It is not surprising that Wing Chun is widely misunderstood because it is unique among martial arts. Compared to most other martial arts, Wing Chun was introduced to the public much later than most other styles (especially in the West). Therefore, the public, martial arts media commentators, and practitioners of other arts viewed Wing Chun through the lens of their preconceived notions of what a martial art should be. When some of these individuals decided to study Wing Chun, they typically brought with them all of their previous beliefs and experiences and expected to practice Wing Chun as they would any of the other arts they had previously studied. Unfortunately, there are better ways to comprehend the concepts, principles, and training methods of Wing Chun.
What about Wing Chun sets it apart from other martial arts, and why do most practitioners miss the mark when it comes to mastering this art? Although there are numerous answers to these questions, a person seeking a comprehensive understanding of Wing Chun must comprehend the full implications of the following points even to comprehend them.
- It is the only martial art in the history of martial arts developed by women or from a female perspective. Men frequently reject the feminine aspect of art and approach it solely from a male perspective.
- Wing Chun’s (shadow boxing) forms were designed to deceive non-martial artists and other practitioners. In other words, appearances are not indicative of reality. The records are encrypted “user manuals” for the Wing Chun system containing hidden messages. When observing Wing Chun forms, practitioners of other arts tend to interpret the conditions superficially and then rationalize the movements with the most obvious explanations. The founders of the Wing Chun system achieved their goals of keeping the art secret and deceiving those who did not fit the Wing Chun family profile.
- In contrast to most other martial arts, which train practitioners to read an opponent’s intent and action using only their vision and then automate an inevitable reaction against a specific type of attack, Wing Chun trains its practitioners to read an opponent’s movement through tactile sense, and to react intuitively and intelligently to any action or change within a given combative situation.
Now that these critical points have been discussed let’s consider what Wing Chun is not for a moment.
- It is not what is portrayed and perceived in any Wing Chun film produced to date.
- It is not what is shown and perceived in popular Ip Man films.
- It is not what is offered and perceived on television.
- It is different from how YouTube videos are typically presented and perceived.
- It is different from what the majority of Wing Chun books present.
- It is neither extravagant nor spectacular.
- It is not a combat style.
- This activity is not calisthenics.
- Not an act of acrobatics
- It does not qualify as a sport.
To clear up some further misunderstandings:
- Learning Wing Chun won’t make you unstoppable against a group of 20, 10, or even one (in reality, no martial art can do this)
- Nothing you do, not even being in the same room as a grandmaster or adopting any of his habits, will suddenly cause you to become as skilled as he is.
- You will only necessarily become skilled if you’ve trained with the best sifu (teacher).
- And finally, a grandmaster could be more exceptional in skill or knowledge.
It is essential to remember that movies and television programs are produced primarily for entertainment by conglomerates and tycoons to generate megadollar, not to advance facts, truth, or reality. Their purpose is to distort and fictionalize reality, create illusions, and evoke human emotion by removing the audience from reality. These films and television programs are designed for entertainment purposes, which is acceptable; however, when they depict a martial art such as Wing Chun, the viewer must remember that the depictions have been sensationalized for entertainment purposes. Simply put, the martial arts action sequences in these various media presentations do not accurately represent the art’s principles. The Wing Chun system takes pride in its economy, effectiveness, and directness. It accomplishes this by teaching the practitioner to defend and attack with all his limbs simultaneously.