20 QUESTIONS

1) How important is 1st form (Siu Lim Tao) and why?

Of the 3 forms, Siu Lim Tao is the most important of them all. It is the foundation of everything that you need to know in the art, and is literally a blue print or an instruction manual for the student.  You'll be practicing SLT till the day you die.  SLT's main goal is to teach you how to hold your structure, by that I mean knowing the zero point of every motion, and the 1st section is the development of the 3 families of Wing Chun tan, bong and fok.   Every move within Siu Lim Tao is applicable in Chi sao, thus knowing the way of each motion that you do is essential.
2) What separates Wing Chun from the other arts?

I believe in any art you can see the devastation, from kicks to knees to head butts. There's no questions that Thai boxing does damage, or Gracie Ju Jitsu can knock somebody out with a choke. Thus, doing damage is no big deal. Bottom line, anyone can kick ass, but ask the question, how many of the arts allows you to control your opponent. And, that's what separates Wing Chun from all the others.  You learn how to control your opponents through sticky hands, and no art has anything that's comparable.

3) How come you stress practicing center line punch so strongly?

The punch is the mother of all motions. If you notice the Wing Chun punch places emphasis on simply the bone and the bone alone. Thus, literally a proper center line punch is just a push with the elbow and literally zero muscle. If you can punch properly then all the other moves like tan, fok, bong will come out naturally and easy. In addition to that, after all that you've learned, when it comes down to a real fight, an effective punch down an opponent's center is all you really need.
4) Why do the stances vary, from 50/50 to 100/0? And, which way is the right way?

There are different theories behind the different weight distribution. From what I was taught 50/50's advantage allows for the greatest amount of mobility. On the other hand 100/0 prevents the front foot from being sweeped as well as being easier to kick immediately. The thing is if you compare 100/0 to 50/50, which stance allows you to explode into your opponent – the answer would be 50/50.  Think of it this way, if you want to run someone over with a bike at full speed, you have both tires on the ground, you don't do a wheely into him.  Remember that Wing Chun is based on what is natural, next time you see someone walking naturally at a 100/0 then capture it on video and post it on youtube.

5) How do I increase my speed when attacking my opponent?

This is a common mistake by most beginners. Unfortunately, when they see other practitioners, they believe that speed is what gives the opponent the advantage. In reality, the fastest guy with the fastest punch, doesn't stand a chance against the practioner with perfect timing.  In Wing Chun you’ll learn of the 8 timings involved in fighting.   If I were to punch someone at half the speed and its hits him and knocks him out, that's the right speed.  If i were to run at full speed but then the door shuts in my face, well guess what being fast wasn’t the key.
6) What role do kicks play in Wing Chun and why don't I practice it as much as my hands?

Kicks are secondary in wing Chun and kicks are basically an aide to your hands. For example, if you punch a person and he's falling back after the hit, a step slide front kick will reach the opponent to finish him off. Don't get me wrong, Wing Chun kicks are beyond deadly as well. But our strength lies within its hand techniques. Thus, you need to master the hands first, before even getting into the kicks.

7) How does Wing Chun style deal with the different arts like grappling, Tae Kwon Do, aikido, etc, etc?

It approaches every fight the same way, once your within striking distance, regardless of what style you're going against, you go attack the opponents center using zero technique. You simply walk in, go through the opponents center, and then take him out.  Thus, the key is having a solid triangle with superior sticky hands and the guts to finish the opponent.
8) What do you mean, not using any technique when it comes to fighting?

Let's say for example you see your opponent, and you decide – we'll I'm going to fake with a jab, and then do a skip side kick. Or maybe yet you want to circle step into him and then do a lop chop. Once you do that, once you use a technique you LOSE. Why, because your already giving away what your doing to the opponent. He'll then have something to counter.  You end up thinking, and that makes you slower. Wing Chun fighting simply determines the distance, once your in striking range you explode and attack the opponents center, if he blocks his center some how, that's when chi sao kicks in.

9) Why do you attack the center of an opponent?

In actuality your aiming through the center of the opponent. The reason why you hit the center is basically because it's a kill point. If you take your hand, and you kept going down the center of your body every hand distance, you'll notice that each point you stop on is deadly point if it were struck.  You can take this from the front, side, and back, as long as you attack the center.  

10) Mentality of a fight?

If you watched karate kids, the first one.. the evil karate guy said that the enemy should be shown no mercy. Well you know what, in the end Mr. Miyagi was wrong and that evil karate guy was right. Wing Chun is not a self defense, it's the most direct way to takeout an opponent and send him to his grave. Thus, when you decide its time to fight your intention is to take him out, with no mercy. Now let's make on thing clear, if you're at a bar and someone calls you a puss, obviously this is not a case where you kill someone. But on the other hand, if you were placed in a situation, where you knew that someone was out there to do bodily harm to you or possibly kill you, you have a duty to yourself and your love ones to protect yourself. Bottom line, when its time to fight, there are no rules, there is no mercy, you must unleash hell.

11) As a beginner what should I be focusing on?

If you watch the masters, they concentrate on the basics. And, thus you should be doing the same thing. If I were to mold my own student, I would place great emphasis perfecting the basic foundations of stance, punch, and 1st form. All to often beginners believe that the answers that they seek come from learning more. If only I knew 2nd form or 3rd form, if only he showed me this new attack. The fact is perfect the basic and everything else will fall into place.  You'll grow faster with a solid foundation, as opposed to an inverted pyramid.  This is time tested and has always been this way, but in today’s society, everyone wants a quicker path.

12) How long does it take to complete the art and be good in it?

I believe you can learn the complete art in about 2 to 3 years, afterwards you should spend the next 2 to 3 years or so teaching the art. Thus, for me personally the 7th year seems to be the magic number. From stories told to me by Master Ho Kam Ming and Sifu Fong, they followed a similar path. But don't believe that just because you've done 7 years you should be good. If you train once a week for seven years, I guarantee you that you'll suck. Its not the number of years that you put in but the number of hours within those years that really count. All to often, I see people goofing off in the gym instead of working out. When I workout with my partner, we spend a solid 2 hours training hard, and there's very little goof off time.

13) How do you become a good teacher?

A good teacher can say something and do it as well. A good teacher is capable of helping the student, by working with him or creating specific drills to help him along the path. When I chi sao with students, I've come to a certain level, where I'm guiding him through the roll, to where things should be properly placed. In other words, I'm helping to compensate or equalize the errors that he maybe making. In addition to that , I've notice working with the beginners and senior students that I've become more creative in thinking of new ways to improve the speed at which they can learn things at. Bottom line, a good teacher can see that every student is different, so that different approaches are needed to be taken so that he or she understands what your trying to teach.  Bottom line, you have to be able to lower your level to that of each individual student.

14) Why do you use the Star Wars reference in Wing Chun?
I use the Star Wars reference because of the idea about the force. If you were to explain to someone what chi sao is all about, more than likely they wouldn't understand the sensations that you feel when you do it. But, Star Wars is a movie that everyone has seen and can relate to. And, I'd be willing to argue that its almost as if there's a guiding force that moves your hands when your doing chi sao ;)
16) How do I develop a solid punch?
It takes about a year to develop a solid punch. With either the aide of a wall bag or an iron palm bag. The key is that you don't need to smash the bag very hard at all, or for long periods of time. What you need to do is condition your hands on a consistent basis. Thus, doing the proper hand training drills everyday for about 3 to 5 minutes a day each side, is more than enough conditioning. All it involves is tapping and consistency.

17) What are the key things to focus on in chi saoing?

You want to make chi saoing simple. Thus, the focus is on structure and balance. In other words, you need to make sure whether you tan, fok, or bong sau, that your doing them structurally correct on both sides. Once that's been achieved you need to be sending equal energy on both sides. These 2 things in my opinion are the most important things to concentrate on. If you have a good structure and are square, I guarantee your chi sao will be better than the person who knows 50 different attacks.  The key is to have a solid roll, that can stop everything if your roll is good.

18) How come when I do YGKYM (basic stance) certain parts of my body hurts?

The thing is you have to figure out whether its pain or slight discomfort. The body will tell you if your doing something wrong. For example, if your calves are killing you when doing YGKYM, that means that your knees are probably over your feet and are sunk to low. Or, if your lower back hurts, that means your butt is stuck out, instead of tucked in.  So, that's a perfect example of you needing to adjust your body to be in the proper stance. In the ends, when you do YGKYM properly you'll feel like your sunk in, that you feel solid, and that you can't be moved, and you won't feel parts of your body hurting.
19) How do I know if its a good school?
This is actually a very difficult thing to determine. If you've never had any martial arts experience at all, its hard to know whose legit or not. Believe me, in this day and age, Black Belts are a dime a dozen, and grandmasters can be self proclaimed. Here's where the difficulty lies. For example, if your in 1st grade and you take the dumbest kid in 4th grade class. Even to a first grader he's going to seem to know allot. Thus, you walk into a martial arts school, and even the green belts can be impressive for all you know. The main thing I can suggest is do some research. Find out what you want to get out of the school. Is it for self defense or for fitness. If you have friends who've taken something before, then definitely have them come with you and get his/her opinion as well. And, definitely don't be to impressed by trophies, certificates, and black belts. Now a days, you can get a black belt within a year and a half.
20) How do I know if I'm really learning authentic wing Chun?
Wing Chun has some basic principles that you should be aware of, that our focus is on structure, and timing, and energy. Also, if force comes at us we redirect, there's never a clash. Thus, if your in a wing Chun school, and your breaking these simple rules, then you know that something isn't pure.
Written by Sifu Ed Cruzhttp://www.windycitywingchun.com/wav/hell.wavshapeimage_2_link_0
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