Preserving the Media of the World's Most Advanced Martial Art.


The Simple Basics of a Complex Art.
(A Wing Chun Student Typical Journey)
by Michel Boulet

Wing 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.

Michel Boulet 

Yip Man -> Ho Kam Ming -> Augustine Fong -> Patrick Gordon -> Michael Boulet
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 

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