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"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer."

- Bruce Lee

Traditional Art Modern Thinking

Self Defence with a modern twist

About Wing Chun by Wing Chun Milton Keynes

Grandmaster Ip Man training with Bruce Lee

Wing Chun's theories are based around straight lines, simplicity and efficiency of movement and unlike other Martial arts there are not a lot of complex forms, katas or patterns to learn. The hand and foot techniques as well as the strikes within the Wing Chun system are very effective, easy to learn and very easy to use. Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes will teach you this in a friendly mannor.

Wing Chun is a Chinese Martial Art, another theory being relaxation. This is because to be fast with your hands you must be relaxed. If your muscles are tense you will not be able to move freely and at speed, Wing Chun is famous for its fast hand techniques. Therefore a Wing Chun practitioner does not use force against force, this is because to do this you need to meet force with a tense block, and this will obviously compromise your speed of movement.

With this in mind, the hand techniques are deflections rather than blocks, thus guiding the opponents force away from you which leaves your opponent open for a strike. This is theory called indirect blocking. Wing Chun also tends to use the opponents energy against them, otherwise know as "borrowing the opponents energy" This is because being relaxed you are able deflect the oncoming force, move around your opponent thus absorbing the strike and re-issue their energy back at them in a strike.

The Wing Chun hand positions or techniques are not only used to deflect incoming strikes but also used to gain information about the opponent that you have encountered.

To use Wing Chun against someone effectively, you need to get in close and to do so you use contact of your opponent to gain this information, in a split second you can understand the opponent's intent, strength, energy and position. By gaining this information you can react in the most effective way to deal with the situation.

By maintaining contact with your opponent you feel their movement in real time so you have no need to rely on your eyes to see what is going on; this enables you to concentrate on what is going on around you.

The Wing Chun hand positions or techniques are not only used to deflect incoming strikes but also used to gain information about the opponent that you have encountered. To use Wing Chun against someone effectively, you need to get in close and to do so you use contact of your opponent to gain this information, begin to understand the opponent's intent, strength, energy and position. By gaining this information which only takes a split second you can react in the most effective way to deal with the situation. By using contact you have no need to rely on your eyes to see what is going on enabling you to concentrate on what is going on around you.

Unlike other Martial Arts, in Wing Chun there are no "Golden Techniques", there is no specific answer to a specific situation. Although Wing Chun uses a lot of different hand techniques that you can use to get you in to similar positions. This enables the Wing Chun practitioner to familiarise themselves with these positions, and therefore recognise them using touch rather than sight.

Progressive Wing Chun teaches its Wing Chun in such a way that the student will personalise their own learning. We recognise that what may work for one, may not work for another, and this is because everyone will fight different to everybody else based on their build, height, weight etc, in boxing ring opponents are categorised in to weights however on the street we are unable to choose our opponent.

Within every martial art practised today there is an element of individuals who study the physical techniques of their chosen art and adapt the way in which they fight to suit the society in which they live. Unfortunately large parts of the Martial Arts world believe that like their film heroes they to can perform super human tricks and absorb amazing amounts of punishment. In the training school 90% of what one trains in will not work. This is because of the atmosphere created between students and the reluctance to ask the instructor the relevant questions, stops many from sitting back and actually placing themselves within a real situation where there are so many more things to consider than just the physical elements of the fight.

To give you an example of how reality training can begin, we only have to look at much competition based training groups. Obviously for the safety of the fighters rules have to be enforced, such as no striking the groin, or no elbows to the head. However when we look at effectively defending yourself, striking the groin or using an elbow to the head might be your only chance of winning the encounter.

In Wing Chun we have a perfect opportunity to use the skills that are within the art and have an appreciation of the reality factor both at the same time, therefore in theory increasing the standard of each Wing Chun fighter.

To give you an example of how reality training can begin, we only have to look at competition based training groups. Obviously for the safety of the fighters, rules have to be enforced. These rules vary based on the style of fighting and discipline; the most common are no striking to the groin, or no elbows to the head. However when we look at effectively defending yourself in a real situation on the street, striking the groin or using an elbow to the head might be your only chance of beating an opponent. In Wing Chun we have a perfect opportunity to use the skills that are taught from the art and have an appreciation of the reality factor both at the same time, therefore each training session increases the standard of a Wing Chun fighter

Our classes are dedicated to teaching traditional Wing Chun with a large emphasis on reality, incorporating both physical and psychological aspects of the fight.

As many Wing Chun instructors continue to dissolve and change the way in which Wing Chun is presented, by concentrating on competitions or mixing high kicking techniques to their classes this does not constitute Wing Chun in its purest form. It is our belief that the basic fundamentals such as chain punching, finger striking the eyes and joint manipulation are the way forward.

Wing Chun, the translation

Chinese writing for wing chun

Wing Chun actually translates as y'ng chūn; literally "spring chant" However it is more widely known as "Eternal Springtime" and the characters opposite show how it is written.

There are many different translations of Wing Chun such as 'beautiful springtime', 'forever springtime' or 'praising spring'. It is often wondered why the plum blossom is seen in a wide variety of Wing Chun School logos and emblems.

Mui the name of the legendary founder (Ng Mui) also means 'plum blossom'. Another explanation is that the plum blossom represented man, the five points being the head two arms and legs, Wing Chun was the first martial system based on how the human body moved others were based on animals or mystical creatures.

Wing Chun Hand Greeting

Many Martial Arts have different greetings from bowing to hand gestures this is the history of the Wing Chun hand greeting:

Upon meeting, the revolutionaries identified themselves to each other with a secret hand-signal that would come to be the formal greeting or courtesy of Wing Chun.

In fact, the traditional greeting or courtesy is common to many of today's kung fu styles actually has two meanings.

The first meaning recognizes the style's Shaolin origins - the left hand symbolizing the union of the Green Dragon and the right hand, White Tiger which is the fighting animals of the Shaolin monks.

The Green Dragon symbolises the direction of East and spring in Feng Shui. The Dragon is Yang, male energy. In Chinese mythology the Dragon is a well-known and much respected emblem for strength, goodness, courage and endurance and symbolises vigilance and security. The Dragon is the protector of the heavenly abodes of the gods.

The White Tiger is a symbol of the direction West and the season autumn in Feng Shui. The White Tiger is Yin, passive and feminine. In China the Tiger was referred to as the King of the Mountain. A delightful tale about the White Tiger and the Green Dragon is that they were said to have mated and so created abundant amounts of Chi. The Tiger is also a symbol of strength and protection against evil.

The Dragon and Tiger always co-exist and are inseparable. The first meaning of the Wing Chun salutation (courtesy) represents coming from Shaolin (Sil Lum). The left hand symbolises Green Dragon and the right White Tiger. The hands are normally palm open on your left hand abd fist on right, which is touching at your left hand's striking point. The hands come together on the centreline and are then brought forward while bowing.

In traditional Wing Chun the hands are reversed. The left hand forms a fist and the right hand is open palm. Here is where the second meaning comes in. When doing this in the opposite fashion, it still refers to Shaolin, but also refers to the "Secret Society". The Wing Chun fist is also known as the Sun Fist and the open palm is in the shape of the Crescent Moon.

The "standard" fist and palm salute is usually said to have the fist representing Yat (Ri, the Sun) and the palm representing Yuet (Yue, the Moon). Together these two characters combined means "Bright" and when read this sounds like "Ming". This is the name of the last Han Dynasty overthrown by the Manchurians who formed the "Ching (Qing, Clear, Pure) Dynasty" in its place. That placed it in the "Fan Ching Fook Ming" (Fan Qing Fu Ming, "Overturn the Ching, Restore the Ming") category. By the time Wing Chun was on the rise, "Fan Ching Fook Ming" was generally replaced by "Overthrow Ching, Restore the Ming". Therefore during the Ching Dynasty, when you saw a Wing Chun practitioner or "secret society" member salute with fist and open palm facing towards you, they were saying, "Return the Ming".

Today, the traditional Wing Chun courtesy is still used the same way, but as a sign of respect towards members of the System, remembering that the information being taught on the Classroom floor has been passed on from teacher to student for many generations. Essentially, we are paying respect to our Teacher (Si-Fu) & the Masters before them for the information being passed onto us and for the sacrifices and hardships that our Teacher and the Masters have had to endure to enlighten us with the "secret" teachings of the Wing Chun Kuen (Wing Chun Fist).

On the Classroom floor, the student will always perform the courtesy with a half bow towards each other and with a full bow towards his/her Si-Fu. This is done at the beginning and end of each training session and at anytime during a training session where the Class is stopped by Si-Fu (teacher) and a new direction, explanation or technique is presented. The courtesy half bow is also done each time a student pairs up with another student to practice technique and drills and at the conclusion (stopping) of the exercise.

The Wing Chun salutation (courtesy) is kept within the confines of the training room hall. However, meeting Si-Fu outside in a public place, the salutation is often done without the bow but the left hand fist and right hand palm are still executed, but not at the discretion of drawing attention to oneself.

Nevertheless, it can still be executed as per the formal "traditional" greeting if one feels comfortable to do so in a public place.

It is never out of place or out of turn to show respect towards our elders, or in the martial arts context, towards our elder Kung Fu brothers and sisters. All Chinese martial art systems operate much like a family does, with knowledge and guidance being passed down from the old to the young.

© Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes 2017