Was Yip Man lineage Wing Chun meant to change?

dungeonworks

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I understand there are other non Yip Man lineages and I know nothing of them, but just like the title of this thread asks, was WC meant to change or continuosly improve over time? I have read a few things about how Yip Man taught some of his students quite differently through the years and had a passing thought that maybe he intended the art to grow or improve after his time or maybe for adaptability for different body types? Was the art supposed to stay the same forever? I had a thought that maybe that was his way of ensuring the continuous improvement over time with each generation rather than the art becoming "stagnant" for lack of better term....maybe static would be better? It is not hard to see the way people fight has changed over time be it sport or street and this can be affected by region or locality too from what I guess.

So, was Yip Man teaching some students differently as way to evolve Wing Chun or simply just his method of teaching the same thing to students that learned differently than others?
 

zepedawingchun

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I think because it is a concept based art, it was meant to adapt and grow. It does not limit the student on how it should be used. That didn't come from Yip Man, but from the originators of the system (Shaolin Temple or Red Boat whichever you believe?). He just saw the system for what it was, unlimitied in it's applications and the way it could be taught.

Given that the human being normally has 2 arms and 2 legs (most of the time), I don't think you can say man has changed the way we fight over the years. With how we are built, there are only so many different things we can do as far as striking, kicking, joint locking, grappling, etc.
 

mook jong man

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I would say that it was meant to continually adapt and evolve while still trying to stay true to its core concepts where ever possible.
 

geezer

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I would say that it was meant to continually adapt and evolve while still trying to stay true to its core concepts where ever possible.

I don't know if it was meant to evolve. Meant by whom? GGM Yip Man? His predecessors? Ng Mui (if she actually existed)? Regardless, it has and will continue to evolve. I agree that the versions that adapt and evolve while staying true to the original concepts will remain relevant and effective regardless of whatever other arts appear on the scene.

Personally, I would love it if we could dump our prejudices, factionalism and obsession with "secret" techniques and see an "integrated" Wing Chun emerge in which people freely exchange and compare what works for them.

Yeah, I know... like that's ever gonna happen. Then again, "China Boxer" has made a good start. Someday I'd like to train with that guy...
 

Trueblood

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Was Yip Man teaching some students differently as way to evolve Wing Chun or simply just his method of teaching the same thing to students that learned differently than others?

As I understand it, Yip Man was teaching some students differently because they paid him more.
 

KamonGuy2

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I do believe strongly that improvements should be made to anything you learn. If someone teaches me to paint a wall and I find a slightly better way of painting that wall, I’m not going to continue painting the way I was taught. I will change and evolve and do what works

There are claims that Ip Man taught all his students differently because they all moved differently and had different body shapes

Contact with other styles means that you will inevitably learn new things and change

I love the film ‘With Honours’ with Brendan Fraser where he meets a tramp who sits in on a Harvard lecture about the constitution. The lecturer asks the question ‘what is the particular genius of the constitution’
The lecturer starts giving the tramp (Simon) a hard time because he interrupted him.
The tramp ends his conversation with the following dialogue :-

Simon: You asked a question, sir, let me answer it. The genius of the Constitution is that it can always be changed. The genius of the Constitution is that it makes no permanent rule other than its faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves.

Lecturer: Faith in the wisdom of the people is exactly what makes the Constitution incomplete and crude.


Simon: Crude? No sir. Our founding parents were pompous, middle aged, white farmers, but they were also great men. Because they knew one thing that all great men should know--that they didn't know everything. They knew they were going to make mistakes, but they made sure to leave a way to correct them. They didn't think of themselves as leaders; they wanted a government of citizens, not royalty. A government of listeners not lecturers. A government that could change, not stand still. The President isn't an elected King, no matter how many bombs he can drop because the crude Constitution doesn't trust him. He's a servant of the people. He's a bum, okay? He's just a bum. And the only bliss that he's searching for is freedom and justice.


The same could be said of wing chun – it can always be changed
 

zepedawingchun

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Personally, I would love it if we could dump our prejudices, factionalism and obsession with "secret" techniques and see an "integrated" Wing Chun emerge in which people freely exchange and compare what works for them.

Yeah, I know... like that's ever gonna happen. Then again, "China Boxer" has made a good start. Someday I'd like to train with that guy...

Geezer, see my PM.
 
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dungeonworks

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I don't know if it was meant to evolve. Meant by whom? GGM Yip Man? His predecessors? Ng Mui (if she actually existed)? Regardless, it has and will continue to evolve. I agree that the versions that adapt and evolve while staying true to the original concepts will remain relevant and effective regardless of whatever other arts appear on the scene.

Personally, I would love it if we could dump our prejudices, factionalism and obsession with "secret" techniques and see an "integrated" Wing Chun emerge in which people freely exchange and compare what works for them.

Yeah, I know... like that's ever gonna happen. Then again, "China Boxer" has made a good start. Someday I'd like to train with that guy...


Yes, I agree! I'd like to train with him and Graychuan + company.
 
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dungeonworks

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I do believe strongly that improvements should be made to anything you learn. If someone teaches me to paint a wall and I find a slightly better way of painting that wall, Im not going to continue painting the way I was taught. I will change and evolve and do what works

There are claims that Ip Man taught all his students differently because they all moved differently and had different body shapes

Contact with other styles means that you will inevitably learn new things and change

I love the film With Honours with Brendan Fraser where he meets a tramp who sits in on a Harvard lecture about the constitution. The lecturer asks the question what is the particular genius of the constitution
The lecturer starts giving the tramp (Simon) a hard time because he interrupted him.
The tramp ends his conversation with the following dialogue :-

Simon: You asked a question, sir, let me answer it. The genius of the Constitution is that it can always be changed. The genius of the Constitution is that it makes no permanent rule other than its faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves.

Lecturer: Faith in the wisdom of the people is exactly what makes the Constitution incomplete and crude.


Simon: Crude? No sir. Our founding parents were pompous, middle aged, white farmers, but they were also great men. Because they knew one thing that all great men should know--that they didn't know everything. They knew they were going to make mistakes, but they made sure to leave a way to correct them. They didn't think of themselves as leaders; they wanted a government of citizens, not royalty. A government of listeners not lecturers. A government that could change, not stand still. The President isn't an elected King, no matter how many bombs he can drop because the crude Constitution doesn't trust him. He's a servant of the people. He's a bum, okay? He's just a bum. And the only bliss that he's searching for is freedom and justice.


The same could be said of wing chun it can always be changed

I always wondered that. Are their any stout/stockier students of Yip Man's?
 
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dungeonworks

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I think because it is a concept based art, it was meant to adapt and grow. It does not limit the student on how it should be used. That didn't come from Yip Man, but from the originators of the system (Shaolin Temple or Red Boat whichever you believe?). He just saw the system for what it was, unlimitied in it's applications and the way it could be taught.

Given that the human being normally has 2 arms and 2 legs (most of the time), I don't think you can say man has changed the way we fight over the years. With how we are built, there are only so many different things we can do as far as striking, kicking, joint locking, grappling, etc.

Just because we all have 2 arms and 2 legs does not mean we have fought the same in every country or era. The way people move in fighting, throw punches, or even kick has changed dramatically.
 

Xue Sheng

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As I understand it, Yip Man was teaching some students differently because they paid him more.

Not ruling out that possibility but it was my understanding that Ip Man, like many good Chinese sifus, knew more about his art than his students and knew better than his students as to what they were ready to lean and what they needed to learn and that he based a lot of what he taught to individual students on what he thought would work best for them.
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

Xue Sheng said:
Not ruling out that possibility but it was my understanding that Ip Man, like many good Chinese sifus, knew more about his art than his students and knew better than his students as to what they were ready to lean and what they needed to learn and that he based a lot of what he taught to individual students on what he thought would work best for them.

I completely agree.

Many students get whatever they need. Masters and Instructors should be able, with their knowledge and experience, be able to train specifically what the student needs.

Only by experience and knowledgeable training can a new instructor develop have the base to do this.

This is practised by teaching students, and finding ways for them to correct their mistakes, strengthen their weaknesses and develop their strengths to higher levels.

Normally, it is not exactly the way YOU were taught. This is obvious because your attributes are most probably different than your students attributes. Thus teaching others exactly as you were taught will not probably be the best way.

Finding the way for your students to achieve similar results to those wanted on a consistent basis, even though they have different attributes, is what a Teacher is supposed to do.

Eternal Springtime; Always Growing, Always Learning.

Wing Chun, the "Greenest" Martial Method! ;)

Juan Mercado-Robles
 

Trueblood

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Not ruling out that possibility but it was my understanding that Ip Man, like many good Chinese sifus, knew more about his art than his students and knew better than his students as to what they were ready to lean and what they needed to learn and that he based a lot of what he taught to individual students on what he thought would work best for them.

From Sifu Duncan Leung's book, "Wing Chun Warrior" (starting on page 106):
"I have watched all these fights. My Kung Fu elder brothers have learned and practiced all these years and they never win fight convincingly. They might win but they are hit so many times too. If this is all the Wing Chun you are going to teach me, I am quitting."
"Hung chai, you want to fight better?"
"Yes, Sifu."
"Do you have money?"
"Yes." I answered without hesitation.
"Can you afford three hundred dollars a month?"
For comparison, HK$300 was ten times the monthly salary of a live-in housekeeper and nanny. Sifu Yip Man's regular students paid HK$8 a month.
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

So what are you implying. I have not read the book, but it seems that you imply there was a tier of teaching for a higher fee?

Tell me more! Of course, with names and dates and such as you have found. If too sensitive, let me know in private message.

Thanks.
 

Xue Sheng

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From Sifu Duncan Leung's book, "Wing Chun Warrior" (starting on page 106):
"I have watched all these fights. My Kung Fu elder brothers have learned and practiced all these years and they never win fight convincingly. They might win but they are hit so many times too. If this is all the Wing Chun you are going to teach me, I am quitting."
"Hung chai, you want to fight better?"
"Yes, Sifu."
"Do you have money?"
"Yes." I answered without hesitation.
"Can you afford three hundred dollars a month?"
For comparison, HK$300 was ten times the monthly salary of a live-in housekeeper and nanny. Sifu Yip Man's regular students paid HK$8 a month.

Again not disputing what you are saying

The following is from here
Ip Man and his Teachings
by Billy Davidson
14th January, 2007
"How Ip Man developed his teaching of the Wing Chun system "

Therefore it can be said your kung fu is fifty percent your teachers and fifty percent yours. From the stories told by senior Wing Chun masters, Ip Man taught each individual according to there level of education and the type of work they did, therefore his in depth explanation would be somewhat different to other students but its not what is said that makes the student develop its being able to understand the principles of the system and what makes it work. Their have been many good fighters in the Wing Chun system, some have been natural and some trained but what is it that developed the skill for them in the first place?

To be a good teacher you have to understand what your students needs are and help them to achieve them therefore you have to have patience, understanding, openness and the ability to communicate to others from any background what they need to help them develop, this is something Ip Man could do due to his educational background and at the time of Ip Mans teaching this was something very few teacher could do.

This is also discussed in one of Ip Chuns books I will have to look for the book and find the quote
 

chisauking

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In a classroom, how many go on to become presidents, how many go on to become road sweepers, how many go on to become doctors? Yet, we are all taught by the same teacher.

We all walk on different paths due to many different variables. Intelligence, talent, wealth, determination, inspiration, self interest, etc., etc., are just some of the elements that help shape our journey.

So, it's no different in a kwoon. Just because you are taught by Yip Man doesn't guarantee success. The many elements that determines your success also come into play.

Money is also a very important element in determining how much & how fast you learnt. It's said by many that Ho Kam Ming, and to a lesser extent, that Yip Bo Ching, had learnt the most from Yip Man. Why? Because they both had lots of money! It doesn't take a scientist to realise that a student paying their teacher more money would learn faster & more than a student paying very little. This concept isn't unique to the Chinese culture. In fact, it's probably more western thinking. If you have money, your kids get a better education. If you have money, you don't have to wait in the que to be treated.

As far as the style being changed, yes, there are lots of proof of that. But one can easily argue -- indeed, prove -- that the change is not for the better.

As for the style being evolved -- meaning it has changed for the better -- no one, so far, has proven they have evolved the style to a greater level than the previous practitioners. It's like a car. If one doesn't even use the car as it was intended, or any where near its capabilities, or if they don't even drive, how can they say whether a car has evolved or not? The people who understand will understand. The people who don't, will always point to the TV shows for their 'experience' & 'truth'.
 

turninghorse

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I would think that Yip Man's teachings to students changed over time because Yip Man (as do we all) change over time.
No art exists in the absence of practitioners, and it is defined by its practitioners.
Teachers learn from their students as much as they impart knowledge.
 

geezer

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I would think that Yip Man's teachings to students changed over time because Yip Man (as do we all) change over time.
No art exists in the absence of practitioners, and it is defined by its practitioners...

True enough. BTW welcome to the forum, Turninghorse. I look forward to reading more of your posts. How about telling us a bit about yourself, and the branch of the art you practice?
 

turninghorse

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Duncan Leung lineage, just starting out. I came to it as I was looking for something that wasn't too athletically demanding for someone with a history of multiple orthopedic problems. The straight-line nature and absence of extreme motions suits me. I like the "scientific" nature and how a complex system is developed from a few core principles.
 
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