Ip Man wing chun- some thoughts

Phobius

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
692
Reaction score
218
Yeaaah, people say this all the time, but it seems to me they confuse concepts with principles, and then techniques from the forms become their theoretical fighting tactics. So they say they are concept based, but still use techniques in 1:1 application ideas, like taan-da against a given attack.

Agreed, it felt really clich矇 to write it but had no better way of describing what I meant. The word concept gets thrown around a lot from people that later state "If they do this.... you can counter with a <insert technique>". My meaning differs from yours as in I count all "techniques" as being shapes which comes natural to me based on own experience. If I experience something new then I pick the closest and should I get punched I have to train in countering it more properly. So the concept is emphasis during training, in application it is not techniques but rather my training that gets me through, a feeling of sorts.

In most lineages of Wing Chun, taan-da is a representative technique, often done (theoretically) as a round punch defense, or at least it's a technique taught in their system; i.e. "When he does this, I can taan-da. It's a spread and hit concept" they say. They'll cling to the idea of it representing some concept or other, but it's still dealing in 1:1 applications.

You bring up another good point. Not sure I would consider taan-da as a "technique" to counter a round punch. My understanding is that whenever I try to enforce a technique on my opponent they either have to A) Follow my rules. B) Continue their punch and hurt me. Not the kind of situation I want to put myself in. I cant say how I would counter a round punch myself, especially when it has been a large theme of ours, because it depends on so many factors not only limited to opponents force, will and angles.

What I mean by confusing concepts with principles, is that when people talk about being concept based they often mean things like economy of motion, chasing center of mass and not limbs, centerline theory, etc.. But these are all principles that make up the overall fighting strategy.

...

Actually this is the main part of why I reply to this message.

Want to say thanks for explaining your view, means I now understand what you mean when saying stuff such as principals and concepts. Not sharing the same view of course, but that would be a given on any forum. People rarely shares same view. :)

My own view is that concepts are what you call principals. Techniques to me are rather a way to learn my body proper angle and force generation, a sense of how a movement should feel in the body itself. Sorry to sound as if I am smoking something I shouldnt but it is hard subject to explain but easy to understand when doing it. I do not mean some magical state of supreme body knowledge. More like how a golf player knows how to swing a club without thinking every moment about it and still get the desired outcome.

Now I have some questions if you wish to enlighten me further with how you mean.

- It was stated in separate thread that WSL VT had different principals to LT WT. LT WT has the same "principals" or concepts pending on what you call it as WC. What differs for WSL VT? Of course this is based on my own experience of WT, we state that nothing here is altered compared to YM's teachings.
- YM displayed taan-da in first section of wooden dummy form, however WSL VT does not have this "technique"? So, sorry for my ignorance, WSL VT has modified forms?
(To note I have no WSL VT club nearby and feel curious but lacking a lot of knowledge of that style of the art)
 
OP
V

Vajramusti

Master Black Belt
Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
312
I agree, Joy. Even what I consider "high quality" WC from the Yip Man lineage has diverged widely. For example, I consider your WC, and certainly Master Augustine Fong's WC to be high quality, and I equally respect what I've seen of some of the WSL branch, the TST branch, and of course my old Sifu's branch, as well as other branches. The best representatives of each these branches are indisputably skilled, yet they have interpreted core concepts very differently.



Again I agree, although as I noted above some of the concepts are interpreted and applied very differently. This is expressed in such fundamentally basic things as the stance structure, stance-turning, and steps, as well as the energy and feel of the "seed" techniques: tan, bong, and fook. Unfortunately, the prevailing "I'm right and you're wrong" attitudes encountered everywhere, even on this forum, stifle any meaningful discussion that might uncover some common ground.



Ain"t it the truth.



I don't really think that is the problem. The important stuff in WC isn't about details and arcana, it's being able to understand and express the essence... the structures, movement and energy in a spontaneous and efficacious manner. If the core concepts are well understood, the details will emerge.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The fact that it has diverged widely- does not IMO make all points of view equally valid. But on this list we don't engage in lineage bashing. So I touch on
some key points of my view.

!. Ip Man had many students who attended his public classes- often taught my one of his students.

2. His real teaching was to a few who were taken through the whole curriculum

3. the bjd knives were the finishing instruction- only about 4 people learned the whole knives from Ip Man.
Ip Bo Ching died and another left wing chun-leaving Ho Kam Ming and Wong Shon Leung.. HKM started after WSL but given meeting frequency finished the knives before WSL.

4. Developmental training and application are different things though related---understanding the science and applying in engineering are different things.
5. pak sao, lop sau are active verbs denoting motion not techniques.: techniques emerge upon contact. 6.a bong sao in application may vary in appearance from general expectations 6. Chi sao is not fighting but is the most important training bridge between theory and practice in wing chun. Chi sao is a lab and lab work will vary widely with the quality of learning and experience...differnces between a Rolls Royce and a Kia

%. Ip man's most serious teaching was 1955 to 1962. He was basically retired after that. Ip Chun and Ip Ching were left behind in Foshan- rejoined IP Man around 1962.
Of course there are many opinions-every one will have oneThere are many ways of self defense and fighting and individual
skill, spirit and explosiveness matter. .But regarding the wing chun way-it is what it is.
 

LFJ

Senior Master
Joined
Oct 18, 2014
Messages
2,132
Reaction score
451
Now I have some questions if you wish to enlighten me further with how you mean.

- It was stated in separate thread that WSL VT had different principals to LT WT. LT WT has the same "principals" or concepts pending on what you call it as WC. What differs for WSL VT? Of course this is based on my own experience of WT, we state that nothing here is altered compared to YM's teachings.

Yeah, Leung Ting is the "principal" of LTWT. :D We don't have him in our lineage.

Okay, "principles" as in fighting strategy? LTWT as I gather by some accounts is about being soft and yielding, and as I would interpret many of its tactics, passive, although you hate that word.

WSLVT is a very direct and aggressive approach to fighting. There's no shifting off line or turning ourselves, except to face our attack lines. There's no sticking and leading into emptiness, but rather ballistic displacement of limbs to clear the line for striking in the most direct and efficient way, without turning ourselves or the redundant use of two arms. We use a single arm with both attack and defense functions. Two such arms working in rotation work effectively as four arms. This removes the need to use passive, turning footwork and two arms to defend and attack. Comparatively very simple, direct, and efficient.

- YM displayed taan-da in first section of wooden dummy form, however WSL VT does not have this "technique"? So, sorry for my ignorance, WSL VT has modified forms?
(To note I have no WSL VT club nearby and feel curious but lacking a lot of knowledge of that style of the art)

You mean following the first bong-sau, as you step in from the side? We do this too, but it's not in consideration of some sort of taan-da application. We come in from the side making contact with the lead leg and both hands to train facing, distancing, synchronicity of upper and lower body movements and full body force delivery, not to trap a leg while we block with taan and palm strike the opponent's ribs.

We don't see the dummy as representing a human being. It is just a tool for solo training of our structures and attributes. The reference is ourselves, not an opponent coming with a hypothetical attack. Some people will even stick to the dummy arm from bong-sau and turn into taan-da as an application idea. That's completely wrong for us, because we must disengage completely from the dummy to properly perform the next action... And of course we're not fighting an imaginary opponent.

The taan arm and side palm are both training striking concepts. When flanking an opponent from the left we'll strike with right taan elbow energy or left jam elbow energy to displace to the right as we cycle our attacks on a flanked opponent struggling to recover facing. But we don't know yet if we'll be punching the right or left arm, so we use both to train our facing, distancing, and synchronicity. One is higher and one lower only because they can't occupy the same space. Again, it's not a taan-da consideration. It's several things going on at once for training purposes only. Of course we won't be throwing two punches at the same time. We must step back and look at it in a more abstract way.

Hopefully you can start to see now how we interpret the actions in a purely abstract way in training forms and drills. Many people extract them and give them 1:1 application meanings. That totally misses the point the system is trying to teach us. It's not at all a collection of techniques. It's solo development training.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,576
Reaction score
5,973
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Vajramusti

I am enjoying reading this thread, thanks

I cannot comment since my time in Wing Chun was rather short and I never got past sil lum tao, but I will say the lineages I trained in all went back to Ip Man and the concepts were all pretty much the same, the differences came in the forms

Ip Man > Ip Ching > 1st teacher
Ip Man > Leung Sheng > Fak Tak Ling > 2nd teacher
Ip Man > Ho Kam Ming > Fong Chi Wing > 2nd teacher

And before I forget
Ip Man > Bruce Lee > Jerry Poteet > JKD teacher...sorry, just couldn't resist :D
 

Eric_H

Black Belt
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
559
Reaction score
104
Location
San Francisco
I remember someone on another forum telling how they had people put headgear on and face a line up of people throwing serious round punches at them and they needed to use taan-da as the defense. It failed each time, for each person.

Because that doesn't work. Wrong structure for that timeframe.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
6,900
Reaction score
2,893
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Want to say thanks for explaining your view, means I now understand what you mean when saying stuff such as principals and concepts. Not sharing the same view of course, but that would be a given on any forum. People rarely shares same view. :)

Phobius, I use the term "concept" much as you do, and agree with this. I'm glad LFJ clarified his use of the terms. Goodness knows, we have enough legitimate differences on this forum without making it worse through misunderstanding the terms we are using.


WSLVT is a very direct and aggressive approach to fighting. There's no shifting off line or turning ourselves, except to face our attack lines. There's no sticking and leading into emptiness, but rather ballistic displacement of limbs to clear the line for striking in the most direct and efficient way, without turning ourselves or the redundant use of two arms. We use a single arm with both attack and defense functions. Two such arms working in rotation work effectively as four arms. This removes the need to use passive, turning footwork and two arms to defend and attack. Comparatively very simple, direct, and efficient.

LFJ Thanks for this succinct overview of the WSL approach. I do not know any WSL WC practitioners in my area but your description seems totally consistent with what I've seen on youtube and read on forums by people that belong to that lineage.


Testing through sparring can be done, it's not about proving what style of chun is best is about developing the style and applying it to a resisting opponents. Different people will need to apply the art differently. After a generation or so of wing chun competition you'll likely have a number of valid approaches that are effective.

Exactly. My point about "testing" was that if a large number of people openly test their WC skills we can begin to accumulate stats, see trends and can come to some broader conclusions about what works best depending on the specific situation and circumstances.

Boxers realize that different body types move and apply the art differently, a lanky long range fighter knows a stocky short fighter will not apply the art in the same manner, he doesn't say infighting and close range tactics are ineffective or inauthentic.

Again, spot on. This is the point I was trying to convey to LFJ. It's not just about having one superior approach that works fo everybody. Some boxer's take the fight to their opponent, others back off and counterpunch. Some wrestlers immediately go for the takedown, others prefer to sprawl and counter. Stats show what works best most of the time, but also show how certain types of fighter can sometime be more successful with a different approach. The same applies to Wing Chun.

In WSL WC I see a sort of aggressive and "yang" approach. In LT WC I often see more of a "yin" and yielding energy, especially with regard to the stance and the energy of the WT bong sau. Very different, ant yet both lineages have produced effective fighters.

Personally I see merit in both approaches and do not believe that they are mutually exclusive. Speaking in a general sense and not to the specific lineages, I've seen fighters use both methods effectively, shifting from one to the other depending on the situation. Am I alone in this delusion?
 
Last edited:

wckf92

Master Black Belt
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
1,414
Reaction score
407
.... ballistic displacement of limbs...

Yep... this is how I was trained. Very aggressive, very "yang" approach compared to some other WC/WT/VT as far as I know. Not saying it is better or worse... just a different approach.
BTW LFJ...I love that term! :D
 

yak sao

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,175
Reaction score
749
I find WT to be a mix of the two approaches.
My 1st sifu, while very powerful, was also quite yielding , while my 2nd sifu.while very soft, is also very aggressive if needed.

LFJ, if only you and I could get together you would see much common ground.
 

Phobius

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
692
Reaction score
218
I find WT to be a mix of the two approaches.
My 1st sifu, while very powerful, was also quite yielding , while my 2nd sifu.while very soft, is also very aggressive if needed.

LFJ, if only you and I could get together you would see much common ground.

Agree, WT is my style as well but to us it is important to not yield until your force is met up with a stronger force from the opponent. Of course yielding is taught initially to new students in terms of spring force, the more force put in the larger force can be exerted on your opponent.

Now however I can agree with LFJ in saying that there are quite a bunch of schools out there, at least if YouTube, god forbid, can be trusted. Those schools seem to put so much focus in proper yielding that it might be forgotten that no force should be yielded unless it is superior to your own.

So my version of WT would definitively incorporate both, yielding would break the concept unless the goal was to avoid yielding in the first place.
 

JPinAZ

Blue Belt
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
231
Reaction score
81
Location
Arizona
In WSL WC I see a sort of aggressive and "yang" approach. In LT WC I often see more of a "yin" and yielding energy, especially with regard to the stance and the energy of the WT bong sau. Very different, ant yet both lineages have produced effective fighters.

Personally I see merit in both approaches and do not believe that they are mutually exclusive. Speaking in a general sense and not to the specific lineages, I've seen fighters use both methods effectively, shifting from one to the other depending on the situation. Am I alone in this delusion?

I agree that it should be both. You can't have Yin without Yang and visa versa while still being a fully balanced fighter - or in anything else really..
One example that quickly comes to mind: In WC we have the idea of Loi Lau Hoi Sung, Lat Sau JIk Chun. This is all about Yin and Yang and there is a correct time for each. If you only use parts of this kiut (either 'crashing' or always looking to receive/absorb), or fail to realize when to do which, you're going to have give up something in terms of either attack or defense resulting in more struggles in the long run.

Now, I'm not saying any one lineage is all yang or all yin, as that is too limiting of a view IMO. And I have seen where some lineages favor one idea over the other in their intial approach. But from a purely WC Principle POV, if we consider LLHS/LSJC as aprt of our bridging & fighting strategy, it is clear that there has to be equal balance between both Yin & Yang - if we want to both neutralize/harmonize/deal-with incoming energy safely and attack/defeat our opponent in the most efficient & effective way (which IMO is what WC is all about).
 
Last edited:

Jake104

Black Belt
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
680
Reaction score
244
Location
Gilbert AZ
Ok, gotta agree with you there...essence is a much better word. :)
However isn't the problem still there? The issue of defining, learning, interpreting and expressing what one perceives to be the 'essence' of Wing Chun?
The 'essence' of wing Chun is being able to use it. The proof is in the puddin! I can use what I'm being taught. So I must have the 'Essence'..if not, I don't want the essence. If the 'essence' means practicing a MA that doesn't work?
 
Last edited:
OP
V

Vajramusti

Master Black Belt
Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
312
Vajramusti

I am enjoying reading this thread, thanks

I cannot comment since my time in Wing Chun was rather short and I never got past sil lum tao, but I will say the lineages I trained in all went back to Ip Man and the concepts were all pretty much the same, the differences came in the forms

Ip Man > Ip Ching > 1st teacher
Ip Man > Leung Sheng > Fak Tak Ling > 2nd teacher
Ip Man > Ho Kam Ming > Fong Chi Wing > 2nd teacher

And before I forget
Ip Man > Bruce Lee > Jerry Poteet > JKD teacher...sorry, just couldn't resist :D
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Curious- who was it in the HKM.Fong line that you knew or worked with.?Not trying to be catty. Thanks.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,576
Reaction score
5,973
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Curious- who was it in the HKM.Fong line that you knew or worked with.?Not trying to be catty. Thanks.

Told you before, I shall PM you again.

Moved to NY and started training with Fak Tak Ling
 

LFJ

Senior Master
Joined
Oct 18, 2014
Messages
2,132
Reaction score
451
I find WT to be a mix of the two approaches.
My 1st sifu, while very powerful, was also quite yielding , while my 2nd sifu.while very soft, is also very aggressive if needed.

LFJ, if only you and I could get together you would see much common ground.

In the broad sense of being aggressive maybe. But as I've seen of WT, our tactics couldn't be more different. It's not just a matter of yielding vs aggressive. It stems from our overall fighting strategies differing so that our tactics are very different even from the very basics of how to stand, how to move, how to hold and use man+wu, and of course striking methods and defense tactics when clashing with an opponent.

These are all concepts (general ideas/tactics) that need to be in agreement with our principles (fighting strategy) in order for it all to be effective. If I used WT footwork, it would no longer work. If I used WT hands, it would no longer work. If I used WT defense tactics (hand and/or body methods), it would no longer work.
 

Phobius

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
692
Reaction score
218
In the broad sense of being aggressive maybe. But as I've seen of WT, our tactics couldn't be more different. It's not just a matter of yielding vs aggressive. It stems from our overall fighting strategies differing so that our tactics are very different even from the very basics of how to stand, how to move, how to hold and use man+wu, and of course striking methods and defense tactics when clashing with an opponent.

From the sound of it, it does seem as if you have a fundamental difference in footwork. Does not sound as if you are in any way open to a 'yin' approach in your body or footwork.
In my style non technical students have a more 'yin' type training and once increasing in grades (student grades as introduced by LT, not technical) the 'yang' element becomes more dominant along with self control. Note though that in order to teach 'yin' another needs to know 'yang' so students dont get only one side of teaching, strictly talking emphasis.

Very curious to see this in more detail, do you happend to have some good source of information on this or some YouTube videos that in your view well describes or displays this subject be it the intent or not of that video? Just to try and see if I understand what you mean about the fundamental difference.

Have not seen such difference with other styles of WC, in regards to such fundamentals, except that the WT I train might be slightly more aggressive, 'yang', even when forced to yield. Could of course just be because of teacher preference of those schools.
 

LFJ

Senior Master
Joined
Oct 18, 2014
Messages
2,132
Reaction score
451
I don't spend time thinking about yin or yang, just what works and what doesn't. It was also my understanding that Yip Man removed a lot of yin-yang and five elements type of theories that came from the mainland, as he was a skeptic and considered that type of thing superstitious.

I'm in a country that blocks YouTube, and vpn probably won't work for the next few days while they "celebrate" WW2 events... :rolleyes: So, I can't link you to anything right now. I don't think you will find free fighting videos on YT anyway, and training drills may be misunderstood if seen through the lens of another lineage. But I think some of the best VT I like on YT is that of Michael Kurth, a student of PB. He has many good training videos.
 
OP
V

Vajramusti

Master Black Belt
Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
312
I think I told you the wrong state last time, that was my bad, he moved from Arizona to here. I think I may have said Texas last time, sorry about that
------------------------------------------
No problem. I don't remember him. Lots of folks train with Fong- but few are called Fong instructors by him,
 

Latest Discussions

Top