Wing Chun Kung Fu
Wing Chun is a southern style of Chinese Kung Fu, the most influential Chinese martial art in modern times. Wing Chun emphasizes self-defense reduced to its most streamlined rudiments: Simultaneous attack and defense with multiple straight-line strikes at extremely close range. Every punch, poke, strike, slap, or kick in the system has been designed to serve as a defense and double as an attack. Rapid hand techniques combined with low kicks tend to be featured in an aggressive array of constant forward pressure. Wing Chun does not teach a set pattern of combat. It trains one to respond freely, thus, it is very practical for self-defense. Wing Chun enables a small and weak person to defend themself against a bigger stronger opponent. Wing Chun students are taught to insure the most effective deployment of their striking techniques by controlling, or "trapping", one or more of an opponent's limbs whenever possible. Trapping skills are developed through a competitive form of resistance training called "Chi-Sau", or "sticking hands", which, besides strengthening the upper body, tends to make a student combat - effective faster. In Chinese Kung Fu, a style can be considered either hard or soft. Styles that rely on yang, or firmness of attack, and great power such as the Crane and Hung Gar styles, are effective only when the fighter is considerably more powerful than his opponent. Styles that rely on yin, or pliable softness, and which are usually very graceful and flowing, such as Tai Chi Cheun or Sim Yee Cheun, rely on much speed and agility. The most common mistake of martial arts experts is to assume that yin and yang are two separate forces, each self-sufficient within itself. For instance, some experts try to attain softness through hardness as in Karate, while others attempt to attain hardness through softness as in Tai Chi. Yin and yang are one in a great reality, each interacting with the other. An example of this is to try driving a car with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake - the car cannot move because the two forces are working against each other. But if the feet are moved alternately, one in harmony with the other, the car moves smoothly. The philosophy of Wing Chun is the same. The hardness flows with the softness to create a positive, continuous flow that surrounds your opponent. You bend with the strength of his attacks, and then strike when he is weak and lacks energy. In this way, you can overcome superior strength easily, with little or no harm coming to you.
Characteristics of Wing Chun Kung Fu
This philosophy is clearly evident in the techniques of Wing Chun. Each technique trains one aspect of a person in relation to our philosophy. Some techniques can be done in forms or katas. While others require a partner, Chi Sau or Sticky hands. There are three forms in Wing Chun: Sil Lim Tau, Chum Kui and the Biu Jee. The first level, you will be introduced to the first form of Wing Chun, Sil Lim Tau. It integrates the basics you have learned to form a flowing set of consecutive movements that simulate combat between two opponents. It also stresses certain basic principles that are essential to the art of Wing Chun. These principles are:
1- Elbows in.
A student of Wing Chun must learn to keep his elbows in to protect the center line where the vital organs are located.
2- Center Line Awareness:
A student must be aware of the location of his center line, and perform all techniques through that line.
3- Wing Chun stance:
A student must become accustomed to the Wing Chun stance.
Once a student has learned the basics, they are introduced to Chi-Sau or sticky hands. This will improve his balance, coordination, sensitivity and stamina. Integrating techniques into Chi-Sau is the next step, and will ensure the student performs all his techniques through his center line. The next level is the Chum Kui form. Chum Kui focuses on transferring body weight, Wing Chun kicks, and facing multiple opponents.
Finally, upon mastering the Chum Kui and all that was presented before, concentration is now focused on the Muk-Cheong (wooden dummy) technique. Throughout the training supplementary exercises and forms are taught, such as air-punching to improve power and strength and stretching exercises for flexibility and agility. Footwork is introduced at different levels throughout the training. Students should practice their basic techniques one-half hour each day in whatever form they see fit. In addition to the basic techniques, the student is expected to do a minimum of 1000 punches per day, without exception. Failure to practice will hurt only the student, not the instructor. The class is only a small part of training in order to speed up progress, the student must undertake home study and practice.
Founders of Wing Chun Kung Fu
The oral history of the Yip Man branch of Wing Chun dates its creation to the reign of the Emperor Kangxi (1662-1722). After escaping the destruction of the Fujian Shaolin Monastery by Qing forces, the Abbess Ng Mui fled to the distant Daliang mountains on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan. One day, she came upon a fight between a snake and a crane . She took the lessons she learned from observing the fight between the two animals and combined them with her own knowledge of Shaolin Kung Fu to create a new style.
Ng Mui often bought her bean curd at the tofu shop of Yim Yee. Yim Yee had a daughter named Yim Wing-Chun whom a local warlord was trying to force into marriage. Ng Mui taught her new fighting style to Wing-Chun, who used it to fend off the warlord once and for all. Wing-Chun eventually married a man she loved, Leung Bok-Chao, to whom she taught the fighting techniques that Ng Mui had passed on to her. Husband and wife in turn passed the new style on to others.
Shaolin Kung Fu
Kung Fu is Chinese term for "martial art", it can also be called "Wu Shu". The holy Shaolin temple of the Buddhism was established about 1600 years ago on the mountain of Sung. It was the symbol of Buddhism power in China, and it also represented the ultimate domination of Buddhism over other religions in the next 1000 years in China. Shaolin temple was built during the feudal age when warlords divided and ruled each region of China separately. It was the time when murderers, bandits, and thieves were commonplace. In order to repel threats from outside world, the high priests of Shaolin temple research and devised many unique and powerful martial arts; monks were trained with martial arts as protector of holiness (at that time, all those that opposed buddhism principles were said to be "unholy"). Legend has that Shaolin temple devised powerful techniques such that allow people to punch through concrete wall, to regenerate and heal at faster rate, and to walk on the surface of water like dragonfly. All these martial arts have come together as what we called "Shaolin Kung Fu". However, after centuries of warfare and disasters, much of Shaolin Kung Fu were swept away and forgotten. What we are learning now, the modern Shaolin Kung Fu, is the remnant of this ancient martial arts that once shaken the foundation of the world of martial art in the far east. Although Shaolin Kung Fu had lost it former glory long time ago, it still remains as one of the most prominent and most powerful martial arts exist in the world today.
Martial arts like Karate, Judo, and Tai Kwan Do are actually variants of the techniques that originated from Shaolin Kung Fu. Suffice to say, no other martial arts in the world is as rich in techniques and as effective as the Shaolin Kung Fu. (To put it simple, Shaolin Kung Fu beats all other martial arts)
It was some 30 years after its founding that the Temple received a visitor largely regarded as the father of Shaolin martial arts and Zen Buddhism: a Indian monk, named Bodhidharma. According to legend, Bodhidharma arrived at the temple and found the monks in poor health and unable to endure the long sessions of meditation. Bodhidharma then supposedly retreated to a nearby cave and meditated for 9 years, where he is said to have created a hole in the rock with his stare and cut his eyelids so as to not fall into deep sleep. According to legend, it was during this time Bodhidharma created two exercise regimens: the "Muscle/Tendon Change Classic" and the "Brain/Marrow Cleansing Classic". These exercises then developed into the Shaolin Kung Fu we know today.