The majority of the people that practice Wing Chun never think about performing violence.


A common sight for any tourist that has been to Singapore, Hong Kong or China is the morning parks being filled with elderly Chinese performing Tai Chi, slow, graceful and relaxing, I do not think that there is any doubt that these citizens are not involved in a Martial Art, even though at its core Tai Chi is a really effective Martial Art, but if you mention Tai Chi this is the image most people come up with, most Martial Artists, even Wing Chun students scoff at the thought that Tai Chi is still an effective fighting Form.

  The Park People are involved in the Chi Kung aspect of Tai Chi, these days the great majority of Tai Chi practitioners are involved in the Chi Kung aspect with very few engaging in genuine Martial Tai Chi, their practice is slow, easy and thoughtful, discussions are held about the best shape, the correct placement of the limbs, the quality of the breathing, condensing the thought process, where to place the energy as you flow and the pursuit of mindfulness.

There is an abundance of proof that this approach is beneficial to the health and mental well-being of senior citizens and by that mark alone is a worthy pursuit for the more mature person.  What you very rarely see in the parks are young people doing Tai Chi.

This post has been prompted by a question I was asked regarding the vitriolic criticism that Wing Chun receives from the Mainstream Martial Arts community, a claim that Wing Chun is a pretend Martial Art, the twenty-first century Tai Chi.

Why do so many people hate Wing Chun?

In pursuit of balance, we should also consider “Why do so many people love Wing Chun”?

As a Wing Chun student and Instructor of over 30 years, I am definitely a member of the Wing Chun appreciation society, but I also share some of the less than flattering doubts of the Wing Chun haters,  it does concern me where Wing Chun appears to be heading.

To the Wing Chun haters there is absolutely no empirical evidence that Wing Chun works as a fighting art, this is in no way helped by the fact that more and more the widely established history of  Wing Chun is turning out to be nothing short of a fable, in Hong Kong, there is constant factional infighting amongst the Ip Man lineages to the extent that each do the style so differently, it is no longer the same style { but of course, everyone thinks their style is best, their Sifu is the best}, in a similar vein to Tai Chi that is composed of Chen style; Yang style, Wu style and Hao style, Wing Chun is breaking into different styles from different Masters that appear more interested in self-promotion than advancing Wing Chun.

And yet despite this obvious diluting of Ip Man’s art  Wing Chun lovers constantly claim that it is the best Martial Art on the planet, in fact, the superior or even ultimate fighting art.

Tai Chi translates to Supreme Ultimate Fist, once it was, but now it just  exercising.

In the Japanese Arts there is a clear distinction between a style that is done for self improvement and health and a style that is genuinely used for fighting.

 Namely -Do and -Jutsu { also pronounced as Jitsu}.

Ju-Do is self-improvement – Ju-Jutsu is intended for combat.

Ken-Do is self-improvement – Ken-Jutsu is intended for combat. 

Karate-do is self-improvement – Karate-Jutsu is intended for combat. 

Aiki-Do is self-improvement – Aiki-Jutsu is intended for combat.

Collectively they are regarded as  Bu-Do and Bu-Jutsu.

The Japanese -Do would be -Dao in Chinese, as in Siu Nim Dao.

If we temporarily borrow these delineations and apply them to Wing Chun then the vast majority of the world’s Wing Chun students are training in Wing Chun Dao.

The lineage that I am from, Chu Shong Tin – Jim Fung is 100%  Wing Chun Dao, in all my years of training in my Sifu’s school I do not think that anyone ever got hit with any real intent, there were accidents as there are in all schools, but then everything stopped instead of escalating, to some extent everybody was only learning how to apologise.

Because I trained in Boxing for years I was very aware that what we did was not fighting, even though most of the training would not fly as taught I had no problem with that, it was enjoyable, it was healthy, it was low impact and thanks to my Boxing experiences the IDEAS where convertible into fighting IDEAS,  but it appears that most Wing Chun students do have a problem with that and so claim that Wing Chun is a kick-ass Martial Art when neither themselves or most of their Instructors have ever been involved in a genuine “Blood and Snot” fight.

People that do AikiDo, JuDo, KenDo and Tai Chi very rarely posture and make claims,  they are fully aware that they are travelling a path of ritual self-improvement, and in general are accepted by the wider Martial Arts Community because of this fact.

The majority of people who practice Tai Chi never think about performing violence.

The majority of the people that practice Wing Chun never think about performing violence.

This is not a bad thing, perhaps the greater Wing Chun community should embrace it.

As I always say, the most important aspect for a Martial Artist to learn is Self-Honesty, we would all do well to find a way to stop self-delusion.

We must own what it is we do.

Or alternatively, find a way to train Wing Chun Jutsu.

 “Discipline is your best friend.

It will take of you like nothing else can.”

Jocko Willink



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