FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
No. No one is too old to start practicing Wing Chun.
Usually, the images that come to mind when it comes to Chinese martial arts are acrobatic forms, somersaults, extraordinary movements, etc. However, this is not the case for Wing Chun. Wing Chun was developed to be simple, effective and efficient. Thus, any movement considered unnecessary and complicated is not part of this system. Therefore, Wing Chun is suitable for people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and degrees of physical ability.
Anyone who’s in good health can exercise Wing Chun’s movements and techniques smoothly. This is one of the great advantages of this system.
It’s easy for a young person, with lots of energy and stamina, to practice a martial arts system that requires flexibility and athleticism. However, when that person gets older, it becomes more difficult to perform all those crazy, strong, and vigorous movements; their practice will be compromised since they will be no longer able to make effective use of what that system has to offer. Regarding Wing Chun, you can start practicing it at an advanced age as well as continue practicing it for a lifetime.
Great masters such as Ip Man (79), Moy Yat (62) and Chu Shong Tin (81) practiced Wing Chun until the end of their lives. In 2019, Ip Man’s sons Ip Chun and Ip Ching still practice Wing Chun at the age of 94 and 82, respectively.
No. You will not get beat up.
The Wing Chun training has a distinctive feature since it is concept-based rather than technique-based. All exercises seek to develop the concepts inherent to the system and not the application of a particular technique. In this way, Wing Chun training does not require attack and defense moves that actually hit your body or your partner’s. Thus, there are no drills that apply a technique meeting brute force with an opposing brute force.
The exercises are always practiced with a partner and are designed in a way that both practitioners share the learning. By training with a partner, you sharpen your skills, perceive your mistakes and consequently evolve. The training focuses on the limits of the physical abilities and skills of each student.
Caring and concern for each other are elements that connect individuals who make up a family. Here, we are a Kung Fu family. During classes, physical combat must be symbolic, without violence. Wing Chun Kung Fu preserves a healthy attitude towards life. You work with your brothers and sisters, not on your brothers and sisters.
How long it takes someone to learn Wing Chun depends on the individual. Everyone learns at their own rate but there are some aspects that are important to consider…
Wing Chun can be divided into internal and external aspects. However, this is only an attempt of explaining what Chinese martial art is to the Western mentality since, in the East, the external part is not conceived without the internal part. It's in the balance between internal and external where martial perfection is found.
The external aspect is composed of elements such as Wing Chun forms and sequences of exercises that make up the system; they are common to all practitioners. Within a few years, you may be able to go through all the elements of the system, nevertheless, it still requires patience as the concepts must be incorporated. The more you let yourself be seduced by the external efficiency of Wing Chun, you may think that inner development is not necessary.
The internal aspect cultivates chi enabling the correct manipulation of its flow to, later, express it externally. It brings out greater bodily awareness and cannot be developed without the dedication, understanding of the system, patience and time.
Even if you have completed all the elements of the Wing Chun system, you may not have reached an advanced level yet. Wing Chun can be learned quickly, but probably not deeply…
There are no shortcuts. If you believe the internal aspect is not important, you will be developing an unbalanced art. Unfortunately, most people lack patience and perseverance.
Wing Chun is a journey, not a destination. Mastering the system takes a lifetime.
Authentic Ip Man Wing Chun is the one that has not deviated from its root foundation of principles and concepts of the Wing Chun system taught by Ip Man.
Ip Man trained many students and many of them emigrated to the West and opened schools claiming to teach the authentic Ip Man Wing Chun; it meant that the art was passed on to students just as it had been passed on to them by Ip Man.
What is intriguing about this is that, even within the Ip Man lineage, there are differences in the system depending on who the master is. You can notice differences in the movements of the forms, in the explanations of the exercises and in the applications of the techniques. You may be confused and doubtful about which version of Wing Chun you should believe in.
Ip Man taught each student to develop their own Wing Chun according to their aptitude. First, he would analyze many aspects of the student such as character, physique, education standard, etc. Then, he would teach them according to their different needs and requirements to make sure that every student would absorb and learn properly. So, Ip Man Wing Chun is unique to each individual what causes the system to have versions that are slightly different from one another.
Despite the differences in the various versions that have emerged due to the way Ip Man used to teach, all of them share something very important in common: they all use the same principles and concepts and the same set of elements that make up the system.
There is no one true Ip Man Wing Chun, but there are common principles, concepts, and techniques that define it, without which the system loses its identity.
No. You don’t need to be in great shape to practice Wing Chun.
Wing Chun uses simple, efficient and direct techniques. Based on the principle of economy of movement, it rules out all acrobatic movements. Therefore, Wing Chun lends its techniques to any type of person, regardless of size, shape, degree of physical ability, age, or gender. Anyone who’s in good health can exercise Wing Chun’s movements and techniques smoothly. This is one of the great advantages of this system.
Practicing Wing Chun is a great way to keep the body active. Your health can improve and benefit from acquiring more physical control (speed, rhythm, reflexes, endurance) and greater emotional and mental control (confidence, calmness, control of your actions and reactions, development of reasoning, awareness, and concentration.)
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The way you employ your time and how you develop your bodily skills are choices that belong only to you. There is, however, the common sense of the best you can obtain when you practice a particular activity.
Due to the day-to-day busy schedules, we end up confined to our body’s repertoire, that is, we are limited to the usual abilities we normally develop during our lifetime. For example, we know how to walk, and we can do it effortlessly; however, if we want to do a backward somersault we need to develop this ability because it is not part of the set of skills we are exposed to every day. Breaking the boundaries of our body’s repertoire requires dedication to a certain activity. The question that arises then is “how good you believe you can become by practicing more than one complex activity at the same time?” The chances of practicing more than one martial arts style at a time are that, instead of becoming exceptional in a single art, you will become mediocre in all of them.
We do not mix styles. Zen Wing Chun is committed to teaching and spreading the art of Wing Chun. Somehow, we wouldn’t be delivering what we had committed to if we modify it by adding into it some personal ideas.
Nowadays, it’s common to hear the discourse of joining the best of many martial arts styles and transforming it into the pinnacle of the martial world. It’s okay if someone has brilliant ideas, relies on the knowledge of a system, and extracts an experience from it to develop their own, but the name of the system needs to be changed. In this case, it would be no longer the art of Wing Chun.
Wing Chun is a set of simple and practical elements that can be used in innumerable ways. Over many years, those elements have been refined and simplified to the best outcome. The system may be over 300 years old, but it doesn’t mean it needs to be changed to fit the modern world.
Wing Chun is a complete system. When you understand its root foundation of the concepts and principles, you can apply the Wing Chun Kung Fu in endless ways.
If you want to become an outstanding Wing Chun practitioner, then practice Wing Chun. No other activity can help you get a better Wing Chun than practicing Wing Chun itself. The same goes for any other martial arts styles.
The exercises contained in the Wing Chun system aim to make the practitioner incorporate its concepts and improve their use of its techniques. They promote physical health benefits such as better balance, posture alignment, and increased bodily awareness.
However, there are no exercises intended to work the muscular aspect of the practitioner since Wing Chun does not use mere brute force as a resource to generate power. Consequently, there are no muscle strengthening exercises like push-ups, squats, weight lifting, etc., during classes.
Time is the most valuable thing everyone has, thus it’s important to use it wisely. That’s the reason no time is spent in class doing any other activities unrelated to Wing Chun.
Therefore, if you also want to get in shape, we recommend you seek out a place that is specialized in this type of fitness.
Although we have seen great results for people with injuries when practicing Wing Chun, we do not have the expertise to thoroughly evaluate and understand the extent and nature of your injury. In this way, before starting to practice any type of martial arts, evaluate with your doctor if the style you want to train can accommodate your injury and make sure you have found a safe way to practice it.
Whenever you decide to train when injured, it is important to have an understanding of your injury as this will help you identify your physical limitations and how far you should force yourself when you exercise. This type of awareness may determine the success of your train and of your health.
The body is fantastic in its ability to heal itself when given it what it needs to do so. Healing occurs when there is a physical, mental, and emotional balance. Practicing Wing Chun can help you get in tune with your body and restore balance where it is lacking. It also may be an opportunity for you to see your injury from another perspective.
Please, seek medical advice.
In the last decades, martial arts have gained great visibility and attracted many enthusiasts, therefore starting a martial arts school became an interesting and popular business. However, becoming qualified to play the role of a martial arts instructor doesn't happen through conventional study methods such as attending courses or colleges. The practice of certain martial arts systems, as well as the way they are transmitted, relates more to several aspects of a culture than to knowledge gained through books.
Many martial arts systems are a part of a larger culture and not a sport. Due to this fact, it’s difficult, improbable, or unfair to try to regulate the martial arts instructor profession, consequently, there are no standards for registration, licensing process, or organization that efficiently can attest if a martial arts instructor is qualified to teach or not. Nowadays, thousands of so-called masters work in this field, some are in fact competent of transmitting a system, while others instruct without having the proper training and understanding of the art they are teaching.
Transmitting an art is an extra step. In Wing Chun Kung Fu, one that transmits the system must have a deeper understanding of it, a knowledge besides its practice. Some aspects of knowing how to transmit the system are passed by the master to the disciple in a very specific way: through daily life experience with the master; through Kung Fu life.
Certificates don't mean much in the martial arts scenario. Faking a document is a simple task. Although it may seem not enough, lineage is still the best means to verify and attest the legitimacy of a school and of a master. Sticking to lineage and finding out more about the master, grandmasters, great-grandmasters and so on until getting to the founders of the system, or to an entity responsible for spreading that martial arts system to the world is still the best way to go.
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