- Sep 29, 2013
- Reaction score
True. "Complete" could mean a lot of things depending on context. It could mean that your style or system has everything in it. That's not how Leung Ting used the term though. Wing Chun (and Wing Tsun) is selective. It is defined as much by it's relative simplicity as by it's complexities.
Then there is the old saying that all kung fu should encompass "ti da shuai na" or kicking, punching, throwing, and locking ...if it is complete. This is true up to a point with Wing Chun. It has some techniques addressing of each of those categories ...enough to be a "complete" system in that sense, but you'll notice that ground-fighting is not really addressed when you say "ti da shuai na".
And then, "complete" could simply mean that your system may be limited, but still has what is necessary to deal with whatever you will confront (again "ti da shuai na).
Interestingly, a lot of Chinese martial arts don't seem to include ground-fighting in their definition of what is "complete". Could be a cultural thing. One time I brought this up with my old sifu and he implied that such fighting was somehow "primitive" and "low class". Kinda like the way American men from the WWII generation thought of boxing as "the manly art of self-defense" ...like the way my old uncle John (now deceased) dismissed any fighting that had kicks or low blows as being cowardly and just wrong.
I suppose if you grew up in the late 1800s and early 1900s in southern China like GM Yip Man, when the streets of the working-class areas of crowded cities like Fo'shan were likely filled with filth and dung, the thought of rolling on the ground was not the proper way to fight, especially for a gentleman.
Anybody have any info on this?
Interestingly, Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo didn't like ground fighting much either. He incorporated it into Judo because Mateamon Tanabe, a master of Fusen-Ryu JJ used it to defeat Judoka in exhibition matches. Supposedly Tanabe developed his style from gripping eels and watching snakes kill and swallow toads......
Anyway, when Kosen Judo started to take off at the Kodokan in the 1920s, Kano actively worked to limit newaza and really push the tachiwaza (throwing) side of Judo. Banning leg locks and limiting the amount of time you can fight on the ground were such examples. Ironically, this gave space for BJJ to carve out an identity for itself later in the century. With that said, I do agree with you that an aversion to ground fighting seemed to be a cultural issue in Asian countries.
Edit: Found a blog post about this;
What are the origins of Jiu Jitsu? We are going to learn of the Fusen Ryu Jiu Jitsu practitioner know as Tanabe, the man who took out various Judo legends under Kano.