F A Q Ving Tsun (Wing Chun), Michael Yan Choi
Frequently asked questions:
Why should I learn from you?
I have accumulated over 26-years’ of wing chun gungfu practice (over 4 different lineage) & vast ‘real-world’ experiences to pass on, and I will GUARANTEE fast results to all my students that are diligent, willing to listen & attend lessons on a regular basis.
I will also PROMISE to teach my students authentic Wing chun gungfu.
You may ask: “How do I know what you are teaching me is ‘authentic?”
Well, that’s very easy. I will teach my students the wing chun principles – the guiding concepts of how wing chun should be based upon & developed – as passed down by its founder & our ancient wing chun ancestors right from the onset. By learning those principles, my students can correlate for themselves whether what I’m teaching them adheres to those guidelines and thereby use it to act as a parity check for their learning. Armed with a set of wing chun principles – or map of wing chun training – you will never be lost again or deviate too far from your wing chun journey, to ensure that you reach your destination in the shortest time possible.
It’s a very sad fact of life, but many wing chun people are learning ‘chopsuey’ wing chun – wing chun that contains a bit of this, and a bit of that, deviating from the original form & function. Not only are they losing their hard earnt money, but they are also wasting the most valuable personal commodity of all: time, something which no amount of money can buy.
Wing chun should be easy, simple, direct, effective and efficient, but how many people really understand these simple rules & fellow its directive?
So, it’s very important that you find yourself a genuine & generous teacher right from the onset. Please, don’t take my word for it. Go and check all other kwoons first before coming to mine, and only stay if you are 100% certain that I can teach you authentic wing chun.
Is learning wing chun difficult?
Learning wing chun from me is very easy, and I teach at a very fast pace, however to truly master wing chun & apply it at the highest level may take many years. So, if one is not willing or prepared to make sacrifices & put the ‘mileage \ time’ in, my honest advice to you is, stay at home and don’t waste your money — you will get nothing out by putting half a heart in.
Is there other benefits to learning wing chun besides the combatives elements?
There are many benefits to learning wing chun: cardiovascular fitness, developing a strong body & mind. To the Chinese, martial arts is about personal development; the combat aspect is just a means to an end — it isn’t the end itself. It’s the vehicle to reach our destination, which is to reach our maximum potential, not just on a physical level, but on a mental level as well. On a personal basis, my wing chun training has helped to strengthen my body to a very high level. I haven’t seen my doctor for over 20-years’ and in that time, I’ve only ever taken 1 — yes, 1 — pain tablet.
Can anyone of all ages & health take up wing chun?
Wing chun works on a ‘progessive’ basis and it’s very easy for the beginner. It’s only when you reach a higher level of wing chun that it becomes intensive — by which time your body would have become much stronger due to the inintial training. However, I would still recommend that you seek your GP’s advice before taking up any thing that can be strenuous on your body. As regards to age, there’s no hard or fast rule when someone can start. However, wing chun is quite a profound art, so younger people may not be able to appreciate this level of training. Best thing to do is try it and see.
Can I mix my wing chun training with other styles of martial arts?
You can mix wing chun with anything you want….However, it’s not a good idea to begin with. Because wing chun is quite a large program, with the specifics of the training to bring certain attributes out of our body, it’s best that we spend time to truly comprehend our method first before trying to confuse ourselves with learning too much to soon. We need time to understand the way of wing chun & embed those ‘tools’ into our subconscious. By learning other arts before you grasp wing chun, you will confuse your body because the objective & mechanics of wing chun differ substantially compared to many other arts. For example, wing chun’s punches are mostly linear by nature, and we learn not to bring our fist back (withdraw) after an attack before launching another punch. As we know, most other punching methods conflicts with these principles, so if you practice other styles along side wing chun, your wing chun punching will become very un-natrual. Further more, wing chun is a process of refinement, filtering out all that which is imperfect or unnecessary.
Is it true that Wing chun punches lack power?
Most people don’t really understand the wing chun ‘way’. Wing chun’s punches isn’t about absolute power. What’s more important to us is that our punches are precise, fast, with deep penetrative power to damage. Our objective isn’t to ‘knock’ our opponent out like in ring sports, but to inflict injury to our opponent. You can compare our punches to that of a foil in fencing. Sure, the foil isn’t as powerful as the ‘Excaliber’, but it’s much faster, easier to control and just as damaging on weak points of the human body. ‘Absolute’ power isn’t needed — just the precision, speed & penetration. A foil will kill no matter how ‘hard’ or ‘powerful’ you stab your opponent. Then why the obsession with power? Because most people equate punching with what they see in boxing or K1 sports, where absolute power is important because the ojective isn’t to injure their opponent but to knock them out, whilst wearing large proctective gloves. Changing the ‘objectives’ will change the way you use your ‘tools’. If you use a claw hammer like a sledgehammer, then of course wing chun punches lack power.
Why call your training as the ‘Yip Man & Lam Man Hoc training method’?
Even though what I teach is 90% traceable back to Yip Man sigung, part of my knowledge comes from sifu Lam Man Hoc, hence why I label my method as thus. It’s true that sifu Lam can also trace his knowledge & skills from back to Yip Man via sifu Wong Shung Leung, but sifu Lam has contributed what’s specifically his own in his wing chun training to merit labelling it his method. The ‘Lam Man Hoc’ part is just a small acnowledgement of his contribution towards wing chun.
All Wing chun ‘looks’ the same, so how can a perspective student tell whether a sifu(teacher) is any good?
This is a very good question. There are 4 main points perspective students should observe in guaging a teacher’s wing chun comprehension & skill. 1) Lineage. All genuine wing chun practitioners can be traced back to their wing chun family tree. Try to learn from a teacher that’s closer to the source of teaching. For example, Grandmaster Yip Man was an 8th generation wing chun practitioner, and all his direct students would be 9th generation. Finding a teacher from a 9th, 10th or 11th generation background would mean the information passed on would be closer to the original source & most likely to be ‘purer’. As the Chinese saying goes ‘know the source of the water from which you drink’. 2) Look at how your sifu applies wing chun. Can he apply the ‘tools’ of wing chun (tan, bong, fook, wu, etc.,) during gwohsau? If he can’t apply those fundamental tools during training, then there are no chance he would be able to apply it during actual combat. In other words, if his sparring (gwohsau)doesn’t resemble his wing chun training, looking closer to kick boxing, than it’s most likely it isn’t wing chun. 3) Does he chisau with perspective students? If you were interested in buying any product in a store –say, a TV — the store would allow you to see the ‘quality’ of the product working, right? So, it would be the same if you were interested in learning from him. If a wing chun teacher is skillful, he would ‘play’ with any potential student so that they may gauge his skill level, on request. If you don’t allow potential students to ‘play’, how do they know you are any good? 4) One telling sign that a practitioner’s wing chu is functional: his tuen kil lik (short bridge power). Since wing chun is a close-quarter fighting method, it stands to reason that one must be able to generate power at close quarter. If one can’t do that, how are they suppose to inflict damage to their opponent once they get closed in?
Wing chun was conceived to be quick & easy to learn. Although one can refine their wing chun until the day they die, the actual syllabus itself shouldn’t take too long to learn. If you are a diligent student, training consistantly, then you should complete the entire system in less than 5- to 8-years the most. After that time, alarm bells should start to ring! Ask your instructor why they haven’t taught you the whole system, when the system was conceived to be learnt in the shortest time possible.
Some people are very intelligent, but when it comes to the martial arts, they can be the most ‘gullible’ fools around. I personally know of people that’s been practising wing chun for over 25-years’ plus….and they still haven’t finished the syllabus! When they finally get to the weapons stage, they will be too old to lift the pole or the knives!