WING CHUN?

Wing Chun is a Martial Art, and you might be wondering what makes it different from other Martial Arts.  There are several ways to distinguish Martial Arts, and normally almost every country has their form of martial arts.  For example, Karate is associated with Japan, Tae Kwon Do with Korea, Krav Maga with Israel, and the list goes on and on.   And, even within each country you may  have variations as well as differences in interpretations.  For example, yes they practice Karate in Japan, but they also have different styles such as Ninjitsu, Aikdo, Kendo, Judo, etc.  And, within Karate you can go further and break down differences in styles of Karate like Goju Ryu, Shotokan, Kenpo, just to name a few. 

In addition to the hundreds if not thousands of Martial Arts available to choose from, another way to distinguish one from another is whether a martial art is internal or external, or both.  The real difference between internal and external is that internal martial arts, physical acts are performed with a minimal use of muscle.  However, from my experience regardless of style, it appears that every Martial arts involves the use of both.

While all Martial Arts vary in approach as well as philosophy, they do share a common theme in that practioners in the end do it to develop themselves.  Some may focus more on self-defense, while others concentrate more on the fitness aspect.  A good Martial Art in the end is complete and encompasses everything.

So, Wing Chun is a Chinese Martial art, that is both external as well as internal. It was originally created to speed up the process of learning how to fight, and today is still regarded as one of the most effective and realistic Martial Art when it comes to fighting.  Its not flashy, but yet its so dominating when done correctly.

WHAT IS WING CHUN?

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1) How long does it take to learn the complete art?

I believe in the end the answer is always up to the student.  At Windy City we allow the student’s desire and will to dictate the speed at which he or she wants to progress.  In general, if the goal is to learn how to defend oneself, after a 6 to 8 month period, a student can learn effective techniques to do just that. On the other hand, if he or she truly wants to learn the art itself, one can learn the complete art within a 3 to 4 year period.  Mastery on the other hand is another story.

2) Is it necessary to have any Wing Chun or for that case, any Martial Arts experience?

I actually believe that its better not to have any experience at all.  Those who started of with a fresh start have usually advanced the quickest.  The problem with those who’ve taken Martial Arts or Wing Chun, is that they try to fuse or mix and match their old concepts with our Wing Chun, and in the end I have yet to see that work.   While there maybe similarities in theory, the actual application and development in the end are totally different in how we approach things.  My main suggestion, is come to class with an open mind, be able to suck up your ego (which many people find hard to do) if you’ve taken something before, and if you can do both of that you’ll progress much faster.

3) Are there any kicks in Wing Chun?

Actually, there's quite a bit of kicks in Wing Chun. However, our main focus is that of the hands. Kicks in Wing Chun are used to simply assist the hands, our bread and butter still remains to be the hands.

4) Is Wing Chun a good Martial Art for women?

In my opinion Wing Chun is perfect for women. Considering that the art itself was designed by a nun, what makes Wing Chun so effective, is that its not dependent on muscle and size.  If all other arts say you have to be faster, bigger, more powerful then in the end, what’s the point of studying if the more athletic person will always have the advantage.  We defeat speed with timing, muscle with structure, and make those who aren’t athletic dominant not athletically but with skill.

5) What is Chi Sao?

Chi sao or otherwise referred to as sticky hands, is an exercise used to teach one about sensitivity, power, timing, and other concepts. Notice, I did not mention fighting.  One example of how Chi Sao helps the student develop his or her skill, is learning how to redirect force that comes at them at extremely close range. Chi Sao can only be found in the art of Wing Chun, and is what makes our style so unique.

6) Does Wing Chun have any ground fighting?

Every move in Wing Chun can be used in 4 different ways.  For example, tan sau can be used as a block, attack, shi-na (joint lock), and take down. As for specifically dealing with ground fighting, Chi Sao teaches the student how to deal with force, whether that's standing up or on the ground, it can be applied regardless of the situation.  In the end, force is force.

7) If I’m not in the best of shape or lack flexibility can I still do Wing Chun?

The way we approach Wing Chun is a bit different from other styles of Martial Arts or Wing Chun.  Now, can you do Wing Chun to lose weight or get in shape, and the answer is yes.  But at the same time you lose the actual benefit of what your trying to learn in Wing Chun.  We don’t train for you to last long in tournament fights, or to be able to take hits upon your body.  Wing Chun is designed to finish the fight asap and we train the body not to take pain, but to deliver it.  As for getting in shape, that’s more of a mental issue, and if you can survive the mental training in Wing Chun, you can also use that knowledge to easily lose weight as well.

8) How many forms are there in Wing Chun?

There are 6 forms to learn in Wing Chun. Basically you have 3 hand forms and 2 weapons (the pole and butterfly sword) and the Mok jong (wooden dummy).  In this day and age were forms are considered useless, once you begin your training you’ll come to understand how can you even improve or live without it.

9) Is there Qi gong involved in Wing Chun?

Yes, there is Qi gong.  The Qi gong training itself can be found within all that you do in Wing Chun.  However, don’t make Qi gong to be so mystical or magical, the literal translation is simply energy exercise.  So even basic walking or playing basketball can even be considered Qi Gong training.

  1. 10)Is the wing chun you teach traditional?

Let’s hope not.  why would that be a good thing?  Does not tradiontal mean the same?  If that is the case since the days yipman has taught wing chun, the art then has failed to evolve, to improve, and has become stagnant.  I honestly do not know why one would self proclaim themselves to be traditional.  in the end, if you understand the idea behind i-ching, then you realize all things are constantly changing.

11) Is Wing Chun an internal art?

Wing chun is both internal and external. Internal arts simply mean we do things with the littlest amount of muscle to generate the greatest amount of force.

12) Can Wing Chun be used as a way to lose weight?

Any physical activity that you do regardless will help you lose weight, but in the beginning we try to stress not to do Wing Chun in such a way.  Wing Chun involves precision movement and recognizing bone alignment (notice i didn’t say muscle memory), that when you do things aerobically or anaerobically, when you start to get tired, your awareness of doing things properly takes a back seat.  

full version of history - The History of Wing Chun was passed onto The Windy City Wing Chun Federation from our Sifu, Augustine Fong. As it was passed onto him from his Sifu, Ho Kam Ming. As it was passed on from his Sifu, the late Grandmaster Yip Man.

In the beginning of Wing Chun there was a person named Ng Mui. Ng Mui is generally credited with the creation of Wing Chun. The only question that surrounds Ng Mui is whether Ng Mui was a man or a woman. Some research has shown Ng Mui to be a man. According to the version that Yip Man passed on, Ng Mui was a woman.

Ng Mui was is considered the founder of Wing Chun. She was one of five elders of the Sil lum temple. She wasn’t always a nun. Her real name was Loi Sai Leung. She went into hiding as a nun, only after avenging the death of her father. It was there where she took the name Ng Mui.

Due to her skill as a martial artist, Ng Mui was the most skilled martial artist at the temple. She studied a martial art style called Mo Dong Mountain. She also developed a style after studying a mouse walking, called Sui Bo Mui Fa Kuen (little mouse footwork, plum flower fist). After studying a snake and a crane, she improved the style. It became known as Sei Ho Bak Bo (snake and crane eight steps). Ng Mui then refined the style and it became known as Ng Bo Mui Fa Kuen (plum flower fist). These are the styles that preceded Wing Chun.

In the years of the Ming Dynasty gung fu was practiced as a form of exercise. Later the Manchurians and Ching dynasty would come to power. The Ming patriots sought refuge in the Sui Lum (Shao Lin) temple. There they trained for the day that they would fight back against the Ching Dynasty. Unfortunately, an insider betrayed them and the Ching emperor would dispatch his troops to burn down the temple. Only a few people and the five elders escaped. To be sure that no one would use the information of the five elders the Ching Emperor dispatched martial arts experts to terminate them. To save the arts Ng Mui devised a new modified system of fighting based on what she had learned at the temple. The style would use techniques that utilized efficiency of motion and direct line attacks. The style could also be learned in a short time.

Ng Mui’s best student was a girl named Yim Wing Chun. She lived with her father. He had prearranged a marriage for his daughter. An evil landlord came and wanted Yim Wing Chun for himself. She rejected the landlord, so he planned to take her by force. Ng Mui taught Yim Wing Chun to defend herself. When the landlord came back, Yim Wing Chun defeated the landlord and his men.

Yim Wing Chun continued to study with Ng Mui. She later married a man named Leung Bok Chau. Yim Wing Chun used the principles of the art and began to improve and simplify the art. Her husband, who was an accomplished martial artist in his own right, was impressed and wanted to learn from his wife. She taught him, and he studied hard to learn the art. Even though Ng Mui created the art, it is named after Yim Wing Chun because of her improvements to the art.

Leung Bok Chau taught the style to his uncle Leung Lan Qui. Leung Lan Qui taught Wing Chun to Wong Wah Bo and Leung Ye Tai. But, Leung Bok Chau was their primary instructor. Wong Wah Bo was an oarsman for the red boat in the Chinese opera, and he did other labors. He was muscular. Throughout the generations from Leung Bok Chau to Wong Wah Bo the Wing Chun system became harder and tighter. Leung Ye Tai was an opera singer who played female roles. His Wing Chun was softer. It was during these years that the weapons were incorporated into the Wing Chun system. Wong Wah Bo taught Leung Ye Tai the six and a half point pole. Leung Te Tai taught the butterfly knives to Wong Wah Bo. Leung Jon was an herbal doctor. He was taught by both Wong Wah Bo and Leung Ye Tai. Leung Jon was able to put the hard and soft elements back together. Leung Jon’s pupil Chan Wa Soon, was not able to incorporate the soft elements and made the system hard again.

Chan Wa soon was Yip Man’s first teacher. Unfortunately, Chan Wa Soon died young and Yip Man was unable to complete his instruction. Yip Man was studying English in Hong Kong when he met Leung Bik, who was the son of Leung Jon. Yip Man challenged Leung Bik and was defeated. Later, Yip Man discovered who Leung Bik was and asked to become one of Leung Bik’s students. Leung Bik was a smaller man and did not use muscles. His style was not as hard as Chan Wa Soon’s style was. Yip Man was able to learn both the hard and soft elements. (Another story from that time tells how Leung Bik’s daughter-in-law defeated Yip Man with her kicking skill in Wing Chun. From that time forward Yip Man would never say he was the number one Wing Chun practitioner as long as the others lived.)

Upon completing school in Hong Kong, Yip Man returned to his hometown in mainland China. There he worked as and trained police officers. While on duty Yip Man killed a person in the line of duty. Due to the communist government Yip Man feared reprisals. He decided to flee from China. He was not able to take any of his possessions with him. When he got to Hong Kong he had only his skills in Wing Chun to make a living. In Hong Kong Yip Man met an old friend of his, Go Dai Chung. Go Dai Chung was a Choy Lay Fut teacher. He had two schools. Teaching at both schools was too difficult, so he gave one of his schools to Yip Man. The school was located at Dai Lum Gai in Kowloon. Yip Man began to teach and make a living as a Wing Chun instructor.

Leung Sheung was an assistant teacher to Go Dai Chung. He challenged Yip Man and lost. Leung Sheung then became Yip Man’s first student. Some of Yip Man’s early student’s were; Lau Ming, Lau Kau, and Lee Yu. Yip Man became the man known for bringing Wing Chun out of China and into Hong Kong. There were only certain type of people Yip Man would teach. He would not teach relatives, because they would not give him the respect that he felt he deserved. He would not teach women, because he felt that women would be distraction in the gym. Which would be strange because a woman started the art. He would not teach non-Chinese people. He did not want to teach children, because he felt they would not be disciplined enough to train. Finally, he would not teach poor people, because he felt they had to work hard as it was and would be to tired to train.

Yip Man’s students are divided into three generations. The first generation was taught how to use Wing Chun for fighting. This way Yip Man would be able to establish a name for Wing Chun. For the first generation the art was not emphasized. Once the name was established the second generation was able to focus on the art. The last and third generation never touched hands with Yip Man. He was no longer teaching, as now the si-hings were the teachers of the classes. Because Yip Man was a traditional teacher he always kept a line drawn between he and his students student’s. He would talk to them, but not attempt to teach them.

Ho Kam Ming was a second-generation student of Yip Man. He spent his life training with the late grandmaster. He was one of the few men to learn the entire Wing Chun system. Yip Man held Ho Kam Ming in high regard. When Yip Man became ill it was Ho Kam Ming that was asked to teach his classes for him. Ho Kam Ming also cared for Yip Man while he was ill. He would care for him both in the hospital and at home. Yip Man revealed many of the finer points of Wing Chun to Ho Kam Ming. Yip Man also gave the responsibility of teaching his private students to Ho Kam Ming. By this time Ho Kam Ming had opened schools in Macao and Hong Kong. He also organized The Ho Kam Ming Wing Chun Association, which was authorized by the Yip Man Wing Chun Association. Today, Ho Kam Ming is well known and respected in both Hong Kong and Macao. His full contact Wing Chun teams have fought in martial art tournaments throughout Southeast Asia and has earned both recognition and respect.

Augustine Fong began studying Wing Chun at a young age. In 1964 Ho Kam Ming’s school had grown in number and reputation. A challenge match was against the school and Ho Kam Ming chose Augustine Fong to fight the match. Fong was Master Ho?s best student and toughest fighter. Fong, in a three round fight, dispatched the opponent. After the fight Master Ho asked Fong to assist him in teaching. Augustine Fong continued his training. In 1969 he decided to move to America. He eventually settled in Tucson and opened a school of his own, Fong?s Wing Chun Gung-Fu Federation. With over 40 years of experience Master Fong is considered and respected as one of the most knowledgeable and skilled Wing Chun practitioners in the world today.

It is through Sifu Augustine Fong that Edward De La Cruz, Ken Weingart, and Edward Basile of the Windy City Wing Chun Gung Fu Federation traces their line.

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Published articles by Sifu Ed Cruz Inside kung Fu

cliff note version of history - I thought I’d give an abbreviated history, for those to lazy to read the entire passage below.  some chick got bored at the temple (go figure what else was there to do back then) and originated the art of wing chun.  she had a female student that was set for an arranged marriage.  The dude ended up being massively fugly and match.com didn’t exist at the time, So either learn to fight or end up in a loveless marriage (like Kim Kardashian and Kris humprhries).  History passes through a couple of generations yada, yada, yada (hard and soft style refined along with the additions of pole and sword) and eventually we get to yipman (The real yipman and not donnie yen).  Yipman had a student of a student named Bruce Lee.  bruce lee exposed martial arts to the world (kinda like justin beiber with his awesome singing, cough, cough).  on the other hand, he had another student named ho kam ming, who was a 2nd generation student of yipman.  he actualy showed up to class and listened, there he had his own student named augustine fong who fought a challenge match to keep the school open and kicked ass.  Sifu fong eventually moved to the states, and one fate full day on his first visit to chicago at a seminar degeberg hosted, i ran into sifu for the first time back in 95. in 2000, i offically became his student along with the rest of Wcwc, and the rest is history.

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