Frequently Asked Questions
What additional benefits do the Wing Chun system provide over other Self-defense systems?

  • Short learning curve
  • Fast, focused and direct
  • Scientific use of body mechanics to deliver and overcome force
  • Economy of motion
  • Trains the body to be soft and relaxed

What are the roots of the Wing Chun System?

The Wing Chun system has its roots in the Shaolin Temple.  According to legend, Ng Mui, one of the Five Elders of Shaolin, escaped the burning of the Shaolin temple by the Ching army.  Ng Mui designed a system that would significantly shorten the training time required to produce competent fighters.  Ng Mui passed on this combat system to Yim Wing Chun.  The Wing Chun system has since been refined and passed down multiple generations to the current association of Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioners today.

What was the design philosophy of the Wing Chun system?

The Wing Chun system was originally designed to quickly train fighters to rebel against the Ching government.  The Chings were a Manchurian government which controlled China during the 1600s.  The Wing Chun system focused on counter-fighting principles rather than offensive abilities.  Wing Chun focuses on use of aggressive close-quarter fighting techniques which is ideal in tight spaces.

Who should learn the Wing Chun system?

Wing Chun is an extremely effective and simple self defense system.  The Wing Chun system does not pit force against force, nor require extreme body flexibility nor stamina so it is suitable for most age, gender and weight groups.

Where does Wing Chun have its largest following?

Wing Chun is practiced around the world, having its largest base in Hong Kong and Foshan, Guangdong, China.

What is the difference between Wing Chun and Ving Tsun?

None.  Wing Chun is the Cantonese pronunciation.  A Hong Kong based Ving Tsun Association was formed in tribute to Grandmaster Yip Man.

How long does it take to become proficient in applying the Wing Chun techniques in self defense?

While it depends on the student's dedication and aptitude, 2 to 3 years is a conservative length of time to become competent in its base techniques.  The length can be shorten to one year for those who are able to diligently dedicate practice time and have the aptitude to learn quickly.

Does Wing Chun teach fancy high kicks and acrobatic flips as seen in Kung Fu movies?

Wing Chun generally employs kicks to the mid body section and below.  Leg sweeps and stomps are also used.  It is generally believed by Wing Chun masters that low kicks are more difficult for the opponent to detect and it is much quicker to maintain and recover balance when delivering kicks that are waste and below.  Flips are not taught nor practiced in the Wing Chun system as opportunities to apply them are rare and difficult in real situations.

How does Wing Chun differ from other Kung Fu styles?

See our Wing Chun Compared page to compare Wing Chun to other forms.

How does Jeet Kune Do (a.k.a. Bruce Lee's style) differ from Wing Chun?

The late Bruce Lee had studied Wing Chun from our late grandmaster Yip Man while growing up in in Hong Kong.  During his early years, Bruce Lee authored a book titled "Chinese Gung Fu:  The Philosophical Art of Self Defense", which contained many aspects from the Wing Chun system.  Bruce Lee later incorporated techniques from other styles and fighting systems and renamed his unique style to Jeet Kune Do.  While both Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun are practical self defense systems, Wing Chun does have the benefit of several centuries of refinement and applied usage.

What weapons are taught in the Wing Chun system?

The Wing Chun system teaches short range and long range weapons systems:  The double short sword (a.k.a. double butterfly sword) and a long staff.  Many of the centerline, sticking and countering concepts in the Wing Chun hand forms are also applied in the weapons forms.

Does Wing Chun teach the tradition of lion dancing?

While some schools teach lion dancing, the Wing Chun system generally does not incorporate this tradition.  Wing Chun was originally designed as a combative/self-defense system that could be learned quickly.

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, and so the vertical fist and the forearm are used as our primary tools in weaponless combat.

What is the best age to learn Wing Chun?

Wing Chun can be adapted for students of just about any age, however, in general, students age 12 and above will be able to learn and adopt the techniques quicker.

Why is Wing Chun referred to as a street fighting art?

Wing Chun is an extremely effective and street-tested self-defense system and has been written up as such in numerous publications.

What is the purpose of Chi Sao (Sticky Hand) training?

Chi Sao (a.k.a. Sticky Hand) is a standard drill practiced among the Wing Chun community to develop sensitivity and reflex.  It is a partnering system in which two Wing Chun practitioners lock and roll hands in a uniform manner.  One partner attacks using random Wing Chun combinations, while the other partner counters.  Chi Sao is a safe and controlled form of close-in sparring.

What is the purpose of the Wooden Man (Mook Yan Jong) training?

Mook Yan Jong (a.k.a. Wooden Dummy) is a training tool to help the Wing Chun practitioner develop the proper form, distance and angles to an opponent.  Techniques on how to recover from a losing situation are taught in the Wooden Man form.

How many sets (a.k.a. Katas) are in the Wing Chun system?

Other Wing Chun lineages may vary, but the Yip Man Wing Chun system has three hand form sets, one wooden dummy training set and two weapons sets:

  • Sil Nim Tao:  A set of little ideas
  • Chum Kiu:  Searching for the bridge
  • Biu Gee:  Shooting Fingers
  • Mook Yan Jong:  Wooden Man
  • Luk Dim Boon Kwan: 6 & point staff system
  • Bat Cham Doa:  8 Cutting Swords system

Does Wing Chun teach grappling techniques?

No.  Wing Chun teaches escapes from grabs/holds to avoid having to fight on the floor.  It is the belief that there is a high probability of defending against multiple opponents so ground fighting is not encouraged.

What does it mean when Wing Chun is referred to as an internal style as opposed to an external style?

Wing Chun is an internal style that develops the internal strength by proper breathing techniques (Chi Gung) and a relaxed body.  By developing breathing along with movement as the intensity develops, so does the Chi and internal strength of the practitioner.

Unlike other styles that chose to oppose force with force, Wing Chun chooses to economize strength with proper breathing in execution of movements and only use the necessary minimum force to be successful in subduing the opponent.  Time is not wasted, and neither is strength, due to a philosophy that dictates the next guy may be just a breath away so there isn't a breath to waste.

Wing Chun can be taught like Tai Chi and practiced without competition, and the benefits are equally compelling; but Tai Chi has lately been passed down to many without the fighting applications.  This would be a contradiction of Wing Chun's purpose of self-defense and defense of others.

Why is the Wing Chun stance different from stances taught by other Kung Fu systems?

Wing Chun employs a stance called Yi Gee Kim Yeong Mah (catch goat stance).  This stance forms the foundation for the Wing Chun practitioner.  It allows the practitioner to pivot quickly in either direction to quickly redirect the opponent's force or extend its reach.  Unlike other stances, the Wing Chun stance can appear as a natural square stance so to deceive the opponent that you are in a ready position. 

Since Wing Chun and Tai Chi are both soft styles, how do they differ?

Wing Chun and Tai Chi are similar in that their core principle is not to pit force against force, but to leverage the opponents force to one's advantage.  Both emphasize breathing and relaxation and provide similar health benefits.  Wing Chun differs in that it places much more training emphasis on the application of self defense and techniques.

What is the difference between Wing Chun and Wu Shu?

Wu Shu is collectively all forms of Chinese martial arts.  "Wu Shu" means literally "military technique".  Wing Chun is therefore a form of Wu Shu.  Wing Chun differs from many of the other Wu Shu styles in that it is less stylistic for public performances; however, it is devastatingly effective as the fighting art it is meant to be.

What famous people have studied Wing Chun?

The late Bruce Lee had studied Wing Chun while growing up in the rough streets of Hong Kong.  Bruce put Wing Chun in the international spotlight when he achieved international movie success.  Other action movie stars have studied it as well, such as internationally-famed Michelle Yeoh who acted as the legendary Yim Wing Chun in a movie called "Wing Chun."

Do Wing Chun practitioners participate in tournaments?

There are Chi Sao tournaments that are held in the U.S. and internationally.

Who is Yip Man?

The late Grandmaster Yip Man is credited with popularizing and spreading Wing Chun into the modern era.

How does Yip Man's Wing Chun system differ from other Wing Chun systems?

The Yip Man-derived Wing Chun system has the largest international following of practitioners.  It is also most-notable for its simplicity in codifying its sets.

Since Wing Chun is a Shaolin-derived system, what animal styles does Wing Chun base its techniques on?

The Wing Chun system had incorporated many techniques from the Shaolin Temple's Snake and Crane animal systems.  The snake is known for its quick, springing motion and the crane is known for its wings' whipping power.  While Wing Chun does not resemble actual animal movements like those performed in Kung-Fu movies, it draws from the principles of the Shaolin snake and crane animal forms.

Where can I find seminars on the Wing Chun system in my area?

Seminars and workshops are periodically posted in the home page of this website.  Additionally, you may find seminars and workshops posted in the profile pages of the various instructors listed from our Schools page.  You may also check our Other Resources page.

Where can I find Wing Chun instructors in my area?

Visit our Schools page to find the nearest school or instructor in your area.  Also, check our Other Resources page for additional listings.

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