Wing Chun Myths
Since I’ve dedicated myself to the study and preservation of Wing Chun Kung Fu, I would like to clear up 5 of the most common misconceptions of our Style to assist you with your school research.
1. NO TECHNIQUE IS THE BEST TECHNIQUE
Although there are set ways of handling certain situations, having no technique is the best technique. Don’t be too concerned with using ‘x’ technique to deal with ‘y’ attack. Sure, we practice repeatedly to deal with specific instances, but that is to train our instinct. We want whatever technique we choose to use for that particular instance to be instinctual. We don’t want someone to say ‘for this attack, I must use this technique.’ We train some techniques over and over, again and again to get ‘the feel’ of a certain situation. For example we learn to use a Tan Sau or Gong Sau as a hypothetical situation to cover our exposed points during an attack from a hook or uppercut. That doesn’t mean that it may be the most effective technique and we have to use it exactly like that in a fight. Beginner students first learn to train the way that it should be, just for the purpose of building up a good habit to respond to some attacks without thinking. Certain instances present themselves differently and as a student progresses they may feel that another technique works better for them - because, as once stated before, everyone is different. No one person has the same body structure, strength, speed, etc. The reason why we train one technique to deal with a certain way of attack is for us to understand how the technique works and to see the strength and weaknesses of that particular technique. From my personal experience, most of the techniques first learned were effective for specific instances or conditions, but as I progressed I found a preference in other techniques that made it easier and more effective to deal with those situations. In summary do not think that just because ‘my SiFu told me that this is the right way,’ that it is the only way, but be creative and use the foundation that you have learned and apply it.
2. WING CHUN USES NO POWER
It is commonly stated that ‘Wing Chun does not use any power, and if you used power that’s not Wing Chun’. No matter how skillful you are, there needs to be force and power behind an attack or defense. The idea of not using power means not to use brute force against an opponent. We also advise beginner students to practice with no power so they can make precise and correct hand movements. You have to be as relaxed as you can, but use the right kind of power at the right moment. The basic premise of Wing Chun is that I may be smaller, weaker, or slower than an adversary, so I cannot fight power with more power. Wing Chun uses ideas of angles and structure to deal with a greater force. Just as a little door wedge uses the concept of structure and angles to stop and hold a much heavier, larger, and more forceful door. Wing Chun is in some ways a clever martial art that utilizes what all people have and maximizes its capabilities. Don’t believed what I say, instead, ask champion fighters such as Joe Louis, Mohammed Ali, Jack Dempsey, Felix Trinidad or a champion grappler to see whether they needed any power to fight or to execute their techniques. Don’t let someone mystify the art.
3. WING CHUN IS THE FASTEST
Another common misconception is that Wing Chun is the fastest. That is also false, though it is fast, what makes it seem that way is that we perform offense and defense simultaneously. The shortest distance between two points, is a straight line. If someone were to throw a round-house kick to your head and at the same time you throw a straight punch to his/her head. Which one would reach its point first assuming both were traveling at the same speed and both of you are the same height? The entry point of a technique is at the moment when the attacker is coming in at you. A lot of styles block then attack, which makes them seem slower; on the other hand, Wing Chun capitalizes on the time that we cover by defending with attack and attacking with defense. If performed correctly it feels as though we are much quicker, but again it is just maximizing the use of time and technique. As stated above, Wing Chun does not work on the ideals of me being stronger and quicker, but rather by being smarter in the way that I use what I have. Actually, boxing is fast, a good boxer can jab at least 4 to 5 punches in the time it take you to snap a finger.
4. WING CHUN TECHNIQUE IS PERFECT
Nothing is perfect. There are flaws in most things and you cannot believe that what your SiFu teaches you is the one and only perfect technique. As stated above, no technique is the best technique. There are weaknesses in techniques that can be seen and exposed if someone has experience with it. While we train the same things day after day, it may seem tedious but you slowly gain a better understanding of how something works and how it may not work. If you find that it does not work, you improvise till it does. Do not believe that any one technique is perfect. They say that the chain punching of Wing Chun is impenetrable. Who says? Nothing is impenetrable - there are ways around everything.
5. BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOUR SIFU TEACHES (WILL WORK FOR YOU)
Do not believe everything you learn from your SiFu works. You must experiment, test, and ask questions. Most students practice for long periods of time doing the same thing and not getting anything out of it because they don’t get ‘the feel’ for things. What the SiFu teaches may make sense to him and to others, but does it to you? Does it work for you? One must try it and feel it for him/herself, instead of doing things monotonously. Do not be afraid to question what the SiFu teaches; for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what they have to offer, one must ask questions but in a respectful manner. If it does not work for you, ask why it doesn’t work for you. Keep in mind that to know the technique you have to know why your arm or leg is angled that way or why it needs to be that height. Little changes in the form of technique can change its effectiveness drastically. And by understanding those things you can get ‘a feel’ for the technique. If the SiFu cannot help you to understand that, then it is time for a new one.
Good luck in your quest. If you have any questions about this article, or about Wing Chun, feel free to contact me.
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