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Golden dragon

June 2016

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jennifer19 in wing_chun

Introductions and such

Hi all. My name is Jenn. I'm a Delaware native training in Traditional Wing Chun and a member of the TWCKF Association under Grandmaster William Cheung. I am currently a dark blue sash, level 4, working my way up. I came to Wing Chun through my fiance who is a black sash in the same style and looking to earn his black belt in Urban Defense Tactics, a style taught by our Sifu. I've only been studying for about a year and a half. Before that I was a long distance competative runner so I have no other background in Martial Arts. I love Wing Chun and have a blast with it. Just wanted to say hi and get to know others. :-)


Hi Jenn, welcome aboard :-D!
Wow its amazing what a big place the wing chun family is!

Out of curiosty, what sort of stuff do they teach in Urban Defense Tactics?
UDT is a self defense class. There are four ranks. It was created by my instructor and isn't an "official" style recongized much other places. After you complete all four ranks you're considered a "black belt". It's a combination of defense tactics from all types of martial arts including Wing Chun and TaeKwonDo (the two arts my sifu teaches) as well as some of his military background, weapon defense, and "common sense" self defense. The classes cover everything from parking lot safety, how to walk confidently, how to defuse a "hot" situation all the way to things like how to handle multiple attackers. It's a pretty intense course, honestly. Sadly, we don't have enough interest at the school to do the whole program anymore. My fiance finished it when we had the interest, he just needs to do his black belt demo to be considered a "black belt".
UDT sounds awesome. I have a friend who took a female-only self defense class at her college. I'm sure it was beneficial in some ways, but I disagree with a few of the things they were taught. I wish more women (I'm assuming you're female by your username) would opt for purely self defense-based self defense classes and skip the ones that include sexual politicking.
yeah, i'm a woman. :-)

women's self defense classes are good for women because they can specify things that are women specific as well as things that tend to happen to women more often (example- women tend to be victims of domestic violence and rape more often than men. women tend to be attacked by men more often than by women so we're taught that the "family jewels" are up and under to avoid women kicking straight on and missing).

Also, something I've noticed and other instructors have noticed, is that many women are generally more responsive with women-only groups. They tend to feel more comfortable. This is probably a socially constructed thing in the US. I've also noticed that most women will hit and kick the crap out of bags all day but the minute you give it a "face" (either put a person in a padded suit or put a "bob" doll in front of them..) they pull back a bit. It's strange.

I've got no problem with gender-specific and gender-nonspecific classes. At least it's getting out, you know?
I just get queazy when things start being about pitting the sexes against one another rather than pitting the student, regardless of sex, against an attacker. I suppose it may be necessary, given current social and cultural norms, to teach things in segregated groups... for now. I just hope it doesn't have to be that way forever.

I could argue with you all day about whether women are in fact the victims of violence more often than men, but the Wing Chun community is not the place to have that discussion I don't think.

Oh, and it's not just women who are reluctant to hurt other people, though they may manifest it more than men do. A large part of a soldier's training involves conditioning us to actually be able to pull the trigger when the time comes. Every single person I've talked to who has seen combat has said the same thing - when you get there and you actually have another human being in your sights, actually pulling the trigger is the hardest thing you'll ever do.
I didn't say "violence" as in blanket term, all forms of violence. I said "domestic violence". As in..it is the largest reason women are seen in emergency rooms in the United States, trumping car accidents and heart problems. 1 in 4 women is the victim of rape or other sexual assault in her life time, almost 90% of which is by someone she knows. 1 in 3 women that are in college are victims of rape/sexual assault.

I'll agree with you on the part of soldier training. My experience has been that it's harder to break women out from that "I can't hit him/her" mentality than men in martial arts kind of settings.
whoops getting my stats confused (i work two jobs and it's late...and i'm at work. lol.)

its 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.
1 in 6 women of all ages, in their lifetime, will be the victim of attempted or completed rape
75% of victims in domestic violence incidents are female
86% of victims are victimized by a boyfriend, 84% by a spouse.
1 in 5 college age women are victims of sexual assault and college age women are four times more likely to be victims of rape/sexual assault.

...one day I'll get sleep....
Where did you get those statistics? I've heard them before but I don't believe that they're accurate. Not because I'm thinking "There's no way they could be that high!!" but because I think that getting accurate statistics on subjects like this is nearly impossible. But I am not a statistician; I just play one on TV. So I'd like to actually find their source and do some research, so I can form an informed opinion.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incenst National Network). I've heard the DCADV stats, which are DE specific but mirror the NCADV states, backed up in our Fatal Incident Reporting Stats in 2008 for FY2007 as well as numerous sociological studies.
not a problem. :-)
I think that women in America are implicitly taught to be victims, and that is why it's harder to convince them to fight back, even when they're being attacked.

And I already said I wasn't going to get into an argument over domestic violence here ;)
"I could argue with you all day about whether women are in fact the victims of violence more often than men, but the Wing Chun community is not the place to have that discussion I don't think."

We can discuss practically anything you like, as long as it's remotely related to Wing Chun and martial arts. The only thing I ask is that we all be nice to each other, and I don't see that being a problem, yet.

"Self-defense" is certainly different from "martial arts" in that most of self-defense is about awareness and how to act and what to do, rather than skill in fighting. Martial arts plays such a small part in actual self-defense.

If you're interested in that subject, you might want to give this website a read:

http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com by Marc McYoung. I highly recommend it.
I'll agree that the actual "martial art" aspect of self defense is a very, very small part in the equation. :-) The good thing about the UDT classes is that it doesn't teach skill in fighting, it teaches easy, simple moves that almost everyone can do plus that tat self-awareness, situational awareness, etc.
I'm confused. I was taught that using colored belts (or sashes) to mark progress was an American (or at least Japanese - those damn, dirty Nips!)* invention. If this is true, then why would a martial art calling itself "traditional" WCKF use something as blatantly non-traditional as colored sashes?

*Just kidding. Kind of.
It's a roll over from judo, which started the colored belt system. It kind of carried over into almost all forms of martial arts. TWC is considered 'traditional' because the forms and style hasn't deviated much from the original form. Most arts that call themselves "traditional" also have colored belt systems to designate rank.
Okay, and judo is Korean in origin, right? I think?

I always find amusement in the use (or misuse) of words in situations like this. This is not related to my attitude toward your martial art of choice, but rather toward the words they use to describe themselves.
Japanese, actually.

If you want to get technical...no martial art ranking system is "traditional". Including judo belts. belts were used to hold your pants up and got dirty (black) as you trained. traditional is used to designate the system of moves rather than most of the traditions. for example, the way TWC moves in comparison to "modified" WC systems is different (TWC tends to move to the outside and continue moving around rather than moving to the outside and coming straight in like some "modified" systems. We also tend to emphasize picking up your feet instead of letting them drag, things like that)
You have hit precisely on my reason for being amused at the use of the word "traditional" in this instance =) At some point "martial arts" consisted of hooting and hollering in a kind of proto-language while your fellow cavemen brained the other-cavemen with a rock and then you ran off with their food. I'm sure that some people, shortly after the invention of the bow and arrow, shook their heads and longed for the traditional days of spear fighting.

Anyway, you see my point.
lol yeah i do. :-)
Actually, in China, it is traditional to refer to members of a kwoon in familial terms. "Sifu", which we use to designate a teacher, also means father. "Si-hing" means older brother. "Si-di" means younger brother, etc.

Colored sashes and belts are entirely a modern invention.

Again, it's only fair to say that other students of Yip Man, including Yip Man's own sons, claim Cheung modified Wing Chun into his own version, but again, that's a subject for another thread.
I don't doubt Cheung modified Wing Chun into his version. I think that every "leader" of an art, Grandmaster included, have to modify things a little. It's like a game of telephone...nothing at the end is ever the same as the beginning. And I'm sure Yip Man's sons modified it to their own version as well.
William Cheung was a student of Yip Man in Hong Kong, but created his own style of Wing Chun that differs quite a bit from the Wing Chun that other Yip Man's students teach.

There's a lot of controversy about that, but that's for another thread.

He calls his version "Traditional" Wing Chun, and refers to other styles of Wing Chun as "Classical".

It's only fair to say that he's the only one of Yip Man's students that differentiates between his style and the versions of Wing Chun taught by other Yip Man students with these terms.
All true. :-) There are also "modified" versions of Wing Chun that exist in different lineages.
When Cheung uses the term "modified" to refer to other systems of Wing Chun, he's referring to his story about Leung Jan allegedly teaching two versions of Wing Chun to his sons. One version, which he taught in the courtyard (because he knew his neighbor, Chan Wa Shun, was watching though the fence) is the "modified" version. He then allegedly took his sons inside and taught them the real, or "traditional", version of Wing Chun, which Cheung allegedly teaches.

At least that's the story according to William Cheung. I wasn't there so I can't really say.
Cheung use to sneak into Yip Mans study and copy his notes when many of the older students took him out drinking, to buy opium and to brothels to gain favor. History is very rarely as neat as we would like.
"History is very rarely as neat as we would like."

Especially on the internet!
"We also tend to emphasize picking up your feet instead of letting them drag, things like that"

Thats an interesting idea. Could be very useful on some surfaces, especially at distance.
If you don't mind I had some questions on footwork in TWC.
Do you use the same sort of footwork at long range as you do in close range and in contact?
Do you use pivoting at all in TWC? and if so, how do you go about it - ie is it literally pivoting on a certain part of your feet, or is this also done by lifting your feet?
TWC is almost exclusively close-range fighting. We're actually taught to close distances and fight in close. To close distance we use "entrance techniques" and kicks (we don't have a lot of kicks like in, say, TaeKwonDo, but we use them to close up distance if needed). We don't use a lot of pivoting (at least, we're taught not to) and rather pick up our feet and change direction in what our sifu calls the "stomp stomp" drill. Pick up one foot at a time and "stomp" it on the same spot, different direcion.
Do you know what the principals behind using that method are, ie what are the advantages of lifting your feet rather than using the shuffle footwork that most other systems use?
Just jumping in here. I have been practicing Cheung-style Wing Chun since 1996. Main difference is basically the mobility in moving around objects that may exist in the area you fight, i.e. branches, heavy grass, rocks, and things like that. Plus it allows you to vacate a spot a little bit quicker than shuffling the feet.

Understood that it is possible to step down wrong and things like that....but fighting in a wooded area can get hairy when shuffling the feet. I used to shuffle my feet too...until my Sifu had fight in a wooded area. I was shuffling my feet and it got caught between two branches and I couldnt' move out of the way. Pretty rough learning point.
Good point. In the mainland styles, non-shuffling footwork is seen in the pole and butterfly sword forms.
As jennifer19 has pointed out, these are some of the major differences between regular Hong Kong style (Yip Man style) and what William Cheung teaches.

I'm fortunately in that my lineage has nothing to do with Yip Man, so we don't really enter into the controversy. It's just a different way of doing things.
Hi, Jenn. Welcome to the community and thank you very much for posting. I am very interested in reading about others' experiences with Wing Chun, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm going to read the comments to your post and your responses, and I'll probably add my own comments as I read. Thanks again for joining us.
:-) Hi! I love your icon, btw. :-)
Thank you!