The Eternal Spring – 3 Main Principles of Wing Chun Kung-Fu

Wing Chun Kung-Fu is a style of Chinese martial arts which literally means “Eternal Spring”. In Chinese character symbols it is sometimes replaced with the symbols for Eternal Springtime. Wing Chun’s history is somewhat interesting as many associate it’s origin to a woman named Yim Wing Chun. Yim means beautiful and Wing Chun means spring time so her name literally means ‘beautiful spring time.’

The legend relates that Yim Wing Chun was forced into a marriage with a local warlord, and after she rebuffs the offer, she is challenged by the warlord to a martial arts fight. The challenge- if she can defeat him he will rescind his proposal. She consults a Buddhist named nun- Ng Mui from a Shaolin Sect who had survived the destruction of the Southern Shaolin temple at the time when the Qing dynasty had overtaken most associate temples. She then asks him to teach her boxing. She finally wins the match and later marries Leung Bac-Chou and teaches him her style of boxing which he names after her.

This story still remains a legend but the practicality and efficiency of Wing Chun is undisputed. It is a form of martial arts that is focused on achieving results and thus, defeating the enemy. It’s focus is on the center line of the opponent’s body and fast and subsequent punches along that line are placed to disrupt the enemy.

There are 3 key features that distinguish it from other forms of martial arts in its practicality:

1. Balance and Structure: A good body structure is need to stay firm and rooted on the ground. This helps to strike better and firmer punches, and also helps to deflect the opponent’s strikes. All attacks or counter-attacks are initiated from this firmly rooted base.

2. Close Range: Wing Chun’s close range is one the most important aspects of this technique. It believes in staying close to the enemy and using “entry techniques” by getting past the enemy’s kicks and punches.

3.  Protection and Strength: The elbow is always held low, and the arms and hands close to protect the mid-section of the body. The punches are made in a close range deriving strength from the whole body instead of just the swinging fist, and so have a greater impact.

Besides these three main principles it also focuses on close range power kicks and trapping techniques to achieve its goals.

One of the most distinguishing aspects of Wing Chun is perhaps it’s wooden dummy. This is a thick wooden post with three arms and a leg mounted on a slightly springy frame representing a human opponent that is stationary. It is used to derive full body power and strength while refining the understanding of angles, footwork and positions. It also helps to make the practitioner’s blows and punches stronger as they are practiced on hard wood compared to soft body muscle tissue.

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