Aspects of Wing Chun Training

(My experiences in learning Wing Chun Kung Fu as self-defense and as a art)

Norman Ma (9/2001)

My first introduction to Wing Chun was in 1975 when I was working in the north of England. The teacher had learnt his Wing Chun from various masters and he also spent some time training in Hong Kong. Here Wing Chun was taught as self-defense as I was subjected to constant drilling of many  techniques, e.g. stepping with a straight punch, pak sau and punch. Within one year, I was taught the Siu Nim Tau and Chum Kiu forms, single sticking hand, double chi sau and numerous attacking and defending techniques. As I previously did not know anything about Wing Chun, I thought what I learnt was very practical and direct and its success was due to speed and repetitive training.

However, I soon realized that the larger students in the class had a distinctive advantage. They were much stronger and the techniques I had learnt did not work as well on them. I was obviously using muscular strength and of course the stronger person usually wins. Also these techniques were for specific attacking and defending movements and real fighting is unpredictable. I continued this training for one year as it kept me fit until I returned to Australia.

My interest in Wing Chun started again in 1988 and I was lucky enough to meet Master Chu Shong Tin (a first generation student of the late Grandmaster Ip Man) who was giving some seminars in Sydney. With Master Chu, I was able to witness Wing Chun as an internal art form. Here was this thin elderly man who could muster enormous power without using muscular strength in dealing with a much larger person than himself. I decided then and there that this was what I wanted to learn. However, learning this mental art in this way is a slow and difficult process. Firstly, you must find the right teacher who can guide you through the art of Wing Chun. Just practicing the Siu Nim Tau properly takes many years to manage and I now realized that my previous training was just copying the movements. As I had many bad habits and a male trait of not wanting to lose, I found it very difficult to relax and this restricted my progress.

Under the guidance of my present Sifu who spent quite a few years training with Master Chu in Hong Kong, I can now understand more about the internal side of Wing Chun. One should pay careful attention in developing one's body structure to absorb and redirect incoming force, the importance of the intention of mental attacking and the ability of being able to move one's body as one unit. Careful attention must be paid in practicing the forms especially the Siu Nim Tau. These are just a few points, which will help one to develop the automatic responses to real fighting. Using the body as a coordinated unit will increase one's chances in dealing with a much larger opponent.

Learning Wing Chun as an art will involve many years of training as you cannot rush it but the rewards will be much greater in the long run. I hope that by writing this article, I have shared some my experiences in this martial art, which I now consider it as a way of life.

Return to Articles

?

?

?

?

?

?