What is Wing Chun?
Wing Chun is a close ranged martial art primarily focussing on structure and efficiency. In ancient times It would have been well suited for training an army quickly. However in modern-day use its functionality still applies. The system by its very nature does not rely on brute force or athletic prowess and so it offers quick gains in the early days of training for anyone of any age or gender to develop a solid foundation in self-defense with simple ‘stopfight’ strategy.
The two person drills are designed (dan chisao – lapsao - chisao – gorsao) to produce close range reflexes quickly. The drills allow the practitioner to develop what we call contact sensitivity. The Ip Man branch teaches three boxing forms Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, Biu Tze. This is then followed by Muk Yan Jong, luk dim boon gwun and baat cham do. In theory a practitioner could spend one year on each of the boxing forms and come away with a descent grounding in close quarter combat.
The Ip Man system has a focus on strength in triangular structure and the principle use of tan sau, Bong sau and fook sau. Once structure is understood the turning stance of Juen Ma becomes invaluable in issuing or borrowing force. As does Sueng Ma and Toi Ma advancing and lateral stepping become invaluable in evasive and advancing footwork. If time was not a factor in learning the system we would then notice that Siu Nim Tao specifically has a much closer link to neigong (the process) of internal cultivation than is currently being practiced.
The wing Chun family has many branches. The Ip Man branch that has been studied here can be traced back to Dr Lueng Jan but before that we have legend. There is a strong suggestion of Wing Chun links to the Red Boat Opera and practitioners such as Lueng lan-kwai, Wong Wah-Bo and Leung Yee-Tai. Further still and we have ties to the Shaolin five elders. The mystery of the exact roots of Wing Chun will remain. However all Chinese martial arts have core system signatures. By studying the core signatures we can further confuse ourselves with possible origins. It is commonly believed that Wing Chun has a Fujian White Crane signature mixed with something else. This therefore suggests a Shaolin root in part. There may also be a less known connection to Taosim and Emei through the signature of the 1st form Siu Nim Tao, which would show a connection with the martial and holistic evolution of the Wing Chun system. It would not be a surprise to see Wing Chun developed quickly during chinas more turbulent times e.g the boxing revolution. This being the case the necessity for function may have contributed to the externalism of the system, possibly resulting in the fragmentation and loss of its internal holistic attributes.