December 1, 2012 / in Techniques and Styles / by Sifu Justin Och
Ip Man Wing Chun “Inner Circle”
This article deals with some of the reasons you see combat focused Wing Chun and form focused Wing Chun. It also goes over why you see good fighting Wing Chun schools and schools that claim they can teach Wing Chun”
(this article can not be copied or used on any other site, permission only to share link) Everything in Ip Man Wing Chun is integrated to work together and off of the body mechanics and structure that is integrally forged into every part of it. You cannot take one part or one technique in Ip Man’s Wing Chun and add it into another system without understanding the rest of its connective parts. Instead of using body mechanics and proper redirection of pressurized resistance and stress you will end up attempting to overpower the assailant with the technique. This will eventually fail as the body can only take so much pressure and stress before it collapses in on itself.
Ip Man Wing Chun as a whole is still left misunderstood by many other practitioner’s due to the fact that it does not act or react like many other traditional styles. It’s forward hips, use of both hands and feet simultaneously, its traps and rapid attacks break a mold that many other styles have been created around or from. People question its speed and ability to maintain knockout power and mobility. They question its trapping and fighting capabilities.
All of Ip man wing chun is due to many reasons and misconceptions that have been rumored or unfortunately taught improperly. Trapping for instance is momentary and should not be thought of as a forever constant, but as a created opportunity to take advantage. Many practitioner’s hearing and reading about trapping assume that it is like a jiujitsu hold, that cannot be escaped from. This is not the case. Ip Man Wing Chun does not wish to hold onto or struggle with an assailant but rather to strike and damage them. Other instructors who have read or were taught about Wing Chun trapping third party did not fully understand and then taught this partially understood technique to the next generation. It is unfortunate but there are many instructors of many styles that should never open their doors to teach until they fully grasp the concepts they are about to share.
Truth, power and what is real about fighting within Wing Chun started when Ip Man started teaching publicly in 1950. Ip Man had two groups of students. One group was his inner circle, a small few, but very dedicated disciples who Ip Man taught the entire art too and they were known for their intense fighting capabilities, Bruce Lee, Wong Shun Leung and many others were among them. The second group, which was much larger than the first were his public students. According to multiple sources and instructors I have met, Ip Man did not wish to teach the entire art or the advanced understanding and fighting portions to this larger public group. Ip Man supposedly believed that a student who pushed themselves above the rest should be taught in the close circle. Few achieved this goal and were invited into personal or inner circle training. Instead he had them do forms and supposedly rarely answered a question directly. According to a Moy Yat lineage instructor Ip Man believed that if you had to ask a question about a technique or application then you had not trained it enough to understand it. Ip Man brought the art out of secrecy in 1950 yet only taught for fifteen years (until 1964) when he then taught privately for several years after. For twenty two years (1950-1972) Ip Man taught Wing Chun right up until his death.
I mention this because many people were just another public student, many did not finish their training and others were in and out of class.
Imagine you had one hundred public students that did not finish the training and you did not teach the entire art to this group. On the other hand you had four to seven disciples that you taught privately and directly that did know the entire art. Then unfortunately you die, how many students did you leave that knew the art and could pass it on, how many are going to open up schools with the Ip Man name that only know partial instruction?
How many will claim the famous Ip Man as their personal instructor, the instructor of Bruce Lee? If you have a hundred students who don’t know and a small fraction of a hand full of students that do and there is no youtube, no internet, how many will claim they know it all? Students of only a few months or years could open a school claiming to have been taught by Ip Man directly. Who would know the difference at first. Students of these masters would only get a small piece of the puzzle which would be even smaller than what their teacher achieved.
With the influx of individuals creating their own styles, youtube and instructional video’s I have even seen practitioner’s walk in my door claiming to be Wing Chun Instructor’s. When asked who they trained under they list people from all over the world. When asked how long they lived there to train under these masters and grandmasters, they proudly admit being self taught through video’s, youtube and “directly by the Master” through digital media. Never meeting or training directly under these men but rather claiming the highest levels of performance and knowledge. If this is happening now when it is so easy to disprove a practitioner’s lineage and understanding, imagine what it was like back in 1970.
This is how rumors and bad reputations start with an art, and this is why so many good Wing Chun practitioner’s reinforce the essential need to get one on one with a real instructor. Though an understanding of Wing Chun can be shown through digital media, Wing Chun is an art of sensitivity, direct training and reaction. Corrections, training and full understanding is extremely difficult through media alone.
You don’t see a professional boxer, combat martial artist, cage fighter or Olympic athlete claiming relationship to greatness achieved by watching a video. You must get together and train directly in person with the best to become the best. Ip Man wished to teach only those who he felt would bring the art of Wing Chun to the next level. Unfortunately, many have attacked the style for its vast differences, their own personal misunderstandings and instructors who were never fighters.
For training in the direct instruction and complete martial art of Ip Man’s Wing Chun and for a better understanding of Wing Chun contact us today; http://sifuochwingchun.com/contact-sifu-och/
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