Wing Chun is a system which is governed by principles instead of a set of predetermined techniques. It is these logical, scientific principles which allow us to react spontaneously to an attack, rather than relying on a memorised sequence of movements.
For example: instead of saying "If you do A,B or C, then I do X, Y and Z", Wing Chun offers the practitioner the entire alphabet and rules of grammar, giving him/her the freedom to create entire 'sentences' in response to an attack!
Wing Chun utilises the very simple principle that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Therefore the simplest line of attack is to use this straight line (the centreline), which exists between the practitioner's motherline (a vertical line drawn through the centre of one's own body) and that of his opponent.
Softness (via relaxation) and performing techniques in a relaxed manner, is fundamental to Wing Chun.
- Tension reduces punching speed and power. Muscles act in pairs in opposition to each other (e.g. biceps and triceps). If the arm is tensed, maximum punching speed cannot be achieved as the biceps will be opposing the extension of the arm. In Wing Chun, the arm should be relaxed before beginning the punching motion.
- Unnecessary muscle tension wastes energy and causes fatigue.
- Tense, stiff arms are less fluid and sensitive during trapping.
- A tense, stiff limb provides an easy handle for an opponent to push or pull with, whereas a relaxed limb provides an opponent less to work with.
- A relaxed, but focused, limb affords the ability to feel "holes" or weaknesses in the opponent's structure. With the correct forwarding these "holes" grant a path into attacking the opponent.
- Muscular struggle reduces a fight to who is stronger. Minimum brute strength in all movement becomes an equalizer in uneven strength confrontations. This is very much in the spirit of the tale of Ng Mui (See Wing Chun History section for more information on Ng Mui).
Balance, structure and stance
A correct Wing Chun stance is like a piece of bamboo, firm but flexible, rooted but yielding. This structure is used to either deflect external forces or redirect them. Balance is related to structure because a well-balanced body recovers more quickly from stalled attacks and structure is maintained. Wing Chun trains the awareness of one's own body movement derived from muscular, tendon, and articular sources. Performing Wing Chun's forms such as Chum Kiu or the Wooden Dummy form greatly improve proprioception. Wing Chun favours a high, narrow stance with the elbows kept close to the body. Within the stance, arms are positioned across the vitals of the centerline. Shifting or turning within a stance is carried out variantly on the heels or balls. All attacks and counter-attacks are initiated from this firm, stable base. Wing Chun rarely compromises structure for more powerful attacks because this is believed to create defensive openings which will be exploited.Structure is viewed as important, not only for reasons of defense, but also for attack. When the practitioner is effectively "rooted", or aligned so as to be braced against the ground, the force of the hit is believed to be far more devastating. Additionally, the practice of "settling" one's opponent to brace them more effectively against the ground aids in delivering as much force as possible to them.
SEVENTEEN KEYS TO WING CHUN
1. Be ferocious when clashing.
2. Be fast with your fist.
3. Be forceful when applying power.
4. Be accurate with timing.
5. Be continuous when applying Fan Sau.
6. Do not use all your strength.
7. Protect your own posture.
8. Be alert with your eyes.
9. Unite your waist and stance.
10. Co-ordinate your hands and feet.
11. Movements must be agile.
12. Comprehend the principles of Yin and Yang.
13. Remain calm.
14. Be steady with your breathing and strength.
15. Sink your inner Chi.
16. Be commanding with your fighting demeanor.
17. Be quick to end the fight.