IS WING CHUN REALLY A CONCEPT BASED MARTIAL ART?
“students tend to mistake the messenger for the message”.
This post is really a bit of a pointer towards the direction that the thinking in the new Blog will take.
Talk to any Wing Chun student and they will proudly tell you that Wing Chun is a Concept Based Martial Art, asked to expound upon these concepts and usually all you get is them talking about relaxation, trotting out the principles or centreline theory or the like, the thing is Centreline Theory is just that, a theory, I am sure it was originally derived from a concept but itself it is not a concept, the same goes for the principles, they are what they are and again they were more than likely collated from various concepts but they are not concepts, and as for relaxation, everyone talks it but no one does it, if they did they would just be a lump on the floor.
What is a concept, especially in the realm of Wing Chun?
A concept is an abstract thought that through contemplation and development can turn into a realistic even concrete idea.
A concept is not an IDEA itself but should be seen as a living ever expanding breeding ground for IDEAS, once we think of a concept as an IDEA it looses its ability to help us grow as we become engrossed and obsessed with its external physical manifestations.
This is not just my two bobs worth, in Lao Tszu’s Dao De Ching he says “the way that can be spoken of is not the true way”, in this example the “WAY” is a concept that can allow us to generate alternate actions or ideas to navigate the fluctuations of everyday life, once we articulate the “WAY” we make it real and it stops being a concept and looses all potential for growth or change. Through thinking in an abstract manner about the “WAY” learning comes by itself as a reactive rather than proactive principle.
There is a delicious irony here, I am attempting to write or talk about something that ceases to exist as soon as we articulate it.
Real knowledge is not a bolt of lightning that strikes out of nowhere from a clear blue sky, rather it is a hole in the ground that we fall into when we are not paying attention.
In Wing Chun the Siu Nim Tao translates to something along the lines of “the way of the little idea” and many Wing Chun scholars freely use the term IDEA force or force of IDEA, many of them claim that the Sil Lim Tao is the heart and soul of Wing Chun while at the same time pointing out that Wing Chun is a Concept Based Martial Art.
We cannot have it both ways, Wing Chun is either based around Concepts that are abstract by nature or an IDEA that is concrete and never changing.
In my experience the teachers that claim the IDEA is the concept move on to train and teach it as if it was a set of rules that can never be bent let alone broken.
A point in case, ask for a demonstration of the Wing Chun Punch and what you will get from the majority is the “Sun Punch” coming straight out from the sternum, this is just one Wing Chun Punch not the only one, and by no stretch of the imagination is it the most effective or most powerful, in Chum Kiu we have a vertical hooking punch and in Biu Gee we have a horizontal hooking punch, and to anyone that really understands Wing Chun there is an outside to inside twisting straight punch from the shoulder that gets confused as a defensive Bong Sau.
The first post of the new blog will be an attempt to identify what the real concepts are and how we have misunderstood them, or as I put it on many an occasion in the previous Blog how “students tend to mistake the messenger for the message”.