Review of David Peterson's Book, Look Beyond the Pointing Finger: The Combat Philosophy of Wong Shun Leung
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Review by: Manuel Bustos, Jr.
Book Bought on: Everything Wing Chun : http://www.everythingwingchun.com/david-peterson-wing-chun-dvds-books-s/105.htm
“Look at the Pointing Finger – The Combat Philosophy of Wong Shun Leung” is an expanded second edition of Sifu Peterson’s monumental work on Wong Shun Leung Wing Chun (WSLWC). Of course it is well known that Sifu Wong was one of the handful of sifus that finished the entire Wing Chun system directly under Grandmaster Yip Man’s guidance and training. And of course Sifu Wong was actively teaching within Hong Kong while Yip Man was still alive and was undefeated in his quite numerous Biemo contests.
This book should not be approached with the idea that the Wing Chun system forms are presented to the reader. Rather this book means to investigate and then illuminate the guiding principles of WSLWC that Sifu Wong presented. These philosophies were shaped by Sifu Wong’s Biemo contests, constant analysis and refinement, as well as constant consultation with Yip Man. As such this book is not arranged in the standard presentation of the Wing Chun martial art system by a given Sifu. In order to properly convey Sifu Wong’s ideas Sifu Peterson has chosen to arrange the book in chapters that read like mini essays and previous interviews. Each chapter is a study on one of the various aspects of Wong Shun Leung Wing Chun.
Touching up a few topics presented within the book are Wing Chun’s scientific use of body position, Wing Chun’s unique kicking and of course removal of an excessive ideals in fighting. Central to Wong Shun Leung’s Wing Chun was that idea that Wing Chun is concept base rather than technique based. Essentially, Sifu Wong presented the “tools” of the system and the student was then free to utilize these tools at will rather than by rote response. Additionally, Sifu Wong’s Wing Chun stressed when possible an attack is to be met with an attack rather than a defense by the Wing Chun practitioner. Within the book Sifu Peterson dispels some ideas about Wing Chun such as that the elbow must always remain in a fixed position, sticky hands and Chi Sau.
The book reveals Wong Shun Leung “King of Talking with the Hands” to be a Wing Chun genius and yet humble, as well as a talented educator capable of instructing his students regardless of their level of experience, which is no easy feat. It is also pointed out that Sifu Wong had a significant impact on Bruce Lee, which most casual observers of Brue Lee might not have previously recognized (Sifu Wong did not speak English). Within this book one can see the seeds of many of Bruce Lee’s ideas. This is not suggest that Bruce Lee simply regurgitated ideas, but that Bruce was a dynamic student of Wong Shun Leung as well as Yip Man. Finally, the enormous impact Sifu Wong had upon Wing Chun is also detailed (Wong was invited by the Chinese to speak on Wing Chun in 1996). This distinctive presentation of Wong Shun Leung Wing Chun merits highest recommendation for any reader.
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