There is no style of Wing Chun

yipman_sifu

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It is not wise from someone to say that I train in Wing Chun Kungfu, because by saying this, you are considering Wing Chun as a style of fighting like any other art. My instructor once told me that if a guy trained several years then said that he fights with Wing Chun, it means that this guy have not understood what is the exact meaning of Wing Chun.

I think that Wing Chun must be considered more as a concepts that can be applied at any situation. Wheather its punching, kicking, locking, and ground fighting. I mean that someone like Royce Gracie of BJJ used Wing Chun concepts when he was able to defeat bigger opponents by using their force against them.

Wing Chun is more to be considered as an effecient tool used for solutions. That's why if someone asked anyone of us what is your fighting style?, we can say to him that we learn how to fight in an effecient way.
 

ed-swckf

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i trained in the style of wing chun, that style involved all the things that are unique to wing chun. It also will vary from practicioner to practicioner, as you go through the system and under stand that it is all based on concepts and principles, then you will apply it in different ways in accordance with your personal mindset and physical build. This is to say wing chun becomes a larger percentage of ones self than it is of a solid art its self. But still there is a style that can encompass the stylings and lessons we are taught in wing chun from day one, there are elements of wing chun that are unmistakable by sight or by feel. These can go through a lot of change and still be recognisable, the concepts and principles can be utilised in a non recognisable way to the sight and perhaps a slightly alien way to how they feel too. But what remains true is that the principles adapted by others are lifted from wing chun and many arts can be cross trained in such a way. This is why when someone asks me my fighting style i can reply, "i train in the art of wing chun" and they are welcome to take that how they please, if they feel its rigid and set still like some static art then fair enough, i know how fluid and adaptable it is to work and how its based on priciples of body mechanics. To say wing chun to me will conjure up the idea of an art that should be efficient and conceptual whilst illustrating simalarities accross the world of wing chun.
 

brothershaw

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Exactly ed I agree 100%


On the flip side I hate when I meet a martial artist and they say "bruce lee left wing chun because it limited him, or whatever" yet they know nothing, or little of it, but even some of the wing chun people i meet I think they dont see "how deep the rabbit hole goes"
 
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yipman_sifu

yipman_sifu

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brothershaw said:
Exactly ed I agree 100%


On the flip side I hate when I meet a martial artist and they say "bruce lee left wing chun because it limited him, or whatever" yet they know nothing, or little of it, but even some of the wing chun people i meet I think they dont see "how deep the rabbit hole goes"

OK, Wing chun is not limited, that is exactly what I meant when saying that it is not a style, it is a system of concepts that allows you to fight correctly and effeciently.

Mabye you will ask me about Sui Lim Tao and tell me that it is in Wing Chun like a form of styles. It is true that it is a Wing chun form, but it is like a pillar to form your strategy in the concepts of fighting, same goes for advanced training like Bui Tze and Wooden man techniques. They all guide you towards fighting effeciently and simply.

If Wing Chun is a style, then why you hear people saying that masterA Bong Sau is different from other masterB Bong Sau, they say this due to the concepts each one sees the move fits him and more efficient, but look on other styles like Karate, you will see that all people must punch the same, kick the same, and move the same.

P.S: Wing Chun is not limited and can never be limited, it is continous and flowing.
 

bcbernam777

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Not everything is Wing chun and Wing chun is not everything, by this I mean just because a practioner of one style utilises a principle that is used in the system of Wing Chun, does not mean it bares any resemblence to Wing Chun, e.g. a boxer may utilise the centreline theory A) without fully understanding the implications of its depth and breadth and B) not being able to link it in with the other principles of Wing Chun. Wing Chun is unique amongst all martial arts, the name means nothing?? no, it means something because it identifies the unique collection of principles and concepts that make for a powerful and dynamic system, (as opposed to style).
 
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yipman_sifu

yipman_sifu

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bcbernam777 said:
Not everything is Wing chun and Wing chun is not everything, by this I mean just because a practioner of one style utilises a principle that is used in the system of Wing Chun, does not mean it bares any resemblence to Wing Chun, e.g. a boxer may utilise the centreline theory A) without fully understanding the implications of its depth and breadth and B) not being able to link it in with the other principles of Wing Chun. Wing Chun is unique amongst all martial arts, the name means nothing?? no, it means something because it identifies the unique collection of principles and concepts that make for a powerful and dynamic system, (as opposed to style).

You guided yourself through the truth bcbernam777, you said system and not style, and that means you got my point.
 

brothershaw

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I am not too big on the style vs system distinction, often when I hear that distinction used it is by someone trying to prove how complete what they are doing is compared to some other art

In karate to the average person it all looks the same but there are some differences in execution from one type of karate to the next in blocks, movements etc.
The thing is in karate they dont try to discredit other styles of karate to the extreme that the variations of wing chun try to discredit each other.
There is also a certain amount of consistency, and example amongst the decent karate people so that you have a fair idea of what decent karate should be and you can find it.

Wing chun doesnnt quite have the consistency, so you have alot of people saying their way is the correct way son one masters bong sau is different from another masters bong sau, to paraphrase.

The broadness of its concept naturally leads to broadness of application, however the variety of execution we see is something different.

As much as even aikido people dispute branch differences you can go to an aikido seminar and practice with people from various orgs and branches very easily. Where as the few wing chun seminars seem to be geared to bringing in new students not interacting with different branches.

Sorry if I went off topic a bit.
 
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yipman_sifu

yipman_sifu

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brothershaw said:
I am not too big on the style vs system distinction, often when I hear that distinction used it is by someone trying to prove how complete what they are doing is compared to some other art

In karate to the average person it all looks the same but there are some differences in execution from one type of karate to the next in blocks, movements etc.
The thing is in karate they dont try to discredit other styles of karate to the extreme that the variations of wing chun try to discredit each other.
There is also a certain amount of consistency, and example amongst the decent karate people so that you have a fair idea of what decent karate should be and you can find it.

Wing chun doesnnt quite have the consistency, so you have alot of people saying their way is the correct way son one masters bong sau is different from another masters bong sau, to paraphrase.

The broadness of its concept naturally leads to broadness of application, however the variety of execution we see is something different.

As much as even aikido people dispute branch differences you can go to an aikido seminar and practice with people from various orgs and branches very easily. Where as the few wing chun seminars seem to be geared to bringing in new students not interacting with different branches.

Sorry if I went off topic a bit.

No, you are not off topic. what you said is true, but when you learn any move in wing Chun, you are told how it is done according to your body, I mean take Bong Sau as an example. The instructor will tell you to start it from your elbow extension, and your shoulder must move to the minimum amount possible. This was described as a general concepts, so you must apply these concepts to your body, I mean Wing chun is more concerned about applying the concepts to your body, not trying to copy your teacher moves like other styles do,
 

Danny T

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Imho I feel Wing Chun is a system. A training system in which one learns about themselves and their body. There are several aspects of the system which stylizes some movements and positions as Wing Chun but those same movements and positions can be and are often different in appearance based upon the person and the situations. When training within the system the practitioner usually mimics their instructor and style of doing the movements and positions. Their flavor of wing chun become the same. As the practitioner grows and learns more about themselves and abilities the movements become their own and the flavor changes to what that practitioner can do in the manner most efficient for them. The fighting distance where they function is based upon their body not the instructors, the weight distribution is based upon their ability to function not the way someone else does. There becomes a difference in the style. Similar but not the same. That being said one must stay true to the principles (the rules of the system) or it is not wing chun. The System is Wing Chun the style is Me.

Danny
 

ed-swckf

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yipman_sifu said:
No, you are not off topic. what you said is true, but when you learn any move in wing Chun, you are told how it is done according to your body, I mean take Bong Sau as an example. The instructor will tell you to start it from your elbow extension, and your shoulder must move to the minimum amount possible. This was described as a general concepts, so you must apply these concepts to your body, I mean Wing chun is more concerned about applying the concepts to your body, not trying to copy your teacher moves like other styles do,

Yes but style doesn't necessarily refer to how a bong sau looks, it could concentrate on the mechanics and principals of how to make that particular shape work. By refering to it is a style doesn't mean it all has to look the same or that it has any less concern of applying the concepts, its just a word to identify wing chun. I mean you could get pedantic about the word system and get caught up. Style can simply mean "sort" or "type" and wing chun is a type of understanding about yourself, how you interact physically and mentally with others. You say "like other styles do" which says we are different from other styles but other styles of what? Martial arts? systems? whatever it is wing chun is a style of this that is very different. And i agree with what you say but i don't think you should be so hung up on the word style meaning copying instructors but rather let it be used as a word to denote type or sort.
 
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yipman_sifu

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Danny T said:
Imho I feel Wing Chun is a system. A training system in which one learns about themselves and their body. There are several aspects of the system which stylizes some movements and positions as Wing Chun but those same movements and positions can be and are often different in appearance based upon the person and the situations. When training within the system the practitioner usually mimics their instructor and style of doing the movements and positions. Their flavor of wing chun become the same. As the practitioner grows and learns more about themselves and abilities the movements become their own and the flavor changes to what that practitioner can do in the manner most efficient for them. The fighting distance where they function is based upon their body not the instructors, the weight distribution is based upon their ability to function not the way someone else does. There becomes a difference in the style. Similar but not the same. That being said one must stay true to the principles (the rules of the system) or it is not wing chun. The System is Wing Chun the style is Me.

Danny

To say it more realistic we can say; The system is Wing Chun and the flavor depends on my taste. I mean we can say "style is me", but in the world of the martial way, style refers to restricted moves within certain limits like saying there is a Japanese way of fighting or a Chinese way of figthing. This thing is really nonsense because all of these arts were once established within the same people, the word style drew boundaries that restricted moves that can be used. that's why Wing Chun can never be connected to this word in all its aspects.
 

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yipman_sifu said:
You guided yourself through the truth bcbernam777, you said system and not style, and that means you got my point.

OK so that was your orignial point?? it was not that clear from the first post. The truth is Wing Chun is a system, it is not an art form, nor is it a style, I see a style that is a martial art that is technique based rather than coming from a conceptual base, so in this we agree. But the one thng that I got from your post is in not labeling it as Wing Chun, If this is correct, then I dot 100% agree. I understand where this view point comes from, and is closely akin to Wong Shun Leungs viewss on it as such, however we live in a world of labels, even bruce who said that JKD was just a name still had the name to "label" his way, we call it Wing Chun, and by doing so we immediatly conjour up an image for the listner dependent on their understanding in the way of Wing Chun. But it is Wing chun (oh yes) ;)
 
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bcbernam777 said:
OK so that was your orignial point?? it was not that clear from the first post. The truth is Wing Chun is a system, it is not an art form, nor is it a style, I see a style that is a martial art that is technique based rather than coming from a conceptual base, so in this we agree. But the one thng that I got from your post is in not labeling it as Wing Chun, If this is correct, then I dot 100% agree. I understand where this view point comes from, and is closely akin to Wong Shun Leungs viewss on it as such, however we live in a world of labels, even bruce who said that JKD was just a name still had the name to "label" his way, we call it Wing Chun, and by doing so we immediatly conjour up an image for the listner dependent on their understanding in the way of Wing Chun. But it is Wing chun (oh yes) ;)

Labels are important, at least it specifies what aspects and concepts you are learning in any system.
Regarding Master Wong Sheung Leung, I consider him as the best Yipman student from all others, If you read David Peterson's articles about him, you will realize he was a very logical fighter with a very simple and effective theory of fighting. He was the kind of a guy that hated superstitious facts about martial arts such as death touches, stopping cars, and kicking someone while flying. I think that his ideas are the best to our days about Wing Chun. http://www.wingchun.com/WSLMemories.shtml
 

Hung Fa Moose

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This is an interesting thread. I'm sorry I can't be on here more regularly for the gems like this one. It is nice to see others who are not confining themselves by thinking of this style and that style. From my experience in Wing Chun, it is an enhancing technology, making what you already have even better. The concepts of the system are applicable to just about any art I would think. One thing that has not been brought up though, that I think is relevant, is that it is a system of fighting that was designed for martial artists with alot of previous experience and skill, alot of body karma. It was not a system taught to beginners with no experience in the martial arts. As I learn and train more and more in Heaven-Man-Earth technologies, I see this as true, echoing what yipman_sifu has already stated earlier, that Wing Chun is a system of concepts and principles that can be employed in many scenarios. The name is important though, but don't get trapped in thinking of wing chun as triangles and trapping range techniques only. After all, Chi Sim is a system of Wing Chun that also utilizes many of the same concepts, but looks completely different from any other wing chun due to its circular nature. As has been stated, names are conventions of mankind to help keep things organized, something we need in the world for the purpose of communication. Unfortunately, too many get trapped by what they see then hear it called and they get set in a limited way of thinking, based on what they see.

I do have one question though. What is the correct way of fighting? Yipman_sifu, you wrote this in one of your posts, I was wondering if you could clarify your meaning/intention there. Much obliged.
 

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Hung Fa Moose said:
The concepts of the system are applicable to just about any art I would think. One thing that has not been brought up though, that I think is relevant, is that it is a system of fighting that was designed for martial artists with alot of previous experience and skill, alot of body karma. It was not a system taught to beginners with no experience in the martial arts. I see this as true, echoing what yipman_sifu has already stated earlier, that Wing Chun is a system of concepts and principles that can be employed in many scenarios. The name is important though, but don't get trapped in thinking of wing chun as triangles and trapping range techniques only. Unfortunately, too many get trapped by what they see then hear it called and they get set in a limited way of thinking, based on what they see.

.
I edited the quote not to modify the meaning but to highlight somethings.
I very much agree with the unedited post.
I get so tired of other martial artists and sometimes wing chun people themselves who believe wing chun is a quick fix thing you can learn in 2 years ( way to many details, and skills to develop).
Or who think its all about trapping, chain punching ,and the centerline ( usually taking the centerline too literally)
Or mumble something about bruce lee being limited by it.
People just need to put the time in to learn, and also need to go look at other lineages/ schools so they can see if thier is something missing in what they are being taught as well.
 

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I would like to re-open this thread, if I may.
My Sifu and I consider this topic very important.

A word I haven't seen in this thread is "Theory". One interpretation of SNT is "little idea". For me, handling Wing Chun as a Theory puts the other points in perspective. I learned in grad school that a theory is a "cohesive set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena". The word "cohesive" is critical, because it means that all statements must agree and reinforce (no dead-ends, "danglies" or "grafted-on's"). Everything must loop back into the central statement. Causal hierarchy is important--we must have a central statement (a causal center or idea) that invokes or gives rise to all the techniques, rather than a glue binding together separate pieces.

As this central statement propagates out into general, then specific, principles different researchers (read: practicioners) inevitably emphasize certain principles, or techniques that express principles, simply because those resonant for them personally. This would account for a multitude of valid personal expressions or "styles". Looked at differently, each principle attracts its own acolytes, or people attuned to it. Being human, we probably can not express all the principles thoroughly, anymore than one of us can learn every spoken language. This individualization of expression is exactly what makes a core declaration, or set of forms, necessary. If these forms (formulae) are passed on, each succeding generation can discover their own "style" or focal point without the Theory losing significant content.

The principles then express the qualities or functions necessary and sufficient to define the Theory. The principles get stated succinctly as KunKut, which serve to remind us of aspects of the Theory we might be neglecting while focusing our work on some other aspect. They act as stars or "lighthouses in the sea", giving us navigation points to stay near the main channel.

A system of principles defining a Theory is not an easy thing to conceive or to comprehend. A lifetime might be sufficient, if your ship gets the right winds. I think the long-term value is the way the Journey or Quest disciplines and prunes us as personae, transferring out into our whole lives, that is its greatest gift.
 

yrwca

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An additional thought on "art" as a term. Each art emphasizes certain approaches to certain problems. A metaphor could be to the various items that have been used on different fighter aircraft. Guns, cannons, missiles, and bombs each serve a purpose, and none can really replace another. Armor, speed, maneuverability, range and carrying capacity have to be traded off against each other.
 

wingchun100

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I am not too big on the style vs system distinction, often when I hear that distinction used it is by someone trying to prove how complete what they are doing is compared to some other art

In karate to the average person it all looks the same but there are some differences in execution from one type of karate to the next in blocks, movements etc.
The thing is in karate they dont try to discredit other styles of karate to the extreme that the variations of wing chun try to discredit each other.
There is also a certain amount of consistency, and example amongst the decent karate people so that you have a fair idea of what decent karate should be and you can find it.

Wing chun doesnnt quite have the consistency, so you have alot of people saying their way is the correct way son one masters bong sau is different from another masters bong sau, to paraphrase.

The broadness of its concept naturally leads to broadness of application, however the variety of execution we see is something different.

As much as even aikido people dispute branch differences you can go to an aikido seminar and practice with people from various orgs and branches very easily. Where as the few wing chun seminars seem to be geared to bringing in new students not interacting with different branches.

Sorry if I went off topic a bit.

You are so right, and I never thought of it that way. I have never heard one Shotokan Karate guy watching another and scoffing at him, saying "That's not REAL Shotokan." Why is that? What is the deal with the fragmentation in the Wing Chun society? I think it's time we got to the root of this lack of harmony. Even if it didn't resolve it, we'd be better off if we understood it.
 

geezer

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You are so right, and I never thought of it that way. I have never heard one Shotokan Karate guy watching another and scoffing at him, saying "That's not REAL Shotokan." .

Maybe you don't talk to enough Shotokan guys. A friend of mine back in college trained to BB with a high level Japanese Shotokan guy in his home state. Then he came out here to go to grad school and trained with another well known Japanese Shotokan guy. When he went back home, his original teacher observed the differences in some of his movements, became irate and nearly expelled him from the dojo!

Point is, feuding happens in all systems. Maybe it's just a little more public in WC.
 

clfsean

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You are so right, and I never thought of it that way. I have never heard one Shotokan Karate guy watching another and scoffing at him, saying "That's not REAL Shotokan." Why is that? What is the deal with the fragmentation in the Wing Chun society? I think it's time we got to the root of this lack of harmony. Even if it didn't resolve it, we'd be better off if we understood it.

Put two together between the Shotokan & the Shotokai ... might be surprised what you hear.
 
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