By Alan Orr

Having a physical structure gives you a start point. But it is by no means the end point. In fact, a fixed physical structure can be as bad as having none when used incorrectly. “Unmovable but invisible” was what I was looking for and what I found with Robert Chu. The next steps were learning to use what I had found. This is the real alchemy of the martial arts. But once again, the point is often missed by many. This is the mastery of force flow.

Like a bridge, it is designed on certain principles that must be used in terms of the engineering, but the design and look can vary greatly. The laws of physics must apply whatever the design. A structure must be able to take pressure and redirect stress, but also have ways to deal with extra pressure and external forces.

Wing Chun is much the same. You learn the principles of the system, and you have conceptual applications based on the environment you’re in. But concepts are not just doing whatever you think works within the principles; they are also based on solid ideas within the principles. Not just random thoughts on a whim, as often seen.


1. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

2. A general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field.

Principles show you the frame and mechanics for controlling and mastering your own movement.


Definition: an abstract idea or notion; an explanatory principle in a scientific system.

Wing Chun Structure Architecture being shown by two menWhen building, it is not just the structure, but the total architecture. Everything impacts and can add or subtract. That is the dynamic flux we see in the classical teachings of yin and yang in the Chinese arts.

The “unmovable” is the easy part and many have been confused by thinking that it is the answer, when it is only the starting point. Often referred to as “rooting” in the Chinese martial arts, it is the basic requirement to be able to hold one’s ground at the right time. Again, “rooting” is often misused as a demonstration of power, with someone trying to push a static person holding pressure via this skill. This is very basic and just the start of understanding your own body, but it’s not the art and it does not mean you have fighting skill.

Having good understanding of body mechanics and muscle linking is basic but necessary. Once you have this skill, then linking and de-linking muscles and controlling vectors are where you start learning at a higher level.

The “invisible” skill grows from this point. This is where you now have the timing to make decisions so quickly and easily that the opponent cannot even tell if you are holding your own position or not. Every time that you try to press or push, they lose balance and control. This is force flow and momentum control, which are the true reasons for Chi Sao. One must learn not only to understand one’s own body but its interaction with opponents, and make decisions based on this information.


Today many people try to attain a complete style of fighting without a basic mastery of a system. This means they have many techniques but no guiding understanding of when to use them. They may freeze up under pressure, as their minds have to work overtime to make a choice of which techniques to use. Sensitivity training is great for developing an understanding of flow and correct choice of movement.

two men practicing martial arts wearing black clothes Testing your system: In the art of Wing Chun we have Chi Sao to test and hone our ability to make the correct decisions within our system. In grappling we use pummelling drills; when in stand-up and on the ground we roll with our partner. These methods are core systems training, as they allow you to have a template to work from. Within the rules of the system you must master the game; only then can you break free from the boundaries and make your own rules. This doesn’t mean you can’t be eclectic, but you must have a very deep understanding of the martial arts and have reached a level of mastery.

But are these tests? Yes and no; they are good ways to develop the skills in part, but you must understand correct principles of body structures when in stand-up or on the ground. Many say they do, but when they give an explanation, it cannot be tested. It is like math: you have an equation that will work out the answer. Your system is an equation and you must understand it in order to know how the answer came about, not just be told the answer by someone else. When in stand-up fighting you must know how you correctly control your center. When on the ground, again, you must understand how to use your weight and position. So far I see a higher level of ground control on average than I do in stand-up fighting. I believe this is because in grappling we roll with partners a lot and learn to feel when things are working and when they are not. Also when they are not striking, people relax and do not tense up as much.

More Information…

the structure of wing chun kuen book coverThe Six Core Elements of Wing Chun have become essential learning to master the Wing Chun and in this book Alan shares the teachings of grandmasters Robert Chu and Hendrik Santo, who have helped him to master Wing Chun and produce successful full-contact competition fighters. The Structure of Wing Chun Kuen is a blueprint for a deeper understanding of this world-famous art.

The book includes in-depth interviews with Robert Chu, Hendrick Santo and Mark Wiley, as well as insider’s views of WC fighters… Training methods unique to combative application of wing chun in fullcontact competition and street.

Don’t miss this vital information! Grab your copy today!

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