Has anyone had to use Wing-Chun for self-defense ?

geezer

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To the question, What is the measure stick of Wing Chun?, you responded:
A strong understanding of a blend of several different Shaolin animal styles.
I disagree. Wing Chun's origin myth does tie it to Southern Shaolin. And historically, Wing Chun has links to Fukien Crane and Hakka systems. Certainly, any scholar of the system would want to investigate these connections. But that isn't the "measure stick" or metric for mastery.

One point worth remembering is that Wing Chun, at least in most Yip Man branches, defines itself as much by what it has omitted as by what it includes. Wing Chun instead is presented as a pragmatic distillation of the older, Shaolin styles ...a tight and efficient system rather than an all inclusive collection with every kind of technique.

Now you might not agree with this philosophy, or see it as a "sales pitch", and you might point out that looking at Wing Chun in the broader context of Southern Chinese martial arts will deepen your understanding. And you may have a point. But that's not how most Wing Chun people see it.

Instead they will point out that unlike the storied Shaolin Monk who is supposed to have devoted his life to his religious and martial disciplines, our time is limited and better spent focusing on perfecting a narrower, more practical curriculum.

So, no, a Wing Chun "master" need not study other Shaolin rooted systems deeply ...beyond what is necessary to know your enemy and yourself.
Terminology is important. Some Wing Chun teachers seem to only know a few technique names in Cantonese. Compare them to someone who knows hundreds, and whole phrases, and where they belong.
Again I have to disagree even though I'm a person with a lot of curiosity, and I like learning the Cantonese names for techniques. Sometimes it has helped me understand better. But, as to whether that is really necessary, I remember what my old Cantonese speaking Chinese Sifu would say:

Learn Wing Chun not Chinese. If you want to learn Chinese, it is better to learn Mandarin. That you can use more. Besides, many so-called Wing Chun people do speak Cantonese and still they know nothing, so do not waste your time!
 

geezer

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As a follow up to my last post where I disagree with Oily's assertion that you need to know several southern systems to master Wing Chun, I'd like to add that this sort of curriculum creep has plagued some of the big WC/WT organizations. Wing Chun as taught commercially today is not the streamlined and efficient distillation it was intended to be.

Instead of focusing on the basic fighting art and how to make it work, they keep adding more and more curriculum, such as endless memorized Chi Sau "sections", self-defense sections, and the like. It's all very convenient to teach, to test, to sell certificates, and a great way to make money.

Clearly, it hasn't been so effective at producing fighters.
 

Callen

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I'm not sure I'd agree an instructor's value is necessarily tied to use of Cantonese terminology. If somewhere along the line, a line of WC starts using English names for most of the techniques, those names are what the instructors in that line need to know.
I agree with this sentiment, but Canto can be tricky because it is completely colloquial in nature. IMO, where the instruction comes from can sometimes be important. As long as the terminology is correct, then the system is at much less risk of degradation. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for certain aspects to get lost in translation the further it gets from the source.

Again I have to disagree even though I'm a person with a lot of curiosity, and I like learning the Cantonese names for techniques. Sometimes it has helped me understand better. But, as to whether that is really necessary, I remember what my old Cantonese speaking Chinese Sifu would say:

Learn Wing Chun not Chinese. If you want to learn Chinese, it is better to learn Mandarin. That you can use more. Besides, many so-called Wing Chun people do speak Cantonese and still they know nothing, so do not waste your time!
Good points. I also think you were in a bit of a privileged position (much like myself). LT was bilingual, so you received the system directly from a reliably translated source.
 

Callen

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A strong understanding of a blend of several different Shaolin animal styles.
Which Wing Chun sifu/instructors would you say are a good example of implementing a strong understanding of several different Shaolin animal styles into their teaching?
 

hunschuld

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Good points. I also think you were in a bit of a privileged position (much like myself). LT was bilingual, so you received the system directly from a reliably translated source.
You and Geezer are so on point with this. I studied with 7 different direct Yip Man students and their students to one degree or another.
Translation and understanding even among Cantonese speakers was different. One day I was with TST and he was showing and explaining his Tan sau. The very next day I was with Ho Kam Man and not only was his different his explanation was different. Turns out there was a reason for the differences but it required a 3rd source for me to understand. Another time a Yip Man student was giving a 5 to 10 minute explanation on something. When he was done the translator said' You do this" and showed something. My Cantonese speaking buddy turned to me and said bs and then explained what was really said. I found this happening time and again.
 

hunschuld

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A strong understanding of a blend of several different Shaolin animal styles.

Terminology is important. Some Wing Chun teachers seem to only know a few technique names in Cantonese. Compare them to someone who knows hundreds, and whole phrases, and where they belong.
I have to disagree. The shapes and techniques are not that important nor are the Cantonese terms.

Wing Chun was designed to fight a particular way and it's techniques come from the martial arts around in the 1850-1860 time period.

The key is wing chun Kuen Kuit. It is here you will find the explanation of how the techniques are to be used and applied. If you do not have or understand the Kuit then you will have a very hard time applying wing chun in the way it was intended. Knowing something is from white crane and something if from Tiger will not help you fight.
 

hunschuld

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Mider,

I am not sure other than, Francis Fong, what makes the people in the video good instructors.( I first met Francis 40 years ago. I know his journey and why he is good). Chi sau is a collaborative training exercise. Good Chi Sai does not equal good fighting skill.

Demo's are just that. Demo partners do not hit back,they do not move . They stand still while you can look good. This does not equal fighting skill. They may have great fighting skills but a demo is just that . It does not show real skill and does not show if a teacher is really good what ever that means to you.
 

hunschuld

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Sometimes I think these conversations confuse self defense with sport.

Very good point! Often self defense vs a non skilled person is something wing chun as most often taught is good at.. The duel sort of fight which covers sport is something at which wing chun often fails.
 

wckf92

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I agree with this sentiment, but Canto can be tricky because it is completely colloquial in nature. IMO, where the instruction comes from can sometimes be important. As long as the terminology is correct, then the system is at much less risk of degradation. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for certain aspects to get lost in translation the further it gets from the source.


Good points. I also think you were in a bit of a privileged position (much like myself). LT was bilingual, so you received the system directly from a reliably translated source.

Yeah good points. My wing chun sure could use some authentic Canto. I know a few of the names of the movements but would be great to know the correct terminology in the native language.
 

Oily Dragon

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I'm not sure I'd agree an instructor's value is necessarily tied to use of Cantonese terminology. If somewhere along the line, a line of WC starts using English names for most of the techniques, those names are what the instructors in that line need to know.
In the case of Wing Chun it's very important, and a lot of the damage done to the art has been through English mistranslations over the years. End of day, it's a uniquely Cantonese art system. The same goes for Choy Li Fut, Hung Ga and the other family styles. If you don't know the source system, what you are teaching is diluted and in a lot of Wing Chun schools, sort of mutated.

You can't really say the same about things like Judo, where all the original Japanese techniques have been more carefully translated and passed down.

This is why the best Wing Chun teachers are the ones who are skilled in both languages, and how you tell a weak Wing Chun sifu by their lack of background in the culture it comes from.
 

Oily Dragon

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Which Wing Chun sifu/instructors would you say are a good example of implementing a strong understanding of several different Shaolin animal styles into their teaching?
Like you said, bilingual people tend to be the best.

The best Wing Chun available today is codified in Cantonese. That doesn't mean it can't be taught in English as long as the teacher understands the source.
 

Oily Dragon

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To the question, What is the measure stick of Wing Chun?, you responded:

I disagree. Wing Chun's origin myth does tie it to Southern Shaolin. And historically, Wing Chun has links to Fukien Crane and Hakka systems. Certainly, any scholar of the system would want to investigate these connections. But that isn't the "measure stick" or metric for mastery.
Yeah but all the Wing Chun schools pride themselves in their Shaolin connection. Which is real, but it doesn't make Wing Chun special.
One point worth remembering is that Wing Chun, at least in most Yip Man branches, defines itself as much by what it has omitted as by what it includes. Wing Chun instead is presented as a pragmatic distillation of the older, Shaolin styles ...a tight and efficient system rather than an all inclusive collection with every kind of technique.
All the styles are tight and efficient, IMHO. Wing Chun just doesn't contain a lot of material the other arts around it do.
So, no, a Wing Chun "master" need not study other Shaolin rooted systems deeply ...beyond what is necessary to know your enemy and yourself.
If that's the case then Wing Chun would have to forget its roots entirely. You can't separate out the animal styles from Wing Chun, they are part of it.
Again I have to disagree even though I'm a person with a lot of curiosity, and I like learning the Cantonese names for techniques. Sometimes it has helped me understand better. But, as to whether that is really necessary, I remember what my old Cantonese speaking Chinese Sifu would say:

Learn Wing Chun not Chinese. If you want to learn Chinese, it is better to learn Mandarin. That you can use more. Besides, many so-called Wing Chun people do speak Cantonese and still they know nothing, so do not waste your time!
That's funny because Wing Chun is a Cantonese word.
 

Oily Dragon

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I have to disagree. The shapes and techniques are not that important nor are the Cantonese terms.

Wing Chun was designed to fight a particular way and it's techniques come from the martial arts around in the 1850-1860 time period.

The key is wing chun Kuen Kuit. It is here you will find the explanation of how the techniques are to be used and applied. If you do not have or understand the Kuit then you will have a very hard time applying wing chun in the way it was intended. Knowing something is from white crane and something if from Tiger will not help you fight.
The Cantonese is what connects Wing Chun to the southern Shaolin traditions, though, which are inseparable from Wing Chun, and the five Animals are all part of that culture and Wing Chun's foundations. Not to mention Wing Chun's entire history in soutern Chinese kung fu cinema.

All the fist poems are in Cantonese, too, and can be poorly transferred if the source isn't well understood. Those Kuen kuit weren't invented in Wing Chun, they come from before.

This goes back to my point about learning other southern CMA to really get a sense of where Wing Chun fits, because it fits squarely. You might learn Wing Chun ok without that context, but someone who does have it will make a better Wing Chun coach.
 

Oily Dragon

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Oily's assertion that you need to know several southern systems to master Wing Chun
I think you misunderstood me. I didn't mean you need to know the ancestor and cousin styles, but we were talking about good, better, best, and the best are the Wing Chun teachers who do know all that stuff.

What good is a Wing Chun sifu who has never gong sau with someone outside Wing Chun.

Bong Sau, great example. This means something across all the CMA, Wing Chun didn't invent it. Lots of applicable things, but if you only knew the Wing Chun version it's limited. If you only learned an English concept of it, you are probably also missing the context
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Bong Sau, great example. This means something across all the CMA, Wing Chun didn't invent it.
Many long fist guys also cross train the praying mantis system. IMO, it's good idea to look at a technique from both the long fist point of view and also from the praying mantis point of view.

That's a good point. Should we look at a MA tool (such as Bong Shou) just from the WC point of view, or should we look at it from the general MA point of view?

I always think that Bong Shou is more than just a block. In both the long fist and the Gong Li system, Bong Shou is used as a "spiral punch" (at 0.49).


Bong Shou is also used in Chinese wrestling.

 
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Gerry Seymour

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I agree with this sentiment, but Canto can be tricky because it is completely colloquial in nature. IMO, where the instruction comes from can sometimes be important. As long as the terminology is correct, then the system is at much less risk of degradation. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for certain aspects to get lost in translation the further it gets from the source.
While I agree something is likely lost in translation, I think its unlikely using the original terms is better (likely its actually worse), when the people using those terms arent fluent in the language. At best, they are using an approximation of the sounds, and mentally translating the meaning (also approximately). Its my experience that using the terms without knowing the language can lead to linguistic leaps of logic.
 

Gerry Seymour

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In the case of Wing Chun it's very important, and a lot of the damage done to the art has been through English mistranslations over the years. End of day, it's a uniquely Cantonese art system. The same goes for Choy Li Fut, Hung Ga and the other family styles. If you don't know the source system, what you are teaching is diluted and in a lot of Wing Chun schools, sort of mutated.

You can't really say the same about things like Judo, where all the original Japanese techniques have been more carefully translated and passed down.

This is why the best Wing Chun teachers are the ones who are skilled in both languages, and how you tell a weak Wing Chun sifu by their lack of background in the culture it comes from.
My point is that knowing the terminology isnt the same as understanding the terms in Cantonese. If they dont speak the language, they know the term via translation, and that means the original term cant carry the meaning it did.
 

geezer

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Its my experience that using the terms without knowing the language can lead to linguistic leaps of logic.
This was my old sifu's assertion. Beyond that, he held that even Cantonese was often inadequate to convey the proper use and feel of a technique. That is why Wing Chun is passed down through the hands. Not through books, posters, videos or even the ancient kuen kuit.

Of course, of course, all the above can be helpful in a supplementary way ... but they are not sufficient by themselves. This is why he (and most other old-school Chinese instructors) always tagged the forms and sequences featured in his books, videos, and posters with a few deliberate errors as "tells" to expose those who had not learned from a legitimate source.

As a educator by profession, that is something I found ethically troubling. But it was the custom.
 

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Mider,

I am not sure other than, Francis Fong, what makes the people in the video good instructors.( I first met Francis 40 years ago. I know his journey and why he is good). Chi sau is a collaborative training exercise. Good Chi Sai does not equal good fighting skill.

Demo's are just that. Demo partners do not hit back,they do not move . They stand still while you can look good. This does not equal fighting skill. They may have great fighting skills but a demo is just that . It does not show real skill and does not show if a teacher is really good what ever that means to you.
theyre good cause they make WC work

Shrug, if they fought what then? You or someone else would just say oh well they didnt fight anyones killed. If you feel they need to prove themselves to touch hands with them, don't debate online

I mean most of the men I posted are well known teachers多ow didnt you know that as you claim to have trainEd so much wing Chun? If youre so skilled how cant you tell by their technique? Shrug

Sifu Dominick Izzo does fight break downs and can tell techniques just by looking尖et you cant seem To. Its just interesting to me
 
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