I consider myself fortunate to have also studied the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun Kung Fu (or in Cantonese also known as Gung Fu).
Coming from a Shotokan karate training background I will admit that studying Wing Chun was a real change of pace, if you know what I mean.
But after having read about some other famous practitioners such as Ip Man, Bruce Lee, Ip Chun, Leung Ting, Emin Boztepe, I just had to give it my best shot.
I studied under Sifu Francis Fong, one of the finest kung fu instructors in the U.S.
Wing Chun, translated into English, means ‘Eternal Spring or Beautiful Springtime’ and refers to the name of Yim Wing Chun, who received Chinese boxing training from a Buddhist nun. At the time the style was nameless.
Yim later married and taught her husband this style of fighting. He then simply went ahead and gave the syle her name, Wing Chun.
There are a number of theories and versions about how this style originated. I like the one I just gave you.
The typical stance is supposed to be like a piece of bamboo, firm but flexible, rooted but yielding.
Wing Chun favors a high, narrow stance with your elbows kept close to your body and your arms are positioned across the vitals of the centerline.
Attack and defense follow along an imaginary horizontal line drawn from the center of your chest to the center your opponent’s chest. The prime striking targets are on or near this line, including eyes, nose, throat, solar plexus and groin.
With the emphasis on the center line, your vertical fist straight punch will be your most common strike.
Your kicks are to be kept below the waist. This is typical of southern Chinese martial arts, in contrast to northern systems which apply many high kicks.
Chained vertical punches are used a lot.
You develop your reflexes by searching unsecured defenses through use of sensitivity.
Training through Chi Sao (‘sticking hands”) with a training partner, one practices the trapping of hands. When an opponent is “trapped”, he or she becomes immobile.
Wing Chun also offers forms that are meditative, solitary exercises to develop self-awareness, balance, relaxation and sensitivity. They also help you in the fundamental movement and in generating the correct amount of force.
This style generally consists of three empty hand, one “wooden dummy” and two weapons forms.
There you have it: Wing Chun in a nutshell.
Enjoy this exciting martial art and always protect your centerline!