The Simple Basics of a Complex Art.
(A Wing Chun Student Typical Journey)
by Michel Boulet
Chun is a rare mix of internal concepts and savage attacks. This is probably the
most logical reason why it has so many faces and interpretations. Let’s take a
look at it’s most basic principles and concepts.
The basic position: “Yee
Gee Kim Yeung Ma” is used throughout the first form: Siu Lim Tao. It’s function
is to develop a strong base or foundation witch will later support a number of
hand techniques. We see here that it shows similarities to some Chi Gong
practices of other systems. The idea is to sink the body structure in order to
be able to use the ground as an aid for the upper body motions, defensively or
offensively. It takes a long time to really master this position and feel the
feet/body/hands connection. Patience is required from the student but luckily
there are other things to play with during the process.
The first form: Siu Lim
Tao represent the skeleton of the building. It teaches the centreline concept,
the principal hand motions, elbow line, proper relaxation and body structure,
abdominal breathing, even awareness and mind control of the movements. Many will
think of this practice as boring as the moves are so slow and weak looking, but
it would be a mistake to consider the sincere practice of SLT as futile and
non-fighting waste of times. Somebody who neglect SLT will have to use a lot
more physical energy for similar results than the one who makes an important
practice out of it.
Chi Sau, is when the fun
begins for most. The student start to use his new art in a controlled and safe
environment. The hands start to flow and often the practitioner will begin to
think highly of himself. But there is something missing in the mix. He is
chasing hands and there is not enough connection with his under developed
footwork. Often his Sifu will tell him to move but the student will always have
a hard time. It is time then for the next level.
Chum Kiu, the second form
is the link between beginner Wing Chun and being really effective with it. The
student start to feel his body weight/mass/structure/etc coming to the rescue of
his hands. Providing his SLT is well understood, the effects of Chum Kiu are
radical. The techniques start to show a lot more power and he is surprised of
the minimal amount of energy needed to produce this force. Wing Chun is even
more fun at this stage but the practitioner is getting more and more critical
about his Wing Chun. He strives for perfection, and he now has a feel about how
far away it really lies . The static Chi Sau practices of the old days are a
souvenir now. At least when he plays with his peers. He knows how to jam the
beginning of an attack with a slight angle change and create clean attack lines
for himself He is also able to control his level to match his younger brother’s
and will gracefully give them openings for them to jump in.
The concepts of
“receiving/following/charging direct”: Wing Chun’s most important principles
will be perfected in various sparring drills and in Chi Sau. If you want to
follow, you must first receive well, not push away the attack. The attack must
be considered as a gift, providing an opportunity for an attack of your own etc…
This comes with practice, lots of practice.
There are other things to
be learned, The Mok Jong (wooden man) teaches the defensive/offensive angles
even more. It brings new lights on the delivery of energy to the centre of mass
of an opponent. Footwork is at it’s centre of practice along with many keys on
the system method of fighting. It is a subject by itself.
Biu Gee will provide for
emergency or survival moves in case of lost of line or structure. It’s
“whipping” energy is very different from the elbow driven power of SLT. Some
have various interpretations of this form but because it is Wing Chun, we should
look for the most simple and forget about some Wing Chun exaggerated myths.
After a certain time in Biu Gee practice, the practitioner will often feel his
SLT changing in some way. We should assume it must be for the good. Wing Chun
is a system that works in a circle. Biu Gee completes it and affects it’s
starting place, transforming the circle into a spiral…But let’s not get to
philosophical. Let’s have a good time and continue practicing instead.
Yip Man ->
Ho Kam Ming ->
Augustine Fong ->
Patrick Gordon ->
About the Author: Michel Boulet believes that the real mastery of Wing Chun is a
life long endeavor, he maintains a humble and open attitude toward his art
and does his best in giving his students as much personal attentions as
possible, keeping nothing for himself.
Copyright (c) 2006 the Wing Chun Archive and
Michel Boulet 2/3/06