with the art's origin aboard the Hung Suen Hei Ban (Red Junk Opera Company). The Red Junk performers were secretly members of revolutionary societies who's goal was to overthrow the occupying Ching dynasty of the Manchurians and restore the Ming dynasty of the native Han people. Since the Junks had relative freedom of travel and the performers routinely wore elaborate make-up and costumes that could disguise their identities, they were an ideal hiding place for wanted revolutionaries. Their route would often take them through town like Guangzhou (Kwang Chow), Zhaoqing (Siu Hing), and Foshan. Later, they organized in support of the Taipin Rebellion and paid the price for the movement's failure. The Ching destroyed the operan and the members who survived were driven into hiding. Many took Foshan as their new home base. Among the famous masters of Wing Chun who learned their skills in the Foshan area were Leung Jan (student of Wong Wah-Bo and Leung Yee-Tai), Fung Siu-Ching (student of Painted Face Kam), Fok Bo-Chuen (student of Wong Wah-Bo and Painted Face Kam), Siu La-Cheung (student of Tall Man Chung), Lok Lan-

Goon (student of Painted Face Kam), and others. Over the years, this diversity of masters and methods lead to several distinct branches of Wing Chun Kuen, each legitimately a part of Foshan Wing Chun Kuen. It should be pointed out that geographical names used to distinguish the branches of Wing Chun are not unique, especially when a famed teacher had students in different cities or brought the art to a new location. Leung Jan, for example, taught Wing Chun Kuen first in Foshan where he worked. There he had students such as Chan Wah-Shun (Moneychanger Wah), Lo Kwai (Butcher Kwai), Lai Ying, etc. Later, he returned to his native village, a short distance away, and taught another version of Wing Chun Kuen for a few years before passing away. In this village, his students included Wong Wah-Sum, Leung Bak-Cheung, and others. To mark the difference, the San Sao (Separate Hands) art of this second group of students came to be called after the village- Gulao (Koo Lo) Wing Chun. Perhaps the most well known example of this, as stated previously, is the art of Yip Man, the most widely known and practiced branch of the Wing Chun family. Yip Man learned his art in Foshan from Chan Wah-Shun and Chan's senior students, Ng Jung-So and Lui Yiu-Chai. Yip Man did not teach in Foshan, however, for many years. Eventually however, due to the hardship he suffered under the Japanese occupation, Yip Man took a few students in order to repay the kindness of a man from Yongan (Wing On). These students included such individuals as Kwok Fu (Guo Fu) and Lun Gai (Lun Jie). Yip Man later left the rise of Communism in China to for Hong Kong where he gained far greater fame as a Wing Chun Kuen teacher, thanks primarily to the international attention brought on by his student Bruce Lee (Lee Jun-Fan/Lee Siu-Lung). This fame, fortified by the hard work and dissemination of his many other students, lead to the worldwide renown of Wing Chun Kuen. So popular, in fact, did Yip Man's art become in the colony, that it came to be known as Hong Kong Wing Chun, despite the fact that many other branches of Wing Chun Kuen were also established there. This lead, of course, to the version of Yip Man's art practiced by Yip Man's students in his native town to be called Foshan Wing Chun Kuen. Of course, this distinction only works inside the Yip Man branch. Otherwise it, like the others, is just one piece of the Foshan Wing Chun Kuen pie. Another branch commonly refered to as Foshan Wing Chun Kuen can be traced to Yip Man's classmate, Yiu Choi. Yiu Choi was a large and powerful student of Ng Jung-So and sometimes said to have also studied under Chan Wah-Shun before the old moneychanger retired. Yiu Choi passed this art on to several students, including his own son, Yiu Kai. Often referred to as Foshan Siu Lam Wing Chun, the system of Pan Nam remained in its place of birth long after many others had spread to other cities, countries, and continents. Pan Nam began his martial career in the Southern Siu Lam and Hung Ga Kuen traditions, gaining a firm foundation under several teachers. He brought this with him when he began studying Wing Chun in the 1940s, following an interest in the Wing Chun of Cheung Bo under Sum Nung, he shortly gained tuition under Jiu Chao. Jiu Chao, alongside his brother, Jiu Wan (who later moved to Hong Kong and followed Yip Man) learned the art from Chan Wah-Shun's son, Chan Yiu-Min. Pan Nam was also skilled in the Ng Jee Mui Fa Hei Gong (Five Petal Plum Blossom Qigong) of Ng Man-Long. Pan Nam later met Chan Wah-Shun's second-to-last student, Lai Hip-Chi and further refined his Wing Chun Kuen. Lai Hip-Chi had begun his Wing Chun training with Chan Wah-Shun shortly before the Moneychanger retired back to Chen (Chan) village in Shunde (San Dak) and passed away. Lai had also trained under senior classmate Lui Yiu-Chai and later met the elderly nephew of Lok Lan-Goon (a student of Painted Face Kam's) and learned more about Wing Chun. From these myriad sources, and his own encounters with people like Yip Man and Pak Cheung (a grand-student of Fung Siu-Ching), Pan Nam forged his own unique interpretation of Wing Chun Kuen. Although better known as the Pao Fa Lien system Chu Chong brought to Macao, the Wing Chun of Lao Dat-Sang also hails from Foshan and has been classified in that manner in the past. Said to descend from the Tse brothers, Gwok-Leung and Gwok-Cheung, this branch of Wing Chun, with its larger then average curriculum, is also said to integrate Siu Lam and perhaps Taijiquan methods. While Chu Chong passed on the art in Macao, his classmates like Kwok Gai remained in Foshan. The Wing Chun of Yuen Kay-San is also sometimes referred to as Foshan Wing Chun, since Yuen Kay-San learned and taught the art in his city of birth. Yuen learned the system from Fok Bo-Chuen and Fung Siu-Ching and combined his two teachers' knowledge into his own system. He passed this system on to a young man named Sum Nung in the late 1930s. Sum Nung had previously learned the San Sao Wing Chun of Cheung Bo and like Yuen Kay-San, refined and integrated his knowledge. In the 1940s, Sum Nung moved to the nearby provincial capitol of Guangzhou to practice medicine. This has led the branch to become far better known as Guangzhou Wing Chun. This name, like Foshan or Hong Kong Wing Chun, is not entirely distinctive either as other branches, such as the Gulao derived Pien San (Side Body) Wing Chun of the Fung family later also came to Guangzhou, as did Lun Gai. Branches from the Yuen Kay-San/Sum Nung tradition that have also gained such geographical monikers include Ng Mui Pai and the Wing Chun of Mai Gei Wong. Originally a student of Wong Jing (who had studied under Leung Jan's student, Lai Ying, and under Yuen Kay-San), Mai Gei Wong furthered his knowledge with Sum Nung and some of Sum's students including Pan Chao.

It should also be noted that following the departure of teachers such as Yip Man for Hong Kong and Sum Nung for Guangzhou, much of the Wing Chun in Foshan began to be integrated by the next generation of practitioners. Studying under different remaining teachers, the forms and methods began to resemble a blend of the Chan Wah-Shun (Chan YiuMin, Ng Jung-So, Yip Man, etc) and Yuen Kay-San systems, also sometimes integrating village Hung or Weng Chun (Always Spring) elements. This represents yet another art that can be referred to as Foshan Wing Chun.

Wing Chun Kuen Kuit


Recorded by Augustine Fong Introduction by Curt James Wing Chun Kuen Kuit are "Words of Wisdom" which capture in poetic terms the finer attributes of Wing Chun Kung Fu. "Kuen Kuit" is Cantonese for "martial sayings" or "fighting songs." Chinese martial arts employ Kuen Kuit as concise, rhythmic verses which present a method or philosophy of a style. Even among competing Wing Chun traditions, many sayings are recognized and shared. One significant proverb cites, "Loy Lau Hoi Sung, Lut Sau Jik Chung." This means: "Retain what's coming in; Send off what's retreating; Rush in upon loss of hand contact." Regardless of the Wing Chun tradition, this advice bridges many differences and defines one of the most important strategies of the art. Wing Chun proverbs have been reaching the public for years thanks to the efforts of masters Moy Yat, Wang Kiu, sifu Augustine Fong and others. The original Wing Chun Kuen Kuit are believed to decend from an ancient, oral tradition, and reportedly were connected to southern Chinese secret societies of the nineteenth century. Moy Yat wrote, "It was during the Ch'ing dynasty that many of the proverbs were part of secret codes and rituals developed by the rebels dedicated to overthrowing the Manchus." Over the passing years, unrelated or inapplicable sayings were eventually discarded, the remaining few are described as being "truly intrinsic" to Wing Chun Kung Fu.2 "Wing Chun Chuen Jing Tung" is an important proverb usually displayed in the traditional Wing Chun school. This refers to the genuineness of the martial art and reads, "Wing Chun authentically passing down." This means passing on the true system of Wing Chun "unchanged by your own ideas."3 Other well known proverbs cite: Kuen Yau Sum Faat (The punch starts from the heart); Ying Da Juck Da, But Ying Da, But Ho Da ... (Strike when you should, Do not strike when you should not ...); Chew Ying Joi Ying (Face toward and chase the opponent); Chum Jong Sau Jone (Sink the elbow, protect the center)4; Guan Mo Leung Heung (The staff doesn't make two sounds), etc. In the following pages the quality and quantity of proverbs recorded is striking! Wing Chun's Traditional Rules of Conduct and the popular sayings above may be easily recognized. Others have been preserved based upon the discretion of Augustine Fong. There are maxims, training proverbs and sayings for all Wing Chun forms. The majority of these are genunine, artistic commentaries on Wing Chun boxing. It may be noticed some verses are similar to training proverbs presented in the Chinese Internal Arts. Thus, "People do not know the extent of my skills, but I know their abilities," has been attributed to Yang Lew-Shan: "The theory of Tai-Chi is that nobody knows you, only you know them."5 This is a popular saying, as are those which mention invisible techniques such as the famed Mo Ying Gerk (No Shadow kick). While masters of self-defense declare that real experience is the best teacher, Wing Chun proverbs do excel as wonderful reminders and clues to the mastery of the martial art. These poetic stanzas preserve a secret Kung Fu tradition, a legacy which can be rendered in beautiful Chinese calligraphy. Wing Chun Kuen Kuit are treasures waiting to be discovered; they remain an outstanding contribution to the world of Chinese martial arts.
Notes 1. Fong, Augustine. "The Complete System of Wing Chun Gung Fu. Wing Chun: theories and concepts." p.42-63. English translations by author and Pak Chan, this version edited with an introduction by Curt James.

2. 3. 4.

Moy Yat and C.N. Kwong. "Ving Tsun Kuen Kuit." p.vi. Ibid. Maier, Herbert. "Wang Kiu: Theory of Wing Chun." Internet site.

5. Jou Tsung Hwa. "The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan." p.40.

Traditional Wing Chun Rules of Conduct


Remain disciplined - Conduct yourself ethically as a martial artist. Practice courtesy and righteousness - Serve the society and respect your elders. Love your fellow students - Be united and avoid conflicts. Limit your desires and pursuit of bodily pleasures - Preserve the proper spirit. Train diligently - Maintain your skills. Learn to develop spiritual tranquility - Abstain from arguments and fights. Participate in society - Be moderate and gentle in your manners. Help the weak and the very young - Use martial skills for the good of humanity. Pass on the tradition - Preserve this Chinese art and rules of conduct.

Maxims of Wing Chun


Retain what comes in, send off what retreats. Rush in on loss of hand contact. Do not be lax when your opponent is not advancing. Once your opponent moves, his center of gravity changes. Make the first move to have control. Attack according to timing. Timing is achieved through practice. A strong attitude and posture gives an advantage over your opponent. Being alert and adapting to the situation allows maximum results for minimum effort. The body follows the movement of the hands. The waist and the stance move together. Complement the hands with posture to make good use of the centerline. The eyes and the mind travel together, paying attention to leading edge of attack. Charge into the opponent. Execute three moves together. Strike any presented posture if it is there. Otherwise strike where you see motion. Beware of sneak attacks, leakage attacks and invisible centerline attacks. Soft and relaxed strength will put your opponent in jeopardy. Coordinate the hands and feet. Movement is together. Do not take risks and you will always connect to the target. Have confidence and your calmness will dominate the situation. Occupy the inner gate to strike deep into the defense. To win in an instant is a superior achievement. The Yin Yang principle should be thoroughly understood. The theory of Wing Chun has no limit in it applications. Be humble to request your teacher for guidance. Understand the principles for your training. Upon achieving the highest level of proficiency, the application of techniques will vary according to the opponent.

Wing Chun Training Proverbs


There are not many sets of training exercises in Wing Chun. They are easy to learn but to master them requires determination. Learning the usual ways will allow later variations.

Short arm bridges and fast steps requires practicing the stance first. Siu Lim Tau mainly trains internal power. Lon Sau in Chum Kiu is a forceful technique. Bui Jee contains life saving emergency techniques. The Wooden Man develops use of power. Fancy techniques should not be used in sticky hand practice. Sticky leg practice is inseparable from the single leg stance. The steps follow turning of the body like a cat. The posture complements the hands to eject the opponent. The Six and a Half Point Staff does not make more than one sound. The Eight Cut Sword techniques have no match. The thrusting and fast attacks are well suited for closing in. Eyes beaming with courage can neutralize the situation. Unknown techniques are not suitable for training practice. Those who completely master the system are among the very few.

Seventeen Keys to Wing Chun


Be ferocious when clashing. Be fast with your fist. Be forceful when applying power. Be accurate with timing. Be continuous when applying Fan Sau. Do not use all your strength. Protect your own posture. Be alert with your eyes. Unite your waist and stance. Coordinate your hands and feet. Movements must be agile. Comprehend the principles of Yin and Yang. Remain calm. Be steady with your breathing and strength. Sink your inner Ch'i. Be commanding with your fighting demeanor. Be quick to end the fight.

Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma


Pull in the chest, push out the upper back, and bring in the tail bone. Fill the Tan Tien with Ch'i and distribute the strength to all parts of the body. Point the knees and toes inward. Form a pyramid with the center of gravity in the center. Fists are placed by the side of the ribs but not touching the body. Sink the elbows, the shoulders, and the waist. Hold the head and neck straight and keep the spirit alert. Eyes are level, looking straight ahead, and watching all directions. The mind is free of distractions and the mood is bright. There is no fear when facing the opponent. Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma is the main stance. Develop a good foundation for advanced techniques.

Siu Lim Tau


Siu Lim Tau comes first; Do not force progress in training. A weak body must start with strength improvement. Do not keep any bad habit. Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma - Train the Ch'i by controlling the Tan Tien. To maintain good balance of strength, grip the ground with the toes. To release Ch'i from the Tan Tien, will enable proper release of power. Sink the elbow and drop the shoulders; Guarding the centerline to protect both flanks. There are one hundred and eight moves, all practical and real; Thousands of variations can be used, aiming for practical use and not beauty. Internally develop the Ch'i; externally train the tendons, bones and muscles. Taun Sau, Bong Sau, Fok Sau, Wu Sau, and Huen Sau; their wonder grows with practice. Each movement must be clear and crisp. Timing must be observed. Practice once a day, more will cause no harm.

Chum Kiu

Chum Kiu trains the stance and the waist; the arm bridge is short and the step is narrow. Eyes are trained to be alert; the Ch'i flows in a perpetual motion. Strive to remain calm in the midst of motion; loosen up the muscles and relax the mind. Turning the stance with a circular movement, will allow superior generation of power. When the opponent's arm bridge enters my arm bridge, use the escaping hand to turn around the situation. Pass by the opponent's incoming arm bridge from above, without stopping when the countering move has started. Lon Sau and Jip Sau put an opponent in danger. Do not collide with a strong opponent; with a weak opponent use a direct frontal assault. A quick fight should be ended quickly; no delay can be allowed. Use the three joints of the arm to prevent entry by the opponent's bridge; jam the opponent's bridge to restrict his movement. Create a bridge if the opponent's bridge is not present; nullify the bridge according to how it is presented. The arm bridge tracks the movement of the opponent's body; when the hands cannot prevail, use body position to save the situation. Using short range power to jam the opponent's bridge, the three joints are nicely controlled. Where is the opponent's bridge to be found? Chum Kiu guides the way.

Biu Jee

The Biu Jee hand contains emergency techniques. Iron fingers can strike a vital point at once. The stepping in elbow strike has sufficient threatening power. The phoenix eye punch has no compassion. Fak Sau, Ginger Fist, and Guide Bridge; their movements are closely coordinated and hard to defend and nullify. Springy power and the extended arm are applied to close range. The situation is different when preventing from defeat in an emergency. The Biu Jee is not taught to outsiders. How many Sifu pass on the proper heritage?

The Wooden Man


There are 108 movements for the Wooden Man; repeated practice brings proper use of power. Steps vary and always maintain close contact with the Wooden Man. Power starts from the heart and shoots towards the centerline of the Mok Yan Jong. Up, down, back and forth, the movements are continuous. Power improvement cannot be predicted. The arm bridge sticks to the hands of the Wooden Man while moving; adhesion power when achieved will be a threatening force. Power can be released in the intended manner; use of the line and position will be proper and hard to defeat.

General Sayings

There is no difference in who started to study first; the one who achieves accomplishment is first. Students from the same teacher will differ in their skills. Touching the opponent's arm bridge makes the situation more favorable. When facing multiple opponents, it is easy to manage the situation. When chasing the opponent's arm bridge, beware of being led. When pushing the opponent's elbow, beware of being pulled. Learning the techniques without developing the skills will never bring any accomplishment. The ideal in Martial Arts is humanitarianism. Accomplishment uses diligence as a goal. When the opponent passes your arm bridge, avert the danger by turning the stance and facing with the appropriate posture. Strike when you should. Do not strike when you should not. Do not be too eager to strike. Do not be afraid to strike. One who is afraid of getting hit will finally be hit. Persistent attacks will surely gain you entry. Staying on the defensive too long will surely get you into trouble. The punch starts from the heart. The staff does not make two sounds. A kick does not miss. Power is generated from the joints. Strength originates from the heels. Store mental energy with the mind. Move Ch'i with mental energy. Exert strength with Ch'i. Generate power with strength. No harm will come if Ch'i is nurtured naturally. Power can be stored but with enough to spare. Ch'i comes out of the Tan Tien, and travels along the waist, the thighs, and the back. Know yourself and your opponent, and you will always win. People do not know the extent of my skills, but I know their abilities. Go along with your opponent's failing posture in order to take advantage of it. Glass-like head, cotton-like belly, and iron-like arm bridge. You can strike anywhere when your arm bridge has passed beyond your opponent's three joints. Pass by the opponent's incoming arm bridge from above. Jam the opponent's bridge to restrict his movement. Create a bridge if the opponent's bridge is not present. Nullify the bridge according to how it is presented. Know the difference between Yin and Yang, real and feigned. Take advantage of any available opportunity. Sticking to the opponent while shifting hand position shows good control of the situation. Being stuck to by the opponent while attempting to shift your own hand position cannot produce the intended result. Bong Sau must not remain. Faan Sau should be closely paced. Know your own limit in the use of power. Releasing all out is 90% of the way to defeat. The knees lead the stance. The waist links the body. Where the mind goes, the eyes go, and the hands

and feet follow. Strive to remain calm in the midst of motion. Loosen up the muscles and relax the mind. The three terrors of Wing Chun are Taun Sau, Bong Sau, and Fok Sau. Feet and hands work together, and the threat comes to an end. Beware of brute strength when facing someone from the same style. Beware of the situation in a confrontation. In uniting the waist with the stance, power can be generated. In a match do not expect any compassion. Grasping the throat is a ruthless technique. Once commenced, it cannot be stopped. Storing energy resembless pulling a bow. Releasing power is like shooting an arrow. Circular and straight accompany each other. Bent and straight complement one another. Extreme softness enables one to be hard. Being extremely natural enables one to be agile. Direct the mind to store spirit, not Ch'i, in the body. Otherwise it leads to sluggishness. No power is obtained when occupied with Ch'i. Use alterations in stepping forward and backward. Hands and feet should be closely coordinated. Invisible posture. Invisible kick. As long as you are sticking to your opponent, you are unlikely to lose. A well trained waist can prevent loss of balance. Hand techniques must follow the Yin Yang principle. Strength must be applied with inner power. There is a counteraction to every attack. Rapid moves are hard to guard against. Go in when the opponent slows down. Kicks lose nine times out of ten. The feet are like wheels, and the hands like arrows. A hand used for attack serves also to parry. Do not collide with a strong arm bridge. Get out of the way and take initiative to attack. During sticky hand practice, the hand which has entered beyond the elbow will win nine times out of ten. Do not follow, force, or butt against the opponent's hands. Destroying the opponent's center line will control his bridge. In Bong Sau the forearm inclines, the wrist is on the center line, and the fingers droop. A raised elbow weakens the force. The elbow must be strong. Then you can take on any attack. If the opponent grasps your arm bridge, do not oppose him with brute force. Go with the opponent's force and change into rolling hands. Turn around the situation to control him. Maintained by Curt James Last updated Oct. 1997

Feature: The Wing Chun Kuen of Yuan Kay Shan


By Robert Chu, 1990 (revised 1996)

I began the study of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen in 1981 where I met my instructor Kwan Jong Yuen through a mutual friend. I had already studied Yip Man Wing Chun for many years and was happy to have the opportunity to see the Wing Chun Kuen art straight out of China. Ah Kwan was a native of Guang Zhou and had

studied with the local masters Chan Mei Shun, a master of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun and Tam Yeung, a practitioner of the Gu Lao Wing Chun system. Ah Kwan explained to me that Wing Chun Kuen was popular in Fut Shan during the Ching dynasty (1644-1912). The characteristics of this style of Wing Chun have led others to refer to this style of Wing Chun as "Pien Sen Wing Chun" (slant body Wing Chun) due to the emphasis on shifting and slant body movement, or "Sae Ying Wing Chun" (snake form Wing Chun) due to characteristic snake-like movements of the hands. The Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun system is comprised of the forms Siu Lien Tao (little training set), Chum Kiu (sinking bridge), Biu Jee (darting fingers), Muk Yan Jong (wooden man post), Luk Dim Boon Gwun (6 point staff) and Yee Ji Cem Dao (character two double knives). In my particular lineage of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun two additional forms were created by master Kwok Jin Fen, called "Sae Go Gen Ben Chuie" and "Lien Wan Gaun Kou Sao" (chained cutting hands). In addition, a short set of Qi Gong training called "Sun Hei Gwai Yuen" (Kidney Qi Returns to the Source) is taught. I began my training in the 12 seeds of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen, which consist of the following:

Ji Ng Chuie - the principle straight punch in Wing Chun Pien Shen Chuie - A slant body straight punch utilizing the shift Duk Lung Chuie - a combination Bong Sao/Gwa Chui/Ji Ng Chuie Jin Chuie - A straight sidebody punch Noi Liem Sao -The Tan Sao motion Oi Liem Sao - The Fuk Sao motion Noi Dop Sao - The inner Dop Sao motion Oi Dop Sao - The Outer Dop Sao motion Yum Yeung Jeung - Inside/Outside Hands Gaun Sao/Gwa Chuie - Gaun Sao and Backfist combination Sam Bon Sao - Triangular hand Pok Yik Jeung - Spreading Wings motion

These twelve motions train how to issue force and position the body for combat. These twelve motions were an integration of Cheung Bo's teaching of Wing Chun Kuen, as basics for the Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen as taught by Sum Nung. The entire system of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun that Kwan Jong Yuen taught me is based on just twelve principles which are embodied in twelve key words:

Kuen (fist) - Kuen is to strike with the fist. Kiu (bridge) - Kiu is to bridge the opponent's gap and cross over to attack. Jeung (palm) - Jeung is to strike with the palm. Bong (wing) - Bong is to use the bridge to dispel an opponent's force while in contact. Jee (finger) - Jee is to use the fingers in combat. Chi (stick) - Chi is to stick with your opponent. Mor (touch) - Mor is to touch your opponent's bridge. Kou (hook) - Kou is to hook your opponent's bridge. Lap (grab) - Lap is to grab and control. Dop (ride) - Dop is to use Fook sau to ride on your opponent's bridge. Tang (deflect) - Tang is to deflect inwards. Dong (ward off) - To deflect outwards.

Ah Kwan taught me that these twelve principles are inherent in the system and in fact, Yip Man's Wing Chun also follows these principles except for the last two key words. Yip Man's Wing Chun follows the principles of Huen (circle) and Dim (point), rather than Tang and Dong. Throughout the years, I had the fortune of seeing other practitioners of the Yuen Kay Shan system and I have noticed differences in both the 12 keywords and 12 basics.

I have concluded that the differences may reflect how Grandmaster Sum Nung has taught throughout the years, or differences in interpretation from his various students. Yuen Kay Shan's Wing Chun at times appears totally different from Yip Man's system in form, but in application remains very similar. Both systems maintain the training of Chi Sao. The motto, "Lai Lau, Hui Sung, Fung Lut, Jik Chung" (As he comes you receive. As he leaves, you escort. Upon loss of contact, rush in.) is known to practitioners throughout Wing Chun. The major difference between the Yip Man and Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun styles is one of approach and terminology. For example, in the sets, Yuen Kay Shan stylists conclude a motion with a Lop Sao, whereas Yip Man practitioners conclude with a Huen Sao. Terms like "Bao Pai Jeung" (embrace the sign palm) from Yip Man Wing Chun is known as "Dip Jeung" (butterfly palm) in Yuen Kay Shan's. Similarly, "Bat Jam Do" (eight slash knives) and "Yee Ji Cem Dao" (double knives), "Siu Nim Tao" and "Siu Lien Tao" have been renamed in the former term. Yip Man's genius is credited here, for being a scholarly man, he renamed the terms in favor of more ideological concepts. Hence, the "Little Training Set" is renamed "Little Idea" in Yip Man's version. Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun also retains the older name "Chum Kiu" as "Sinking Bridge" for the 2nd form, rather than "Seeking Bridge" as in the Yip Man art. With regard to the dummy set, the Yuen Kay Shan set concentrates more on the inside of the arms of the dummy than the Yip Man dummy set, whereas in the Yip Man set, it is more to the outside. The Yip Man set is comprised of 116 movements and the Yuen Kay Shan contains 140 movements. Both arts contain practically the same maneuvers and tactics, just juxtaposed differently. In application, both arts express economy of motion, the centerline principle and sensitivity training. Yuen Kay Shan learned his Wing Chun originally from Fok Bo Chuen, a student of "Dai Fa Mian" (Painted Face) Kam, and completed the entire Wing Chun system from him consisting of the 3 forms, dummy set, pole, knives, Chi Sao and Fei Biu (throwing darts). Dai Fa Mian Kam is said to be one of the practitioners of the Hung Suen Hay Ban (Red Boat Opera) who developed Wing Chun Kuen. Yuen Kay Shan later studied with Fung Siu Ching, a marshall skilled in practical application of Wing Chun. It is known that Yip Man and Yuen Kay Shan were good friends in Fut Shan as they both were about the same age (Yuen being senior of about 5 years) and they enjoyed practicing Wing Chun and discussing the theories and principles of the art. I was incorrect in a previous article when I wrote that Yuen Kay Shan had studied with Chan Wah Shun. The Yuen Kay Shan system lineage is completely separate from the Leung Jan lineage of Wing Chun, which includes Chan Wah Shun, Ng Jung So, and Yip Man. Yuen Kay Shan later taught his successor, Sum Nung, who moved to Guang Zhou. Sum Nung is currently in his 70's and is the present Grandmaster of this system. He is also a noted Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and taught at a local TCM college in Kwang Chou. It is interesting to note that many instructors of the Yuen Kay Shan system have either learned or claimed to have learned from Sum Nung. Sum Nung taught several outstanding students, of which there are Kwok Jin Fen and Pang Chou. Kwok Jin Fen, is responsible for the spread of Wing Chun throughout the military in Guang Zhou. A mutual friend of theirs, Wong Fen, learned from both Pang Chou and Kwok Jin Fen. Wong Fen had a very close friend that was a snake collector in Kwang Chou named Chan Mei Shun. The young Chan Mei Shun was a snake dealer by profession, and sold snakes for food and medicinal purposes. One day while wandering about in the countryside, Chan Mei Shun accidentally trespassed on another person's property. The owner of this property forbade Chan to hunt for snakes while on his property. A heated argument ensued, which later led to a crossing of fists. The property owner was a Choy Lay Fut practitioner, and the young Chan, who knew little about martial arts suffered a devastating defeat. This incident led him to look up his good friend Wong Fen, and Chan then asked if he could learn his friend's Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen. Chan Mei Shun learned quickly and mastered the art in a short time. After two years of practice, he went back and challenged the Choy Lay Fut practitioner and soundly defeated him. Chan's name became known throughout Kwang Chou as a result of this match and many asked to become his disciple.

My good friend and Sifu, Kwan Jong Yuen, followed Chan Mei Shun for many years before immigrating to New York City. It is fortunate for me that I met Kwan Jong Yuen and became his student, and that he openly shared the Yuen Kay Shan system.

The Sticking Hands of Wing Chun


- by Sifu R. Chu It seems that many practitioners of Wing Chun don't have the right idea when they play Chi Sao. The Chi Sao is a living laboratory for the techniques found in the forms, and it gives a fixed environment in which to freely apply the movements contained in Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu and Biu Jee. The Wing Chun system does not have any fixed form of application nor does it contain any of the elaborate formal two-man sets such as in Hung Kuen, Bok Pai Siu Lam, Wah Kuen, Choy Lay Fut, and Tang Lang. Because our system gives practitioners a sense of freedom while practicing in Chi Sao, they follow only certain criteria when engaged in Chi Sao practice. Chi Sao is not an all-out, anything goes type match, nor should it be considered a form of competition. Chi Sao practice is the training for sensing and feeling an opponent's attack through the touching of the bridge-arm. Because the sense of touch is brought into play, we can react faster than if we relied solely upon our vision. Chi Sao allows one to feel openings in what we define as the gates. An analogy that I am fond of using is the analogy of a door. In order to strike my opponent, I must pass through the door or gate of his defensive bridges. If a door is open, I can walk through it; if it is closed, then I must wait until it is open to walk through it. Similarly, if a door is attached to a spring, I must hold the door open to enter. And if the door is a revolving one, I must wait for the correct time to enter. Many Wing Chun practitioners wrongly try to knock the door down! This phenomenon is witnessed in every Wing Chun class. There are definite levels of Chi Sao practice. Beginners often engage in using force against force and will do techniques of a singular sort. Intermediate level people tend to use more combinations, utilize strategy and use more body power. Advanced level practitioners utilize more power, correct timing, proper shifting and stepping, and generally have more confidence. Having confidence to face an opponent can be one of the most important attributes developed through Chi Sao practice. In no way should there be a contention of forces while practicing Chi Sao. Those who play with a contention of forces are not practicing Chi Sao, but some lousy form of Tui Sao (Push Hands) or Sumo wrestling. Training in Chi Sao develops reaction of the sense of touch, with the bridge-arms used as feelers or antennae of an insect. Due to the short range nature of which Wing Chun practitioners are familiar with, there are no feints. The closest principle which resembles feinting is what we call "Mun Sao" (Inquisitive Hands). Many practitioners within the Wing Chun clan think that only the lead hand can be considered a Mun Sao, but this is incorrect, either hand or both hands can be considered Mun Sao depending upon the situation. The Mun Sao concept makes Wing Chun Kuen an art of problem solving, for when faced with a question, you must strive to answer the question. The principle of Mun Sao is to ask the opponent what he will do in this instant. At the onset of touching hands with an opponent, or when engaging during Luk Sao (Rolling Hands), one can already feel the level of skill present. Tai Chi Chuan's Push Hands exercise is a different game altogether; its primary goal is to push the opponent's arms away so that you can strike him. However, both Tai Chi's Flushing Hands and Wing Chun's Sticking Hands exercise develop the ability to interpret, understand, and neutralize energy. The most important aspect to avoid during Chi Sao is to make it a match of strength. If Chi Sao practice is regulated to a mere force against force match, you have lost the Wing Chun aspect. We react to an opponent's energy, not wrestle with it! I doubt Ng Mui or Yim Wing Chun would develop a system based solely on strength or to use force against force, the fact that they were women.

If you observe how the feelers of an insect work, you will notice that the feelers move about in a random manner. When the feelers touch something, they go around it to interpret and determine what the object is. There is some whipping about and springiness to the action of the antennae and the insect decides whether to walk around the object, walk over it, or simply avoid it. We can use this analogy to explain Wing Chun's Chi Sao training - If our Mun Sao feels or senses too much pressure, we can redirect it, guide the pressure elsewhere, ride it, or go away from the source of force to create your technique. Many other Gung Fu systems call this principle using your opponent's force against him. Only proper practice and experience determine what is the correct feel during Chi Sao practice. A master cannot give it to you - one must earn it through hard work and insight. And because learning this level of Wing Chun Kuen is so hard to master, many students get frustrated and quit. Equally frustrated are the Wing Chun masters who realize the difficulty in teaching this aspect of the art. The concept of using the opponent's force to give rise to your own technique is not unique to Wing Chun. It is however a stage of realization where the martial arts merge with philosophy and principles. Concepts such as "using no way as the way" and "allowing yourself to be empty" stem from throwing away your ego and stop leading. Rather than lead, allow yourself to follow your opponent. Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military general recommended to "Attack after, but arrive first", which Wing Chun Kuen is based upon. As long as your fist contains ego, you can never reach a high level. And merely doing forms and techniques never made anyone a master. You must invest in loss, receive many beatings, give up yourself to follow others and learn to lose, before you can learn to win. As Wing Chun Kuen's roots are in the Shaolin Temple, some of the concepts found in Wing Chun are related to Chan Buddhism. At the advanced aspects of both, the concepts of "egolessness" and "emptiness" is appreciated. Buddhism states that suffering is caused by desire. In Wing Chun, the desire to be not struck, can cause suffering. In fact, there is a saying in Wing Chun that expresses the desire not to be struck: "If you're afraid to be struck, then you will be struck; If you're afraid to strike, then you will be struck; Don't try to strike when you can't, strike when you should." When we first learn Chi Sao, we feel afraid or insecure. Thoughts like, "I can't stop him!" or " I can't control the situation!" run through your mind. It's quite natural to have these feelings, but you must not let them control you. Later as you grow more skilled, you get more confident, and your air changes. You're then able to face your partner in Chi Sao with more confidence, but then, you must not let the confidence control you. When you finally reach the highest levels, you have no fear, no emotion. You merely reflect. The Buddhists refer to this as a "mind like water". Should your opponent attack, "you" are no longer there; there is no "you" as in ego - you flow with the motion and give yourself up to follow your opponent's action to ultimately allow your opponent to give you the means of defeating himself. At this stage, there is "no technique" and "free form". At this point, a student has become an expert to join mind and body together. This corresponds with the Wing Chun motto of "allowing the hands and feet to develop a mind of their own". Wing Chun becomes a true art then, with the practitioner's experience allowing to express and interpret the art for himself. No one can tell what's right and wrong for the artist, only the artist decides for himself. It is only at this level of development that Wing Chun Kuen transcends a mere method of self protection. I hope that all Wing Chun practitioners can reach this level and come to live the art this deeply. But first, they must learn to ask where the openings are, and once there, how to close up their own openings while crossing the bridge. Giving up ego is an easy thing to say, but hard to put into practice.

Terminology: The 108 Count


As a way to preserve the Wing Chun system and to prevent modification, the sets have been constructed so that the number of movements in each set is 108. The 108 number is in honor of the 108 martial artists who died for some good cause. We don't have any more details on these people at the moment. The number 108 seems to have been borrowed from the Indian Hindu religion, where the number is very popular. There is supposed to be a temple in India with 108 sides.

The classical Wing Chun system has been elegantly structured into five logical pieces. The three hand sets, the wooden man set and the weapons section. Today, most versions of the third set have a count of more than 108 movements, but if the duplicate elbow sections are removed, (which don't add any new information to the set), then the count is 108. We will discuss this in the future. The knife set has 82 movements and the 6 1/2 point pole form has 26 movements. Summary 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Piece 1: "Siu Nim Tao" 108 movements Piece 2: "Chum Kiu" 108 movements Piece 3: "Biu Jee" 108 movements Piece 4: "Wooden Man" 108 movements Piece 5: "Knife+Pole" 108 movements

108 = 2x2x3x3x3 (5 factors) Live Dummy The live dummy was the first dummy set Grandmaster Yip Man taught. Master Wong Kiu learned this set before the first wooden dummy was ever built (by the Cheung brothers). After the wooden dummy was built, the live version was not taught. Note: July 1995 Note most people don't care about the 108 count topic. Having a math background, I found it an interesting point for speculation. Future viewpoints will present other discoveries related to this topic. About the point of not everyone learning everything: this may have no significance whatsoever. I doubt if it was because things were a big secret. The Wing Chun system is not a secretive style. In our own club we practiced Wing Chun weapons fighting in the early 1980's, then we went for ten years just not getting around to it because students were not ready for it yet or we were too busy with other things. I don't imagine there was much room in Hong Kong for pole fighting so that may be all it was. Also in general, classical weapons fighting is viewed as impractical by most people because of the gun. But some of us like to preserve the art.

Technical Note #7
The Centerline Theory of Wing Chun

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you are face to face with an opponent, the shortest distance to the opponent is a straight-line path from your center to the opponent's center. If you put your palm toward your opponent's vertical axis you occupy the center line. Two physical objects can't occupy the center at the same space at the same time. So if one person occupies the centerline the other person doesn't. If a straight-line punch comes toward your face and you stick your hand in the center then that punch will be deflected away from the centerline. There is a vertical centerline which runs parallel to the vertical central axis of the body. There is also a horizontal centerline which runs from your vertical centerline to the opponent's vertical centerline (if you are facing your opponent). In Wing Chun we try to always face our opponent's central axis. We don't let the opponent get to our side. This is called proper facing. In a fight we can't always maintain this facing, so then we are in recovery mode to get back to that way of facing. When face to face with arms in contact, we have a saying that noone takes our arms off the centerline. If you point towards the opponent's central axis and they push or deflect your hand (arm) away from the

centerline, then you are in recovery mode and return back to the centerline just like when pushing on a springy twig or pushing on a ball floating in water. When an opponent's arms drift off the centerline, they have a structural weakness in their defense. A hole is created and they'll be hit because a straight-line attack will come in so fast there won't be enough time to recover from such a mistake. If the opponent's arm disengages, we hit straight forward, along the shortest distance path, since that would be our best chance against an opponent with a slight timing advantage from moving first. When you have a perfect center position, as taught in sticking hands, it's difficult for an opponent to penetrate this position with any kind of attack. If an opponent disengages to do a circular hit, he'll be hit first with a straight-line hit. If an opponent tries to grab, he'll cross himself and be trapped. If an opponent uses brute strength to break down the center, he'll be stiff and can be pushed, pulled, jerked or easily unbalanced. The other option is that the opponent's strength will encounter emptiness from your relaxed, soft feeling. Or when their hard force comes we pivot or shift so the hard force is redirected. The opponent will face the wrong way and we will point at their central axis. If an opponent attempts to kick, this attempt can be felt in the hands and a pushing/pulling force or stepping in will unbalance them. (Note: however, Kenneth Chung showed how he can kick with no signals given.) If an opponent retreats we chase in such a way that arm contact is maintained. Once in contact it's difficult to shake off a person with good sticking skills without destroying your own good center position. In sticking hands/rolling hands we try to detect when the opponent has deviated from the centerline position. As soon as this deviation occurs we hit. When an opponent's centerline position is good, we may try to destroy that good position with a variety of pushing, pulling, jerking tactics, but these create defects in our own defense which can be taken advantage of. A beginner is too slow to react and can't accurately sense centerline mistakes, so anything works against them. Some Wing Chun people try to blast their way through the center, which works well against an inferior opponent. Against an advanced opponent he will either be counter-blasted, if the opponent is stronger, or more ideally will encounter sudden emptiness and be hit. Since we are human, mistakes are made, so we lose because of thousands of kinds of mistakes. Mistakes include: o unstable stance o off center to the left o off center to the right o hands too high o hands too low o hands too stiff o hands too soft o not sensitive o slow reactions o contact between the arms too loose These mistakes and hundreds more are studied so they can be countered instantly.

When two people are in double-arm contact, nearly everything can be defended by maintaining a good stance and smothering the opponent's attacks by sticking to their arms. However, when the opponent goes off the centerline we don't stick, but attack in a straight line or else we'll be open to attack. The idea is not to stick with and chase arms wherever they may go. The first form of Wing Chun teaches ideal positioning. The positions taught in the first form are mathematical ideal positions or structures, when you are face to face with an opponent. Since we are all built differently, we can only approach these ideal concepts and have to compensate in other ways if we can't physically apply the math concept. E.g. if you aren't flexible enough to keep the elbows on the centers you can compensate by being more sensitive with the hands or forearms, or by shifting more. When our force limits have been exceeded then body shifting is used to redirect the force. So ideally, we either stay put, shift (turn) or step forward. In reality we sometimes have to back up or even duck. The

second form of Wing Chun teaches the mechanics required to coordinate the hands with the feet. This means we learn when to turn or advance depending on what we feel. In real fighting nothing is ideal. Our good mathematical centerline positions may be totally destroyed. An opponent may have our elbow pushed off to the side, or grabbed us or have us bent over, or pinned us to a wall, or there's not one opponent to face but several. In this case your perfect center-facing position against a single opponent has been lost and you are therefore in recovery mode to regain a good position. The third form of Wing Chun teaches how to regain the centerline or how to get back into a good position as taught in the first and second forms or dummy forms. Because of this it makes no sense to learn the third form of Wing Chun before having mastered the others. How will you know what position to recover to if you don't understand the subject of positions and structures? The wooden dummy is a device which forces you to have correct position because the arms of the dummy are in fixed locations. So the wooden dummy is like a teacher who forces you to have correct angles. The wooden dummy is used for secondary reasons to enhance speed, power and to condition the arms. It also doesn't make much sense to study the dummy before having learned the first form, because you won't understand what a correct position is. And the wooden dummy movements can't be applied without an understanding and adeptness in sticking hands skills. In Wing Chun we try to gain a correct position based on centerline concepts. From hundreds of hours of rolling hands (Poon sau) practice we can detect when an opponent's position is off. We must be relaxed and sensitive to detect these things, then we must have the timing to attack with speed and power. When close range skills are mastered there is no fear of arm contact with an opponent. After that, total concentration can be given to how to make contact with the opponent. This involves the study of structure and entry methods, and most of all, timing. The second form of Wing Chun, the wooden dummy and free style sparring teach how to enter properly so the sticking hands skills of Wing Chun can be applied. From a few simple concepts, such as "the shortest distance between two points is a straight-line" and the concept of economy, quite an elaborate art has evolved. Someone knowing the ideas behind Wing Chun can create counter-concepts just as in Chess, where some players occupy the center and others try to destroy it from the flanks. This is part of the fun, to outwit each other. However, once in contact there is not much room for error, not much time to change from this move to that move. Many if not all of the center control theories of chess also apply to Wing Chun. Fencing does not use the concept of placing something in the center or they will get beat fast (another discussion). Some other Chinese styles think like fencing people and tend to sweep attacks aside from one corner of the four quadrants instead of from the center position. Using two arms instead of having one fencing foil changes the rules of the game.

These are just a few quick thoughts which are in no way a complete or hole-proof theory. Another topic not discussed is the location of hitting targets along the vertical center line. Also, in fact, there are many lines of balance which are used, as explained above, even during sweeping, off balancing and while ground fighting. Different Wing Chun lines may have different viewpoints on this subject. Tai Chi is also a center searching art, but the mechanics are not the same and probably conflict with Wing Chun theories. We would view Tai Chi as violating some of our principles but we say that the Tai Chi system probably has ways to compensate for what we consider a weakness. From the Tai Chi point of view the elbows in the center do not seem like a good idea, but we have ways to compensate for this weakness perceived by the Tai Chi practitioner. - Ray Van Raamsdonk

Wing Chun Theory


If you try to use several conflicting theories at the same time, you will not be as good as someone who sticks to one consistent theory. 1. The Ball Concept?

To neutralize force, use the ball concept. Consider a ball suspended in some water. When you push this ball it will rotate in some direction, thus neutralizing the force of your push. If you push the ball dead center, it will move in the direction of your push. 2. The turnstile Concept? The ball concept uses the ideas of ROTATION and TRANSLATION. The turnstile concept just uses the idea of rotation. When you push against a turnstile, it just rotates. It cannot move in another way. When you push on a ball, it can rotate or it can roll. Tai Chi practitioners use more of the ball concept. Wing Chun practitioners use the turnstile concept because they do not like to back up. Backward movements are a waste of time when your goal is to just move forward towards the target. 3. Conflicts? Split second mistakes will get you beat. When you confuse ideas or use conflicting principles in your fighting, you will lose to people who are good. If you hesitate because you don't know whether to back up, or to advance, or to turn you will lose to an opponent who has no hesitation in what they do. If you train in the methods of art A on Monday, art B on Tuesday and art C on Wednesday, then in the real fight which art will you use. At the slow speed, you have the option to use any art. At a high speed any hesitation could end your life. Many Jeet Kune Do people feel that the more arts they mix together the better. Wing Chun people disagree with this concept. If you are really serious about self defense and combat, you have to make up your mind what you really want to train! If you are just having fun and playing around then it doesn't matter what you train. 4. Internal and External training If you practice just pushing, shoving and applying fast hard hits to your opponent, independent of what they are doing, then you are practicing in the hard external way. This way can be effective if your opponent is slower than you and weaker than you. The hard way leads to quick early results but in the long run it will be a detriment to your martial arts career. The internal method is more concerned with effective force neutralization using your sense of touch. This skill is very difficult to achieve and very difficult to deal with once it has been achieved. Stronger people find the external way of training easier and more satisfying. But for that you don't need Wing Chun

History and Principles of Wing Chun Kung Fu


Wing Chun ("glorifying springtime") Kung Fu is a Chinese "internally oriented" ("noi lo") martial art system. It is a recent system that was developed in reaction to "external" styles which rely upon power and strength. Wing Chun was named after a woman known as Yim Wing Chun by her husband Leung Pok To in tribute to her superior skills as a martial artist. Yim - surnames come first in the Chinese language - was taught her art by the nun Ng Mui. Ng was one of the five elders who survived the destruction of the southern Shaolin Temple during the Ch'ing Dynasty, in the late 18th century in China. A local bully was trying to force Yim to marry him. In a gesture of sympathy and help, Ng taught Yim a system of self-defense to enable her to "defeat" the bully.

In part, Wing Chun is famous for certain of its distinctive features, including: the mook jong ("wooden dummy"), centerline theory, the immovable elbow, and chi sao ("sticky hands" exercise). The majority of martial arts have many forms or basic exercises. In contrast, Wing Chun has only three forms: 1. siu lim tao ("little idea"/"minimal attention" form), which teaches the basic movements 2. chum kiu ("to find the bridge" form), which teaches the integration of the upper and lower body movements 3. biu jee ("shooting fingers" form), which teaches attacking techniques. There are also two traditional Wing Chun weapon forms: bot tsam doe (the "eight chopping knives") and luk dim boon gwan (the "staff"). Whereas most martial artists seek to defend against or avoid their opponent, the Wing Chun practitioners "welcome" their opponents. A saying in Wing Chun goes "da sao djek see sil sao" ("to attack is to defend"). Instead of brute strength or force, Wing Chun emphasizes sensitivity, flowing and direct, effecient movements. Another Wing Chun expression is "yop" ("to penetrate"/"to enter"). The image is of a seed penetrating the earth, striving directly toward the sun. Nothing will stop it! "Yop!" is somewhat like the call to action to "keep your eyes on the prize!" of America's civil rights movement. This is the Wing Chun practitioner's direct response to "fa kuen, tzao toi" ("fancy hands, flashy feet" or literally "flower hands, embroidery feet").

Five Principles of Wing Chun


1. Receive What Comes The saying "Receive What Comes," or "If the Attack Comes, then Meet it," means that if the opponent initiates the attack then you should meet the attack with an attack response of your own. For example, if the opponent throws a straight punch, then meet the punch with a thrusting hand or Bil sau movement directed towards the opponent's center. Alternatively, you can apply a palm up hand (Tan sau) and punch. If you immediately counterattack, then the opponent risks getting hit. This places him on the defensive and slows down his attacking action. By meeting the opponent's attack, you are simply engaging the opponent's force so that you can determine the next actions based on what you feel. When you feel the opponent's force, you can tell if it is strong, weak, stiff, sticky, soft, centered, off-centered, etc. Your next action depends on what you feel. 2. Follow What Goes The saying "Follow what goes," means that if the opponent withdraws his force, then you must stick to the opponent and hit. As long as you are sticking with the opponent, you are unlikely to lose. If you do not stick with the opponent, then you have lost an important indicator of what will happen next. The indicator is your sense of touch. Upon loss of contact, the opponent can kick or perform many kinds of deceptive hand techniques which are bound to succeed. If the opponent retreats the stance, then you rush in with your stance. If you just stand there, then you will get kicked. If you decide to retreat, then you must again close the gap between you and the opponent. Since this part is less scientific than sticking hands fighting, you risk getting hurt in the clash.

In the sticking hands training, you can practice retreating while your partner chases and sticks. 3. No Contact - Rush In The saying, "Rush in upon loss of contact," means to hit straight if arm contact disappears. Imagine being blindfolded. Your hands are in contact with the opponent's hands. You can detect and feel every movement that the opponent is about to make. Now imagine that there is a loss of hand contact. You do not know where the opponent's hands are. You have no sensory clues about what is going to happen next. You are bound to get hit. Close range fighting is often like the blindfolded case. Your visual system can't always see what is going on because the action it too rapid or the vision is blocked (the action is too close). If you maintain a slight forward pressure directly towards the center line of the opponent and strike in a straight line upon loss of hand contact, then you will hit the opponent first. The reason is that a straight line is shorter than a curved line. If you are in the center, the opponent must travel a curved line to disengage. 4. Make The First Move The saying "Make the first move to have control," is also expressed as "If he stays I go." What these expressions mean is that, if the opponent is facing you and does nothing, then don't hesitate, but attack right away. Otherwise, you may be tricked by an opponent who has figured you out. The intention of your attack is to make contact with the opponent. Once you have made contact, then you can use your knowledge from the sticking hands to win. What the above saying does not mean is to just rush in recklessly without fear of getting hurt. If you are weaker than your opponent or slower, or if you don't know anything abut how your opponent fights, then you stand to get hit. In Wing Chun, advance slowly and cautiously toward the opponent, always threatening him. At the right moment, suddenly charge. The right moment may occur during an attention lapse or during the time an opponent tenses up, or at the completion of an opponent's movement. Lift the leg immediately against a low kick. 5. Use Proper Timing The saying "Attack according to timing," is meant as a caution to not just blindly rush in. The Wing Chun idea of how to attack is like a cat trying to get a mouse. The cat sneaks up very slowly to the mouse. The closer the cat gets, the more careful the cat gets. Once the cat is close enough, then the cat does an explosive forward springing action to get the mouse.

Five Principles of Wing Chun


1. Evade a Strong Force There is a limit to how much force any particular technique can handle. No matter how strong the stance or how precise the angle of the hands, there will be a force strong enough to get through. Master Wong Kiu expressed this thought by saying "You cannot block a motorcycle with a Bong sau." It just can't be done. Wing Chun teaches some direct confrontation techniques in terms of blocking kicks or roundhouse punches; however, when the attacks are too strong, then alternative methods must be used. The advantage of direct confrontation techniques is that they are faster than going with the flow methods.

One of the best remedies against a strong force such as a spinning kick or wild hook punch is not to be there when it arrives. You always risk getting hurt when you clash with a strong force. 2. Combined Strength There is a Chinese term called "Garb Lik" which means combined strength. This term means not to have one passive hand and one active hand. For example, don't hold someone's arm with one hand while hitting high and low with the other hand. The holding hand is passive while the hitting hand is active. The punch at the end of the second set or the Bong sau actions in the second set illustrate the combined strength concept. When you punch, there is also an equal strength put into the Wu sau or Guarding hand. When you apply the Bong sau or Wing hand, you also put a strong instantaneous force into the guarding hand. In the double sticking hands, when you do a center palm hit, don't have a weak high Fook sau or else the opponent can hit you by changing his Wing hand to a neck chopping hand. Always have "Garb Lik" in all of your actions. 3. Use Body Position During fighting practice, the opponent may have you jammed up so that your hand actions cannot be applied. In such cases, a shift of the body can sometimes change the angles in such a way that you again have room to maneuver. If shifting does not help, you may still be able to move the stance in such a way as to offbalance the opponent. Even a slight change in position can sometimes give you another chance to hit. Seemingly hopeless situations, such as where your opponent has grabbed your kicking leg, can sometimes be remedied by changing the body position. In this case, dropping to the ground in order to kick the opponent's joint with the other leg. In Wing Chun, it is not only the hands which provide shocking forces. When you are being trapped, violent rotations of the body combined with the use of the elbow can sometimes save the day. Think of trying to hold on to a wiggling fish. 4. Be Direct There are sayings in the martial art world such as "Use Soft Against Hard" and "Go With the Flow." These principles are useful when handling large forces. When the forces are not large, such as the case of a roundhouse punch thrown by a similar sized opponent, it is often much quicker to clash directly with the attack so that you hit the opponent immediately. If you are confident with your technique and can handle the opponent's force, then you can just charge in directly to the opponent's center. Provided you are able to keep to the center, you will have no problems. Use common sense to figure out under what circumstances the general principles of Wing Chun apply. These principles were often sayings to help people remember what to do. If you stick too dogmatically to a saying, then you could also be done in by it. 5. Restrict Movement The most dangerous opponent is one who is at close range with free use of both arms and legs. At high speeds it is not possible to predict or deflect all attacks. You are bound to get hit. World champion boxers are not able to avoid all hits.

When in close contact with the opponent, try to restrict the opponent's movement. This increases your chances and decreases those of the opponent. Use one arm to control two. Use Gum sau or Pressing hand to control the elbow of the opponent. When at close range, use your leg to trap the opponent's leg so that he cannot kick. There is a famous saying, "Allow the opponent's useless actions, but prevent his useful actions." If you try to control the opponent totally, then he will fight much harder than usual.

Five Principles of Wing Chun


1. Keep Calm and Relaxed One of the hardest things to master in Wing Chun is to stay calm and relaxed in a pressure situation. If you are not relaxed, then it is more difficult to change quickly. Also, you will tire at a much quicker rate. When you are tense, you can easily be controlled by the opponent. Wing Chun relies on suppleness and sensitivity of touch in order to detect what the opponent's next action will be. When you are tense, this is no longer possible except in a very crude way. A relaxed martial artist is much more effective overall. The idea of learning fighting as an art is to be in total control of yourself, as well as your opponent. The best way to master the relaxed way of combat is to practice slowly and accurately. Try to understand your art completely and experiment with forces in a controlled manner. 2. Don't Telegraph An unpredictable attack is much harder to handle than one that is prearranged. If you know what the opponent is going to do, then it is easy to find a solution. The Wing Chun sticking hands training develops a soft sensitive force detection system which lets you know everything about your opponent's intentions, without letting the opponent know anything about yours. In this way, your opponent's moves are predictable but yours are not. In order not to telegraph, you must stay very relaxed at all times. Never pull your hand back to hit. Don't wind up. Hit from wherever your hand is. Attack only when the opponent has made a mistake. This gives you a timing advantage. Always monitor your own muscle tenseness. Ask yourself if you are relaxed or tense. Abdominal breathing helps to stay relaxed. 3. Use Economy of Movement An attack is defind as any kind of force coming your way. In general fighting, the opponent is unpredictable;meaning that an attack can be directed to any part of the body. Wing Chun reduces the complexity of trying to intercept an attack by dividing the upper body into four quadrants or regions. The four quadrants are defended by the arms which are strategically placed so as to reach any quadrant in the same amount of time. With the elbow remaining fixed in the center, the time to intercept an attack or to recover from a mistake is reduced. The region below the four quadrants is not defended by the hands, but is defended by means of intercepting leg movements or by means of moving the stance to evade the force.

From a side view, Wing Chun further divides the body into a front guarding region and a rear guarding region. An attack which slips past the front guard is caught by the rear guard. 4. Keep to the Center Wing Chun seeks to dominate the center. This is done by always keeping a guarding hand in the center and also by keeping the elbow in the center. It is advantageous to attack the opponent's center, because it is easier to hit the target. Also, the full force will be received instead of being deflected. An additional advantage is that a shorter distance is traveled. It is advantageous to defend the center by occupying it, because two things can't occupy the center at the same time. If you occupy the center, then your opponent can't. By defending the center, you can defend each of the four quadrants in the same amount of time. Try to use shifting and suppleness to control the center, and not brute strength. 5. Remove the Obstruction Wing Chun attacks by sending a straight force towards the opponent. If that force is obstructed by some kind of a block, then remove the obstruction. Use the techniques of : Pak sau - slap off the obstruction Lap sau - grab the obstruction Huen sau - go around the obstruction Shifting your stance may help to create a more suitable angle for attack. If you cannot remove the obstruction, then try to stick.

Five Principles Of Wing Chun


1. Attack and Defend Wing Chun is based on the theory of economy of motion. The idea is to move as little as possible when defending, so that your energy is conserved and your actions are quicker. A principle in Wing Chun is to attack and defend at the same time. Try not to employ two or more steps to handle an attack. The more complex an action, the more chance that the opponent will counter your action before you complete it. The sooner you can counter-attack your opponent, the safer it is for you. It is much easier for the opponent to keep attacking you than it is for him to also defend. 2. Hit Continuously In movie style fighting the opponent throws a punch, the defender blocks the punch, hits back and then stops to await the opponent's next move. In realistic fighting this two step stop and start action is too slow. Wing Chun employs continuous nonstop hitting. Once you hesitate, even for an instant, you are bound to get hit.

Continuous fighting is developed in the sticking hands training. First you learn simple techniques; then you learn to string them together into sentences or continuous sequences; next you learn to apply these sentences in accordance with the opponent's movements. Whenever you are stuck, don't hesitate, change immediately to another movement. A useful drill is to have your partner hold out two arms while you continuously apply slapping, grabbing, and hitting actions. This is difficult at first, but comes with practice. 3. Four Quadrant Theory An attack can be defined as any kind of force coming your way. Your opponent is unpredictable, meaning that an attacking force can be directed to any area of the body. Wing Chun reduces the complexity of trying to intercept an attack by dividing the upper body into four quadrants or regions. The four quadrants are defended by the arms which are strategically placed so as to reach any quadrant in the same amount of time. With the elbow remaining fixed in the center, the time to intercept an attack or to recover from a mistake is reduced. The region below the four quadrants is not defended by the hands, but is defended by means of intercepting leg movements or by means of moving the stance to evade the force. From a side view, Wing Chun further divided the body into a front guarding region and a rear guarding region. An attack which slips past the front guard is caught by the rear guard. 4. Have A Guarding Hand In Wing Chun we normally have two lines of defense in the form of a front guarding hand and a rear guarding hand. In Cantonese, the guarding hand or hand of protection is called a Wu Sau. If you occupy the center with a guarding hand, it is difficult for the opponent to attack. The opponent must somehow go around the guarding hands to attack. If the opponent attacks to the upper left or right gates, we can use the Tan Sau, Kwun sau, Bong sau or a center line palm hit to defend. If the opponent removes the guarding hand, we replace it with the other hand. If both hands are trapped, then use body shifting or elbow techniques to break out. If this still fails, then wait for an opportunity to attack. 5. Use Structure to Defend "The muscles are used to attack, the structure is used for defense". What does this mean? If you use your muscles to push against an incoming force, your muscles are tense and cannot be used for attacking until they relax. Therefore, Wing Chun likes to keep the muscles in a relaxed state at all times. If you place your bones at certain angles, you can deflect an incoming force while still keeping your muscles relaxed. Therefore, they are always ready to hit, grab or jerk. Against a strong forward force, use a structural technique and not a pushing force to control it. A Fook sau is an example of a structural hand technique which can be used to control a strong force while keeping the muscles relaxed.

Five Principles of Wing Chun


1. Hit the Shadow There is a Wing Chun saying, "To hit the middle of the shadow." By shadow we mean the attacking object's profile. If a right hook punch comes, the middle of the shadow is at the inside of the elbow. If a right roundhouse kick comes, the middle of the shadow is at the opponent's knee. Sometimes you do not have time to identify the kind of attack since it is so quick that it looks like a blur or shadow. The above Wing Chun saying advises to just hit it as if swatting a fly. This is at least safer than letting the shadow hit you. 2. Don't Think - Think Beginners are often given two seemingly contradictory pieces of advise. They are told not to think because thinking is too slow: Just react to the opponent's movements. At other times, they are told to think about what they are doing: Don't just do actions without a purpose. A beginner often makes two mistakes: he thinks too much and therefore his actions are always too slow, or he doesn't think at all and uses his techniques in a nonintelligent way. During the learning process, you must always ask how and why the techniques work. When don't they work? When do you use them and when don't you use them? How do you perform them correctly? What happens if you don't? When you know the answers to these questions, then trust the technique and apply it without thinking. The slightest hesitation will make a technique fail against an experienced opponent. 3. Use Structural Breakdown The concept of structural breakdown is one reason why Wing Chun adopts a square-on stance. Consider the Bong sau. It is a technique which is designed to withstand a maximum amount of force after which the technique breaks down in a planned way. The Bong sau is known as a weak but versatile hand because there are other techniques such as the Karate upper level block which can withstand a stronger amount of force but cannot be changed as easily to other techniques. What makes the Bong sau work is the angles of the bones in the arm and the weight distribution of the feet. If you use a left Bong sau, the weight is on the left foot. When you do this, an excessive amount of force will automatically cause your body to pivot out of the line of the force. If the weight were on the other leg, your whole stance would collapse under excessive force. The Bong sau must be held firm but supple at the wrist for this planned structural breakdown to occur. If the Bong sau sucks back or the weight is on the wrong foot, an injury could occur. 4. Simple - Variety When you are doing sticking hands, keep your actions simple. A beginner often tries to use movements for which he doesn't have the skill level to make them work effectively. This is also referred to as being too fancy in your movement. Fancy, complex actions are Iikely to fail unless they are performed precisely in the intended manner. Once you can get your basic WORDS to work in simple situations, you can attempt to apply them in more complex situations. Don't just do the same movements over and over again, use variety, and the movements from all of the sets. Against an advanced practitioner, the more you know, the better chance you will have. But if you have not mastered the basics, your advanced techniques will likely fail. 5. Make Only One Sound

There is a principle in Wing Chun stick-fighting which says, "The stick only makes one sound." What this principle means is that stick-fighting should not be performed in the clashing fashion as is done in the movies. The idea of the stick is to use smooth flowing and sticking actions. When the opponent's stick attacks, you meet the attack with an intercepting stick which clings or sticks to the opponent's weapon. Once contact is made your stick does not disengage from the opponent's stick until the oppo- nent is hit. When in contact you use feeling combined with the various techniques such as circling, off-centering, and jerking to hit the opponent. If the opponent disengages, you will have a good opportunity to hit. This same principle can also be applied to hand-tohand combat. In tournament fighting, many opportunities are missed when the two opponents disengage. In Wing Chun, once you make contact, you stay with the opponent until he is hit.

Principles: Five Principles of Wing Chun


Much of the advice a student receives seems contradictory. However, it is usually just a matter of knowing under which circumstances the advice applies.

Elbow - Wrist
l. Always compress at the elbow. 2. Always slap at the wrist. Some Wing Chun schools say to always apply the slapping hand to the elbow or else you will lose. Others apply it at the wrist. However, every application of a movement has its pros and cons. The use of a particular movement often depends on the circumstance. Applying the wrist slap you gain more leverage, and you keep further away from the opponent, but you must also be ready for the opponent's arm to collapse into an elbow strike. Applying the elbow slap avoids this elbow attack, however, a smaller person may not be able to reach or to compress the opponent's elbow.

Firm - Mobile
1. Keep in a very firm stance. Don't move. 2. Don't be a sitting duck. Be very mobile in your stance. If you get pushed, just go with it. Beginners often move their stance too much. Every hand technique is preceded by a telegraphing movement from the stance, thus, the techniques are always too slow. Weak stances cause beginners to be easily off balanced by their opponents. It also reduces the force of the beginner's attacks. In Wing Chun, you learn to use your body structure to its maximum force receiving capability. If the force is still excessive, the stance gives way. The collapse often happens so rapidly that the opponent is thrown off balance for a short duration. This gives you a chance for attack.

Wrist - Whole Arm


1. When you do the Chum sau, just use the wrist, don't use the whole arm. 2. When you do the Chum sau, you must use the whole arm to get enough force. When the beginner is taught the Chum sau in the single sticking hand exercise, he is instructed to use only the wrist action. Instead he often uses the crude action of pushing down stiffly with the whole arm, and therefore, is not learning to use the force of the wrist. Once you are able to generate force from the wrist joint, only then do you add more joints to increase force.

Ask - Just practice


1. Ask questions. Find out why you are doing something? 2. Don't ask questions, just practice. Talk is a waste of time. There is always a balance between practice and theory. Too little of either doesn't produce the intended result. Beginners often ask questions which are beyond the level of what they are learning. They want to know how they can beat a boxer, a wrestler, a Karate expert, etc. They want to know everything except what they are supposed to learn. Instead of using their own minds to analyze the problem, they ask what to do every time they are stuck. This kind of questioning is a waste of time. On the other hand, a student that asks no questions may be showing that he is not bright enough to comprehend what is being taught. Some instructors will only give you the information that you ask for.

Close - Far
1. Get close to the opponent. Never use the long hand techniques of Wing Chun. Keep the elbows close. 2. Don't let the opponent past the first stage of your hand. Wing Chun divides the arm into three stages; the hand to the wrist is the first stage, the wrist to the elbow is the second stage, and the elbow to the shoulder is the third stage. The saying, "Don't let the opponent past the first stage of the hand," means once the opponent enters past the first stage, you must attack or retreat. The use of this principle prevents non-stoppable critical distance hits, and gives room to maneuver by not letting the opponent's hand closer in than your extended wrist. Once you attack how- ever you get in as close as possible and use your full array of techniques. They say attack the opponent through the second stage. When you attack, try to control the opponent's arm (near his elbow) for as long as possible. This reduces his chances for counter-attack. In wing chun, there are five main principles of combat. These include assuming structure, intercepting, breaking an opponents structure, chasing, and adjustment. Assuming Structure In wing chun kuen, the term bai jong is often translated as "on-guard, ready position" or as "pre-combat position." None of these translations do the term justice. Bai is the Chinese word for "put, place, arrange, assume," while jong is a "stake, a pile, or a vertical structure." Thus, when combined, bai jong is a wing chun term referring to the assuming of structure in relationship to your opponent, making the necessary adjustments to favor advantage for yourself. Your body structure is dynamic, always seeking to adjust relative to your opponent. It is ever changing with pressure, position, timing, and sensitivity. You are always making adjustments (perhaps another good translation for the name "wing chun"). In all martial arts, there is some sort of pre-fighting position or on-guard stance that practitioners assume before engaging their opponent. Some of these positions are open, others are closed. Bai jong in wing chun is different. It is used as a reference point, not as a fighting posture. One adopts a non-verbal readiness to receive an attack. Generally speaking when an opponent adopts an open position it is to trap, to lure in, or to entice entry. This is known as drawing an attack. We believe that in wing chun there no real ready posture, as all postures are ready positions, and we are trained to fight from any position. The ready posture or position is not a set, dead position, but one that takes into account not only body placement but mental attitude and preparation. And while some pre-fighting positions look intimidating and serve to cause awe or caution, as a mental note to yourself, never be fooled, distracted, or intimidated by such positions. They are only positions and not an indication of an opponents skill.

Bai jong is a transitory position and the means of preparing for defense or offense. As such, many factors are happening simultaneously. You must have a calm and reflective attitude and focus on the centerline and mutual centerline. The stance should be rooted, but not immobile, static, rigid, or dead. Instead, it focuses on maintaining the plane of the shoulders and the hips perpendicular to the centerline between yourself and the opponent. The idea is to also position yourself so you have the most anatomical tools at your disposal to use on your opponent. With bai jong, you must receive as much information on the opponent as possible in the amount of time available. For this, you use your eyes to perceive the opponents demeanor, his posture, his breathing, his stance and balance, his physical strength, and the surrounding environment, such that you can use it to your advantage. The eyes must gaze at the opponents sternum. This is the point where initial arm movement starts. While an opponents eyes may show their intent, but looking at the sternum shows their action and movement. At a distance, eye sensitivity is most important; at close range, bridge sensitivity is most important. When you can, you must use your eyes to capture all the information you need prior to contact with your opponent. Train the eyes to not only see but to perceive the opponents intentions. Some wing chun instructors posit that it is best to watch an opponents elbows and knees for an indication of when they will strike. However, the idea of looking at the elbows and knees is elementary and suitable only for beginners. Intermediate students generally look at the rising, falling, and torquing of the shoulders. Advanced students train to look at the opponents chest and to be able to detect the slightest rotation or change in depth of field. You should not look at the face, as your opponent may use his eyes as a feint. You must train the eyes not to blink during combat, especially when matching with weapons. Again, the gaze is not fixed, and one should always use their scanning and peripheral vision. We have a saying in wing chun that advises us to the use of the eyes: "When you see form, strike form; when you see shadow, strike shadow." This statement is profound, for it presumes you have mastered the unfixed gaze, and informs you that you cannot always rely on the shapes and forms that are presented to you. Facing is also an integral part of bai jong. It is referred to in Chinese as chiu mien, chiu ying, ji ng ying, dui ying, or dui mien. They are all loosely translated as "facing" in English. When facing, it is important to maintain the proper position and area, which is referred to in wing chun as "protecting the centerline." In bai jong you maintain an "asking hand" and "guard hand." Most practitioners confuse these hands as the "on guard position" of wing chun. However, they are merely reference points. The asking hand is the hand that asks your opponent a question. The guard hand is the hand that protects you when your opponent answers that question. Based on where your intention is, either hand can be an asking hand or a guard hand. When we define the asking hand and guard hand, we seek to maintain control of the inside and outside gates, which we use as reference points for a locale of the body. We break up the body into nine zones: high, middle, and low and right outside, inside, and left outside positions. Some consider it to be six zones as illustrated. We maintain control of our gates and angles of entry such that we can always use two hands simultaneously. The elbows should remain a constant one fist to one-and-a-half fist distance from your body to avoid the two diseases of wing chun: the restrained bridge (an arm that cannot move freely) and the flying elbow (a poorly positioned elbow such that one cannot adequately defend). Maintain the "elbow down power" to link your hands with your body structure. Facing is the proper way to position. Many beginners face square to the opponent. I believe proper facing is when you have an advantage over your opponent, where you have two limbs to the opponents one limb, or you have two limbs to the opponents no limbs. In order to do this, footwork must coordinate with the bridges. Footwork is what leads us to what we call chasing. We will discuss more on chasing shortly. Intercepting A central theme to wing chun is jeet (to cut-off or intercept). You need to be proactive and think ahead to close-

off an opponents ability to continue; to deliberately place your body in front of the opponent and to limit his next motions. The concern when intercepting is to recognize the signs before an action has been delivered. A good martial artist will study other martial arts to familiarize himself with tell-tale signs or telegraphic motions. Intercepting is the point of meeting and capturing the opponents centerline. If you are not in contact with an opponent when you first engage in combat, you must enter properly. All of this is in conjunction with entry timing (your starting time) to initiate attack or counter attack. Usually, this takes the form of intercepting, trapping, or destroying to cause mental unbalance and to delay reaction time. Learn to enter when an opponent is preparing, developing, extending, withdrawing, or in a transitory (pause) phase. These are what I refer to as "entry on preparation," "entry on development," "entry on extension," "entry on withdrawal," and "entry on response check," respectively. Each of these are described in detail below. Entry on Preparation: This is to enter just as an opponent prepares to attack you. This is actually getting the jump on your opponent before he can lash out. Entry on Development: This is to enter as the opponent initially delivers his blow, at which time he has not builtup sufficient momentum and power and extension to strike you. In essence, here you smother your opponents blow. Entry on Extension: While this is the most common method of demonstrating attack and defense, in actuality it is the most inferior method, as one must deal with the opponents full power, extension, momentum, and inertia to stop his blow. In wing chun kuen, it is not recommended to work on this timing. Entry on Withdrawal: This is to enter when an opponent has withdrawn a blow that he has missed or connected with its target. In essence, one enters with the complete body structure to smother any future movements. Enter on Response Check: After an opponent has delivered a blow, there is often a momentary pause for him to scan the extent of his damage and check for an additional response. This is an excellent time to enter and counterattack. These are transitory positions when you bridge-the-gap between you and your opponent. In entering, you are one unit. When one part moves, the entire body moves. All of these methods of entry exemplify understanding of a complete single beat: the time it takes for a strike to reach from A to B, the time it takes from jump to jump, or the time it takes from one step to another step. In order to exploit and enter on preparation, development, extension, withdrawal, or response check, one must understand the various timings of entry on that single beat. These timings include typically timing our entry on the quarter beat, half beat, three quarters beat, and the like. Entry on withdrawal is considered a one-and-a-half beat, as the opponent has already reached a full beat and is withdrawing his hand or leg attack. Entry on the response check would typically be considered a full second beat. All of these movements are transitory. To intercept is also a means of slowing down your opponents reaction time. Reaction time is typically slowed down when a person is not well trained, does not know the outcome, lacks flexibility, is older, is tired or injured, is concentrating on something else, is emotionally upset, is considering options and choices, his breathing is labored, and when his equilibrium is off balance. Much of the effectiveness of wing chun is developed upon slowing the opponents reaction time down and giving them the option to continue. One brain has to sort all the stimuli or questions posed by the opponent, then answer the questions with the appropriate response, tool, body structure, distance, timing, and positioning. After initial contact, you must unlink by shifting your body or by redirecting the opponents force. The proper stance must be maintained throughout. Being able to sense when to link and unlink is the essence of experience and is essential to wing chun. Your sensitivity is dependent upon it and you need to have what I call the response check. In a response check, you do a damage assessment, observing and reading the non-verbal signs. You

change as your opponent changes and fit-in with your opponents flow. Although wing chun does not emphasize stepping back, at times we must withdraw from an attack to do a response check. An example of this is when we utilize a biu jee (darting fingers) or fak sao (whisking hand) position. There are typically three ways to inquire as to an opponents intentions: 1) when sticking to the opponent; 2) when pinning or trapping the opponent; and 3) when setting-up or guiding the opponent. In all three cases, you want to apply pressure to get feedback as to how your opponent will react. What may prevent you from utilizing the response check is when you are preoccupied with something else, make incorrect assumptions, execute a premature entry, fail to see beyond what is present, have too many things to deal with at a time, or when you are interrupted. So always stay focused and centered. Breaking the Opponents Structure Breaking the opponents structure is central to successfully applying wing chun in combat. This is what we refer to as por jung sien (breaking the center of gravity or centerline) or chum kiu (sinking the opponents structure). Our goal is to break the line of the spinal column, or what we refer to as the centerline. We do this by distorting or twisting this plane, thus breaking your opponents center of gravity, leaving his structure vulnerable to attack. The goal in mind is to slow down or ultimately stop the opponents ability to react or respond. When we have destroyed the opponents base of attack, he cannot attack us anymore. This is what is meant by breaking the opponents structure. In wing chun, we seek to destroy the opponents structure through constant forward pressure, or what we call "crowding." In wing chun, you want to constantly pressure your opponent, crowding his motions. Dont allow your opponent to fully extend his blows, reaching maximum power and extension. You eat his space up as if you were an ameba. When he retreats an inch, you advance a mile. When his back is up against a wall, you try to push him through the wall. We can also break the structure by pushing or pulling and setting him up with strikes of our own. In wing chun, transitional motions are intermediary movements designed to keep you in combat and to reach your final goal of finishing off your opponent. They may take the form of controlling, guiding, leading, sticking, deflecting, combinations, and so on. They may or may not cause a shocking delay to your opponents reaction time, but are used to set-up the opponent in order to finish him off. In classical Chinese martial arts terminology, these are known as the "bridge crossing maneuvers." They are transitory movements or positions and consist of two sub-phases of finishing and withdrawing. Finishing is generally strong final movements that will end the fight. They can be characterized by the finishing strike or kick, finalized joint lock or throw, or ground control and submission of an opponent. Withdrawing is the breaking off of the attack when the opponent can no longer continue, which leads us into the next important principle: chasing. Chasing We refer to chasing in Chinese as juie (to chase after). Chasing is an intermediary movement designed to follow and cut-off an opponents movement and escape or flight. It is to continue and carry the battle to him. It is also to seek advantage in positioning. When you have acquired a target, you must constantly seek to attain that goal. You are chasing the opportunity to break the opponents structure. It is easier to move yourself than your opponent, except when his intention is to retreat, or when you have already broken his forward inertia and have replaced it with backward inertia. The goal of chasing is to pursue the positional advantage, opening in an opponents structure, an opportunity to knock him down, control the line, or to keep your proper facing and positioning. Adjustment Related to chasing is when the tables are turned and you are in danger of having your structure destroyed. In this

situation you have to adjust your steps accordingly. In wing chun, we call this wui ma, which literally means "returning step." One never retreats in wing chun, but strategically regroups, plans, or adjusts the step. Adjusting the step is simply used as a better positioning devise for a response check in which you may re-assume a bai jong and begin again the entire sequence of the main five principles. Both chasing and adjusting are considered methods of changing and returning to the centerline. Conclusion The five main principles of wing chun are central to the arts effectiveness in self defense. The first three principles of assuming structure, interception and destroying the opponents centerline are the core for facing and stopping an attack. If these are successful, there is no need to adjust or chase the opponent. Self defense is where one is to break off a counterattack as soon as one has stopped an opponents attack. The five principles of wing chun allow a person an effective means of self defense and protection by recognizing the correct timing and positioning of the proper tools in combat

History of Wing Chun


By Leung Gang-Moon (Liang Guangman)
Wing Chun comes from around 1810 from snake and crane shape boxing. In Chuanjiao, Fujian, Yim Yee was going to be arrested by the government so he fled with his daughter, Wing-Chun, to hide and sold tofu for a living. His martial arts were healthy, beautiful, and effective and he taught it to Wing-Chun. One day while she was washing clothes by the river she saw a snake and crane fighting. She watched and learned from them and later she mixed the inspiration with her knowledge of Fujian Shaolin styles and made it suit herself. A merchant from Shangxi named Leung Bok-Lao, who had been a student of the Henan Shaolin Temple, came to relax in a hotel. By chance, one day under the light of the moon he saw Yee and his daughter Wing-Chun practicing martial arts beside the tofu grinders. He thought Wing-Chun was beautiful and had excellent technique. He fell in love with her. He stayed and passed by many times to talk with them about martial arts. His first wife had died, and he though Wing-Chun had excellent fighting skills, so he wanted to marry her. He had a friend ask, but Wing-Chun was too embarassed to answer. Yim thought Leung was good-looking, and was a fellow Shaolin follower, so he agreed for his daughter and they were married. After a few years, Yim Yee died and they moved to Shangxi but due to the constant fighting of bandits and soliders, they moved again to north Guangdong (Ngam Hong Yuen village). They opened a small business and taught "Wing Chun Kuen" to some students. In about 1815, they moved the school to Zhaoqing and continued teaching. The Red Junk Opera Company would often travel between Zhaoqing and Foshan. Wong Wah-Bo (Mo-Sang), Leung Yee-Tai (Mo-Deng), Ah one named) Kam (Dai Fa Min), and Siu Fook (Siu-Sang) met them and learned Wing Chun. The Opera performers later went back to Foshan. When Wong Wah-Bo retired in Foshan, he taught the son of a pharmicist named Leung Jan. Leung Jan taught many, many, students including Chan Wah, Chan Kwai, Leung Kai, etc. Chan Wah graduated and went on to teach Chan Yu-Min, Ng Jung-So, etc. Another branch included Fok Bo-Chuen, Yuen Jai-Wan, Yuen Kay-San, Yiu Choi, Yip Man, etc. Yiu Choi taught Yiu Kai who taught Leung Keung, etc. Later, there were many branches.

To my knowlegde, in Guangzhou is Sum Nung. Foshan has Pan Nam, Yiu Kai, Leung Gan-Moon, Chan YinCheung, Chia Gin-Keung, etc. Zhaoqing has Leung Wai-Choi, etc. Shunde has Chan Wa's grandson, etc. Macao has Leung Keung, etc. Hong Kong has Yip Man, etc.
Last Modified Monday, 21-Dec-98 16:03:20 EST.

The Wing Chun Mind:


Learn to Think Like a True Fighter By Robert Chu
First published in Inside Kung-Fu 91/09

Many have heard of the wing chun system of martial arts. Most articles deal with the techniques, the chi sao, the forms, the politics, and the variations, but I believe this may be the first article that deals with the wing chun mind. Master Hawkins Cheung, who has taught in Los Angeles since the late 1970s, outlines the concepts of wing chun in combat. An early student of grandmaster Yip Man, Cheung has practiced wing chun for over 30 years. Hawkins was also Bruce Lee's training partner in the early 1950s and together they explored fighting concepts. Master Cheung stands 5-feet-5 and weighs 105 pounds. He is every inch a skilled fighter and excellent teacher. Cheung explains the wing chun mind and the "how" and "why" of wing chun. He also explains where many wing chun men are incorrect Cheung states that the principles discussed here could be used by any system of martial arts to be applied in combat, regardless of the tools delivered. He considers stylistic differences, postures, techniques, forms and drills secondary to wing chun's application in combat. Master Cheung's advice here is reminiscent of Sun Tzu's Art of War. He offers practical, straight forward advice on combat, very much like his style of fighting. Combat Wing chun is designed as a combat system. For this reason, the system emphasizes confidence, timing, intercepting, capturing the centerline, shocking the opponent, setting up for consecutive strikes, and trapping. But the most important weapon in wing chun is the mind. Cheung explains that the mind is the center, the "referee" that the system revolves upon. Cheung uses the term "referee" because it denotes a bystander, one who is emotionally detached. Cheung states that, "Having a calm mind will determine your success in combat" To Hawkins Cheung, the wing chun mind is the mental frame of mind you need to survive. Confidence Hawkins often uses an analogy of driving a car to convey his teachings. He asks, "Are you good driver?" A student nods affirmative. Are you a good driver in Europe? Are you a good driver with a manual transmission? Are you a good driver in New York?" The student looks confused, as Hawkins continues, "The difference between driving a car around the block versus driving a car on the freeway is confidence and experience. Confidence and experience go hand-in-hand. If you're not confident, you will be a disaster in driving or fighting." The students understand. "Practicing with a partner develops confidence so that when you eventually face an opponent it will be like driving to the supermarket If you have fear, you will lose. Don't fight it if you have too much to lose. If you must fight, you must destroy your opponent and not stop until he is defeated. You must have the fighting spirit and attend to the job on hand. Don't have fear, let your fighting instinct guide you in destroying your opponent. This is the kind of confidence you need to face your opponent," says Cheung. "The basic drills pak sao (slapping hands), lop da (grabbing and striking) and dan chi sao (single sticking hands) give a beginning student a sense of facing an opponent. The first form, siu nim tao, advises the student to 'not think too much,' and gives the basic tools and how to utilize them, as in learning to drive a car, which you eventually do without having to think." says Hawkins, "The wing chun system was designed to develop a

person with no knowledge of martial art to eventually become a proficient fighter." "If you're facing an opponent, you must have the confidence to walk straight in on his punch or kick! "exclaims Cheung. "There is no retreating step in wing chun; the idea is you have to 'eat up' your opponent's space and step in. It's not wing chun if you take a sidestep or retreat from an attack." Newton's laws of physics states that only one body can occupy a space at a time. "You must rush in with absolute confidence. "Master Cheung states that knowing this is an important factor in mastering wing chun, "because if a practitioner can't fulfill this requirement, he may as well study another style." Timing and intercepting-- "Can you do it?" Hawkins often states anyone can learn the entire wing chun system in a short time, but it difficult to master. He often asks his students, "You can learn so and so, but can you do it?" Being a close-range art, wing chun is based largely upon timing. "Hitting a person just as he is attacking requires perfect timing:' The question is, can you do it?" He notes many other martial arts styles are fast "The boxing jab is perhaps the fastest punch, and coming in on it is dangerous. By utilizing the proper timing, you can score a blow just as the jab is retracting or about to be launched." Timing is the prelude to intercepting or cutting off an attacking Says Cheung, "Fighting is based on shocking attack. To shock the opponent with a blow or through surprise will slow or stop his attack" Hawkins' explanation is reminiscent of the German blitzkrieg (lightning) attacks of World Warn, and of the recent Persian Gulf War, where the Allied forces bombed Iraq through a surprise night attack. Sifu Cheung continues, "You have basically two methods of capturing the centerline: the first is to have superior speed over the opponent, and the second is start entering just as the opponent attacks. The key determining factor is timing." Cheung states if there is no starting point, a wing chun man will not initiate his attack "if you move, I move; but I arrive first"' says Cheung. Sun Tzu's Art of War states that you attack after, but arrive first. "Having a fight is like arguing with someone. When you're engaged in an argument, you and your adversary are emotionally charged and each side wants to speak his point of view. But in wing chun, the idea is to let my opponent speak first, and I will initiate my timing from his start." Cheung continues, "From that point, I shock or scare my opponent and initiate my say-so." Like a gunslinger, Cheung states that a wing chun practitioner has to develop the fastest draw. "A wing chun player captures the centerline first, which means he has the opponent targeted. if I am pointing my gun at you, and you move, even slightly, I'll shoot Other Systems want to shoot as soon as possible, but with wing chun, you want to be the one that draws first, then shoot if necessary. "if you can strike your opponent at his moment of entry, the results can be devastating," claims Cheung. "Impact is virtually doubled. The question is: Can you do it?" Capturing the centerline Many martial artists understand the concept of the centerline, a principle emphasized in wing chun. As master Cheung defines it, the centerline is the fastest line of entry between two opponents facing each other. The centerline concept is what differentiates wing chun from other systems of martial arts. "In other styles, movement originates from outside toward the center. Other styles choose to use the curved line. Wing chun is different in that movement originates from the center outward. Wing chun is designed to cut the motions from other systems, and timing is the means to occupy the center first"' says Cheung. "It's not wing

chun if the movement doesn't originate from the center. "One must capture and control the centerline to occupy a superior position. To occupy the centerline in an instant is the mark of expert skill, by controlling it you have immediately developed a sense of what the opponent can or cannot do," says Cheung. "You have, in essence, presented a question or problem for the opponent to answer." "Many wing chun men ignore the skill of closing the gap and distance fighting," says Cheung. Wing chun's famous motto explains, "Stay as he comes, follow as he retreats; rush in upon loss of contact." To "rush in" means to overwhelm the opponent with a blast An analogy of the pressure of a river behind a dam suddenly opening its gates should help you understand this feeling of 'rushing in." Master Cheung continues, "Seeing a whole body charge at you has a totally different mental reaction then a fist coming at you. A fist is small, but an entire body is big. This mental shock can be unbalancing to my opponent" Shocking the opponent When you strike an opponent, you stun or shock him. The shock causes a sudden overwhelming stimuli which can overload the brain and delay reaction. This shocking action allows you to setup your opponent for further consecutive strikes. Whether you choose to strike, yell, curse, spit or slap your opponent, the result is the same if you are successful. Your shocking blow will delay the reaction time of your opponent, causing an opening. if you hit him again, it canes more shock; more shock will cause more delay; more delay in reaction will cause more strikes to land. As Cheung says, "My fists are like drumsticks beating on a drum." But he cautions, 'Don't let the shock reverberate back to you, as you will delay your own timing. Only through correct muscle conditioning and relaxation will you break the vibration back to yourself" One day Hawkins said to this writer, "Attack me, Robert, anyway you like." I complied and prepared to attack. Just as I did, I suddenly felt stunned, and I had Hawkins' fist in my face. He smiled. '"Did you feel the shook? Did your mind 'blank out?"' I felt first-hand his skill on entering and setting me up. Hawkins did not rain punches on me, but had he, I doubt that my 6 feet, 185 pounds would be able to stop anything after shocking my system. "To shock your opponent, you can use pak da (slapping strike), lop da or any other tool. You must catch your opponent with the correct tiling. When you shock your opponent, you cause him to blank out, and in that instance he loses himself and his surroundings, and there is an opportunity to destroy him!" says Cheung. "Anytime a martial artist, regardless of style, throws a punch or kick, he is blanking out because of the focus and emotional commitment" This blanking out gives you the time to strike your opponent. The chi sao training is a famous feature of the wing chun system, but as master Cheung describes it, "Many wing chun practitioners overemphasize the drill. They find themselves unable to use the sticking hands in combat." Cheung continues, "Sticking hands is for contact sensitivity. At long range and no contact with your opponent, you must have eye sensitivity. The problem with most wing chun practitioners is they have trapped themselves with only relying on contact sensitivity; you must have both. Both eyes sensitivity and contact sensitivity follow each other, where one leads off, the other follows to continue." "Chi Sao training is for you to get information on your opponent, but if you don't have the contact and are at a distance, you must rely on your eyes. Master Cheung describes in detail that, "Eye sensitivity takes over when you dont have the contact with your opponent; contact sensitivity takes over when you're jammed up and or in close. If you don't develop this, you win never he able to use wing chun." He cautions: "If a motion is too fast for the eye, it can be a trap, and if it is too fast for the hand, it may be a trap. In these circumstances, you must use your eyes to zoom in, or cut your opponent's motion by rushing in and use your contact sensitivity." Master Cheung's advice is reminiscent of a Patriot missile sighting a Scud

missile in mid-air. "What is important to learn is to control your opponent's bridges and set him up for the next shot. Good wing chun is like playing billiards, you must always look for the next shot. Make your opponent follow you, if you are fast, make him catch up to you. If he is faster, make him slow. If he is hard, defeat him with soft. If he is soft, defeat him with hardness. If you can master the wing chun principles of 'stay as he comes, follow as he retreats; rush in upon loss of contact,' you win realize the essence of wing chun." Lien wan kuen: Conseculive strikes After setting up the opponent with a shocking strike you must follow up with consecutive strikes. One of the most often drilled punches wing chun is called lien wan kuen. It is quick burst of straight line punches along the centerline that continues until an opponent is downed. Translated loosely in English, lien wan kuen means "chain punches" or "consecutive striking." "Lien wan kuen is a major application of the wing chun principle," says Cheung, like an expert in billiards, each one of your shots scores and sets up for the next shot You do not give your opponent a chance to breathe. You strike and set up the opponent for more strikes until he is unconscious. You act like a butcher, cutting and hacking away at your opponent. Never stop until your opponent is down. That is the wing chun attitude." There is a certain amount of detached cruelty at work here. This aggressiveness has helped Hawkins survive many street encounters. Trapping: Giving frustration Trapping is the heart of wing chun. Sun Tzu wrote that all warfare is based upon deception, and to trap an opponent is to deceive him. Says Cheung, "When I trap your hand, your leg, or your body, your mind instantly freezes and considers the options. There is a psychological breakdown, and my opponent begins to lose his sense of confidence. When I don't allow you the time to solve your immediate problem, I frustrate you, and therefore trap your emotions. You then have two opponents against you-- me and yourself. "If your opponent is fast, you be slow. If he is slow, you be fast. You must always keep in control of a fighting situation," warns Cheung. "If I can trick you, I am controlling your mid if I make believe there's no pressure in my right hand, you may believe I'm not paying attention and want to attack there. But since I'm deceiving you, I want to draw your response so I can set up the next shot," says Cheung. An excellent example is the recent Persian Gulf War. Iraq's strength was on the ground, but the Allied forces concentrated initially on air assault prior to any ground fighting. The tactic was to confuse the opponent and lead Iraq into concern of air assaults. Says Cheung, "You never allow your opponent to feel comfortable, that is the essence of trapping." Offense and defense "Offense is based on attack, defense is based on body structure"' says Cheung. Offense is only 50 percent of the art Many wing chun men only concentrate on the offensive portion because offense is the best defense." He warns, "Mastering the defensive portion of the art requires that one develop a strong stance and correct body structure. Defense means that you have to depend upon being a half-beat slower and follow your opponent and respond from there." For the wing chun practitioner, defense relies upon the correct structure of the body. The wing chun body structure holds back the rushing in of an opponent, much like a dam holding back a river. Again, we come to

wing chun's motto of "Stay as he comes, follow as he retreats; rush in upon loss of contact" Your body must stay and be able to receive your opponent's rushing in. Cheung describes the body structure as eating up the opponent's space and his pressure. This is the soft part of the art Cheung again refers to the importance of the mind. "When an opponent rushes in toward you, you must have the mental preparation to receive the attack. Your mind must be calm." A wing chun principle is that the striking hand is the blocking hand. Offense requires superior timing in one beat A defensive counter works on a one-and-a half or second beat Wing chun's simultaneous defense and offense is in one beat According to Cheung, "The best wing chun players can combine both offense and defense simultaneously in one beat if offense and defense are separate, you're not adhering to wing chun principles. Many wing chun men don't realize the importance of timing which makes the concepts come alive. You have to make the opponent blank out if you don't make the opponent blank out, you have lost the superior one-beat timing. A common reason is because you have jammed up your own timing because the shock has reverberated to you. If a wing chun practitioner can master superior timing, he can be free from the style. if you master timing, the style is secondary. You can use the opponent's technique at that point You have to train to reach that point It takes years of hard work; you literally gamble with timing." There is a wing chun saying of "glass head, bean-curd body, and iron bridges." Master Cheung is a living example of this expression. "Being physically small, I can't take a punch or a kick," says Cheung. "Using timing and these methods of attack, I never had to draw my last card" The last card that sifu Cheung speaks of is defense. Like the ground war during Operation Desert Storm, the last card is the trump card. "if I had a body like Mike Tyson's, I could afford to wait and play the defensive role and wait for my opponent," says Cheung. Forever Springtime The wing chun fist are is named after its founder, Yim Wing Chun, but to Hawkins Cheung, the words "wing chun" also mean "Forever Springtime". "If you look at wing chun this way, the art is always fresh and new." Sifu Cheung often explains that wing chun practiced in America has a different emphasis than in Hong Kong. "In Asia, we practiced wing chun to defend mainly against body blows, so you'll have to emphasize crossing the bridge, gaun sao and other techniques," he notes. "In America, you have boxers, wrestlers and other martial arts, each with their strengths, so you have to keep aware and adapt." Change and adaptation are essential to survival. That is why there are so many types of martial arts. He insists that like an immigrant, you have to change your ways to adapt to your new environment "A good wing chun player is a great pretender. He can adapt and change his tactics. You must change and adapt to circumstances to survive! That is the wing chun mind. "Wing chun is a trap, too, because many practitioners get hung up thinking wing chun is the only way to fight. Many wing chun men are in the process of still developing the tools, so they can't begin to conceptualize how to apply them properly in combat Changing to survive is universal, not just in wing chun," says Cheung. "The frustrating part of wing chun is learning how to enter. This skill take years to develop." He concluded, "A master can only be a master today. You can't tell what the future is, as the situation may change. You can only be a master up to the present An individual has to develop, continue with his own research and grow everyday."

The Flying Dragon Tiger Gate System

By Robert Chu
First published in Exotic Martial Arts of South East Asia Spring 1999

The Flying Dragon/Tiger Gate system, also known as the Fei Lung Fu Mun, brought to the United States by late Lui Yon Sang (Lei Ren Sheng) of Guang Zhou, China. Lui was a native of Toishan and had lived in New York City as a Traditional Chinese Medical doctor and herbalist. On the side, Lui taught some of New Yorks top masters of martial arts his specailty system, known as Fei Lung Fu Mun. Luis art was not widespread and to learn it, one had to become a disciple. One must have performed the "Bai Si" ritual in order to gain entry. As a result, Lui only taught a select group of disciples his specialty, including Chan Bong (David Chan), Lee Gok Chung (Thomas Lee), Chan Jim, David Wong, myself and others. Lui was 80 years old when I met him. Although practically unheard of in the West, Lui was famous throughout China during his lifetime. This was because of his knowledge presented in a long running series of articles during the 1980s in Chinas famous martial arts magazine "Wu Lin" ("Martial World"). So famous was he, he was named the "Nan Fang Gun Wang" ("King of the Southern Staff"). In the Filipino martial arts, it is common for a system of martial arts that involve weaponry. Chinese martial arts are also famous for their weaponry, but unlike most Chinese martial arts systems, Fei Lung Fu Mun primarily consists of weaponry skills. Weaponry skills are taught first, then progress to empty hand skills. Lui, during his youth, was taught by the famous Leung Tien Chiu. Leung was a champion boxer, who at 55 years old, entered a tournament in Nanjing in the 1920s and won 2nd place in open class full contact Lei Tai fighting (no protective gear, and winner throws the loser off the stage). Leung was famous for his mastery of many systems that included Wing Chun, Hung Gar, Choy Lay Fut and other Shaolin Fist systems. Leung Tien Chiu later created his own systems, which his disciples later passed on called "Fut Gar Kuen" (Buddhist Fist boxing), and another system called "Sae Ying Diu Sao" (Snake Form Mongoose Hands) which was featured in an old Jackie Chan movie. This was the source of Luis boxing system. Lui also studied with a Manchurian named Gwong Sai Lung. Gwong was famous for his pole and spear techniques that came from the Yang family. His pole set was known as the "Fei Lung Fu Gwun", an ostentacious name which summed up his feelings for the staff. It was so named because the movements were as graceful as a flying dragon, and as powerful as a tiger. The first weapon in the Fei Lung Fu Mun is the pole. We refer to it as the "Cern Gup Dan Gwun" (Single end staff, where both ends are used). The weapon varies in length with the height of the user, and it is properly measured by standing straight and extending your arm. The pole should be the length of the outstretched arm. The wood is the common Ba La White waxwood that is typically from Shangtung, and common in martial arts circles. We specially treat the pole by immersing them in Tung oil for a period of six months so that the pole remains flexible and virtually indestructible. A good Ba La Gwun is considered to obey the users commands. I had first heard of Lui Yon Sang by meeting with a training brother of mine, Patrick Chu. We bumped into each other in Chinatown and he told me he waws learning from a master of the Southern pole and that I should visit him. I had been studying Wing Chun Kuen for almost ten years at the time and very proud of my skill with the Wing Chun Luk Dim Boon Gwun (6.5 point staff), in addition, I studied the Hung Gar Fifth Brother Ba Gua Gwun under Yee Chi Wai (Frank Yee) Sifu. From Chan Tai Shan, I had also studied the Lama version of the Fith Brother Ba Gua Staff and numerous staff sets from the Bak Mei system. Patrick raved about this wonderful old man from China, and I thought it sound interesting. When I asked what staff system he taught, Patrick replied the "Fei Lung Fu Gwun"! I thought to myself, what a corny name! I didnt want to study a corny pole system from some crazy old man. In my head I was very proud of what I had already studied. I not only studied forms, but applications and power development of the staff from other systems. I told Patrick that I might look him up someday and take a look and let it go at that. Later, I consulted with Chan Tai Shan and Yee Chi Wai. Chan Tai Shan told me that Lui was famous throughout Guang Zhou and that I should take a look. Yee Chi Wai told me he had heard of the old man and

heard only good things about him. I also spoke with my Yuen Kay Shan and Gu Lao Wing Chun teacher, Kwan Jong Yuen who was also from Guang Zhou. Ah Kwan said he saw a demonstration of the old mans pole in China and that it was very good. Perhaps it was worth a look... One Saturday, Lee Gok Chung (Thomas Lee) and I went to pay a visit to the Chinatown Chan Jim Herbal shop where Lui worked part time. Lui had just finished having his daily tea and greeted us. He first spoke in Cantonese, then finding that my Si Hing could speak his native dialect, began to speak in Toishan. I looked at the old man and studied him. This old guy was a master? Hes so small - about five feet tall, and I cant understand a word hes saying. How am I going to study with him? Thomas was speaking to him of where he hailed and how long he was in the U.S. and spoke of his background and studies of the Tang Fong system of Hung Ga which we both studied under Yee Chi Wai. Thomas was quite good with the Ba Gua pole. Lui Sifu suggested if we were serious to study under him, to join him at the restaurant next week for tea the next Saturday. He mentioned that he would only teach disciples and very serious students. The old man was testing us! He wanted to see if we could come back. After our meeting with Lui, Thomas and I discussed it for a while. I complained to Thomas if the old man was only going to speak Toishan dialect, I had no desire to study with him. New York City Chinatown in the old days was primarily Chinese of Toishan descent. They were the ones that built the railroads, opened laundries and brought the Southern Fist with them. Because I was from Hong Kong and my family was from Jiang Su, we spoke the Northern (Mandarin and Jiang Su Zhen Jiang) dialect at home, and I picked up Cantonese from my friends. At times, the Toishan looked at me as unusual for my height and pale complexion. We also had a language barrier and at times, I was the recipient of some prejudice from the Toishan, because I did not speak the same dialect. (Chinese are notorious for prejudice amongst the various regions and dialects.) This made it difficult to contemplate studying with Lui. I told Thomas to study with him and check it out for me. The following Sunday, Thomas had come to visit me at my apartment in Queens for lunch. Thomas had said his meeting with the old man was very interesting. He was teaching some very talented martial artists, notably, Chan Bong (David Chan), an expert in Xing Yi Quan. I remember meeting Chan Bong once from my study with the late Gong Duk Foon (Kenny Gong), the first teacher of Shing Yi (Xing Yi) in the New York City area. Chan Bong was the most senior student and very talented at push hands. His Pi Quan (Splitting Fist) was famous throughout Chinatown. It was a small world! I asked Thomas what he had learned and he demonstrated the first 6 moves of the staff form. I was not impressed. He said the old man was very good and skillful in application of the staff. I crossed staffs with Thomas and found he had learned an interesting application, that of disarming me with his pole! I arranged to meet with Thomas the following Saturday so that I could see more up close and then make my decision to study. I met Thomas at the restaurant and met Lui Sifu and his group of students at the dim sum restaurant. Lui Sifu sat at the head and related stories to elders Lao Deng, Ah Yau, Ah Chung, and Chan Bong. They spoke in Toishan again, but Chan Bong who had attended Beijing Da Xue (Beijing University) was fluent in Mandarin. We got reacquainted and had a good time discussing small talk about what I was practicing and my interest in Lui Sifu. He informed me that Lui Sifu was very famous in China and was the "King of the Pole in the Southern region of China". Fei Lung Fu Gwun proponents were also skilled in actual free fighting with the poles. Chan Bong went on, surely, I must have seen the series of articles in the past year of Lui Sifu in the Wu Lin magazine. I did. I explained to Chan Bong that I had never saw the staff form, besides what Thomas had showed me, but had heard of Lui Sifus reputation locally from different sources. I told Chan Bong when I first heard of the staff form I laughed at the name, and asked why Luis pole set was called "Fei Lung Fu Gwun". Chan Bong explained, "Sifu says the pole is named because it is as graceful as a dragon and as powerful as a tiger." I was very interested. With a name that corny, the teachings had better be good... We finished lunch and proceeded to our private training hall. Lui Sifu asked me to perform a staff form. I demonstrated the Wing Chun 6.5 point staff form him with full speed and power. Lui Sifu said I had sufficient power, but surprisingly criticized my footwork and positioning. He asked me to attack him, and I obliged with a Darting Dragon Spear maneuver. Before I completed my

maneuver, I was the recipient of five blows to the hand, groin, top of the head, instep, and neck! I dropped the staff as a result of the blow to the hand. The Chinese saying "Kuen Pa Siu Jong, Gwun Pa Lo lang" (With the fist, fear the young adept; with the staff, fear the old master) came to me. I had found a real master of the pole. I became a disciple of the Fei Lung Fu Mun by undergoing the "Bai Si" (Bow to Sifu) ritual . A disciple must kowtow three times humbly while kneeling, then offer tea and a red packet of money to the master. In the red packet was a sum of money and a paper with the words, "100 bows to my Sifu. My name is Chu Sau-Lei (the authors Chinese name) and I hail from Jiang Su province, the city of Zhen Jiang, and my fathers name is Chu Luk Yan, and my father is Chu Fook Yuen." With this, Lui Sifu took my tea and drank it, and helped me up. He held my hand and said in Cantonese, "I am 80 years old and will teach you all I know without reserve. You have come to me to learn, despite your being an accomplished expert, and just as I knelt to Gwong Sai Lung when he was 80, I must now teach you." Lui Sifu spoke to me in Cantonese, which I was surprised. Previously, he ignored me and now he treated me as I was part of his family, of which I was. "Ah Gee, ("Chu" as he would call me in Toishan dialect) there are six principles to our system. You should learn them well. The first principle is the concept of the live and dead gates. Do you know what I mean?" I shook my head. Sifu explained, "The live gate is when you can still attack your opponent, and your opponent can still attack you. You must try to position yourself to be in the opponents dead gate." With staff in his hands and staff in my own, he positioned and moved to my dead gate. This principle corresponded to Wing Chuns mutual centerline facing principle and moving to the opponents blind side. The second principle is the concept of the Live and Dead staff. "When your staff is constrained and you cannot move without endangering yourself, this is a dead staff. If you can move freely about, your staff is alive." I nodded in agreement. It is best to have a live staff. Lui continued, "You must understand your opponents point of power - the Lik Dim (Power point). In a staff, you only use the last six inches, or the point. This is just like when you use a spear or a gim (Chinese twoedged sword). To understand this is to know where the focus of power comes from. You do not have to go force against force." To know the focal point is common in all martial arts, one has to know this in issuing force and when you want to absorb someones force. "The fourth point is to understand the concept of the circle and the point." Lui demonstrated by making a big arc with his pole. "This is the distance which you must be aware of." To illustrate the concept of the point, Lui demonstrated a series of thrusts with the pole. "We have eight major spear motions, you must know where and how the point is coming at you to be able to stop it." Lui Sifu continued, "Mastering the fifth point is to know when you can enter the circle and when you can exit the circle." Lui demonstrated a series of steps called "Ng Hang Ba Gua Bo" (Five element and 8 trigrams stepping. "Stepping like this, one can enter in the circle or exit the circle with proper footwork." All of the steps were tiny and had made use of my previous systems training. Lui drew an illustration for me. "These directions represent Gold, Water, wood, Fire and Earth and are so named the five elements. The eight directions are named Qian, Dui, Kun, Li, Xun, Zhen, Gen, and Kan and represent the Ba Gua." Lui was a scholar and was well versed in the Yi Jing, Chinese medicine, and other classics. "The last concept is for you to understand the old and young staff. The old staff is when it can not move easily, but it can still move. The young staff is when your pole is nimble and quick and can move about freely. You may not understand it all now, but you will when you have trained in the staff and its applications." All of the concepts were important in that they were principles of motion in relation to an opponent. Lui wrote down some Chinese characters for me. "The sixteen characters that follow here are the essential characters for study of our system. Lean them well. The first character is Bien - to change. Do you understand?" "Yes Sifu", I replied. Above all, if you must fight, there are changes, and if one tactic does not work, you must not be rigid, but flexible and change."

He continued, "The second character is Bik - to close in or press your opponent. With a staff, you can use body pressure and leverage your power and close in on your opponent." With my background in Wing Chun and Hung Ga, the words were very familiar. "The next character is Jiu - movement. You must have movement with the pole or your footwork." It made sense, movement was essential in all combat. "Sou - to withdraw, is next. Sometimes if you are in a bad situation, you must give it up. Withdraw your pole to protect your hands or your body. Withdraw with the pole covering your body." Luis methods had a very scientific approach. "Jim is next. Jim means to stick with an opponents staff. As I know you are well practiced in Wing Chun, I know I do not have to tell you much about that." The Jim concept reminded me of the Chi Gwun (Sticking Staff) training in Wing Chun. "Before you can Jim, you must Lien - connect with the opponents staff. This is the sixth character." It made sense- in order to stick with another staff, contact must be made first. "The next two characters are related", Lui expounded, "Gun - to be with, and Choy - to follow, are almost the same. Gun is when you have Lien - in contact with the opponent. Choy is when you are following the opponents movement, but chasing after it without contact." Lui demonstrated with me, showing me the differences with staff in hand. "The next two are self explanatory. The characters are Yum (Yin) and Yeung (Yang) - you should understand them." "Sifu, I understand them, but what do they mean in relationship to staff fighting?" I asked. "There are negative and positive in combat. At times you will be attacking, at times you will be defending, sometimes you will be long, other times you will be close. Sometimes you can have tall postures, and other times you can have low postures. This is Yum and Yeung." Lui was also testing my intelligence as a student. "The next two are inseparable - they are Sen and Yik. Sen is to go against the opponents force. Yik is to go with and add on to the opponents force." Lui demonstrated with me. "Stab at me." I complied. The Sen movement went against my force, and the Yik movement went with my force, but left me out of control. "The last four characters are common in Southern fist. Since you have learned Hung Ga, do you understand them? Fou (Float), Chum (Sink), Tun (Swallow), and Tou (Spit)?" I indeed did. They referred to body motions and were common in Southern mantis, Bak Mei and Dragon form, as well as some forms of Wing Chun, and of course, Hung Ga. "Sifu, do you mean body motions, or are you just referring to the the movement of the staff?" I asked. Sifus reply was "Both!" With these sixteen keywords, I could begin to understand the art that Lui Sifu taught. It had its roots in old martial arts that dealt with keywords and Chinese cosmology. Having a good background in martial arts and notably classical systems had prepared me for much of the old mans teachings. In the weeks that followed, Lui Yon Sang personally taught me the Fei Lung Fu Gwun set which consisted of approximately seventy six movements, but instead of just teaching me a form and following him, he showed many applications to every movement. The movements of his forms were done in Cheng Wu form, that is poetic names for each of the martial movements. Some were very descriptive, and some were very funny! The names like "Blind man walks the street", "Yee Long ascends the mountain", "Golden Chicken stands on one leg" showed the artistry and practicality of the movements. I have studied many staff forms and in

composition, I can honestly say that the Fei Lung Fu Gwun set is one of the most complete in footwork, high, middle, low tactics, moving in all directions and having both long and short maneuvers with the pole. Unique was the grip of the pole, which rarely exceeded twelve inches on the end. In some staff techniques, the portal width of holding the pole spanned almost 36 inches! In our system, it only spanned a short distance in order to protect the lead hand. In fact, most of the staff applications were to strike the lead hand of the opponent. Lui explained, "To strike the lead hand of your opponents weapon is render him helpless. He cannot hold his staff to fight with you." The system had numerous matching staff exercises done with a partner. These included Tang Lan Gwun (Slanted Obstruction staff), Tai Lan Gwun (Raising Obstruction Staff), Chin Ji Gwun (Thousand Character Staff), Chuen Sie (Binding Silk) and Yu Kay (Waving Flag) staff. There were also numerous formal staff two man exercises that we practiced. The first one was the Dui Gwun Dai Yat (First Matching Set) and used the major movements of the solo set in a two man pattern. The second set, Fei Lung Fu Dui Gwun Dai Yee, was based on using both ends of the staff and switching left and right leads. Students had to practice both sides of the matching sets to know them well. We also trained with various lengths and weights of staffs and staff of different materials. Lui also taught a set of eight spearing maneuvers which he called the "Jung Ping Cheung Faat" (Center Balanced Spear Methods), This was based on the eight major spear maneuvers of the Yang Family Ba Gua Spear. The eight spear methods include- Jung Ping Cheung (Level Spear), Sou Hou Cheung (Throat Locking Spear), Ha Ma Sou Hou Cheung (Dismount Throat locking spear), Biu Lung Cheung (Darting Dragon Spear), Charp Fa Cheung (Planting Flower Spear), Chim Dae Cheung (Low Skimming Spear), Wui Ma Cheung (Returning Step Spear), and Pao Tan Hei Mun Cheung (Upwards Springing Spear). The eight spear methods are also found in the Ming dynasty book by Wu Shou Ling called "Shou Bei Lu". In this time of Wu Shu and tournament martial arts, Luis martial arts preserved the old, classical, battlefield martial arts. My senior classmate, Chan Bong, specialized in this training and was adept at the eight spear methods. During freestyle sparring with him of staff vs. staff and spear vs. spear, he always bested me with his excellent spear maneuvers. In addition, we learned Luis San Sao (Separate Hands - Fighting applications) based art taught to him by Leung Tien Chiu. They consisted of two man partner exercises called "Fei Gim Sao" (Flying Sword Hand) and "Kum Na Sup Ba Da" (Control and Seizing 18 strikes). Lui was a scholarly man and did not like hard methods of force against force. All of his motions include taking an opponents outside gate and striking the opponent from behind, and were economical and brief. Unique was his "Tib Kiu" motion, which resembled Wing Chuns double Tan Sao position. Lui used it to jam an opponents attack and entered. I spent 3 years learning from Lui Yon Sang from 1985 to 1988. He taught his entire Fei Lung Fu Mun system to me in that time and also included copious notes, Dim Mak charts, herbal medicine, and history so that I could refer to it. Sifu later suffered from poor health and memory and later went back to Guang Zhou to retire from teaching, and to be with family. He passed away in 1991. I will always remember the man for his openness and kindness to me and for teaching me without reserve. Since Lui Sifus passing, my Si Hing in Guang Zhou and in New York City have been teaching the Fei Lung Fu Mun system, and I have also passed it on to my students, James Ng and Steven Eng in New York City, and Anant Tinaphong of Bangkok, Thailand. I have recently taught Ng Yew Mun of Singapore the first level of this system, and have begun to offer it as part of my students curriculum here in Los Angeles. My training with Lui had influenced my thinking of weaponry and its practical application. His teachings led me to study my Wing Chun and Hung Ga pole and recognize the combative elements in the sets. His teachings also influenced my footwork and empty hand applications, too. Had I not become his disciple, I would not have realized the treasure he had to offer.

by Robert Chu Wing Chun Viewpoint, 1990 (revised 1996) I began the study of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen in 1981 where I met my instructor Kwan Jong Yuen through a mutual friend. I had already studied Yip Man Wing Chun for many years and was happy to have the opportunity to see the Wing Chun Kuen art straight out of China. Ah Kwan was a native of Guang Zhou and had studied with the local masters Chan Mei Shun, a master of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun and Tam Yeung, a practitioner of the Gu Lao Wing Chun system. Ah Kwan explained to me that Wing Chun Kuen was popular in Fut Shan during the Ching dynasty (1644-1912). The characteristics of this style of Wing Chun have led others to refer to this style of Wing Chun as "Pien Sen Wing Chun" (slant body Wing Chun) due to the emphasis on shifting and slant body movement or "Sae Ying Wing Chun" (snake form Wing Chun) due to characteristic snake like movement of the hands. The Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun system is comprised of the forms Siu Lien Tao (little training set), Chum Kiu (sinking bridge), Biu Jee (darting fingers), Muk Yan Jong (wooden man post), Luk Dim Boon Gwun (6 1/2 point staff) and Yee Ji Cem Dao (Character two double knives). In my particular lineage of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun two additional forms that were created by master Kwok Jin Fen, called "Sae Go Gen Ben Chuie" and "Lien Wan Gaun Kou Sao" (Chained cutting hands). In addition, a short set of Qi Gong training called "Sun Hei Gwai Yuen" (Kidney Qi Returns to the Source) is taught. I began my training in the 12 seeds of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen which consisted of the following: 1. Ji Ng Chuie - the principle straight punch in Wing Chun 2. Pien Shen Chuie - A slant body straight punch utilizing the shift 3. Duk Lung Chuie - a combination Bong Sao/Gwa Chui/Ji Ng Chuie 4. Jin Chuie - A straight sidebody punch 5. Noi Liem Sao -The Tan Sao motion 6. Oi Liem Sao - The Fuk Sao motion 7. Noi Dop Sao - The inner Dop Sao motion 8. Oi Dop Sao - The Outer Dop Sao motion 9. Yum Yeung Jeung - Inside/Outside Hands 10. Gaun Sao/Gwa Chuie - Gaun Sao and Backfist combination 11. Sam Bon Sao - Triangular hand 12. Pok Yik Jeung - Spreading Wings motion These twelve motions train how to issue force and position the body for combat. These twelve motions were an integration of Cheung Bos teaching of Wing Chun Kuen, as basics for the Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen as taught by Sum Nung.

The entire system of Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun that Kwan Jong Yuen taught me is based on just twelve principles which are embodied in twelve key words: 1. Kuen (fist) - Kuen is to strike with the fist. 2. Kiu (bridge) - Kiu is to bridge the opponent's gap and cross over to attack. 3. Jeung (palm) - Jeung is to strike with the palm. 4. Bong (wing) - Bong is to use the bridge to dispel an opponent's force while in contact 5. Jee (finger) - Jee is to use the fingers in combat. 6. Chi (stick) - Chi is to stick with your opponent. 7. Mor (touch) - Mor is to touch your opponent's bridge. 8. Kou (hook) - Kou is to hook your opponent's bridge. 9. Lap (grab) - Lap is to grab and control. 10. Dop (ride) - Dop is to use Fook sau to ride on your opponent's bridge. 11. Tang (deflect) - Tang is to deflect inwards 12. Dong (ward off) - To deflect outwards Ah Kwan taught me that these twelve principles are inherent in the system and in fact, Yip Man's Wing Chun also follow these principles except for the last two key words. Yip Man's Wing Chun follows the principles of Huen (circle) and Dim (point), rather than Tang and Dong. Throughout the years, I had the fortune of seeing other practitioners of the Yuen Kay Shan system and I have noticed differences in both the 12 keywords and 12 basics. I have concluded that the differences may reflect how Grandmaster Sum Nung has taught throughout the years, or differences in interpretation from his various students. Yuen Kay Shan's Wing Chun at times appears totally different from Yip Man's system in form, but in application, remains very similar. Both systems maintain the training of Chi Sao. The motto, "Lai Lau, Hui Sung, Fung Lut, Jik Chung" (As he comes you receive, As he leaves, you escort; Upon loss of contact, rush in) is known to practitioners throughout Wing Chun. The major differences of the Yip Man and Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun styles is one of approach and terminology. For example, in the sets, Yuen Kay Shan stylists conclude a motion with a Lop Sao, whereas Yip Man practitioners conclude with a Huen Sao. Terms like "Bao Pai Jeung" (embrace the sign palm) from Yip Man Wing Chun is known as "Dip Jeung" (butterfly palm) in Yuen Kay Shan's. Similarly, "Bat Jam Do" (eight slash knives) and "Yee Ji Cem Dao" (double knives), "Siu Nim Tao" and "Siu Lien Tao" have been renamed in the former term. Yip Man's genius is credited here, for being a scholarly man, he renamed the terms in favor of more ideological concepts. Hence, the "Little Training Set" is renamed "Little Idea" in Yip Man's version. Yuen Kay

Shan Wing Chun also retains the older name "Chum Kiu" as "Sinking Bridge" for the 2nd form, rather than "Seeking Bridge" as in the Yip Man art. With regard to the dummy set, the Yuen Kay Shan set concentrates more on the inside of the arms of the dummy than the Yip Man dummy set, whereas in the Yip Man set, it is more to the outside. The Yip Man set is comprised of 116 movements and the Yuen Kay Shan contains 140 movements. Both arts contain practically the same maneuvers and tactics, just juxtaposed differently. In application, both arts express the economy of motion, centerline principle and sensitivity training. Yuen Kay Shan learned his Wing Chun from Fok Bo Chuen, a student of "Dai Fa Mian" (Painted Face) Kam, originally, and completed the entire Wing Chun system from him consisting of the 3 forms, dummy set, pole, knives, Chi Sao and Fei Biu (throwing darts). Dai Fa Mian Kam is said to be one of the practitioners of the Hung Suen Hay Ban (Red Boat Opera) who developed Wing Chun Kuen. Yuen Kay Shan later studied with Fung Siu Ching, a marshall skilled in practical application of Wing Chun. It is known that Yip Man and Yuen Kay Shan were good friends in Fut Shan as they both were about the same age (Yuen being senior of about 5 years) and they enjoyed practicing Wing Chun and discussing the theories and principles of the art. I was incorrect when I wrote that Yuen Kay Shan had studied with Chan Wah Shun in a previous article. The Yuen Kay Shan system lineage is completely separate from the Leung Jan lineage of Wing Chun which includes Chan Wah Shun, Ng Jung So, and Yip Man. Yuen Kay Shan later taught his successor, Sum Nung, who moved to Guang Zhou. Sum Nung is currently in his 70's and is the present Grandmaster of this system. He is also a noted Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and taught at a local TCM college in Kwang Chou. It is interesting to note that many instructors of the Yuen Kay Shan system have either learned or claimed to have learned from Sum Nung. Sum Nung taught several outstanding students, of which there are Kwok Jin Fen and Pang Chou. Kwok Jin Fen, is responsible for the spread of Wing Chun throughout the military in Guang Zhou. A mutual friend of theirs, Wong Fen, learned from both Pang Chou and Kwok Jin Fen. Wong Fen had a very close friend that was a snake collector in Kwang Chou named Chan Mei Shun. The young Chan Mei Shun was a snake dealer by profession, and sold snakes for food and medicinal purposes. One day while wandering about in the countryside, Chan Mei Shun accidentally trespassed on another person's property. The owner of this property forbade Chan to hunt for snakes while on his property. A heated argument ensued, which later led to a crossing of fists. The property owner was a Choy Lay Fut practitioner, and the young Chan, who knew little about martial arts suffered a devastating defeat. This incident led him to look up his good friend Wong

Fen, and Chan then asked if he could learn his friend's Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Kuen. Chan Mei Shun learned quickly and mastered the art in a short time. After two years of practice, he went back and challenged the Choy Lay Fut practitioner and soundly defeated him. Chan's name became known throughout Kwang Chou as a result of this match and many had asked to become his disciple. My good fiend and Sifu, Kwan Jong Yuen, followed Chan Mei Shun for many years, before immigrating to New York City. It is fortunate for me that I met Kwan Jong Yuen and became his student, and that we penly shared the Yuen Kay Shan system.

By Danniel Gomez Contribution, 1999 've studied Sum Neng Wing Chun, De Su and WuDong chi-gung under Wong Wah (Tom Wong) since 1980. Despite my studies, I'm far from understanding all of Wong sifu's knowledge. The more I study the more I realized how little I know about martial arts. From my boxing training to the chi kung healing and power I have come a long way and realize it is not only punching and kicking anymore. From my own sparring and lessons with Wong sifu to watching him send big Kirk Gloss (an 8 times wrestling champion at 6'4" and 220 lbs) flying across the room, I thought it was sifu's diet that caused it. I knew Kirk felt the same way. One day we were at Kirk's house. Kirk and I were shocked to witness sifu breaking a board with an inch power. Kirk could not wait to tell his friend Jesus who was the East coast kickboxing champion about it. Kirk brought Jesus and insisted that he sparred with sifu. Jesus closed in and in a flash he fell back like a log of wood, knocked out. Kirk who was an ambulance driver, performed CPR on Jesus. After waking up Jesus said all he remembered was a powerful punch landing on his face. Sifu said he used the pak sao technique. I could not see it because it was so fast. I wished I could have seen it again. I saw a class of 30 people in which there were only two students, Choy and Jason, who could use sifu's pak sao technique. He taught me a lot about principles, which were very sophisticated for me. I understood only part of what he said and showed me. We called Wong sifu the "Magician" after some interesting incidents. One day I was with sifu in my backyard. I was trying to impress him by climbing a tree without using my legs, and doing a one arm pull up on a steel bar. He said he was impressed. Suddenly he used a screwdriver and threw it

right through my old aquarium like a bullet without shattering the glass! I was amazed! Another time, he used "Chi-Gung" to cure my coworker's chronic back pain. My friend said, "what kind of magic is that? Wow! Your sifu is like a Magician!" The name stuck in our minds.

Sae Sup Dim


The Sae Sup Dim (40 Points) system of Gu Lao Wing Chun, as passed down from Tam Yeung of Gu Lao village to Kwan Jong-Yuen, is organized as follows: 1. Ji Ng Chuie (Meridian Punch)- Also known as Yat Ji Chung Chuie, (Sun Character Thrusting Punch) this is Wing Chuns signature punch with short explosive power with the vertical fist, the fists are held relaxed until impact and force is exerted with the entire body. 2. Duen Kiu (Short Bridge)- The Short bridge is equivalent to the Cern Jum Sao (Sinking Bridge ) movements. In application, it teaches the concept of Por Jung, breaking the centerline. The hands are open and relaxed and cut down vertically to the opponents attacking bridge. 3. Ba Gua Long Na (Eight Directional Dragon Grab)- Uses the double grabbing hands (Lop Sao), the lead hand held upwards in a clawing motion, while simultaneously the rear hand grabs and pulls the opponents bridges, setting the opponent up for a kick, throw or strike. 4. Sae Mun (Four Gates)- refers to the four gates using the on guard stance (Bai Jong); one exercises the left and right positions of the forward stance (Ji Ng Ma) and the left and right Chum Kiu horse stance positions 5. Siu Fuk Fu (Small Subdue the Tiger)- Uses an alternating left and right double Gaun Sao with phoenix eye fists; similar to the Gaun Sao section of the Biu Jee set. 6. Dai Fuk Fu (Big Subduing Tiger)- This technique is basically the same as the above, but using triangle steps to enter at an opponents side gates 7. Pien Shen Chuie (Slant Body Punch)- This is the Ji Ng Chuie using the Wing Chun shift. In application you may strike to your opponents outside gate, crossing over his attempted blow. 8. Pien Jeung (Slant Palm)- This tactic uses palm heel with the fingers pointed to the centerline to strike the opponent. The same short explosive power is used. 9. Biu Jee (Darting Fingers)- Although the movement implies the fingers, the technique in application utilizes the forearm when striking the opponent at the acupoints ST9 and LI 18 10. Wan Wun Yiu/Tiet Ban Kiu (Emergency Bend at the Waist and Iron Bridge)- Trains the practitioner to bend forward or backwards at will and can be coupled with hand techniques. It is similar in application as the fade and slip in western boxing. 11. Chum Kiu (Sinking Bridges)- Uses a double sinking bridge arm position that breaks into the centerline of the opponent 12. Gwai Ma Chuie (Kneeling Horse Strike)- This tactic utilizes the kneeling horse and a phoenix eye fist to deliver a blow aimed at the groin. This gives an insight into Wing Chun applied at a low line level. 13. Pien Shen Jeung (Slant Body Palm)- Uses the side palm as a slashing palm maneuver using the front/back shifting 14. Gao/Dae Jeung (High and Low Palms)- The high and low double palms are actually horizontal butterfly palms with palms facing the opposite direction 15. Lian Wan Fai Jeung (Linked Fast Palms)- utilize are a Tan Sao/Pak Sao combination followed with a circular Saat Jeung/Chong Jeung combination 16. Hoc Bong (Crane Wing)- uses the arm in an upwards 90 degree or 45 degree maneuver to attack or defend 17. Dai Bong (Big Wing)- the Big wing is a low Bong Sao position used to defend against a low attack 18. Jung Bong (Middle Level Wing Hand)- is the standard middle level Bong Sao

19. Noi Liem Sao (Inside Cutting Hand)- This is the inner line hand utilizing the Fuk Sao in a circular fashion 20. Oi Liem Sao (Outside Cutting Hand)- the outer line hand position utilizes Tan Sao in an outward circular fashion 21. Fu Mei (Tigers Tail)- The tiger tail is a short backward hammer-fist strike to the opponents groin 22. Gua Long Jeung (Hanging Dragon Palm)- Combines the dragon claw and Ji Ng Chuie in combination similar to a Fuk Da or Lop Da 23. Fu Biu Chuie (Darting Tiger Blow)- The darting tiger blow is the equivalent to Fuk Sao combined with a phoenix eye strike 24. Sam Jin Chuie (Three Arrow Blows)- Is done with one hand (high, middle and low straight punches or equivalent with Lien Wan Chuie 25. Sam Bai Fut (Three Bows to Buddha)- utilizes the Tan, Pak Sao and Gum Sao to stop multiple blows 26. Dip Jeung (Butterfly Palm)- Is the equivalent to the Bao Pai Jeung attack and defense 27. Siu Poon Sao (Small rolling hands)- Trains the Luk Sao or rolling hands of Wing Chun 28. Poon Sao (Rolling Hand)- This tactic is similar to a Pak Sao/Lou Sao combination, but close to the body. It is the main transitional move in Wing Chun 29. Juk Da (Slanting Strike)- The slant strike is equivalent to the slant body Jut Da 30. Juk Kiu (Slanting Bridge)- The slant bridge is essentially Tan Da done with a shift 31. Dang Jeung (Hammer Palms)- The hammer palms are the equivalent to the second section of Siu Lien Tao utilizing the Gum Sao. There are 4 positions: left, right, double frontal and double rear. 32. Ping Lan Sao (Level Obstruction Hands)-The level bar arms is the equivalent of the Kwun Sao or Tan/Bong position 33. Lui Kiu (Double Palms)- Utilize a double Tan Sao position to bridge the gap on an opponent 34. Chong Jeung (Thrusting Palm)- is the equivalent of the forward palm strike of Wing Chun done to the opponents face or chest. 35. Fan Cup Chuie (Flipping Upper Cut)- Is similar to the Chou Chuie from the Chum Kiu set 36. Cup Da Sao (Covering Hitting Hand)- utilizes th Bong Sao immediately followed up with a Lop Sao and downward back fist (Gwa Chuie) 37. Cern Lung (Double Dragons)- The double straight punches 38. Pien Shen Dip Jeung (Slant Body Butterfly Palm)- alternating low palm strike 39. Charp Chuie (Piercing Strike)- is basically a Wu Sao with a fist combined with a straight punch 40. Bik Bong (Pressing Wing Hand)- is the Wing Chun elbow strike

Yee Sup Yee San Sao


The Yee Sup Yee San Sao (22 Separate Techniques) system still extent in Guangdong province organizes the Gu Lao Wing Chun points as follows: 1. Hoi Jong/Bai Fut Sao/Chu Tei Pai Fut (Opening Posture/Pig Hoof Praying to Buddha) - Opens in Yee Ji Kim Yeung Ma (Yee character goat clamping horse), uses Bai Fut Sao (praying to Buddha hand) for power development, then alternates single hand Fuk Sao/Huen Sao/Wu Sao (control/circle/protect hand) 2. Yat Jee Fong Ngan Choi (Vertical Phoenix Eye Punch) - Uses Jung Bong (middle wing) or Boon Huen Sao (half circling arm), followed up with a Fung Ngan Chuie (pheonix eye punch) 3. Sup Jee Sae Mun Fu Mei Choi (Cross Shape Four Gates Tiger Tail Punch) - Employs Fu Mei Chuie (tiger tail punch, a hammer fist) to draw the hand up vertically in a straight line, then downwards, then does a left hand Fu Mei Chuie horizontally medially to laterally. This can also be done with one hand. 4. Chang Gai Gerk (Support Chicken Kick) - Raises the leg level with the hip, kicks out forward, then claws downward. 5. Lung Chung Chu (Dragon Strives for Pearl) - Shifts 45 degrees in the side horse, then performs an upward Chou Chuie. Both sides can alternate. 6. Siu Nim Tao (Little Twisting Head) - Makes use of a left Pak Sao (slapping hand), then Tan Sao (dispersing hand), then Gum Sao (pinning hand), equivalent to the 40 Points' Sam Bai Fut.

7. Dai Nim Tao (Big Twisting Head) - Also employs a shifting 45 degree side horse along with a Dai Bong (low wing) that changes to Gaun Sao (cultivating hand) and finaly a Dae Chong Jeung (low palm strike) 8. Sam Jin Chuie (Three War Punch) - Uses the Geung Ji Chuie (ginger punch) while turning 45 degrees. Strike upwards, then strike downwards, then upwards again. 9. Dai Gaun Sao (Big Cultivating Arm) - Shifs180 degrees with both hands in Dai Bong Sao (low wing arm) position. From there, it changes to Dai Gaun Sao (low cultivating arm), then shifts 180 degrees again 10. Dai Bong Gwa Choi (Big Wing Hanging Punch) - Starting from a double low Dai Bong Sao (low wing arm), it executes double low Pak Sao (slapping hands) to the groin and follows with double Gwa Chuie (hanging punches). 11. ? Jeung (? Palm) - The exercise uses Pak Sao/Fuk Sao (slapping/controlling hand), then Pek Lok with Seung Jum Sao (double sinking hand). 12. Lan Chang Jeung (Barring Supporting Palm) - Uses Geung Ji Chuie and Lan Jeet (barring interception) and then changes to a low Pien San Jeung (side body palm) 13. Ngao Sao Chit Jeung (Canceling Arm Slicing Palm) - Employs Ngao Sao(canceling arm) to Jeet/Jai (intercept/control), then shifts the body and strikes with Chit Jeung (slicing palm). 14. Sang Dim Jam (Living Point Chisel) - Both arms are held level in double Lan Sao (barring arms), then the elbows move outward, then shift 90 degrees and repeat in the other direction. 15. Chit Jee Na Kiu (Slicing Fingers Seizing Bridge) - Dai Bong Sao (low wing arm) changes to Low Gaun Sao (cultivating arm), then follow with Gwa Chuie (hanging punch). 16. Hok Bong Sao (Crane Wing Arm) - Shifting 45 degrees, use Hok Bong (crane wing) and upwards Chung Chuie (thrusting punch). 17. Tung Ma Biu Jee (Galloping Horse Dating Fingers) - Uses alternating Huen (circling), then upwards 2 finger Biu Jee (darting fingers). 18. Seung Lung Chut Hoi (Twin Dragons Emerge from Sea) - Shifts 45 degrees uses Tan/Bong (dispersing/wing), Bik Ma (pressing horse) and Wu Dip Jeung (butterfly palms). 19. Gwai Ma Choi (Kneeling Horse Punch) - Employs a kneeling horse and thrusting punch. 20. Lien Wan Sam Jeung (Continuous Three Palms) - Equivalent to the 40 Points' Lien Wan Fai Jeung. 21. Bat Gwa (Eight Directions) - Hop Jeung (buddhist prayer position)/Chum Jang (sink elbows) changes to Baat Ji (Character 8) Tok Jeung, then Seung Dae Huen (double low circling), followed by a Seung Kuen (double fist). Repeated opposite and in all 4 directions 22. Fook Fu (Taming Tiger) - Simultaneously performs a Seung Tan Sao (upper dispersing hand) and a Dae Fuk Sao (low controlling hand) with the opposite hands.

Chinese Cultural Studies:


The Chinese Language and Pronunciation
[Adapted from Compton's Living Encyclopedia, AOL 8/16/1995] There are two elements to the Chinese language: the written language, based on individual symbols called characters, each of which represents an idea or thing; and the spoken language, which includes a number of different dialects. The written language originally had no alphabet, but it was easily understood by literate people no matter what dialect they spoke. Since the early 1950s a system using the Latin alphabet, called Pinyin, has been developed in China, and it is now in common use. Most of the spellings of Chinese sounds and names in this course are based on the Pinyin system of romanization. Those that are are generally familiar in their conventional [WadeGiles] form, such as the name Chiang Kai-shek or Mao Tse Tung have been retained. Some of the numerous dialects of spoken Chinese are totally different from each other. All of them use tones to distinguish different words. Mandarin, which is spoken in the Beijing region and in northern China generally, has four common tones. Cantonese, spoken in southeastern China, has nine tones and is quite different from Mandarin. Cantonese is probably most common among Chinese-American immigrants. Today Putonghua, which is based on Beijing-area Mandarin, is the official language of government and education, and everyone is expected to learn to speak it.

The central government is also expanding the use of the Pinyin romanization system and is urging citizens to learn this alphabetized system of writing Chinese words. (Pinyin represents the spoken sounds of Putonghua, which is an oral representation of Chinese characters.) Citizens are also urged to learn a simplified system of Chinese. In the People's Republic the simplified system is used everywhere. In Taiwan and Hong Kong it is still very common to see much older, and more complex, signs being used. For more information on the nature of Chinese writing see A general introduction to The Chinese Language and Writing and a more specific discussion of Chinese Logographic Writing

Pronunciation
Written Chinese characters have no "pronunciation" and can be spoken in a variety of ways depending on the dialect used. There have been a number of ways of rendering Chinese words into English. For decades the most used system, which did not in fact represent Chinese sounds very well, was the Wade-Giles system. In the United States this is most often the system encountered in older textbooks and even transliterated shop names. The Chinese themselves have realized the advantages of an alphabetical system to render the language , for instance in computing. This adopted system is called pinyin and there is now a concerted effort to render all Chinese words in this system. That is why, for instance, we now talk about "Beijing" [pinyin] and not "Peking" [Wade-Giles]. Unfortunately for students the values chosen for some Latin alphabet letters in the pinyin system do not correspond to usual English letter sounds: the pinyin pronunciation of "Q" for instance is "Ch". You simply have to learn the conventions. In course materials I have tried to use the pinyin system: where the Wade-Giles form is common, I have placed that in square brackets following the pinyin version. I have prepared an extensive table of Pinyin and Wade-Giles equivalencies which will help with most problem situations you may come across. Here is a table of problematic letter sounds: in general pronounce as written, but take special note of the instructions with pinyin C, D, Q, X and ZH.
PINYIN b c ch d g ian j k ong p q r s sh si t x yi you z zh zi WADE-GILES p ts', ts' ch' t k ien ch k' ung p' ch' j s, ss, sz sh szu t' hs I yu ts ch tzu PRONOUNCE ASb as in "be", aspirated ts as in "its" as in "church" d as in "do" g as in "go" j as in "jeep" k as in "kind", aspirated p as in "par", aspirated ch as in "cheek" approx like the "j" in French "je" s as in "sister" sh as in "shore" t as in top sh as in "she" - thinly sounded z as in "zero" j as in "jump"

Certain words are kept in their familiar form, even by the most dedicated users of the pinyin system. For instance the Yangtze river retains that name rather than the pinyin Chang Jiang ; Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, both of whose names are familiar in the West from their southern dialect pronuciation, are usually referred to by these familar forms. There are, of course, other inconsistencies to be discovered.

Chinese Cultural Studies:


The Chinese Language and Writing

The Sino Tibetan Family of Languages


[pp. 310-311] The membership and classification of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages is highly controversial. The 'Sinitic' part of the name refers to the various Chinese languages (often referred to as 'dialects'); the 'Tibetan' part refers to several languages found mainly in Tibet, Burma, and nearby territories. But as there are notable similarities with many other languages of the region, some scholars 'adopt a much broader view of the family, so as to include the Tai and Miao-Yao groups. The Sinitic languages are spoken by over 1,000 million people. The vast majority of these are in China (over 980 million) and Taiwan (19 million), but bstantial numbers are to be found throughout the whole of South-east Asia, especially in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.Imporiant Chinese- speaking communities are also found in many other parts of the world, especially in the USA. There are nearly 300 languages in the Tibeto- Burman family, and these have been classified in several different ways. It is possible to identify 'clusters' of languages which have certain features in common, such as the 50 or so Lolo languages, spoken by around 3 million people in parts of Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and China. The 80 or so Naga, Kuki and Chin languages spoken in Burma and India, comprise another group. But groupings of this kind display many differences as well as similarities and it has not yet proved possible to find a neat way of classifying these, and the other groups thought to belong to the same family, into two or three types. It is by no means clear, for example, whether the small group of Karen languages, spoken by around 2 million people in Burma, should be included or excluded from the Sino-Tibetan family. After Chinese, Burmese and Tibetan are the two main languages of this family. Burmese is spoken by over 25 million people in Burma as a mother tongue, and several million more use it as a second language throughout the region. It has written records dating from the 11th century. Speaker estimates for Tibetan are very uncertain, largely because of the inflluence of Chinese in recent years; but a figure of 34 million seems likely. There are several major dialects, which are sometimes viewed as separate languages. Written records date from the 8th century AD, treating largely of Buddhist religious subjects. The alphabet of this period, which reflects the pronunciation of the time, is still in use today. with the result that there is considerable divergence between spelling and modern Tibetan speech.

The Languages of China


[pp. 312-313]

Because there has long been a single method for writing Chinese, and a common literary and cultural history, a tradition has grown up of referring to, the eight main varieties of speech in China as diaalects'. But in fact they are as different from each other (mainly in pronuncia~ion and vocabulary) as French or Spanish is from Italian, the dialects of the south-east being linguistically the furthest apart. The mutual unintelligibility of the varieties is the main ground for referring to them as separate languages. However, it must also be recognized that each variety consists of a large number of dialects, many of which may themselves be referred to as languages. The boundaries between one so-called language and the next are not always easyto define. The Chinese refer to themselves and their language, in any of the forms below, as Han - a name which derives from the Han dynasty (202 BC-AD 220). Han Chinese is thus to be distinguished from the non-Han minority languages used in China. There are over 50 of these languages (such as Tibetan, Russian, Uighur, Kazakh, Mongolian, and Korean), spoken by around 6% of the population.

THE CHINESE LINGUISTIC REVOLUTION


The 20th-century movement for language reform in China has resulted in the most ambitious programme of language planning the world has ever seen. The programme has three aims: (i) to simplify the characters of classical written Chinese, by cutting down on their number, and reducing the number of strokes it takes to write a character; (ii) to provide a single means of spoken communication throughout the whole of China, by popularizing the Beijing-based variety, which has been chosen as a standard; (iii) to introduce a phonetic alphabet, which would gradually replace the Chinese characters in everyday use, There have been moves to reform the language from as early as the 2nd century BC, but there has been nothing to equal the complexity of the present-day programme. in which frequent reference is made to the names of several different varieties of the Chinese language. Wn-yn ('literary speech' or 'body of classical writing'). The cultivated literary language, recorded from around 1,500BC. and the traditional unifying medium for all varieties of Chinese. Its complex system of characters is explained on p. 200. It differs greatly from everyday speech, especially ln lts terse grammatical style and specialized literary vocabulary. It is now less widely used, because of the success of the current reform movement for written Chinese.

Wn-yn literary Style - Examples These phrases, usually of four characters, illustrate the telegraphic literary style of Wn-yn. The nearest equivalent to this first proverb in English is perhaps 'Like father, like son.' Mao Zedong was particularly adept at incorporating classical features af this kind into his political speeches. The equivalent phrase for the second phrase would be 'It never rains but it pours". "Tigers do not breed dogs"________"Calamities do not occur singly"

Bi-hu ('colloquial language'). A simplified, vernacular style of writing, introduced by the literary reformer Hu Shih in 1917, to make the language more widely known to the public, and to permit the expression of new ideas. A style of writing which reflected everyday speech had developed as early as the Sung dynasty (AD 9~0-lZ79), but had made little impact on the dominant Wn-yn. However, the (May Fourth Movement' (which originated in political demonstrations on

4 May 1919 after the Paris Peace Conference) adopted Hu Shi'h's ideas, and Bi-hu was recognized as the national language in 1922. Ptnghu ('common language'). The variety chosen as a standard for the whole of China, and widely promulgated under this name after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. (In Taiwan, it goes under the name of gu yu , or 'national speech'; in the West. it is generally referred to simply as 'Mandarin'.) It embodies the pronunciation of Beijing; the grammar of the Mandarin dialects, and the vocabulary of colloquial Chinese literature. In 1956, it became the medium of instruction in all schools. and a policy of promoting its use began. It is now the most widely used form of spoken Ghinese, and is the normal written medium for almost all kinds of publication. Pin yin ('phonetic spelling'). After several previous attempts to write Chinese using the letters of the roman alphabet, this 58-symbol writing system was finally adopted in 1958. Its main aims are to facilitate the spread of Ptnghu, and the learning of Chine'se characters. Pin-yin is now in widespread use. In the 1970s, for example, a new map of China was published using the alphabet, and a list of standard spellings for Chinese placename was compiled. New codes were devised for such diverse uses as telegraphy, flag signals, braille, and deaf finger-spelling. The future of the reform programme is not entirely clear. It may be that pin-yin will ultimately supplant the general use of characters, or there may be a receaction to preserve the traditional written language. With Ptnghu, new varieties of regional pronunciation are certain to develop (for instance, Mao Zedong spoke it with a marked Hunan accent), which may lead to problems of intelligibility. And if Ptnghu is to succeed as a popular means of communication, it needs to anticipate the potential conflict with local regional dialects (for example, whether local words should be used). Much will depend on how flexibly the authorities interpret the notion of standslrd, and whether they are able to achieve a balance between the competing pressures of respecting popular usage (where there is a strong case for variety) and the need for national communication (which could lead to a form of centralized laying down of prescriptive linguistic rules).

Romanizing Chinese [p313]


Several systems of romanization for Chinese have been invented. The oldest in current use is known as Wade-Giles, introduced by Sir Thomas Wade in 1859, and developed by his successor in Chinese Studies at Cambridge University, Herbert Giles. This is the system which is most familiar to western eyes. In the 1930s, a system known as gwoyeu romatzyh ('national romanization') was devised by Lin Yu-t'ang and Chao Yuen-ren. During the Second World War, Yale University introduced an intensive programme of Chinese training for Air Force pilots, and introduced a new system, related more clearly to American pronunciation. But pin-yin has now become the dominant system. The name for China illustrates some of the differences between these systems: The Chinese characters are: This is romanized in the different systems as follows:Wade Giles: Chungkuo Gwoyeu romatzyh: Jonhhwo Yale: Junggwo Pin-yin: Zhongguo

Here are some familiar [Wade-Giles] spellings. with their pin-yin equivalents :
Wade-Giles Peking Canton Mao Tse-tung Pin-yin Beijing Guangzhou Mao Zedong

For a more extended table of equivalents, see the Pinyin/Wade Giles Equivalency Table For more information on Chinese see a general introduction to The Chinese Language and Pronunciation and a more specific discussion of Chinese Logographic Writing

The Main Chinese "Dialects"


Dialect' Cantonese (Yeh) Hakka Hsiang (Hunan). Kan Mandarin Where spoken In the south, mainly Guangdong, southern Guangxi, Macau, Hong Kong. Widespread, especially between Fujian and Guangxi. South central region, in Hunan Shanxi and south-west Hebei. A wide range of dialects in the northern, central ana western reaions. North Mandarin, as found in Beijing, is the basis of the modern stanaard language. (Min (Min North-west Fujian. The south-east, mainly in parts of Zhejiang, Fujian, Hainan Island and Taiwan. Parts of Anhui, Zhejians. and Jiangsu.

Northern Min Pei) Southern Min Nan) Wu

Where the main Chinese "dialects" are spoken

A Chinese typewriter
The complexity of classical writing is well illustrated by this device - a Chinese typewriter. The tray contains over 2,000 characters, with several thousand more being available on other trays. The typist first aligns the tray, then presses a key, which makes an arm pick up the required character and strike it against the paper. The machine can type vertically and horizontally. It is a slow process, with good typists averaging at most 20 characters a minute.

Chinese Cultural Studies:

Chinese Logographic Writing LOGOGRAPHIC WRITING SYSTEMS


are those where the graphemes [the smallest written unit of the language] represent words. The best-known cases are Chinese, and its derivative script, Japanese kanji. The symbols are variously referred to as logographs, logograms, or - in the case of oriental languages - characters. But there are two terminological complications. First, because Chinese writing derives from an ideographic script [where each grapheme has an abstract, and not necessarily a clear pictorial, link with the meaning of the word represented], with several pictographic elements [where there is a direct pictorial link with the word represented], the characters are commonly referred to as ideographs. However, this term is really not appropriate, as the characters refer to linguistic units, and not directly to concepts or things. Secondly, the characters in fact often represent parts of words or morphemes [for example "happi" in "happiness" constitutes a morpheme] as well as whole words, so that even the term 'logographic' is slightly misleading; but in the absence of a more appropriate term (such as "morphographic"), it continues to be used. Several thousand graphemes are involved in a logographic system. The great Chinese dictionary of K'ang Hsi Kangxi (1662-l 722) contains nearly 50,000 characters, but most of these are archaic or highly specialized. In the modern language, basic literacy requires knowledge of some 2.000 characters. Similarly. in Japanese 1850 charactcrs are prescribed by the Japanese Ministry of Education and adopted by law as those most essential for everyday use. Of these, 881 are taught during the six years of elementary school. Most languages make use of some logograms: a selection of widely used graphemes is given below. Note that these signs, which are familiar to many modern Westerners, mean the same thing in any language. In the same way Chinese characters mean the same thing whether they are read in a variety of Chinese "dialects", or even in Japanese, a language which is as unlike Chinese in its internal structure as it is possible for a language to be.

CHINESE CHARACTERS
Traditionally, Chinese characters are divided into six types (liu shu "six scripts").

hsing sheng Most characters are of this type containing two elements. There is a semantic element, known as a "radical'. This is combined with a phonetic element,whose function is to remind the reader of how the word is to be pronounced. For example, the word "mother" ma is expressed by the semantic element "woman" by a phonetic indicator ma followed

.The word for "scold" is also ma (with a different tone), and this is

expressed by the semantic element "mouth" (repeated) followed by the same phonetic indicator. In both cases the meaning of the ma character when used alone ("horse") is disregarded.

chih shih These characters represent abstract ideas and are closest to ideograms, for example

hui i Compound characters in which the elements have a semantic connection, for example:

chuan chu Characters formed by modifying the shape or orientation of a character to produce a word of related meaning. For example the character for "corpse" derives from "man"

chia cheh Characters that were borrowed from thers of similar proununciation For example wan "ten thousand" derives from the use of this character for wan "scorpion".

hsiang hsing A small group of characters that retain a close connection with original pictograms, for instance the forms for (a) "sun", "day" (ri), (b) "mountain" (shan) and (c) "field' (tian).

VING TSUNS SONG OF STONE


By Mike Patak The only set of its kind in existence, the kuen kuit chops constitute the most important contribution to the historical side of Ving Tsun.
The Ving Tsun kung-fu system has long been known for its principles. Its what defines it, makes it unique among the vast number of martial art styles and systems. All that is Ving Tsun can be seen within these principles. This differs from other systems which are based on technique and are preserved through the forms which contain those techniques. So, simply memorize the forms and learn the applications of the techniques within them and youve learned the system. Sounds easy right? Well, its not. Any martial system can be learned in a relatively short time but, none can be mastered as quickly. Just ask anyone who has studied for several years or more. It is a simple matter, however, to preserve a system based on technique. Just keep the forms pure and nothing in the system will be lost. How authentic is authentic? This is not true in the case of Ving Tsun, and can be easily seen in the many conflicting styles today. Surely most of the masters claiming to teach traditional Ving Tsun truly believe that their system is indeed authentic. So, why are there so many differences from one Ving Tsun kung-fu family to the next? The answer is in the principles and how theyre interpreted.. Unlike techniques, which can be learned through repetition, a principle must be understood. While there are many ways to demonstrate principles, how they are interpreted may not always be correct. This is where the differences can be found. A slightly different interpretation of the principle can greatly change the way it is translated.

So, does a really authentic Ving Tsun system still exist. And if so, how has it survived having been passed down through so many hands for so many years? Authentic Ving Tsun continues to exist because it is based on principles and not techniques. You can change a technique and who would know? Principles are based on scientific laws, while the methods used to teach them may vary, the principle cannot. The student who does not blindly accept what is taught, but instead searches for truth, will eventually have authentic Ving Tsun. The principles can be found hidden within the three forms of the Ving Tsun system. This is particularly true in the first form, Siu Nim Tao. It is even said that this first form contains the proper learning process needed to master the entire system. If played with an open mind students will find through Siu Nim Tao the answers to many of the questions they may be asking during their training. Passing along proverbs To help students find their way, certain sayings were passed along. These proverbs are a compilation of generations of experiences by the grandmasters, called the Ving Tsun kuen kuit. Kuen Kuit are two Chinese words meaning martial art idiom or song. Being short and rhythmic verses, kuen kuit are easy to remember. Many styles of martial arts use kuen kuit for expressing the basic ideology of their art. There was a period when there were numerous sayings. It was during the Ching dynasty. These proverbs were part of secret codes used by rebels, many of whom were Ving Tsun practitioners trying to overthrow the Manchus. Over time many of these proverbs were eliminated because of their lack of applicability. What is left truly represents the essence of the Ving Tsun system. Traditionally, the proverbs have been passed down by word of mouth and on an informal basis. One could be given during a chi sao session or over tea. These proverbs, or maxims as they are generally called, were meant to serve the students during those discoveries they would inevitably make during the course of their training. Grandmaster Yip Man warned his students that these sayings were not intended to be preached but, rather to be enjoyed. He felt that experience was the best teacher and that the Ving Tsun kuen kuit was there to remind them of those discoveries made by their kung-fu ancestors that have formed the system as we know it today. The Ving Tsun kuen kuit can be classified into four types of maxims: Result-These sayings mention the result of an action or movement. Formula-These are much like equations in format. Loy lau hui sung. Lut sao jic chung (Hand comes, detain. Hand goes, follow. Hand lost, thrust forward). Warning-These proverbs caution the student on particular mistakes to avoid during training as well as combat situations. Pak sao ge noi moon (Slap block, avoid the inner gate) is on of those warnings. Qualifiers-These sayings define the quality of certain techniques within the Ving Tsun system. One of the bestknown maxims, "Yan han kung, ngor han yin (Others walk the bow, I walk the string)", shows the quality of the straight-line principle (shortest distance between two points is a straight line). Common-sense principles It is important to note that none of the kuen kuit proverbs provide the student with any secret mystical or deadly techniques. Many actually contain that which seems to elude so many of those trying to understand the principles of Ving Tsun-common sense. It is quite conceivable that these maxims could be lost or changed in time, especially with the passing of Yip Man. Yip Man was very concerned about this while still alive, knowing that he was the last of the Ving Tsun

grandmasters fortunate enough to receive the entire Ving Tsun system. It became his wish that the history, philosophy and principles of the system be kept safe somehow for all time. This was considered an important priority during his lifetime. It was his desire that written documentation of the kuen kuit, along with a record of the Ving Tsun family tree, from its founder up to Yip Man himself, be created. Also to be included was the main training stages of the Ving Tsun system. To provide documentation that would withstand time, and would also be appreciated as artwork, it was decided that everything would be carved into stones known as chops. A chop is an Oriental seal or stamp which was used to prove authenticity of such things as a familys lineage. Seals were often used much like signatures are today. Carved into the stone would be the family or clan leaders name. These were considered heirlooms and were passed down from generation to generation. Some still use the chop today along with their written name. These stones are hand carved and are considered to be fine artwork themselves. Chop crafting is an ancient art which requires great skill. It cannot be done by just anyone. In fact the number of skilled seal crafters still existing today are few. One of the most well-known and respected people of this unique art alive today is grandmaster Moy Yat. Known for his great skills as a Ving Tsun grandmaster, Moy Yat also is considered an accomplished artist. Along with his knowledge of Ving Tsun history and the many different styles of Chinese writing developed since the systems creation, this made him destined to take on this historic project. Finding the right stones Moy Yat, along with help from is kung-fu nephew, Kwong Tse-Nam, began the project by searching for and selecting the proper stones for each chop. This alone took four years as each stone was carefully selected to represent a certain period in Ving Tsun history. The complete set of chops consists of 51 stone seals. The actual stone carving was also carefully planned with styles of Chinese writing used on each stone, representing different periods in Ving Tsun history. To inscribe all the necessary information included on these stones took an additional two years. Precision was very important as one mistake could ruin a very expensive stone. The kuen kuit chops are the only set of stone carvings ever done representing the Ving Tsun history and system. Moreover, this stone set is the only representation of its kind. No other martial art style or system has anything of this magnitude to preserve the art throughout time. The complete set of stones covers the entire history of Ving Tsun kun-fu. Some of the stones contain information about each of the masters considered most important in the evolution of the system. Others contain the names of the forms and the essential points in them. Of course, the kuen kuit maxims, those verses created by the masters, are also carved into the stones. This six-year long project was completed and approved by grandmaster Yip man before his death, and could very well be considered the most important contribution made to Ving Tsun during his lifetime. Since their completion, the kuen kuit chops have been kept safely stored away. Being the only set in existence, the value of these stones is priceless especially considering the fact that a second set could never be produced. Only Moy Yat has the skill and knowledge necessary to do such a thing. Because of a lack of time and the necessary stones to recreate the chops, this is the only work of its kind that will probably ever be done. Groundbreaking display In July, 1995 the kuen kuit chops were publicly displayed for the first time ever at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ving Tsun Museum and Training Center. All 51 stones were displayed for those that were present at the Moy Yat branch school (Mengs Martial Arts, Huber Heights, Ohio), which has been chosen as the site of the soon-to-be completed center. In attendance at this event was grandmaster Yip Chun and Yip Ching. Many other Ving Tsun Sifu and students also were on hand to celebrate this historic event and to meet these legends. Th Ving Tsun Museum will become the new home for the kuen kuit chops, as well as many other memorabilia, treasures and artifacts.

Was this the greatest contribution made by Moy Yat to Ving Tsun? Who can really say? Hes given so much over the years. Certainly he is not the first and only one to have done things of value to the system. Throughout the history of Ving Tsun, there have been many who have made contributions. Now these masters, many whose names remain engraved in our minds, will also be forever engraved in stone with the art they dedicated their life to, because of the efforts of Moy Yat and Kwong Tse-Nam.

The Anatomy of Ving Tsun


By Rick Howard
As anyone who has the interest to be reading this will surely know this century has seen a tremendous growth in the study of martial arts. Opinions as to the reason behind this growth differ from one person to the next, and they represent a broad spectrum of viewpoints. One reason may be the high profile the martial arts have taken in the media, particularly in film and on television, which has afforded them broad exposure. Also, with a real or perceived rise in the crime rate, it logically follows that more citizens would take up the study of martial arts for self-protection. Of course, the physical benefits of martial arts training cannot be overlooked, and many are attracted to them for this reason alone, particularly as people become more health-conscious. Regardless of which point of view you may embrace as to why the martial arts have become so popular there is still the essential question that you and all practicing martial artists should continually ask: What are the martial arts? The answers to this seemingly simple question are as numerous as the various styles that are currently practiced. The most common responses simply mention the tangible benefits derived from study, as if the results of practicing the martial arts somehow define the art themselves. But the martial arts are more than the benefits they convey, much more. Ving Tsun Kung Fu is certainly one of the styles that are at the forefront of the current martial arts expansion. It is based on simplicity, practicality, and a scientific approach to combat. However, the study of the Ving Tsun system is a process. The goal is to make oneself a part of the kung fu (living the art), as opposed to simply using it. This fundamental idea is the often-discussed yet difficult-to-understand concept of the Kung Fu Life. To be truly successful at the art, a student of kung fu must attempt to discover the meaning of the phrase. What are some of the aspects of a Kung Fu life? One obvious facet of the lifestyle is the relationships you may forge with the people you may encounter during your course of study. Through time, you develop bonds with your fellow students and your Sifu, with the fine people you meet at tournaments and seminars, and with the children you have the chance to aid and instruct. However there is a less evident aspect of the Kung Fu life; this is the aspect of development. In practicing the martial arts, we cultivate our own personal growth and help others do the same. We grow physically, mentally, and spiritually and we inspire the desire to grow in our fellows. So, can a Kung Fu Life be left out when defining the term Ving Tsun? Of course not, because it is a fundamental part of martial arts training. More on this idea follows later, but right now, lets take a look at some of the basic building blocks that form the underlying foundation of the art and which of these should not be confused as being parts of the art itself. Firstly, what happens when you first begin your training? This is a basic question, but an answer requires a little examination. Obviously, you learn an assortment of stretching exercises, and you watch the instructor demonstrate various stances and hand positions. You might then be instructed to imitate these positions and be told to memorize them and their names for home practice. This introduces what we call methods. A reporter in a conversation with the late Bruce Lee asked: How does one learn kung fu? At this time Bruce reportedly threw his wallet at the reporter. The reporter instantly caught the wallet. Bruce commented by saying, See, you were successful. You reacted instinctively, without thinking. If you wanted to teach someone to do that, how would you teach them? Would you teach tem a single hand catch, a double hand catch, behind the back catch? This is a distinction between result and method. To learn a martial art without a method is rare. Like father and son; the

son may learn a lot from his father but he would be hard pressed to account for how, when, where, and what he learned. This seems to be no method but actually it is. Methods are simply the presentation of the lesson and the presentation itself may take several forms. For instance, the method involved in our first training example above is basically a physical demonstration of the required position. The students goal is to memorize that instruction. However, the same set of stances first illustrated by the instructor might also have been learned (although with more difficulty) from a skillfully produced videotape. Understanding of the principles involved could also be accomplished by the instructors communicating orally to the student rather than physically demonstrating the position himself. As you can see, these are all valid ways of indicating the correct stance that the individual is being taught. Are these methods of instruction the essence of the art form itself? Certainly not, and if a student does not distinguish the difference between method and essence, it can become the ball and chain on ones ankle, a stumbling block to making progress. Methods are a means but should not be considered part of the art itself. As Grand mater Moy Yat states, everyone has his own kung fu and everyone has their own way of passing it on. Simply because a Sifu offers a hands on approach of instruction does not mean that the student must teach using exactly the same method. When you grow and become a Sifu you might prefer the deep thinker approach, talking and guiding your students from a distance. Another may have his students focus and recreate his every move. Each of these methods may obtain the desired results. However, they should not be considered an integral part of the art. Well come back to this later. Now lets talk about what may people consider the main body on the martial arts: techniques. When your Sifu illustrates a particular body positioning is he showing you a technique? In the Ving Tsun family, we are taught that techniques are not only the physical positioning of the body components in relationship to each other, but also the ability by positioning to lead to other follow-up techniques. For instance in any form of Ving Tsun training one learns the three pillars. These are tan sao, fuk sao, and bong sao. Each of these is a particular physical positioning of the arms in relationship to the upper body. Tan sao can be described as being the arm extended upward (with fingertips at shoulder level), elbow and forearm in the center, palm up, fingers straight and flat, thumb tucked in, and elbow one and a half fists from the body. However, a tan sao can instantly turn into a bong sao by turning the elbow out and upward. This is typical of any true technique used by a martial artist of any style. Be it the kicks of Tae Kwon Do or the pillars of Ving Tsun, techniques are geometric positioning of the body limbs or trunk in relation to each other, which allows the practitioner to set the stage for the use of another technique. However, simply knowing techniques and understanding the methods that were used to learn them don not make a martial artist. Wait a minute though. Isnt mastery of the physical techniques what the study of martial arts is about? Doesnt this give the practitioner the ability to execute a correct offense or defense? Not without the introduction of principles. Principles give the justification for the use of a specific technique. There can be many techniques used to satisfy the requirements of only a single principle. Lets look at one of the most important principles in the art of Ving Tsun, that of the centerline. If I position my hand, arms and elbow into a proper tan sao, I am protecting the centerline. This is in keeping with the centerline principle of Ving Tsun. Now, if my opponents hand is being checked by my fuk sao then I again apply the centerline principle of occupying the center. If I position my body into ye chi kum yeung ma (the basic stance of Ving Tsun) then I am applying the principle of centerline to my entire body, with the line running vertically down the middle of the trunk. So now we have the methods to teach a student physical techniques and the principles that these techniques are used to accomplish. Perhaps this combination is what puts the artist in martial artist. Lets test this theory with a brief study. You stand in the proper stance and ready for action across from one of your Sihings (a senior brother student in kung fu). Your Sifu has used good methods to teach you and you have the techniques and the principles behind them firmly memorized. Your Sihing leads with a vertical punch and you pak sao (hand slap block) to block. Too late, however, as you are struck by the punch with your block not yet being into position. What went wrong? You were taught the proper block by watching your instructor and performing repetitions (the method). You can stand and demonstrate the proper physical hand/arm positioning (the technique). Also, you understand the principle

involved: the block is intended to defend your center. What is missing then: Its the last piece of the formula, which is known as attributes. In the scenario above, the techniques and the principle were understood, but the student failed to produce an adequate defense because his timing was off. A technique is worthless if it is not used with both proper positioning and proper timing. Attributes allow the techniques and principles to be used successfully. Therefore, avoid using techniques as ends unto themselves of simply as a way of striking on opponent. Rather, use those movements as a vehicle for developing the martial attributes important to Ving Tsun Kung Fu. Examples include balance, coordination, timing, sensitivity, and relaxation. These are the true roots of Ving Tsun. Could you maintain your centerline without balance, land punches without timing, stick hands without sensitivity, or obtain power without relaxation? Can you put any technique to use without attributes? Not consistently. Attributes are needed in order to make you Ving Tsun Kung Fu effective. While the principles are the foundation of Ving Tsun, the attributes are the results of applying those principles over and over again until they become instinctive. Once this instinctual understanding is grasped, you may freely express your Kung Fu, and have faith that it will be effective. In the Moy Yat Ving Tsun family, Kung Fu encompasses much more than techniques, principles, and even attributes. It also includes the opportunity to develop and enrich our lives with the experiences of our Sifu, Sigung, and our elder kung fu brothers. Kung Fu life is the life experiences your Sifu has gathered by spending many years with his Sifu. It is these very experiences he uses to help guide you at a level he also was once at. He uses his life to help you understand the essentials and nature of Ving Tsun Kung Fu, thus allowing you to use the system as a tool to be more successful in your endeavors of life. A person may be qualified to run a class or teach a technique. But, to take disciples and absolutely change their lives, to make them feel more relaxed, enjoy life more, or to save time and expand their lives are the marks of a great teacher. This brings us full circle back to our beginning topic of methods. Grandmaster Moy Yat believes one should learn without methods as previously illustrated above by Bruce Lees father-and-son analogy. Through living a Kung Fu Life, a disciple not only learns his kung fu, but he can reflect on it as well. He can contemplate the progress he has made and say to himself this is the method I used to learn this principle of technique'. While a Sifu helps a student along the path of discovery, it is the student who must take responsibility for making progress. Ultimately, it is a students diligent practice and inward reflection that allows him to make the kung fu his own. Remember: the burden of effort falls on you. You control your own destiny. The trailblazers of Ving Tsun are self-motivated, serious, and detail-oriented. They dive into the system and immerse themselves in a Kung Fu Life, which is the key to learning.

MOY YAT The Art of The Tradition


by Benny Meng and Richard Loewenhagen
Throughout history, true martial artists were akin to military generals. They amassed legions of followers and developed the leadership traits necessary to minister the growth and development needs of their practitioners. In essence, they needed to be scholars, teachers, warriors, healers, and artists. This is the picture history has painted of the "traditional" martial artist. Grand Master Moy Yat is one of the traditional martial artists alive today worthy of depiction on that same historical canvas. In the world of Ving Tsun Kung Fu he has amassed thousands of

students and grand students whose skills attest daily to his leadership as a scholar, a teacher, a warrior, a healer, and an artist. Moy Yat the Scholar Moy Yat is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable men alive on the nature of Ving Tsun and the scientific system of instruction that surrounds it. Moy Yats dream as a young man was to become a teacher of Ving Tsun. The lessons of history on generalship were not lost to him. He recognized that scholarly study into the nature of man and the cultures surrounding him represented essential tools for an exercise in leadership. He carried this same wisdom into his study of Ving Tsun Kung Fu. He surrounded himself with in-depth study of the principles and concepts of Ving Tsun. He then spent forty years examining the nature of every technique and training method of the system in relation to those same principles and concepts. Few alive today understand those relationships as deeply as Moy Yat. Yip Man recognized young Moy Yats vent for scholarship and commissioned him to carve the tenets and history of the artform in stone for universal preservation. Instead of jumping right into the stone carving, Moy Yat recognized the historic significance of the task given him. He began by expending five years researching fifty-one centuries of chop making. He examined styles and stones alike. The masterpiece he ultimately created gave a new dimension to universality by incorporating the progress of chop-making over the centuries in the priceless "Ving Tsun Chops." Today, as a "General" of the Ving Tsun artform, Moy Yat the Scholar travels the world giving seminars centered around question and answer sessions designed to trigger scholarly endeavors in all participants. His students and grand students have authored books, video tapes, seminars, historical treatises, and technical magazine articles far too numerous to list in this brief essay. Moy Yat the Teacher Many have purported that the best measure of a teacher is in the degree of leadership shown by his students. Against such a yardstick, Moy Yat qualifies as a teacher with few equals. The majority of his students have become leaders in whatever course they have chosen in their lives. In fact, throughout his years of teaching, Moy Yat has always avidly asserted that a real Ving Tsun practitioner will live the artform, thereby succeeding in all that he pursues. A quick look at the martial arts leadership shown by his more famous students bears this out. Master Jeffrey Chan, current Dai Sihing and renowned fighter of the Moy Yat family, is also the Chairman of the International Moy Yat Ving Tsun Federation. Samuel Lau, a senior student from Moy Yats Hong Kong School, is the current Chairman of the Yip Man Athletic Association in Hong Kong. Master Sunny Tang is the founder of the Chinese Kuo Shu Federation and currently President of the United Wushu Federation of Canada. Master Henry Moy has trained many of the top Sifus in New York Citys prestigious Chinatown. Master Mickey Chan is the American Dai Sihing of the Moy Yat family. Renowned for both his skill and knowledge, he has spent over 20 years assisting the growth and development of his younger martial arts brothers and sisters. Master Pete Pajil is recognized as the most knowledgeable herbal healer in the Moy Yat family. Master William Moy runs the Moy Yat Family headquarters in New York City and is Chairman of the Moy Yat Special Student Association. Master Miguel Hernandez, a renowned teacher and Ving Tsun author, specializes in training world class fighters. Master Javier Ramirez, a recognized television producer and broadcaster, heads the Mexican Branch of the International Moy Yat Ving Tsun Federation. Master Benny Meng, also a renowned fighter, teacher, and author, founded the Ving Tsun Museum and serves as its Chairman. As a central figure in preserving the artform for all time, he has traveled throughout Hong Kong, China, and the Western Hemisphere with Grand Master Moy Yat to research and document the history of Ving Tsun for future generations. Master Leo Imamura is President of the Sao Paulo State Kung Fu Federation in Brazil, and a full Professor of Martial Arts at Santo Andre Physical Education College. He, too, has authored several definitive books on Ving Tsun.

Together, the above leaders have trained tens of thousands of Ving Tsun students and grand students, while devoting the time and energy necessary to hold positions of international leadership as well. Their academic endeavors continue to produce scholarly treatises, books, instructional tapes, documentaries, and seminars that open the artform to practitioners around the world. Their accomplishments, along with those of thousands of business and professional leaders of the Moy Yat family, are the real measure of Moy Yat as a teacher. Moy Yat the Warrior There is a saying in the Moy Yat family that best describes the prevailing attitude toward warriorship: "Let the hands do the talking." If this becomes our measure of fighting skill, then the Moy Yat family is indeed blessed with great orators. Many Moy Yat practitioners have become renowned fighters. Jeffrey Chan, Moy Yats senior student, fought the last two legal Gong Sao (challenge matches-no holds barred) permitted in the martial arts community. In 1967 he represented the Yip Man family and the Ving Tsun style in a formal Gong Sao with a Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) master at Prince Edward Road in Kowloon and won handily. He repeated that success in another Gong Sao in 1969 with a Northern Shaolin master in Yuen Long, the New Territories of Hong Kong. Another Moy Yat student, John Chen (Moy Four) proved his fighting skills to the well-known and renowned fighter and teacher, Master Dan Inosanto. While on business in California, john Chen quietly visited Master Inosantos school and introduced himself simply as "John Chen." He was immediately recognized by Master Inosanto as a famous fighter over the course of several days against various other fighting styles. With Moy Yats concurrence, John faced several different challengers chosen by Master Inosanto. At the conclusion of these tests, Master Inosanto was so impressed that he invited Moy Yat and ten of his senior students to spend several weeks with his, at his expense, in Los Angeles. Despite his own personal fame as a fighter and teacher, he refers to Moy Yat as "Sifu." Todays Moy Yat family practitioners (too numerous to name here) continue to capture distinctive honors in worked class tournaments throughout the Western Hemisphere. They literally dominated the Ving Tsun style in the 1998 Pan Am Wushu Competitions. Master Sunny Tangs students and grand students have dozens of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies in the Canadian Wushu Championships and earned the majority of trophies taken in the 1998 Pan Am Wushu Competitions. A student of master William Moy won 1st place in the heavy weight division for full-contact sparring at the 1998 Pan Am Wushu Competitions. Master Benny Meng, himself a competition champion, has also trained students that have captured dozens of national and international martial honors, including six additional 1998 Pan Am trophies (three of them 1st place honors). Master Miguel Hernandez specializes in training professional fighters and has trained national Kuoshu champions. Master Leo Imamura has trained champions who grew up in the ever-competitive Brazilian martial arts community. While Grand Master Moy Yat strongly emphasizes that true martial artists are able to defend the meek without resorting to physical skills, the above tournament successes clearly demonstrate that the hands in his family can really do the talking. Moy Yat the Artist All of historys great generals recognized the need to understand the people surrounding them and the need to communicate complex ideas and concepts in a manner that would not perish with time. Many were great philosophers and artists. Moy Yat springs from the same mold. He is a distinguished artist in virtually every medium known to man. His artwork consists of oils, watercolors, charcoals, woods, stone sculptures, plastics, and glass. They have been exhibited in the finest museums and galleries of England, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Brazil, and the United States. A number of pieces are permanently on display at the Ving Tsun Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Moy Yat is recognized as one of the foremost seal-makers in the world, and has been a consultant to both the Academy of Chinese Arts and the Museum of Natural History in New York City. His most famous works include the BLUSH STROKES, ingenious, simplistic abstractions, both fluid and subtle, that spawned an entire new way of artistic expression. A master with the brush, he is still making a profound impact on contemporary American art. Moy Yat has spent most of his life living and teaching Ving Tsun Kung Fu. He has passed on his knowledge over the years employing his many talents not only as a Ving Tsun artist but also as an artist in general. Many of his most famous works of art have been given to or sold at materials cost alone to members of his Ving Tsun family as his means of communication the more complex aspects of Kung Fu life to them and their future students. His most priceless Ving Tsun art pieces can be found in the Ving Tsun Museum. That museum itself is a work of art he pursued for over 40 years. This may be the greatest testament to his life as a traditional martial artist. But then, such wisdom should be expected of a scholar, teacher, warrior, healer, and artist!

From Shaolin To Wing Chun


by Benny Meng and Matthew Kwan
Ever since Wing Chun was introduced to the general public by Yip Man and was then later popularized by the international fame of Bruce Lee, Wing Chun has been spread around the world. Much of the history of Wing Chun is shrouded in myths of legendary characters that emerged some time after the burning of the Southern Shaolin temple in Southern China. One of the prime missions of the Ving Tsun Museum is to ferret out the myths and help the Wing Chun community as a whole find its historical roots. The process of determining history requires that we listen to many legends and cross-check them with all available documentation. The knowledge gained from this process is then widely shared through professional publications so that other scholars may dig even deeper until maximum accuracy is achieved. This article is about another courageous Wing Chun family that has stepped forth to share its history and legends with the Ving Tsun Museum so that additional research and verification can be done by the scholars. The historical occurrences alleged represent radical departures from today's commonly accepted legends. At best, they may lead to the real root of Wing Chun. At worst, they will generate a flurry of academic digging. Either result can only be beneficial to today's practitioners of this amazingly scientific art form. For many generations of Wing Chun practitioners, fabled stories of a young woman named Yim Wing Chun have grown to take the mantle of being called the "origins" of Wing Chun without knowing that there were other histories that were passed down through other Wing Chun lineages. One lineage that was concealed throughout the decades due to the political climate of China was the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen history. It's history, traditions, and teachings were passed down verbally from generation to generation of family members until recently brought to the public by Master Garrett Gee (Chu King-Hung). Master Gee states his only purpose in stepping forward at this time is to preserve the knowledge of our patriotic ancestry and to commemorate the valiant practitioners who fought and died for their country against the Ching Dynasty and later against foreign powers. He is adamant that he is not interested in political controversy, but welcomes historical research into the following facts as his lineage believes them to be. According to Hung Fa Yi Kuen traditions, the history of Wing Chun begins in the Shaolin temple with the culmination of hundreds of years of martial arts experience. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) saw a blossoming of Shaolin martial arts as never before. Almost all the residents of Shaolin took up Wushu and a powerful detachment of several hundred warrior-monks was organized. The Ming government treasured the warriormonks, sending them on expeditions to border areas. After the Manchurians conquered China, the remnants of the Ming family encouraged export of the secret knowledge of Shaolin fighting arts to rebel troops to defend the Han nation and to try to restore the Ming regime. This time period was known as the Ching Dynasty.

The conquest of China by the Manchu in the 17th century and harsh actions created distrust among the people towards the Ching government. The Manchu, excellent warriors in their own right, kept the Ming dissidents under control, imposing on all the badge of subservience, the "queue" which symbolized for them a horse's tail. Animosity and discontentment towards the Manchurians became more visible. Many boxers joined various secret societies hoping to return the Ming to power. Formation of underground movements were the precursory events that brought Wing Chun and many other Chinese martial art styles in existence. Thousands from the north retreated southward to both southern China and Taiwan, disseminating their martial arts skills as they went. Although unsuccessful in their aims, the boxers seeking a return of the Ming did achieve a result. They spread the Shaolin boxing doctrines to all corners of China. The Hung Fa Yi Kuen ancestors claim there were two significant people who set the stage for Wing Chun and many other Chinese martial art styles to flourish. The first significant person was a Buddhist monk from Northern Shaolin temple, his name was Chiu Yuen. In Hung Fa Yi lore, he played the leading role in keeping the underground Anti-Manchurian activities alive. Unknown to the Manchurians, Chiu Yuen's real identity was Chu Ming, one of the last surviving descendants of the Ming Dynasty Royal Chu family. It was his Anti-Manchurian activities, as well as his family ties to the old regime, that led to the eventual burning of the Shaolin temples by the Manchurian Soldiers. The second person was known as Da Jung. Originally he was a Ming military officer from Northern China that was forced to flee south. Later he became a monk at the Southern Shaolin temple in Fukien. Da Jung's real name is unknown, but in the history of Chinese martial arts he is considered "Joi Si" or First Leader because he was the first person to extend Chinese Kung Fu to Southern Shaolin. Until his arrival, Southern Shaolin was not known for its martial arts. He organized what was called the Buddhist Hung Moon organization. This was a secret society formed in the Shaolin to overthrow the Ching Dynasty. The Buddhist Hung Moon was the first Buddhist political organization that was loyal to the Ming regime. This event is known in Hung Fa Yi Kuen as a milestone in Chinese Kung Fu because not only did he bring martial arts to Southern Shaolin (according to their lore), but he also bridged the gap between Northern Shaolin and Southern Shaolin. Also during this time, Cheng Sing Kung, one of the last surviving Ming generals, fled to the island of Formosa taking it over from the Dutch in 1662. It was then that he established the revolutionary society Tien Dei Wui {Heaven and Earth society} which was the counterpart of the Hung Fa Wui {Red Flower Society} on the mainland. The Hung Fa Wui was an underground Anti-Manchurian society based in Shaolin. In Shaolin, the Hung Fa Wui had a special gathering place called the Hung Fa Ting {Red Flower Court}. This was a great meeting hall where Ming loyalists gathered and discussed political strategies to overthrow the Manchurians and the fall of the Ching Dynasty. Early in the 1700's, during the reign of Emperor K'ang Hsi (1662-1723), the Manchurians became concerned about the Shaolin Temple's rebellious activities as well as their advanced fighting abilities and continued development of their martial arts system. Under the decision to eliminate the threat of these rebels and their rebel leaders, the Manchurians sought to exterminate the Shaolin monks to prevent them from spreading their martial arts skills and rebellious activities. Eventually the Southern Shaolin Temple was burned and destroyed. The Shaolin Temple was not only a repository of martial arts knowledge and rigorous training academy but, as important, a stimulus for other marital art styles. Many of the systems today were born out of Shaolin roots. Prior to the destruction of the Shaolin Temples, a comprehensive and high level martial art system was developed which was formulated through multiple generations of Shaolin knowledge and experience. The Hung Fa Yi Kuen lineage believes the ultimate goal was to create a new system which could be used to defeat the classical styles. In pursuit of that goal, the elders shared their most advanced principles and strategies and work began on the new style. This martial art system latter became known as Wing Chun, named after the Wing Chun Tong {Everlasting Spring Hall} in the Shaolin Temple. As with all high level Shaolin knowledge, this new art was conducted under secrecy, a "Silent Code". In order to hide the new revolutionary fighting art's identity and origin, a fictional person named Yim Wing Chun and story were created to cover up the original nature of the art.

After the destruction of the Shaolin Temple and its Wing Chun Tong, the character of Wing used for this new art was changed from "Wing" meaning "always, perpetual, or everlasting" to "Wing" meaning "to recite, sing, praise, or chant." Chan Buddhism is based on oral communication to pass on its teachings. The character "Chun" meaning "spring, a time of new growth", stayed the same. The Han nation was seen by many as the spring of Chinese culture. By changing the characters, the Ming loyalists were reminded to pass on the tradition and secrets orally while working to rebuild the Ming government. The Chinese word "Yim" means "to prohibit or secret". By adding Yim to Wing Chun, the meaning was "to be discrete, secret, and pass on the revolutionary art orally". To insure that the art was not abused or to fall into the wrong hands, it was never documented. During that time it was strictly forbidden to teach or reveal the art to anyone that didn't belong to the secret societies or were non-Han. Because of this reason, Wing Chun took on a mysterious persona. Many years later, a famous novel writer wrote a martial art fiction titled 10,000 Year Ching. In the novel, it talks about Ng Mui, Chee Sim, Hung Hei Goon, and Fung Sai Yuk. Many fairy tales and stories about Hung Kuen and Wing Chun were based on this novel. With each telling of the story from the novel, embellishments and exaggerations were added until the story reached the level of a fairy tale. Due to the nature of secret societies, these fictional stories and legends came to be the accepted truth as to the creation of Wing Chun. After the destruction of Shaolin Temple, the connection between the Hung Fa Wui (Red Flower Society) and the Tien Dei Wui (Heaven and Earth Society) was opened up to the ordinary people in the involvement of overthrowing the Ching Dynasty. Their famous battle cry was, "Overthrow the Ching and Restore the Ming". New secret societies emerged after the Hung Fu Ting was destroyed. The three major secret societies that surfaced and gained public attention were the Triads {Three Harmonies}, the Gua Lo Wui {Brotherhood}, and the Dai Doe Wui {Big Sword Society}. Of those who survived the Manchurian massacres, two Shaolin disciples escaped and were able to keep the Wing Chun system alive. The senior, a monk, was the twenty-second generation Shaolin Grandmaster, Yat Chum Dai Si. The other, his disciple, was named Cheung Ng. Not much is known about the history of Yat Chum Dai Si besides the knowledge that he was originally a high level monk from Northern Shaolin which later migrated to Southern Shaolin to join the efforts to help restore the Ming Dynasty. Cheung Ng, unsurpassed in literature, military skills, and dramatic opera, was originally a native of Hanbuck in Northern China. It was said that he had come from a family of generations of military men serving the Ming regime until the Manchurians killed his family. Seeking refuge and fleeing persecution, Cheung Ng fled to Northern Shaolin to become a monk. After spending some time in Northern Shaolin, he heard of the gatherings in Southern Shaolin in a place called the Hung Fa Ting and that their purpose was to restore the Ming regime. He then left Northern Shaolin to join the rebels in Southern Shaolin where he met the Shaolin Grandmaster Yat Chum Dai Si. It was there that he began his studies of the art that was to become Wing Chun. Before the Grandmaster's death, Grandmaster Yat Chun Dai Si passed on his high level Wing Chun knowledge to Cheung Ng. After the destruction of the Southern Shaolin Temple, Cheung Ng fled to Guangdong province. In order to keep his identity and Shaolin background from the Manchurian government, Cheung Ng founded the Red Boat Opera Troupe in Futsan. Known for its discipline and rules of conduct, the Red Boat Opera Troupe was an organization of talented stage performers who traveled in up and down the rivers of Southern China in red boats. This time period around the mid-to-late-1700s was known as the Red Boat Period. During his travels with the Red Boat Opera Troupe, Cheung Ng soon became known as "Tan Sao Ng" from the Opera Troupe because of his skillful usage of the dispersing hand maneuver while he demonstrated his marital arts mastery to subdue opponents during challenges. ("Tan Sao" means "dispersing hand".) Although the Hung Fa Wui (Red Flower Society) was destroyed, Tan Sao Ng continued his mission to unite the people against the Manchurians to overthrow the Ching Dynasty. He established the Hung Fa Wui Goon troop {Red Flower Union} in memory of the Hung Fa Wui (Red Flower Society) and the Hung Fa Ting which was destroyed at Shaolin Temple. The Hung Fa Wui Goon outwardly appeared as a traveling opera troop, but was

actually a collection of secret society members that organized underground activities throughout China. Tan Sao Ng was very selective before he allowed any initiates to become a member. The initiates must prove themselves to be loyal and trust-worthy then after they must take 36 oaths and the 21 moral codes as well as the Secret Society Ritual of drawing blood. The Hung Fa Wui Goon troop members had the perfect disguise. As an Opera troop performer, Hung Fa Wui Goon members were able to travel from place to place unquestioned by the authorities. By day, they would perform operas and by night, they would gather with local underground organizations to coordinate antigovernment activities. These were very dangerous and turbulent times for anyone connected to Shaolin or any underground society. If discovered as a member of any underground movement, the Manchurians would immediately execute him so keeping anonymity was very important. Only select members of the Hung Fa Wui Goon troop were taught by Tan Sao Ng which were the first generation disciples of Wing Chun from the opera. Of those select students, few disciples were significant in the contribution to Wing Chun's history: Hung Gun Biu {Red Bandanna Biu}, Wong Wah Bo, Leung Yee Tei, and Dai Fa Min Kam {Painted Face Kam}. It is at this time that the art of Wing Chun continued to evolve, change, and adapt for several reasons. First of all, not all the disciples of Cheung Ng were members of the secret society. Due to the length of time spent with Cheung Ng and his need to keep the style hidden, not all his disciples shared the same experiences. Second, the Opera was a melting pot of both Northern and Southern Shaolin providing the performers access to a wide range of ideas, techniques, and training methods. This led some disciples to change and adapt according to their environment on the Red Boats and the influence of different martial art systems all present during that time.

Eventually the Manchurians suspected the Red Boat Opera Junks for supporting Anti-Manchurian activities. They began hunting for Anti-Manchurian collaborators. For Tan Sao Ng, it became very clear that it was time to change his identity once more and retreat into the security of the Secret Society underground. Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tai continued performing and were openly known for their Wing Chun skills. Dai Fa Min Kam left the opera troop some time later to teach Wing Chun privately. Hung Gun Biu, having been a distant relative of Tan Sao Ng, retreated with Tan Sao Ng into the underground. Hung Gun Biu continued being active in the Anti-Manchurian affairs as well as receiving the full knowledge of Wing Chun by Tan Sao Ng taught to him to its entirety and in full confidence. Hung Gun Biu's lineage followed a tradition to pass down the complete system only to family members who took a traditional ceremonial Shaolin vow of secrecy. This lineage became known as Hung Suen {Red Boat} Wing Chun to the public, but it was referred to as Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun to the secret society of the past. The name "Hung Fa Yi" was used in reverence, as was the name the "Hung Fa Wui Goon" chosen by Tan Sao Ng, to remind the Wing Chun descendants of the direct connection from the Hung Fa Ting and the Hung Fa Wui than was established in Southern Shaolin. A generation later, many of the Hung Gun Biu's Secret Society descendants banded together in secret to fight for their country against the eight foreign countries that had slowly exploited China during the 1800's and early 1900's. They were the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, British, Japanese, Russian, Germans, and the Americans. Many of Hung Gun Biu's descendants fought and died with dignity for their country during the Boxer Rebellion. Hung Gun Biu's lineage continued during the early 1800's through his relative Cheung Gung, who passed on his knowledge and experience to his great nephew, Wang Ting. Wang Ting taught his son, Dr. Wang Ming of Saiquan, China. Dr. Wang Ming taught the entire system with its original concepts to only four disciples. One of these disciples was Garrett Gee. Sifu Gee comes from a family of great martial artist reaching back to the Song Dynasty. At the age of 5, Sifu Gee started his martial art training under the tutelage of his father. While attaining mastery of the various styles in his Kung Fu family lineage, Garrett Gee demonstrated an affinity and flair for swordmanship. He is an accomplished practitioner and instructor of traditional Kung Fu weapons styles. At age 13, Sifu Gee impressed Dr. Wang as they became acquainted while training daily in a park. Sifu Gee became the

last of Dr. Wang's four disciples who received full training in Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen. Sifu Gee has been teaching since his move to the US in 1975. Traditionally, Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen has been taught primarily from father to son and, until instruction of Garrett Gee by Dr. Ming Wang, was never taught outside the family. In order to preserve his art and to honor his Kung Fu lineage, Sifu Gee has decided to pass on his knowledge to students who have a dedicated interest in this Wing Chun style. This is the first time that Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen has been taught outside of China. The Ving Tsun Museum would like to thank Sifu Gee for bravely sharing his family lore with the Wing Chun world so that academic work on the roots of Wing Chun can continue. He has done so with the hope that other Wing Chun families will share their lore as well. Combined, we should be able to give enough information to the scholars of today to piece together the real history of our roots and lay many legends to rest. For further information about Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen, please contact Master Garrett Gee at 140 Los Banos Ave, Daly City, CA 94014, (650) 755-1394 or the Ving Tsun Museum at 5715 Brandt Pk., Dayton, OH 45424, (937) 236-6485. Benny Meng, a Disciple of Moy Yat from the Yip Man lineage, is the current Ving Tsun Museum Curator. Matthew Kwan is a martial artist based in the San Francisco area. Both are studying Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen under Sifu Gee.

Unraveling the history of Wing Chun's Butterfly Swords


By Benny Meng and Richard Loewenhagen
Wing Chun Kung Fu has become one of the most widely practiced martial arts of the 20th century, yet its history remained aloof and shrouded amidst myths until a courageous and unselfish teacher recently stepped forward and shared serious historical knowledge with the Ving Tsun Museum and, ultimately, the Wing Chun world. Since 1993, the Ving Tsun Museum in Dayton, Ohio has aggressively pursued leads around the globe in an all-out effort to help the Wing Chun community identify its true roots and origins. Recent publications and press releases from the Museum have revealed one of the most promising links to date to the actual origins of the art -- Master Garret Gee and other members of the Hung Gun Bui family practicing Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen. Fabled stories of a woman named Yim Ving Tsun exist in virtually every Wing Chun family. Books and even movies have popularized the myth that the art originated with her defeat of a local bully in Fatshan, China. In truth, Wing Chuns history is much more complex and far reaching than this simple myth can convey. This article will reveal the developmental history of Wing Chun's unique swords as taught by one of its original founders, Cheung Ng (Tan Sao Ng), and remove some of the myths that have previously pervaded any study of their origin. In Wing Chun, learning the Butterfly Swords is considered to be a highly advanced stage of learning that represents completing the system. In many cases, only a few students are ever taught the sword level of Wing Chun because it requires advanced comprehension of the nature of the art itself and how the sword is woven into every aspect of the system. Consequently, knowledge of the sword is considered very sacred and oftentimes protected secretively. Although there are those who perform and practice the Wing Chun Swords today, very few people are familiar with the history and background of their origination. Before examining these origins, it is essential to validate the background and credentials of our information source -- Master Garret Gee (Chu King-Hun). Master Gee comes from a family line renowned for intellectual leadership, statesmanship, and excellence in martial arts and military matters. One prominent ancestor was Zhu Xi, a political leader and teacher in the Song Dynasty. Zhu Xi is credited as being one of the key figures in the revival of Confucianism through the establishment of academic

institutions, active correspondence with fellow scholars, publication of over 90 books, and extensive instruction of personal disciples. An imperial decree issued decades after his death designated several of his published commentaries as required reading for all government students. During the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Xi was officially elevated to the stature of Confucius and his birth was celebrated twice yearly. In more recent history, Master Gees grandfather, Chu Jun-Bak, achieved prominence as a military leader and master instructor at the prestigious Wong Bo Military Academy. The Wong Bo Academy is the foremost military school in China with a reputation and distinction that makes it Chinas equivalent to the West Point Military Academy in the United States. Chinas greatest generals have traditionally been schooled at Wong Bo Academy. Master Gee, himself, displayed significant martial arts talent at a very early age. He began training under the tutelage of his father at the age of 5. He quickly demonstrated a profound affinity and talent for swordsmanship, as well as other Kung Fu weapons. By the time he was 13 years old he so impressed Dr. Wang Ming (one of the descendents of Cheung Ng and a teacher of Wing Chun from the Hung Fa Yi Secret Society) that he became the last of Dr. Mings four disciples. The evolution of the Wing Chun Butterfly Sword we use today progressed through three primary stages of development. The first stage was its creation as a defensive, non-killing weapon created by the Shaolin monks. Originally, the butterfly sword was very different from the Wing Chun sword we see today. The butterfly sword was designed to meet the training and defense needs of Shaolin monks. In harmony with Buddhist philosophy and teachings, the monks designed the weapon for parrying, disarming, and cutting -- not for killing. Consequently, the blade was structured with dull edges on top and bottom to be used for interception of an opponents weapons. As indicated in the attached drawing, only the first 3 inches (the curved part) of the blade were sharpened. The remainder of the blade, top and bottom, was solid and dull for parrying and non-lethal striking purposes. The monks created the dull blade on the butterfly sword not only because it was a weapon of self-defense, but also because the dull blade added thickness for extra support to the structure of the sword. Having a sharpened blade on the butterfly sword was useful for chopping but because of the thin edge of the sword, the blade could easily be damaged or broken when defending against a longer, heavier weapon in combat. For this reason, the Shaolin monks preferred the sturdier blade. Today's Wing Chun sword techniques still emphasize parrying, obstructing, or intercepting an opponent's weapon. These remain highly consistent with the original design and intent of the blade itself. In the Shaolin Temple, the butterfly sword was not mass-produced to a specific length. Rather, the length of each butterfly sword was customized to the practitioner. Specifically, the blade measured from the practitioners wrist to his or her elbow. The monks heavily stressed the need to tailor the butterfly sword to its intended practitioner. An unfitted blade, used as intended, could easily harm the user and limit the mobility of his arms and body. In contrast, the width of the blade did not vary. It remained 3 inches from top to bottom starting at the hilt and extending to the start of the blade curvature near the tip. The 3-inch width was selected because it approximates the width of a developed male wrist. The thickness of the blade varied, dependent upon the sword maker, but was usually about 1/8th of an inch throughout. The handle of the sword sported a guard in the shape of a hook with an open end. The monks used this guard to trap an opponents weapon and quickly disarm them. Again, this was consistent with Buddhist philosophy -- disarm an enemy rather than kill him. All in all, the Shaolin Butterfly Sword was considered a small weapon in contrast to its counterparts. This was intentional as the monks wished to conceal the sword beneath their robes while traveling. They could move about in public without being questioned or creating an improper image in respect to their Buddhist teachings. As noted above, the original Shaolin usage of the blades was deeply rooted in Buddhist beliefs. Killing was not an option. Both the blade and the training methods for using it centered around parrying, disarming, and cutting. It was considered far more humane to surgically cut tendons at the joints, thereby maiming an opponent rather than killing him. The change in shape and intended function of the swords was a direct result of the creation of the Wing Chun fighting system with the specific intent of training revolutionaries to engage the imperial troops of the Ching Dynasty. According to Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen, the Double Butterfly Swords form seen in Shaolin Kung Fu was first created by the Fut Pai Hung Mun (Buddhist Hung Mun). The Fut Pai Hung Mun was a secret society

existing within the Southern Shaolin Temple itself. This societys primary goal was to oppose the Ching Dynasty that arose from the Manchurian conquest of China in the 17th century, and to restore the Ming family to the throne. They needed an art that was efficient to train and employ. They needed an art that was complete in that it consistently developed empty hand skills along with both long and short, as well as single to double, weaponry. Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun tradition further instructs that two Shaolin Wing Chun masters survived the Manchurian massacre at the Southern Shaolin Temple. They are credited with keeping the Wing Chun system alive. The senior of the two masters was Yat Chum Dai Si, a 22nd generation Shaolin Grand Master. The second was Cheung Ng (Tan Sao Ng). Very little information remains today of the ensuing history of Yat Chum Dai Si. Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun tradition holds that he was originally trained in and belonged to the Northern Shaolin Temple at Shong Shon. He later moved to the Southern Temple as part of the joint effort to secretly develop the Wing Chun style of fighting during the effort to train rebels for restoring the Ming Dynasty to power. It was there that he met Cheung Ng. Cheung Ng was reported to be a highly educated man with an extensive background in both literary and military skills. He often performed in dramatic opera. It is believed that he was originally a native of Hanbuck and that his family had served the Ming regime for generations as military tacticians and warriors. The Manchurians destroyed his family and Cheung Ng fled to the Northern Shaolin Temple seeking refuge. He was accepted as a Shaolin disciple and trained at the temple. It was there that he learned of Yat Chum Dai Sis activities at the Southern Temple and the gatherings in a place called Hung Fa Ting where training and planning for the restoration of the Ming Dynasty took place. He then left the Northern Temple to join the rebels in the Southern Temple. Under Yat Chum Dai Si he began his studies of the art that was to become Wing Chun. Following the destruction of the Southern Shaolin Temple in the mid-seventeenth century, Cheung Ng is believed to have fled to Guangdong Province. The city of Fatshan is widely accredited with being the birthplace of Wing Chun. Historically, it is important to note that Fatshan is in Guangdong Province. It is also historically interesting to note that Fatshan is also credited to be the birthplace of the Red Boat Opera Company. Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun tradition holds that Cheung Ng formed the Red Boat Opera Company as a means of disguising rebel activity and supporting his teaching of Wing Chun Kung Fu to rebel leaders. The Red Boat Company was noted for its discipline and rules of conduct. With its talented performers and tight discipline, coupled with the logistic advantages of traveling up and down Chinas rivers at will, it is logical to assert that the Red Boat Opera Company was capable of promoting covert training and instruction of rebel warriors throughout Southern China in the art of Wing Chun. These historical events lead us to the second stage of evolution of the traditional Shaolin butterfly sword into todays Bot Jom Doa. This stage was greatly influenced by the fighting needs of the Secret Society of Hung Fa Wui (the Red Flower Society) and the Hung Gun Bui family. With the passing of time, revolutionary fighting against the Manchurians and the Ching Dynasty increased in intensity and the blade began its transition from a defensive oriented parrying weapon to an offensive weapon designed to kill. To make the blade more suitable to warfare, the revolutionary secret society members of the Hung Fa Wui sought to make it more lethal. According to Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen tradition, Cheung Ng, himself, modified the traditional butterfly sword to create a practical battlefield weapon. Although the changes he made initially were subtle, when combined with the latest, foremost fighting system of Wing Chun as the foundation, the results were very lethal. This new version of the butterfly sword represented a new stage of development for the weapon and its use, but the knowledge of the modifications and training to use them were never disclosed by Grand Master Tan Sao Ng or the Secret Society to the general public. The modified swords were known to the Secret Society as the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Double Butterfly Swords. The Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Swords were very similar to the traditional version. Most of the top and bottom of the blade remained straight. But, the design was altered at the tip to accommodate thrusting and stabbing motions. To this end, they trimmed the front of the blade, adding a curvature and sharpened point that gave the sword the appearance of a large dagger. The notched area was then sharpened and blood grooves were added to the sides of

the blade. This enabled blood to drain more easily when the point of the sword pierced the stomach or other organs. Although the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Swords are not generally known to the public, the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen still practice with them according to the original form and routines taught by Grand Master Tan Sao Ng. Their intent is to preserve the knowledge of the swords use and the methods employed by the revolutionaries to train them. With centuries of interaction among the different styles of Southern China, the Wing Chun Sword continued to evolve. The third phase of evolution of the Shaolin Butterfly Swords into the Wing Chun Sword and Bot Jom Doa training form we know today took place in the 19th century. This modern version of the Butterfly Sword has many variations in shape, but the biggest difference is that all have sharpened the entire length of the blade. Another type of blade also evolved during this modern period. It is called the Tiger's Head Blade. It shares the same characteristic of sharpness throughout its entire length, but it also incorporates a significant curvature or bow toward the front half of the blade. In summary, there are three primary eras of development of the Butterfly Swords. Out of these eras have come four distinct types of blades heavily influenced by applications relevant to that period. The first blade originated from Shaolin. It consisted of a 3-inch wide blade with only the first 3 inches of the blade sharpened. The next blade originated with the Secret Societies. It consisted of the same 3 inch wide blade with a modified tip to make it more lethal when used for stabbing. The third blade originated in the modern era and is distinguished by sharpening the entire blade. The final blade is the Tiger's Blade with its bowed front. Oftentimes, advanced practitioners will focus on weapons training by examining technical details of current uses and applications. In contrast, an approach that focuses on the evolution of a weapon can give the practitioner a whole new perspective on use and application. Such is the case with the Wing Chun Butterfly Swords. A Note About the Authors: Sifu Benny Meng is the principle founder and Curator of the Ving Tsun Museum. He has traveled extensively throughout the world researching the roots of the art and studying the training methods and applications employed in virtually every lineage of Wing Chun Kung Fu. Sifu Meng has been certified through Senior Instructor's level by the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. Likewise, he is a full time teacher of Wing Chun Kung Fu and is available for professional seminars on historical, as well as technical, aspects of the art and its training methods. Sifu Meng can be reached at the Ving Tsun Museum, 5715 Brandt Pike, Dayton, Oh, 45424, phone/fax (937) 236-6485 and emailed at BennyMeng@vtmuseum.org. For further information about Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen, please contact Master Garrett Gee at 140 Los Banos Ave, Daly City, CA 94014, (650) 755-1394 or the Ving Tsun Museum.

PUTTING MYTHS TO REST -- THE TRUE ROOTS OF WING CHUN KUNG FU


BY Benny Meng and Richard Loewenhagen
Anthropologists have long taught that myths and legends die hard, if ever. This is certainly the case with the fables and stories surrounding the roots of Wing Chun (often spelled "Ving Tsun") Kung Fu. For many years now martial arts families and writers have perpetuated the myth that five monks survived the burning of the Northern Shaolin Temple at Shong Shan Mountain in the Hunan Province of China, and that one or more of these monks created the Wing Chun artform. In truth, Wing Chun is a Southern Shaolin art in virtually every respect of structure and movement. It was the burning of the Southern Shaolin Temple, in the Province of Fukien, that released Wing Chun to the revolutionary hotbed surrounding the Ching Dynasty. More than 20 monks actually

survived that disaster and helped promote the growth of three key fighting styles amongst revolutionary societies. Those styles were Crane, Hungar, and Wing Chun. To complicate matters even further, the proponents of the Northern Shaolin Temple / Five Monk Theory also hold that one of the "monks" was actually a woman named Ng Mui. They believe she designed and developed the art of Wing Chun and later taught it to another woman, named Yim Wing Chun, after whom the art was eventually named. Aside from the fact that Buddhist monasteries were not in the habit of training females along with males in a celibate monastic environment, least of all the very traditional Northern Shaolin Temple at Shong Shan, evidence now reflects that Yim Wing Chun never existed. Recent findings uncovered by historians and martial arts teachers feeding continuous streams of information and documentation to the Ving Tsun Museum in Dayton, Ohio -- and verified through extensive travel by the Museum Curator and staff to substantiate sources and documentation -- reveal that Ng Mui played no role in the creation or development of Wing Chun Kung Fu, if she ever existed at all. This fact is verified through crossreferencing information from the history of the Cantonese Opera, Chinese secret societies, various Wing Chun lineages, and, ultimately, recorded Chinese history. These findings further reveal that Yim Wing Chun was a mythical character carefully constructed by the art's true founders to keep both its origins and its teachers secreted from Ching Dynasty authorities. "Wing Chun" itself means "Everlasting Spring" symbolizes its founders' focus on the "rebirth" of the Ming Dynasty. During the early 18th century when the Southern Shaolin Temple was destroyed, a suffix was added to the Chinese character "Wing" to change its meaning "to praise." This was a reminder to the art's practitioners to spread the word continuously about a rebirth of the Ming Dynasty. The Chinese verb "Yim" means "to be discrete or secret." By adding the two words together in the mythical founder's name, the true founders were instructing followers to remain discrete about the art's origins and practitioners, but to continue to speak out about the return of the Ming family to the throne. The burning of the Southern Shaolin Temple represents a significant turning point in martial arts history. For the first time in over 1,000 years, the monks moved the teaching and spread of their kung fu outside of the temple walls. In essence, Wing Chun Kung Fu is the culmination of a military development effort (of both the Northern and Southern Shaolin Temples) funded by Ming Dynasty family members and sympathizers. The project's intention was to employ the monk's extensive knowledge of human physiology and animal fighting postures in the development of a fighting style centered around natural human motion. In addition, the style had to lend itself to training revolutionaries in minimal time without 10 years of acrobatic discipline. Finally, the style needed to be accompanied by highly scientific training methods grounded in a system that could be replicated to guarantee production of top notch fighters in far less time than it took to train Imperial fighters in the Ching army. Some might question the contention that religious monks would engage in such a military development effort. In point of fact, military endeavors were not new to the Shaolin monks. They were fiercely loyal to the Ming Dynasty. Royal family money greatly enhanced the Shaolin monasteries' growth and influence throughout their respective provinces. In support of the Ming Dynasty, a powerful fighting force of Shaolin monks was organized and employed on numerous occasions to border regions in an attempt to hold back Manchurian incursions. It is not a stretch of the imagination that the monks would develop styles and training methods tailored to aiding Ming Dynasty revolutionaries recapture the throne from the Manchurians and the Ching Family. While a complete list of key players in the monk's support of revolutionary activities and the ultimate development of Wing Chun Kung Fu is still being researched, some principle figures have already been identified. The first was a Buddhist monk originally from the Northern Shaolin Temple with the alias "Chiu Yuen." His real name was "Chu Ming." He was one of the surviving members of the Ming Family who took shelter in the monastery as a monk following the fall of the Ming Dynasty. He learned all that he could of the monk's fighting styles and used his knowledge and money to continuously foment anti-Manchurian activities. His actions were highly responsible for the ultimate burning of both Shaolin temples by soldiers of the Ching army.

The second principle figure in the monk's revolutionary activities used the alias "Da Jung." His real name remains unknown, but his past and origins are not so hidden. Prior to his arrival at the Southern Shaolin Temple, he was a Ming military officer from the northern provinces. He fled south when the Ming Dynasty fell and sought shelter in the Southern Temple. He is truly important to the history of the Southern Temple because, prior to his arrival, kung fu was not of primary interest there. He is what Chinese martial arts traditionalists would call a "Joi Si," or "First Leader," because he is believed to be the first person to give his extensive knowledge of Chinese Kung Fu to the Southern Shaolin Temple. In the process of teaching his martial arts at the Temple, he formed a secret society known as the "Buddhist Hung Moon." The society's express purpose was the overthrow of the Ching Dynasty. It was this organization that was used to link Northern and Southern Shaolin revolutionary activities together. Secret sub-societies were formed to carry out the intent of the Buddhist Hung Moon, the most significant being the "Hung Fa Wui" (Red Flower Society) and another counterpart organization on the island of Formosa, called Tien Dei Wui (Heaven and Earth Society). The Formosa based society was established by one of the last surviving Ming general officers, Cheng Sing Kung. Following the destruction of the Shaolin Temples, surviving members of both the Hung Fa Wui and the Tien Dei Wui extended their efforts to numerous other resistance organizations and personages loyal to the Ming and interested in training revolutionary fighters. The common battle cry was "Overthrow the Ching and Restore the Ming." This expansion of influence and cooperation gave rise to new secret societies that ultimately gained public attention, the most notable being the "Triads," (Three Harmonies), the Gua Lo Wui (Brotherhood), and the Dai Doe Wui (Big Sword Society). Two additional key figures are credited with keeping the Wing Chun system of martial arts alive following the burning of the temples. The senior was a 22nd generation Shaolin Grandmaster named Yat Chum Dai Si. The second was his principle disciple, named Cheung Ng. Yat Chum Dai Si was originally trained in the Northern Shaolin Temple, where he eventually attained very high stature as a monk. He transferred to the Southern Temple following the arrival there of Da Jung. It would be easy to surmise that Da Jung may have had significant influence in bringing this great martial arts master to the Southern Temple to participate in the creation of Wing Chun and other fighting styles. More information is available about the origins and activities of the disciple, Cheung Ng. He was a highly educated man who possessed great literary and operatic skills, as well as extensive military training. He is believed to have descended from a Hanbuck family noted for producing generations of military men who served the Ming Regime. For certain, the Ching Dynasty wasted no time in attempting to kill all of the Ng family in Hanbuck. Cheung Ng himself fled to the Northern Temple and sought shelter there as monk sometime after the departure of Yat Chum Dai Si for the Southern Temple. While at the Northern Temple, Cheung Ng heard rumors of the activities of the Hung Fa Wui at the Southern Temple in a place called "Hung Fa Ting." This was the gathering hall for the members of the Hung Fa Wui where revolutionary activities were planned. Wishing to participate in these activities, he sought and obtained permission to leave the Northern Temple and traversed to the Southern Temple where he met Yat Chum Dai Si. Under this Grandmaster, he began his study of the art that was to become Wing Chun Kung Fu. Following the Southern Temple's destruction, Cheung Ng escaped to Guongdong province. There he used his previous knowledge of literature and opera to create the perfect disguise for himself and the continuation of revolutionary activities. He formed the Red Boat Opera Troupe. Many legends of Kung Fu history make reference to a famous character named "Tan Sao Ng." Indeed, these legends refer to Cheung Ng, who was quite famous during opera performances for skillful usage of the redirecting and dispersing hand technique of Wing Chun known today as "Tan Sao." This article sheds significant light on the "Ng Mui (a possible alias for Cheung Ng)/ Yim Wing Chun (a fictional person's name for the newly created fighting system)" legend about the origins of Wing Chun. More can be said of the activities of the Red Boat Opera Troupe in the spread of Wing Chun Kung Fu, and about the Hung Fa Wui Goon troupe Cheung Ng formed to carry on the memory and activities of the Hung Fa Wui society destroyed by the Temple burnings. However, additional information is far too extensive to elaborate in this single article. Future articles will focus on the art's growth and development as a result of its roots in the Red Boat Opera

Troupe. For now, suffice it to say, that secrecy of its origins and Cheung Ng's role in its creation mandated that not all of his students, nor all of the opera troupe's players, were members of the Hung Fa Wui Goon. The authors would like to give special thanks to all of the Sifus and professional historians who provided evidence to finally put the Ng Mui/Yim Wing Chun legend to rest. Particular thanks must be given to Sifu Garret Gee (6th Generation) who represents Cheung Ng's legacy.

Understanding the Wing Chun Punch


By Benny Meng and Richard Loewenhagen
Wing Chun Kung Fu is based on a system designed for one purpose - hand to hand combat! The system itself was designed by Chinas famous Shaolin monks following the fall of the Ming Dynasty to the Ching. The monks' immediate goal was to turn ordinary citizens into elite combat troops in the shortest possible time. Their ultimate goal was to help the Ming Royal Family create revolutionary armies capable of defeating the Ching Dynasty and restoring the Ming to the throne of China. These revolutionary troops, like todays elite special forces, had to be capable of defeating imperial soldiers possessing years of professional military training and combat experience. Only a complete martial arts system focused on human physiology and based on the principles of simplicity, efficiency, and directness -- coupled with a fully integrated subsystem of training methodologies -- could be expected to achieve these goals. Every movement of the hands and feet had to be coordinated with body unity and full body energy. At the same time, each movement needed to facilitate direct application of fighting skills. Consequently, every technique needed to reflect the entire system by adhering to the same principles of simplicity, efficiency, and directness while contributing to the sole output product of the system -- combat ability. The same can be said of the strategies and tactics needed to employ these techniques. The success of the monks' efforts to create such a system is highly evident in one of the systems simplest, yet most elegant and effective techniques, the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Punch. The punch is so named to give credit to the secret society (the Hung Fa Yi) responsible for passing the monks' complete system on to secret revolutionary fighting cells and, ultimately, to todays Wing Chun practitioners. This single technique clearly illustrates the principles of simplicity, efficiency, and directness. To fully understand this illustration, we will examine the following underlying concepts of the Wing Chun system: body structure/unity, the Five-Line Concept, stance mobility and footwork, the Triangle Theory, and the Gate Concept. The Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun punch is considered by most experts to be the most effective hand to hand combat punch because it is the most direct (travels the shortest distance) and is supported by the entire body structure rather than just the arm and shoulder. In much the same way that a building is supported by a strong foundation, the body structure specified by the Wing Chun system provides the punch its maximal effectiveness. For this reason, prior to training for the development of speed, power, and sensitivity, Wing Chun practitioners first emphasize and train body structure and unity. In forming the Wing Chun punch, the wrist is never bent. It is held straight such that the bones on the back of the hand are aligned with those of the wrist and forearm allowing for the strongest shock impact supported by the rest of the arm, body, and root. In contrast, a bent wrist engenders two major problems for a combat fighter: the risk of self-injury, and the unintended dissipation of shock energy. The bent wrist is prone to impact-induced injury associated with the wrist bending back violently. Unintended dissipation of shock energy occurs when the bones are not fully aligned; upon impact, the energy from the punch travels two different directions (one forward and

one sideward). To further comprehend proper body structure and unity for supporting the punch, the practitioner must fully understand the Five-Line Concept of Wing Chun. It is crucial to the execution of the punch. The Five-Line Concept is based on reference lines that extend from specific points on the body to specific points in front of the body. The included drawing depicts these lines and their relationship to the upper and middle reference points and the upper gate. The lines themselves can be categorized as three Yang lines and two Yin lines. Two of the three Yang lines, also referred to as Zero lines, are located at the borders of the body at the tips of the shoulders. The third Yang line is called the One line or Centerline and divides the body in half vertically. This line is considered the one true line of the body and covers many vulnerable vital points of human anatomy. The two Yin lines are located midway between the Yang lines and are sometimes referred to as the Nipple lines. The Hung Fa Yi introduce the Five-Line Concept in the opening of Wing Chuns first form, Siu Nim Tao. The arms are raised, fingers to eye level, palms down, straight up along the Yang borderlines. This motion identifies the border of the body which must be protected. Then, in a single motion, the fists are clenched, turned at a 45 degree angle while aligning the elbow along the Yin line, and the knuckles are lowered to the throat level. The elbows, pointing down, are kept one fist distance from the body and lined up with the Yin lines. When retracting the punch, Jang Dai Lik, or elbow power, is developed by drawing the elbows back and out to the sides of the body, while never bringing the elbows closer than one fist distance from the body. Stance mobility and footwork are emphasized next in developing punch comprehension. The footwork of Wing Chun never advances in a straight line. Advancing straight forward gives the opponent an equal opportunity to attack and oppose force with force, thereby creating a head-on collision of speed and power. For example, if the opponent extends both hands from his body to the centerline, his arms inscribe a triangle surrounding his center space. Advancing straight forward would bring an opponent directly into the tip of that triangle, the point of its greatest strength. Rather than take this approach, the footwork of the Wing Chun system advances through angulation. Closing on an opponent at an angle gives the practitioner control over his own timing and his opponents five lines. At an angle the opponents five lines are facing away from the practitioner. To provide the needed mobility, the practitioner maintains an equal weight distribution in his stance throughout his stepping and bracing to effectuate the angulation and subsequent advancement. The next important facet of Wing Chun punch comprehension is training utilization of the triangle theory for maximum effectiveness. Maximum power and support are generated via the alignment of body components in these inherently solid triangular formations. Multiple triangles are created in the opening movements of Siu Nim Tao. The first triangle is identified in the accompanying drawing. The points of this triangle extend from the tip of the shoulder to the elbow (on the Yin line) to the center (on the One line). The elbow must line up exactly between the tip of the shoulder and the One line. By bringing the fists down and back along the Centerline so that the knuckles line up at throat level, another triangle is created between the upper reference point and the middle reference point. The upper reference point is located between the nose and the upper lip. The middle reference point is located in front of the sternum. A third triangle is formed with the elbow, tailbone, and the knee. Combined, these three triangles describe a properly held fist. When a force is applied to such a fist, the elbow, hip, and root support it. The Siu Nim Tao form teaches the practitioner to keep the tailbone tucked in while punching so as to avoid leaning into the punch. The second point of support is the knee. The hip on the punching side is tucked in and the toes of the same side foot point to the target, the opponents center. The toes of this foot must point to the target so that the knee bends in such a way as to have the most effective support from the heel. The correct structure of the Wing Chun punch can be easily assessed. To test your own Wing Chun punch structure, have your partner start by having one palm over his other palm against your fist. Next, he should lean with all his weight so that he is on his toes and his back is straight. Any distortion in your punch structure, such as an outward turned toe (on the same side as the punch) or the elbow drifting outside the triangle, will result in an inability to support your partners weight.

In throwing the Wing Chun punch (or open hand strike), the practitioner always attacks the upper gate, even in practice. The upper gate is also identified in the Siu Nim Tao form. The wrists are crossed like an X at the upper reference point (between the nose and the upper lip). The space above the elbows represents the upper gate. Before the punch extends in Siu Nim Tao, the wrist is lined up in front of the sternum. The fist is held so that the bottom three knuckles create the striking surface. This initial position protects the centerline. If an opponent intercepts the punch early in its travel, the practitioner has two options. A stronger practitioner can overcome his opponents weaker energy, while the smaller practitioner must adjust with footwork. As the punch extends it continues to the upper gate position (knuckles between the nose and upper lip). As this extension occurs, the entire forearm travels in a straight line, followed by constant direct support from the elbow. The elbow is continually lined up on the Yin line but never fully extended. By keeping his elbow on the Yin line, the practitioner can easily intercept his opponents inside attack with his own forearm, no matter how fast that attack develops. When a smaller practitioner punches a larger opponents body, it may not be as effective as desired. But the eyes, nose, and teeth, located at the upper gate, are fragile. A strike to the eyes will disable the opponent, resulting in his inability to see and, therefore, his inability to fight. If a smaller practitioner punches low, the larger opponent protecting his upper gate can counter with a Saat Geng Sau (knife hand to the throat). Attacking the upper gate keeps the opponent occupied. The opponent cannot ignore the fact that an attack is aimed at his face. This keeps him on the defensive and the practitioner retains the offensive advantage. Executed properly, the Wing Chun punch allows even the small practitioner maximum punching effectiveness, because it is supported by his entire body structure. The structure of the punch gives the opponent difficulty in countering with such common techniques as Biu Sau (thrusting fingers) or Pak Sau (slapping hand). If the opponent applies Biu Sau, he would have to uplift the practitioners entire body weight to effectively break his structure. From the initial emphasis on body structure, the Wing Chun practitioner advances into concepts dealing with time and space factors. With an understanding of time and space factors, speed and power become secondary considerations. In traditional Wing Chun, as practiced and passed on to us by the Hung Fa Yi, techniques become an expression of the application of the arts concepts, principles, and theories. The precision of that expression is constantly evaluated using the sciences of physics and physiology in conjunction with body structure, and ultimately weighed against the all encompassing principles of simplicity, efficiency, and directness. Thus we come full circle back to where we started. Such is the nature of any journey through a true system or any of its properly functioning subsystems. Wing Chun Kung Fu is based on the science of fighting and the absolute sciences of physics, physiology and kinesthetics. It is supported by a highly structured training methodology that ensures the student/practitioner derives maximum attributal development from these sciences. Properly adhered to, the Wing Chun system can replicate elite fighters who can readily demonstrate that the Wing Chun punch has the entire system behind it! The authors would like to give special thanks to Sifu Garret Gee for the technical details provided on behalf of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen.

A Note About the Author: Sifu Benny Meng is the principle founder and Curator of the Ving Tsun Museum. He has traveled extensively throughout the world researching the roots of the art, and studying the training methods and applications employed in virtually every lineage of Wing Chun Kung Fu. Sifu Meng is a full time teacher of Wing Chun Kung Fu and is available for professional seminars on historical, as well as technical, aspects of the

art and its training methods. Sifus Garret Gee and Benny Meng can be reached through the Ving Tsun Museum, 5717 Brandt Pike, Dayton, Oh, 45424, phone (937) 236-6485 and emailed at BennyMeng@vtmuseum.org.

The Secret History of Wing Chun: The Truth Revealed


(also appeared as "Wing Chun Controversy: Is this the truth about Wing Chun's History")

By Benny Meng and Alfredo Delbrocco


"The first casualty when war comes is truth." -- Hiram Johnson Preface Although the world itself has not gotten smaller, life in the Information Technology Age (via the media of email and Internet) has made contact and communication with people around the globe easier. Consequently, it is now harder for information and research to be constrained or concealed, or for only one perspective to be put forward. Most importantly, it means that certain myths will not be perpetuated. Information pointing to the historical origins of Wing Chun kung fu is one of them. Put simply, the harsh truth is this: the myth of the Buddhist nun, Ng Mui and her disciple Yim Wing Chun, the supposed founders of the Wing Chun system, is just that - a myth. As the internet has brought information more readily to us, it has come to light that the story of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun was merely a way to conceal the truth about the system's origins and the identities of the political rebels who truly developed it. After almost 400 years, mounting evidence is pointing to the truth of Wing Chun's creation and evolution. The question is: is the kung fu world ready for it? There is no doubt that the information about to be disclosed will ruffle feathers to say the least. This is mainly because many Wing Chun instructors throughout the world are naively, and through no fault of their own, imparting a romanticized, fantastical history of the Wing Chun system. They are telling and retelling a story that is little more than a fairytale. A view of the traditional legends with an eye on history reads as an even more fascinating point of view. And no less deserving of the term `legendary'... Secrets in the Shadows of Shaolin As near as history can testify, Wing Chun was developed around 400 years ago in a time of civil unrest. Between 1644 to 1911, the Manchurians ruled China, where 10% of the population (the Manchus) ruled over 90% of the population (the Hons). To maintain control over the Hons, the Manchus ruled with an iron fist. Aggression and oppression were the cornerstones of the Dynasty and the Hons were banned from using weapons or training in the martial arts. Thus, in order to overthrow their oppressors, rebel activity was instigated by martial arts masters in hiding. Rebel activity developed rapidly in the Buddhist monasteries, which were largely left alone by the Manchus out of respect for the Buddhist culture and religion. These Shaolin/Siu Lam sanctuaries were ideal places for renegades to conceal themselves - they simply shaved their heads and donned the monastic robes of the disciples

of the temple. During the day, the rebels would earn their keep by doing chores around the temple. At night, they would gather to formulate their plans to overthrow the Manchus. There are some that maintain that Shaolin/Siu Lam sanctuaries possessed no political leanings. They further emphasize that the Buddhist teachings of these monasteries would have prevented their support for rebels and secret societies. Such a position is emotional at best with no grounding in historical fact. Religious leaders throughout history, in both the Western as well as the Eastern world, have influenced politics and government since the beginning of time. Churches have forever harbored political victims sought by authorities believed to be oppressive. In the case China, serious precedent for such behavior on the part of the monasteries had already been set 400 years earlier. As verified by Ving Tsun Museum research, Jyu Yuhn Jeung, the man who led the Chinese revolt against the Mongol and established the Ming Dynasty was himself a Buddhist monk. Upon meeting, the revolutionaries identified themselves to each other with a secret hand-signal that would come to be the formal greeting or courtesy of Wing Chun. In fact, the traditional greeting or courtesy common to many of today's kung fu styles has two meanings. The first meaning recognizes the style's Shaolin origins - the left hand symbolizing the union of the Green Dragon (the left hand) and the White Tiger (the right hand), the fighting animals of the Shaolin monks. In the Hung Fa Yi (Red Flower Righteous) Lineage of Wing Chun, however, the hands are reversed: the left hand forms a fist and the right hand is open palm. It still retains its significance to Shaolin but it also refers to the secret society. In this context, the fist represents Yat (the Sun) and the palm represents Yuet (the Moon). Combined, these two characters mean "Bright" which reads and sounds like "Ming." This is the name of the previous Dynasty - the one overthrown by the Manchurians who formed the "Ching" Dynasty in its place. Hence, during the time of rebellion, when a Wing Chun practitioner or secret society member saluted with a fist and open palm pushed toward you, they were saying "Return the Ming, overturn the Ching." Obviously, this was not a sentiment shared by the Manchus. Late in the 1600's, the Manchurians became concerned about the Siu Lam Temples' rebellious activities and their continual development of the fighting arts. Therefore, they sent spies (many of them Manchu military leaders) to infiltrate the rebels and learn the traditional Southern fist systems as taught secretly in the Temples. The rebel kung-fu masters, realizing this, clandestinely developed a new system that was two-fold in purpose: firstly, it had to be learned quickly and efficiently, and secondly, it had to be devastatingly effective against the existing fighting systems that the Manchus were learning and teaching to their soldiers. Thus, Wing Chun was born. Their spy rings compromised, the Manchus decided to eliminate the threat of spreading rebel activity by simply exterminating the Siu Lam monks. Eventually, the Southern Siu Lam Temple was burned and destroyed. Extensive research conducted by the Ving Tsun Museum points to a generation of inheritors following the Southern temple's burning. Among them was a gentleman named Cheung Ng (referred to as Tan Sao Ng in other texts). Of this generation of inheritors, Cheung Ng is one to date that has proven to have historically existed. After establishing the Beautiful Flower Society Association (the precursor to the Red Opera and the public name for the Red Flower Society) and providing Wing Chun training to the secret societies, Cheung Ng went into hiding, disappearing from the public eye to escape Qing Dynasty persecution. He was hidden by distant relatives, a Fuk Gin business family named Chahn. The Chahn Sih Sai Ga (Chan family) were well established and wealthy. Through indirect action they were willing to help Cheung Ng. Staying with the family for over a decade, Cheung Ng taught the family the art of Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun. It was preserved by the family for four generations before it was taught to outsiders. The direct members of the Chahn family were never directly involved with the secret societies themselves, resulting in a low profile in Praise Spring Boxing history. The last generation of the Chahn family to learn the art was a distant nephew, a high level secret society leader, Huhng Gan Biu. In Qing archives as well as historical research into Chinese secret societies, a person by the name of Chahn Biu was recorded as the leader of the Heaven and Earth Society. He was caught and executed by the Qing authorities. Due to similar names appearing in difference sources at around the same timeframe, there is much debate as to whether the Opera's Biu and the Heaven and Earth Society's Biu were the

same person. According to members of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun clan, Huhng Gan Biu was the 4th generation leader of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun clan and his Wing Chun descendants have preserved the system through to the 8th generation Master Garrett Gee and his 9th generation students in today's modern era. It was at the fourth generation that history and truth parted ways and the myth of Wing Chun's origins was created. The Myth of Ng Mui and The Truth About Yim Wing Chun To protect the identities of the creators and the perpetuators of the Wing Chun system, a smokescreen was thrown up in the form of a story - the story of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun. The legend was told that among the survivors of the Shaolin/Siu Lam massacres was a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui. Ng Mui was believed to have been the sole custodian of a streamlined, highly practical and effective martial arts developed within the temples. In turn, Ng Mui is said to have passed her knowledge onto her chosen disciple, a young girl named Yim Wing Chun. As Yim Wing Chun taught the system to others, it became known as Wing Chun. The story spread and today many versions of it exist around the world. However, there are three important considerations to make when regarding the story of Ng Mui. Firstly, outside of the legend, there is no other evidence that Ng Mui - in her capacity as a kung-fu grandmaster or founder of a kung-fu system actually existed - no records, no historical documents - nothing. Secondly, it would have been forbidden for a nun to live in, let alone train within, a celibate monastic environment like the Siu Lam /Shaolin Temples. Thirdly, and perhaps the most important, after escaping from a life and death situation as a revolutionary, it does not make sense that Ng Mui would teach an advanced level fighting system to a local girl with romantic problems and no connection to the revolution. At that time in Chinese history, the Qing dynasty had devised a special form of punishment for traitors and rebels. After being made to confess his or her crimes, the guilty party was executed. Afterwards, Qing officials would hunt down members of the guilty party's family down to nine generations and execute them as traitors as well. Teaching Yim Wing Chun a martial arts would directly put her life at risk. With regards to the Yim Wing Chun element of the legend, consider once more the relevance of secret rebel societies. `Yim' can be translated to mean `prohibit' or `secret.' The term `Wing Chun' referred to a geographic location - the Siu Lam Wing Chun Tong (Always Spring Hall), where the rebels perhaps practiced martial arts and orchestrated their seditious activities. The use of the term Spring symbolized the rebirth of the Ming Dynasty and Always referred to the reestablished dynasty lasting forever. After the destruction of the Southern Shaolin temple and its Wing Chun Tong, the survivors changed the character of Wing from Always to Praise. The term Praise referred to the fact that the revolutionaries had to spread the word about the revolution after the destruction of their base. Thus, `Yim Wing Chun' was actually a codename, meaning (protect) the secret art of the Wing Chun Hall. If we now know that the destruction of the Siu Lam/Shaolin Temples occurred but that the story of Ng Mui was a diversion, the question remains: who were the real custodians of the Wing Chun system? Enter the Hung Suen We do know that many (not the legendary five) monks and rebel leaders escaped the Manchurian massacres and that, to aid the secrecy of the system, historical material was passed directly from teacher to student. Thus, the elders told of two Siu Lam monks/rebels who survived the temple raids and were able to keep their Wing Chun system alive. One of these was a monk, a 22nd generation Siu Lam Grandmaster, Yat Chum Dai Si from the Northern Shaolin temple. The other was a rebel training under him in the Southern Temple, named Cheung Ng. Fleeing the Manchurian persecutors, Cheung Ng founded the Kihng Fa Wui Gun (Beautiful Flower Society), the roots of the (in)famous Hung Suen (Red Boat) Opera Troupe.

Historically, we know that rebel activity flourished in the Red Boat Opera Troupe. The Red Boats allowed talented stage performers, accomplished in kung-fu and gymnastics, to form their own secret societies to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty. The Troupes provided the ideal sanctuary for fleeing rebels as the performers wore elaborate costumes and stage make-up, providing excellent but natural/plausible disguises for them. Additionally, the performers adopted and were known by their `stage-names', further cloaking their secret identities. When Cheung Ng founded the Opera Troupe he became known as Tan Sao Ng - not only a stage-name but also a sly nod to his skillful deployment of the Wing Chun deflection/striking technique, Tan Sao. An important fact to note is that so suspicious of the Manchus and their spies were these secret societies, that the true identities of the leaders, members and real nature of their activities were known only to an inner-circle within the society. Thus, genuine knowledge of kung-fu was passed only from a master to select, trusted disciples, thus protecting the purity and origins of the system. In conclusion With the development of many different lineages of Wing Chun over the centuries (over 10 are known to date), Wing Chun could simply be seen as a generic name for a style with so many lineages - no different to `karate' being a generic term to describe the various Japanese arts - varying and similar. However, this article has focussed on shedding light on the origins of Wing Chun. Indeed, to chart the development of the various lineages would require an entire book more complete than anything currently written. A complete historical and political analysis of Wing Chun's origins and development is currently being compiled in book form by the Ving Tsun Museum and should be available through major publication sources within the next twelve months. A hypothesis that Cheung Ng was indeed the inheritor of the art from Southern Temple and the guiding force behind its employment as a complete combat training system for rebels certainly has more historical weight behind it than the legend of a young girl. It represents a much more plausible explanation of Wing Chun's roots considering the completeness of the art in terms of total combat effectiveness. It also gels with the historical background of the times preceding the Red Boat Opera travels. However, as with all historical study, one hypothesis can give great impetus to further in depth study giving rise to even more revelations. In short, more study grounded in the proper structure and atmosphere of true historical research will get us even closer to reality. Hats off to the Ving Tsun Museum staff and researchers for moving our search into the realm of scientific investigation and giving us another starting point for serious research! Myths are often created to simplify something or to disguise the true nature of the subject to make it more palatable to the mind. Consequently, sometimes people want to believe the myths despite scientific or historical evidence to the contrary. A fiction can be more comforting than the truth; a fairytale easier to grasp than a treatise. The legend of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun is a great story. It just isn't true. In light of being told one story for centuries, it will be difficult for some to accept the truth in minutes, hours or even months. But studying the martial arts (and Wing Chun in particular) is a continual quest for truth - personal truth, social truth, spiritual truth and - yes - historical truth. I trust you have enjoyed your enlightenment on the true origins of Wing Chun.

Levels of Learning
By Jeremy Roadruck Assistant Editing by Richard Loewenhagen

Ving Tsun is a highly scientific art form centered on the principles of simplicity, efficiency, and directness. To learn it and pass it on properly requires "System Thinking." The nature of any system, or haih tng meaning "connected pieces" in Cantonese, is to yield an output greater than the sum of its parts. In the system of Ving Tsun Gng Fuh, the principles, techniques, attributes, strategies, tactics, and methodologies used to train and employ them are intricately interrelated. Together they produce a result that is far greater than the sum of its individual components. The practitioner must understand this system as a whole and the relationships between each of its components in order to progress efficiently. As a system, Ving Tsun builds upon itself. It begins with a scientific base of principles and concepts. Upon this base rest layers of core processes and sub-processes that constitute a methodology for developing and employing the art. The system is most efficient when optimal use of these processes is mapped out and viewed as a proper sequence of learning and developing. If the practitioner violates this sequence, learning is impeded, and inefficiency and confusion begin to take over training time. The final output product will eventually be flawed. Ving Tsuns sequence of learning and developing lends itself to a modern description of education and selfdevelopment on four distinct levels: Textbook, Laboratory, Intern, and Real Life. This brief treatise describes each of these levels of growth.

Kyhn Tou Textbook Level


Any course of study in a professional learning environment begins with a standardized text. Textbooks form the foundation of a formal learning program; they contain a progression from general information in the earlier chapters to specific information in latter chapters. Lesson plans, tests and quizzes, homework, and laboratory work all build from a course textbook. The phrase Kyhn Tou, meaning "fist set" is used to describe this level of information.In learning a physical activity such as Ving Tsun, the textbook exists as a physical activity often called forms. Forms serve as a repository of physical techniques and mental concepts. Forms serve as textbooks detailing the principles, techniques, body mechanics, fundamental attributes, concepts, and providing guidelines for the application of techniques for each stage of training. As an individual progresses through the training system, he or she is introduced to more complex concepts and body mechanics through the introduction to new and more complex forms. Physically, the use of forms introduce techniques (motions) and develop body structure. In this discussion, forms can mean body mechanics or a sequence of movements. There are two processes to developing body mechanics. One process has the individual train motions first. As an individual becomes more accustomed to the motion, details are pointed out to develop alignment and structure. The other process develops body structure with details from the beginning. After an individual has developed foundational body structure, he or she will train various, specific motions utilizing the developed body structure. In Ving Tsun, as ones physical foundation is developing, an individual is introduced to the basic tools of the training system. When first introduced, these tools are simple motions that serve to introduce general concepts. Eventually these motions are given specific meanings in relation to use, forms, and function. It is at that point that the motions become techniques. A technique is initially learned in pieces a fist and a stance, and it is eventually connected into one unit a punch. The Ving Tsun Museum defines a technique as "a motion with a purpose, supported by body structure and applied with tactics." A novice is introduced to a selection of fundamental body positions and movements. The introduction can be through the use of a few simple movements as evidenced in the G Luh (often written into english as Gu Lao) lineages, Yn Kih San (Yuen Kay-San) lineages, Jung Bu (Cheung Bo) lineages, and others. The

introduction can also be through the use of a more complicated collection of movements such as the Su Nihm Tuh (little idea in the beginning) form used by the Yihp Mahn (Yip Man) lineage and others. Regardless of format, the goal of this training remains the same. The novice begins to develop the most basic body mechanics that are reinforced throughout the rest of the training system. Each motion serves a purpose at some point in the training. Once an established foundation is developed, the novice is introduced to more complex body movements through the coordination of the body and the hands through movement in multiple directions. Using the Yip Man model of training as a reference, this represents the Chhm Kuh (searching the bridge) level of training. While more complicated than the Su Nihm Tuh level of training, the goal of the form remains the same to teach specific body mechanics and make the student capable at performing them. Chhm Kuh is built upon the foundation of Su Nihm Tuh. If an individuals Su Nihm Tuh skill and understanding is low, future development of Chhm Kuh must also be low. If an individuals Su Nihm Tuh is high, the potential for Chhm Kuh is also high. There is a direct relationship between ones ability at one stage of training in comparison to the previous stage of training. Bu J (thrusting fingers) training serves to take the structure developed in Su Nihm Tuh and the body coordination in movement developed in Chhm Kuh and increase speed to ones maximum potential. Bu J requires a strong foundation in both Chhm Kuh and Su Nihm Tuh. Forms serve as a tool for instructing a novice. A set of concepts and related techniques are presented to the novice in a format that is easily practiced and understood. Once a basic understanding and ability is developed, an additional set of concepts and techniques are presented. Forms also serve as a method of training. Through effort and consistent practice, the novice developed the proper mechanics to perform the appropriate techniques and, at the same time, developed the necessary attributes to make the techniques successful.

Ch Su Laboratory Level
This level of training serves as a laboratory to develop structure, attributes and concepts while also experimenting with techniques and an introduction to tactics. Activities at this level in Ving Tsun are classified as Saan Su (separate hands) or Ch Su (stick hands). Saan Su and Ch Su reinforce the knowledge gained from the Textbook level through various drills and exercises. Of primary importance is the reinforcement of the concepts previously introduced. Saan Su trains body structure and develops attributes using inconsistent contact and various ranges. Ch Su trains body structure and develops attributes using constant contact and stays in relatively the same range. Two processes are employed at this stage of training. One process starts with Ch Su to develop fine motor control and reaction skills. After the individual has developed the necessary attributes and reflexes, he or she progresses to Saan Su, focusing on the introduction of tactics. The other process starts with Saan Su to develop the individuals reactions and gross motor control and then proceeds to Ch Su to develop refined motor control and introduce tactics. This second process is then followed by extended range Ch Su to focus on ranges and angles. Both Saan Su and Ch Su serve as training devices. The use of contact with another person serves to strengthen the developed body structure of an individual. When practicing forms, the individual has no truly clear concept of how the structures being developed are put into application. Once introduced to Saan Su or Ch Su training, the individual is given a platform with which to test his or her body structure. Once that experience has been gained, the individual takes on a new understanding when playing forms; this process gives an understanding of the use of body structure in application, giving new depth and meaning to the forms. Skill is developed through the development of mental and physical attributes supported by an understanding of position and energy. The training environment at this stage begins as a cooperation. As the junior begins to gain proficiency, the senior begins to cooperate less and less. Towards the end of this stage the individuals involved do not cooperate and begin to compete with each other while staying within the confines of the training exercise and principles.

Maih Sn Jng Intern/Residency/Fieldwork Level

After developing a certain standard of techniques, body structure, attributes, and general tactics, the individual is introduced to the next training component. The goal of this component is to develop application of technical and tactical ability. This part of the training process is analogous to field work or working as an intern. The goal of the individual is to experience something approaching real life. This process is often called Maih Sn Jng or free sparring. At this point, training is more intense and follows the same progression as the previous component with respect to cooperation/competition. If any deficiencies are discovered at this stage, the individual can identify what needs work and return to previous training exercises to develop the missing component. The primary focus of this component is the application of tactics in a near-combat environment. This can be accomplished though free sparring or participation at various tournaments. The goal is to simulate real life. The use of contact with another person through less controlled circumstances such as Saan Su and Ch Su serves to develop the tactical and technical ability of an individual. When practicing Saan Su or Ch Su, one is not put into a situation that approaches the reality of combat in the same manner as Maih Sn Jng training. As experience is gained in sparring and similar activities, an individual is given a new understanding as to the applicability of Saan Su and Ch Su training. With more experience, Saan Su / Ch Su training and Forms training is approached from a different viewpoint. Also included at this point in the training is exposure to learning situations outside of the classroom setting. The individual is introduced to other concepts of fighting outside of Ving Tsun as a reference point. This introduction can take the form of Seminars, Workshops, Competitions, Tournaments, and more. Contact with different viewpoints also occurs in sparring and competition both within and without the individuals standard learning environment. The individual also gains experience at this stage through instruction of junior students.

Ju Gng Wh - Real World Level


The last level of the Ving Tsun System deals with psychological development. This occurs as the individual is faced with challenges and obstacles to training both internally and externally generated. The individual is "tested" in his or her Gng Fuh outside the confines of an organized, structured environment. This "test" can take the form of physical confrontation at one extreme and range through emotional to psychological to a philosophical response to life at the other extreme. In essence, this is where a finalized comprehension of "efficiency, directness, and economy of motion and resources" is developed. This level represents a significant portion of our lives spent dealing with the "other interests" and challenges to learning and teaching Ving Tsun. It takes long term persistence and staying power to truly master Ving Tsun Gng Fuh; this makes the journey a lifetime one. Many other aspects of life will compete directly and indirectly with this lifetime journey. Invariably, life brings challenges and opportunities to practice Ving Tsun on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. Examples include a change in job, a promotion, a new baby, the objections of spouses to training time, etc. Learning how to balance these competing interests while obtaining the most efficient results from training is one example of comprehending a mental and spiritual meaning of efficiency, directness and economy of motion. As with each of the preceding levels, this level of training builds on the foundation developed through the other levels of the training system.

Conclusion:
Ving Tsun functions as a system made up of several parts. Each part serves a purpose in and of itself and also functions in concert with additional parts to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts. While the precise

organization and process varies from lineage to lineage and instructor to instructor, the same four general levels exist in all Ving Tsun lineages. The Textbook level sets the stage for later development, physically through techniques, mentally through principles and concepts, and spiritually though the experience of reality. The Laboratory level adds a dynamic element to the information presented at the Textbook level. The Intern level puts the dynamic element introduced at the Laboratory level into a less structured format. The Real World level removes all constraints placed by the previous training levels and methodologies, allowing the developed martial artist to experience all of reality as it is - through the viewpoint of the Ving Tsun System. This article identified the major levels of training. Each of these areas is dependent on the others. As one gets better in one level of training, the other levels of training will also improve. Each serves a necessary part of the training program yet cannot be completed without experience from the other levels.