What's the Best Build for WT/WC

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
2,764
Location
Phoenix, AZ
OK, I admit it. I stole the idea for this thread from some comments posted by Si-Je and Zepeda-WC. They were talking about the ideal build for a 'chunner. Tradition suggests that a typical 'chunner is small and lean like the late Grandmaster Yip or Bruce Lee. This stereotype has been reinforced by the fact that southern (Han) Chinese, especially the older generation, tend to be comparatively smaller than many Europeans and Americans. However, within the context of their own culture, many of the famed masters of Wing Chun/Tsun were large, strong individuals. Yip man's first teacher, the champion fighter Chan Wah Shun comes to mind.

Similarly, in our own time, some large and strong Europeans and Americans have developed very high levels of skill in this art. So, as WC/WT becomes an art practiced worldwide by many races and body types, can you really say that there is an ideal WC/WT build?
 

bekkilyn

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
50
Reaction score
1
Location
North Carolina
Well let's take Bruce Lee. Was he great simply because he was born with a good build, or was he great because he worked his rear end off to get it and to continuously improve his conditioning and skills? Without his determination and self-motivation, he could have just as easily been small, scrawny, and weak.
 

Si-Je

Master Black Belt
Joined
Sep 14, 2006
Messages
1,033
Reaction score
17
Location
Texas
Actually, I'm a bit more huffy these days, (hopefully I'll get over that soon! lol!) and didn't mean to say it in quite that manner.
I think of WT/WC as having two different "flavors" so to speak. I learned the WT techniques of a tall man/woman mostly from my ex. Now he also taught me some of Fungs style which I would venture to say is designed more for a smaller man/woman.
Much like the movie "The Prodigal Son". (Which I love, by the way and explains it all so well)

1. Blitz method, neck throws and takedowns and most standing arm wrapping or joint manipulation are just easier for a taller person.

2. Concentration on breaking the structure, pivoting, kicking while deflecting/stepping/striking and working out of the opponent's centerline benefits a smaller person more as an approach to defence. Ex. I can do all the "tall man" neck throws and joint manipulation stuff if I kick the leg while latching and pivoting out of their centerline first or at the same time. But, I cannot do it as well on a taller opponent without the kicking and pivoting.

Now the latter also works great for a taller person, of course. But, often it is unnecessary movement for someone who can just plow "through" their opponent using the blitz methodology or staying inside the opponent's centerline. But sense not many people are shorter than I or the same hight it's kinda silly for me or someone of my stature to train in this manner.

I've trained mainly in what I call affectionally (lol!) "men's wing chun". And it has been a painful and frustrating experience I can tell you! (These are the moments I share about "charging" down the bigger partners centerline and trying to do a neck takedown or some arm wrap deflection latch or whatever and ending up with my face ricocheing off the dudes chest. ow! or getting "jammed" up when we make contact because my partner is a living, breathing WC dummy and doesn't move when I apply forward pressure head on as they are coming into me with weight/mass/force. ouchy, ouch!) Besides, I still have to bring them down to my height before I can efficiently do these techniques so a approach for a smaller person against a tall person is needed.

It's all perspective. A tall teacher naturally has a harder time remembering to think about being smaller than someone else, and a small teacher has to imagine how it might be like to be taller than others. Your techniques approach and perspective are just going to yeild different wing chun.
A great teacher can teach from both perspectives.
But, that doesn't make a teacher that teaches more one than the other a bad one, their just as good. A student should just be aware of this and choose a teacher that can adapt WT/WC to their body type. Or that are their body type.
Not all can do this. Many can and do, though.

And to answer your question more directly. I tend to think that the best "body type" for WT/WC is just female. But more than in form, in perspective, approach, and application. The women had a thread about the best mindset for building a females "aggression" in training and the most favorite saying was "think like a woman, fight like a man." (or something like that)
Hated that. hated that. ack, ackerz! no!

We're women! We already THINK too much, all the time, constantly, worry, worry, plan, schedule, think think think! shut it off! It should be...

"Feel like a Woman, Fight like a Woman."

Stop that damn thinking and feel, sensitivity, re-direct energy, absorb, react,adapt. And fight dirty like a girl, man. poke the eyes, kick the groin, knee. Punch and chop that throat (why try to reach the face when it's higher than your best angle for the most power in your punch and the throat is such a better target?) Fight like a woman, go around the force/mass/weight/strength of the opponent, nullify their greater power and destroy them from the center of the mass/weight/inertia of your entire body.

Ha! sorry. went crazy with the girl power again. :soapbox:
I'm all done now. :angel:

Watch the Prodigal Son. Two "forms" of Wing Chun. (I just love the "little" teacher. He's funny and awesome, and an asmathic too. Yet, he'll wipe the floor with a bunch of guys while having that asmatha attack. great, great show!)
 

mook jong man

Senior Master
Joined
May 28, 2008
Messages
3,080
Reaction score
261
Location
Matsudo , Japan
I remember it was said in our school that in the early stages of training that females and small skinny men would pick up the techniques quicker because they could not use strength to do the technique and were more relaxed.

But after that I think it really just comes down to who trains intelligently and who's prepared to put in the hard yards in the training hall.

The body type seems to become irrelevant , I mean to say that I trained with fat guys who were phenomenal , big muscular guys who were phenomenal , and little skinny guys that were phenomenal.

The only common factors seemed to be that you always saw them there at training consistantly and they always seemed determined to improve.
 

bekkilyn

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
50
Reaction score
1
Location
North Carolina
It's also a matter of size perspective. Being female and 5' 9", I am tall compared to many other women, taller to average when it comes to many men (though strangely, a number of men who are shorter than I am claim to be 5' 10" or so :) ), and small compared to some big 6'5" guy. I couldn't always take the perspective of doing a certain technique a certain way because my opponent is always going to be bigger when much of time, I outsize him or her. Brute strength may be a different matter though.
 

zepedawingchun

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
582
Reaction score
17
Location
Moore, SC
. . . . I've trained mainly in what I call affectionally (lol!) "men's wing chun". And it has been a painful and frustrating experience I can tell you! (These are the moments I share about "charging" down the bigger partners centerline and trying to do a neck takedown or some arm wrap deflection latch or whatever and ending up with my face ricocheing off the dudes chest. ow! or getting "jammed" up when we make contact because my partner is a living, breathing WC dummy and doesn't move when I apply forward pressure head on as they are coming into me with weight/mass/force. ouchy, ouch!) Besides, I still have to bring them down to my height before I can efficiently do these techniques so a approach for a smaller person against a tall person is needed.

So, did you learn one of the most important concepts of WC, never fight a greater force head on, deflect from the side and re-direct! At 5' 7 1/2", almost all of my students are taller than me. I have 2 women in my class, one smaller at 5' 4" and one taller at 5'8". And there is one guy at 5'5", then everone else is taller. So I have to do a lot of re-direction because the tall ones try to plow through all the time. And when I do that, they complain of how did I tie them up or take out their position. Actually, I cut them off faster than they can launch their attack. Easy to do when you relax.


. . . . . Stop that damn thinking and feel, sensitivity, re-direct energy, absorb, react,adapt. And fight dirty like a girl, man. poke the eyes, kick the groin, knee. Punch and chop that throat (why try to reach the face when it's higher than your best angle for the most power in your punch and the throat is such a better target?) Fight like a woman, go around the force/mass/weight/strength of the opponent, nullify their greater power and destroy them from the center of the mass/weight/inertia of your entire body.

I agree with almost everything you state, except the react. If you react when pressed, it's too late. It means you're already one step behind and only dealing with the attack (deflect the hand or foot, punch or kick, whatever) rather than dealing with the attacker (deflect the whole person as a threat). You should respond immediately, which means counter the attack and then control the situation with a proper response (explode with re-direction, trapping, striking, etc) to end the encounter before it escalates further. Too many WC people react rather than respond to the situation.
 
Last edited:
OP
G

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
2,764
Location
Phoenix, AZ
...though strangely, a number of men who are shorter than I am claim to be 5' 10" or so :)

This is so true. I'm a short-to-average guy a hair over 5'8" and when asked what my height is, I usually round up to 5'9". I've noticed that most men who are on the short side do "round up" their height, whereas most women who are on the tall side tend to "round down". The result is that a supposedly 5'9" woman is usually at least an inch taller than a man claiming the same height. Fortunately for me, I'm old enough to need orthotic supports in my shoes, but not old enough to start seriously shrinking yet. Those orthotics add a precious half-inch to my height and, at least while wearing them, I actually am the height I claim to be. My wife, who's only 5'2" and perfectly happy about it, thinks that I'm totally nuts.

Anyway, to get back on topic, I really don't think that there is an ideal build for WC/WT. I've seen people with very different body types develop high levels of skill. I believe that mentality probably has much more to do with it. In my experience, large and stong individuals often achieve more immediate success in fighting arts where they can indulge in using their force. On the other hand people with less powerful builds may be more inclined to seek out a system like WC/WT and are more likely to stick with it since they can't ever match a large man using brute force.

Nevertheless, a powerful and athetically gifted individual who does master WC/WT can accomplish even more. We have a saying that first you get rid of your own force, then you get rid of your opponent's force, and finally you learn to 'borrow' your opponent's force. If a strong person can reach that level, then they will be a formidable fighter indeed.

Now to address something Si-Je mentioned on another thread about the "WT" system in particular favoring larger individuals. This is really not the case, although you might get that impression if you happen to have an instructor who is large or long limbed. Emin Boztepe, for example, came out of WT and exploits his size, reach and power, often favoring certain head-grabs and throws. On the other hand my first sifu, the head of the WT branch, Leung Ting, seemed to me to be only about 5'7". He used to take great delight in demonstrating on the largest and most powerful students in the room. On the EWTO website, there were clips of him tossing around master-level practitioners who were huge (I mean WWE size huge). By the same token my current instructor is about 5'5" and he does very well against big guys. The high level WT (which I will probably never master) often favors leg techniques to bring a big guy down to size. These are techniques which a woman might use very effectively.
 

mograph

Master Black Belt
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
1,431
Reaction score
461
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as long as you're healthy, the build for a martial artist should be the by-product of the training, not the other way around. If you train well and become skilled, then the build you end up with is the right one.

N'est-ce pas? :)
 

zepedawingchun

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
582
Reaction score
17
Location
Moore, SC
. . . . Nevertheless, a powerful and athetically gifted individual who does master WC/WT can accomplish even more. We have a saying that first you get rid of your own force, then you get rid of your opponent's force, and finally you learn to 'borrow' your opponent's force. If a strong person can reach that level, then they will be a formidable fighter indeed.

Now to address something Si-Je mentioned on another thread about the "WT" system in particular favoring larger individuals. This is really not the case, although you might get that impression if you happen to have an instructor who is large or long limbed. Emin Boztepe, for example, came out of WT and exploits his size, reach and power, often favoring certain head-grabs and throws. On the other hand my first sifu, the head of the WT branch, Leung Ting, seemed to me to be only about 5'7". He used to take great delight in demonstrating on the largest and most powerful students in the room. On the EWTO website, there were clips of him tossing around master-level practitioners who were huge (I mean WWE size huge). By the same token my current instructor is about 5'5" and he does very well against big guys. The high level WT (which I will probably never master) often favors leg techniques to bring a big guy down to size. These are techniques which a woman might use very effectively.

Something along those lines, my sifu says 'given two persons, equal skills, knowledge, length of time training, and attitudes, the physically larger person will (a majority of the time) dominate or overpower their physically smaller counterpart'. The law of nature.
 

Si-Je

Master Black Belt
Joined
Sep 14, 2006
Messages
1,033
Reaction score
17
Location
Texas
So, did you learn one of the most important concepts of WC, never fight a greater force head on, deflect from the side and re-direct! At 5' 7 1/2", almost all of my students are taller than me. I have 2 women in my class, one smaller at 5' 4" and one taller at 5'8". And there is one guy at 5'5", then everone else is taller. So I have to do a lot of re-direction because the tall ones try to plow through all the time. And when I do that, they complain of how did I tie them up or take out their position. Actually, I cut them off faster than they can launch their attack. Easy to do when you relax. .

That happend alot when I was first learning these techniques. But I simply learned to pivot while stepping into them while deflecting instead of "blitzing" stright up the middle of their centerline while their coming forward. And to comment on a taller man teaching and learning WT well, I agree. Just good old hubbie didn't really adapt what he taught me to my size. And often had me doing techniques that were just not working against his statue. But, oddly enough with just the slightest smallest tinest change in degree, or movement that could have been easily corrrected without all the pain and frustration. And wasted time.

Those types of techniques would work out better against and opponent my size, but you just simply fight differently against a bigger opponent. Many of the same concepts just different angles of deflection and attack.
And I love the neck takedowns. I just have to kick that knee to get a 6'4" tall man neck down to a more effecient level for me to do that. And when I do that, it becomes a totally different technique. Their body moves in a different direction on the takedown, different stance work is needed, a knee to the face is usually better depending on how they bend over or if they actually go down to one knee. So, almost everytime I do those neck takedowns its always a bit different and doesn't look much of anything like what tall men can do or what Emin does in his videos. It's the same, just different angles.

I agree with almost everything you state, except the react. If you react when pressed, it's too late. It means you're already one step behind and only dealing with the attack (deflect the hand or foot, punch or kick, whatever) rather than dealing with the attacker (deflect the whole person as a threat). You should respond immediately, which means counter the attack and then control the situation with a proper response (explode with re-direction, trapping, striking, etc) to end the encounter before it escalates further. Too many WC people react rather than respond to the situation.

I think the verbage I used may be wrong but we're on the same page. instead of react, maybe "respond" would be better. I say react because I try to keep myself from "thinking" when responding to and opponent. No time to think. respond is better word to use.
 

yak sao

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,172
Reaction score
747
what's the saying? Two opponents of equal strength, the one with the most skill wins, two opponents of equal skill, the one with the most strength wins. Food for thought anyway.

I'm 6' 1'', 185#. When I first began training in WT some years ago I was concerned that my height would be a hindrance, knowing that WT was a southern Chinese art. But as I learned, I found my reach to be to my benefit. Incedently my Si-fu was a couple of inches taller than me and some 20# heavier.
I have some 15 or so students of all shapes and sizes. From short and scrawny to one guy who is 6' 2" and 275.....(.big guy. I went to put him in a bear hug so he could demonstrate how to get out of it and I couldn't get my arms around his chest!)
But what I've come to realize is WT is a living, breathing system. We are not, as practicioners of WT/WC, clones of our teachers. Nor are our students clones of us. Sure, in the beginning you need to learn to fit into the mold so to speak, but, as the principles are ingrained into the body, then the system starts to take on your characteristics while still remaining very much WT.
Obviously, I'm strongly influenced by the way my si-fu moves and performs various techniques but when it gets right down to it, I'm going to be the one fighting, not him, so I have to use my WT in a way that makes sense to me.
I'm several inches taller than Geezer, so I might apply my WT differently than he does.
Leung Ting's WT is different from Kernspecht's. Emin's is different still. Allan Fong's is also different. I've seen several Technicians from USA and several European countries ,and have had the privelage of crossing hands with many of them. All very much WT, but all with their own particular flavor.
 
Last edited:
Top