Structural mapping, conscious and subconscious development, plus positional referencing, many arts and cultures have used this format in various ways—such as in the wide-spread use of kata. This is for good reason, as it takes hours of repetition and then, when you understand the forms correctly, you have a blueprint for your success.
Is Wing Chun a powerful art? Most would believe that the system is fast, yes, but not powerful. This could not be further from the truth if you understand what we call “force flow” in the Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun system. This is a myth that I would like to put to rest. The best way to truly appreciate Wing Chun is to understand the training forms of the system with the correct core elements.
I hear a lot of people say that Wing Chun is good in a street fight if you finish it quickly, but not if the opponent gets hold of you or is stronger; then you will have trouble. Frankly, I would have to agree with many of these people’s comments if they have never seen Wing Chun with good structural depth. With the understand of the structure of body alignment and how to make the structural dynamics work, you have the Wing Chun art as it has always been—a powerful, fast, and effective fighting system that allows you to control your opponent like a cat with a mouse.
It was when I started training with Robert Chu in LA that all the pieces of the puzzle came together. The first thing he taught me was the correct understanding of the forms. He said, “Without the correct depth of understanding of the body structure dynamics within the forms, your Wing Chun will have no power and it will not flow as an art.” We started on form correction and with each movement he corrected I could feel the art awakening in front of me. For the first time in many years of training I understood the form at a whole different level.
Wing Chun has a perfect system of progress within the forms in terms of understanding its use of power development and application. Often what you see being taught in Wing Chun are applications of techniques from the forms. Yes, the movements in the form do relate to some technical applications, but this is only the very basic understanding of the form. At a deeper level, each movement is a principle or concept as to how the system generates power within movement or neutralizes an opponent’s power within movement. This provides a much clearer understanding of how to use your own body in any given situation, as opposed to the “this technique works against this technique” style of teaching. Once you have that mental link within the system, you can fully express your power and be relaxed at the same time.
What determines the power of a martial art? Real-time striking power coupled with real-time body power. Real-time striking power is the ability to deliver the power of your punch or kick to an opponent who is not just waiting to be hit. It is no good being able to break bricks if you can’t hit a live target as effectively. Real-time body power is the ability to use your body movements and skills under pressure, not just against set moves. These are my key tests for everything I teach and train. “Aliveness” was the term my teacher, Robert Chu, used when first teaching me. Other groups are also seeing it as an important term when testing their art. It is a very important component to truly knowing your art.
The first thing that comes to mind when people think about Wing Chun is trapping, as it is the most common reason people question the usefulness of Wing Chun. Wing Chun is a Chinese boxing art; therefore, we really want to strike our opponent, be it a punch, kick, knee, elbow, chop, or whatever. But that’s the bottom line, striking. Trapping is an idea, not a pure technique. If I pin you in a grapple and trap your leg with my arm, it’s not a technique to finish, it just stops you from doing what you are doing and gives me the control to make a technique happen or set up a technique. The same is true in Wing Chun. I punch, punch, punch, and you start to defend; I control you and punch, punch, punch. Now, the control can be the punch itself if you understand body structure. I can use a cutting punch that pins the opponent, but to make if really work, the punch must destroy the opponent’s balance at the same time. To do this you must have a full understanding of how your chosen system works.
[Excerpted from Alan Orr’s book, The Structure of Wing Chun Kuen: Awakening Force Flow.]
“This book serves as an important reference for Wing Chun practitioners who need to grow while facing the reality of martial art practice.” —Sifu Hendrik Santo
“Alan Orr walks his talk. This is one of the few books on Wing Chun that I highly recommend.” —Sifu Sergio Pascal Ladarola
“With his years of ‘hands-on’ experience as teacher and fighter, Alan Orr has written a book that will be of value to anyone with an open mind and a desire to improve their skills.” —Sifu David Peterson
One thought on “Mastering Wing Chun’s Power Structure”
This is my next book on my wish list. I have been looking on the things you present on youtube and it is very clear you know what you are talking about and that you have tested it. And i hope there will time for me in the future to go over and training with you.