What it is:
Wing Chun Kung Fu is a 300 year old traditional Chinese martial art. It was first brought to fame by Bruce Lee, and, along with western boxing and fencing, formed the foundation for his Jeet Kun Do system. Wing Chun is charactersied by its short, efficent movements and emphasis on close quarter fighting.
According to legend, Wing Chun Kung Fu was founded in the Qing Dynasty by Ng Mui, a Shaolin Buddhist nun. The original purpose of Wing Chun was to quickly train a revolutionary soldier in a simple, direct, no-nonsense system of hand-to-hand combat. Wing Chun is ideally suited to the realities of modern-day self-defence. It is simple, practical, easy to learn, and does not require superior physical size and strength to be effective. Below is a short clip demonstrating the compact economical movements of the first wooden dummy set and some practical applications of the techniques.
How it works:
Wing Chun Kung-Fu is a principle based system of martial arts. Everyone’s body is different and unique. No one single training formula will achieve the best possible results for every person. Therefore, at Resilience Massage and Training we employ a tertiary teaching approach. Students are encouraged to learn, play, explore and extend the boundaries of their limits and comfort zone at their own pace, and in their own time. The selection of exercises and training drills are tailored to the individual student, depending on requirements.
‘Kung-fu’ literally translates to ‘that which takes time.’ Wing Chun Kung-Fu has much to offer that can be of immediate practical and physical benefit, but much also that rewards decades of study and practice. Students often remark that ‘the reasons they chose to take up Wing Chun in the first place are very different to those that have motivated them to continue years, and even decades later.’
Wing Chun utilises principles of centre line theory, touch sensitivity, and economy of movement to provide a practical system of self-defence that is simple, efficient, and direct.
A typical training session in Wing Chun may include:
The benefits of training Wing Chun Kung Fu:
My Journey with Wing Chun:
My journey with Wing Chun began over twenty years ago when I was 19 and I first nervously walked in to take a trial lesson with Sifu Dana P. Wong at Grandmaster William Cheung’s World Wing Chun Association headquarters in Melbourne. At that time, Sifu Dana was the chief instructor at the Melbourne academy. I didn’t know what I was hoping to get out of my Wing Chun training way back then. I was leading a typically debauched lifestyle as an undergraduate Arts student, and I was aware that I needed to do something to get a bit healthier, fitter, and establish some much-needed self-discipline.
My initial decision to give Wing Chun training a try was in part influenced by my university studies at the time. At university, I was pursuing a philosophy and literature major. I had studied a little of both Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, and both traditions of thought had resonated strongly with me. Given that the Chinese martial arts, in general, are solidly grounded in both these philosophies, Wing Chun seemed like the logical choice for me; one that would keep me both mentally and physically engaged, and one that I would hopefully stick at without quitting.
Upon meeting Sifu Dana for the first time, his dedication to his students and the art that he was teaching was immediately apparent. When Sifu Dana spoke to you, often to provide a necessary technique correction or insight, you were compelled to feel that your progress mattered to him, regardless of your ability or talent. Sifu Dana brought an enthusiasm and passion to his classes that was incredibly contagious. You immediately got the impression that there was nothing else in the world that he would rather be doing than sharing his love of Wing Chun with you. The generosity and passion with which he shared his knowledge was truly humbling.
Needless to say, I caught the Wing Chun training bug. What started off as a casual once a week curiosity soon became an all-consuming obsession. It wasn’t long before I was training obsessively every day and pretty soon my university studies were taking a back seat. The following year I dropped out of university to devote all my effort and time to Wing Chun training as a full time student. A year later, I was accepted as an assistant instructor by Sifu Dana and began teaching some of the daytime classes at the Melbourne headquarters.
Since those early days of training Wing Chun Kung Fu with Sifu Dana, my martial arts training journey has taken me in many interesting and varied directions. I have trained extensively in Western Boxing, Yang style Cheng Man-Ch’ing lineage Tai Chi Chuan, Filipino Kali (stick and knife fighting), and competed in full contact Muay Thai. However, Wing Chun and its core principles always informed my practice in each of these different arts and are still very much the focus of my training today. These other martial arts styles, in addition to ten years of working security in nightclubs, have given me a unique perspective through which to understand my Wing Chun training. I have tested my Wing Chun technique in a variety of different situations and training environments over the years. The insights I have gained have been hard earned. My Wing Chun knowledge has come at the cost of numerous injuries, and I have on more than one occasion eaten a double helping of humble pie when testing a theory that I thought I understood in a realistic situation.
I still train with Sifu Dana every week to keep my skills sharp and am now focusing my attention on the Foshan lineage of Wing Chun that he currently teaches. I believe that Wing Chun should be taught first and foremost as a practical system of self-defence and close quarter combat. Whilst remaining true to the traditions of the art, I have adopted a no-nonsense approach to teaching Wing Chun that is heavily informed by real combative experience and knowledge of modern-day, scientific, evidence-based training methods as a strength and conditioning coach and rehabilitation trainer.
Sifu Dana P. Wong (Chief Instructor, Qian Li Dao Academy)
Professional recommendation here (pdf).
Is Wing Chun Kung Fu right for me:
Wing Chun Kung Fu is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is currently offered as personal training, by appointment, for either small groups or one on one, and as a weekly, group, self-defence class.
Group self-defence classes in Wing Chun are held on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm. Book online here or contact Chris Gauntlett to book a free trial session. Numbers are limited and bookings are essential.
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All content © Chris Gauntlett, Resilience Massage and Training, South Melbourne, 2017.