The Ups And Downs Of Wing Chun



There is a very specific learning curve when it comes to Wing Chun, or in my opinion, this is more like a hill.


I have written before about the ’Three stages of learning’,


When a newcomer walks through my door, they require no thought process because they have not yet learned anything.


This is the learning phase, the big one, where everything is being learned, studied and drilled, and this is also the dangerous phase because you are at this in-between stage where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.


This is the interesting bit.

This is where you find yourself executing a technique either in Chi Sau or in sparring, which just seemed to come from nowhere, and when asked by your partner, “Wow, that was great, what did you do?”

The answer is usually, “I’ve no idea!”

Because this third stage is where your training now begins to take its natural course, becoming part of your inbuilt body reactions, in a sense talking you full circle to when you where a beginner and required no thought process.


Oh and by the way, do not be thinking that this third stage will take decades to reach, you’ll find these little nuggets of clarity will pop up constantly as you develop.


When I refer to your learning being like a hill, this is the same mentality.


A the start you are at the foot of the hill, and this may seem daunting or even too difficult to some people, but this is exciting too, as everything is new and fresh.


Stage two is obviously the climb, the learning part of it, where everything needs to be drilled to perfection.


Stage three is where your Wing Chun should be allowed to be free and to be yourself.

Going down the hill will be fun as you’ve already done the hard work, this is where we begin reaping the benefits of the uphill climb.


To put it another way, try to keep everything precise throughout the early stages of learning, but then there is a time to let go.


Basics are needed at the start of your learning, but if you ONLY stick with this basic precision,

it will only hold you back later if you do not adapt and allow your own character to be added.


Nothing is carved in stone in Wing Chun BUT, there certain guidelines that we must adhere to, such as not over committing, keeping relaxed, using straight lines, and so on…


As a beginner, techniques will start big, then we refine them and then them crisp, but when you are at the top of the hill, ready for the downhill run, then you can allow the flamboyance back in, as this will feel more practical.


It’s never going to be beautiful in reality and rarely look anything like it does in class,

As Bruce Lee said,

“What looks good in the movies isn’t practical for the street, and what works in the street is boring to watch.”


This third stage of learning is not only where the fun is, but it is also where we start to master the style.

Somebody once asked Grandmaster Ip Chun,

“What is the difference between student and master?”

To which he answered,

“The student make the simple look difficult and the master makes the difficult look simple”


THIS, is where stage three lies.


So the next time somebody tries to tell you you’re over the hill, just politely say,


“Thank you.”

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