Considering Wing Chun – Part 1

1. Personal Thoughts upon Wing Chun

I am NOT a “Martial Artist”
for the simple reason that, for me,

the term has become equated with crude brutality,
whilst being bandied about by vicious creatures
who glory in violence – whether literally
or vicariously.

It has been very disgusting to see that,
in the 21st century, the term “martial arts”
has become nothing more than a synonym for
the testosterone-posturing “thug brawling”
known as ‘mixed martial arts’.

Amidst this crass vulgarity,
Wing Chun most certainly does Not belong.

It is only in learning the oral history
that was set down in script by Ip Man,
that one will perceive the uniqueness of Wing Chun:

an oral history which maintains that Wing Chun
was formed and developed by women.

Whether true or not, Wing Chun in practice
is not suited to the impetuous temper
of testosterone-saturated savages
who create and barge into aggressive situations
like demented animals.

Nor does it turn any man into a Chinese cinematic
super-hero who can defeat ten Karate practitioners
(in one production);

or direct fifty chain-punching blows on one man
( to convey celluloid ‘justice’ ), which, nevertheless
fail to knock the opponent down.

Wing Chun – like everything else in the 21st century,
is just one more … ‘old’ … thing
that has been perverted and popularised
to make money:

in other words, serve greed and appeal
to the ego and entertainment of the vicious-minded
and vacuous masses of the 21st century.

Western exposure to Wing Chun
may be said to have truly occurred through the teaching
of a fifty-year old Chinese practitioner in Hong Kong
named Yip Man, who gave bespoke instruction
to each student according to their aptitude for learning.

Everything about Wing Chun requires thought
and consideration of human anatomical structure.

Yet, thanks to video displays on the Internet,
modern Wing Chun practitioners
present it as being nothing more than another ‘style’
which can be adapted to the televised vulgarity
now known as ‘mixed martial arts”.

Wing Chun requires thought, timing, and above all – self control.

Which is why I find it difficult to have seen it so degraded
by Internet ‘tough guys’ who want to impress
domineering youths and vanity-saturated hoodlums,
in order to gain ‘likes’, ‘subscribers’, and ‘followers’.

Along with everything else in the world,
Wing Chun has been cheapened – perverted –
in order to appeal to the vanity and vacuous mentality
of the vicious.

And that truly is an appalling tragedy.

A PRACTICAL Philosophy

Wing Chun does NOT rehearse potential scenarios,
and then devise ‘moves’ to counter them.
Rather, Wing Chun trains the mind and bids the practitioner
to perceive an attacker’s intent,
and apply the body accordingly, to any situation.

Receive the attacker’s force and divert it;
escort his subsequent withdrawal, and attack.

Wing Chun, to me, advocated a mental philosophy
that was already very similar
to the way I have always regarded people I met:

1. Be Aware
2. Discern
3. React with Minimal Effort

A self-disciplined state of mind when under threat
or attack.

Mentally, Wing Chun would advocate summoning humility
to the fore in an attempt to avoid physical confrontation:
ignore the taunt of a thug,
rather than allow him to dominate your emotion,
or destroy your self control –
minimum of movement for maximum effect.

Physically, it advocates being thoroughly ‘grounded’
in balance; if physically threatened –
defend and attack an assailant simultaneously.

The CENTRE LINE

The aim of Wing Chun is to end a violent encounter
and defeat or dissuade an assailant … in seconds

– through simultaneous defence (diverting an incoming blow),
as well as attack, in order to end the conflict …

the most vulnerable areas on a human body
are located along the surface centre-line to the
front (throat, vitals, groin), side (below ribs),
and rear (spine) of any person.

… delivered from my centre line
to my attacker’s centre line:

my centreline facing his body,
while his centreline is never in line with mine.

Wing Chun is a system of defence
that is based upon rules of physics
– specifically, the alignment of the body.

Its effectiveness depends upon correct application
using the least amount of force required,
in the most efficient manner possible,
while maintaining a calm disposition –
not betraying intention through
raised voice or facial expression.

The straight line is the shortest, most direct,
quickest – and therefore, preferred – line of travel.
If obstructed, the Wing Chun practitioner will strike using
the most energy-efficient path available.

The main precept is The Centre Line:
an imaginary line which runs vertically
through the core of the body.

This is the centre of gravity – the centre of balance –
in a human being.

Turning about on this core centre-line,
ensures that one will never suffer loss of balance.

The Wing Chun practitioner will always seek to strike
an attacker’s centre line core:
the closer to the centre-line that an attacker is struck,
the more force he will necessarily receive.

The farther a strike is applied off centre,
the more the assailant can turn with the force: therefore,
when attacked, if victim can strike his assailant’s centreline,
the attacker will certainly be inconvenienced.

The principles of Wing Chun are contained within each of three ‘forms’
known as Siu Lim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Biu Jee.

Performed skilfully, they have a fluidity of movement – a gentility –
that gives them an almost graceful quality when observed by an onlooker.

Yet these same forms (to those who understand what it is
that is being presented) contain all the methods needed
to stop any attacker.

Wing Chun concerns itself with Physics
in relation to the human body.

The practitioner of Wing Chun does not imitate
a crane, tiger, mantis, snake, or dragon:
its concern is in the real world of human anatomy.

if Wing Chun ‘does not work’, it is due either to
lack of skill in the practitioner; or some distraction
that has given an assailant the crucial advantage.

In the mid-1970’s, I had never any desire to enrol
in any type of martial arts “school” due to the palpable
and consistent air of arrogance, aggression,
and ‘macho’ (in girls and women too) competition mentality
that seeped from those I had tentatively approached.

I was not aggressive,
and had no interest in becoming so.

It was a subsequent friendship with a Chinese schoolmate
that allowed me to learn the rudiments;
be given detailed explanations of why each was used;
and taught how – in Wing Chun – one form builds upon the other.

Practice was then up to me.

No School.
No Master.

Without a teacher, one was left with only Determination
and the Self-disciplined regimen of practice to develop skills.

In order to begin with the proper mind-set,
I made the conscious effort, and expended the energy,
to learn about Chinese culture:

the gong fu tea ceremony, for instance;
as well as the basics of … zhong wen … Mandarin:
enough to speak with courtesy
to a Chinese man or woman.

Any thug can throw a punch –

for me, it shows refinement and respect
to exercise the humility and self discipline to learn something
of the history, culture, and basic spoken courtesies of China.

When I look about me now, and see the disgusting
degradation of “western” society; the loud, obnoxious,
and slovenly illiterates that, generally, populate it;

at the way in which this degeneration of humanity
is incorporated into modern presentations of ‘Wing Chun’ …
I am so very glad that I did.

Wing Chun is not thug-brawling that now
seemingly passes for “Martial Arts” –
the tragedy is that multitudes of ‘teachers’ and their followers,
are doing everything that they can
to cheapen it to fit the rest.

P Livingstone