Three complete make-overs in ten years! What The.….?
Over Christmas, I treated myself to a ‘Kindle’ copy of Ben Judkins & John Nielsons…
Ben Judkins is the creator of the blog ‘Kung Fu Tea’ if you have been to the blog, and if not ‘why not’? You will know his style, he is an academic researcher and not an Ernest Hemingway imitator.
Although the title is the History of Wing Chun there is far more to this book than imagined by the title.
Three-quarters of the book describes the social and political environment that Wing Chun emerged from, and we are all the better off for this, it adds depth and much-needed context.
It is academic work by a professional academic, be prepared for this, a few sections are like ‘wading through a swimming pool of leftover Christmas Custard’.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill…
“If you are wading through custard, keep going”.
Understanding the historical/social and political context that influenced the formation of Wing Chun answered so many questions I had not even realised I wanted to be answered, filled so many gaps I never knew existed.
The final quarter of the book focuses on Yip Man and Hong Kong and the creation of modern Wing Chun.
How it happened.
Where it happened.
Why it happened.
There are numerous enlightening insights into the beginning of what would become the most popular Martial Arts style on Earth.
One part that ‘really’ caught my attention…
In 1949 the Chines Communist Party closed its borders with the European Enclaves of Macau and Hong Kong, this act separated thousands of people from their families, Ip Man was one of these thousands of now displaced people.
He did not see his sons, Ip Chun and Ip Ching for over 10 years.
Without giving too much away during the 1950s Ip Man changed the content and the way of training his Wing Chun three times, so much so that when he was eventually reunited with his sons they hardly recognised what he was teaching.
Three complete make-overs in ten years! What The…..?
When we consider that two of his most notable and respected students, Wong Sheung Leung and Chu Shong Tin, also made their own major changes to the content and teaching of the style it becomes almost redundant to talk of “correct” Wing Chun.
This is a slow and sometimes sluggish read but if you are at all interested in Wing Chun it is essential reading.
The history of Wing Chun is not at all as we think it is, one thing that is clear is that through its “Golden Years” the only constant was constant change.
as I always say…