Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday






At the Heart of Wing Chun is the the idea of not opposing force, we do not ever BLOCK incoming strikes we choose to REDIRECT them, to help them miss their intended Target, namely us.

Many Instructors talk about the 6 Gates, upper, middle and lower on each side of the Body, but in reality if you have been attacked pretty much without notice {and by now you should be well aware that I believe that this is where we will be called upon to use our training}, the lower gates are surplus to requirement, you are unlikely to have seen any kicks coming in, and once a fight is underway kicking is rarely used, I will go into this some other time but people will start a fight with a kick and most certainly kick the Sh*t out of you if you fall down but very, very, very few people engage kicks in the body of a fight, so all we really need to be concerned about are the upper 4 Gates, this was taught to me over 50 years ago by my Uncles as the 4 Box’s, and it was taught to them as part of their C.Q.C. Training in the British Royal Marines so I am not trying to claim any credit for these ideas.

It is a more practical application of the 6 Gates idea.

In the Gate system, as explained to me in a couple of Chinese Styles and not only wing Chun, the emphasis was on filling the space with an Arm Structure to prevent the opponent from being able to hit you, if your shape was correct then it would automatically redirect the incoming strike, I personally always found this explanation a bit “Hit and Miss” , even in training it would break down once your partner stopped being as helpful as you may expect from a Kung Fu Brother, it appeared to leave way too much to chance and hope, as a result I did not really develop any confidence in it, in my Uncle’s Box System you where far more pro active, it focused on what to do with anything that entered the space in a more dynamic fashion.

My Sifu, the late, great Jim Fung.
My Sifu, the late, great Jim Fung.


The general idea is that you quite simply move anything from one box into another box, this is a fluid idea not a one size fits all idea, if I am attempting to move a strike from one box to another and encounter resistance I simply move to a different box, in extreme situations this idea does not even need you to use Wing Chun, it is however Simple, Practical and Direct.

Often Students will struggle in training because they tend to try to successfully perform a Technique instead of trying to successfully achieve and outcome, changing your focus to the Box System can help you make needed adjustments on the fly and through these adjustments discover a deeper understanding of Chi Sau.

A Scenario to visualise what I mean about its relationship to Chi Sau could be that you intercept a Strike coming at you through “A”, you use your Bridge Arm {Chum Sau} to move the Strike into “B” but encounter resistance so you engage your Jut Sau {Dan Chi Sau movement} dropping into “C” but again meet resistance {obviously you are rolling with your Sifu here} so you use Huen Sau and waist turning to bring it into “D”.

If the Box is full simply put that stuff in another Box, there is no need to use strength or effort to cram it in.

It may appear that this system is only useable against straight strikes, that it cannot be used against Big Wide King Hits, this is not correct, concepts live or die by your own interpretation, any limitations that you think a concept has are in fact just your own limitations, limitations of your imagination, but it is easier to explain our defences against Circular Strikes with circular analogies so I will do this next week.

In application against genuine strikes do not constrict yourself by using the usual responses, “A” to “B” can utilise Tarn Sau, Reverse Tarn Sau, Bong Sau, Pak Sau, Reverse Pak Sau or even a Side Slash or a simple Woo Sau with Waist turning, once you focus on the destination and pay less attention to the journey you may just find that there is a far more suitable and infinitely simpler way for you to achieve your goal.

This will totally open up your understanding of your own training no matter what stage of development you are currently at.



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