Part 1 – Title: Foshan, Guangdong during early period of the Republic
0:34 Wing Chun is popular throughout the world. The number of practitioners number in the millions. But Wing Chun was originally a closely guarded secret martial art. According to legend 200 years ago, the Manchu armies razed the Shaolin Monastery.
One of the five elders of Shaolin, Abbotess Ng Mui encountered a strange sight during her escape (she watched a crane fight a cobra snake). Abbotess Ng Mui got an inspiration to develop a deadly new martial art. Later she taught this new fighting style to a young woman. This young woman was named Yim Wing Chun. This new fighting style had short bridges and a narrow horse stance, emphasizing speed (yee fai da man) and borrowing the attacker’s strength to turn it against him (cheh lick da lick)”. Using natural reactions against the attacker and emphasizing practicality. At the end of Wing Chun’s training, Ng Mui told the girl that this martial arts was developed for the Anti Manchu cause so do not pass it on so easily to others.
2:17 Decades later, this secret martial art was passed on to a group of opera actors in the city of Foshan in Guangdong province. The Red Junk Opera was a bastion of anti-Manchu activists. The opera troupe practiced their martial art as they travelled “on the road”. They converted the ship’s pillars into a wooden dummy and developed the steering poles into a fighting weapon. But the number of persons who knew the art of Wing Chun was still few in number.
2:40 Until one day, the opera actors passed their knowledge of the art to a young fellow.
This young fellow eventually became a well know martial art master during the waning years of the Qing Dynasty. The people called him “Mr Jan, the Wing Chun boxing champion of Foshan”. – Leung Jan (Liang Zhan). Mr Jan was known as a righteous person who always helped others. He re-organized the art and taught it to people outside of the Red Junk Opera circle. The martial art of Wing Chun was slowly became more well known.
3:08 When the era of “Toe-Soon” (kungfu or martial grandson) Yip Man arrived, he was/ became a Grand Master. He had many students. He spread the art and made it flourish and enabled it to become well known throughout the world.
3:23 Screen Title – Literal translation “Wing Chun is not fancy”. Meaning =” Wing Chun is practical”.
3:33 Vinz: Martial art does not need to be good looking. “Does it work”? is what matters.
3:40 Screen title – Hong Kong Kyokushin karate dojo
3:42 Raised in France, See Joe Namn(Vinz) is an actor. He has a black belt in Taikwondo and is now learning Kyokushin Karate. Like many martial arts enthusiasts, he was inspired by Bruce Lee.
3:59 Vinz: When I was studying in France, I already knew of Bruce Lee. Wow. I saw a Chinese whose kungfu was amazing. He could be so fast.
4:07 Although Bruce Lee is Vinz’s idol, he has an ambivalent attitude toward the practicality / combat effectiveness of Chinese martial arts.
4:16 Vinz : Maybe because most of them (Chinese martial arts) are mainly about forms but very little sparing is involved. It is hard to prove or demonstrate that they are effective for fighting.
4:25 Vinz: Some people claim Chinese Martial Arts are only for show and have no practical value. Bruce Lee also studied Wing Chun so I want to experience Wing Chun’s devastating power.
4:35 screen title Macau
4:42 To learn Wing Chun’s true power, Vinz was referred by the Hong Kong Martial Arts Association to look up a low key expert living in Macau.
4:53 In the 1950s, many martial arts masters immigrated to Hong Kong and spread Chinese martial arts. This enabled a tiny city to preserve some of the best traditional Chinese martial arts knowledge.
5:07 Yip Man opened a school in Hong Kong and produced generations of students. One such student has opened a school in Macau.
5:18 Vinz: Such an old building must hide a very awesome sifu. Let’s hope I have found genuine Wing Chun.
5:39 After the greetings at the door
Vinz: Wow. How many floors?
Shek: There are six floors. This is the fifth floor. There is one more floor to go.
[ Tony’s comment – There are many of these old buildings still around in Hong Kong and Macau today. They were built in the 1950s and since they lacked elevators, they are all no more than six storeys tall]
6:02 [Tony’s comment: Photo of Ho Kam Ming. One of Yip Man’s early generation students who was from Macau. Ho Kam Ming now lives in Toronto. His son(s) teach privately at home with Ho Kam Ming supervising. According to some websites Ho Kam Ming trained many competition fighters and they all supposedly did very well.]
6:25 Lui Ming Fai is a “toe-soon” of Yip Man (martial arts grandson of yip man). Thirty years ago, he used Wing Chun in competitions. He has been undefeated both in and outside of the ring. After retiring from competition, he left Hong Kong and moved to Macau. Now he is a Buddhist and a vegetarian. The past “angry fighter” is now gone. He strongly believes now that he can remain even more calm composure during any fight.
Sifu: You know karate?
Sifu: Let us see what you know. Depending on your performance, I will adjust my teaching to suit your abilities.
7:20 Vinz: Oh ! It did not break. Let’s try again.
7:33 Sifu : He has learned a martial arts that depends on and emphasizes strength. But Wing Chun emphasizes soft power to deal with a stronger opponent. As he is coming from one extreme to the other extreme, he will certainly face learning difficulties. He must start from the beginning and relax. Take things slowly.
7:56 Sifu Lui’s first lesson to Vinz is to allow him to experience the power of WC’s straightline punch.
8:08 Vinz – whoah.. awesome
8:23 Vinz – Without this pad, I would have been KO after the first strike. (after he takes a deep breath) I cannot take this.
8:28 Sifu: Relax. Generate the power from the elbow. Thrust fast. Thrust fast.
8:39 Commentator: The WC straight punch’s genius lies in its application along the centerline. Using the shortest and most direct path to reach the opponent’s body.
8;55 Sifu; Thrust as fast as possible and power from the elbow. Thrust out like a pole. (The sifu said to tighten up something but I don’t understand that part).
8:58 Sifu: let us see how you do. (Vinz throws a couple of punches) That is right. That is right. These couple punches are not too bad.
9:09 Sifu: because you did not relax it in time.
Vinz: I did not relax it in time?
Sifu: On contact you pressed hard into the bag…. Now pay attention. On contact, my hand/arm is relaxed.
9:23 Sifu: Why does the wall bag bounce? It is because the power is transferred into the bag by relaxing the arm/hand. By not pressing into the bag on contact, I have allowed it to bounce. With more practice, your arms will eventually relax / loosen up and allow the bag to bounce. …. Not bad.
9:50 Vinz: Wow! It is all cut up. I am missing a bit of skin. Centerline punch is difficult to do. I think to reach the level of Sifu where the wall bag bounces will need three or more years of hard work. I am still at the stage of trying to grasp this idea.
Part 2 – Title: The movie set of “The Legend is born: Yip Man”
Commentator: The release of a movie about Yip Man, lead to a revival in interest in Wing Chun.
[ Tony’s comment: The female in the movie in the black garb is Bernice Liu, a former Miss Vancouver Chinatown who has made a successful TV and movie career in HK]
0:15 Actor Vinz came to the movie set today to look up his friend Sifu Sin Kwok Lam. Vinz was a fan of Hong Kong martial arts films since childhood. All the kungfu action stars are his idol.
0:28 Vinz talking to Corey Yuen.- You did this one spinning back kick (in a movie) that I have remembered since childhood. … blah…blah..blah
0:42 Sin Kwok Lam is a movie producer and also a Wing Chun sifu. His demand for authenticity in the movie required everyone in the film to learn Wing Chun.
0:52 Sin Kwok Lam: A lot of people are skeptical of Wing Chun’s effectiveness and maybe because it was invented by a woman? Apart from that they may question, how effective is it when it is employed by women? For example, I am only 5 foot 7, 140 Lb, how is it possible that I can defeat a 200 Lb person? It is because it uses the principle of using soft power to counteract brute strength and to deflect the brute strength of the attacker. We don’t try to meet it head on.
1:17 Vinz: Wow! Very fast. Very fast.
Sin Kwok Lam (in the background) : Hit him a little harder Rose! He can take it.
Vinz: Are you kidding?
1:35 Screen title – Macau
2:01 To learn why Wing Chun is so powerful, which his idol Bruce Lee had learned and since he believes/demands that a martial must be effective (to be worth learning), Vinz agreed to spend three weeks in Macau to learn Wing Chun. A few days have passed already.
2:32 Sifu : Because Vinz had learned another martial art previously, it is hard to gauge his abilities. He has improved. But it is impossible to master so much in a short span of time.
2:48 Vinz: It would be awesome if it is myself against 20 attackers and then I go like this….and like this … then they are all defeated.
Shek: That is only in the movies. It is not like that in reality. Sifu teaches if 20 guys come at you, then you had better run! Movies and actual fighting are two different realities.
3:04 While looking at Sifu Lui’s old competiton photos…
Vinz: I want to be as awesome as you Sifu.
Sifu: Easy. So long as you are willing to put time into training.
Vinz: If Bruce Lee is not dead, would you be able to defeat him?
Sifu: At that time, I had not even learned Wing Chun yet.
3:14 The Wing Chun principle of controlling the centerline. If you control the centerline then you can protect your vulnerable parts and attack at the same time.
3:24 Sifu: If your strike comes this way. I come like this to take the centerline and your strike is deflected. Maybe I am coming from the outside and I wedge into the center.
3:39 Sifu: I can come in from both sides/ways.
3:41 The single arm strike into the center directly breaks the opponents’ attack which is what is meant by the saying “The strike dissolves the attack”.
3:50 Sifu: When opening the stance, you have to bend the legs.
Commentator: Many kungfu styles use the wide stance but Wing Chun uses the Yee Gee Kim Yeung Mah.
4:00 Sifu: See.. I can kick anytime. Straight Kick. Also kim yeung mah.
4:07 Commentator: Kim yeung mah’s triangle structure allows it to be both stable and be maneuverable at the same time. While facing an attack, the yee gee kim yeung mah allows the quickest reaction to dissolve the attack with the strike.
4:20 Sifu: If it is the wide stance (Say Ping Mah), then the body is off to the side and can only use one arm. The other arm in the back can only be used to block. Otherwise if I wanted to strike with the back arm, my torso would have pivot to the front and that requires time. In “our stance”, after the kick, I will usually continue with my advance and attack with my arms. Because both are arms are both equally facing forwards, I can use them both at the same time. If the opponent swings to the side to strike with one arm, we use both arms to deal with his one arm attack which will obviously give us a 2 to 1 advantage.
5:02 Wing Chun also calls on attacking and defending at the same time. This move is called Tan-Dah. Both hands move forward to offer both a defense and attack at the same time.
5:18 Vinz: Yikes! I tried to sneak a punch in. You held back! Thank you!
5:23 Sifu: I told you this is on feel. I did not catch your attempted sneak punch by chance. We like to get as close as possible (to the other guy).
Vinz: Closer? Isn’t that dangerous?
Sifu: No, it won’t. You watch again. See?
Vinz: Wow! I lost my balance even more easily.
Sifu: I told you so. It is even worst for you (by me closing the distance). There would be no way out of it (for you). Outsiders think you (the Wing Chun man) are going to get nailed (by getting closer). Actually, the closer we are, the more easily that (I can cause) you to lose your balance.
5:57 [Here is some attempt at humor, in a restaurant]
Sifu. This place is good.
Vinz: This is a piece of pork chop?
Sifu: Does it look like it?
Vinz: Lui Sifu, what does being vegetarian got to do with fighting?
Sifu: Before I became a vegetarian, I was more aggressive (uncontrolled). Since I became a vegetarian, I am more composed and my skills have improved.
Vinz: there is such an effect ?
Sifu: Yes. We use our wits a lot in this style of fighting.
Vinz: Then I will follow your suggestion and try a vegetarian diet. Ummm…you find that you still have strength from a vegetarian diet?
Sifu: It doesn’t affect it. The energy actually comes from (a component of food….i don’t know how to translate it).
Vinz; Which part of food?
Sifu: It is found in the rice.
Vinz: More rice please! …. (looking at the empty plates on the table) I think we are almost finished, sifu.
Vinz: How about i order a chicken drum stick?
Sifu: They have vegetarian chicken drum sticks available here.
Vinz: No. It is ok. There is some outside.
Sifu: Then let’s go.
Vinz: It’s ok. I am a grown up. I can take care of it.
7:37 Chi-Sau is a unique partner training component of Wing chun. It is also a fighting method and skill.
Sifu: When we fight and make contact. From the moment of contact onwards, how you move from there, this is chi sau.
8:00 Wing Chun practitioners become so adept at Chi Sau that when combat occurs their reactions become instinctive.
8:08 Sifu: when you have contact then you already have awareness of what he intends to do and you can control his arm. Chi sau’s purpose is to get awareness. See….See…I got in.
8:35 Sifu: the more calm (or composed) you are when fighting, the more clearly that you “see” the situation. As they say, “In stillness you can see movement”.
8:55 Vinz. Wow. So fast. I could not stop the strikes.
9:00 screen title Foshan, Guangdong.
Foshan is traditionally a center of Southern Chinese martial arts styles. As one of the southern kungfu styles, Wing Chun originated from Foshan. Young people from all over come to Foshan to learn martial arts.
Yip Man Hall is to commemorate Yip Man. Most of the exhibits here were donated by Yip Man’s (2nd ) son, Yip Ching. Inside are photos of when Yip Man, his wooden dummy, including Dr Jan’s medical books as well as many written commentaries by some of Yip Man’s disciples
9:45 Vinz: Uncle Ching, were all the guys in the past tough fighters?
Ip Ching: Not necessarily. Honestly, when you become old, you don’t want to fight. It is all talk.
Vinz: that is a photo of Bruce Lee before he left for USA, right?
Sifu: it should be when he came back to visit
Vinz: he (Bruce Lee) is wearing sunglasses while taking a photo with Grandpa Man. Maybe since he felt he is pretty tough, he ought to put on shades (to look cool).
Ip ching: when we teach wing chun in Europe and America to foreigners, they all clearly understand Tan Sau, Bong Sau, Jum Sau. This is all due to Bruce Lee. He did not bother to translate the terms.
Sifu Lui: He (Bruce) did the right thing to promote the Chinese language.
Ip Ching: No. He did not translate the terms. If you want to learn Chinese kungfu, then you must also learn some Chinese kungfu words.
Part 3 – The Wing Chun pole form is called the Six and half point pole and commonly said to be easy to teach/learn but hard to master. Most sifus don’t teach it until the students have mastered all the empty hand forms.
0:12 Yip Ching: Right. My pole is positioned above your pole. I tap down like this. After the tap, I cover , then thrust forward and press your pole down.
0:28 Yip Ching: Why is it called six and half point staff? Why is it just “half”? When we raise the pole and then drop it like this. The tip of the pole is not dropping straight down. The tip actually arcs down, like a coma symbol.
0:48 Wing Chun uses the Kim Yeung Mah, but the 6.5 pole uses the traditional wide horse stance so some people believe that the pole form was not originally designed into the Wing Chun system. According to legend, Shaolin Abbot Jee Shin sought refuge with the Red Junk Opera troupe. The abbot noticed the oars men of the junk were strong and would make naturally good fighters, so he taught them how to fight with the pole. Eventually, the pole form became a part of the Wing Chun system.
1:19 Ip Ching : cover!
1:23 Ip Ching: Your student is a quick learner. He puts in a lot of effort.
Sifu Lui : A martial arts talent
1:36 The Foshan branch Jing Wu Athletic Association has 75 years of history. Its building is in the best condition and the largest within the Jing Wu family.
1:45 Sifu Heman Leung: This structure maintains its original form. Here is a bust of the founder of the Jing Wu Athletic Association. Huo Yuanjian. Sifu Leung is a Wing Chun sifu and is the current Chairman of the Foshan branch of the Jing Wu Athletic Association.
2:05 Vinz: Today we are visiting the Jing Wu Athletic Association. I had never thought that such an organization really existed. As a fan of Bruce Lee, I have heard of the names Jingwu and Huo Yuanjia. I had wondered before are they real? Amazingly they are!
[ Tony’s comment: Bruce Lee made a film called The Fists of Fury. In the movie, Bruce played the role of a fictitious student of Huo Yuanjia named Chen Jen. Jet Li remade the film years later called Fist of Legend and years after that, Jet Li played the role of Huo Yuanjia in the film titled “Fearless”]
2:29 Candice is Sifu Heman Leung’s student. Before she came to Foshan, she already learned Wing Chun in Canada. A year ago, she gave up her job and came to Foshan to learn kungfu.
3:00 Candice finances her kungfu education by teaching English at night. Each morning she practices on the wooden dummy before heading to the studio to practice further.
3:14 Sifu Leung: I think foreign students who come all this way to Foshan to learn the art to begin with admire our traditional culture. They are very focused in learning, make good use of their time here, and willing to put up with some hardship.
3:29 Candice: “Juexin” = determination. “I am determined to become a Wing Chun sifu”.
4:06 screen title Macau
Vinz is already half way thru his Wing Chun training. At the end of his training program, Sifu Lui has arranged for a sparing match to test how much Wing Chun he has learned.
4:30 Sifu Lui: My own sifu practices Wing Chun for the whole day for about 7- 8 hours. In the morning he practices his hand forms and practices on the wooden dummy and in the afternoon he mainly did chi sau. At night he trained his stamina: squats, short distance sprints.
5:05 Sifu Lui: down a little. Bounce a bit.
Vinz: Whoah! That is hard. The whole body has to bounce.
Sifu Lui: that is right.
Vinz: This is really hard. Sifu,You are amazing.
5:22 Sifu Lui: after stamina training, your body is completely tired. It is the perfect time for sparing.
5:37 Sifu Lui: keep it up. Keep it up. That is it.
Vinz: this is training from Hell. But I can handle it. More over Sifu is really serious in his attitude towards teaching /training me. I have to show the same attitude toward learning so as not to let him down. I am serious. I believe I can do it.
6:08 Sifu Lui: Overall, he (Vinz) is learning very fast. Of course he is not the extremely hard working kind (of student), but still can be considered hard working.
6:28 Sifu Lui: Wing Chun requires you not to stand there and wait to meet the attack. You can advance towards the attack.
6:34 Sifu Lui: “Biu Mah” is about stepping into the attacker’s position.
Vinz: I see your leg is thrusted between his legs.
Sifu Lui: This is called “yup mah” – invade the stance. The threat is greater toward the attacker because you control his stance now. Biu Mah is directed towards your opponent’s centerline. It is to destroy is stance.
Vinz: Sifu, I got it. You see?
Sifu: yes. Not bad. Once you’ve invaded his stance, it is difficult for him to escape or maneuver.
7:08 Sifu Lui: he still has one tiny obstacle to overcome in learning. His pride.
7:13 Sifu Lui: This is the counter that I taught you. Right?
Vinz: Yes Sifu you are incredible. I salute you.
7:19 Sifu Lui: for example when I am teaching how to fight and he loses very badly he still wants to sneak in a punch, which never works on me. But he feels this soothes his hurt pride. This is useless. Learning fighting or learning anything else, it is hard to improve if you cannot let go of your own ego. If you are not willing to let yourself lose, how can you hope to win?
8:00 Shek: Sifu has brought you (Vinz) here to eat congee (a soupy rice brew).
Vinz: Sifu, can I not eat it?
Sifu Lui: It is your choice. But after practice we often eat congee because we have all perspired a lot and we need to restore the fluids to our bodies and don’t want to eat anything else. It is best to eat something with high water content and most don’t have much of an appetite anyway (assuming that you are too tired to want to eat much). You still have such an appetite means that you did not train hard enough. Your Sihing will have to work you harder tomorrow.
Vinz: I did not train hard enough? That is not necessarily correct. I actually don’t have much of an appetite. So after having late night congee will make you a better fighter?
Shek: it depends on who is your opponent. But your power will have improved. Let us all improve our power (in other words, let’s eat!) while you sit there and wait for us. Come on! Have a bowl. Your Sifu will not trick you!
Vinz: Hey sis! Bring me an order of plain congee please!
Sifu Lui: Now that is being a good student (by listening to your sifu’s advice).
They used to say “when you have night time congee”, it means you’ve practiced kungfu. People in the past like to be less direct in what they say. It doesn’t sound so nice if you say ”I’ve just practiced fighting”.
9:12 Vinz: Are there any secret techniques that you still have not yet taught me? Any secret sure kill method? Those that ensure victory?
Part 4 – Wing Chun is suited toward fighting in the narrow alleys of Guangdong.
Sifu Lui: Wing Chun is very naturally suited human structure / movement. Compared to other kungfu styles, the short bridge and narrow stance of Wing Chun is very suited to narrow confined spaces.
Sifu Lui: If it was designed for Anti-Manchu purpose then it obviously not for messing around so it has to be practical and can quickly dispatch the opponent.
0:38 Developed and improved over a period of 200 years thru actual combat, it has become a very practical martial art that is without any fancy movements. Christopher is one of the few foreign Wing Chun sifus in Hong Kong. He is a former US marine and had trained in wrestling and kick boxing. Fourteen years ago, he came to HK with only a few hundred US dollars in his pocket specifically to learn Wing Chun. A few years after, he became a sifu.
1:42 Christopher choose Wing Chun because of his interested in close combat fighting.
2:41 In a Philippine shooting range, Christopher has set up a training program that mixes Wing Chun with the use of fire arms. Unlike traditional sifus, Christopher teaches more than unarmed combat. He emphasizes the usefulness of WC in non-traditional situations.
4:51 Vinz’s training will be coming to the end very soon. Lui Sifu is finally going to teach him the advance set called Biu Tze.
5:00 Sifu Lui: There was a saying “BiuTze cannot leave the door”. It would never be shown to outsiders.
Vinz: What about now?
Sifu Lui: Now? We are not revealing it to others. We are teaching it now. The doors are closed and the doors are locked.
5:16 Sifu Lui: The Biu Tze set is not what most people misunderstand it to be – striking with the thrusting finger tips. It is meaning originated from that ancient proverb “The moon is the target” (Not sure if I translated this right). It means you should look further ahead, not the immediate (nearby) area. Do not look at the angle/space that I have lost but look to how I regain that. Turning defeat into victory.
5:36 Sifu Lui: Block. The elbow is being pushed to this side. Then this hand comes thru the side of the body. Turning defeat to victory in with one move. It is very important.
5:49 Sifu Lui: When we launch a straighline punch and we are unable to dispatch the opponent, he will often come in to tackle or grab you. The elbow comes in to save the day. If you cannot dispatch the opponent, then you get lifted up entirely.
6:00 Sifu Lui: Let’s try it.
Vinz: Be gentle Sifu
Vinz & Sifu : ok
6:11 Vinz: Lots of practice is necessary, especially since I am just starting to learn Wing Chun. I have to put a lot of time into this to get the right feel and how to apply power. It has to be correctly applied.
6:29 The final battle. A boxing studio in Macau.
6:40 The final test has arrived. Vinz is a bit nervous. Sifu Lui is already warmed up. Vinz will have his final Wing Chun lesson here.
6:54 Sifu Lui: Thru this test I hope to improve his fighting ability. There is no need to beat him up. I have not fought in a long time. At least 29 years. Not as fast as when I was young but still faster than most people.
7:24 Vinz: There is pressure. I would not have expected to fight against my sifu. I am resisting the urge to use what I know (karate & taekwondo) and try to use Wing Chun instead. It is very hard. I completely cannot fight to my usual level.
7:49 Sifu Lui: His straight punches are actually very fast. Can be considered to have picked things up quite quickly. Not bad. Sometimes I let off a succession of Wing Chun attacks which ultimately leaves him stunned. I also want him to feel and know that even though while wearing boxing gloves, you can apply chi sau. What it is like to feel that pressure. Hopefully it will increase his confidence in Chi Sau. Once our glove make contact and if I don’t break contact, that is chi sau.
At the end of round two, I will get someone to teach him how to improve his attack with Wing Chun techniques.
8:42 Other student: Sifu wants you to try using the straight kick followed by the chain punch.
8:53 Sifu Lui: There are people who practice Wing chun for years, once they get into the boxing ring……how many boxers have you seen being able to apply Wing chun?
A lot of people separate Chi Sau and Boxing. They don’t know how to use them together.
10:02 Sifu Lui: he fought well. Better than I imagined.
10:06 Vinz: I learned wing chun for almost 20 days. I really enjoyed this learning period with sifu. I never thought that you would be my examiner.
Sifu: Otherwise, I would not have entered the ring. I have not entered the ring in almost 30 years.
Vinz: Thank you sifu.
Sifu Lui: He picked up a lot of things very fast. A few things I only taught him only a few day ago. It is kind of hard to expect him to remember and be able to put everything into use. Not bad. So he deserves to pass.
10:41 Vinz: Sifu, can I be considered to be one tough opponent?
Sifu: do you really want me to answer that one?
Vinz: forget that I every asked.
Sifu: True combat give it all otherwise it is not true combat. Too many rules…