The Lore of Wing Chun
Ch. 1:  The First Year
By John F. DiVirgilio

 
The many one-step applications found in the first set of Wing Chun will help you to develop the ability to carry your body's momentum for a step's distance.

Begin all new movements no faster than walking speed.  Medium- and fast-speed movements should not be performed without developing the basic timing found in walking speed drills.  Fast drills will also lead a practitioner back to walking speed.

Why use a vertical fist instead of a horizontal fist?  The developed horizontal fist has about 10% better striking power, but the trained vertical fist has 100% better forearm pinning ability.  Use the vertical fist and the forearm as the primary tools in weaponless combat.

Organize the class by having established drills and goals.

When you play as a child, you pivot on the balls of your feet.  When you learn Wing Chun, you must learn to pivot on your heels.  When you fight, you can pivot on either the ball or the heel of the foot.

The beginning martial artist must learn to train his/her vision.  You must develop the ability to see with both primary and peripheral vision.  The fighting vision must act as one whole vision.  A whole-vision viewer can see all the areas on and around the opponent.

When countering an opponent, never look at or into your blocking hand.  Instead look over your strike, and you will see your blocking hand as well as all of your opponent's limbs.

Conserve your breath by deep breathing with you diaphragm.  Breath is always lost no matter how well your body is conditioned.  Conserve by being efficient and effective in combat.  In combat, always breathe slightly deeper with you diaphragm.

Multiple moves will require slightly longer discharges of breath.  In desperate combat, there is no way to have smooth and rhythmic breathing or movements.

Use no extra or unneeded movements in combat.  Useless moves waste time and may cost you your life.

Blow your air out of your mouth when you apply a counter.

Do not over-engineer your countering drills.  There are single blocking techniques, and sometimes there can be double-count blocking techniques (two blocks).  There should never be a three-count block (three blocks).  The third move must be a strike.

When learning any reflex skill, you must train yourself not to guess which hand or leg will be used by your partner.  Train your mind to keep attentive without guessing.  Tell yourself that you do not care which hand or leg will attack.

The untrained mind and body will always wonder, become hypnotized, or make a gambling assertion as to which limb will attack during combat.  Without proper reflex skills, a person will have to work twice as hard and will take twice as long to perform an action that is too late.  This is called being "Double-Weighted".

Bandits travel in groups.  They often travel on the same road with law-abiding people.  When defending yourself, first use your mind; secondly, be able to use a long-range weapon effectively; thirdly, be capable of using a bladed weapon; and lastly, be skilled at using the Wing Chun hand art.  The least of your worries in saving yourself and your family will be what you do while wrestling with one bandit on the ground.

An occasional incorrect technique is not a mistake if you press onward to win.

Develop your focus and breath in each sparring session.

If Wing Chun is your second martial art, you must empty you old cup of tea to truly taste something new.  If this is your third martial art, go back to your first art, or you will become a gypsy that has become drunk from his love of novelty.

Wing Chun is a partner system.  Find yourself a shadow partner to help develop your skills.

Seek a shadow partner that is willing to give you quality training time without the ugliness of his/her ego.  The quality of your skill will depend heavily on the skill and diligence of your shadow partner.

Some movements in Wing Chun share a stronger paired relationship.  Remember that the straight centerline punch is accompanied by the pulling Jut Sau.  The Tan Sau (centerline-out) is paired with the Pak Sau (outside-to-centerline) to develop the centerline defense.

Understand the "Lin Sil Dai Dar" single count block and strike principles well.

Pivot or step.  Both allow the hips to generate energy for movement.

Dismiss the other arts that spend more than half of their instructional time on repetitive movement forms (prearranged dances and katas) in each class.

During application drills, develop the skill of waiting for the strike to get close to your body before you move to counter.  Do not move to counter an attack too early.

Train your body to receive fist and leg strikes at moderate levels of impact.  Many people have grown up in a world shielded by over-protective parents.  Their bodies and minds will easily fall into shock even in very minor-contact accidents.  They have little or no "Body Courage" and will not survive moderate levels of contact found in a typical assault.  Train your mind about fear and train your body to tolerate contact.

The most important Wing Chun medicine is Water.

Although a person has a kind heart and is fair to people, he/she must develop intensity and ferocity.  Intensity and ferocity will develop into the fighting spirit needed to defend yourself.  Ferocity is the corner stone in developing intensity and courage.  Survival situations will require courage.

Do not misconstrue the differences between trained and refined courage with the negative aspects found within violence and rage.

Continuous exposure to progressive strikes and attacks with increasing speed and intensity will refine your skill.

Wing Chun is an art form based on well thought-out sequences of body mechanics and levers.

After successfully intercepting the attack, engage your opponent closely to prevent his escape.

 
Copyright 1996, John F. DiVirgilio


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