Core Curriculum

Wing Chun, as taught by Lo Man Kam, emphasizes mastering the details to form a foundation, and building upon that base.  As such, he teaches at a very slow pace, focussing purely on the form for the first month of training.  A dedicated student may reach pair work at the end of that time, though most students may take two or more months.

However, most of Sifu Lo's students who are now teaching have adapted drills to complement form training. In the Central Virginia Area classes, we teach the basics of Wing Chun in nine stages. Unlike belt and other ranking systems, these stages do not represent sequential milestones delineated by a required knowledge of specific techniques; rather, they are merely aspects of training that overlap throughout a student's development. A dedicated and intelligent student who came to all available classes could finish the basic curriculum in about 6 months. This does not mean that training is complete, as it is only through continual practice that one can refine and perfect martial skill.

1. Sil Lum Tao Form
The first form of Wing Chun, the SLT contains all the fundamental movements of the system. The motions of the form are put into partner-drill form so as to understand their basic applications. In this stage of training, the student will learn to relax his shoulders and elbows, develop a strong stance, and maintain mental calm, all the while paying the utmost attention to the details of the form.

If one were to compare Wing Chun to a language, the form itself would be the alphabet, while the drills would be words.

2. Pre-Chi Sao (sticky hands)
The line between Pre-Chi Sao and drills is vague; in fact, the student already starts in a rudimentary level of this stage as soon as he begins training with a partner. However, on a deeper level, Pre-Chi Sao also encompasses more advanced movements and requires a general understanding of the first form. The student will learn simple rolling hands, and have a command of all the tools that will be used in Chi Sao. Once again, he must pay attention to detail.

In the language analogy, this stage corresponds to syntax and grammar.

3. Guided Chi Sao
At this level, the instructor or a senior leads the student through a closed cycle of set techniques. While the movements remain constant, the order in which they appear is random. By the time he completes this stage, the student develops sensitivity, and should be able to flow through and make full use of all the tools he has honed in the first two stages.

Viewing Wing Chun as a language, this stage is like sentences and set dialogues.

4. Free Chi Sao
After practicing directed Chi Sao for a short time, the student should be ready to do the sticky hands exercise in a totally random pattern. While in the first stages, the instructor was holding his hand in a wading pool, the student must now swim with sharks. Through extensive training, he develops sensitivity and fluidity. At the same time, he finds which movements and techniques work best for his own body type and mindset, and it is here that Wing Chun becomes tailored to the individual. Chi Sao also has several stages, which may be discussed later.

In the language example, free Chi Sao starts as a conversation, and through constant practice, the student develops his own style of articulation.

5. Turning on the Horse:
Once the student has developed a decent level of Chi Sao skills, he learns how to combine the motions with turning on his horse. Whether the turn is active or passive (being turned by an opponent's energy), turning serves the purpose of redirecting an opponent's force, changing angles of attack, generating more punching power, and coordinating the upper and lower parts of the body.

6. Basic Stepping
Up to now, the feet have been confined to one place. At the basic stepping stage, the student learns three different types of footwork, with the goal of learning to maintain good fighting distance when pressuring or being pressured by an opponent.

7. Chum Kiu
The second form of Wing Chun combines basic stepping, turning, and kicking with hand techniques. Here, the student trains a strong walking stance, and learns the concept of "bridging" (making contact with an opponent).

8. Advanced Footwork
While early stages of stepping were essentially limited to back and forth movement, this level encompasses side and angling steps. The student will learn how to move out of the way of a strong, oncoming attack, and then attack from the flank.

9. Kicking
At this stage, the student will know four kicks, and be able to use them both in close, chi sao training, and longer, unbridged positions.

Advanced Curriculum

1. San Da
With the basic tools of Wing Chun mastered, the student goes on to learn how to apply them at different ranges and varying situations. In addition to several distance, timing, and position drills, we practice light sparring and ground fighting.

2. Instructor's Course
A student, after mastering fundamentals and getting a reasonable ability in application, has the option of learning how to teach our curriculum.

3. Biu Jee
Wing Chun's third form.

4. Wooden Dummy
While we have several wooden dummy exercizes introduced throughout the beginning stages of training, we finish with a formalized, 7-section dummy form.