Wing Chun

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Wing Chun
The age of 18 Bruce Lee and Ye Wen.jpg
Ip Man and Bruce Lee practising "双黐手", meaning "double sticky hands".
Also known asving tsun, wing tsun, wing tsung, yongchun, wyng tjun, ving tjun, wing tzun, wing tschun
FocusSelf-defense, striking, grappling, trapping
Country of originFoshan, China
CreatorNo definitive founder has been identified; there are eight distinct lineages with different stories regarding its conception.[1][2][page needed]
For further information, see Branches of Wing Chun
Famous practitioners
ParenthoodShaolin Kung Fu / Nanquan[3][page needed]
Descendant artsJeet Kune Do, Arnett Sport Kung Fu, German Jujutsu[a][4] Vietnamese Wing Chun
Wing Chun
Traditional Chinese詠春
Simplified Chinese咏春
Literal meaning"singing spring"[5][6]

Wing Chun (Chinese: 詠春 or 咏春, lit. "singing spring"[7]) is a concept-based fighting art, form of Southern Chinese kung fu and close-quarters system of self-defense.

Etymology[edit]

In Chinese, this martial art is referred to as 咏春拳 (simplified script) or 詠春拳 (traditional script). If it is written in an almost identical way in traditional and simplified, it is not pronounced and transcribed in the same way according to the regions and their dialects: Yǒngchūn quán in Mandarin pinyin, Wing-chun kuen in Cantonese Wade-Giles. It is made up of 2 terms: 拳 (quan/kuen) which means “fist, boxing” and the term 詠春 (wing-chun, in Cantonese) meaning "singing spring"; the full name is thus translated as "singing spring boxing".[5][6]

In its short designation, the martial art is simply designated by these two sinograms:

  • the sinogram 詠 yǒng/wing: "to sing, to sing..."
  • the sinogram 春 chūn/chun: "spring, vitality..."

This martial art is sometimes referred to by 永春, characters different from 詠春, but pronounced and transcribed in the same way: They are literally translated as "eternal spring", the character 永 meaning "eternal, endless". These characters also designate the Yongchun region near the city of Quanzhou (Fujian).

If the use of 詠春 seems privileged today for wing chun styles, 永春 still appears in the name of other southern Chinese martial arts (with 永春 often transcribed Weng Chun); for example jee shim weng chun and Yǒng Chūn Bái Hè Quán (永春白鶴拳). [8][additional citation(s) needed]

Romanization[edit]

In the West, the name of this martial art has been transcribed variably due to the use of different or personal Chinese language romanization methods, and differences in pronunciation between Chinese languages (but Cantonese was often preferred) or according to Western languages. In addition, some wing chun masters voluntarily created their own term, in order to dissociate their personal teaching from traditional teachings. For example, Yip Man's Ving Tsun or Leung Ting's Wing Tsun.

The consequence is the ability to determine a lineage, a student-teacher family tree, just by spelling.

— Wayne Belonoha[9][full citation needed]

Finally, this martial art is pronounced quite identically in the West, but is written with many spellings: ving tsun, wing tsun, wing tsung, yongchun, weng chun, wyng tjun, ving tjun, wing tzun, wing tschun. Wing Chun is the most common form, used apply to all lineages of this martial art.[10][full citation needed][11][additional citation(s) needed]

Context[edit]

Context of the name Wing Chun varies between various branches of Wing Chun. Common legend is that the name is derived from Yim Wing-chun, the mythical progenator of the martial art, who was student of the legendary Abbess Ng Mui.[12][13]

According to Hung Suen / Hung Gu Biu lineage, the Ng Mui / Yim Wing Chun legend was concieved to protect the identity of Cheung Ng, a Shaolin monk who survived the Manchurian massacres and took refuge at Red Boat Opera. The "Yim Wing Chun" name was chosen for specific reasons, as Yim could be understood as word for "Secret" or "Protected", and "Wing Chun" referring to Siu Lam Wing Chun Tong (the Always Spring Hall). With "Yim Wing Chun" being a secret code for "the secret art of Siu Lam Wing Chun Hall."[14]

In Pan Nam lineage, the "Wing" in Wing Chun comes from Chan Wing-wah, one of the founders of Hongmen.[15] According Pao Fa Lien lineage, the name Wing Chun is a shortened form of the revolutionary motto "Wing yun chi jee; Mo mong Hon Juk; Dai dei wu chun." A secret code that allowed the anti-Qing revolutionaries to recognize each other. Eventually, the codeword was shortened to Wing Chun (Always Spring.)[16]

Origins[edit]

Complications in the history and documentation of Wing Chun are attributed to the art being passed from teacher to student orally, rather than in writing. Another reason is the secrecy of its development, due to its connections to Anti-Qing rebellious movements.[17]

There are at least nine different distinct lineages of Wing Chun, each having its own history of origin. Additionally, there are competing genealogies within the same branch or about the same individual teacher. The nine distinct lineages of Wing Chun which have been identified are:

Regardless of the origins espoused by perspective Wing Chun branches and lineages, there is much third-party controversy and speculative theorizing regarding the true origins of Wing Chun. In the West, Wing Chun's history has become a mix of fact and fiction due to the impacts of early secrecy and modern marketing.[1]

Wing Chun in present[edit]

The Ving Tsun Athletic Association was founded in 1967 by Cantonese master Ip Man and seven of his senior students so they could teach Wing Chun together and Ip Man would not take on all the work himself.[29] The first public demonstration of the Wing Chun fighting system, according to Ip Man, took place in Hong Kong at an official exhibition fight in the winter of 1969 at what was then the Baptist College (now the Hong Kong Baptist University). Leung Ting, a student of Ip Man, invited his master and some well-known representatives of the martial arts scene of the time to the college and conducted the exhibition fights in front of the specialist audience. The Association helped Wing Chun to spread to the rest of the world.[30][31]

Organizational structure in the past[edit]

In ancient China, Wing Chun, like all other martial arts or craft guilds, was traditionally passed on in a familiar way, from master to student. The master, who had personal responsibility for the entire training of the student (apprentice), was addressed as Sifu (master). The lessons often took place in the master's house, where a personal bond would develop between the master and his family and the student (apprentice), with certain mutual obligations. The first public martial arts schools were established in Hong Kong. Since then, Wing Chun lessons have taken on a more modern, academic, and commercial character.

In some schools, however, the family system was still maintained. Lo Man-kam, a nephew of Ip Man, still teaches his students in his home in Taipei. Suitable selected long-term students are still accepted into the inner circle of the Wing Chun family by the Sifu in the traditional way, through a master-student tea ceremony. This ceremony underlines the deep personal bond that has developed between master and student through the long training period.

Organizational structure in modern Europe[edit]

There is no uniform umbrella organization in Europe under which Wing Chun practitioners are grouped, but rather numerous, sometimes competing and divided associations, schools, and individual teachers. Most associations do not appear in the legal form of associations that have voluntarily merged to form an association, but as commercial organizations in which associated schools are integrated, which are authorized and certified by the association. Some of the associations are organized in a franchise system.

In some associations, based on the family system that was used in the past, obedience and obligations towards the master and his teacher are emphasized, although these are rarely directly related to their training students.

Characteristics[edit]

General[edit]

Wing Chun favors a relatively high, narrow stance with the elbows close to the body. Within the stance, arms are generally positioned across the vital points of the centerline with hands in a vertical "wu sau" ("protecting hand" position).[32] This puts the practitioner in a position to make readily placed blocks and fast-moving blows to vital striking points down the center of the body, i.e. the neck, chest, belly and groin. Shifting or turning within a stance is done on the heels, balls, or middle (K1 or Kidney point 1) of the foot, depending on the lineage. Some Wing Chun styles discourage the use of high kicks because this risks counter-attacks to the groin. The practice of "settling" one's opponent to brace them more effectively against the ground helps one deliver as much force as possible.[33][34]

Relaxation[edit]

Softness (via relaxation) and performance of techniques in a relaxed manner, and by training the physical, mental, breathing, energy and force in a relaxed manner to develop Chi "soft wholesome force",[35] is fundamental to Wing Chun. On "softness" in Wing Chun, Ip Man during an interview said:

Wing Chun is in some sense a "soft" school of martial arts. However, if one equates that work as weak or without strength, then they are dead wrong. Chi Sau in Wing Chun is to maintain one's flexibility and softness, all the while keeping in the strength to fight back, much like the flexible nature of bamboo".[36]

Forms[edit]

Most common forms[edit]

Butterfly Swords

The most common system of forms in Wing Chun consists of three empty hand forms, two weapon forms: the Dragon pole and Butterfly swords, and a wooden dummy form.[37]

Empty hand[edit]

小念頭 Siu Nim Tau (Little Idea) The first and most important form in Wing Chun, Siu Nim Tau ("The little idea for beginning"), is to be practiced throughout the practitioner's lifetime.[38] It is the foundation or "seed" of the art, on which all succeeding forms and techniques are based.[39] Fundamental rules of balance and body structure are developed here. Using a car analogy; for some branches this would provide the chassis,[40] for others this is the engine.[41] It serves as the basic alphabet of the system. Some branches view the symmetrical stance as the fundamental fighting stance, while others see it as a training stance used in developing technique.[42]

Although many of the movements are similar, Siu Nim Tau varies significantly between the different branches of Wing Chun. In Ip Man's Wing Chun, the first section of the form is done by training the basic power for the hand techniques by tensing and relaxing the arms.[43] In Moy Yat's Wing Chun, the first section of the form is done without muscle tension and slowly in a meditative, calm, and being "in the moment" way.[44] In 1972, weeks before he died, Ip Man demonstrated Siu Nim Tau (also known as Siu Lim Tau) on film, showing how the form is to be performed.[45]

尋橋 Chum Kiu (Sinking Bridge) The second form, Chum Kiu, focuses on coordinated movement of body mass and entry techniques to "bridge the gap" between practitioner and opponent, and move in to disrupt their structure and balance.[46][47] Close-range attacks using the elbows and knees are also developed here. It also teaches methods of recovering position and centerline when in a compromised position where Siu Nim Tau structure has been lost. For some branches, bodyweight in striking is a central theme, either from pivoting (rotational) or stepping (translational). Likewise, for some branches, this form provides the engine to the car. For branches that use the "sinking bridge" interpretation, the form has more emphasis on "uprooting", adding multi-dimensional movement and spiraling to the already developed engine.
標指 Biu Jee (Clear Direction) The third and last form, Biu Jee, is composed of extreme short-range and extreme long-range techniques, low kicks and sweeps, and "emergency techniques" to counter-attack when structure and centerline have been seriously compromised, such as when the practitioner is seriously injured.[48] As well as the pivoting and stepping developed in Chum Kiu, a third degree of freedom involves more upper body, and stretching is developed for more power. Such movements include close-range elbow strikes and finger thrusts to the throat. For some branches this is the turbo-charger of the car; for others it can be seen as a "pit stop" kit that should never come into play, recovering your "engine" when it has been lost. Still other branches view this form as imparting deadly "killing" and maiming techniques that should never be used without good reason. A common Wing Chun saying is "Biu Jee doesn't go out the door". Some interpret this to mean the form should be kept secret; others interpret it as meaning it should never be used if you can help it.

Wooden dummy[edit]

木人樁 Muk Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy)
Muk Yan Jong-wooden doomy kung fu 2.JPG
Muk Yan Jong is performed on a wooden dummy, which serves as a training tool to teach the student the use of Wing Chun Kuen against a live opponent. There are many versions of this form which come from a variety of Wing Chun Kung Fu lineages.

Other forms[edit]

San Sik (Chinese: 散式; Cantonese Yale: Sáan Sīk; pinyin: Sǎn Shì; 'Separate forms'), along with the other three forms, is the basis of all Wing Chun techniques. They are compact in structure, and can be loosely grouped into three broad categories: (1) Focus on building body structure through basic punching, standing, turning, and stepping drills; (2) Fundamental arm cycles and changes, firmly ingraining the cardinal tools for interception and adaptation; (3) Sensitivity training and combination techniques.[49]

Weapons[edit]

The Yuen Kay Shan / Sum Nung branch also historically trained to throw darts (Biu).

In film and popular culture[edit]

Donnie Yen played the role of Wing Chun Grandmaster Ip Man in the 2008 movie Ip Man, and in its sequels Ip Man 2, Ip Man 3, and Ip Man 4.[50][51] The Ip Man series of movies is credited in reviving interest in the martial art in the 2010s, the Ip Man trilogy received critical acclaim in the box office. Ip Man was Bruce Lee's master which made the trilogy so popular, Lee was largely responsible for launching the "kung fu craze" of the 1970s.[52][53][54][55][56][57]

In December 2019, a new Wing Chun fighter named Leroy Smith was introduced to the fighting game Tekken 7 roster as downloadable content. When creating characters to represent real-world martial arts, the developers wanted to introduce a new fighter utilizing Wing Chun. The developers consulted Ip Man's nephew, who provided motion capture for the character.[58]

Simu Liu featured Wing Chun in his fighting style when playing the title character of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Notable practitioners[edit]

Some notable practitioners of Wing Chun are Ip Man and his sons Ip Chun and Ip Ching, Max Zhang (Zhang Jin), the martial artist Bruce Lee, Donnie Yen, and Dan Inosanto, and actor Robert Downey Jr.[59][60]

Robert Downey Jr. with Wing Chun masters William Cheung and Eric Oram

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chu, Robert; Ritchie, Rene; Wu, Y. (2015). The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Tradition. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4629-1753-2.
  • Leung, Ting (2000). Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun, Second edition (January 1, 2000). Leung Ting Co ,Hong Kong. ISBN 962-7284-23-8.
  • Benjamin N. Judkins & Jon Nielson (2015). The Creation of Wing Chun: A Social History of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-1438456959.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wing Chun techniques were added to German Jujutsu curriculum in year 2000. Prior to that German Jujutsu did not contain Wing Chun techniques.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 1–2
  2. ^ Benjamin N. Judkins & Jon Nielson 2015
  3. ^ Benjamin N. Judkins & Jon Nielson 2015
  4. ^ Braun, Christian (2004). Ju-Jutsu - Effektives Training. Das Prüfungsprogramm vom Gelb- und Orangegurt. Aachen, Germany: Meyer & Meyer Verlag. ISBN 3-89899-011-7.
  5. ^ a b Semyon, Neskorodev (2016). Mantis fist in Wing Chun. p. 4. The origin... One of them states, that this style was created by five masters of Southern Shaolin, who made this work in the Hall of Praising Spring. Other legend says, that the style was elaborated by the women Wing Chun (Singing Spring), the daughter of novice of Southern Shaolin[self-published source]
  6. ^ a b Womack, Mari (2003). Sport as Symbol: Images of the Athlete in Art, Literature and Song. McFarland & Company. p. 93. ISBN 9780786415793. village girl named Yim Wing Chun, which means to sing spring
  7. ^ See Etymology
  8. ^ Use of 永春 by several branches, including Pan Nam himself, attested by Leung Ting in Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun and by the authors of Complete Wing Chun . See also http://weng-chun.com and http://www.yongchunbaihechuen.com
  9. ^ The wing chun compendium
  10. ^ « As the art grows in popularity, many different Romanizations for the Chinese characters "wing chun" continue to be created, often as a result of the local dialect and pronunciation. This results in the ability to determine a lineage, student/teacher family tree or origin, by the spelling alone. The most common spelling is "wing chun", which applies generally to all families. » - Wayne Belonoha, The wing chun compendium, p.20
  11. ^ "Why traditional martial arts lose to hand-to-hand combat - US military hand-to-hand combat trainer who teaches Wing Chun sees it this way". sina.com.cn. (in Chinese). November 23, 2020. Archived from the original on May 14, 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  12. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 4–27
  13. ^ Ritchie, R. (c. 2007): What's in a name? Retrieved on 9 May 2010.
  14. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 83–89
  15. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 69–77
  16. ^ Chu 2015, pg.78
  17. ^ Chu 2015, pg. 1-2, 106-108
  18. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 4–27
  19. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 28–44
  20. ^ Leung Ting, pg.238
  21. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 45–52
  22. ^ Leung Ting, page 289 & 290
  23. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 53–68
  24. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 69–77
  25. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 78–82
  26. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 83–89
  27. ^ Chu, Ritchie & Wu 2015, pp. 90–99
  28. ^ Leung, Ting (2000). Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun, Second edition (January 1, 2000). Leung Ting Co ,Hong Kong. ISBN 9627284238, pg. 53, 90-99
  29. ^ "詠春體育會 - Ving Tsun Athletic Association". www.vingtsun.org.hk (in Chinese and English). 2019-11-27.
  30. ^ "詠春體育會發展簡介 - Kurzer Überblick zur Entwicklung des Ving Tsun Athletic Association". vingtsun.org.hk (in Chinese). 2019-11-27.
  31. ^ "The Development of Ving Tsun Kung Fu in Hong Kong (1961–1970) – 香港詠春體育會發展 (1961–1970)". www.vingtsun.org.hk (in Chinese and English). 2019-11-27.
  32. ^ "How to Wu Sau Correctly - Technique is Everything | Sifu Och Wing Chun". Sifu Och Wing Chun. 2016-09-07. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  33. ^ "Rediscovering the Roots of Wing Chun". Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  34. ^ McKnight, David; Kwok Chow, Sifu Chung. "Integrative Wing Chun". Kung Fu Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-03-14. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  35. ^ Roselando, Jim (2011-01-28). "One Wing Chun Kung Fu Family – W1NG : Coaching From The Ancestors". Archived from the original on 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  36. ^ "An Interview With Grandmaster Yip Man from 1972". My Way of Wing Chun. 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  37. ^ "Wing Chun Forms".
  38. ^ "SIU NIM TAO: The first form of Wing Chun". 2022-11-10. Retrieved 2022-11-10.
  39. ^ Michel Boulet. "The Simple Basics of a Complex Art". the Wing Chun Archive. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  40. ^ Jim Fung (2009-02-23). "Wing Chun Stance". International wing Chun academy. Wingchun.com.au. Archived from the original on 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  41. ^ "The Hidden Power of Siu Nim Tau by Tsui Sheung Tin". 2017-05-22. Archived from the original on 2017-05-22. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  42. ^ Sifu Cogar. "An Overview of Wing Chun". richhealthandwellness.com. Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
  43. ^ Knight, Dan (March 13, 2014). "Sil Lim Tao the first form". www.kwokwingchun.com. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  44. ^ "SIU NIM TAO: The first form of Wing Chun". 2022-11-10. Retrieved 2022-11-10.
  45. ^ "Ip Man performs Wing Chun Forms".
  46. ^ "The Forms of Wing Chun Kuen Kung Fu | Reading Academy Wing Chun & Kali". Teamwingchun.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  47. ^ "Ving Tsun Martial Arts Studio – Training". Tstvingtsun.bc.ca. Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  48. ^ "City Wing Chun – Training Notes". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009.
  49. ^ Hill, Robert (2010). "Ch5-Wing Chun". World of Martial Arts !. Lulu Enterprises. ISBN 978-0-557-01663-1.
  50. ^ "2008 Chinese Box Office records". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  51. ^ "IP Man 4 Teaser Trailer Pits Donnie Yen Against Scott Adkins". Movies. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  52. ^ Desser, David (2002). "The Kung Fu Craze: Hong Kong Cinema's First American Reception". In Fu, Poshek; Desser, David (eds.). The Cinema of Hong Kong: History, Arts, Identity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 19–43. ISBN 978-0-521-77602-8. Archived from the original on June 8, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  53. ^ "Bureaucracy may be wing chun kung fu master's biggest foe". South China Morning Post. September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2022. Action star Donnie Yen helped reawaken interest in wing chun with his film Ip Man.
  54. ^ Mike, Miller (2016-12-12). "Why Rogue One Star Donnie Yen Performed All of His Amazing Fight Scenes 'Blind'". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  55. ^ Zhang, Rui (December 1, 2016). "Donnie Yen leaves hand and foot prints in Hollywood- China.org.cn". www.china.org.cn. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  56. ^ 甄子丹对《叶问》票房无信心 耍咏春拳赚口碑 |网网网络 Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ "《叶问前传》首映 叶准改口赞甄子丹学咏春很快Ip Chun says Yen learns Wing Chun Fast | 人民网 People's news". People's Daily. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  58. ^ "TEKKEN 7 - Dev Diary: Leroy Smith & Fahkumram". YouTube. January 27, 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  59. ^ "Robert Downey Jr.: "He Was Skinny"". 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on July 10, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  60. ^ "Robert Downey Jr.'s Cosmic Punishment". Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.