London Wing Chun Feature: The Science of Wing Chun
In this article Sifu Lucas Castrounis explains the science of Wing Chun kung fu.
Wing Chun Kuen is one of the most simple, direct, efficient, sophisticated and scientific fighting system in Chinese kung fu. Back in June 2001, in an interview with Combat, I spoke about how Wing Chun is founded on logic and not Mysticism!
The scientific system of Wing Chun Kuen, as taught by Lucas Castrounis at the Reading Academy, is not only a good fighting system, it is a sophisticated weapon, where body mechanics are used with maximum efficiency.
Wing Chun and Body Mechanics
Wing Chun Kuen is not only a form of unarmed combat but also teaches the understanding of one's own body mechanics. Through Wing Chun a practitioner develops both mental and physical improvements and advantages - for example, better body structure, greater fitness, a keen sense of awareness, improved timing, and increased precision and control over one's movements. Wing Chun Kuen is a sophisticated weapon, where body mechanics are used with efficiency and to their maximum effect.
Wing Chun The Eternal Spring of Health
Over the last thirty years, the fighting aspects of Wing Chun have been stressed; however, it is important to understand that Wing Chun is not only a system of fighting. It is more than this. It is a system that can be used in every day life (for example: work, health, relationships etc.). Other side benefits of Wing Chun training include: addressing one’s self potential, youthfulness & the ability to learn, improvement in fitness (both mental & physical), the elimination of muscular pain, improved natural co-ordination, greater awareness and self-control, multiple simultaneous activities (mental & physical), a greater understanding of body mechanics, the ability to better cope under stress and fear; and if practiced correctly, it can offer immunity from some physical and mental illnesses. The words "Wing Chun Kuen" have a number of English translations such as: Eternal Spring, Forever Young, and Beautiful Springtime which hint at the long term health benefits of training the internal aspects of Wing Chun kung fu.
Wing Chun Directness Through Control
By focusing on directness, simplicity and economy of motion, Wing Chun re-programmes the body and the mind to react to stimuli in a controlled manner. It also facilitates an understanding of emotional reactions, teaching one to maintain control despite anger, pride, fear and/or stress.
Self Discipline and the Power of the Counter Attack!
The training requires time and self discipline. The practitioner learns to act with intelligence and to react faster and more efficiently when in a combat situation. Wing Chun is a counter-attack system which can be applied in response to any physical assault - it is not about who hits first but who hits last! However if the mind is more advanced than the body, or vice versa, then the balance is one-sided or biased. Therefore, the system has been designed to maintain and develop both physical and mental well-being by educating the mind and body together in harmony, thus teaching the practitioner how to deal with both mental and physical stress.
The Structure of the Wing Chun System
The Wing Chun system is structured so as to aid progression and includes three empty-hand boxing forms and two weapon forms: the Long Pole and the Butterfly Knives (which is the graduation stage of the system).
Siu Lim Tao: The Foundations of a Wing Chun Fighter
The first form, Siu Lim Tao (SLT), is the first empty hands boxing form, and the most important form of the Wing Chun system. It covers almost the entire system of Wing Chun and is divided into three sections. When Siu Lim Tao is performed, you will only see hand movements, while the body remains totally still. The purpose of the first form is to develop better body structure, body mechanics, hips, balance and stronger legs in order to carry the mass of the upper body. The first form also involves coordination, timing, the use of both hands, elbow movements, forward spring loading energy, and straight lines. It demonstrates the economy of motion with multiple simultaneous activities.
Usually, beginners are impatient to learn the Wing Chun skills and techniques straight away without realizing that in order to practice in a safe manner and to learn the system correctly, the SLT (first form) must be absorbed first and that this can take some time! All of this depends on how often and how efficiently he/she has been practicing. It is like everything else. Take for example, weight lifting. Regardless of how strong or determined you are, you must start with the lower weights before you move on to the heavier ones, otherwise you will damage your body. Therefore, the student should be patient and prepared to wait until his/her body has become more comfortable with the new program before rushing to add fighting techniques.
Master Wong Shun Leung once said, ‘hands and legs belong to you but they must be commanded by you’, and that is so true.
Patience Makes Perfection
Unfortunately nowadays people are not as patient. They want everything given to them fast because they are "paying" for it. Traditionally, when someone committed himself/herself to martial arts, he/she prepared himself/herself for a very long process. That was the first characteristic a master looked for in an individual before accepting him/her as a student.
Wing Chun should not be only about ‘belts’ or ‘how many forms you know’! Can you apply what you have learnt? That is the most important question. The focus should be on whether you can produce the maximum effect with minimum effort.
The Hidden Potential in All of Us!
Wing Chun is not a martial art, it is a martial skill. Anyone can learn Wing Chun, it is simple but it isn't easy. First you need to delete the old conditions of the mind and body in order to allow the natural to come out.
Enjoy this new journey in Wing Chun Kung Fu and it might change your life.
Please visit http://www.teamwingchun.co.uk/for more information about Sifu Lucas Castrounis and his schools in Reading.