28 February 1947|
|Teacher(s)||Pak Cheung, Leung Sheung, Ip Man|
|Rank||10th level m.o.c. founder, International Wing Tsun Association|
|Notable students||Keith R. Kernspecht, Emin Boztepe, Máday Norbert, Chris Collins|
Leung Ting (Chinese: 梁挺; pinyin: Liáng Tǐng; born 28 February 1947) is a Hong Kong martial artist. He was an original student of Leung Sheung, and later became the last closed door student of Ip Man. Leung Ting is the founder and president of the International Wing Tsun Association.
Leung chose the spelling of Wing Tsun to differentiate his teachings from those of other Wing Chun schools, and to keep them from passing off their style as his own. (There is no standard romanization of Cantonese; the Chinese characters remain the same.)
Among the achievements in his career outside of teaching and writing about Wing Tsun, Leung has been a fight director in some Hong Kong films, including the 1978 Hong Kong cult classic 'The Five Deadly Venoms'. Leung was the director and screenwriter for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Kung Fu World! (大踢爆), a humouristic documentary on the history and culture of kung fu. Leung appeared on episode 1 of the first season of the BBC show Mind, Body & Kick Ass Moves; a 10 part series on martial arts masters of the east hosted by Chris Crudelli. He has also served as head instructor on the board of directors for the Ving Tsun Athletic association from 1996-1997.
- 1 Lineage controversy
- 2 Other controversies
- 3 Wing Tsun
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Some of Yip Man's students have disputed whether Leung Ting ever directly studied under Ip Man, most notably of which include Yip Man's eldest son, Yip Chun claimed "我老豆最憎最嬲係梁挺呢個人！" (My father dislike this person Leung Ting the most !) and also "唔係葉問徒弟" (Leung Ting is not Yip Man's student). In response to Yip Chun's accusations, Leung Ting organised a public press conference in Hong Kong in May 2010 to showcase photographic evidence of his own close direct relationship with Yip Man. Existing photo evidence shows that Leung Ting did appear with Yip Man in numerous high-profile events, including the only 2 interviews Yip Man ever conducted, private lessons, Leung Ting's wedding, and public martial art demonstrations. Leung Ting publicly threatened to initiate a defamation claim against Yip Chun if an apology and withdrawal of accusations was not received. Yip Chun has since been quiet on this matter.
In other evidence, in one of the only 2 interviews Yip Man ever conducted, Leung Ting was mentioned by Yip Man as one of his closed door students in New Martial Hero magazine 1972, copy 56, page 31, paragraph 2, line 5 - '教師梁挺係其一位封門弟子' (Leung Ting is one of my closed door students). Photos from the interview show Leung was with Yip man during the time.
The controversy had been in part fueled by past allegations that a photo Leung presented showing him with Yip Man was altered from a photograph that shows Yip Man with the chief editor of the New Martial Hero magazine. Leung has denied the head change and further claimed that it was Yip Man himself who told the reporter from New Martial Heroes that Leung was his closed door student in the article. Other photo evidence shows Leung at Yip Man's funeral with an armband that apparently denotes a rank other than first generation (i.e., an armband that indicates that Leung was considered to be a grand-student of Yip Man's rather than a direct student.).
On 20 November 2009, Leung was sentenced to two months in prison for allegedly assaulting his former girlfriend, Regina Lip Sik-ying, a claim which was later quashed. Lip testified that Leung banged her head against the floor, kicked her in the stomach, grabbed her throat and boxed her ears after a heated argument involving Leung's ex-wife. Leung testified that Lip fell and hit her head when Leung pulled her down from a window where she threatened to commit suicide after Leung refused to provide $5000 for plane tickets and an abortion. On hearing the verdict Leung shouted 'Objection!', and even shouted [bullshit] at the judge during the court case. On 29 April 2010, the conviction was quashed by Court of First Instance Judge Darryl Gordon Saw. Judge Saw ruled that the medical reports did not support Lip's testimony but did support Leung's. Leung was cleared of all charges.
The particular phonetic spelling of 詠春 as Wing Tsun was picked by the branch founder Leung Ting to differentiate his branch from the others. WingTsun (without a space) is the trademarked form used by the International WingTsun Association (IWTA), not the name of the style.
The main difference between Wing Tsun and other Wing Chun styles is the Wing Tsun teaching method. The style's creator Leung Ting developed the system to be easier to learn and teach compared to more traditional styles of Wing Chun. This idea was later expanded upon by Keith Kernspecht, head of the European Wing Tsun Organisation based in Germany, by introducing many of the WT specific forms (like the leg forms). WT has a more structured, school-like curriculum of teaching compared with other Wing Chun styles.
As a descendant of Wing Chun, Wing Tsun shares much of the same history. It only branches after the death of Ip Man, Leung Ting decided to take what he had learned from his master and teach it in a much more direct fashion than was traditionally taught in Wing Chun.
The principle of directness of teaching was expanded upon by Keith Kernspecht in Germany, and his curriculum is the one most taught today. Besides creating some of the modern forms, Kernspecht also developed a more practical and applied version of some WingTsun techniques, collectively called ‘Blitz Defence’. These focus on defending against a traditional Western style attacker and ending the confrontation as quickly as possible, while limiting the damage to any involved parties. By organising the Wing Tsun Association, Kernspecht helped spread the style across the western world.
Ng Mui (五梅) Yim Wing Chun (嚴詠春) Leung Bok Chau (梁博儔) Leung Lan Kwai (梁蘭桂) Wong Wah Bo (黃華寶) (陳華順)Leung Yee Tei (梁二娣) Leung Jan (梁贊) Chan Wah Shun (陳華順)Leung Bik (梁壁) Ip Man (葉問) Leung Sheung (梁相) Leung Ting (梁挺)
The eight principles of Wing Tsun form a system of aggressive self-defence that allows one to adapt immediately to the size, strength and fighting style of an attacker. There are many ways to express the principles, since they are essentially very simple. However, it takes years of performing the forms and practicing chi sao with a knowledgeable instructor to train the body to follow the principles reflexively and to understand their applications in specific situations.
As well as describing the progression of a self-defence response, the strength principles also describe the progression a WingTsun student must follow over years of training: first, form training and a great deal of punching to learn to be relaxed in a fight and to (counter intuitively) punch without tension; second, countless hours of chi sao training to be able to yield to — and exploit — the attacker's strength; finally, strength training specific to WT to increase punching and striking power.
- Go forward (問路尋橋手先行) Advance immediately in order to attack the opponents attacking action, IF contact is made with the limbs use reactions developed from chi-sao(allowing for Chi Sao reflexes to take over) or — even better — to strike first. This counter intuitive reaction will often surprise the attacker, and moves the fight into a close distance in which tactile reflexes will dominate over visual reactions, where the Wing Tsun practitioner is likely to have an advantage.
- Stick to the opponent center, not their hands or arms(手黐手,無埞(地方)走) If you are unable to strike and disable your opponent try to turn them on their axis. do not maintain constant contact with his arms, how can he launch an attack at you without your knowing? This applies for the time only when the opponent is blocking your shortest way of attack. Once there is opportunity, you give up sticking, and go in with your attack (flow).
- Yield to a greater force (用巧勁，避拙力-即借力） Since one cannot expect to be stronger than every potential attacker, one must train in such a way as to be able to win even against a stronger opponent. Chi Sao teaches the reflexes necessary to react to an opponent's attacks. When an attack is simply stronger than yours, your trained reflexes will tell your body to move out of the way of the attack and find another angle for attack.
- Follow through (迫步追形) As an extension of the first principle, if an opponent retreats, a Wing Tsun practitioner's immediate response is to continue moving forward, not allowing the opponent to recover and have an opportunity to reconsider his strategy of attack. Many styles that rely on visual cues prefer to step back and wait and time their attacks, as commonly seen in sport and tournament fighting.
- Give up your own Force One needs to be relaxed in order to move dynamically and to react to the actions of an opponent. When you are tense, your "own force" acts as a parking brake—you must disengage it first before you can move quickly.
- Redirect your opponent's Force This is similar to the third fighting principle. When an attacker wants to use strength to overpower a fighter, the response is not to try to overcome strength with strength but to nullify this force by moving your attacker's force away from you or to move yourself away from it.
- Use Your Attacker's Force against him Take advantage of the force your opponent gives you. If an opponent pulls you toward him, use that energy as part of your attack. Or if an opponent pushes the left side of your body, you can act as a revolving door and use that force in an attack with your right arm.
- Add Your Own Force In addition to borrowing power from your attacker, you can add your own force in an attack when your hand is free.
Wing Tsun training is based on developing reflexes through Dan Chi Sao (single arm Chi Sao), Poon Sao (rotating hands), and Chi Sao (sticky hands). Training is split into various forms, many of which are only learned when a martial artist has passed the student levels of Wing Tsun.
Lat Sao (甩手)
The Lat Sao program is something particular to the European branch of the Leung Ting style of teaching Wing Tsun; the other Wing Chun branches, including the Hong Kong branch of Leung Ting's organisation, generally progress in a more traditional manner from the forms to Chi Sao training to sparring. Lat Sao roughly translates as "free hands" or "tumbling hands" training.
Lat Sao is a sensitivity drill to obtain specific chi sao (sticky hands) reflexive responses. Although it may look combative, it should not be mistaken for sparring or fighting. Lat Sao is a game, in which one partner plays the part of an attacker, and the other a defender. The attacker and defender generally switch roles frequently, or after a set number of attacks. If one is not paying attention, or if the teacher has not explained the drill properly, the training can accelerate and become competitive; if this happens, the students are missing the point of the exercise altogether. Lat Sao is not about hitting your opponent, but about feeding him attacks that he trains to counter. As your partner becomes better, the attacks can be gradually made more difficult to counter by making them faster or more precise. However, once the attack is consistently getting through, it should be slowed down again, so that the defender can identify his mistake, or "hole" in the defence.
Lat Sao can be both beneficial and detrimental when not practiced with awareness of its benefits and its pitfalls. The benefits are generally a more technical and more precise style, because the student spends time testing his limits and finding his mistakes. A secondary benefit is a student's greater confidence and less shock when first confronted with free-sparring programs. The pitfalls are over-reliance on patterns learned in drills and mechanical execution by rote, rather than feeling the opponent's pressure and reacting to it. It is beneficial to confront the students with unexpected solutions to problems posed in Lat Sao, as an exercise and to demonstrate that each Lat Sao drill is just one of very many possible solutions to a given problem. A good exercise is also asking a student to solve Lat Sao problems using newly learned techniques in each program; even if the things they come up with do not work, the habit of investigating the problem from different angles and not taking Lat Sao as something set in stone will help them avoid the pitfalls.
German Lat Sao is being described in the afore mentioned. The German Style Lat Sao in the 1990s and early 2000s was used widely in Europe and America. In German Lat Sao the opponents tend to go through a longer, more complex sequence building it up over time. In Chinese Lat Sao the focus is more on realistic powerful attack, so the sequence generally ends within two-three strikes.
In more advanced Lat Sao the two opponents square off and both try to gain the upper hand, allowing their Chi Sao reactions to take over.
One of the features of Wing Tsun that differ it from other branches of wing chun is ground fighting training. Unlike grappling martial arts that wrestle on the ground or other styles which borrow grappling techniques from such arts, Wing Tsun is claimed to use its own principles on the ground to overcome the opponent.[dubious ]
The basic forms of Wing Tsun are covered in the student grades, with further refinements of application and technique in later forms. The goal of Wing Tsun is to be a "redundant" form, in that the teaching will build upon movement and reactions previously learned to allow greater understanding of the material faster. Each building block may not be completely understood when it is taught (although it should be understood in the limited capacity that a level explains it), however the earlier training will act as a foundation for training in later levels.
One characteristic of Wing Tsun is its structured teaching system. While many styles of martial arts teach techniques in a non-linear fashion, WT's system is structured like a school curriculum, with each grade building on the previous, rather than just introducing more information to learn. Also, unlike the traditional master-apprentice model of teaching where a student would follow his instructor for several years or even a lifetime, the IWTA's structured approach ensures all students receive a complete WT education at each grade level. A busy individual who can only train twice a week would not miss out on important concepts or ideas that would give their devoted classmate, seemingly always in class, an unfair advantage – though an advantage would likely arise from their classmate's diligence and further developed skills from the extra hours of training.
The WingTsun curriculum consists of twelve student grades which cover the first two forms, Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu, as well as the related Chi Sao training and applications. In addition to the hand forms there is also a standardised set of leg forms that are learned with the Siu Nim Tau.
The student grades can be split into three sections, based on the topics they cover:
1st – 4th, Learning fundamentals across the three ranges.
- 1st – Fundamentals of movement and style, long range engaging, beginning of Siu Nim Tao.
- 2nd – Long range fighting, with bridging, all of Siu Nim Tao.
- 3rd – Transitioning from Long to mid-range attacks.
- 4th – Transitioning from mid to short-range attacks, beginning of Chum Kiu.
5th – 8th, Ranges applied with movement and transition.
- 5th – Short range attacks, and fighting with two hands simultaneously.
- 6th – Poon Sao, Chi Sao
- 7th – Chi Sao 1st attack
- 8th – Chi Sao
9th – 12th, Application of the style, against kicks.
- 9th – Against a single attacker.
- 10th – Against multiple attackers.
- 11th – Against a single attacker with a weapon.
- 12th – Against multiple attackers with weapons.
At student grade 9 the student is expected to not only know the fundamentals of the style (as in grade 8) but be able to apply it effectively against an attacker. The subtle, but important difference between these two grades means that either one of these, depending on the school, can be considered equivalent to the "black belt" rank. There is no consensus, as there is no direct formal comparison.
In some schools graduation through the levels may be signified by different coloured shirts, such as white up to 5, grey for level 5–8, and black for level 9–12. This depends entirely on the convention of the school.
Following the student grades are twelve instructor grades. At the instructor levels, the student begins training in the more advanced forms of Wing Tsun including Biu Tze (標指), Wooden Dummy (木人樁), Long Pole (六點半棍) and Butterfly Knives (八斬刀).
The instructor grades are themselves split into three sections, each of which with a particular focus in mind. From 1st to 4th Technician level, the student works on his technique, continuously improving and refining it as he learns Biu Tze and begins learning Wooden Dummy. Between 5th to 8th Practitioner level, the student learns the final parts of the system, and should have the whole of it, as well as be able to apply everything he's learned fluently and effortlessly. From 9th to 11th Philosopher level, the student is expected to understand the mental, and spiritual, elements of the style, and should contribute back to the style by searching for weaknesses and suggesting improvements in teaching methods, techniques, and drills. The final, 12th grade is awarded only posthumously, as it presupposes that the one who achieved it, has achieved perfection – and as that is impossible as long as one remains human, it is forever out of reach.
Each instructor grade takes correspondingly longer to achieve. The first twelve student levels take about four years to complete at average attendance twice weekly. The first technician level after that is another year of training; each subsequent grade takes an extra year – so, second technician is two years, third is three, fourth is four, and so on. Of course people can pass their grades faster if they attend class more frequently and train out of class, but generally this is the timeline that one can expect.
Uniform and Equipment
While different schools will have different equipment and uniforms, there are some common elements amongst them.
Uniform varies from school to school, however advanced students will usually wear black, and lower level students will usually wear white or, if more advanced, grey. These colors are often, but not always, displayed on the students school T-shirt.
While special elasticated "kung-fu trousers" are often worn for safety (preventing caught feet and toes when training), it is also common to see normal track/jogging bottoms worn by low level students. Each school will have different rules.
Instructors in WingTsun always wear black uniforms, with advanced instructors being signified with red being stripes featured on the uniform trousers. Gold or Yellow highlights are often used to signify additional rank, though this convention is far from universal.
While WT is mostly an empty handed style, it does use weapons when the student is sufficiently advanced. It also has some equipment that is used for training.
- The Muk Yan Jong, or wooden dummy, is used for training of the form named after it.
- Various punch bags and pads.
- Six and a Half Point Pole or Long Pole.
- Butterfly Swords. Bat Cham Do.
Organization and growth
The official umbrella organisation for WingTsun, the International WingTsun Association (IWTA), is headquartered in Hong Kong and led by Leung Ting. The IWTA has schools in over 60 countries, and has gained a large following in the western world. There are now over 2,000 WingTsun schools in Europe, most of them in Germany and its neighbouring countries. With over 1,000,000 practitioners worldwide, the IWTA is currently one of the largest martial arts organizations in the world. The EWTO (European WingTsun Organization) headquarters is situated in Heidelberg, Germany. In Eastern-Europe Wing Tsun has also existed since 1985 (in current form). The headquarters are in Hungary.
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