Wing Chun was once a very obscure martial art, and up until the turn of the twentieth century, very few people in the West knew much about it. Over the years, it grew in popularity and became a very dominant force in China, becoming one of the most prominent martial arts in existence. Today, hundreds of thousands of martial artists worldwide study this form of Chinese Kung Fu.
Because there are competing forms of Wing Chun, the concepts and principles vary slightly from one form to another. This sometimes leads to confusion as to whether or not they are working with the same principles. However, all forms teach the importance of proper stance and balance in order to properly deliver strikes with maximum power. Some practitioners believe that the person with better body structure will always win. A correct Wing Chun stance is like a piece of bamboo, firm but flexible, rooted but yielding. This structure is used to either deflect external forces or redirect them.
The style favors a high, narrow stance with the elbows kept close to the body. Within the stance, arms are positioned across the vitals of the centerline. All attacks and counter-attacks are initiated from this firm, stable base. Wing Chun rarely compromises structure for more powerful attacks because this is believed to create defensive openings which may be exploited.
Throughout training, students will learn all about force and strength, and how they can properly counter it. What many don’t realize, is the fact that countering force requires very little strength from the stylist, if done correctly. With proper use of force, weaker and smaller fighters can easily and quickly take out bigger and stronger opponents. The strikes that are taught with this martial art are very fast, and aimed at vital areas on the body of the opponent.
A majority of the most vital areas on the human body are found along the center line, the very area that Wing Chun teaches stylists to protect as well as attack with their techniques. This line is the most vital in battle, which is why martial artists should always aim their attacks for any area that exists along this line. Most of the vital points found in the center line can be the end of the encounter if the stylist is able to land one powerful blow.
Due to the emphasis on the center line, the straight punch is the most common strike. The punches may be thrown in quick succession in a "straight blast" or "chain punching". When executed correctly, it can be used as a disorienting finisher. When executing the punch, you must relax and use your shoulders. The punch comes from the body and not the arm. Unlike most other punches in martial arts, Wing Chun punches with the body.
Traditionally, kicks are kept below the waist. This is characteristic of southern Chinese martial arts, in contrast to northern systems which utilize many high kicks. Every kick is both an attack and defense, with legs being used to check incoming kicks or to take the initiative in striking through before a more circular kick can land. Kicks are delivered in one movement directly from the stance without chambering/cocking.
Wing Chun teaches practitioners to advance quickly and strike at close range. While the forward kick can be considered a long range technique, many practitioners practice "entry techniques"—getting past an opponent's kicks and punches to bring him within range of its close range repertoire. This means that theoretically, if the correct techniques are applied, a shorter person with a shorter range can defeat a larger person by getting inside his range and attacking him close to his body.
Wing Chun is practiced globally, in over 64 countries. It is the world's most popular form of Southern Kung Fu. Bruce Lee popularized this form of Kung Fu and based his style on many facets of this martial art. Wing Chun can be considered to be a foundation of Jeet Kune Do.
Wing Chun is an exceptional martial art, teaching students proper use of force in any type of encounter. There aren't that many grappling holds used with this style, although the techniques and moves that are taught are tried, proven, and above all - very effective for self defense. Whenever they get in a confrontation, these stylists will use their brains - and use an opponent’s strength and force against him.