Yip Man's curriculum changes

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by DanT, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. DanT

    DanT Purple Belt

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    This is a short summery on research I have done through both readings and speaking to various Sifus on the historical changes to Yip Man's wing chun curriculum, from teaching in Foshan to Hong Kong.

    Age 24 (1917 - Yip Man returns to Foshan):
    -Mook Jong had several different short forms
    -Bat Jam Do form non-existent, drills used instead
    -Chi Sao not practiced till after Cham Kiu (approx 3 years)
    -Siu Nim Tao practiced for at least 2 years before Cham Kiu learned
    -No footwork till Cham Kiu (just turning stance)

    Age 45 (1938 - Yip Man teaches neighbours wing chun for self defence vs Japanese):
    -curriculum restructured to increase combat skills quickly
    -Footwork taught almost right away
    -kicks simplified
    -wooden dummy forms combined, result is one single form of 72? moves
    -only kick on wooden dummy now is front kick
    -Cham Kiu taught after 1 year
    -Chi Sao introduced after a few months
    -No Bat Jam Do or Staff taught

    Age 56 (1949 - Yip Man flees to Hong Kong, teaches full time):
    (At this point, he needed a curriculum that would keep students interested and quickly start wining at beimo fights to attract more students. The curriculum also needed to last longer to retain students over a longer period of time):
    -Mook Jong form increased from 72? Moves to 108 then 116 then back to 108
    -footwork and chi sao still introduced as soon as possible
    -more kicks reintroduced to Mook Jong
    -Bat Jam Do form created? Or at least learnt from Yeun Kay Shan and the taught
    -Staff form taught / created

    As you can see from above, Yip Man's curriculum changed depending on the circumstance he found himself in.
     
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  2. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    And to me at least it seems illogical to think, as he was changing it, that said change suddenly stopped. First, when you change something you rarely feel it is "right" with the "first go". Second I am sure, as it was part of his advertising, that he would "debrief" his students after the beimo fights and by drawing on their experiences likely made further refinements as he had already made changes in the first place.

    It wouldn't make sense to be sending people off to beimo fights and not use that experience as a test bed to see what worked and what didn't. One of the interesting things about HK, at least according to the family of a friend of mine that was born there, is that especially after the Communists won, people from all over China fled there. Mainland China is vast and at the time there was not really a National transportation system as we know it, cars were rare etc. So, according to them, you could live in the south practicing the martial arts available locally and never see a style from the north, for yourself, in your life time. However HK brought different styles into very close proximity and the beimo fights allowed them to be tested against each other.
     
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  3. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Another silly double post. What's up with the forums?
     
  4. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    It's about how an occupation works and living through it, not open rebellion.

    It's not about fighting on a battlefield. There were Chinese collaborators who worked as "cops" for the Japanese government, tax collectors etc. You have soldiers in a local bar who at best might have a pistol off duty, you don't walk around with a Rifle 24/7. You then have the criminal element that tends to flourish during occupations. So it is more about protecting themselves from abuse at their own door or on the street.
     
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  5. LFJ

    LFJ Master of Arts

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    It must be taken into account that students can only say what they learned, but not what they didn't learn.

    In YMVT, the pole and knives are too deeply related to the empty hand method and its training system to not have been part of its conception. Highly unlikely that YM created them himself long after the empty hand method had been developed.

    Also, this bit makes 0 sense;

    SNT with no CK for 1 year is not going to increase combat skills quickly.
    SNT is useless for fighting without CK knowledge and training. CK is what makes it functional.

    And 2 years of SNT without CK is a waste of one's life!

    Perhaps someone was just an extraordinarily slow learner or didn't attend training very often at all.
     
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  6. KPM

    KPM Senior Master

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    In YMVT, the pole and knives are too deeply related to the empty hand method and its training system to not have been part of its conception. Highly unlikely that YM created them himself long after the empty hand method had been developed.

    ----Why would it be highly unlikely? You don't seem to give YM much credit for being smart and innovative. Reminds me about past discussions involving WSL! He would not have created the pole or knives forms from scratch. It has already been stated that people trained short sequences and movements prior to longer forms. YM had very likely trained the pole and knives this way for awhile. Its already been stated that YM borrowed some of his pole from seeing the guys training at Dai Duk Lan. The Wing Chun knives are simply an extension of the empty hand methods. That's how they are trained today in Ku Lo Pin Sun without using a long form at all. Its a well known fact that what YM taught in Foshan differs from what he taught in Hong Kong. He developed and evolved his system. So I don't see it as unlikely at all that YM developed his own forms for the knives and the pole and made sure that the concepts behind them fit with and were an integrated part of the rest of the system. I mean, geez, give the guy some credit for being the Grandmaster of his own version of Wing Chun!!! ;)

    Looks like the forum double post "echo" problem has been solved!
     
  7. DanT

    DanT Purple Belt

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    Take into account that:
    -the students were already learning all the footwork after a few weeks
    -Cham Kiu used to be taught after several years, not just one, until Yip Man pushed it more towards the front end of the learning curve.
     
  8. LFJ

    LFJ Master of Arts

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    I can see why you wouldn't.

    Why?

    The main idea of CK is not footwork anyway, and not teaching CK until after "several years" makes 0 sense.

    It's as ridiculous as trying to teach someone to speak a new language and having them spend several years on just the alphabet. After several years of study they still won't understand a thing or be able to form a sentence. What a complete waste of time!

    Why should I take something so absurd into account?
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Grandmaster

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    Correct me if I'm wrong here, LFJ, but you're assuming that if the form isn't taught yet, neither are any of the principles in it. Is that the approach you've seen with the forms? I ask because I'm curious about how forms are used in different styles.
     
  10. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Well I have been trained to fight insurgencies, brothers and sisters of mine fight them now. I am also trained in History. Whether it be the Insurgencies in Europe against the Germans, China and the Philippines against the Japanese, some did actually fight. The Philippines are actually an excellent example. Because of the lack of weapons in the beginning Filipino insurgents would often go after Japanese Soldiers at night with their Bolo knives using their Native Martial Art (Kali-Arnis- Escrima... aka FMA) so they could then get a gun and return to the jungle to fight. Insurgencies care more about the future or are blinded by a pain from the present. Killing 4000 people in one town actually galvanizes insurgencies, it doesn't stop them. History has proven this.

    Also remember sometimes such training is just about feeling safer. How many people who take a self defense class ever actually use it on the street. BUT when they go out they feel better.
     
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  11. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    First:
    "In YMVT, the pole and knives are too deeply related to the empty hand method and its training system to not have been part of its conception."

    The fact they are so closely related makes it MORE likely. If you never intended to be a full time Sifu and suddenly had to, because that was the only way to feed yourself, and had to remember the open hand forms (since every record of the WC he studied on the Main Land had no long form for weapons)...then felt the need to create weapon forms, then naturally the weapon forms would be related to the unarmed forms. You have recreated your unarmed forms, is it not easier to then pick up a weapon and try to apply those forms to the weapon than to create, or remember (if it existed) a weapon long form?

    Next I don't get why this basic logic is even an issue. I know teaching. I studied to be one, my mother was one and my Father is a Professor. The best teachers are NOT the ones who can simply regurgitate to the next generation what their teacher taught them. The best teachers are those who can build and refine on what they learned. The Physics teacher who comes up with a new equation, the history teacher who while reading another book makes a connection about a historical event other's missed, a Literature teacher who by knowing an author so well realizes the untitled work he is reading was written by a master. Or YM, who when he thought he would be a Police Officer for the rest of his life and so saw his art as being "his" finds himself fleeing to HK and then having to teach others, having to suddenly adapt and become a teacher he never intended to be but to do it so brilliantly. THIS is something to be praised.

    However I understand how some may not praise it. If we take the video in total this means that not only did YM change what he learned, but the same narrator says that a certain student modified what he learned and thus that student didn't teach "true" YM WC as some claim. To make matters worse our narrator says that YM refined his own WC as the former student refined their WC. That then begs another question because if the later YMWC was better than the former, what does that say for the former student who changed his own WC himself.
     
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  12. LFJ

    LFJ Master of Arts

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    It's not just the principles it teaches, but the physical training of CK that is essential to the the beginner's development. You can't get very far without it, and if you skip ahead it does more harm than good. So, it is absurd to think it would not be taught for several years into training.

    You have to understand the entire system to see the connection. It's the opposite direction from what you're thinking. Not that the weapons came from empty hand, but that empty hand came from the weapons.
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour Grandmaster

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    That's a bit over-strong as a response to what I asked. I only asked about the apparent assumption and the experience that drives is, out of curiosity regarding how systems use forms. The question of whether YM delayed its introduction is irrelevant to my question.
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Grandmaster

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    That's interesting. The same is said of the empty-hand work in some JMA (Daito-ryu and Ueshiba's Aikido have both had that said of them, though I know at least some of those who say so base it on a misinterpretation of "Daito"). Can you point me to some reading about this history of WC/VT development?
     
  15. DanT

    DanT Purple Belt

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    Most if not all of the schools I'm aware of teach chum kiu after a year if not more. Prior to this change in the yip man lineage, chum Kiu was not taught until after a few years (perhaps up to 3 years). Students would spend the first three years working just on basic techniques, single chi Sao, and the turning stance only. Obviously this was not practical any more so yip man changed it. A similar way of thinking can be found in many other styles. In Hung Gar it's not uncommon to learn nothing but the horse stance and straight punch for a year. In Northern Shaolin, only very basic techniques and stances are taught for the first 2 years. Etc.
     
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  16. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Wait, so now you claim WC started as a weapon based art and worked backwards!? Going to call you out here point blank for Be because this is the only time I have ever seen this claimed, ever. Actually most every Tale of YMWC starts with empty hand and adds the weapons later. Example..YM's own tale WC period (not his personal style) says the pole wasn't added until AFTER it was passed onto the Red Boat actors.

    So you can prove an empty hand art did a 180 and became a weapon based art? I await the sources and evidence.
     
  17. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Senior Master

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    If that is true then the

    - side stance with one leg forward and one leg backward,
    - one long arm and one short arm principle,

    should be the basic building blocks for the WC system which is not the case.

    [​IMG] \
     
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  18. wckf92

    wckf92 2nd Black Belt

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    Actually Juany...if I recall he (@LFJ ) and Guy stated previously that VT is derived from the pole (I think). Not sure what their views are WRT the knives and empty hand though...
    (I think this was before your arrival on this forum)...?
     
  19. wckf92

    wckf92 2nd Black Belt

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    Eh?
    Just an FYI dude...not all WC stands there like a statue attempting to grip a goat or whatever you call it.
     
  20. JP3

    JP3 2nd Black Belt

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    I think that most of your very high-level "masters" of their main art have put their own stamp on what they've taught.
     
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  21. KPM

    KPM Senior Master

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    You and Guy B. are the only ones I've ever seen that believed that. I don't believe that at all. For one, it is well known that Leung Jan did not teach the knives. The Yuen Kay Shan lineages say they were added to the system by LJ's classmate Fok Bo Chuen. Knives were not taught by LJ in Ku Lo Village. None of the lineage histories/legends state that the weapons came first. In short, your claim is entirely unsubstantiated other then your claim to an "insiders" knowledge of the "entire" system. That just sounds to me like you are making connections to suit yourself. That doesn't mean they are right!
     
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