I do not think that Wing Chun is a Martial Art and I do not think that Wing Chun teaches people how to fight.

Later this year will mark 30 years of training, teaching and exploring Wing Chun.

30 years and I am still finding new things, still improving.

One thing I spend a fair bit of time musing over is…. ‘why are there so many different approaches to Wing Chun’?

Different Schools teach what sometimes appear to be completely different styles.

Even within one sub-lineage there are deviations, in all honesty, these days even my own approach is very different than the contemporaries that I trained with under the same teacher, Sifu Jim Fung, here in Sydney Australia.

Personalisation is comletely natural, making our style more suited to our own body type, mentality and experience, but the differences in Wing Chun go way beyond personalisation.

Wing Chun runs the whole gamut of being a hard Bhuddist {Shaolin} style to a soft Taoist {Wudang} style and, of course, everything inbetween.

Is anyone even close?

My Sifu, who was born, raised, and trained in Hong Kong, would say that Wing Chun does not translate out of Chinese into any other language.

So at best, we are guessing.

But does that matter?

The majority of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts students of all styles that are training today are not training to fight.

Ask them and they will say it is ‘in case’ something happens, which is fear management, and not because they know’ something will happen, which is danger management.

But I digress and that is a road I have no wish to go down at this posting, but it is interesting.

So here I am, 30 years in and with no intention of slowing down let alone stopping, so when it comes to the ‘so many differences’ situation, how do I answer myself?

Considering how deeply commited to Wing Chun I am, and how I genuinly believe that what it has taught me will get me out of any tight spot or situation of random violence.

This thought I hold surprises me.

I do not think that Wing Chun is a Martial Art and I do not think that Wing Chun teaches people how to fight.

Say what?

What I think, is that it is a system or method to help fighters fight better.

Much better.

There is nothing original in Wing Chun, all of the physical movements or technical aspects were co-opted from one Shaolin Kung Fu or another by Dr Leung Jan who was himself a highly respected Martial Artist who had many competitive fights.

Unfortunately for Dr Leung, he lived at a time of great peril in S.E. China.

I think that during the unparraleled social unrest caused by the Taiping Rebellion he found that his ‘tried and tested’ competition ready Kung Fu did not work in unexpected situations and random violent events.

So he set about refining his stuff to fit the times.

Remember that he already had great skill, and more than likely a good measure of self-confidence.

Nesecity is the ‘Mother of Invention’.

He was in constant danger and needed to improve his Kung Fu.

He invented Wing Chun, or rather began the never ending search for refinement and self improvement.

We should only ever be looking to improve what we already have.

That is a pretty steep hill to climb if students think that they start with nothing.

If we look at the people around us that are very good at Wing Chun, they all did something else before taking it up, a combat sport,military service, first responder service, or club door work.

I also think we all know of someone or another that appeared to be good at Wing Chun and was highly regarded in their school, who reached a high level only to then give it up to go and play Jiu-Jitsu out of a lack of belief in Wing Chun.

Jiu-Jitsu does teach people how to fight, Jiu-Jitsu does supply tangible reasons to believe.

Two of my seniors who were excellent practitioners took this path.

Niether were brilliant teachers it should be noted, it is hard to teach without a deep belief in the work.

Something I now as a Baby Boomer growing up in the 50s and 60s is that violence is messy, chaotic, unorganised, and above all else, easy to do.

Every prison on the planet is full of people that are very good at violence that have never done any kind of training.

Because, violence is easy.

The thing is Wing Chun does not teach violence.

No one leaves training bruised and bloodied.

What Wing Chun does do, is develop incredible and effortless power that will never let you down if you trust it.

But if someone thinks that they do not know how to fight, how to match another persons violence, that is a big ask.

So what does Wing Chun teach?

It teaches us to trust ourselves and act accordingly.

The frog in the well knows nothing of the sea

Japanese proverb.


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