Wing Chun - What is it?

Wing Chun is a chinese martial art that dates back some 400 years. It is characterised by short fast hand techniques, no kicks higher than the waist and was probably best popularised in the west by the movies of Bruce Lee. Legend has it that it was created by a woman who wanted to ensure that there was a training system that did not rely on size or brute strength to be effective.

There are many elements to the training and study of Wing Chun, some of which appear sometimes confusing or contradictory. These include the unique way the human body is used to perform Wing Chun techniques; the emphasis placed on good balance and restraint from over commitment and the understanding of how clever mathematics is used in the positioning of the body and limbs to avoid harm as well as calculate the variables involved between moving opponents. There is also a great deal of stress placed on relaxation and it's role in developing speed. There is also a lot of attention paid to the use of what is termed as 'energy' (force or effort) in both attack and defence from both combatants.

There are a series of forms; sequences of movements performed alone; that include three unarmed forms, one with a wooden dummy, one with knives and one with a long pole. From these forms come dozens and dozens of drills, which explain, explore and expand on different aspects of Wing Chun philosophy and the techniques required for different requirements in combat.

One advantage that wing Chun has over other arts as a system, is that it does not require you to be excessively fit, strong or supple. In fact, Wing Chun works from the assumption that the human body is quite fragile and produces techniques that work with this as accepted fact, overcoming what it sees as the frailties of the human form when fighting. There is a philosophy that permeates all of the teachings within the art, which although it sounds cliched, does help the individual develop mentally and spiritually by helping one to relax, understand your body, your tensions and that of others as well as help you develop patience, acceptance and an awareness of your own destructive potential.

The study of Wing Chun is a real journey that leads many different people through their own personal hurdles and challenges to get to what ends up being a very similar place for all. To eventually achieve any apparent physical mastery ultimately requires the development of personal qualities in the character of the individual.

So, in summary, Wing Chun is quite simply a martial art which is unique amongst arts because of the attention to detail it relies upon. It makes no outlandish claims and works from the premise that the human body is easily hurt. In fact, it is quite humble and unassuming in character when compared to some of it's more energetic or gymnastic contemporaries. But make no mistake, Wing Chun is a totally no nonsense, no frills, direct and utterly destructive martial art which is matched in it's ruthless efficiency only by the humility of those who truly understand it's nature.