The origins of Wing Chun – Leung Jan
The famous Wing Chun practitioner - Leung Jan of Foshan was known to everyone as Mr. Jan. His ancestral home is in Gulao village, Guangdong. He lived in Foshan. He ran a Chinese herbal medicine shop, his medical skills were deep and profound. He had many friends and was a born martial arts enthusiast. Once he decided that the art of Wing Chun was the best style, with a superior theory, Leung delved into his training with all his heart. Leung Jan cemented Wing Chun’s reputation and even popularized it in southern China during the late Qing dynasty.
Siu Nim Tau - The Little Idea
‘Siu Nim Tau’ includes Wing Chun’s inch power training; new practitioners are required to get used to wrist flexibility and a stable stance. Beginners need to relax their muscles and not use power. After 3 months the basics of ‘siu nim tau’ can be understood. Then ‘ging’ power can be applied upon the stable foundation. ‘siu nim tau’ ‘chum kiu’, ‘biu jee’ can be separated into beginner, intermediate and advanced sets. The difference between the three sets is they train separate aspects of the art.
Chum Kiu – sinking the bridge
‘Chum Kiu’ trains the sinking power, defence and attack, elbow and kicks etc.
Biu Jee – shooting fingers
‘Biu Jee’ contents are pretty ruthless, for example eye gouge, short bridge hands, elbow attacks, etc.
Hong Jong – ‘The Empty Dummy’
This is the set before learning the wooden dummy. There are more movements than ‘siu nim tau’, ‘chum kiu’ ‘biu jee’, but the contents are not totally apparent within the three previous sets.
Mook Yan Jong – ‘The Wooden dummy’
Aside from learning the form, kicks and power, it also allows one to use their arm to hit at full force. When we usually train with our fellow classmates, we don’t use our full force to avoid injuring others. By training with the wooden dummy, one can get the sense of applying one’s full force.
Wing Chun’s knife and pole forms have usually been secret skills. They were not taught liberally. Our school is no different, they are only transmitted to private students.
Luk Dim Boon Gwun – ‘The six and a half point pole’
The ‘six and half point pole’ form is simple, the content only has six movements and one half movement, perhaps that is where the name derives. In the old days, the length of the pole was 9 chi (over 3 metres).Nowadays, the length of the pole is usually 9 feet (2.7 metres). The handle of the pole is thick, while the tip of the pole should be narrow, this allows the power to settle on the tip of the pole.
Yee Jee Kim Yeung Deet Ming Dou – “Two” character, goat adduction, life taking knives’
This knife set has more movements than the ‘six and a half point’ pole. Actually, the theory and usage of the knife set follows Wing Chun’s empty hand sets. For example: ‘gaang dou’, ‘taan dou’ are the equivalent of ‘gaang sau’ and ‘taan sau’. However, we have to strengthen our wrist power to control the double knives so as to develop its inch power. Obviously, there are some movements from the knife set which are foreign to the other sets. No matter what, when you grab some knives and practice ‘biu jee’, the movements can be said to be the knife set.
The ‘sun-shaped’ fist, is the most useful
The ‘sun-shaped’ fist (since the ideogram for ‘sun’ 日 looks like a closed vertical fist), forms the basis of Wing Chun. It’s the most practical fist, The ‘sun shaped fist’ is what every practitioner who starts Wing Chun will learn at the beginning. The difference between this vertical fist and other styles is that the ‘sun-shaped fist’ includes ‘inch power’ as well.
‘Inch Power’. The speciality of Wing Chun
‘Inch Power’ (aka inch punch) is Wing Chun’s special characteristic. Quite simply, ‘inch power’ is the energy created by the movement of the wrist. Of course, it needs to be co-ordinated with other things. For example, the whole body’s muscles need to be relaxed and tensed at the right time. This is one of the hardest movements to master, let alone employ.
Wing Chun is simple and direct
Many people wonder, since Wing Chun promotes simplicity and directness, then how does one redirect their power when one is changing? One has to pick what is applicable from the myriad sets and movements in Wing Chun to take the upper hand in an altercation. One should especially work hard to master the 108 step ‘Che Tsin Kuen’ (aka Chong Kuen); all of the best movements of Wing Chun have been distilled into this one set.