Effective Kicking

23/02/2009

School Background

I began training in Wing Chun Kung Fu in Hong Kong nearly forty years ago. Twenty five years ago I established a martial arts centre in Adelaide, Australia. As demand grew my school has expanded throughout Australia and the rest of the world. Since 1988 my school (International Wing Chun) has been accredited by the Australian Government to run full time courses. Students who study at this school are paid study allowances by the Government. Hundreds of students travel from all over the world to Australia to train in my school on work and study visas. Enrolment dates are at the start of the year and also mid-way through.

To date International Wing Chun Academy is the only martial arts organisation in Australia to be recognised in this way. One of the main reasons why I began training full time professional students is that through these dedicated pupils I am able to pass on the traditional and genuine Wing Chun system, also this offers an ideal opportunity for those who want a lifetime commitment to the art and be able to make a living out of 'preaching' this incredible art. I consider these students to be my 'closed door' pupils and hope that my school will continue to expand and become something of a modern day Shaolin Temple preserving and spreading the genuine art of Wing Chun.

Practicality over Visual Appeal

In over 30 years I have been exposed to nearly all styles of martial art, and have met and exchanged views with many top martial artists. I have come to the conclusion that Wing Chun differs from most styles in it's primary emphasis on practicality. All movements that are not completely useful have been eliminated, and this is one reason why Wing Chun does not look flashy. People who are accustomed to seeing or doing the spectacular movements of other styles find that Wing Chun does not look impressive. To them it looks too simple, the movements are too small, too direct and relaxed to make a visual impression. The Wing Chun movements can not be judged by looking at them - the best way is to be on the receiving end of these deceptively innocent movements, and to feel and imagine the enormous impact the Wing Chun strikes and deflections can have.

Among all the Chinese Kung Fu, Wing Chun is spoken of as the least "beautiful" but the most effective. Contrary to popular opinion, not all styles of martial art are related to self defence. Some styles are designed and practised with an emphasis on artistic or sporting, rather than fighting aspects. Several styles and schools gear their training towards tournaments or Olympic performances, which involves completely different training than for self defence. All genuine styles that are learnt under a qualified master have benefits to offer. The martial art student should discover what they seek in a martial art by clearly analysing the movements.

Wing Chun's Effectiveness

Wing Chun has many diverse aspects and benefits, however these do not detract from its essential emphasis on effectiveness. In general most fights start and end with hand contact, usually punching and grappling. With proper training, kicking can be very useful, for example, when dealing with someone who can easily match you with their hands. Wing Chun trains you to use the legs in combination with your arms, adding more possibility of striking and controlling the opponent. Wing Chun emphasises low kicks because we believe them to be faster, easier to apply and less risky than high kicks. It is most important to keep your balance when kicking, otherwise the opponent may be able to grab your leg, or move in and push you over.

The Wing Chun Stance in a Fight

The Wing Chun stance teaches you how to keep your balance. In training, always practise your stance, and do all kicking from the stance. In a real situation, bend the knees slightly to lower the centre of gravity and allow ease of leg movement, always apply your internal contraction to hold the upper and lower body together as one unit, and keep the back up straight. Of course, your guard must be up. If you are arguing with someone, and you feel that a fight might break out, always keep your hands up near the front of the body for speed of movement. Don't have your hands behind your back, in pockets, or down at your sides - it takes too long to guard and strike.

Wing Chun's Kicks

Wing Chun basic kicks include the low heel kick, stamping kick, low side kick, snap kick, medium thrusting kick and hook kick. At an advanced level students are taught leg deflection and trapping, involving sweeping, leg locking and attacks such as "Chain Kicking" - a rapid barrage of three or more powerful low kicks, delivered in under a second to targets such as the knee, groin and midsection. In many of the Wing Chun kicks, the heel is used for striking, because this will result in maximum impact to the opponent, with the minimum risk of injury to your foot.

The Wing Chun Stance and Defence Against Kicks

The stance teaches you how to kicks without telegraphing, and this makes your low kicking even harder for the opponent to stop. Most people find it hard to stop a fast, powerful low kick. When your stance develops you are taught in Wing Chun how to use your legs to guard the lower half of the body. Because the kicking movements of Wing Chun are simple, they are easy to learn and apply. This is most important in a real situation. Low kicking is practical in any type of clothing and regardless of the physical surroundings, because it is compact and direct. From the front on stance with the weight evenly distributed over both feet, either leg can be easily used for kicking.

The Effectiveness of Wing Chun Kicks

The Wing Chun kicks save time and conserve energy, and can be very powerful. They can be used to bridge the gap between you and the opponent. If someone shapes up, and is outside your striking range, a kick can be used, usually followed by striking and hand trapping. Wing Chun also trains you to use your legs at very close range. Because you learn to kick and punch at the same time, while using the other arm for deflection or trapping, you must be able to deliver a kick at punching range.

All the Wing Chun kicks are simple, direct and practical, and therefore could be used in many real self-defence situations.

Bruce Lee's Hollywood Kicking

Through training in the same Wing Chun school in Hong Kong, I was acquainted with the late Bruce Lee. On a trip to Hong Kong in the early 1970's I ran into him, and the conversation turned to his spectacular kicking. He re-iterated the point that it was for the movies only, and in a real fight he would always use the Wing Chun low kicks.

Grandmaster Jim Fung

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