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|Also known as||Ving Tsun, Wing Tsun, Ving Chun|
|Focus||Self-defense, striking, grappling, trapping|
|Country of origin||Foshan, China|
|Creator||No definitive founder has been identified; there are eight distinct lineages with different stories regarding its conception For further information, see Branches of Wing Chun.|
|Famous practitioners||See Notable practitioners|
|Parenthood||Shaolin Kung Fu / Nanquan.|
|Descendant arts||Jeet Kune Do, Arnett Sport Kung Fu, German Jujutsu[a] Vietnamese Wing Chun|
|Literal meaning||"singing spring"|
The definitive origin of Wing Chun remains unknown, and is attributed to the development of Southern Chinese Martial Arts.[page needed] Complications in the history and documentation of Wing Chun are attributed to the art being passed from teacher to student verbally, rather than in writing. Another reason is the secrecy of its development, due to its connections to Anti-Qing rebellious movements.
There are at least eight 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 eight distinct lineages of Wing Chun which have been identified are:
Other, smaller branches derive from these main eight lineages.
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.
Contemporary Wing Chun, with its characteristic six forms and the Chi Sao/Poon Sao training exercises, can be traced back to the studies of the teachers of Ip Man and Yuen Kay-shan.[page needed] The other lineages contain separate techniques, instructions, forms and/or weapon uses. The Jee Shim lineage of Wing Chun has enough deviations to the curriculum to be considered a separate/sister martial arts style, Weng Chun.[page needed][page needed]
Wing Chun in present
The Ving Tsun Athletic Association was founded in 1967 by Cantonese master Ip Man and seven of his senior students. 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.
Organizational structure in the past
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
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.
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). 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.
- Always protect your center, whether in attack or defense.
- Use the opponent's strength to turn it against him.
- Use the principles of deflection of force for defense and the straight line for attack.
- When the bridge has been established, stay glued to the opponent's forearms (the "sticky hands" principle, Chi Sao) because information passes more quickly through physical contact than through the eye.
- If the opposing force is too great, give in and use your movement system to restructure.
- If the opponent retreats, follow him and keep up the pressure, do not let him make new strategies.
- Do not use your punching force but the speed and mass of your body.
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", 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".
Most common forms
The most common system of forms in Wing Chun consists of three empty hand forms, two weapon forms, and a wooden dummy form.
|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. It is the foundation or "seed" of the art, on which all succeeding forms and techniques are based. Fundamental rules of balance and body structure are developed here. Using a car analogy; for some branches this would provide the chassis, for others this is the engine. 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.
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. 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. 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.
|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. 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. 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.|
|八斬刀||Baat Jaam Dou (simplified Chinese: 八斩刀; traditional Chinese: 八斬刀; Cantonese Yale: Baat Jáam Dōu; pinyin: Bā Zhǎn Dāo; lit. 'Eight Way Chopping Knives'), also known as Yee Jee Seung Do (simplified Chinese: 二字双刀; traditional Chinese: 二字雙刀; Cantonese Yale: Yih Jih Sēung Dōu; pinyin: èr zì shuāng dāo; lit. 'Parallel Shape Double Knives').||A form involving a pair of butterfly knives. Historically the knives were also referred to as Dit Ming Do ('Life-taking knives'). The Baat Jaam Do form and training methods teach advanced footwork and develop additional power and strength in both stance and technique. The Baat Jaam Do also help to cultivate a fighting spirit, as the techniques are designed for combat.|
|六點半棍||Luk Dim Bun Gwan (simplified Chinese: 六点半棍; traditional Chinese: 六點半棍; Cantonese Yale: Luhk Dím Bun Gwan; pinyin: Liù Diǎn Bàn Gùn; lit. 'Six and A Half Point Pole')||"Long Pole"— a tapered wooden pole ranging anywhere from 8 to 13 feet in length. Also referred to as "dragon pole" by some branches. For some branches that use "Six and A Half Point Pole", their 7 principles of Luk Dim Boon Gwun (Tai-uprooting, lan-to expand, dim-shock, kit-deflect, got-cut down, wan-circle, lau-flowing) are used in unarmed combat as well. The name six and a half point pole comes from these 7 principles, with the last principle, Lau (or Flowing), counting as half a point.|
|木人樁||Muk Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy)||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.|
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.
Both the Wai Yan (Weng Chun) and Nguyễn Tế-Công branches use different curricula of empty hand forms. The Tam Yeung and Fung Sang lineages both trace their origins to Leung Jan's retirement to his native village of Gu Lao, where he taught a curriculum of San Sik.
The Siu Lim Tau of Wing Chun is a form that includes movements that are a combination of Siu Lim Tau, Chum Kiu, and Biu Ji of other families. The other major forms of the style are: Jeui Da (Chinese: 追打; lit. 'Chase Strike'), Fa Kyun (Chinese: 花拳; lit. 'Variegated Fist'), Jin Jeung (Chinese: 箭掌; lit. 'Arrow Palm'), Jin Kyun (Chinese: 箭拳; lit. 'Arrow Fist'), Jeui Kyun (Chinese: 醉拳; lit. 'Drunken Fist'), Sap Saam Sau (Chinese: 十三手; lit. 'Thirteen Hands'), and Chi Sau Lung (simplified Chinese: 黐手拢; traditional Chinese: 黐手攏; lit. 'Sticking Hands Set').
The Star Dummy consists of three poles that are embedded into the ground in a triangle with each pole an arm's span apart. The associated form consists of kicking the poles using the various kicks found in Wing Chun: front kick, front kick with the foot pointed out using the broad area of the foot and knee rotation to outside, and sidekick.
Sensitivity training 
Wing Chun includes several sensitivity drills. Although they can be practiced or expressed in a combat form, they should not be confused with actual sparring or fighting.
Chi Sau 
Chi Sau (Chinese: 黐手; Cantonese Yale: Chī Sáu; pinyin: Chī Shǒu; lit. 'sticking hands') is a term for the principle and drills used for the development of automatic reflexes upon contact and the idea of "sticking" to the opponent (also known as "sensitivity training"). In reality, the intention is not to "stick" to your opponent at all costs, but rather to protect your centerline while simultaneously attacking your opponent's centerline. In Wing Chun, this is practiced by two practitioners maintaining contact with each other's forearms while executing techniques, thereby training each other to sense changes in body mechanics, pressure, momentum and "feel". The increased sensitivity gained from this drill helps a practitioner attack and counter an opponent's movements precisely, quickly, and with appropriate techniques. The center-line principle is a core concept in Wing Chun Kung Fu. You want to protect your own center-line while controlling your opponent's. You do this with footwork. Understanding the center-line will allow you to instinctively know where your opponent is.
According to Ip Man, "Chi Sau in Wing Chun is to maintain one's feeling of opponent's movement by staying relaxed all the while keeping in the strength to fight back, much like the flexible nature of bamboo".
Chi Sau additionally refers to methods of rolling hands drills (Chinese: 碌手; Cantonese Yale: Lūk Sáu; lit. 'rolling hands'). Luk Sau participants push and "roll" their forearms against each other in a single circle while trying to remain in a relaxed form. The aim is to feel the force, test resistance, and find defensive gaps. Other branches have a version of this practice where each arm rolls in small, separate circles. Luk Sau is most notably taught within the Pan Nam branch of Wing Chun where both the larger rolling drills as well as the smaller, separate-hand circle drills are taught.
Some lineages, such as Ip Man and Jiu Wan, begin Chi Sau drills with one-armed sets called Daan Chi Sau (Chinese: 单黐手; Cantonese Yale: Dāan Chī Sáu; lit. 'Single Sticking Hand') which help the novice student to get the feel of the exercise. In Daan Chi Sau each practitioner uses one hand from the same side as they face each other.
Chi Geuk (simplified Chinese: 黐脚; traditional Chinese: 黐腳; Cantonese Yale: Chī Geuk; pinyin: Chī Jiǎo; lit. 'sticking legs') is the lower-body equivalent of the upper body's Chi Sau training, aimed at developing awareness in the lower body and obtaining relaxation of the legs.
Pak Sao is a blocking technique similar to a parry used in boxing. With Pak Sao, the hand comes directly out of the center of the body to slap away an attacker's strike to one's head. Effective application of Pak Sao involves creating an angle of deflection through which the opponent's blow can be slapped away with minimal effort.
An overcompensating Pak Sao may allow the attacker a free shot. This is because excessive effort creates the risk of being trapped by one's opponent if said opponent pulls the Pak Sao down and traps one's other arm with it.
In film and popular culture
This section needs expansion with: How Wing Chun has come to media/international attention, in prose form. You can help by adding to it. (September 2022)
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. The Ip Man series of movies is credited in reviving intrest in the martial art in the 2010s.
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.
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.
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