what does this say about our ability to use these methods in a situation that requires us to be “aware” of what is happening and what we hope to achieve?

To a large extent, this post is just me shooting the breeze, hopefully, to get us all thinking, and get us all talking.

There is a widely held opinion in the larger Martial Arts community that there is no such thing as genuine Wing Chun.

Some commentators regard this as a negative reflection of our style, while others, like myself, consider this to be a sign of continued evolution that has been at Wing Chun’s heart since Dr. Leung Jan first chose to modify his Shaolin-based Martial Art style. 

It does not matter what side of this argument we stand, as all of us that are a part of Wing Chun will tell anyone that chooses to listen that “Wing Chun is a concept-driven Martial Art”.

And that at its heart it is a single idea that is explained and interpreted through our Forms.

Dr. Leung Jan continued to adapt and refine his Wing Chun from his home at Gulao Village after he had retired and passed on his mantle to Chan Wah Shun, so from the outset there was a divergence in how the style was taught.

Chan Wah Shuns most celebrated student, Ip Man, taught an almost unrecognisable style from his master, and 2 of Ip Man’s most famous students, Chu Shong Tin, and Won Shun Leung, taught different approaches again, and both changed in different directions from each other in how they passed on Ip Man’s teaching.

My Sifu Jim Fung {Chuen Keung} trained under master Chu Shong Tin but also taught something quite different from his teacher.

But as much as things change they also stay the same.

The “Little Idea” at the heart of Wing Chun was originally and still is ‘SIMULTANEOUS ATTACK AND DEFENCE’.

The only difference between all past and present Masters is how we choose to explain and demonstrate this idea.

We should all spend a little time reading up on the evolution of Kung Fu in China, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, of how it migrated from a Military Method to a Civilian Style, and to understand the changes that this brought about.

Military Methods focused on attacking and killing the opponent while Civilian Styles focused on defending oneself from unwanted attacks.

From its inception Wing Chun was a ‘Civilian Method’, ergo, it is a self-defence system.

This bifurcation between military and civilian practices provides a very neat Segway to talk about ‘Internal Kung Fu” and some of the new discoveries with regard to meditation.

The civilian cohort that practiced Kung Fu tended to be the same population that practiced Health and Longevity Exercises known as Chi-Gong.

As stand-alone doctrines, these required a large investment in time for each practice, so it should be no surprise that someone somewhere would see if the two different streams could be combined.

This was the motivation to create a new type of training that contained both combat elements and health/longevity elements, which became known as ‘Internal” training.

Jump forwards to 2023.

I was listening to a Huberman Lab Podcast with Stanford Neurology Professor Andrew Huberman and guest Sam Harris, who is also a neuroscientist, philosopher, and widely respected expert commentator on meditation and awareness.

It is a very long podcast but full of brilliant information and observations.

If you are at all interested in how our brain does what it does these are two of the very best guys to listen to.

The observation that really spiked my attention was when Sam Harris was talking about the different goals and objectives of meditation from a realistic and achievable standpoint.

Two neuroscientists chatting was a bit over my head but what I did understand is that the condition we relate to as “Relaxation” is a completely different condition to what we refer to as ‘Awareness”, and that they exist in very different Brain States.

He said that it is a misconception to think that the same practice can produce both ‘Relaxation and Awareness”.

We can achieve one, but not both.

Returning to ‘Internal Kung Fu” that is practiced with the goal of ‘relaxation’, what does this say about our ability to use these methods in a situation that requires us to be “aware” of what is happening and what we hope to achieve?

As you all know, I am skeptical about the benefits of any sort of ‘Internal” training on fighting ability, it is the reason I moved away from Hsing Yi Qaun and Bhaguazhag, both ‘Internal Kung Fu’ styles, so I may be reading into this something that is not there.

But Kung Fu to one side, here we have two experts in the field of neurology telling us that everything we thought was set in stone about the Brain/Body connection at the turn of the 21st century {Jan 01 2000 } is turning out to be incorrect, what does that say about information from the end of the 19th century {Dec. 30, 1899 }.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s