Can I Train Wing Chun Without A Partner?
What are your reasons for learning Wing Chun?
In 1991 Grandmaster Ip Chun (my Sifu) asked me to open my first school in Leeds and to teach Wing Chun as a way of being able to focus on my own development when not with him in Hong Kong.
I have often said that:
‘If you are not learning through teaching then you are not teaching right’
I was already at Instructor level before this time and under his lineage, and did have previous experience teaching Wing Chun, but this was an official request from the top, and the start of what was to be a full time career.
Whenever we would work on an idea or technique in Hong Kong, Master Ip Chun’s instructions to me would be that when I returned to the UK, I should teach these ideas to my best students and to continue to drill these techniques or principles to perfection.
Over the last thirty years my association (The Northern Wing Chun Kung Fu Association) has seen the opening of many schools, teaching more than 10,000 classes to thousands of students, and as with most of these students, a beginner will most likely be drawn to Martial Arts because of their wish to learn self defence, to be able to protect themselves and their families against any possible would-be attackers.
Northern Wing Chun Kung Fu Association
Now I am not going to put these people down, to be honest when I started my training back in the 1970’s it was for the same reason (well that and my bizarre love of Chinese culture), however I will say that this should not be your only reason for wanting to study Wing Chun and what is, as you will soon discover, a beautiful art.
With the current lockdown situation many people are concerned of their ability to train Wing Chun without a partner, and this is of course fully understood when we are referring to training in Chi Sau.
BUT, partner requirements such as, Drills, Chi Sau, Sparring and even Fighting principles are not the only elements to Wing Chun, they are just one of the many benefits.
In fact training with only this in mind can be such a waste.
Sifu Ip Chun once said to me:
“Do not train your Wing Chun purely to fight, if so you may train for ten or twenty years for a fight that could last just a few seconds, or it may be that you practice all of your life for a fight that never happens!
But, you may train for just a matter of months and it ‘could’ save your life”
As I say, of course there are great benefits to be had from learning one of the most dynamic and practical street fighting systems around, certainly if you are to be defending yourself against the bigger, stronger opponent (as this is the idea behind its fighting principles).
But as I just mentioned, this fight may never happen, but what we DO know is that there are things we need to be prepare for every day.
We DO need to be aware of our personal well being, to have peacefulness and harmony, strength and mobility, all of which can be found within Wing Chun.
Balance in life is key
The fact that we do not use kicks above knee height and do not rely on muscle strength to achieve power, means that this can be trained by anyone, the young or the old, male or female, Master Ip Chun himself is 95 years old and still teaches every day!
Therefore let’s look at what we DO need and what we need right now, internal health, energy, focused breathing, leg strength, good posture, hand and eye coordination, body mechanics and suppleness, and, the ability to concentrate and even meditate, ALL OF WHICH are to be found in a correctly trained and fully understood
Siu Lim Tau (Little Idea Form).
Adding to this hand techniques being used in combinations, used in conjunction with turning stances and stepping etc. will all help to develop and keep the mind and body active and strong.
Keeping the mind and body healthy
So when this is all over and you DO manage to get back to being able to attend a school, great, but take your online training with you too, so as to get two sides to everything and to be able to question what is being shown to you.
For those off you who feel this does not apply to you as you do not have a school nearby anyway, don’t worry, we are still here for you, giving you all the training you need, with different tools to help you get the best from your partner training, even when you do not have a partner!
This is helped through our live-stream inclusive weekly classes
Group training is always encouraged even if you have to form your own group, something we can help you make happen too, with you as the group leader and us as your teachers.
So to wrap up, there ARE ways for you to train without a partner, if you can get to a school, great, but if not, why not start your own group, and if you simply cannot find anyone to start a group with, use our facilities to train solo, whatever your reasons for wanting to study.