How to Win a Street Fight Using Wing Chun Techniques, Part 1

In the martial arts, one school of thought holds that you should change your game to match your opponent’s. Example: If you’re a stand-up fighter and you’re facing a grappler, you should immediately switch into grappling mode. Problem is, that requires you to train to such an extent that each subset of your skills is superior to the skills of a person who focuses on only that range of combat. Your grappling must be better than a grappler’s, your kicking must be better than a kicker’s and your punching must be better than a puncher’s. It’s a tough task, to be sure.

Another school of thought holds that you should never fight force with the same kind of force. In other words, don’t try to beat your opponent at what he does best. Instead, use a set of concepts and techniques that will enable you to nullify his attacks and nail him when he’s not expecting it. The best set of concepts I’ve found is called the science of wing chun, as taught by Black Belt Hall of Fame member William Cheung. It offers a strategic approach to combat that’s guaranteed to help any stand-up fighter prevail on the street.

Maintain a Balanced Stance
When you’re in a balanced wing chun stance, your opponent won’t be able to read your intentions because you’re not telegraphing the way you’ll fight. He can’t discern your commitment to any move or to any direction.

The stance requires a 50-50 weight distribution at all times. That enables you to move either foot in any direction at anytime. Having maximum mobility, at a moment’s notice, is essential for dealing with armed or multiple attackers. Being balanced also conserves energy, which allows you to channel it to other uses while under attack.

Once your opponent moves, wing chun teaches that you should immediately shift into a side-neutral stance based on the side of your body he attacks. If he comes from your right, you deal with him by using your right arm and right foot, and vice versa. Your stance is now similar to that of a boxer, except that you’re oriented at a 45-degree angle so you’re less open to his blows.

Attack Your Opponent’s Balance
In any kind of fighting, balance is everything. Strive to maintain yours while attacking your opponent’s. Often, that entails getting him to lean too far into his technique, overcommit to his movement or overextend his body. Without proper balance, he won’t be able to move, block or strike effectively.

In general, grapplers employ a strategy that involves an overzealous commitment to a move. They’ll lean, lunge or throw themselves forward in an effort to take you to the ground, which is their preferred environment. At that point, they’ll attempt to mount you and punch, or they’ll choke you unconscious. That’s all well and good as long as you don’t take advantage of their momentary lack of balance.

LEARN MORE WING CHUN TECHNIQUES FROM GRANDMASTER WILLIAM CHEUNG! A student of Yip Man and a longtime friend and training partner of Bruce Lee, William Cheung teaches you empty-hand forms, reflex training, chi sao drills and more in Wing Chun Kung Fu 5-DVD Set! Available now in our online store!

In wing chun, you control your opponent’s balance and then deflect his force primarily by controlling his elbow. As Cheung likes to say, if you control his elbow, you can control his balance.

With practice, you can incorporate the principles of wing chun into your self-defense system no matter what it is.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this Web post in “How to Win a Street Fight Using Wing Chun Techniques, Part 2.”

About the Author:
Lucy Haro has been a disciple of William Cheung for more than 10 years and holds a black sash in traditional wing chun kung fu. A 17-year veteran of the martial arts, she’s also an attorney and entrepreneur.

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William Cheung: Hong Kong Bullies, Wing Chun Kung Fu and Bruce Lee

William Cheung: Hong Kong Bullies, Wing Chun Kung Fu and Bruce Lee

When you think of the traditional Asian fighting arts, you probably envision sword-wielding soldiers hacking away on the battlefield, martial monks exchanging kicks between meditation sessions and courageous karate masters busting bricks with their knifehand strikes.

But do you ever think of good kids defending themselves against street bullies in the back alleys of a place like Hong Kong?

In the 1950s and ’60s, such scenarios played out all too often in Hong Kong, then a British colony dangling off the Chinese mainland. Just ask wing chun kung fu expert William Cheung. He grew up there — in an area called Kowloon — and witnessed street fights all the time.

“When the communist government took over China, they used a lot of triad (gang) members to help them spread their propaganda and do their dirty work,” William Cheung says. “After they completed the takeover in 1949, they purged the triads. So the [criminals] all came down to Hong Kong. By 1951 and ’52, they started recruiting young people — some as young as 10. A lot of kids got hooked up with them, some very reluctantly. By 1954, they were quite established.”

At least one group of young people, called the Eight Tigers, was trying to resist being sucked into the triads. “They were having some trouble, so they heard about me and that I had done a lot of street fighting. They invited me to come in and help.

Fighting Reputations

William Cheung started the martial arts when his oldest brother, who spent a lot of time studying different styles, took up tai chi. That led younger brother William to give the art a try, too.

Years later, William Cheung joined a swim team, where he met Wong Man Leung. “He mentioned that his brother Wong Shun Leung, who was doing boxing at the time, had challenged all these kung fu masters and was winning,” William Cheung says. “He said his brother was going to challenge an old man who taught a kung fu system devised by a woman. We thought we had better go and look. So my eldest brother, Wong Man Leung, Wong Shun Leung and I went.”

The match lasted about two seconds. Wong Shun Leung ended up on the floor. “We got out of there as quickly as possible,” William Cheung says. “Then two months later, we discovered that Wong Shun Leung was training with that old man. He turned out to be Yip Man. He said he thought about it and reckoned he was the best. Later, we started training with Yip Man, too. I was 11. It was the end of 1951.”

Bruce Lee Connection

Bruce Lee started training under Yip Man around the beginning of 1954, William Cheung says. “Because Bruce progressed so fast, within six months he had overtaken his seniors,” William Cheung says. “They got very upset with him and started checking into his background. They found out that he was one-quarter German, and they said, ‘We can’t teach Chinese kung fu to an impure Chinese.’

“So they put a lot of pressure on Yip Man to kick Bruce out of the school. Yip Man came to Wong Shun Leung and me and said, ‘We’re going to ask Bruce to leave the school, but you guys should help him.’ So Wong Shun Leung and I helped him train. Only in the later stages, around 1958, was he allowed to come back to the main school.”

Devotion to the Art

Although Bruce Lee, in essence, left the wing chun community when he created jeet kune do, William Cheung never wavered in his devotion to it — despite the politics. He knew the art, which flourished on the streets of Hong Kong because its methods were worked so well, was helping prepare him and his classmates to survive in virtually any environment.

“Wing chun advocates always putting pressure on the opponent by attacking,” William Cheung explains. “Because of the short, straight punches, it’s very effective and direct. And because it teaches a lot of close-contact reflex drills, the eyes become more effective.”

There were other, perhaps more important, benefits that kept him doing wing chun. “It wasn’t just for fighting,” William Cheung says. “People would be stupid to learn it just for self-defense. Many times when we were in a tough situation, we would have given up except for the tenacity we got from wing chun and the ability to be detached from the situation.”

Such training helps martial arts students avoid freaking out during high-stress situations. “Wing chun training gives you self-confidence,” William Cheung says. “If you can train for three or four hours a day nonstop and get through all the pain, you’re guaranteed to be able to take care of other difficult situations in life.”

Resources
To download a FREE Guide titled “10 Wing Chun Kung Fu Training Principles Any Martial Artist Can Use,” go here.

To download a FREE Guide titled “Bruce Lee Training Research: How Boxing Influenced His Jeet Kune Do Techniques,” visit this link.

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Wing Chun Street Fighting DVD 1 Preview

Written By Raymond Horwitz – March 24, 2011

In the martial arts DVD series Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Grandmaster William Cheung, the longtime friend and wing chun training partner of Bruce Lee, recalls some of his most dangerous street fights and deconstructs the techniques he used to survive the encounters. In Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun, Volume 1: Choy Li Fut Challenge, Cheung tells the story of a Hong Kong bare-knuckle rooftop challenge against a choy li fut practitioner in the hot and humid summer of 1956. The fight would raise Cheung’’s profile to one of prominence should he emerge victorious, and on-hand were friends Bruce Lee and Wong Shun Leung to offer advice and input. The topics covered include fighting strategies, observing one’’s opponent, the differences between choy li fut and wing chun, controlling the lead elbow from the blind side, footwork and much more! Cheung is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame (Kung Fu Artist of the Year, 1983). He has trained since the age of 10, originally under the legendary Yip Man. From his headquarters in Australia, Cheung now operates a worldwide network of instructors and students in the fascinating art of wing chun. He has also become an expert in meridians, pressure points and meditation dealing with internal energies. Today, his programs for the treatment of sports injuries and stress-related illnesses are highly sought across the globe.

Permalink: http://www.blackbeltmag.com/daily/traditional-martial-arts-training/kung-fu/wing-chun-street-fighting-dvd-1-preview/Posted in Chinese Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Martial Arts Trailers, Self-Defense Experts, Self-Defense Videos, Traditional Martial Artists, Traditional Martial Arts Videos, William Cheung, Wing Chun.

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Yip Man: Wing Chun Legend and Bruce Lee’s Formal Teacher

by the Editors at Black Belt
BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. – August 12, 2013

Yip Man: Wing Chun Legend and Bruce Lee’s Formal Teacher

Bak mei (white eyebrow) kung fu master Leung Sheung proudly demonstrated another self-defense technique to his class: side kick, grab, punch. Leung Sheung executed the movements with as much fluency and precision as would be expected from any 20-year veteran of the fighting arts. The students then imitated the perfection of his form. In the back of the room, the old man quickly turned his head away and bit down on his tongue, swallowing his laughter.

Side kick! Grab! Punch! The old man leaned against the wall for support. Now his body shuddered as he struggled to conceal his amusement. Suddenly, his efforts failed, and his silent chuckles grew into loud roars of laughter.

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Leung Sheung stopped his class, his face red with anger. “Hey, old man!” he snapped. “What are you laughing at?”

“Oh, nothing,” he replied. “Please continue. I’ll try not to disturb you further.”

Leung Sheung took a deep breath and paced across the room. He was still furious. “Look, old man, a few months ago we found you living out of garbage cans in Macao,” he said. “We brought you here to the Union Hall. We gave you a place to sleep and food to eat. The least you could do is show a little respect when I’m teaching.”

The old man perked up an ear. Had he heard the man say “respect”?

“Then the least you could do is show a little respect for the art that you teach,” the old man growled back. “All you do is have your students punch air.” He quickly moved through Leung Sheung’s technique: side kick, grab, punch. “But the air doesn’t hit back. What happens when you face an enemy who will?”

The old man shook his head. “If you are going to practice kung fu,” he said, “you should do so seriously — or not at all!”

“Look, old man,” bellowed master Leung Sheung, “if you think you know something, why don’t you come up here and teach me?”

With this challenge from Leung Sheung on that day in 1952, Yip Man officially opened the doors on his 20-year career as a martial arts instructor and patriarch of wing chun. Standing only 5 feet tall and weighing 120 pounds, Yip Man proceeded to throw the 6-foot, 200-pound bak mei master around the room with almost no effort. No matter how Leung Sheung attacked, he always found himself carefully deposited on the floor.

When all was said and done, Leung Sheung had surrendered his kung fu class at the Restaurant Workers’ Union Hall to Yip Man and had become Yip Man’s first disciple.

The Master’s Past

Yip Man did not happily accept his new role in life. Before World War II, he had been a member of a wealthy merchant family in the southern Chinese town of Fatshan, in Kwangtung province. He had owned a large manor house, a prosperous business and a farm, and he had enjoyed a life of relative ease with his wife and family.

Between 1937 and 1941, Yip Man served in the army during China’s valiant effort to repel the Japanese invasion. He returned to his family in Fatshan during the years of the Japanese occupation. Times were hard. His farm was ruined, and his wife became ill.

The end of the war brought little improvement. China needed to rebuild its ravaged cities and towns but found itself embroiled in civil war instead. The nationalist Chinese government recruited Yip Man to the post of captain of the police patrols for Namhoi County. Although the government appointment helped the living conditions of the Yip Man homestead, it did not come in time to prevent the death of Yip Man’s wife from extended illness.

After the Communist triumph in 1949, Yip Man left his two grown sons in Fatshan and fled to Hong Kong. If he had remained, his position as police captain would have meant almost certain death at the hands of the Communists. Thus, at the age of 51, Yip Man was forced to start an entirely new life from scratch.

“When the Communists took over, he lost all his major tangible assets,” explains William Cheung, one of Yip Man’s most senior disciples. “But he still had whatever he could carry: money, gold bars, etc. But Fatshan was a very small town compared with Hong Kong and Macao. There were a lot of shrewd operators in the city. So he immediately lost some of his money through people cheating him.

“Then the heartbreak of losing his home and his wife and being separated from his family caught up with him. He became disillusioned and perhaps began to pity himself. Soon, the Chinese nobleman found himself destitute.

“Then Leung Sheung and a chap called Cheng Kao found him wandering around at the pier of Macao. He seemed to be homeless. They didn’t know that he was a martial artist. They were just being kind. They would have helped anyone they could. So they took him back to the premises of the Restaurant Workers’ Union Hall. They let him stay there. When Yip Man started teaching at the Restaurant Union, he first taught Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu and Cheng Kao. Then there were a few others, like Tsui Sung Ting. Of course, Leung Sheung, being a kung fu master already before he studied wing chun, progressed much faster than the rest.

“A few months later, the rest of us turned up.”

Yip Man quickly proved to be a most unusual instructor. For example, William Cheung recalls that during the seven years he spent with his teacher, he never once saw Yip Man actually teach a wing chun class. Yip Man was usually present in the back of the room, supervising the assistant instructors and correcting his favorite students, but the actual tasks of instruction were left to Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu, Tsui Sung Ting, Wong Shun Leung and William Cheung.

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“He never taught classes himself,” William Cheung says. “Well, only in some situations … with the big clients, the ones who could pay very heavily for a private session. At those times, he would often take me along. Then, suppose he was going to teach a wooden-dummy technique, he would show the technique once. After that, I would help the person.” Yip Man’s regular classes generally consisted of forms practice, chi sao (trapping hands) drills, wooden-dummy techniques and free sparring. There was no set pattern to the sessions. Each assistant instructor was allowed to exercise some personal discretion.

At rare times, the grandmaster might touch hands with one of his favorite students in chi sao practice. But those occasions would last only for a few seconds at a time. Yip Man feared that by doing chi sao with a junior, his own technique would deteriorate. He would have to slow down to create openings for him.

Yip Man had a soft-spoken style that taught more by example and suggestion than by the spoken word. He urged his students not to bully people or to act in a rude or arrogant manner. And he tried to keep them from fighting in the street gangs of Hong Kong, though he did encourage organized competition.

Bruce Lee’s Memories

In Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew (Warner Books, 1975), Linda Lee Cadwell quotes from an essay written by her husband, Bruce Lee, for freshman English in 1961. The essay clearly illustrates the subtle tactics Yip Man would use to influence his students:

“After four years of hard training in the art of gung fu (kung fu), I began to understand and felt the principle of gentleness — the art of neutralizing the effect of the opponent’s effort and minimizing expenditure of one’s energy. All this must be done in calmness and without striving. It sounded simple, but in actual application it was difficult. The moment I engaged in combat with an opponent, my mind was completely perturbed and unstable. Especially after a series of exchanging blows and kicks, all my theory of gentleness was gone. My only thought left was somehow or another I must beat him and win.

“My instructor, Professor Yip Man, head of the wing chun school, would come up to me and say: ‘Relax and calm your mind. Forget about yourself and follow your opponent’s movement. Let your mind, the basic reality, do the countermovement without any interfering deliberation. Above all, learn the art of detachment.’

“That was it! I must relax. However, right here I had already done something contradictory, against my will. When I said I must relax, the demand for effort in ‘must’ was already inconsistent with the effortlessness in ‘relax.’ When my acute self-consciousness grew to what the psychologists call the ‘double-blind’ type, my instructor would again approach me and say: ‘Preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and don’t interfere. Remember never to assert yourself against nature; never be in frontal opposition to any problem, but control it by swinging with it. Don’t practice this week. Go home and think about it.’

“The following week I stayed home. After spending many hours in meditation and practice, I gave up and went sailing alone in a junk. On the sea I thought of all my past training and got mad at myself and punched at the water. Right then at that moment, a thought suddenly struck me: Wasn’t this water, the very basic stuff, the essence of gung fu? Didn’t the common water illustrate to me the principle of gung fu? I struck it just now, but it did not suffer hurt. Again I stabbed it with all my might, yet it was not wounded. I then tried to grasp a handful of it but it was impossible. This water, the softest substance in the world, could fit itself into any container. Although it seemed weak, it could penetrate the hardest substance in the world. That was it! I wanted to be like the nature of water.”

Although Bruce Lee added a bit of his own genius to the events he related in this essay, it does indicate the intellectual as well as technical heights to which Yip Man inspired his students. But at the same time, the wing chun grandmaster also had a playful streak. He loved Bruce Lee’s practical jokes — which was probably tough to do when he would show up for class with itching powder, handshake vibrators and water-squirting cameras.

“Yip Man had a very good sense of humor,” William Cheung says. “He liked to give his students nicknames, and he would take a long time to dream them up. Like Wong Shun Leung was called ‘Wong Ching Leung,’ which means that he’s like a bull. I was called ‘Big Husky Boy.’ And Bruce was nicknamed ‘Upstart.’”

Two years after Yip Man began teaching at the Restaurant Workers’ Union Hall, he was asked to leave. His classes had grown so large and included so many nonunion members that the hall had actually become a kung fu school. So Yip Man and his followers opened the first commercial wing chun school on Lei Dat Street in the Yaumatei District of Kowloon.

Although Yip Man was now a self-supporting member of society with a successful business, his life was still not a happy one.

“He remarried in 1954,” William Cheung says. “He was about 56, and she was about 40. He met her in a restaurant, I think. Anyway, some people thought she didn’t have a very clean past. All his students sort of looked down at her, and this made Yip Man very upset.

“People do not realize that life changes. It moves in cycles. Sometimes it progresses, sometimes it transcends. So there are times that you have to forget about the past. The students were very narrow-minded. They just didn’t show any respect for their master. They even used to address him as ‘old man’ sometimes in a very disrespectful way.

“This was one of the reasons Yip Man never taught a class personally. And I don’t think he was doing the wrong thing by not teaching. Only after the fame of Bruce Lee did they realize that the master was so great and that the style was so great because they saw that it could produce practitioners like Bruce.”

According to William Cheung, Yip Man’s difficulties with his students were further aggravated by his continued drug use. Sometimes the school rent would go unpaid. By 1956 Yip Man had been evicted from his first school in Yaumatei.

The wing chun clan then moved to an apartment in a government-supported housing project, where Yip Man lived and taught. His students formed a committee that collected the school tuition, paid the rent and left Yip Man with a living allowance.

William Cheung recalls that during this period, his master would sometimes have to fight for survival — literally. “At the time we moved to the government house, there was a restriction on water,” he says.

“They only turned on the water once every four days for four hours,” William Cheung recalls, “so you had to collect buckets of water to store until the next four days were over.

“Usually I did all the chores and organization around the apartment, but that morning, I was at the market and my master wanted to get some water. Now all the tenants had to get their water from the same government tap.

“The local gangsters got a hold of this tap and charged everybody 50 cents a bucket.

“Well, because it was so early in the morning, Yip Man didn’t have the humor to argue with these characters, so he challenged them.

“I had just gotten back to the apartment when I heard the commotion. I could see what was happening and I started running toward it. Yip Man was fighting at least six or seven. The thugs all had poles for carrying buckets. They probably used them to threaten people. Yip Man took away one of their poles, then he flattened them all within seconds. When I got there, they were all dragging their poles, holding their heads and running away.

“From then on, every morning — not just every four days, but every morning — two buckets of water were delivered to the apartment.”

As the years passed, Yip Man’s reputation as an instructor grew, and he was eventually able to afford better accommodations. In fact, by 1964 he was able to bring his two sons and their families out of mainland China. Three years later, due in part to the prosperity brought to him through Bruce Lee’s The Green Hornet fame, Yip Man made his final move to a large, well-equipped gymnasium.

Today, Yip Man’s martial arts legacy has been encased in mystery. Many wing chun instructors claim to be his direct disciple or the personal inheritor of some secret set of wing chun techniques. However, as William Cheung confirms, “Probably fewer than six people in the whole wing chun clan were personally taught, or even partly taught, by Yip Man. Yip Man had to teach the first two so that the first two could teach the next six.”

“But Yip Man was so intelligent in the martial arts that he could not stand a slow student,” William Cheung says. “He was very impatient with slow students. So he could not stand to teach more than a few. Also, he belonged to the old tradition, influenced by the Boxer Rebellion, which believed that the martial arts should not be passed on to Westerners. He even believed that wing chun should be just a household art.

“Yip Man was a well-educated man who never wanted to teach kung fu. His best loves were watching soccer and attending the Chinese opera. His strongest hatred was for ignorance. That’s why he did not like many martial artists. He was a man of perfection. He believed that there’s no halfway to doing anything.

“That’s why a lot of people did not understand him.”

In May 1970, Yip Man permanently closed the doors on his career as a martial arts instructor. He died from throat cancer on December 2, 1972. He was 79.

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The Nature and Origins of Chi Power in Wing Chun Kung Fu Training

Adapted from How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung
Photo by Rick Hustead – December 16, 2013

Wing chun kung fu martial arts grandmaster William Cheung as seen in Black Belt magazine.The aim of wing chun kung fu training is to develop physical, mental and spiritual awareness. These elements transcend to a higher level of life.

Self-awareness, self-respect and a duty to serve should be the goal of every martial artist.

The practitioner should meditate on these principles and make peace through the study of kung fu — a way of life.

Origins of the Chi Power Exercises

The word chi in Chinese can mean different things. In the direct translation, it can mean “air” or “breathing.” However, when it is taken further, it can mean “energy,” “temper,” “tension” or “endurance.”

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The Nature of Chi Power in Wing Chun Kung Fu Training:
Yin/Yang and the Five Elements

The Nei Ching, or the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, is the earliest known text on chi power. lt is believed to have been written during the reign of Emperor Huang Ti (2697-2596 B.C.). The Nei Ching elaborately outlines a systematic method of therapy:

The root of the way of life, or birth and change is chi; the myriad things of heaven and earth all obey this law. Thus chi in the periphery envelopes heaven and earth; chi in the interior activates them. The source wherefrom the sun, moon, and stars derive their light; the thunder, rain, wind and cloud, their being, the four seasons and the myriad things their birth, growth, gathering and storing; all this is brought about by chi. Man’s possession of life is completely dependent upon this chi.

— Nei Ching

The Chinese structured their universe out of ever-changing energies. The balance and harmony of these energies they call “tao.” Tao is not a thing; it is merely a word.

Tao contains the totality of all energy. It exists in the constant state of movement and change out of which all things evolve.

One is expressed as …

Expression of tao in discussion of wing chun kung fu training chi concept.

Image source: How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung

… and out of this oneness evolved two, two perfect circles evolving and revolving within the one, the tails of each indicating movement, the eternal revolution.

Yin/yang symbol in discussion of chi energy in wing chun kung fu training.

Image source: How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung

The dark energy is yin, and the bright energy is yang, each holding the seed of each other, and through their continuous evolution, they gave birth to all things and created their polar opposites.

The Five Elements and Their Cycles of Interaction

The Chinese believe that there are five earthly elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. There are two cycles illustrating the interaction between these elements:

The cycle of generation — Each element generates or produces the succeeding element. Thus fire produces earth, earth produces metal, metal produces water, water produces wood, wood produces fire, fire produces earth.

The cycle of destruction — Each element destroys or absorbs the succeeding element. Fire destroys metal, metal destroys wood, wood destroys earth, earth destroys water, water destroys fire.

Interaction of the Five Elements

Chart for five elements energy interaction in wing chun kung fu training.

Image source: How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung

Body Equilibrium in Wing Chun Kung Fu Training

The elements, together with yin and yang, will determine the state of balance and equilibrium within the body. The live elements, as assigned to the organs and bowels, are the following:

Text chart of body equilibrium factors as they pertain to energy in wing chun kung fu training

Image source: How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung

Each organ and bowel is governed by two meridians: One flows from the left and one from the right. The human pressure points are the breathing points for the meridians. There are eight other extraordinary meridians that provide for energy to continue its cycle of circulation, regardless of whether any one of the organs or bowels becomes decreased and blocks the meridian’s circuit. There are other human pressure points that cannot be traced to have any connections with the meridians.

Timetable of Meridians Governing Organs

Following is a clock showing the times of the day that the meridians of the organs and bowels are most vulnerable. This is one of the basic principles by which Chinese doctors in ancient days treated illnesses. Furthermore, there is a relationship between organs, which are opposite each other on the clock.

This relationship is governed by the interaction of the five elements. Treating the gall bladder, for example, which belongs to the wood element, benefits the heart, which is of the fire element.

Meridians governing organs in the body relative to wing chun kung fu training

Image source: How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung

The Death Touch

The death touch, or dim mak, is a specialized technique requiring the striking of a particular human pressure point at a certain time of the day and season. This deadly art was developed by highly skilled kung fu practitioners through the centuries and is based on this relationship between the human pressure points, the various organs and chi power.

Because wing chun was developed by a woman, the emphasis is on the efficiency of the strike — and dim mak is one of its secret specialties. Nevertheless, a lot of the training is devoted to healing the victims of the death touch with the use of different combinations of herbal formulas and massage of human pressure points.

To learn more about chi power in wing chun kung fu training, be sure to read How to Develop Chi Power by William Cheung. In addition to further discussion of human pressure points and meridians, wing chun kung fu training master William Cheung will show you basic arm movements, a form to improve your chi power and chi sao exercises to engage your opponent’s chi. Permalink: http://www.blackbeltmag.com/daily/traditional-martial-arts-training/wing-chun/the-nature-and-origins-of-chi-power-in-wing-chun-kung-fu-training/

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Dr. Mark Cheng’s Top 10 Martial Arts for Self-Defense

Dr. Mark Cheng’s Top 10 Martial Arts for Self-Defense

Almost every day at Black Belt, we’re asked the same question: “What’s the best martial art for self-defense?” To find out the answer, we asked Dr. Mark Cheng, an expert in Chinese medicine and martial arts.

“I chose the following arts because of my personal experience with them,” Dr. Mark Cheng says. “While I’m sure there are plenty of other arts, systems and schools that teach outstanding self-defense, I can’t recommend them on reputation alone. It’s the actual physical experience that makes styles recommendable in my eyes.”

“It’s 100-percent application from the get-go. As Col. Nattapong Buayam taught me, its simple, brutal responses make it an outstanding choice in ‘shortcut’ streetwise self-defense. It’s the forefather of the ring sport of muay Thai.”

“Nothing hits harder than the ground, and combat shuai chiao capitalizes on that debilitating impact. Unlike many systems that teach throws only from a pre-established grip, it uses high-amplitude throws against the full range of unarmed and armed attacks.”

“Developed as a streamlined system of self-defense for smaller, weaker practitioners, it’s one of the best-known Chinese systems, and it was the basis of Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do. Wing chun earned its reputation as a street-fighting art in the mid- to late 20th century in Hong Kong.”

“An archetypal system of southern kung fu, it’s part beauty and part brutality. Using open-hand strikes that can break the skin, along with deft kicks delivered to unlikely targets, it’s the perfect blend of artistry, culture and fearsome fighting techniques.”

“The Filipino system taught by Black Belt Hall of Famer Dan Inosanto is far more than just the sticks and knives that the casual observer sees. Including every possible weapon and range of combat, Inosanto’s system is one of the most sought-after and imitated arts in the world when it comes to practical self-defense.”

“Made famous by its founder, Bruce Lee, it places heavy emphasis on streetwise dirty fighting that employs any and every means to achieve victory. Biting, eye gouging and all sorts of techniques and tactics go beyond the usual fare taught in most traditional arts.”

“While some would argue that this ancient Thai weapons art has no place in a discussion of modern self-defense, I beg to differ. By training the practitioner to respond reflexively to a variety of weapons in countless ranges with both armed and unarmed defenses and counterattacks, it ranks toward the top for battlefield self-defense.”

“This comprehensive Korean art encompasses more techniques in just its joint-manipulation section than some systems have in toto. While that breadth makes the learning process rather arduous, it also develops superb combative attributes in all ranges.”

“The French kickboxing art makes it a point to use the tip of the shoe in street and ring combat. Not just another form of sportive kickboxing, it’s superb at developing a mastery of the standing range.”

“Former Navy SEAL candidate Tim Larkin created a system that ignores stylistic boundaries and focuses on a three-part goal: penetrate, rotate, injure. Its unique training methods allow everyone from the hardened combat vet to the stay-at-home mom access to its benefits.”

Disagree with our picks? Let us know your choices in the comments field.

(For more insights on the top martial arts for self-defense, check out the complete series in the August and September issues of Black Belt magazine. To contact Dr. Mark Cheng, go to http://www.facebook.com/DrMarkCheng.)

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Fight Smart in Close-Quarters Combat Using Wing Chun Techniques

Fight Smart in Close-Quarters Combat Using Wing Chun Techniques

In the martial arts, one school of thought holds that you should change your game to match your opponent’s. Example: If you’re a stand-up fighter and you’re facing a grappler, you should immediately switch into grappling mode. Problem is, that requires you to train to such an extent that each subset of your skills is superior to the skills of a person who focuses on only that range of combat. Your grappling must be better than a grappler’s, your kicking must be better than a kicker’s and your punching must be better than a puncher’s. It’s a tough task, to be sure.

Another school of thought holds that you should never fight force with the same kind of force. In other words, don’t try to beat your opponent at what he does best. Instead, use a set of concepts and techniques that will enable you to nullify his attacks and nail him when he’s not expecting it. The best set of concepts I’ve found is called the science of wing chun, as taught by Black Belt Hall of Fame member William Cheung. It offers a strategic approach to combat that’s guaranteed to help any stand-up fighter prevail on the street.

Before beginning, a few words about wing chun are in order. Supposedly developed by a woman named Yim Wing Chun, the system is based on scientific principles that allow the practitioner to achieve peak performance in any combat situation, even against a larger opponent. It does so by teaching you how to fight smarter, not harder. The key to achieving that goal lies in the following seven principles.

When you’re in a balanced wing chun stance, your opponent won’t be able to read your intentions because you’re not telegraphing the way you’ll fight. He can’t discern your commitment to any move or to any direction.

The stance requires a 50-50 weight distribution at all times. That enables you to move either foot in any direction at any time. Having maximum mobility, at a moment’s notice, is essential for dealing with armed or multiple attackers. Being balanced also conserves energy, which allows you to channel it to other uses while under attack.

Once your opponent moves, wing chun teaches that you should immediately shift into a side neutral stance based on the side of your body he attacks. If he comes from your right, you deal with him by using your right arm and right foot, and vice versa. Your stance is now similar to that of a boxer, except that you’re oriented at a 45-degree angle so you’re less open to his blows.

William Cheung (left) faces his opponent, Eric Oram, in a side neutral stance (1). Oram throws a left jab toward Cheung’s right side, causing Cheung to counter with a right palm strike (2). The opponent then tries a roundhouse punch, which Cheung counters with a finger-thrust block (3). He tries to force his roundhouse punch but Cheung moves with the arm and maintains control of the elbow (4). The wing chun master then hits him with an elbow strike (5) before taking him down with a leg sweep (6-7). He finishes with a series of punches to the head (8).

In any kind of fighting, balance is everything. Strive to maintain yours while attacking your opponent’s. Often, that entails getting him to lean too far into his technique, overcommit to his movement or overextend his body. Without proper balance, he won’t be able to move, block or strike effectively.

In general, grapplers employ a strategy that involves an overzealous commitment to a move. They’ll lean, lunge or throw themselves forward in an effort to take you to the ground, which is their preferred environment. At that point, they’ll attempt to mount you and punch, or they’ll choke you unconscious. That’s all well and good as long as you don’t take advantage of their momentary lack of balance.

In wing chun, you control your opponent’s balance and then deflect his force primarily by controlling his elbow. As Cheung likes to say, if you control his elbow, you can control his balance.

The opponent (left) closes the distance and grabs William Cheung’s right arm (1-2). Cheung interrupts his balance with a palm-strike push aimed at the man’s elbow (3). He then pulls the trapped limb down to effect a standing armbar (4). Cheung pushes the opponent to the floor (5) and neutralizes him with punches (6).

Always watch your adversary’s lead elbow. Why the elbow? Because whenever a person’s arm moves to strike you, so does his elbow. The elbow, however, moves a shorter distance at a slower speed, which means it’s easier for you to track and react to.

Of course, you could watch his fist, but it moves very quickly, and it could wind up in your face before you figure out where it’s going. The elbow, being farther away than the fist, is easier to follow and easier to read. Examples: During the execution of a straight punch, the elbow moves two and a half times more slowly than the fist. When doing a round punch, the elbow moves almost four times more slowly.

Distance translates into time. The longer you can follow the path of his strike—by detecting it sooner—the more time you have to let your reflexes work for you.

To expand the usefulness of this principle, remember that the knee is to the leg as the elbow is to the arm. When you’re facing a grappler, watch his knees for a sign that he’s about to execute a takedown. If you’re facing a kicker, his knee will clue you in as to how he’ll kick.

In close-quarters combat, once you’re aware of which arm the enemy will use to attack, you must take control of his lead elbow. The best way to do that is to use one of your hands to palm-strike the elbow and perhaps pull the arm to disrupt his balance. Simultaneously punch him in the face or body with the other hand. That’s one of the core concepts of wing chun: Always strive to block and strike at the same time.

When you attack and defend simultaneously, you shift the pressure off yourself and onto your opponent. Rather than continuing his attempts to harm you, he must now defend himself or suffer the consequences. The best part is, he’ll be pretty much trapped because you’ll be in control of his elbow and you’ll be throwing a series of blows at the same time. The last thing on his mind will be shooting in on you or grabbing you.

Hundreds of years ago, Chinese martial artists figured out how to control an opponent’s balance. The key was sensing his energy. Using contact reflexes, they could predict what the other person was about to do with the rest of his body. It was so successful that it’s still a part of the Chinese martial arts.

By using touch instead of sight, you can cut your reaction time from 0.2 seconds to 0.05 seconds. Once you’ve sensed his movement through contact, your eyes will be free to tackle other missions, such as making your strikes more accurate and monitoring your adversary’s free hand and his legs.

The traditional training method known as chi sao is wing chun’s preferred method for honing this skill. Because it helps you develop the required touch sensitivity and reflexes, it allows you to “read” what your opponent is doing and react to his movement more quickly than if you used your eyes only.

In chi sao drills, you and your partner stand with your hands touching to facilitate the detection of movement. You then have him run through various attacks to develop your ability to feel and predict. When you’re done, reverse roles.

In wing chun, your goal is to remain standing, but no one’s perfect. If you fall, be prepared to back off until you can scramble to your feet. Again, chi sao can help by enabling you to control your opponent’s elbow and then change the angle of leverage long enough to escape.]

Once you control his lead elbow, step to his blind side—to the outside of his lead arm—and counterattack from there. Being in that position is advantageous because it permits you to keep the maximum distance between his rear arm and your body, which means you’ll need to deal with only one arm at a time.

Again, distance equals time. If you achieve the blind-side position and your opponent tries to reach you with his rear hand, it’ll take him longer, which gives you more time to react. Also, he may cross his arms as he tries to do so, and that will render him susceptible to a trapping technique.

The objective is to ensure that you have free use of both arms while limiting him to one. Always avoid standing directly in front of him because he’ll be able to attack you with both arms and legs.

When the opponent (left) throws a roundhouse punch, William Cheung excutes a finger-thurst block to the elbow (1-2). That causes the man to shoot for Cheung’s legs (3). Cheung steps back and leans on his foe while placing his left hand on the man’s right knee (4). Pushing against the knee (5), Cheung takes him to the ground (6), where he finishes him with his fists (7).

When you make contact, quite often your opponent will attempt to oppose your force with more force by pulling away his arm. If he does, follow the elbow and trap it against his body.

If he opts to struggle violently against you, you can use an “exchange move.” That entails using one of the following:

Execute a push palm strike (pak sao) to control one of his elbows to dissipate the force. Make sure you’re still in position to strike simultaneously with your other arm.Execute a grabbing block (lap sao) to control his balance and move with his force. Again, you must be in position to strike with your other arm.

Using the time-tested strategies of wing chun, you can deflect your opponent’s force, control his balance, avoid his attacks by positioning yourself on the blind side and then disable him with strikes. Whether he’s a close-quarters striker or a grappler, you’ll nullify his attempts to take you to the ground. If he does shoot in for a takedown, he’ll have already sacrificed his balance. This presents you with your best opportunity to sidestep to avoid a collision and knock him to the ground when he misses you.

When you’re on your feet, if you gain control of his elbow on the blind side, you’ll be able to pin it against his body and finish him with his strikes. To ensure you have the absolute advantage, control his elbow even if he falls so you can unleash strikes at will without getting hit.

With practice, you can incorporate the principles of wing chun into your self-defense system no matter what it is. They will enable you to fight where you’re most comfortable—on your feet—and where it’s safest—on the blind side.

To hone his reflexes, William Cheung lies on his back and has Eric Oram assume the mount position (1). Using the same methods he’d use on his feet, Cheung stops a roundhouse punch with a finger-thrust technique (2), then controls the man’s wrist and elbow. His sensitivity enables him to maneuver the arm to his right (3-4), thus positioning himself on the opponent’s blind side. Cheung grabs the man’s right ankle and swings the leg overhead (5-6). Continuing his roll, Cheung attains the top position, from which he can counterattack or escape.

Hundreds of years ago, Chinese martial artists figured out how to control an opponent’s balance. The key was sensing his energy. Using contact reflexes, they could predict what the other person was about to do with the rest of his body. It was so successful that it’s still a part of the Chinese martial arts.

By using touch instead of sight, you can cut your reaction time from 0.2 seconds to 0.05 seconds. Once you’ve sensed his movement through contact, your eyes will be free to tackle other missions, such as making your strikes more accurate and monitoring your adversary’s free hand and his legs.

The traditional training method known as chi sao is wing chun’s preferred method for honing this skill. Because it helps you develop the required touch sensitivity and reflexes, it allows you to “read” what your opponent is doing and react to his movement more quickly than if you used your eyes only.

In chi sao drills, you and your partner stand with your hands touching to facilitate the detection of movement. You then have him run through various attacks to develop your ability to feel and predict. When you’re done, reverse roles.

In wing chun, your goal is to remain standing, but no one’s perfect. If you fall, be prepared to back off until you can scramble to your feet. Again, chi sao can help by enabling you to control your opponent’s elbow and then change the angle of leverage long enough to escape.

(Lucy Haro has been a disciple of William Cheung for 10 years and holds a black sash in traditional wing chun kung fu. A 17-year veteran of the martial arts, she’s also an attorney and entrepreneur. For more on heung and wing chun kung fu, check out Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun.)

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