Tag Archives: yip man

Wing Chun Karate is Interesting…

Wing Chun and Karate?

Wing Chun and Karate, seemingly opposites, but not. Actually, I found more similarities between Wing Chun and Karate than almost any other martial arts.

Wing Chun, of course, is the Chinese Martial Art that has soft blocks, which is to say guiding blocks, and hard strikes. It has been around for hundreds of years, and it is quite sophisticated. A person who has actually reached the ‘inner circle’ of this Chinese Martial Art is quite untouchable, can fight blindfolded, has a full range of sixth senses having to do with anticipating attacks before they happen, and so forth.
wing chun gung fu

The main difference here is the direction of the blocks.

Wing Chun blocks tend to come back towards the body.

In Karate blocks tend to go away from the body.

In either art, if you are moving the block sideways, you are doing the block wrong, for there is no body, and therefore no possible body alignment behind the block.

And, yes, whether you are blocking hard or soft there must be body and alignment of structure behind the blocks. You can’t overwhelm the attacker’s strikes (as inKarate) if you don’t have this body and structure, and you can’t effectively guide the attack if you don’t have this body and structure.

Now, that all said, take a look at ‘Wing Chun Kung Fu,’ by James Yimm Lee, and you will find a section on the eight gates and four doors. Is this not perfectly transferable to Karate?

And, once you understand this, and if you are in a real style of Karate, you will understand how the concepts of grounding and deep stances must be used. And, if you are in this style of hung fu, and come across Karate, you may realize ho more effective, especially the early training, would if you deepened the stances and worked on the grounding and alignment.

Thus, these styles of Japanese Martial Art and Chinese Martial Art do have more than surface similarities, and it is even of high benefit to study both systems. You must not try to blend them however, past what I have said here. That would muddle either art, cause confusion, and detract from both Wing Chun and Karate.

If you wish to go further with the concepts outlined in this article on Wing Chun and Karate you should examine Matrixing at MonsterMartialArts.com, a specific course that would apply would be the Master Instructor Course.

Bruce Lee and the Softer Side of Wing Chun Kung Fu

Bruce Lee and the Two Styles of Wing Chun Kung Fu

Whenever I try to explain to people that there are 2 styles of Wing Chun, anyone that “knows” Wing Chun, tries to tell me that I am wrong, that there is no second style, only the variation being that of Moy Yat and Leung Ting.

The objection stems from the fact that most people do not know that soft-style exists.  There are no “training” videos sold of soft style,  and finding a video on YouTube is next to impossible.

difference martial art

Was Bruce Lee great because he knew the soft side of Wing Chun Kung Fu?

Soft-style was only taught to a select few students, William Cheung learned both soft-style and hard-style. Bruce Lee, Leung Ting, Moy Yat and other famous Wing Chun Stylists either never learned soft-style, or chose never to teach it. Think of it like this, hard-style was taught to the outside world, and they guarded the REALLY good material and kept it only in the family. Because I do not know these individual people, I don’t know the reason their lineages don’t include soft-style, whether they wish to continue the secrecy, or whether they simply weren’t privy to it.

The Tan-sao is a perfect example, of the difference. Hard-style leans and drops it down so it is almost horizontal, soft-style maneuvers the body properly, and keeps the tan-sao up, the eyes just barely able to see over the fingertips.  Bruce Lee threw out the Tan-sao because he said it was worthless, and indeed if the tan-sao is held low, it doesn’t block anything.

When comparing forms, you will observe hard-style people simply lean from one side to the other when performing chum-kil, while soft-style will actually take a full step.

Both of the videos below include Bil-jee, if you watch those variations of that form, you will see many more differences.

 

Some of the key differences between hard and soft Wing Chun are as follows:

  • Hard-style relies more on muscular strength, while soft relies on correct body alignment. As sensei says, “if you are leaning, you are falling”.  This is true in all arts, and one of the reasons my Brazilian jujitsu instructor harps on good posture. If you rely on a lean ,you must rely on muscle.
  • Hard-style uses a more collapsed forward guard with no forward intention, under the assertion that in trapping your energy is harder to read.  While the energy is indeed harder to read, the guard is easier to blast through. Such a guard and collapse and trap a guard that has no forward intention.

Hard-style Wing Chun is what Bruce Lee was unhappy with when he created JKD.  Even so, he and many others proved it was incredibly effective, even without knowing the “family secret”.