Wing Chun is a martial arts system rather than a style.
The word “style” implies that practitioners are merely copying a series of movements that are ingrained through mechanical repetition, whereas the word “system” implies that there’s a set of principles behind the way the movements are carried out. It is these principles that turn Wing Chun into a system of self-defence as well as method for promoting a balanced body and mind.
Since our system is based on a logical and comprehensive set of principles, we can incorporate these beneficial philosophies in all our daily activities, making Wing Chun a way of life.
Mindfulness & Concentration
Wing Chun is a perfect tool for both mental and physical training. It requires constant awareness of our relationship with gravity (balance) as well as the movement process; positive change can only occur once mindfulness has been attained therefore the focus should always remain on the present moment, not on the end result. In order to concentrate effectively we must be relaxed, both mentally and physically.
It’s through this principle of our Wing Chun system that we learn to recognise and choose to live with mindfulness rather than suffering from stress, which is ultimately derived from lack of awareness in the present moment.
Balance & Alignment
Balance is our relationship to gravity. Only within true balance can we actually begin to relax and “let go” of our pain-related muscular tension. Wing Chun teaches practitioners how to mindfully align the body against gravity, which leads to the effortless generation of power. Therefore, they’re encouraged to appreciate true balance and develop correct skeletal alignment throughout the whole body.
Through an understanding and application of balance and alignment, we can learn to correct our postural imbalances and misalignments.
Relaxation & Minimum Use of Brute Strength
This is an extraordinary principle of our system! It’s the incredible trait of Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin’s Wing Chun and is the reason that even at the age of 80 he was able to produce immense power with such ease.
Through deep and “active” relaxation we are able to tap into the mass of our body and can use it in a united way. FORCE = MASS x ACCELERATION. So for example if a woman weighs only 50kgs but can actually co-ordinate 25kgs behind her movement and add speed, she can produce a lot of power, whereas if a man weighs 80kgs but his body is blocked up with tension, he can only use the weight of his arm behind his movement, and he won’t be able to develop the same amount of force.
This principle is hard to comprehend until you feel it for yourself, in your own body. It’s truly remarkable, and people are usually wowed when they experience this “effortless power” for the first time. This is the very reason the Mindful Wing Chun head teachers first moved to Hong Kong after being on the receiving end of this kind of power from Grandmaster Chu!
Once we learn and practise this principle, we can adopt this method of effortless movement in our daily lives, leading to more efficient movement in all our activities, whether that’s sitting, standing, walking, lifting objects or playing sport. This naturally leads to fewer injuries and faster, more effective pain relief.
Directness & Economy of Movement
Wing Chun makes use of the fact that the most direct path between two points is a straight line. Thus the attack and defence movements in Wing Chun all travel down the “centreline” of the space between us and our opponent. This principle also adds great speed to all our movements, because we’re taking the most efficient path to the target.
Another component of this principle is the ability to defend through offence. This is a unique attribute of Wing Chun as compared with other martial arts forms. In other styles, the practitioner usually defends an incoming strike by either blocking it or moving out of its way and then throwing a counterstrike, however in our system of self-defence we learn to defend the incoming strike by actually striking straight through it! Applying this principle enables us to spar confidently with opponents practising any style of martial art and still be able to control the situation spontaneously without using any predetermined techniques.
Simplicity & Practicality
The movements of Wing Chun are simple and based on natural body movements.
They’re easy to learn and apply because they’re not unnecessarily flowery, difficult or contorted. The practicality principle enables us to use our self-defence skills in confined spaces, e.g., staircases and elevators.
And that means people of any age, size or body type can do Wing Chun effectively.