WING CHUN DIGNITY
Like never before, Wing Chun has been over the past thirty years on the rise and has become one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Undisputable, its popularity and recognition deserved with its effectiveness and pragmatism in combat. Certainly, this effectiveness could not be achieved if Wing Chun was not one of only few “Complete Martial Arts Systems”.
Despite its turbulent history, sufferings and difficulties to stay on the course, Wing Chun has survived and finally earned granted permission to be known and taught to public.
Respectfully, for this achievement we must thank to the late Grandmaster Yip Man who was the first on to open the door to everyone who wished to nourish this genuine martial art.
With this great opportunity for everyone to be able to learn Wing Chun, sadly that was the beginning of quality Wing Chun decline and its real value depravation. One may find this statement surprising and perhaps disputing, but that was when the era of commercialism started, following the same path of Japanese martial arts, with very little care about the art and its original meaning. Consequently, that has given rise to fast growing so called masters, closed door students, and eventually leading away from its traditional and original ways. Furthermore, many schools opened without an adequate regulations and standards creating a “Chaos” which we are experiencing today. And, yet after thirty years we are trying to find ourselves in this “Chaos” and justify our work shifting from one master to another to find the truth or real Wing Chun. All this respectful effort and hard work is unfortunately leading us even further away from its original source. Perhaps we should look back and remind ourselves about the original idea and notion of Chinese martial arts and jus then Wing Chun itself, as a fruit which was made from them, rather than listening different interpretations of Wing Chun and still not understanding the system, real values and purpose.
In the latter chapters we shall try to explain this viewpoint and demonstrate the importance of these different views and objectives. However, we still believe that it is not too late to revert this course and return to the original notion of Wing Chun, and to continue to nourish and preserve its values and superiority once we had.
TRADITIONAL vs MODERN
What kind of practitioner one would like to be? What level of proficiency he would like to achieve?
Those are very important questions one has to ask himself before taking a martial arts journey. Although it may sound old fashioned it turns out to be that traditional way usually results in proficient levels while new modern (quick) way tends to be average. This does not come as a surprise as traditional way of practice require more diligence and hard work, with full commitment and responsibility, as well as practitioner’s expectations to understand all aspects of martial arts rather than partial focus on certain elements which is the case in the new modern ways of practice. Requirement of a deep understanding of martial arts is essential to achieve understanding of the whole system that embraces all aspects such as perception of combat, technical important and physics behind it, strategy, philosophy, etc.
This discussion very often is followed by an argument that martial arts are always going through changes and that they always evolve, therefore traditional ways do not work and being labelled as outdated. Such approach and attitude are clearly shows a lack of understanding traditional ways of practice. Traditional way of practice or Traditional Chinese martial arts had been studied for centuries and have much more to offer. Fundamental element which is nowadays ignored, is evolution of martial arts and its universal transformations throughout the time, place, adversaries, etc, that is embraced within the philosophy of traditional Chinese martial arts.
Universal character is achieved by following the principles of nature and natural changes, which in turn gives an ultimate adjustment and synchronization to the time, situation, place, strategy, and all aspects in the universe. Perhaps the main question is whether the practitioner is able to accept those transformations and changes and whether he is able to absorb and implement them. That problem is usually solved with “Ignorance and Arrogance”, with very little discipline and respect to martial arts, and no effort to understand them humbly without presence of ego and ability to absorb a new knowledge. This way of practice many practitioners find difficult and panful and therefore many quit, justifying their failure that being an average practitioner is ok for them.
Certainly, we can’t ignore a commercial element and aspect that majority of professional practitioners are focused than the practice and a self-development itself which ultimately effects the quality and progress of students. Usual excuse is that they can’t make living by doing it traditional way, which is absolutely untrue. Doubtlessly, it does take longer to get to a satisfying level and provide existence for professionals but surely not impossible.
Althoug many may disagree with this view, in opposite, we find that people are more aware of the “Chaos” we are living in and prefer doing something more meaningful that can help them on everyday basis such as dealing with stress, improving focus, health benefits, etc, which is all that traditional way of learning martial arts offer.
Overall, traditional Chinese martial arts like all other traditions must be nourished and practiced if we wonted to enjoy their values, which is the natural way of mutual benefits and survival.