Wing Chun is a style of kung fu that emphasizes close quarter combat, quick punches and tight defense to overcome opponents. This traditional Chinese martial art destabilizes opponents with quick footwork, defense and offense happening simultaneously, and redirecting opponent’s energy to your advantage. This is a complex kung fu method that requires years of practice to master, but beginners can easily start learning Wing Chun by understanding its principles, theories and basic skills.
Part 1 Part 1 of 5:Learning Wing Chun Principles
Learn the center line theory. A foundation of Wing Chun is the protection of your body’s center line. Imagine a line that starts at the middle top of your head and travels along the middle of your chest to the lower body. This is the center line of your body and it is the most vulnerable. It must be protected at all times.
- According to the center line theory, you should always attack down the center line and perform your defensive moves against your opponent’s center line.
- The basic open stance in Wing Chun is based on the theory of the center line. In the open stance, stand facing forward with your knees bent and your feet pointing slightly outward. By facing your opponent head-on, you are able to attack with the most balanced force.
Be wise and economical with energy. A key Wing Chun principle is that, during fighting, energy should be used conservatively and economically. Use your opponent’s energy by deflecting or redirecting blows.
- Use motion economically and wisely. The idea here is that your body should travel the shortest distance in a minimum amount of time to connect with an opponent. This also helps to conserve your own energy.
Stay relaxed. A tense body will use energy unnecessarily. Keep your body relaxed and you will be more at ease.
- If you have experience in other martial arts, (especially “hard styles”), you will have to “empty your cup” or unlearn bad habits. Wing Chun is a soft style with many neutralizing techniques that require you to be “soft” and relaxed. Reconditioning your muscle memory and building relaxed habits can be frustrating and takes time, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Hone your reflexes. In Wing Chun, the fighter will react to a fight using quick reflexes to interrupt an attack and change the fight to be on your terms.
Alter your fighting strategy according to your opponent and environment. Your opponent might be tall or short, big or small, male or female, and so on. Similarly, the environment in which you fight can be different – outside, inside, rainy, hot, cold, and so on. Be ready to adjust your fighting to suit the conditions.
Learn Wing Chun’s forms. The practice of Wing Chun is broken into a succession of six different forms, each of which builds on the previous form. In each form, you will learn proper stance, body positioning, hand and foot movements, and balance. These forms are:
- Siu Nim Tao
- Chum Kiu
- Biu Gee
- Muk Yan Chong
- Luk Dim Boon Kwun
- Baat Jaam Dao
Part 2 Part 2 of 5:Deciding How to Study Wing Chun
Find a Wing Chun Academy. Martial arts schools often focus on one style of martial arts, especially for serious students. Wing Chun academies or clubs may be affiliated with a martial arts association. Search online or in a phone book for local Wing Chun schools.
- Check with your local martial arts academies to see if they teach Wing Chun. They may only teach the basics, and if you are serious about learning advanced Wing Chun, you may need to go to an area that has more advanced classes.
- Meet with the sifu (instructor) and ask about their background. How many years of experience do they have? How did they learn Wing Chun?
- Sit in on a Wing Chun class. Get a feel for how the sifu conducts the class and how the other students respond.
- Learning Wing Chun in person is the most preferred method.
Learn Wing Chun online or on DVDs. Many websites have lessons for self-teaching Wing Chun. These usually provide videos and levels of instruction and have tiered subscription pricing based on your expertise level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc.) and access to material. These can be useful if you do not have qualified instructors or a Wing Chun school in your area. They can also enhance your in-person training if you do currently attend a Wing Chun school. Choose a DVD set or online course that is taught by a Wing Chun Grandmaster or Master.
- Some online study courses also offer instructor certification for advanced students who would like to teach their own students.
- Some online courses may offer one-on-one instruction via webcam with a Grandmaster.
- There are apps available for assisting in your study of Wing Chun, available for Apple or Android phones.
- Examples include the “Wing Chun Online Course,” released and endorsed by the International Ip Man Wing Chun Martial Art Association, and the “Wing Chun Kung Fu Long Distance Learning” course.
Make a dedicated space for practicing. Find an area in your house where you can practice Wing Chun. Make sure there is enough room for you to move your body around in all directions. Check by swinging your arms and legs around. You do not want your moves to be hampered by furniture in the room.
- Ideally, this space will have a mirror so that you can see how you move.
Find a partner to practice with. Learning the movements on your own will only take you so far. Eventually, you’ll need to start learning how your movements connect with an opponent. Having a partner will give you good practice in how to react to another person’s movements. This person can also help encourage you and give you feedback on your form.
Part 3 Part 3 of 5:Understanding Siu Nim Tao
Learn about Siu Nim Tao. Siu Nim (or Lim) Tao, or “Little Idea,” is the basis for many moves in Wing Chun. Siu Nim Tao is the first form in Wing Chun, and it is here that you will learn proper stance, holding your body, relaxation, and basic hand movements.
- Each section of Siu Nim Tao should be mastered before advancing to the next section, and before learning other techniques.
- Every movement of the primary (first) form has meaning. This includes tempo, use of tension and relaxation, angles, and distances. The form does not contain techniques.
Understand Gong Lik: Gong Lik is the first section of Siu Nim Tao and focuses on good structure and relaxation. You will learn the open stance, which faces you head-on to your opponent. Work on keeping your body relaxed.
- Practice the Gee Kim Yeung Ma stance, or the open stance. In this stance, stand facing forward. Point your feet outward slightly. Keep your knees bent. Your weight will distribute evenly over both feet. You will focus on the positioning of your arms and elbows in preparation for learning hand and arm movements. This front-on stance will give you the most advantage in a fight, such as allowing your arms and legs to protect your center line. Both sides of your body can be used equally, rather than favoring one side of the body over the other.
Understand Fajing: Fajing is the second section of Siu Nim Tao. Fajing develops the release of power. Here, you learn how to use strength and how to preserve strength and energy. Focus on staying relaxed until the moment when your hands are ready to strike.
- One of the common movements in Fajing is the palm strike (yan jeung) in which your left hand opens, rotates to face downward, and moves downward to strike your opponent.
Understand Basic Skills: The third section of Siu Nim Tao is learning basic skills of hand movements and blocking that will provide the foundation for learning other Wing Chun techniques.
- Some of these basic skills are Pak Sau or Huen Sau (strike), Tan Sau (palm up block), Gan Sau (splitting hand), and Bong Sau (wing arm). Much of the Siu Nim Tao practice in this section involves a combination of these movements. Once you learn these skills, you will practice them first on the left hand side and then on the right hand side.
Part 4 Part 4 of 5:Understanding Chum Kiu
Learn about Chum Kiu. Chum Kiu, or “bridge seeking,” introduces the movement of the entire body to supplement what has been learned in the basic form of Siu Nim Tau. In Chum Kiu, you will focus on how to turn your body correctly and efficiently, paying attention to weight distribution and balance. Foot movements like turning and kicking are introduced here.
- Each section of Chum Kiu should be mastered before advancing to the next section, and before learning other techniques.
- Stance turning (shifting the horse form side-to-side) must be well practiced before learning the secondary form. This is key unlike the primary form where the stance is static.
Understand Chum Kiu’s First Section. The first section, Juun, focuses on turning, balance, and structure. In Juun, you also start paying attention to your surroundings, even behind you, in order to fight effectively. It also introduces intermediate arm movements, such as Jip Sau (arm break) and Fut Sau (eye rake).
Understand Chum Kiu’s Second Section. The second section, or Ser, of Chum Kiu emphasizes deflecting your opponent’s attack and redirecting that energy back at them. You will learn to move your hands and feet as one unit, and then you can learn how to move these parts independently of each other.
Understand Chum Kiu’s Third Section. The third section of Chum Kiu focuses on using force in tandem with hand and foot movements. It also uses a combination of tense arm movements and relaxed body movements to accommodate a variety of fighting scenarios. You also work on turning your body to the right and left in order to work on your balance and finding your centerline while fighting.
Part 5 Part 5 of 5:Learning More Advanced Forms of Wing Chun
Understand Biu Gee. Biu Gee, or Darting or Thrusting Fingers,” focuses on using power in very short distances. Students also learn emergency techniques, such as how to recover the centerline when sustaining a fall or being trapped. In each of the three sections of Biu Gee, you will use combinations of hand and foot movements of the first two forms to recover from a disadvantaged position. This will then put you in an offensive position where you can use short range power to disable your opponent.
Understand Muk Yan Chong. Muk Yan Chong, or “Wooden Dummy,” is an advanced form in which you practice with a stationary opponent (the wooden dummy). This helps you identify and learn how your hand and foot movements come in contact with your opponent.
- In that the dummy does not move, adaptations are made in the form to conform to the training apparatus.
- Some applications of dummy techniques are obvious. Be aware that some are approximations (adaptations) and some have different application variants depicted by a single movement in a set.
Understand Luk Dim Boon Kwun. This form, also known as “6.5 Point Pole Form,” incorporates a pole as a weapon that you use when attacking your opponent. Fighting with a pole can enhance your skills in balancing and defense.
Understand Baat Jaam Dao. Baat Jaam Dao, or “Eight Cutting Swords” or “Butterfly Knives,” is the most advanced form where you use short swords as weapons. It is not taught to everyone who might reach this level; only a chosen few get to learn Baat Jaam Dao. The form focuses primarily on precision, technique, and position. Foot and hand movements are altered somewhat from other forms because of the knives.
Wing Chun Techniques, Drills, and Exercises
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- You may sustain minor bumps and bruises while practicing or sparring in Wing Chun. You should not, however, be timid in your practice for fear of getting injured. Proper Wing Chun training should not injure you more than minor bruises. Thanks! Helpful 17 Not Helpful 4
- Consult a doctor before starting any fitness program. Thanks! Helpful 19 Not Helpful 5