May 20, 2024

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Wing Chun – Chinese Close Combat Practiced by Bruce Lee

2 min read

Up until the beginning of the twentieth century, very few people had heard of the martial art known as Wing Chun. Today, there are hundreds of schools around the world, making it one of the most dominant forces in martial arts.

It’s a form of Chinese kung fu that is characterized by both striking and grappling, with the emphasis on close range combat.

Part of the popularity of is that it was taken up by Bruce Lee and adopted into his own system, Jeet Kun Do. Lee was taught by the legendary teacher Ip Man, who was thought to be the first martial arts master to teach Wing Chun.

One of the main principles is to use force to counter force. By learning these techniques, smaller, weaker attackers can easily take out much bigger and stronger opponents. Wing Chun, like many other martial arts, teaches you not just the physical disciplines, but also to use your brain in assessing any combat situation.

Students learn about the mechanics of force and strength in different body attacks and the most optimum counter-attack to use. Simple techniques such as mechanical leverage, when applied properly allows the practitioner to take down an opponent much bigger or stronger.

There is great emphasis placed on the center line. This is the most vulnerable part of the body and Wing Chun students are taught to defend this line at all costs.

Students are taught to base all of their attack on this line as you can quickly overcome your opponent by overwhelming their sense of balance and displacing their center of gravity.

Most of the movement is Wing Chun takes place at close combat as this is how the majority of real world fights take place. You won’t find many flying or roundhouse kicks such as you get in karate and tae kwon do. Wing Chun attacks are fast, closeup and not generally not very pretty to look at.

One exception to this is the practice of ‘sticking hands’. This a drill of exercises that is designed to sensitize your arms and upper body to detect when an opponent may strike.

Watching people practice sticking hands or Chi Sao as it is also known, looks like a structured game whereby the opponents roll their arms in synchronous patterns until one decides to strike. The idea is that by practicing ‘sticking’ your hands and arms together, you can detect any minute variations in your opponent’s body which is likely to result in a strike.

Experts of Wing Chun can perform these drills and defend themselves blindfolded as they have built up such sensitivity in their bodies.

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