Wing Chun (詠春) is a Chinese martial art utilizing both striking and grappling while specializing in close-range fighting techniques and self-defense.
The earliest known mention of Wing Chun date to the period of Red Boat Opera in the late 1800s / early 1900s. The common legend as told by Yip Man involves the young woman Yim Wing Chun during the period after the destruction by the Qing government of the Southern Shaolin Temple.
Having refused a marriage proposal from a local warlord, Yim Wing Chun said she would reconsider if the warlord could defeat her in a fight. She soon met a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui of the Shaolin Temple and asked the nun to teach her to fight. According to legend Ng Mui taught Yim Wing Chun a new system of martial art inspired by the nun's observations of a battle between a Snake and a Crane. Yim Wing Chun was then able to beat the warlord in a fight. Yim Wing Chun afterwards married Leung Bac Chou and taught him the style, which was later named after her.
Wing Chun forms consist of individual exercise routines with offensive and defensive movements for developing self-awareness, reflex, sensitivity, and balance. Forms also train the practitioner how to generate proper force when applying Wing Chun techniques.
The first, and most important form in Wing Chun, Siu Lim Tao (小念頭) is the foundation from which all succeeding forms and techniques are based upon. Fundamental rules of balance and body structure are developed here.
The second form, Chum Kiu (尋橋) focuses on coordinated body movements and entry techniques to "bridge the gap" between practitioner and opponent and move in to disrupt their structure and balance. Close-range attacks using the elbows and knees are also developed here. It also teaches methods of recovering position and centerline when in a compromised position where Siu Nim Tao structure has been disrupted.
The third form, Biu Jee (鏢指) is composed of short-range and long-range techniques, low kicks and sweeps, and "emergency techniques" to counter-attack when structure and centerline have been seriously compromised, such as when the practitioner is seriously injured. As well as pivoting and stepping movements, more upper body and stretching is developed to increase power. These movements include very close range elbow strikes and finger thrusts to the throat.
The Muk Yan Jong (木人樁) form is performed against a “wooden dummy", a thick wooden post with three arms and a leg mounted on a slightly springy frame representing a stationary human opponent. Wooden dummy practice aims to refine a practitioner's understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and to develop full body power. It is here that the open hand forms are pieced together and understood as a whole.
Upon completion of learning the open-hand forms, the student is ready to progress to weapons. Wing Chun weapons consist of a Long Pole form called "Luk Dim Boon Gwun" or "6 1/2 Point Pole" which uses the shoulder as the centerline and is usually taught first. The power from the long bridge of the two arms is concentrated into one point and thrust out to different positions in the form which only has six and one-half techniques - the last being the half, a rapid downward movement from the chest. The Long Pole is followed by a Knife Form called "Baat Cham Dao" or "Eight Cutting Blades". "Baat" is the number eight, "Cham" is to cut or slash, and "Dao" refers to a single edged blade such as a knife or sword. This is usually the final form taught to a Wing Chun student.
Chi Sao (Sticking Hands)
Chi Sao (黐手) or "sticking hands” are exercise drills used to develop automatic reflexes upon contact and the idea of "sticking" to the opponent ("sensitivity training”). The objective is to protect your centerline while simultaneously attacking your opponent's centerline. In Wing Chun, this is practiced by two individuals maintaining contact with each other's forearms while executing techniques, thereby training each other to sense changes in body mechanics, pressure, and momentum. The increased sensitivity gained from this drill helps a practitioner attack and counter an opponent's movements precisely, quickly, and with appropriate techniques.
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