Wing Chun Kung Fu is a martial arts system rather than a martial arts style. The word “style” implies that practitioners are merely copying a set of movements. Whereas the word “system” implies that there’s a set of principles behind the way the movements are carried out. These principles can be applied in any self-defense situation. Which is why many teachers of other martial arts styles come to Mindful Wing Chun from all over the world. They want to learn this logical set of principles that they can implement in their own styles.
Simply stated, with Wing Chun Kung Fu you’ll be able to defend yourself effectively and quickly, regardless of your size, strength, age or gender. The key to this is f=ma, or Force = Mass x Acceleration.
If you maximise relaxed mass and combine it with rapid acceleration, you can deliver force through the natural shapes and mechanics and tap into your full potential power without having to rely on brute force.
So how can you maximise the use of your body’s mass and speed? Through mindful relaxation! We learn mindful relaxation through the correct practice of the forms. Muscular tension can internally block the joints so that force can’t travel through them freely, much like the way water cannot travel through a blocked drain. So when you can relax your muscles you’ll be able to use your mind to produce and withstand force with all the joints of your body, and therefore use the interconnected and holistic sum of your body mass.
For example, if I weigh 80kg but I’m able to use only 10kg of force in a movement, whereas you weigh 60kg but, through the method of mindful relaxation, you can use 30kg in the movement, you’ll be able to overpower me even though you’re much smaller than me. Mindful relaxation also improves your speed tremendously. When there’s muscular tension around the joints, it’s like having the handbrake on while you’re driving, so by releasing the tension the joints become free-moving and you can accelerate much faster with much less effort.
Wing Chun Kung Fu Self-Defense – Efficient use of Energy
Furthermore, Wing Chun uses correct body mechanics through specific geometric shapes for the efficient use of energy:
By using mindful relaxation, not only do we get freedom of movement in our joints. We also get access to the joints in such a way that we’re able to individually rotate them independently of their surrounding joints.
In Wing Chun we always take the shortest and most efficient path to the target, which is obviously a straight line. This aspect of Wing Chun movements means that if the opponent isn’t delivering force in a straight line, we will always hit first.
Triangular and Pyramid Structural Power
The stance and guard of Wing Chun are such that they create a triangular shape, which makes it very efficient in terms of both producing directed force and of redirecting any incoming force from the opponent.
A triangle/pyramid is the best shape in nature for doing this. The tip is the best place to focus force onto a single point, the angled edge allows the shape to wedge between obstacles or letting them roll off altogether, and the base is the best platform for spreading and absorbing the force generated by the impacts.
Circular and Spherical Structural Power
The sphere is the most efficient 3D shape for the absorption and redirection of force. All Wing Chun movements have a circular aspect to them, because the joints all naturally move the bone in the shape of an arc (i.e., when the shoulder joint swings freely, the elbow swings in an arc). We also take advantage of the circular structure by developing and maintaining our ‘optimum angle’ in the structures of the arms and legs.
This creates a circular structure, which enables us to absorb and redirect the opponent’s incoming force with minimum effort. These circular techniques are very easily observed in the practice of Wing Chun’s Chi Sau exercise.
In Wing Chun, rather than pushing or pulling at the point of contact with the opponent, we try to make the point of contact a fulcrum point, to ensure we get maximum leverage and minimum resistance. In the arms, this usually happens when our forearm comes into contact with the opponent’s forearm. For the legs it’s usually the point of contact of our shin with any part of the opponent’s leg.
To better understand this, let’s look at an example. Imagine you’re holding up a Long Pole. Right at the middle, with both hands, to you try and stop it from moving. Then we ask two 10-year-old kids to each hold the pole, with one at each end, while you’re still holding it at its centre. If we ask both kids to walk in the same direction, you have a very good chance of stopping them from moving the pole. Because you’d be able to feel the direction they are moving in and directly oppose it with your force. However, if they both start walking in opposite directions, suddenly the contact point is not moving. It becomes the axis or pivot point of the movement. As a result, it will be almost impossible to stop them from moving the pole.
Forces with Multiple Vectors
In summary, Wing Chun movements create forces with multiple vectors that have the backing of a springy triangle. They have the absorption and redirection abilities of circles. They move along straight paths to the target, and they always go around the contact point. This is why, even without achieving a high level in Wing Chun, a practitioner can effectively defend himself or herself with correct mechanics applied through the principles.
A good example of this is our very own Head Sifu Nima King. He worked as a bouncer for a few years in Sydney before moving to Hong Kong in the early 2000s. During this period, Nima was merely practising and applying the external mechanics and principles of Wing Chun described above, which proved very effective for altercations and self-defence situations he came across as a bouncer.
Having said that, Kung Fu self-defense becomes effortless for those who delve deeper into the art. Moreover, go beyond the mere mechanics and structure of the Wing Chun movement. Exploring the realm of the mind through correct and persistent practice of Wing Chun’s first Form, Siu Nim Tao. Our teacher, Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin, who was named “The King of Siu Nim Tao” by his teacher Ip Man. He was at the very pinnacle of this “Nim Tao State”. Additionally, he had so much control that he never needed to strike more than once in the many challenge fights he had.