The essence of Wing Chun is contained in the following ten principles:
1. Centre line control
Centre line occupation, by filling the middle ground, the most direct path to vulnerable targets on your opponent, you take for yourself and deny to them the quickest short cut to victory. The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line, use it and don’t let them use it. Centre line control is closely linked with the tenth point, elbow leverage and light hands.
2. Continuous attacks.
Train to be able to rain down on your opponent a barrage of continuous attacks in a constant unrelenting flow, be as unstoppable as boulders thundering down a mountain side. In order to keep up a storm of rapid attacks you must be able to fluidly change from using one striking surface to another in endless and varied combinations.
3. Forward feeling.
By practicing the pursuit step you will be experiencing forward feeling at a basic physical level.
Like water bursting through a breech in an dam constantly advance. If its three feet its three feet, if its only half an inch it’s half an inch but NEVER half an inch backwards. Fill any space deny them the ability to move. Your footwork must be well trained so that you are constantly in their face no matter in which way they move.
True forward feeling is a mind set not a technique alone, The American, General Pattern, was a master of forward feeling, always advancing.
4. Pinning and jams
Trap and pin as you hit with your other hand, every limb should be constantly used in your attack. If a hand is not actively hitting in that instant it must be jamming and impairing the opponents ability to cleanly get a shot in on you. The concept of trap and pin is a great force multiplier at the in close and restricted space range that the specialist style of Wing Chun was designed for.
5. Hands and feet work together, the back up hand and double power.
Two hands flowing changing, always supporting each other, the empty leg is the third weapon. Sweeps pins distraction kicks raised knee protecting your lower body, three attacking limbs different rolls complimenting each other. The back up hand is another force multiplier and expresses the military principle of concentration of force.
6. The turning stance and half a man.
Rotate around the centre line ( turning stance ) use this to stay balanced as you extend and retract. The turning stance can generate power in a small space, it’s a way of doing a big movement without you moving from the spot. Increase your reach by fully understanding the turning stance and how to use it. By using the Half a man concept you present a smaller target to an opponent and draw him into a predictable attack.
Always leave bait but never take bait.
~ Sun Tzu The Art of War.
7. Attack is the best form of defence
Wing chun is all about attack, there are no blocks only intercepting moves designed to off balance their attack, don’t ever be defensive. Hit them just before they hit you and keep hitting, follow through keep going until they are mentally crushed. By keeping them on the defence their attacking ability will be limited.
8. Entry techniques
Although Wing Chun is a close quarter style, some Wing Chun teaches you how to get in on an opponent from a longer range and cover that distance between an opponent and ourselves, put them into a position where they have little chance to hit you and you have plenty of chances to hit them. The concepts and techniques for taking the fight to the distance that you have trained for are called Entry. For the Wing Chun stylist, especially when faced with a taller aggressor it is very important to close down the distance and at the same instant gain an advantageous position.
Broken rhythms and zig zag patterns are part of Entry. Entry can be a whole sub style of the Wing Chun system. Without good entry in an open space faced with a tall aggressor all your training will be useless, you must learn how to get in.
9. In Contact training.
Just as a dog lives through its nose we humans are visual creatures. In many forms of play fighting or sparring people like to stay back at a distance where they can see all of the opponent and see any attack coming. Often in real fighting the action takes place at close quarters rather than a kicking distance.
Close quarter fighting involves being in contact with the opponent and at a distance where our sight is limited.
To compensate for this lack of an overview at the in contact distance Wing Chun teaches a set of skills based on sensitivity exercises such as sticking hands. The skills acquired include:
- Feel, sensing the intent of the attacker.
- Appropriate level of response, not over or under reacting to sudden movement
- Balance, detecting and exploiting weakness in the opponents stability.
- Conditioning, in a fight you are going to be hit, you must be prepared and conditioned to take a few. Boxers are not afraid to take one to give one, this is a huge strength that boxers have and being able to take some punishment gives them their confidence.
10. Elbow leverage and light hands.
Right from the first part of the first form Wing Chun teaches Elbow leverage. It is important to make the elbow leverage principle into a habit to maintain good balance and structure in the heat of the moment. By understanding the all important forty five degree angle you will keep a compact structure that can generate power.
Grow antennas not horns
Martial arts saying.
By developing light inquisitive hands while keeping to the structure of the elbow leverage principle you can have the speed and adaptability that Wing Chun is known for.
Wing Chun is designed to allow you to survive a violent attack on your person.
You have to fight fire with fire and the best way to do this is to be able to continually attack and fight at a distance that is good for you but awkward for them.
This check list is the result of thirty years of continuos involvement with Wing Chun, I hope that you find it of some use.