Application of Principle

How many different techniques and applications do we need to know? 5, 10, 50, 100 is 1000 even enough? One of the most common question in class is, “What do you do in this situation?” Faced with this question I can always give an answer, but the next obvious question is, “but what if they do this instead?” This then leads to a never ending cycle as there are so many different possible situations that might arise from the same starting point. Even if you learn 100 techniques, how can you decide quickly enough which one to use in a split second? If you cannot react instantly then you can be in real trouble.

Actually, the real question is, “How can we train to be able to react instantly in any situation we might find ourselves in?” The answer to this is found in training a set of principles. A good martial art should have a set of principles that determine how you move and react and should not be just a mere set of techniques that have been collected and thrown together. This is one of the beauties of Wing Chun Kuen. Wing Chun has a clear set of principles that we train and hone to a fine degree. Any technique or application is an example of Wing Chun principles. We need to remember this and not get obsessed with the technique, to quote Bruce Lee, “It is like a finger pointing to the moon, don’t look at the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!” (I can imagine that my Tai Sigong (Great Grandteacher) Ip Man said it first). Students should expand on this example and this reinforces their understanding of the principles. With enough training we start to embody these principles very deeply and we will instantly react in the correct way.

Of course it takes time and dedication to reach that level, but once you do, the question of what your opponent might do is answered quite simply with, “They do whatever they want and I will do what I need to defend myself.”

© 2021 Authentic Ip Man Wing Chun Kung Fu