Wing Chun Concepts

Invented by a woman, Wing Chun Kung Fu assumes that an opponent will be bigger and stronger than you. Therefore, WC emphasizes fast and strong structure over physical strength and speed. Further, instead of focusing on individual techniques (though these need to be practiced), Wing Chun is more concerned with following principles that work at all ranges of combat in varying situations.  Many can be also applied to everyday life.

Center line  
Passing from the top of the head to the base of the groin, the center line serves as the foundation of Wing Chun combat theory.  Given the number of vital points along that line, the practitioner  must concentrate on attacking his opponent's center line while defending his own.  An awareness of the center line is developed in all stages of training. 

Economy of Motion  
Rather than waste energy on flashy techniques with fancier names, Wing Chun embraces simplicity and efficiency.  In all aspects of training, the student seeks the simplest and most cost-effective way to attack his opponent's center line. 

Covering instead of Blocking  
While many martial arts teach a student to block against specific attacks, the Wing Chun exponent learns to cover his open areas through body positioning and hand movements.  Although you may not know what attack your opponent will launch, you can position yourself in a way to limit his choices, and move your hands to stop whatever comes in.  Instead of answering A, B, or C to a multiple choice question which has not yet been asked, the practitioner is choosing D, "all of the above."

Simultaneous Attack and Defense
Wing Chun focuses on combining a defensive movement with an offensive movement, or using offensive techniques that provide defense.  In this way, WC is structurally faster that those styles that teach one to defend first, then attack.  Drills and sticky hands help the student improve this skill. 

Contact Reflexes  
The hand is truly faster than the eye.  Further, your eyes can deceive you.  In Wing Chun, the student develops tactile sensitivity in the arms, allowing him to feel his opponent's openings and sense oncoming attacks.  Thus, upon arm contact with an adversary (forming what is known as a bridge), the Wing Chun exponent can react immediately to any move his rival makes-- instead of first perceiving the movement, ascertaining what it is, deciding upon a reaction, and finally moving.  Contact reflexes are developed through constant sticky hands practice. 

Sifu Lo Man Kam says, "Hitting someone is easy.  Not getting hit is hard." A Wing Chun practitioner is sometimes able to control both of his opponent's hands with just one of his own, leaving a free hand to attack.  This particular technique is known as a trap.  Sticky hands is the best way to refine trapping skills.

Sticky Hands
The jewel of the Wing Chun system, sticky hands practice teaches the student to integrate Wing Chun's fundamental movements and combat principles into a functional whole.  Through sticky hands, also called "chi sao," one learns to react quickly and naturally to the ever-changing conditions of a fight. 

Body Alignment and Linkage 
In order to transfer power, the Wing Chun practitioner must be able to align her body correctly so that an optimal amount of force is conducted from her center into her opponent. Correct practice and pondering of the forms helps develop this sense of structure. Correspondingly, while the practioner will want to "link" her body correctly to hit with his maximum potential force, she will also want to be able to "unlink" as well, so that an opponent will not be able to affect her center of gravity. This concept of linking and unlinking can be developed through sticky hands practice and working the wing chun wooden dummy.

Kicks, footwork, and body unity  
The higher one kicks, the less stable his stance becomes.  Wing Chun as taught by Sifu Lo Man Kam never kicks above the abdomen, and usually targets the opponent's knees or ankles.  Further, they are integrated with hand techniques so as to increase power through total body unity. 

Flexibility and unlimited application  
Through sticky hands and associated drills, Wing Chun becomes tailored to the student as an individual, taking into account physical abilities and limitations, as well as mindset.  He learns how to apply a relatively small number of techniques to a wide variety of combat situations, while maintaining an open mind so as to be ready to change if the  need arises.