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
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
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
to diligently dedicate practice time and have the aptitude to learn
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
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
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
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 & ½ 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
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
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
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
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