Understanding Wing Chun's Centre Line

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,102
Reaction score
4,680
Location
San Francisco
That last link wasn't Wikipedia dude, it's a beautifully rich and detailed Alchetron article on what we've been discussing, and my explanation is right there.

I'm being pretty concise, what is confusing you? No shame in asking questions, I've been writing essays in good faith.
Sure but you linked to Wikipedia before that, and all those articles did was talk about what Tibetan martial arts are. They didnt make the connection to wing Chun.
 

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
Sure but you linked to Wikipedia before that, and all those articles did was talk about what Tibetan martial arts are. They didnt make the connection to wing Chun.
I mentioned the part of that Wiki article that was important to scroll down to, "Journey to the South", and the Ten Tigers, which is the hub that connects them to the arts of Yongchuanquan, as well as the Five southern family styles, which are basically compilations of all of these. Snake, Dragon, Crane, years down the road.

The connection specific to Wing Chun is that a lot of what's shown online as "centerline theory" is considered such low level stuff in these other, older styles, one has to wonder why it's often promoted as advanced kung fu. AS opposed to older Wing Chun training on the Plum Flower poles, with Plum Flower kicks that are very similar to both northern and southern Crane styles and a lot more advanced, yet absent from a lot of Wing Chun schools.

If this doesn't make sense to you still, I'm truly sorry. This is the best I can do.

1647982269315.png
 
Last edited:

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,102
Reaction score
4,680
Location
San Francisco
I mentioned the part of that Wiki article that was important to scroll down to, "Journey to the South", and the Ten Tigers, which is the hub that connects them to the arts of Yongchuanquan, as well as the Five southern family styles, which are basically compilations of all of these. Snake, Dragon, Crane, years down the road.

The connection specific to Wing Chun is that a lot of what's shown online as "centerline theory" is considered such low level stuff in these other, older styles, one has to wonder why it's often promoted as advanced kung fu. AS opposed to older Wing Chun training on the Plum Flower poles, with Plum Flower kicks that are very similar to both northern and southern Crane styles and a lot more advanced, yet absent from a lot of Wing Chun schools.

If this doesn't make sense to you still, I'm truly sorry. This is the best I can do.

View attachment 28269
Honestly, I think what you are doing is trying to support an agenda that is negative towards wing Chun by making claims such as what you post here: that you believe what some people apparently present as advanced wing Chun is low level in other systems. Youve made your feelings on wing Chun clear in the past. I think you are pushing an agenda using connections that may not be able to be substantiated.
 

Old Happy Tiger

Orange Belt
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
78
Reaction score
35
I mentioned the part of that Wiki article that was important to scroll down to, "Journey to the South", and the Ten Tigers, which is the hub that connects them to the arts of Yongchuanquan, as well as the Five southern family styles, which are basically compilations of all of these. Snake, Dragon, Crane, years down the road.

The connection specific to Wing Chun is that a lot of what's shown online as "centerline theory" is considered such low level stuff in these other, older styles, one has to wonder why it's often promoted as advanced kung fu. AS opposed to older Wing Chun training on the Plum Flower poles, with Plum Flower kicks that are very similar to both northern and southern Crane styles and a lot more advanced, yet absent from a lot of Wing Chun schools.

If this doesn't make sense to you still, I'm truly sorry. This is the best I can do.
 

Attachments

  • Capture.JPG
    Capture.JPG
    44.6 KB · Views: 58

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
Honestly, I think what you are doing is trying to support an agenda that is negative towards wing Chun by making claims such as what you post here: that you believe what some people apparently present as advanced wing Chun is low level in other systems. Youve made your feelings on wing Chun clear in the past. I think you are pushing an agenda using connections that may not be able to be substantiated.
I think my record for sticking up for Wing Chun speaks for itself. I rarely speak negatively about Wing Chun, so I'm not sure what you're referring to. I'm a positively critical person of Wing Chun here who has actually trained it. You keep saying "I don't know enough to" ...and I've been nothing but helpful in response. Now you're just throwing accusations.

This has nothing to do with my beliefs or feelings either. You could just read the Wing Chun scholars I've talked about, or the article I shared on your own styles origin and relation to Wing Chun, or ask a question.

Instead you keep repeating a need for validation, but I've already done all that work for you. The reading, the training, and connecting the dots between kung Fu directions and geometric patterns. I spent the whole weekend marking passages in "Creation..." specifically for you.

I can see that effort wasted, because you're on the lookout for agendas. Can't be helped, it's a common problem with students of kung fu. Full cup and all.

One final effort for those with an actual interest in the thread topic. This is my go to source for everything I've posted here and it substantiates every claim. If you can't be bothered to read, don't blame me.

 
Last edited:

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,243
Reaction score
3,379
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I think my record for sticking up for Wing Chun speaks for itself. I rarely speak negatively about Wing Chun, so I'm not sure what you're referring to. I'm a positively critical person of Wing Chun here who has actually trained it. You keep saying "I don't know enough to" ...and I've been nothing but helpful in response. Now you're just throwing accusations.

This has nothing to do with my beliefs or feelings either. You could just read the Wing Chun scholars I've talked about, or the article I shared on your own styles origin and relation to Wing Chun, or ask a question.

Instead you keep repeating a need for validation, but I've already done all that work for you. The reading, the training, and connecting the dots between kung Fu directions and geometric patterns. I spent the whole weekend marking passages in "Creation..." specifically for you.

I can see that effort wasted, because you're on the lookout for agendas. Can't be helped, it's a common problem with students of kung fu. Full cup and all.

One final effort for those with an actual interest in the thread topic. This is my go to source for everything I've posted here and it substantiates every claim. If you can't be bothered to read, don't blame me.

Well, Oily has made a few claims suggesting that most of the stuff Wing Chun is known for is also practiced in the other well known Southern Chinese systems, but that other systems typically have additional stuff that is missing or has been lost from current Wing Chun systems.

And that sounds critical. But it's not, really. It's more ...descriptive and accurate IMO. Especially regarding the Yip Man lineage, but it's also true, to some degree, of most other WC lineages. And to us WC devotees, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Judkins does a pretty good job of demythologizing the history of WC and putting it in its social context ...if you can handle his rather dry and academic approach. Personally, after completing my first college degree in social anthropology some 40 years ago, I got pretty sick of that approach and shifted my studies toward the visual arts. And, although I do appreciate what Judkins has done, my take on WC is more colored by the oral tradition, the folklore, and fables of its origin ...what I would call the mythic soul of the system.

Interestingly, I find both the mythic and factual histories thematically more complementary than contradictory ...although, of course the mythic history is greatly exaggerated.

Now returning to the topic at hand, the story of Wing Chun is essentially one of a succession of great southern boxers who chose to pare away what they felt were low percentage movements to focus more deeply on a limited core of simple and effective close range striking techniques.

The vestiges of some of the other long bridge strikes and stances as well as close range grappling techniques are still there, and they are still taught by some teachers, but compared to most other traditional southern Chinese martial arts, WC's strength ...and its weakness is its narrow focus.

Personally, I like that. I have chosen Yip Man lineage WC/WT/VT and likewise practice a simple and pragmatic brand of Escrima I learned from Rene Latosa precisely for that reason. I like to train a limited curriculum in depth, and that works for me. Others will choose different approaches. It's all good. :)
 
Last edited:

Callen

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 15, 2014
Messages
293
Reaction score
230
Well, Oily has made a few claims suggesting that most of the stuff Wing Chun is known for is also practiced in the other well known Southern Chinese systems, but that other systems typically have additional stuff that is missing or has been lost from current Wing Chun systems.

And that sounds critical. But it's not, really. It's more ...descriptive and accurate IMO. Especially regarding the Yip Man lineage, but it's also true, to some degree, of most other WC lineages. And to us WC devotees, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Judkins does a pretty good job of demythologizing the history of WC and putting it in its social context ...if you can handle his rather dry and academic approach. Personally, after completing my first college degree in social anthropology some 40 years ago, I got pretty sick of that approach and shifted my studies toward the visual arts. And, although I do appreciate what Judkins has done, my take on WC is more colored by the oral tradition, the folklore, and fables of its origin ...what I would call the mythic soul of the system.

Interestingly, I find both the mythic and factual histories thematically more complementary than contradictory ...although, of course the mythic history is greatly exaggerated.

Now returning to the topic at hand, the story of Wing Chun is essentially one of a succession of great southern boxers who chose to pare away what they felt were low percentage movements to focus more deeply on a limited core of simple and effective close range striking techniques.

The vestiges of some of the other long bridge strikes and stances as well as close range grappling techniques are still there, and they are still taught by some teachers, but compared to most other traditional southern Chinese martial arts, WC's strength ...and its weakness is its narrow focus.

Personally, I like that. I have chosen Yip Man lineage WC/WT/VT and likewise practice a simple and pragmatic brand of Escrima I learned from Rene Latosa precisely for that reason. I like to train a limited curriculum in depth, and that works for me. Others will choose different approaches. It's all good. :)
If there was an "applause" emoji, I would have used it in response to this comment.
 

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
Well, Oily has made a few claims suggesting that most of the stuff Wing Chun is known for is also practiced in the other well known Southern Chinese systems, but that other systems typically have additional stuff that is missing or has been lost from current Wing Chun systems.

And that sounds critical. But it's not, really. It's more ...descriptive and accurate IMO. Especially regarding the Yip Man lineage, but it's also true, to some degree, of most other WC lineages. And to us WC devotees, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Judkins does a pretty good job of demythologizing the history of WC and putting it in its social context ...if you can handle his rather dry and academic approach. Personally, after completing my first college degree in social anthropology some 40 years ago, I got pretty sick of that approach and shifted my studies toward the visual arts. And, although I do appreciate what Judkins has done, my take on WC is more colored by the oral tradition, the folklore, and fables of its origin ...what I would call the mythic soul of the system.

Interestingly, I find both the mythic and factual histories thematically more complementary than contradictory ...although, of course the mythic history is greatly exaggerated.

Now returning to the topic at hand, the story of Wing Chun is essentially one of a succession of great southern boxers who chose to pare away what they felt were low percentage movements to focus more deeply on a limited core of simple and effective close range striking techniques.

The vestiges of some of the other long bridge strikes and stances as well as close range grappling techniques are still there, and they are still taught by some teachers, but compared to most other traditional southern Chinese martial arts, WC's strength ...and its weakness is its narrow focus.

Personally, I like that. I have chosen Yip Man lineage WC/WT/VT and likewise practice a simple and pragmatic brand of Escrima I learned from Rene Latosa precisely for that reason. I like to train a limited curriculum in depth, and that works for me. Others will choose different approaches. It's all good. :)
I have a great medical book, written by neurologists, called Zen and the Brain. I've never read the whole thing, it's over 800 pages. Didn't really need to, I was already on my way down the path when I bought the thing. Sometimes I throw it out on the coffee table during parties and family get-togethers.

I had the same issue with Judkins (350 pages, got halfway through, decided to start jumping around), but the nice thing about that book is that there's 70 pages of footnotes, glossary of terms, works cited, and index. It's very easy to look stuff up. It's easy to see where some schools decided "weapons aren't important anymore", or "I live in an apartment in Hong Kong and have no plum flower pole garden". I get it. Sometimes I even cry for those people.

The topic of the thread is Wing Chun's centerline, and I've been pointing out the history of that centerline. And by the measure of a lot of other (arguably more effective in competition) styles, this is a bad thing. A lot of Wing Chun schools seem to be missing part of the web. It's easy to focus on what's in front of you above waist height, which is what most Wing Chun schools are hell bent and focused on.

But let's see some Wing Chun that deals with attacks from behind, or to the legs, that involves resistance. See? Wing Chun's parent and sibling styles all have 360 degree, multiple levels of elevation attack and defense. Bruce Lee was unhappy with Wing Chun, otherwise he would not have created Jeet Kuen Do. A positive critic of the style, like myself. So where does it go all go south, pun intended, with Wing Chun's centerline theory? The burden for proof of its effectiveness is at stake.
 

isshinryuronin

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,486
Reaction score
1,508
Location
Las Vegas
Now returning to the topic at hand, the story of Wing Chun is essentially one of a succession of great southern boxers who chose to pare away what they felt were low percentage movements to focus more deeply on a limited core of simple and effective close range striking techniques.
I think this was a major step in the cyclic evolution of MA. Things start off simple and tend to grow more complex over time. This is true in biology, culture, religion and MA. CMA has a very long history and over the centuries accumulated a lot of stuff. Like an old whale gradually gets covered in barnacles, or grandma's living room gets cluttered with vases, photos, and other mementos collected over the years. This is natural and to be expected, but occasionally a good housecleaning is needed to scrape off the excess, otherwise things grow too unwieldly.

Aside from this, as Taoist philosophy made its impact on CMA during the 1500/1600's, the art changed some - not to become more effective in combat, but to conform to the principles of Tao's world view. Over time, more and more weights seem to get added on. Eventually, all this accumulation detracts from the effectiveness - of whales swimming, of navigating grandma's house, and of MA as well.

I find it interesting that the beginnings of Wing Chun in the very early 1800's closely match the beginnings of karate in Okinawa and they seem to share a Fujian Provence connection as well. (This in part based on a short Google search on Wing Chun history - my only direct exposure to CMA being a 2 minute conversation with Bruce Lee at a tournament my sensei put on when I was a teenager.) Okinawan karate is also fairly bare bones with "a limited core of simple and effective close range striking techniques." But nowhere in the history/legend of karate is a link between the two mentioned, to my knowledge. Could just be the time had come for this "paring away" step in MA evolution to occur.
 

wckf92

Master of Arts
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
512
I mentioned the part of that Wiki article that was important to scroll down to, "Journey to the South", and the Ten Tigers, which is the hub that connects them to the arts of Yongchuanquan, as well as the Five southern family styles, which are basically compilations of all of these. Snake, Dragon, Crane, years down the road.

The connection specific to Wing Chun is that a lot of what's shown online as "centerline theory" is considered such low level stuff in these other, older styles, one has to wonder why it's often promoted as advanced kung fu. AS opposed to older Wing Chun training on the Plum Flower poles, with Plum Flower kicks that are very similar to both northern and southern Crane styles and a lot more advanced, yet absent from a lot of Wing Chun schools.

If this doesn't make sense to you still, I'm truly sorry. This is the best I can do.

View attachment 28269

Do you know if this book is still in print these days?
 

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
But nowhere in the history/legend of karate is a link between the two mentioned, to my knowledge.
Between Okinawan karate and Wing Chun? That's because the history of the Ryukyu was scrubbed clean of Chinese history by the Japanese Empire, but it can still be seen pretty easily in the styles themselves and how they're taught. Japan was ultimately unsuccessful in dominating Okinawan culture, not to mention the rest of the Pacific, which is how the real history re-emerged.
 

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
Do you know if this book is still in print these days?
It is, actually. You can purchase brand new hard and soft copies and used on Amazon.


That's Wing Lam, the Hung Kuen master on the cover and one of the largest online Kung Fu retailers. I believe he has his own publishing which is how he's able to keep a lot of these really old books in print. Siu Lum #7 was first printed in 84!

And notice this (beginner) set is only 4 direction, 5 pole compared to the previous 5 direction, 6 pole plum (the last pole being the target).
 

wckf92

Master of Arts
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
512
It is, actually. You can purchase brand new hard and soft copies and used on Amazon.


That's Wing Lam, the Hung Kuen master on the cover and one of the largest online Kung Fu retailers. I believe he has his own publishing which is how he's able to keep a lot of these really old books in print. Siu Lum #7 was first printed in 84!

And notice this (beginner) set is only 4 direction, 5 pole compared to the previous 5 direction, 6 pole plum (the last pole being the target).

Interesting. Thanks man!
 

hunschuld

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 2, 2020
Messages
234
Reaction score
151
But let's see some Wing Chun that deals with attacks from behind, or to the legs, that involves resistance. See? Wing Chun's parent and sibling styles all have 360 degree, multiple levels of elevation attack and defense
The joy of only reading site once a month. You never what ROFLMAO things will you find when you come back.

So wing chun peeps are befuddled and defenseless if attacked from the side or behind! We just stand still and face the front. If schools don't teach the complete system or keep secrets including the throwing aspects the the fault is with teachers not the system
 

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
The joy of only reading site once a month. You never what ROFLMAO things will you find when you come back.

So wing chun peeps are befuddled and defenseless if attacked from the side or behind! We just stand still and face the front. If schools don't teach the complete system or keep secrets including the throwing aspects the the fault is with teachers not the system
Yes, generally, they are pretty defenseless with few exceptions. Which is the state of Wing Chun today compared to its peers inside and outside of China.

To prove that ROFLMAO point, let's look at some Wing Chun throws.

...

LOL, That was fast. And I think it proves your other point, most Wing Chun teachers are befuddled and defenseless themselves. If they're not, it's pretty obvious to anyone with decent contact training or competition experience.

We don't even have to go back to the first UFCs where all the Wing Chun fighters were demolished. It's still happening, largely due to poor teachers, like you said. You're one smart cookie.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,243
Reaction score
3,379
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Yes, generally, they are pretty defenseless with few exceptions. Which is the state of Wing Chun today compared to its peers inside and outside of China.
To prove that ROFLMAO point, let's look at some Wing Chun throws.
...
LOL, That was fast...
Hmmm.... the Wing Chun you've been exposed to didn't have throws? Really?

Odd because that's not my experience. You might look up Wang Zhi Peng. He's integrated a lot of throwing into what he teaches.

Here's the first one that popped up on a quick search of YouTube:
 
Last edited:

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
1,183
Hmmm.... the Wing Chun you've been exposed to didn't have throws? Really?

Odd because that's not my experience. You might look up Wang Zhi Peng. He's integrated a lot of throwing into what he teaches.

Here's the first one that popped up on a quick search of YouTube:
Throws are not typical to any of the common Wing Chun lineages, and real san da practice in Wing Chun is super rare. It happens and that video is a good example but you'd be hard pressed to find many more like it.

Wang Zhi Peng is an exception (largely because his style is not just Wing Chun, he has cross trained extensively in Sanshou and Yiquan (with its Swimming Dragon forms)).

End of day, Wing Chun just doesn't have as much representation in Sanda and other pressure competitions compared to its peers. I wish they did, but there is too much dogma in the art (Judkins points out that of all the Southern arts, Wing Chun has a particular issue with this). A lot of Wing Chun students would say that video isn't even Wing Chun. They'd be both right and wrong.

True masters are able to easily bridge their arts, that's how good grappling makes its way into a Wing Chun school. I know a few people who get this in Wing Chun, but they are uncommon.

For Wing Chun to have a good reputation for it, they kind of need to own it better. Maybe someday. The dragons forms are mysterious and infinite after all.
 
Last edited:

Latest Discussions

Top