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Different Wing Chun Versions II

Back in August we talked about the many different versions of “Wing Chun” based mostly on ancient history prior to late Grandmaster Yip Man. Many of the forerunners of Yip Man must have had students who taught others. They passed what they knew onto their students the way they saw fit. It is easy to see how, in a country as large as China and how, in ancient times, with little communication, there could eventually be variations of Wing Chun.

Why then, do we see significant differences, even in the versions taught in the twentieth century in lineages from Yip Man?

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Different Wing Chun Versions

There are many different lineages of Wing Chun, Ving Tsun today including Wing Tsun. The instructors of these schools have decided to spell their teachings differently from one another. For many years, the western world assumed that all Wing Chun came from the late Grandmaster Yip Man. Yip Man lineages are the most numerous and generally successful in attracting new students. The late Grandmaster was drawn into teaching publicly by enthusiastic students in the Hong Kong of the 1950s. He also became known for teaching kung-fu superstar Bruce Lee.

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Some Martial Arts are Really Sports

Virtually all martial arts taught today had, at one time, a very effective combat purpose. As the decades and centuries passed, the purpose for some arts faded. To preserve the concepts, techniques, and philosophy of those arts, many were preserved as sports. The best self defense martial art was usually the one that had not been converted to a sport. However, it also had to be relevant and had application to modern circumstances.

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Martial Art Designed for Humans

Many martial arts were designed in bygone eras in eastern countries that had a high regard and respect for nature. Imitating the movements and even the character of animals was a common way to invent a martial art style. Consequently, we have many styles named after animals. Of course, the martial art was adapted for use by humans but attempting to incorporate the qualities of animals was considered a problem by the founders of Wing Tsun. Wing Tsun’s founder, the Buddhist nun, Ng Mui was an expert in Shaolin kung-fu according to the legends. She saw flaws in the way the fighting arts were conceived and decided to start teaching her new students techniques that would more closely be adaptable to the human body. In addition, the new art would have to be more efficient and be more quickly learned. She and her followers who were being pursued by government soldiers did not have time to spent a lifetime learning how to defend themselves.

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Martial Arts Histories

Martial Arts Histories. History lessons? Why?

Because we can learn a lot from what happened before. Regarding martial arts histories, we can learn why a martial art like the one we practice came to be the way it is. Unlike the fictional stories we hear, one cannot invent a martial art from a dream or a sudden inspiration.

Today, martial arts are practiced as a hobby as much as they are practiced as self-defense if not more so.

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Wing Tsun in the USA, the Early Days – Immersion

Starting in the spring of 1980, Great Grandmaster Leung Ting toured the Unites States, teaching 4-5 seminars in just as many states, Arizona included. Each seminar was 10 days long, 6 hours per day! This is what I call real immersion! My fellow kung-fu brothers and I basically soaked in the Wing Tsun training at a fast pace and with great intensity. Much of the training was hour upon hour of stance training, punching, being thrown to the cement, and advancing step training on the patio at GGM Leung Ting’s hotel near the Salt River in Tempe. This is where I began my training in earnest. I had met GGM Leung Ting first, in California where he taught me some simple hand movements and spoke at length about his approach to Wing Tsun in his hotel room at the Los Angeles Hilton in the prior January.

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BELIEVE IN LOGIC

Logic permeates the WingTsun approach. The simplest idea is the best idea in the WingTsun way of self-defense. A human tendency is to over-think and complicate matters. In a life or death struggle the simplest path is often a straight-line to the target and also the quickest. Sometimes there are barriers. WingTsun has the answers there too and WingTsun has a simple solution that does not involve a clash of forces.

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Go from knowing nothing to knowing something.

“Go from knowing nothing to knowing something.”

– Great Grandmaster Leung Ting

The above quote by GGM Leung Ting epitomizes the simple idea of Wing Tsun. Instead of trying to swallow a meal whole, it is best to take small bites. It is better to learn one thing very well and be known for it than to do a lot of things in a mediocre way.

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the brain on wing tsun
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Martial Arts Focus, An opinion piece…

Leung Ting WingTsun®, a branch of the Yip Man family of martial arts, is focused on self-defense and self-betterment for the student. Much gets made on some internet sites as to the source of Wing Chun and the mystery surrounding its development. Some senior practitioners have jumped from instructor to instructor to instructor and I suspect it is not always to gain knowledge and wisdom. Politics often intervene but also opportunism rears its ugly head.

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Where did Wing Tsun Come From?

Some historians think that Wing Tsun was developed from several martial arts types. They dispute the most common story that says that Ng Mui, a female Buddhist elder invented Wing Tsun from her training in the Shaolin Monastery martial art system.

The story goes that Wing Tsun was developed by secret societies from the arts of Tai Chi Chuan, Praying Mantis kung-fu, and a mix of Shaolin animal styles such as snake and crane.

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