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Articles

VING TSUN - Returning to the Basics

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- text of the speech given at the '1st World Ving Tsun Conference' in Hong Kong, November 1999

by David Peterson

 

There is an old expression in English that goes, "He couldn't see the forest for the trees", and sadly, this seems to be the case for many of my Ving Tsun brothers and sisters. Not that I am in any way suggesting that anyone is wrong, or that I have somehow stumbled upon all the answers, but that over the years since the late, great Yip Man sigung first began to transmit his knowledge of this marvelous system to the world, it would seem that many of those who studied the system have lost sight of its fundamental essence. Perhaps it is due to the influence of other martial art disciplines on the minds of those practicing the Ving Tsun system, or perhaps it is just a basic human trait to overlook the obvious (and not-so-obvious!) and continually "re-invent the wheel" when one already has at their disposal a uniquely brilliant set of combat concepts such as those which make up Ving Tsun Gung Fu, but whatever the case, many of my respected brethren are going down paths that have strayed a long way from the basic tenets of this skill.

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'Looking Beyond the Pointing Finger'

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The following article originally appeared as a two-part feature article in the October & November 2008 issues of ‘Inside Kung-fu’ magazine:

 ‘Looking Beyond the Pointing Finger’ - the “Wong perspective” on personal combat

By David Peterson

 

Anyone who has watched the film ‘Enter the Dragon’ will immediately recognise the source of the above phrase, whereby the character portrayed by the legendary Bruce Lee admonished his young student for failing to comprehend the point of his impromptu lesson. Yet how many truly understand the full implications of its meaning? One who did, and who strove to pass on the wisdom of that lesson was celebrated philosopher and scientist of the wing chun (ving tsun) gung-fu system, the late Sifu Wong Shun Leung, former teacher and friend of Lee.

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Wong Shung Leung Ving Tsun Gung Fu A Scientific Approach to Combat

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by David Peterson

Published 'Fight Times' (formerly 'Australasian Martial Arts' magazine - NZ), October 2001

 The Wong Shun Leung (WSL) ving tsun system of Chinese gung-fu is not a style for robots, nor is it a form of martial arts practiced purely for its visual appeal. It is the thinking person’s fighting art, perfectly suited to today’s high-tech environment where quick results and practicality are the chief requirements of any activity. This is not to say that WSL ving tsun is beyond the reach of the “average” person, nor does it suggest that WSL ving tsun is an “ugly” martial art. On the contrary, WSL ving tsun has an inherent beauty all its own – it is simple, direct and efficient, and offers a no-nonsense approach to combat.

To learn and make use of WSL ving tsun, one doesn’t (and should not) have to concern oneself with the drilling of endless combinations of techniques to deal with endless possible situations. WSL ving tsun is not a system which requires the rote learning of set sequences of movement. Instead, it makes use of a handful of concepts, coupled with a small repertoire of techniques (which are all derived from just six basics – taan sau, bong sau, fook sau, the basic vertical punch (yat ji jik kuen), basic stance (yi ji kim yeung ma), and the dang geuk, or basic “ascending heel kick”) to deal with any situation. These concepts and techniques are taught within the three basic forms (or “empty-hand” training patterns) and are collectively trained via a series of reflex drills, the most famous of which is chi sau, or “sticking hands” technique.

 

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