"Your way of WC/WT/VT is so stupid..."

geezer

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"Your way of doing WC/WT/VT is so stupid!" ...Or maybe, "Your Sifu is so stupid, he does not really know what is WC/WT/VT!"

I don't if you've ever heard remarks like this, but I sure have. Sometimes coming from ignorant newbies, but also from some old school Chinese instructors with a lot of experience. And they really believe it. I wonder if this doesn't reflect the individualistic and competitive roots of WC/WT in Hong Kong and Fatshan (Fo'shan). Historically there was a lot of rivalry between styles and instructors. And you probably didn't get much of that warm and fuzzy stuff about all kung-fu being good.

The problem with this is that it can really limit you. If someone else does things differently, the assumption must be that they are wrong. Students are told not to visit other schools or practice with other sifu's students... unless it is to challenge and defeat them.

Personally, when I see people doing things differently, I may or may not like what I see, but first I try to consider what they are doing with an open mind. It doesn't mean I will adopt their approach. Just that I believe that there are many ways to get a job done. However, many years back I used to hang with one of these more narrow minded groups, and this attitude didn't exactly endear me with my sifu and my fellow students. And, even today, I hear concern that being too accepting of other groups could lend "undeserved legitimacy" to what they teach.

Have any of the rest of you encountered this? How do you respond to people who practice WC/WT/VT very differently than your sifu?
 

matsu

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to be honest ,as a newbie ive only witnessed the differences on youtube,and from what we talk about on here!
i,m happy with my sifu,his way! and how and why he thinks he/we should do it a certain way.
from what ive witnessed and if you know anything of my sifus past exploits,he learnt from real experiences.#so they can say what they like, it dont bother me.....i,m happy where i am and what i,m doing!

just my tenpence
matsu
 

chisauking

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This is what I was trying to convey in the 'what's good wc' topic. Everybody thinks they are doing genuine wing chun -- otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. But how do we know what we are practising is wing chun?

During sparring, your teacher \ opponent may be able to beat you easy, but does it mean they have used wing chun? Not necessary. Someone that's very fit, can beat a more skillful but less fit practitioner if the session is treated as a sport, whereby endurance is more important than fighting skills. If your opponent is bigger & stronger than you, then it would still be difficult to beat them if your skill level is only a little higher than theirs.

Many times I've seen wing chun instructors use 'kickboxing' as wing chun, but their students don't know any better. They would start to bob & weave, with their hands by the side of their heads, throwing 'jabs' and 'hooks'.

At the end of the day, there's only 1 certain way to determine whether a practitioner is actually using wing chun. It matters not if people say it is or it isn't wing chun. Just look at the 'tools' being used. If it's a part of the wing chun toolbox, and they can use it against a truly resisting opponent with moderate skills, then it's most likely wing chun.

My motive for writing this isn't to make people look stupid or incompetent. Rather, it's an attemp to try and educate the people to be able to distinguish and recognise what's a good wing chun tool. If you know what to look for, then it matters not whether people say it's stupid or not.

Be very wary of people who say wing chun doesn't look like wing chun in application. What they are saying is, actual wing chun practice doesn't resemble wing chun in application. In other words, what you train in class isn't used for real. How a boxer trains, resemble how they would fight. How a BJJ trains, resemble how they would grapple. Why would wing chun training not resemble wing chun in application?

Look at what they can do, and not what they can say.
 

matsu

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sifu is always saying its not pretty-fighting isnt not pretty!
so the application isnt always going to look just so, as your opponent isnt going to throw you a nice straight centre line punch for you to latch on to all at a nice distance...wing chun isnt a sport and the other guy is trying to smash your face in so that changes it alot..... in real application.
boxing bjj karate are sport point based so both guys(oops and girls sorry si-je)are doing the same thing in a ring bound by rules and use the same techniques so it will always resemble what they trained for.
mma is slightly different and its ugly but real. they use whatever they can and as they all have diff style backgrounds its gets non traditional in its application.
again just my newbie tuppence worth
matsu
 

chisauking

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May I ask you, Matsu, how would the tools of wing chun differ between training and application?

So, are you saying bong-sau don't look like bong-sau; tan-sau don't look like tan-sau; bil-sau don't look like bil-sau?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so whether wing chun looks pretty or not isn't in question. In real combat (realtime), the tools may be harder to use because of the intensity, speed, and flow of adrenaline...Your wing chun tools may not look as crisp as in training.....However, it still should be the same tools, and be recognisable as wing chun.

You say your opponent isn't going to throw you a nice streight punch, at a nice distance....but shouldn't your training cover all manner of punches, at different angles & distances? It makes no difference as to how your opponent throws his punch, your response would still be wing chun.

Again, I will repeat, don't listen to everything sifu say; look at what he can do. There's a good saying: you fight the way you train. If your wing chun doesn't resemble what you train in application, then I would question one's abilty to use wing chun.
 

matsu

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hey dude
yeah you can ask me and i,m confident i am(will be) able to perform wing chun moves in a real situation and altho they wont be classical traditional in stance and form they will work as they were intended to,as ive been taught.
and yep we are taught(being taught) to use them in all situations.against all manner of strikes attacks etc.
my point was and is, that most wing chun, on the tuube etc ,is so rehearsed, as is our training is for the most part,.... drills( to get us to muscle memorise the techniques)
so do people really believe it will look and work like that in a real fight.....hell no!!
and that is what we are taught! it will work but not in the way it does in traditional drill training..... whereas boxin karate bjj will do because the opponent is doing the same thing back to you.beacause its a sport.
am a bit lost where this thread is going now lol blonde moment methinks.
so i,m not argueing with you but i dont need to question my sifu as i know what and how he teaches and that it works.
whereas some of the stuff ive seen really doesnt look like it could!!
..back to work for me for a while
matsu
 

zepedawingchun

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If someone claims or has doubts about another person's Wing Chun being wrong or ineffective, I say let the 2 of them hash it out between them. The winner then has the right to say anything they want.

My first Wing Chun sifu was pretty opinionated, so there were a couple of WC teachers he was in disagreement with. One was a Hong Kong sifu and another was an anglo in the U.S. Something about the way the HK guy looked when he did it made him laugh and state this guys WC was terrible. The anglo was someone he studied along side and he said that person was always getting beat up by everyone. Now that guy is a Grandmaster of his own system and organization.

My 1st sifu pressure tested his WC with over 50 conflicts, and never lost a fight. So it was hard to dissagree with him when he made claims of others having bad Wing Chun.

My current sifu is a lot different. He refuses to say anything bad about anyone. Prefers not to get involved in the politics, name calling, or bashing of any martial art or artist. Says it's negative and doesn't want any negativity reaching him. And I have to agree with him on that. Too much bickering between artists, styles, systems, etc. You're welcome to your opinion, and if it's not positive, just keep it to yourself.
 

chisauking

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Matsu, nobody is questioning your ability. What I'm talking about here is going beyond what 'other people say', going beyond words, and having the experience to distinguish for yourself what is or isn't wing chun.

If you believe wing chun doesn't look like wing chun in application, that's OK by me. But then, why practice wing chun? Why practice tools in a way that you believe not to be valid in a real situation? Would it not be more practical to practice in the way in which you perceive wing chun to be when it's used for real? For example, if you believe wing chun looks like kickboxing, wouldn't it be better to simply practice kickboxing in the first instance, since the mechanics is closer to your goals?

In order to reach your goals in wing chun, one must know what it's in the first place. When people have the knowledge to recognise wing chun, then there would be far less politics and bickering amongst the clan. For example, in western boxing, do you get people arguing what is or isn't boxing? No, because it's perfectly clear.
 

mograph

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My current sifu is a lot different. He refuses to say anything bad about anyone. Prefers not to get involved in the politics, name calling, or bashing of any martial art or artist. Says it's negative and doesn't want any negativity reaching him. And I have to agree with him on that. Too much bickering between artists, styles, systems, etc. You're welcome to your opinion, and if it's not positive, just keep it to yourself.

Indeed. Why bash someone? And if someone bashes you, it's no big deal because you probably could use some improvement. Everyone can. If the basher is wrong, he's a rude idiot. If he's right, he's just rude.
 

Tensei85

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This is what I was trying to convey in the 'what's good wc' topic. Everybody thinks they are doing genuine wing chun -- otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. But how do we know what we are practising is wing chun?

During sparring, your teacher \ opponent may be able to beat you easy, but does it mean they have used wing chun? Not necessary. Someone that's very fit, can beat a more skillful but less fit practitioner if the session is treated as a sport, whereby endurance is more important than fighting skills. If your opponent is bigger & stronger than you, then it would still be difficult to beat them if your skill level is only a little higher than theirs.

Many times I've seen wing chun instructors use 'kickboxing' as wing chun, but their students don't know any better. They would start to bob & weave, with their hands by the side of their heads, throwing 'jabs' and 'hooks'.

At the end of the day, there's only 1 certain way to determine whether a practitioner is actually using wing chun. It matters not if people say it is or it isn't wing chun. Just look at the 'tools' being used. If it's a part of the wing chun toolbox, and they can use it against a truly resisting opponent with moderate skills, then it's most likely wing chun.

My motive for writing this isn't to make people look stupid or incompetent. Rather, it's an attemp to try and educate the people to be able to distinguish and recognise what's a good wing chun tool. If you know what to look for, then it matters not whether people say it's stupid or not.

Be very wary of people who say wing chun doesn't look like wing chun in application. What they are saying is, actual wing chun practice doesn't resemble wing chun in application. In other words, what you train in class isn't used for real. How a boxer trains, resemble how they would fight. How a BJJ trains, resemble how they would grapple. Why would wing chun training not resemble wing chun in application?

Look at what they can do, and not what they can say.


I enjoyed your opinion however I would have to add. How and who are we to say exactly what's in the Wing Chun toolbox??

For one having personally experienced and trained in various Wing Chun systems other than Ip Man I can attest that not all the tools are exactly what one may consider legitimate Wing Chun tools from the Wing Chun toolbox. Systems studied Chi Sim Weng Chun, Hung Fa Yi, Ip Man, experiences in Pao Fa Lien & Hokkien Eng Chun.

In Chi Sim Weng Chun they utilize Chuo Choi that resembles a boxer's jab I've seen Beng Choi that are also utilized. Which resembles a hammer fist commonly seen in Karate. In Pao Fa Lien they use a Chi Sau platform that resembles more closely to Tui Shuo, with similar techniques.

So my opinion is its not just the Wing Chun toolbox, as with most Southern Systems there are a lot of similarities with techniques, stances, footwork and even training methodology. But it comes down to are we expressing the Wing Chun concepts?, are we expressing the Wing Chun body mechanics? and are we most importantly expressing the Wing Chun principles?.

That's just my .02
 
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chisauking

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Tensei85:

Maybe I should have been clearer and state that my comments are based on the Yip Man lineage.

You ask how we know what's in the wing chun 'toolbox'. Well, that's very easy to answer. All the tools are in our forms, and it's been documented by sigung Yip Man. If your Chinese is good, you can probably read some of the text sifu Yip has written. I think you can see some of his written work at the Futshan wing chun museum in China. Is it possible to add to the toolbox? Yes, but in the past 90-years or so, only 1 extra tool has been added. The lower garn-sau was added in repsonse to sifu Wong Shung Leung's beimo experiences. During a fight, he was hit with a lower-palm to his lower rib area. He discussed the fight with Yip Man, and with Yip Man's approval, the garn-sau was added to the toolbox.

Also, if one is truly expressing wing chun's principles, then it would definately look like wing chun.

For all those that may not know, wing chun isn't an accumulative method; rather, it's a method based on refinment, descarding anything that isn't essential.
 
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yak sao

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Tensei85:

For all those that may not know, wing chun isn't an accumulative method; rather, it's a method based on refinment, descarding anything that isn't essential.


I like the way you put that.
 

zepedawingchun

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. . . . Yes, but in the past 90-years or so, only 1 extra tool has been added. The lower garn-sau was added in repsonse to sifu Wong Shung Leung's beimo experiences. During a fight, he was hit with a lower-palm to his lower rib area. He discussed the fight with Yip Man, and with Yip Man's approval, the garn-sau was added to the toolbox.

I'm not familiar with the term 'garn sau', maybe we call it something else. We have a gan sau (pronounced gahn) which means downward slicing hand. Is the garn sau a hand position(s) in one of the forms? If so, where?
 

zepedawingchun

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. . . For all those that may not know, wing chun isn't an accumulative method; rather, it's a method based on refinment, descarding anything that isn't essential.

Sounds like Jeet Kune Do! ! ! Bruce borrowed so much from Wing Chun and so many people think he was very original in his thinking.
 

Beginner's Mind

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Thanks, Geezer. It's a very important and painful subject in Wing Chun.

Our art is supposed to be open-minded and self-correcting, but time after time I run into people who fall into dogmatical thinking. Perhaps the blame goes back to Ip Man's students, each claiming to have learned the "right" techniques from the Grandmaster?

Whatever the case, I too believe there are many ways to get the job done. And while I stick to my Sifu's teachings - hoping to arrive to a polished and refined style rather than stockpile tricks from everywhere - I respect and enjoy other lineages and other arts.
 

Tensei85

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Tensei85:

Maybe I should have been clearer and state that my comments are based on the Yip Man lineage.

You ask how we know what's in the wing chun 'toolbox'. Well, that's very easy to answer. All the tools are in our forms, and it's been documented by sigung Yip Man. If your Chinese is good, you can probably read some of the text sifu Yip has written. I think you can see some of his written work at the Futshan wing chun museum in China. Is it possible to add to the toolbox? Yes, but in the past 90-years or so, only 1 extra tool has been added. The lower garn-sau was added in repsonse to sifu Wong Shung Leung's beimo experiences. During a fight, he was hit with a lower-palm to his lower rib area. He discussed the fight with Yip Man, and with Yip Man's approval, the garn-sau was added to the toolbox.

Also, if one is truly expressing wing chun's principles, then it would definately look like wing chun.

For all those that may not know, wing chun isn't an accumulative method; rather, it's a method based on refinment, descarding anything that isn't essential.


Thanks for the reply, it clarifies my questions. Actually the Ving Tsun Bible was also a good representation of Wing Chun training methodology & techniques as well.

But as far as tools are concerned when you use a tool for a different purpose in Chinese the concept is different. So similar techniques when used in a different manner become a different concept so therefore the "gihng" is different. Like for instance if one uses the shape of what looks like a Tahn Sau but uses it to sweep instead of redirect the name of the technique will be different because the chatracter is not the same. That's where my only point I was adding was sometimes the shape of techniques will change but the intent & core Wing Chun identity based on the principles should remain.

Sounds confusing but that was what I was trying to get at before, just to try to clarify myself.
For lack of better wording...

But I pretty much agree with you in those regards.
 
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geezer

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Maybe I should have been clearer and state that my comments are based on the Yip Man lineage.

You ask how we know what's in the wing chun 'toolbox'. Well, that's very easy to answer. All the tools are in our forms, and it's been documented by sigung Yip Man... Is it possible to add to the toolbox? Yes, but in the past 90-years or so, only 1 extra tool has been added.

I would say, "not so easy as all that". If you look at the various branches that have descended from Grandmaster Yip Man, they differ significantly in many ways, including how they do the forms, as well as their structure and stances. Further, it is well established that Grandmaster Yip taught the system somewhat differently at different times in his life, and not just after coming to Hong Kong. In Leung Ting's Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun, he documents how Grandmaster Yip's surviving students from his early years in Fatshan (Fo'shan) learned the forms differently. And, since Grandmaster Yip's death, the next generation has continued to make modifications. Can you easily say which ones are "right" and dismiss all the others?

Also, if one is truly expressing wing chun's principles, then it would definately look like wing chun.
For all those that may not know, wing chun isn't an accumulative method; rather, it's a method based on refinment, descarding anything that isn't essential.

I feel you are on stronger ground here. WC/WT should express the core principles, and among these are simplicity and effieciency. Putting together a hodge podge of techniques, or overstuffing your toolbox does not make you more efficient or effective... and it doesn't make for good WC/WT.

Interestingly, when Leung Ting made some minor alterations to the forms in his WT branch, it was only after he had made trips back to Fatshan when the mainland first began to open up in the 1980s. He met with surviving practitioners from Grandmaster Yip's early days and came to the conclusion that certain movements needed to be "restored" to the forms. Still he deliberated years before actually introducing these small changes.

Other sifus have also left their marks, and a few have made even claimed that their version is somehow "the only true version". In fact, many of the better known "Grandmasters" (the term alone speaks volumes) have a bit of an ego problem.
 

chisauking

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Tensei85 sez: But as far as tools are concerned when you use a tool for a different purpose in Chinese the concept is different. So similar techniques when used in a different manner become a different concept so therefore the "gihng" is different. Like for instance if one uses the shape of what looks like a Tahn Sau but uses it to sweep instead of redirect the name of the technique will be different because the chatracter is not the same. That's where my only point I was adding was sometimes the shape of techniques will change but the intent & core Wing Chun identity based on the principles should remain.


Tensei, I don't want to argue on semantics, so I will just quickly elaborate a little, but not with the intention of proving anyone wrong or right.

Yes, I would agree that wing chun tools can be used in many ways. For example, a tan-sau can be used to break structure, or it can be used as a wedge to prevent your opponent from responding. However, the tan-sau still looks like a tan-sau. Another example: a fook-sau can be used to control, or it can be used to cover your opponent's hands, but again, it still looks like a fook-sau.
 

chisauking

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Geezer sez:I would say, "not so easy as all that". If you look at the various branches that have descended from Grandmaster Yip Man, they differ significantly in many ways, including how they do the forms, as well as their structure and stances. Further, it is well established that Grandmaster Yip taught the system somewhat differently at different times in his life, and not just after coming to Hong Kong. In Leung Ting's Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun, he documents how Grandmaster Yip's surviving students from his early years in Fatshan (Fo'shan) learned the forms differently. And, since Grandmaster Yip's death, the next generation has continued to make modifications. Can you easily say which ones are "right" and dismiss all the others?

csk: Yes, branches of yip man's students do train their forms differently, teach differently.......but they still contain the same 'tools'. For example, I've learnt from 4 different yip man lineages, but their SLT is near identicle. Yes, the forms may be longer, it may start differently, the emphasis may not be the same.......but the 'tools' are the same.
Off course, people refine their teaching methods with experience and they will change the way they teach, but the tools remind the same. It's still tong, bong, fook, wu.



At the highest level of wing chun is the expression of oneself, so of course there will be subtleties. For example, Lam Man Hog does the lan-sau at 60' instead of 90' (horizontal), but it's still a lan-sau and it wold still look like a lan-sau in application.

Wing chun is a very clever method and is actually very simple to understand, but if people come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful applications for the tools, on the basis that it's a conceptual method, then people will only be further confused. There are only so many ways one can really use the tools effectively, and if people do more gwoh-sau with genuinely resisiting opponents, they would find that out for themselves.

You know, people would laugh themselves silly if you told them that a boxer having learnt the left hook for many years would apply it as a kungfu chop when they get in the ring. It's only in wing chun that people believe having spent many years learning the tan, bong, fook -- embedding those actions into their subconscious -- they would apply it differently during their time of need and it doesn't resemble what they had learnt in class.
 

ShortBridge

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...
Many times I've seen wing chun instructors use 'kickboxing' as wing chun, but their students don't know any better. They would start to bob & weave, with their hands by the side of their heads, throwing 'jabs' and 'hooks'.
...
I spent several years training as a boxer and then in Muay Thai before I settled into Wing Chun (with some other things in between). I was never a prize fighter or a contender of any kind, but I put a lot of time and effort into it.

One of the things that I used to do when I was a senior student in my SiFu's school was when someone had trained well enough to start applying their Wing Chun, I would pull them aside and start light-contact boxing or kick-boxing at them.

They all did some version of the same thing.

1) Ask "what am I supposed to do?" My answer was always something vague like "do your thing" or "you know, just deal with it".
2) Without exception they each would start trying to mimic what I was doing and box with me.
3) They all reached a point, sooner or later over the next minutes where they gave up and said "I can't do it. I don't know what I'm doing. You're too fast....something"

Sometimes, I'd leave it there and then repeat in a different class, usually not the next one.

Eventually they would say "Can you tell me anything that would help?" or "Can you tell me what I should be doing?" and I would say:

"Yeah, I'm glad you asked. Why aren't you using your Wing Chun? You've been training for x-time and you're starting to develop some ability, why wouldn't you use what you've been learning?"

That usually follows with: "but you didn't tell me that I could..." or "I thought were boxing"

I never told you we were boxing, I just told you to deal with it. The lesson is that if you train in Wing Chun or Judo or Tae Kwon Do or whatever else you reach a point where that is the bet you are making on yourself. If will work better than anything that you haven't trained in, every single time. It's amazing, though that I have yet to find one person who's instincts led them there.

When I see these YouTube videos, they just don't mean anything to me. In the other thread, one of our beginner blow-hards said "What most Wing Chun people do is...."

As if he knows most Wing Chun people. What he means is "most Wing Chun people on YouTube". Training is hard and practice DOES NOT make perfect. Perfect practice makes good. You can only effectively do what you train to do.

And this whole thing is a uniquely martial arts culture thing. I've yet to see someone show up at a little league baseball game or an adult slow pitch softball game and confront a player with "That would never work if you were trying to hit off of Clayton Kershaw!"

Our community is filled with ignorant people tearing each other apart and buried in that pool are a hand full of really good people and practitioners. They are the ones who you see and hear the least from, in my experience. If you're interested in a style, you'll have to seek them out and approach them with some humility and then trust their process for long enough to decide whether or not it's for you. If you're not, I just don't get why it's worth talking about.
 
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