For those of you who haven't heard of it, Wing Chun is a type of Kung Fu which was developed by a nun in China, a couple of hundred years ago. It focuses on technique rather than strength and, as such, is designed so that a smaller person can successfully fight a much larger person, and not get too tired out in the process. There's no messing around in Wing Chun, it's not like the movies where fights go on for ages. The aim is to take out your opponent rapidly and effectively.
Here are the principles of Wing Chun, according to the masters:
- Economy of movement
As a Wing Chun student of about 3 years (ie, by no means an expert), I think this means:
- Carefully angling legs and arms (the ultimate angle) at which point they are very strong and take very little energy to resist force applied by an adversary.
- Applying full body weight in every movement (eg, force going from shoulder, to elbow, to wrist in each movement).
- Relaxation of muscles to increase speed, decrease energy use and make it very difficult for your adversary to grab you.
- Redirection of strikes rather than blocking.
- Increasing force of your strikes through pivoting and stepping forward.
- Simplicity. Movements are simple with no adornments.
- Ruthlessness. Nowhere is off bounds to a strike when you're fighting for your life.
- Keeping your pelvic floor muscles lightly tensed so that your body works as a single unit.
- Every defence is also an attack.
- Stance is very important. From a strong stance, your blows have much more force as you do not move backwards when you strike. All your force goes into your opponent, rather than rocking you backwards.
- Upsetting the stance and breaking the guard of your opponent is a major goal. Once that's done, they are at your mercy, you can keep them off balance by constantly moving forward.
I really enjoy Wing Chun. Also, it keeps me fit, and I think I'm much better equipped to deal with any sort of physical aggression as a result of my training. I haven't tried any other school, but I'm happy with my current one, the International Wing Chun Academy.