Difficulties training in different types of Wing Chun.

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by APL76, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    Geezer asked me if I would mind talking about a difference between Yip Man style wing chun and Yuen Kay San style of wing chun that makes it hard to do them both together. So, to that end I have made this thread so we might discuss these sorts of things a bit.

    Before I get into it however, I’ll just give a bit of background information about the wing chun I do.

    I have learned both Yip Man (YM) wing chun and Yuen Kay San (YKS) wing chun from my Sifu, who learned them from Yip Chun and Sum Nung respectively. The YM wing chun my sifu taught in his class (he has retired) he altered slightly in light of some of the wing chun he saw in Fat San from YM’s descendants there, but the overall format of the system he didn’t really change. The YKS wing chun he has never altered from what he learned from Sum Nung; he tells us that Sum Nung told him “NEVER CHANGE A THING!!!” and he has done his best to not change the wing chun at all.

    In terms of learning the stuff we were told to always keep the two systems completely separate.


    So, differences. Probably the biggest difference that comes to mind is the way power is generated. I’ll just stick to the punch for the sake of brevity.

    The YM wing chun we do we power the punch with the elbow (yes, I know the elbow is a joint and can’t power a punch, but you kinda need to think about the punch like it does). So, we think like the elbow is throwing our punch forward, and when the arm comes back the wrist throws it back. To help students get the idea I get them to pull the arm back into their “resting arm” position (what I think a lot of people call having their arm “chambered”) try to relax as much as they can, then I use my hand to fling their punch forward by pushing their elbow.

    I get students to train their punches like this a lot, punch out with the elbow, arm back with the wrist. This sets up the way their arms will move for everything else. Everything else, blocks, deflections, so on, are all done with the same way of generating power. What this means is that, if all those movements are done with the same sort of power generation, and done within their correct structure, they will work without the need for people to rely on strength, or muscular tension, to make them work.

    Now, when we get to YKS wing chun, the overall principle is the same: That the same power generation in the punch also powers the various techniques. What’s different is the actual method of generating power, and the structures of the techniques themselves. I won’t go into the details of just what the difference in the power generation is, but suffice to say that it is substantially different to YM wing chun. And in addition to that the actual structure of the techniques (punch, tan sao, bong sao etc.) is very different.

    This raises two problems in terms of doing the wing chun 1) when you are training at it you actually have to think about how your arms are moving, you have to imagine the force concentrated and emanating from particular parts of the arm. 2) because you need to make it all automatic you need to train it to a point of operation beyond consciousness, so you can’t be trying to think about which power generation or which structure you will use at any given time. It should just happen.

    So…… now I have never tried to mix the two styles of wing chun together because I was expressly forbidden from doing that. But given what I see of the two systems I think it would be difficult to do anyway, and certainly when I was in the earlier stages of learning YKS style my previous YM style kept getting in the way.

    It would be hard to train at power generation if you had two methods of doing it that are quite different from one another, and it would be next to impossible (in my opinion) to make them automatic, particularly given the different structural arrangements the techniques have. You end up needing to chose one or the other. I chose YKS style, though I do still teach YM style for the majority of the time.

    That’s what I think anyway; what do others think/what have others experienced?
     
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  2. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Thanks for giving this thread a shot. I know it's a tough thing to discuss, firstly because power generation in WC can be subtle and difficult to get across even when demonstrating in person, let alone in words on a forum, and secondly because of the constraints many organizations (mine included) have about being too open with material.

    Now to your question about what other folks have experienced. My old Chinese sifu, a student of Ip Man, was a controversial character, but IMO he was quite effective at power generation. Early on, we were taught some pretty typical Yip Man lineage stuff regarding structure and elbow position, etc. But, as we got a little further along, the real essence of all our branch's energy kept coming back to a concept of explosive, springy energy. This was first taught with the arms and developed and honed beginning with dan chi. Then the same concept was gradually applied to our torso, legs, our stance, and our steps, until the whole body learns to flex and yield under pressure and then snap back like a supple wand of rattan or bamboo.

    Probably the iconic example of this, and one of the first things taught would be the use of a flexible bong sau. Whereas others, even within the overall Yip Man lineage, might throw out a bong sau as a technique in itself, perhaps even thrown aggressively to displace an incoming attack, we were taught that you lead with a strike, letting your arm snap forward with that same "springy energy". If, and only if you encounter forceful resistance do you allow your opponent's force to flex your "springy" arm into bong sau, creating your defense. Then, after deflecting the opposing force, the bong may slip free and ..."thwack!", spring back to strike your opponent, either with a punch or fak-sau, etc.

    Now the role of "springy force" might seem like a small thing if you just apply it to a few arm techniques, but in our system it is applied to the whole body, even to turning and steps. The goal is to make the entire person, including his steps and movement equally springy, ...yielding when pressed and uncoiling explosively when released. So applied to a simple front punch, the power should be generated from step or stance, building through legs and torso and spine, funneling through the elbow, and focused and released through the fist. A whole body expression of the kuen kuit: Loy lau hoy sung, lat sau jik chung.

    BTW, as a disclaimer, I was never the best at executing this flexible force. In fact, upon watching me struggle with this, my sifu thought it was hilarious that my name is Steve, since to his ear that sounded exactly the same as the English word stiff (i.e. the exact opposite of what we hoped to achieve!). Yet, decades later, in spite of age, injuries, and some arthritis creeping in, I have made some small progress. :)
     
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  3. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    This is the issue that WC power generation is so different from other CMA systems.

    When I trained YM WC, to freeze my body and only moved my arm made me to feel that I was not unify my body as one piece. IMO, all power should come be from bottom -> up.

    Bend knee -> straight knee -> rotate hip -> extend shoulder -> punch out

    Even today, I still have problem to integrate the WC system with the long fist system.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  4. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    I think I'd have to see and feel what you mean by springy power however the principle sounds the kind of how we think of wing chun working, you have to be like bamboo.

    How does the springy power work as you learn other types of wing chun? Is there difficulty integrating them or do they mesh easily enough?
     
  5. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    Wing chun does have complete integration of the body. That's a lot of what all the forms past Sui Lim Tao are about. Indeed in the YKS system of wing chun you get all of that before you even get to the forms through learning the 12 training drills/techniques (Sup Yi Sik). You just need to establish a good stance, learn to align all your techniques through the centreline first and learn to disengage the shoulder from the punch first. That's the reason for the stationary training in Yi Ji Kim Yang Ma in the beginner stages.

    What sort of power do you generate in your long fist system. Would you say its relaxed penetrating power (as we try to develop in wing chun) or is it a hard force?
    My Sifu has always said that wing chun doesn't easily mesh with other systems of kung fu because the way we generate power is so different and that you need to be so relaxed. I have actually watched some of my kung fu brothers go of and learn other systems, like shaolin kung fu, and as a result seen their wing chun deteriorate. If your long fist system is anything like shaolin kung fu I would imagine it would be difficult to get them to mesh.
     
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  6. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    Indeed it does. It's just that it appears he (KFW) has a VERY strict and literal view of whatever Wing Chun he learned. For example, WC has all the components he discusses, but wing chun is a "bite by bite" syllabus for the most part. It's meant to be "put together" once you know it. Kung Fu Wang lists: bend knee - straighten knee - rotate hip - extend shoulder - punch out....ALL of which are in the forms.
     
  7. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Before I answer your question, here's a bit of my background. I was introduced to Wing Chun by an instructor of the Augustine Fong branch back in 1979, just a year before studying with Leung Ting for over a decade. At that time I also trained briefly with a few German "EWTO" practitioners including Emin Boztepe, right after his controversial challenge fight with William Cheung. I began training Escrima with Rene Latosa at about the same time ...actually, a little earlier beginning around '82-'83?

    Then, in the '90s I stopped training altogether for many years, only to start up again in 2007 with an American offshoot branch of LT's "Wingtsun" that was heavily influenced by the EWTO methodology of Keith Kernspecht of Germany (at the same time that I joined this forum :)). Since then I have also touched hands with a Duncan Leung instructor, with Sam Kwok of the Ip Chun lineage and his instructors in this area, also a student of the local Hung Fa Yi branch, etc.

    So actually considering that I have been involved with WT/WC/VT going back to '79, I haven't had much experience with other groups. And, until the HFY showed up, there wasn't anybody around from a branch that didn't trace it's lineage back to Yip Man. Moreover, the excessive clannishness of WC in general has made it difficult if not impossible to share and test techniques with other WC people. Most of my sharing came with people I met through my FMA contacts. They tend to be far more open, and a few have some general WC or JKD experience.

    OK, now to your question about being like bamboo. Yes, our concept of springy energy does work with what I have experienced of the Augustine Fong and Sam Kwok/Ip Chun branches - but they do not integrate it into their entire body, stances and steps the same way. The result is sort of an on-again off-again use of spring which I personally find incomplete and problematic i.e. you either train to move with springiness or you don't. You don't consciously decide to be springy in certain situations. Moreover, if this energy isn't integrated into the body, stance and steps, you end up with a different quality of power generation that could end up being "un-linked" from the body like what John Wang was talking about in post #3 above.

    Now I will say that a lot of this springy quality does integrate well into the escrima I do. We apply it differently. It's stronger and more forceful ...like a truck spring as compared to the lighter WC springiness, but it's the same idea. For those with an interest in FMA, an example of this would be how we apply our version of a "roof block". It begins as a forward strike like a jab or cross. If meets opposing force, that is if our opponent is beating us to the punch, his force impacts our stick bending it a little, rather like a bong sau, allowing us to deflect his attack and continue springing forward in one movement to hit ...with the stick impacting very much like a fak-sau. In Latosa Escrima we say we do not "block" but rather use interference strikes. In WC that would be da sau juk si siu sau or attacking hand is defending hand.

    So, I guess my answer is a conditional yes, you can apply our concept of springy energy to some other WC lineages and even some entirely different arts --but in most cases you will reach a point where there are too many conflicts or contradictions. For me, Latosa Escrima is the exception, but that is largely because: 1. it is more concept vs. technique based, and 2. I have my own version or teaching program, P.C.E (Practical Combat Escrima) and I'm free to interpret it as I please. And, I'm pleased to interpret it's concepts to conform with my WC. ;)
     
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  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    1. Drop low in a low horse stance and facing north.
    2. Straight legs (borrow force from the ground).
    3. Rotate body to the left.
    4. Punch out right fist while right fist, right shoulder, and left shoulder are all in a perfect straight line (in north-south direction).
    5. Repeat 1 - 4 for the left punch.

    1 and 2 are the most important part. This is not emphasized in the WC system. IMO, one should think about legs before he can think about arms.

    In other words, I can train my power generation even with my arms behind my body.

    Could you come up a similar list to show how WC power generation is done? Also do you have any clip to show WC power generation? This way, we can compare the difference.

    This is the long fist power generation.

     
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  9. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Do you have any clip to show that?

    I can find at least 10 WC clips that the "knee bending -> knee straight training" are missing.
     
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  10. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    If you can document the "springy energy training method" (step by step) and also record it on video, you will have given a great contribution to the WC system and also the entire CMA history.

    IMO, the springy energy is very difficult to train. People had talked about it. But I have never seen any step by step training and video so far.
     
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  11. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Thanks, but my skills are not at a level to showcase this concept. I know people who are at that level but they are not very open ...they don’t want to break their rice bowl. A shame, really.

    The basics are available on video. I’m at a Thanksgiving gathering now. I’ll do a YouTube search later and see what I can find. The concept is not that rare or magical. Most striking arts have something like it. Grappling ....not so much.

    As far as a training method goes, that’s what our chi-sau is supposed to train. The trouble is that you can train a lot of different things in a chi-sau format. Some people think it’s fighting.
     
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  12. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    Thanks for that. Though I'm sure I'd have to feel what you mean to get an appreciation for it it does sound like the way we apply wing chun. In that if your forwards force (a punch lets say) is crossed you bend to let the other person's force past (assuming their force isn't coming straight at you) and spring back into an attack again. And we do apply it through the entire body in both our YM and YKS wing chun. Indeed its more highly developed in the YKS stuff.
     
  13. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    I guess it depends on how you define it all.

    In terms of aligning the hands hips and stance (without any real knee bending) every movement in the system that has the turning stance and/or the stepping is training that. So think of most of the Chun Kue, Bui Jee and Wooden dummy. Even the knife form trains that stuff. The rotation of the hips drives everything and the feet and hands have to be precisely timed with the hips. So when one does the bong sao/lan sao section of chum kue as an example. Your hips hands and feet all move together and stop moving together with the hips generating most of the power (there will be a strike in the arms at the completion of the movement) and its all braced on the ground with a strong stance.

    If you want examples of the knee bending and straightening as it is timed with the movement of the hands and drive from the turning stance from the hips look at the bing bo bui sao section from the Chum Kue (that's the section where you transfer from the two low bong saos to the bui saos): You bring both feet together and straighten the knees simultaneously with the bui sao strike in the fingers.

    Look at the double bui sao strike section from the first two sets of elbows strikes in the Bui Jee: You bring the feet together, straighten the knees and bring the second bui sao strike up under the first bui sao simultaneously, all of this has power from the hips too, braced on the ground through a strong stance.

    Then look at the wooden dummy: there is a section where you come around the dummy with a tan sao on the arm of the dummy, bring the feet together, straighten the knees and kick with the opposite leg to whatever tan sao you have on the dummy.

    So here I can, just off the top of my head, give you examples of everything you were saying that wing chun lacks, that should be observable in pretty much any standard version of Yip Man wing chun; that is of course unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean.

    In our Yip Man wing chun I have followed the example of what Sum Nung did in the YKS style and isolated parts of the forms to specifically train those things and come up with a set of....I think it worked out to about 18 training drills. In those I have put in a little more of the bending straightening stuff through the knees, however I haven't ever filmed them. And I'm not allowed to film the YKS style sup yi sik, so I can't show you that unless I could show you in person. You can find where others have filmed sip yi sik however, in my opinion for the most part they are pretty underwhelming. I have been thinking about making some more videos of our stuff lately, I just have to get a new video camera. If I get round to it Ill let you know.
     
  14. wayfaring

    wayfaring Green Belt

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    Sure. OK. I am Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Paai.

    We have different concepts, systems, drills, and development.

    I taught in the park for a year and a half with a HK based wing chun guy Ip Man lineage Ip Ching.

    So for me I did learn Moy Yat forms years ago.

    After expressing tan sau with an understanding of tin yan dei or heaven human and earth I have zero desire to go back to that way of expressing without a TYD expression.

    But that can also be explained by me growing older and minimalizing who I follow.

    To explain TYD to unfamiliar it describes range and height factor considerations.

    So there is my example of difficulties training 2 lineage considerations.

    Also, I think our front stance was quite different for them to try and comprehend. As was my comprehending exercises walking down a path exchanging back stances like a Pink Panther movie.

    Basic stuff like stance and movement differences.




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  15. Nc1992

    Nc1992 White Belt

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    Out of curiosity what is kind of range and distance does Long Fist focus towards compared to Wing Chun?

    This may be out of left field but as I was reading the question that popped in my head was if the different methods of power generation were related to a focus on longer range techniques vs more close quarters work.




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  16. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    In long fist, if you throw a right punch, your right arm, right shoulder, and left shoulder should form a perfect straight line.
     
  17. Nc1992

    Nc1992 White Belt

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    So looking to extend the range of the punch as far as you can? Maybe the distance then accounts for the difference in power generation?


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  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I train the Tibetan White Crane method, and our power generation is similar to what KFW describes, although I suspect is it even longer. However, this exaggeration of movement is meant to be a training methodology that helps ingrain that full body connection into an automatic technique. Once you have developed that skill, it does not need to be so exaggerated, and full-body connection can be successful at short range and with much more subtle movements, which is more practical in actual combat use.

    So I hold that the method is highly functional at any range. The method is not meant to be range-specific or limited to one range or another, or even optimal at one particular range. It can be used anywhere, with anything.
     
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  19. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    Yeah, I think the range and power generation are not necessarily connected. Look at how you describe your punch there, then look at Pin Choi from Sum Nung style wing chun.
     
  20. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, I forgot to finish with my thought that Wing Chun goes about it with more subtlety from the beginning, but I suspect it is still in there, in some form of other. Different strokes.123
     

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