Does Wing Chun train to Fight?

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by Yoshiyahu, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Oh, Cynik and APl, don't get me wrong. It's great to have a real discussion again! Honest disagreement and polite argument is what keeps this forum alive. Please keep posting. :)
     
  2. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    It is lost in isolation. Which happens in a lot of martial arts.

    The idea that it was a bad for their status for a club or instructor to get out there and get dominated by better martial artists.

    And the more they protected their status the crappier they got until everyone started living a lie.
     
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  3. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    That’s the short version. Nothing to do with what Yip Man did or didn’t know. It’s about how you train and evolve ...or devolve.
     
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  4. Cynik75

    Cynik75 Yellow Belt

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    Bruce Lee is the reason why Wing Chun became known world wide. Chunners used Bruce's fame to spread around the world.

    This kind of testing is a not very good. Defeating booms does not give the winner any impulse for development. "I have won" so "I am the best" so " I do not need to develop". Lack of good quality tests (it means fighting opponents with known fight record against legit opponents - as it it in nowadays sport) give the false statement of own championship. I was an antifa guy back in nineties in Poland - many, many, many fights, I really have a lot of experience in bare handed and not-bare handed strifes and for sure I can say - street brawlers cannot fight on decent level. Or even on medium amateur level. Being 44 y.o. far past my prime I could smash 21 years old myself in 10 seconds.
     
  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    By the way talking about street cred. This is Bob Jones who had back in the day legitimate street cred. And bashed a ton of people.



    But that is some ugly bag work.

    I don't think the street cred bar is as high as people want to believe.

    I think martial arts has gone past the notion of street cred.

    A BJJ nerd is much more terrifying than the Bob Jones types.
     
  6. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    No, but Wing Chun had street cred in HongKong in the 50's and 60's ...at least against other TMA systems that were commonly practiced at the time. That's what interested people like Bruce Lee. Then, like Cynik said, Bruce Lee made Wing Chun famous. So "street cred" played a key role.

    Honestly, what made that early WC work was simplicity and aggression. The WC guys would charge in with chain punches, front kicks, knees and elbows ...and often that was enough against the more complicated TMA systems popular in Hong Kong at the time.

    Unfortunately, when exported, the system appealed to a whole different crowd -- often people who really didn't want to fight at all, but were looking for "kung fu magic", like stuff from the movies and TV. I was a little like that. Clueless. :(

    Still, when we did mix it up, the stuff worked better than other stuff we ran into, and that fueled the delusion. But we were going against friends and acquaintances, other non-fighters who were equally clueless in their training of karate, kenpo, and TKD. Aggressiveness, and forward pressure worked wonders ...until I tried it on a boxer who schooled me. That's part of how I got into escrima taught by a man who knew how to box.

    I still think Wing Chun has a lot to offer, but not by going back and looking for "the missing stuff", the "original" system, or any of that "secret knowledge" crap. Rather, we need to take the core concepts, de-mystify them and train them in a practical way with an open mind. See what works, what doesn't, add, subtract and build. Just an opinion. :cool:
     
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  7. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    My long fist teacher's teacher Han Ching-Tan always talked about:

    - Long fist kick,
    - XingYi punch,
    - Taiji waist,
    - Bagua footwork,

    IMO, every MA style has it's strong point. Cross training was an ancient concept. One just can't get everything from one style.
     
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  8. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    In regard to providing "credible evidence" for anything I said about Yip Man, I haven't read this stuff anywhere, it just comes from my Sifu who himself heard this stuff from Yip Chun and Sum Nung. So if both of them say that Yip Man's father was into transporting opium, which back in those days was probably about as bad as being a beer salesman these days, I don't see any reason to disbelieve it. Its not like I'm saying he was El Chapo or anything. It wasn't a big deal back then. As far as I understand it their house got burned down because of his opium trading affiliation with some British trading company or the British Colonial administration in HK (not exactly sure which) rather than anything to do with opium as such.

    And as far as opium addiction goes, I don't know about Yip Man but Sum Nung told my Sifu unambiguously that Yuen Kay San was NOT an opium addict. Given that Sum Nung was his disciple I'm guessing he would know. And so Snark, I don't think you are being rude, but as for establishing where these rumors came from,= Yip Chun and Sum Nung, that is where they came from via my own Sifu who was a private student of Yip Chun and a disciple of Sum Nung. I haven't read this stuff anywhere so I have no references for you, I just got it through my own Sifu.


    Geezer I think I must have been a bit vague in what I was saying. I was not meaning to suggest that any issues with Wing Chun today necessarily stem from Yip Man, though in a round about way I think they do. I was actually trying to suggest that the pangali guy (or whatever his name is that wrote those blog posts) is being a little too hard in his criticisms of Yip Man. Now, I don't think Yip Man was the paragon of martial virtue and the greatest wing chun guy who has ever lived, the way that it seems many of his wing chun descendants appear to. He wasn't even the top wing chun guy in Guangdong, that was Yuen Kay San. But I think the portrayal of him in that article was a bit much.

    I was trying to establish, contradicting those blog articles, that as far as I had heard from my Sifu who heard this stuff from both Yip Chun and Sum Nung (and possibly Pan Nam too, I'd have to ask him), that Yip Man did indeed establish a reputation as a decent fighter in Fat San. Take the story about breaking the gun. As I said, Yip Chun said that Yip Man grabbed it out of the guy's hand, he didn't break it. So if the guy who wrote those blogs is going to say Yip Man's reputation it BS because breaking a gun is impossible, he should at least get the story straight before he tries to critique it.

    And yes you are right, I agree entirely with you, that none of us would even be learning wing chun if not for Yip Man (ironically enough if the stories about him getting cranky with Bruce Lee for teaching non-Chinese is true). But its undoubtable that he did contribute to a lot of the confusion and ambiguity surrounding wing chun today. It is common knowledge that there is ambiguity surrounding exactly where he learned what, It is undoubtable that, for whatever reason, he changed his wing chun substantially when he moved to HK. It is undoubtable that his teaching practices have lead to a lot of confusion about how to do this stuff. Look at the spread of Yip Man style wing chun, from the descendants of William Cheung to the descendants of Chu Shon Tin and everyone in between, some of them don't even seem like the same style of kung fu much less coming from the same guy. So it seems that even in his first generation of students he was not exactly careful to make sure that they were all on the same page as it were.

    But can it all be blamed on Yip Man? No I don't think so. When I started 22/3 years ago at least Yip Man wing chun was all reasonably consistent, but this diffusion has gone a long way in that time.

    I think it has more to do with marketing, money, people wanting to become a Sifu and open a school while barely knowing the stuff themselves, loss of information in the generations that have gone through since the first generation crowd and not just people not training their foundations but actively saying that training their foundations is a waste of time and the wrong way to train. The same is happening in YKS wing chun now, and from a little I have heard in Hung Gar too for example (again, like you say, across classical martial arts in general).
     
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  9. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    APL76 - Well written post.

    Personally, I don't worry to much about the gradual divergence of the system under the followers of the Yip Man lineage. That's always happened in TCMA. And that's been happening in Yip Man Wing Chun a lot longer than the 22-3 year period you postulated.

    My old Chinese sifu studied with Yip Man, and as early as 1980 proclaimed his version as a distinct system, and different from what was being taught by his older kung fu brothers in the lineage. Soon others like William Cheung also declared their uniqueness. A big part of it was pure self promotion, and in the case of my own sifu, another part of it was legitimate in describing real conceptual differences.

    My sifu attributed these differences to Grandmaster Yip's changing philosophy in his final years. There is probably some truth to that, but equally, I suspect that a lot of these ideas were substantially amplified by my sifu who, in conformity with Chinese cultural norms, preferred to lay the credit on his sifu (and in so doing attempt to increase his authority while undermining the legitimacy of his competitors). Others have done the same thing, and William Cheung took it a step further, pretty much proclaiming that everyone else had it all wrong!

    IMO, divergence and competition should strengthen an art, but only if different groups could freely come together and test out their approaches. Unfortunately, the cult-like clannishness of most WC groups prevented this from happening. For example, for the last 12 years, my old kung-fu brothers and training partners won't even speak to me, much less play chi-sau or spar after the organization split and I joined a different branch. ...And these guys were my friends going back to the founding of our group in 1979-80!

    I'm afraid that the group I'm with now has become just as clannish. They don't know I post here, but if they did, they wouldn't approve. And when I occasionally meet up with other groups to train, I better keep it quiet!!! ;)

    This is what has ruined Wing Chun.
     
  10. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    There's two things to look at there in what you are talking about I guess, the divergence on the one hand and the clannishness on the other.

    In terms of the clannishness, I suppose when people have a lot at stake in terms of money, reputation and ego it can be an incentive to be like that. And for people who have invested a substantial amount of their effort into learning something they want it to be, in some objective sense, the best. So, if I learned "the real" stuff from some great master of the art and my competitor didn't learn the real stuff then that's likely to attract students to me (it seems especially problematic when you get two people making those claims that learned from the same guy). Its like a traditional saying in Chinese that my Sifu says "in literature there is no number one; in Kung Fu there is no number two" That is to say, in literature people defer to others and maintain some modesty whereas in Kung Fu everyone claims to be the best.

    But the divergence in the wing chun...………..I don't see that it's necessarily a good thing; I certainly don't buy these arguments that it's some sort of evolution of the art in light of more modern and more effective ways of fighting and or training. Possible I guess, but in most cases I'd be sceptical myself. What I see it as being more attributable to is people missing parts and needing to fill gaps. Now that's not to say that's what Yip Man was doing however I think you can see it in a lot of people who descend from him.

    I can give two examples of what I mean:

    1- fairly well known if somewhat controversial and antagonistic guy in wing chun from the US, claimed in a video he made that two of the biggest weaknesses in wing chun are it's inability to cut angles against an oncoming attack and the non-existence of power generation from the hips. Both of which according to him are well developed in boxing and therefore wing chun should incorporate this stuff from boxing. Which it seems he does. Now I'm sure there are people on this forum, who do Yip Man wing chun, who would be surprised that wing chun allegedly doesn't cut angles or generate power from the hips. All one needs to do is train at their turning stance properly and understand how to combine the footwork from chum kue and bui ji and both of those "weaknesses" are taken care of. But this guy in the video, and presumably his students, don't train the things that are already in the system to address that and introduce other stuff in the belief that it will fix the "problem". I'm not convinced that that will make it stronger or better, it might, perhaps, actually undermine the integrity of what they are doing.

    2- I read years ago in another blog about how too many people slavishly adhere to tradition and don't "evolve" their wing chun in light of modern science and sports training. And this is particularly bad because in the olden days people believed lots of silly things, were superstitious and didn't have an evidence based approach to martial arts. This guy also added that Yip Man had an empty shell of sing chun (I think that was his term) and so "real" wing chun was dead anyway (as someone who learns YKS wing chun I thought that was a little presumptuous of him too).

    The specific example of this problem that the author of the blog used to illustrate his point was the silliness of the pole trapping technique from the butterfly knife form. In his opinion it was stupid and should be abandoned because it doesn't work, is a vestige of olden-days-silliness because the people who put it in the form obviously didn't follow an evidence based approach. He argued that there is no way that that technique can stop a pole thrust, and if you tried it you will cop a pole thrust to the face. Therefore the technique should be abandoned. And by extension of his principle, one should go through their wing chun and cull anything that was equally vestigial and silly.

    Now I have practiced that technique a fair bit against a trust from a person using a length of dowel (I don't much like the idea of my training pole getting all hacked up with the knives), and it works fine. It works because, unlike the guy argues, you don't try to stop the pole thrust, that's not the point. You simply get out of the way of the pole thrust and trap the pole momentarily before you slide one knife along the pole to attack the fingers and the other knife does a huen sao like scooping away of the pole.

    So, this guy, like example 1 above, just didn't understand what it was he was criticising. So I assume his wing chun is "evolving" too (like the first guy's) but my suspicion is that if one cant even understand what it is that they have a problem with in the first place, well, I'm not confident that that person is capable of making wing chun better.

    Those are just a couple of examples I have seen of people fixing "problems" in wing chun that in my opinion aren't actually problems in the first place. My gut feeling is that a lot of the divergence in wing chun in the years that I have noticed it at least, is a result of tis sort of stuff and probably won't make wing chun better.
     
  11. Snark

    Snark Green Belt

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    Hi APL. First I would like to thank you for answering my post with class and decorum, you do your sifu proud.

    I am not intending to cast any aspersions on what you have been told only to comment upon my frustrations of the rumour mill and inconsistent accounts. For example Ip Ching flatly denies his father ever used opium, in a similar fashion to Sum Nung...

    But...if the rumours are true that Ng Chong So occasionally taught out of an opium den/gambling house. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that both ip man and yuen say kuen who were both familiar with and/or frequented the school were recreational users.

    Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (6): Ng Chung So – Looking Beyond the “Three Heroes of Wing Chun”

    ..but this is how rumours start. However, as you quite rightly say, it's no big deal.

    The wing chun I was taught is a mixture of Gulao, Ip Man, Cho family and bits and pieces of other wing chun lineages. Although there are differences there are many similarities... I think perhaps what has been most damaging for wing chun is that for a 'conceptual' martial art, there are many people saying what concepts are wrong or not wing chun... But when you look across lineages, not many things are universally wrong.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  12. Cynik75

    Cynik75 Yellow Belt

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    Sounds like early kravmaga or nowadays kravmaga training in IDF - two weeks of learning how to stimulate agression in fight and to to fire full barrage of kicks, punches and hits. Tank Abbot style, as you said not enough against somebody trained and used to fight.
     
  13. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    I had a read of that article, thanks for liking that, I have heard the insinuations that Ng Chun So had taught from an opium den before, and even heard people make the claim that Yuen Kay San had learned from him. I don't know about teaching in an opium den but I think it's doubtful that he ever taught Yuen Kay San and the insinuation is probably a little politically motivated. In the YKS lineage its always unambiguously stated that YKS learned from: First- Fok Bo Chun and then second- Fun Sui Ching.

    The strongest thing that suggests to me that its highly unlikely that Yuen Kay San learned from Ng Chun So is the wing chun itself. I have learned the whole of Yip Man wing chun and a good chunk of the Yuen Kay San stuff and they are just too different to have come from the same source. An outsider might look at them and think "meh they look the same to me" but actually doing them... there are vast differences, most of which are contradictory. So much so that everyone I, or my Sifu, teaches YKS stuff to eventually has to make a choice to stick with either one or the other because trying to do both they just get in the way of each other.

    Which leads me to my question for you. How do you find doing so many different variations of wing chun? I can see how, and its reasonably logical that, Yip Man and Ku Lo wing chun should be fairly compatible but how about Cho wing chun. I don't know anything about it really, I have had a look at a little of it. It actually reminded me of some of the Weng Chun I have see. Is there any relationship there? Do you find contradictions it the way the generate power, ideas of efficiency and technique? Or do you manage to integrate them without any trouble?
     
  14. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    I totally get this... at least in concept. It is certainly true of the Wing Chun that I was taught as compared with some other branches (even within the Ip Man lineage). Most of the problem comes from the way we receive and generate power. If your fundamentals are contradictory, you cannot benefit from training both. For me it boils down to the concept of "springy energy" which not all WC groups share.

    APL76 - would it be possible in this, or in another thread, for you to describe one of the aspects of YKS Wing Chun that conflicts with the Ip Man Wing Chun you learned? It would help our understanding and be greatly appreciated.
     
  15. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    I can give it a go. There will be a little difficulty in that I have to be conservative with the YKS stuff I talk about but I should be able to give a general overview of it. I'll start another thread about it soon (meant to be working on my dissertation right now rather than procrastinating).
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Practicing your communication skills isn’t procrastinating. :D
     
  17. Snark

    Snark Green Belt

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    Hi, I am not very familiar with Weng chun but I have been told that some of our movements of the waist and back are similar to Weng chun or five animal style. However, these movements also appear to a degree in Gulao wing chun.

    With regard to confusing, it was at first, but I would say that explanations and understanding is a testament to the teaching of my sifu and his most senior students. The phrase "it's the same but not the same" is used a lot.

    We are taught the three empty hand forms in Ip Man as a reference point and these are generally used as skeletons on which to hang our knowledge as it develops. There are other forms and interactions we are necessarily taught as supplements.

    With regard to power generation. We start being taught with elbow snapping power, which moves to the bodies joints and then body motion and once this is accomplished it's kind of broken down again in different segments which generate power in a different way. Added to that and off the top of my head we have 8 different types of Ging and then you also have the elemental expression of that power etc. Etc.

    There is a lot of focus on intent and objective to differentiate the techniques and which approach you use as a single structure might have utterly different fundamentals.
     
  18. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    Thanks for the reply. The Weng Chun thing and possible similarities with Gu Lo wing chun I find unsurprising. From a YKS perspective there has always been this idea that that side of the wing chun family tree (the YM-Chun Wah Shun-Leung Jan) side is much more towards Weng Chun than Wing Chun. This is due to the closeness of Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yi Tai, Leung Yi Tai being a student of Ji Shim who, if I'm not mistaken is the founder of Weng Chun. Having said that though Weng Chun also claims Fung Su Ching as an ancestor too.

    The way it seems my sifu is thinking about it is that during the late 1800's and early 1900's Fat San was very rich in kung fu and it seems that there was a bit of collaboration, or at least association between the Wing Chun and Weng Chun people to the extent that at times it seems as though the two arts appeared to be more a position on a spectrum rather than definitively definable arts in and of themselves. From what he tells us, and this comes from years spent with Sum Nung and also going and looking at other lineages of wing chun, including Ku Lo, Pan Nam, Yu Choi, and the mainland YM gear, and weng chun in China, he appears to see it as the YKS stuff probably being more Ng Mui influenced and the YM side more Ji Shim influenced and Weng Chun being the most solid expression of Ji Shim's influence.

    Can you explain what you mean by ging? I can't recall hearing that term before. And your comment about intent, if I am not misunderstanding what you mean, that is also very important, or probably of crucial importance, in both the styles of wing chun I do too.
     

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