What is Wing Chun?
Ip Man Suit Wing Chun is a very unique and scientific form of martial arts. Wing Chun’s specialty is in close contact combat, using quick punches and kicks with a tight defence, coordinated through agile stances and fotwork for a quick advance. The effectiveness of Wing Chun is achieved by well coordinated attacks with simultaneous defence and vise versa. The student must learn to deliver the correct amount of energy, whilst staying relaxed when possible. A good Wing Chun Sifu (or teacher) will teach the student to overcome force with positioning and turning rather than meeting it head on. The style uses kicks, sweeps, palm strikes, punches, trapping and control techniques as part of its fighting arsenal.
The Martial Art Syllabus
There are many different parts to the Wing Chun system. Learning this style of Kung Fu requires knowledge of Chi Sau, the hand form, the weapons and dummy forms and sparring.
Wing Chun Master Ip Ching and Samuel Kwok Unique to Wing Chun is „Chi Sau“ (or Chi Sao), a form of training to help develop and put into practice your techniques and theories you learn during your training. Chi Sau teaches and helps the student to develop a responsive reflex, along with good position, how to overcome your opponents strength, correct usage of energy and taking advantage of the shortest possible distance between you and your opponent. Chi Sau will also help with sensitivity, or „reacting to feeling rather than sight“. In addition to this Chi Sau helps students learn to react to unpredictable movements as there is not set of predefines movements.
The principles, theories and techniques of Wing Chun are founded on the three hand form and the wooden dummy techniques. Training begins with Sil Lim Tau (little idea), Chum Kiu (bridge seeking), Biu Gee (thrusting fingers). Then the serious of students will learn Muk Yan Jong; (wooden dummy), Luk Dim Boon Gaun (six & a half point pole) and finally Bart Cham Dao (eight cutting double knives).
Kung Fu Lineage
Pictured top left is Grandmaster Ip Man (sometimes referred to as Yip Man). Ip Man taught many famous martial artists including the late Bruce Lee. The other photos are Ip Man’s sons Grandmasters Ip Chun and Ip Ching, and their student, Samuel Kwok. This linage can trace its history back to the origin of Wing Chun.
Ip Chun & Samuel Kwok training Wing Chun It was Ip Man’s dream to make the Chinese martial art Wing Chun, a well respected fighting system around the world, and through tuition by his sons, Samuel Kwok has played his part over the last twenty five years. Sam Kwok has helped bring Wing Chun to the forefront of Martial arts practice today. Grandmaster Kwok has wrote a couple of great Wing Chun Books and made many Wing Chun Videos and DVDs which help students across the world improve their Wing Chun. There are many Wing Chun schools and instructors up and down the United Kingdom, as well as across Europe, in Denmark, Germany, South Africa, Australia and the United States to name a few. Many of the Sifu’s at these schools owe a great deal of their understanding of the art to the influence of Samuel Kwok’s teaching of traditional Ip Man Wing Chun.
Wing Chun or Ving Tsun?
Wing Chun is sometimes referred to as Ving Tsun, Wing Chun Kung Fu (or Gong Fu), Wing Chun Boxing, or even Wing Chun Kuen (fighting) amongst some other names. This is because Chinese text does not translate precisely into Western letters or even western speech. However the name is not the important thing. The most important thing is that the Wing Chun student learns an effective form self defence and fighting. Wing Chun is Kung Fu. Kung Fu roughly means time and effort and originally referred to any skill painstakingly developed. Recently Kung Fu has become synonymous with martial arts.
Samuel Kwok Wing Chun Association
Sam Kwok on a woden dummy Samuel Kwok, under the guidance of Ip Chun and Ip Ching, continues to represent Traditional Ip Man Wing Chun in Europe, as he has done for many years. Use the links at the top of the page to navigate the site, and learn more about the Traditional Ip Man Wing Chun style. The Site contains many Videos and Photos of Wing Chun in action. In the true spirit of Wing Chun and with the aim keeping the art practical and efficient, Samuel Kwok has trained with many different martial arts masters over the years. This includes masters from Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ), Mauy Thai, Kickboxing and professional boxers. This has ensured that Samuel Kwok’s teaching of Wing Chun techniques is of the highest quality and always practical.
“ Our aim is to respect the wish of grandmaster Ip Man. About 6 weeks before he died he asked his 2 sons and his student Lau Hon Lam to film him performing the Wing Chun system as practice by him. He only managed Sil Lim Tau, Chum Kiu and the Dummy form. This is because he was in a lot of pain and was weak and unsteady on his feet. He was going to do Biu Gee, the Knife form and long pole. However Grandmaster Ip Chun and Ip Ching and Sifu Lau Hong Lam stopped Ip Man because Biu Gee, the knives and full pole form require a lot of energy to perform.
I want to pass on Ip Man Wing Chun as taught by Grandmaster Ip Man and Ip Ching and Ip Chun “
– Samuel Kwok
In the Steps of Yip Man
sam Kwok Interview by Blitzmag
by Blitz Mag
Grandmaster Samuel Kwok is one of the most recognised kung fu masters today carrying on the legacy of Hong Kong’s famous Wing Chun exponents Grandmaster Yip Man and his sons, Grandmasters Yip Chun and Yip Ching. Trained in Hong Kong by the Yip brothers, Kwok is world-renowned due to his many contributions to Wing Chun, including a set of comprehensive instructional DVDs on the system. Here, he gives an account of his history in martial arts and his thoughts on Wing Chun’s inner workings.
Grandmaster Samuel KwokSamuel Kwok was born in Hong Kong in 1948, the son of a church minister. His interest in martial arts started at an early age and his first experience was in White Crane kung fu, under the guidance of his uncle, Luk Chi Fu. Kwok’s Wing Chun training started in Hong Kong in 1967 under Chan Wai Ling – a master of Wing Chun kung fu in the tradition of the system’s great warriors. He has established himself as one of the most knowledgeable Wing Chun instructors of our time. His background in the system spans some four decades, in which time he has had the opportunity to train with the world’s best. Grandmaster Kwok has been a senior representative of the Ip Man [often also spelled Yip in Western translation] method since the early 1980s. He has the distinction of being trained and being the senior representative of both of Ip Man’s sons, Grandmasters Ip Chun and Ip Ching. His performance at the first world Wing Chun conference in 1999 is legendary, as is his demonstration at the grand opening of the Ip Man Museum in Foshan, China. In addition to his extensive training under Ip Chun and Ip Ching, he has also had the opportunity to train under such first-generation masters as Lee Sing, Chu Seung Tien and Wong Shun Leung. The following interview delves further into Kwok’s history and his philosophies on kung fu.
How long have you been practicing martial arts and who were your first teachers?
Since I was nine years old. I watched kung fu movies on television until I was about 15 or 16 years old. At that age, I started going to bazaars where refugees came from mainland China and sold a range of Chinese herbal remedies such as dit da jow [used to relieve brusing and swelling]. People demonstrated their kung fu skills in order to sell their wares. I learned a lot from watching these demonstrations. I was introduced to the Wing Chun White Crane, Fuijian style. Master Cheng Man Lung, who was the full-contact fighting champion in Canton during the 1980s, was very powerful because of his dim-mak [pressure-point striking] skill. He trained with a bucket full of granite rocks and his fingers were very short and thick from years of striking his hands into the bucket. My interest in Wing Chun continued in 1968 when a guy who played basketball showed me the Siu Lim Tao [‘Little Idea‘] form. However, I was not very impressed by his demonstration of the form. I came to England in 1972 and started learning Wing Chun from Lee Sing, who was a student of Grandmaster Ip Man. Lee Sing was my first Wing Chun teacher and it was he who introduced me to Grandmaster Ip Chun in 1978. I furthered my studies with Grandmaster Ip Chun, who taught me the Wooden Dummy form among all the other Wing Chun forms in great detail. I have invited Grandmaster Ip Chun over to the UK on numerous occasions to conduct seminars. Incidentally, Grandmaster Ip Chun is the most skilful practitioner of chi-sao [sticking-hands] that I have ever seen. In 1992, I brought his brother, Grandmaster Ip Ching, to the UK to conduct seminars. In 1994, I continued my training in Wing Chun under Grandmaster Ip Ching. In 1995, I brought Grandmasters Ip Chun and Ip Ching to Chicago to conduct joint seminars. I have spent many years not only training under the guidance of Grandmaster Ip Man’s two sons but also promoting them in the US and Europe.
How many styles – kung fu or other methods – have you trained in?
I have trained in White Crane kung fu with my uncle, Luk Chi Fu and his son. Luk Chi Fu was one of the greatest lion dancing teachers in Hong Kong. He is a grandmaster of the White Crane style. I trained with my cousin Sifu Luk Chung Mau, when he was teaching in London from 1976 to1978 and also continued my lion dancing studies with him. I decided to teach Ip Man family Wing Chun. Over the years, I have come across a range of different martial arts and believe it is important to have an open-mind when it comes to one’s quest for knowledge of martial arts. Various martial artists who have studied with me have exchanged their knowledge of their own arts. I have had people who trained in karate and taekwondo, 4th Dans, train with me. I also became friends with various masters of Thai boxing such as Master Toddy (who is now teaching in Las Vegas), Master Win (we sparred together), Master Woody and Master Krin. I have remained good friends with all of them.
What are the main principles intrinsic to the three empty-hand forms of Wing Chun? Do they interrelate with each other?
The first form, Siu Lim Tao, is the most important as it is comprised of the basic positions and stance. For example, tan-sao, fok-sao [or fook-sao] and the centreline theory. This form focuses on how to train for power and energy. For example, focusing on the thumb while performing tan-sau and the wrist when performing fok-sau. In addition, the first form concentrates on how to develop the correct use of elbow energy. The second part of the form teaches you how to use energy correctly, e.g. the use of ‘last moment‘ energy. The transition from one movement to the other is carried out in a totally relaxed state.
Chum Kiu is the next stage in the development of the Wing Chun style. This form is important in that it focuses on turning and using yu-ma. It involves turning the legs and hips to generate energy, as a whirlpool or spinning top, and to redirect energy away from your centreline. It also teaches you how to ‘borrow‘ the energy from your opponent, who is attacking you. This form helps you concentrate on your defence and includes the use of the bong-sao [wing-arm] movement. This movement is used to defend your centreline. In Chum Kiu you start to move; you use the ‘big bow‘ and bridge the gap with the use of footwork and ‘seeking the bridge‘. You also train to defend at various angles, e.g. defending against 180-degree attacks from different directions. These movements enable you to cover your centreline when your hands are away from it by using two-hand techniques simultaneously.
Biu Gee [also spelled Bil-Jee], is very important as it trains you in how to recover your centreline in an ‘emergency‘ situation. You train to use two energies going in different directions, you borrow the energy of your opponent and use many elbow techniques. The ‘emergency‘ techniques are used if an opponent is trying to control your elbow. In addition, you utilise your yu-ma turning stance to increase your power for the application of your energy in two directions, e.g. double larp-sao [grabbing-hand] All three Wing Chun forms are related to each other but have their own meaning and purpose. The Siu Lim Tao form teaches you all the basic techniques that are then used in combination in Chum Kiu and Biu Jee. These three forms prepare us for chi-sao, which prepares us for fighting.
What are the most important points in your teaching methods? And what are the most important qualities, for a student to become proficient in the Wing Chun style?
I teach students to have dedication, e.g. don’t train one day and leave it for several days. Train often and hard. Use your head – Wing Chun is a thinking art. You need to get the students to use their brains to find out why a technique works, to understand the principles and theories, to understand the ‘keys.‘ It is 50 per cent from the sifu and 50 per cent from the student. You must remember that everyone’s build/stature is different and so you must adapt your teaching method and the focus of your student. For example, a smaller person has to use more footwork and borrow the other person’s energy. Furthermore, I tell my students that it is always good to observe other styles of martial arts. This enables you to observe different techniques and pushes you to think about how you will be able to ‘feel‘ these techniques if applied against you, in a competition for example.
It is very important to emphasise to students that they must endeavour to avoid injuries because if they become injured they will need to take time-off necessary to recover.
I have developed the ability to identify and communicate the ‘keys‘ or the core principles of the Wing Chun style. I also tailor my communication of these keys to the capability of each student, because each student will have their own learning style and cultural background. I encourage all my students to analyse what they have learnt from me, reflect upon their analyses and return to the next training session with a list of questions that will enhance their understanding. In addition, I analyse my teaching sessions, reflect upon the problems that a few students may encounter during the training sessions and design strategies to facilitate a deeper understanding for these students.
In regard to the second part of your question, it is important to encourage a student, especially in chi-sao, to attack after they have a good defence. Again, it is imperative to encourage students to ask relevant questions so that they understand the keys and can transfer that knowledge into their daily training. The use of mirrors is very important as they aid your ability to check the positions. Always go to back to your teacher for corrections and advice. Wing Chun kung fu can be very difficult to learn properly at the beginning and the teacher has a responsibility to teach his students diligently. Students should be open-minded, receptive, analytical, diligent and constantly seeking knowledge. Moreover, they must be loyal and respectful to their sifu. In addition, they should be willing to pass on the true teachings of the Ip Man style.
Check out the next issue of Blitz, on sale 30 January, for part two of this interview. Grandmaster Kwok will discuss different styles of kung fu, kung fu in the West, chi-sao, the weaponry aspects of Wing Chun and more.
Sam Kwok Interview by Riccardo Di Vito alle
From Feb 2010
Today we meet Samuel Kwok, founder of the Samuel Kwok Martial Arts Association.
Dear Samuel, when did you start with Martial Arts?
Generic picture of Sam Kwok on a Wing Chun dummy I was teenager, I started going to bazaars where refugees came from mainland China and sold a range of Chinese herbal remedies such as dit da jow [used to relieve bruising and swelling]. People demonstrated their kung fu skills in order to sell their wares. I learned a lot from watching these demonstrations. I was introduced to the Wing Chun White Crane, Fuijian style. Master Cheng Man Lung, who was the full-contact fighting champion in Canton during the 1930s, was very powerful because of his dim-mak [pressure-point striking] skill. He trained with a bucket full of granite rocks and his fingers were very short and thick from years of striking his hands into the bucket. My interest in Wing Chun continued in 1968 when my basket ball captain showed me the Siu Lim Tao ‚Little Idea‘ form. I came to England in 1972 and started learning Wing Chun from Lee Sing, who was a student of Grandmaster Ip Man. Lee Sing was my first Wing Chun teacher and it was he who introduced me to Grandmaster Ip Chun in 1978. I furthered my studies with Grandmaster Ip Chun, who taught me the Wooden Dummy form among all the other Wing Chun forms in great detail. I have invited Grandmaster Ip Chun over to the UK.Europe U.S.A.,Australia on numerous occasions to conduct seminars. Incidentally, Grandmaster Ip Chun is the most skilful practitioner of chi-sao [sticking-hands] that I have ever seen. In 1992, I brought his brother, Grandmaster Ip Ching, to the UK to conduct seminars. In 1994, I continued my training in Wing Chun under Grandmaster Ip Ching. In 1995, I brought Grandmasters Ip Chun and Ip Ching to Chicago to conduct joint seminars. I have spent many years not only training under the guidance of Grandmaster Ip Man’s two sons but also promoting them in the US and Europe.
With who did you train the Wing Chun style?
As I have said I started under Lee Sing and later finished Wing Chun with Grandmaster Ip Chun, then I learned with Ip Ching. I have also been lucky enough to train with a variety of other Wing Chun masters over the years (all be it briefly) including Wong Shun Leung, Tsui Shong Tin and Chan Wai Hong, and many other lineage
Can we know what are the differences between your Wing Chun and others interpretations?
Kwok and Tsoi Shong TingBecause I have learned from a variety of sources (all Ip Man Wing Chun) I have seen many of the subtle variations in Wing Chun. I try to teach my students these different variations. For instance Ip Chun is much smaller than his brother Ip Ching and as a result his style of Wing Chun is subtlety different. Ip Man was always keen to encourage his students to learn to make Wing Chun their own so it is effective. I follow this tradition and way of thinking. Wing Chun is a thinking art. You need to get the students to use their brains to find out why a technique works, to understand the principles and theories, to understand the ‘keys.‘ It is 50 per cent from the sifu and 50 per cent from the student. You must remember that everyone’s build/stature is different and so you must adapt your teaching method and the focus of your student. For example, a smaller person has to use more footwork and borrow the other person’s energy. Furthermore, I tell my students that it is always good to observe other styles of martial arts. This enables you to observe different techniques and pushes you to think about how you will be able to ‘feel‘ these techniques if applied against you, in a competition for example.
Who is your Master, now?
I regularly go to Hong Kong where I train with Grandmaster Ip Ching however I also train with Grandmaster Ip Chun when I am over there Also I visyt Sifu Tsui Shun Tin and a few other of Grandmaster Ip Man’s students.
Have you been appointed as SiFu (Master or Gran Master too?). From whom and how do someone become one?
I am a Sifu means teacher in Chinese because I am teaching Kung Fu. Some people address me as master but it takes a life time to master an art like Wing Chun. You need to continue to develop to make it more effective. As for Grandmaster I have many generations of students, but grandmaster is just a term of respect really it means nothing. I am still a learning.
How many hours do you train?
I teach Wing Chun at Lancaster university twice a week and once in Blackpool. So that’s 6 hours. I also have many private students who come from around the world to train with me It is difficult to say how many hours a week. I practice the hand forms and the dummy form and the pole exercise and sometimes the knife form for the footwork.
Are you a professional martial artist or have other jobs?
I did work for the NHS in mental health full time. However I have recently retired which will mean I can now focus on promoting Wing Chun a bit more.
Have you ever fight on a sport’s contest? When, where and with what results?
I have never done sport fighting. A few challenge matches in my younger days. However some of my students have won national full contact competitions which which I am very proud of, I’m also very proud of my training partner Paddy Monaghan who was Bare Knuckle Boxing (BKB) middle weight champion of the world. I personally have never felt the need to compete. Wing Chun is primarily useful for self defence, this inherently involves quick and dangerous strikes like neck, groin and eye strikes. These don’t fit in well with sport fighting.
How many hours per week should train a student to grow in a serious way?
I would recommend a minimum of one hour per day , preferably more I teach students to have dedication, e.g. don’t train one day and leave it for several days. Train often and hard.
How much a your student spends to become a black belt (in terms of time and money) or a Technician?
I don’t really have a belt system. I teach to a syllabus which is similar though. The time it takes a student to reach instructor level depends on the student. I have had students who train around 8-10 hours weekly and who learn fast. For them it can take as little as 3 years be reach a good standard. Obviously the harder you work the quicker you progress. Just like any skill. As for the financial cost again it will vary. Those who are lucky enough to live near my Blackpool or Lancaster classes just pay the class fees. Students who live abroad end up having to make a bigger financial commitment in terms of paying for flights to come over and train privately with me. However I only charge what they can afford. For me Wing Chun is not about the money so I never rip people off, some instructors do and the students wont stay long with them. I also make sure I am open and do not hold back information if the student is dedicated and trains hard.
What are the fighting concepts that you focus on in your School?
I make sure what I teach my students is practical. That is the most important thing. They must learn to use Wing Chun principles like deflection rather than meeting force head on. They will eventually practice against all types of attack and will have to learn to use their Wing Chun to stay safe. Chi Sau is very important in practising how to fight and using the concepts of Wing Chun. I guess to list some of the concepts I teach I would have to say: Economy of motion, Protecting your center, Deflecting force, Attacking straight and minimizing waste, I guess that’s like economy of motion. Perhaps most importantly, doing what keeps you safe. You should allays fight in a safe and effective way. That’s what Wing Chun is about. I also emphasise conditioning and training for power using the hip and stance (Yiu Ma).
Think to come to Italy sooner or later?
I think it would be nice to start spreading Ip Man’s Kung Fu in Italy. As soon as someone organizes a seminar I will be keen to come over and teach and share what I have learned and developed.
Thank you, Samuel.
Thank you, it was a pleasure to talk about the art I love.
Pubblicato da Riccardo Di Vito alle
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