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  • UK Wing Chun Assoc teachers present at the 2005 2nd World Ving Tsun conference

Wing Chun Kung Fu

Enjoy a Lifetime of Activity

Wing Chun Kung fu is a Chinese Martial Art dating back a few hundred years.

It is the Art made famous by Ip Man and Bruce Lee.  Both of these practitioners are forever immortalised on celluloid.

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A Beginners Guide To Wing Chun

People seem to have a variety of reasons for becoming involved in Wing Chun but from my experience youth and aggression are definitely not prerequisites. It might be interesting for new students (and maybe some seniors) to know of my reasons.

Having never really subscribed to the old Tony Hancock dictum that “A good punch up the bracket never hurt anyone” and neither, in nearly forty summers, ever having had to defend myself from an unprovoked attack in the street my incarnation as a Wing Chun student is a little surprising.

This is doubly so because, until about a year ago, the last time I had indulged in strenuous physical activity Gary Glitter was in the charts and I was in the Fourth Form. Even then my involvement amounted to little more than wandering aimlessly around the sodden rugby pitch poking fun at the poor muddied oafs who, unlike myself, hadn’t had the foresight to forget their kits.

However about a year ago I decided that if I was going to lose the two stones of excess baggage that I was carrying then I would have to do it before old age and infirmity rendered such a thing impossible. Thus I embarked upon an intensive crash course at the gym which, after some months began to have the desired effect.

Training for training’s sake gets tedious after a while though and I began to think that I needed to augment my routine with a physical and mental discipline. I cast around the more well known forms of martial arts but was put off by the competitive nature of most of them and the general air of macho one-upmanship that seemed to exist in many clubs.

It was serendipitous then, that whilst browsing through a copy of “Southend on Sunday”, a publication that I don’t regularly purchase, I came across an advert placed by Master James Sinclair announcing a new beginners class. I may have led an extraordinarily sheltered life but I had never heard of Wing Chun nor had I ever in my life seen a Bruce Lee, or any other kind, of Kung Fu film.

Nonetheless I was suitably interested to bear the date in mind. Even then I was not certain that I would go. On the given night it was well past the seven o’clock start time when I was finally in the Westcliff area and it was only the fact that I had to pass the hall that prompted me to stop. I was glad that I did. It was soon very clear that Wing Chun was not a highly competitive, macho activity which would have been anathema to me. What struck me then (excuse the pun), and continues to do so, was how friendly the more advanced students were and how ready they were to patiently share their knowledge with a relative incompetent like myself. What also became pretty clear was that the only real competition one had to overcome was with ones own shortcomings. A little like the claims made for the game of golf.

As I became hooked it became more like learning to play a musical instrument. Indeed the process of tension and relaxation was very akin to my experiences when I learnt the drums. Just like music students in our first few lessons it was as much as we could do to get a sound out. As we got more proficient it became necessary to put our small knowledge to use in playing a few simple songs. At first it’s all a jumble of dots but suddenly something falls into place and then personal satisfaction is profound.

In no time at all the preliminary grading came around and initial knowledge was put to the test. It had been said that it would be physically tough and watching my colleagues perform their punches it was clear that it was. When it came to my turn I was surprisingly relaxed (and completely sober too) things seemed to fall into place and I felt I was doing rather well.

Pride comes before a fall as the old cliché has it and when it came to the final triple punches I decided to really “go for it”. Unfortunately, although I was not feeling tired my over enthusiasm led to a disastrous loss of rhythm. My triple punches became fives, sevens or nines. Instead of stopping and readjusting I tried to get back into time in situ as it were, but to no avail. Basically, I began to look like I was having a catatonic fit. Not a high scoring recipe!

Nonetheless I got through it and reached the heady heights of intermediate status. Sadly, just like in music, it then became apparent just how much one still had to learn. Still in twenty years time I trust I’ll be as good as Master James Sinclair.

Although I don’t know how I’ll incorporate my Zimmer frame into the style!

A Letter Of Thanks

From Michael Ward of Birmingham

Just a short letter of thank you and about gradings, hopefully you may print it in the forthcoming newsletter?

It was an honour to meet you personally at the grading in Birmingham on Sunday 15th June. I was very proud on a personal level that I passed both my Preliminary and Sui Nim Tao tests on the same day.

I thought when I first started Wing Chun that the activity was just an individual thing, and when it comes down to it, it is you on the day who has to perform whether it be in the class or on the street! But the amount of valuable experience I gained from the input and criticism of fellow classmates in pushing when I was tired and correcting me when I needed correcting. Without that it would not have been possible to be ready for the gradings. My Sifu told me “it’s the preparation that will be the test” and he was right!

I am proud to be part of the UKWCKFA and a student of Sifu Abid Mahmood whom I thank for being patient and understanding when I had problems outside of class when my training suffered and I was so erratic, and for the valuable knowledge he shares with us, and to everybody at Birmingham, THANK YOU. With this kind of attitude the club and others in the Association can only prosper!!

Steven Heath - Westcliff, UKWCKFA Student

A Letter Of Thanks

From Michael Ward of Birmingham

Just a short letter of thank you and about gradings, hopefully you may print it in the forthcoming newsletter?

It was an honour to meet you personally at the grading in Birmingham on Sunday 15th June. I was very proud on a personal level that I passed both my Preliminary and Sui Nim Tao tests on the same day.

I thought when I first started Wing Chun that the activity was just an individual thing, and when it comes down to it, it is you on the day who has to perform whether it be in the class or on the street! But the amount of valuable experience I gained from the input and criticism of fellow classmates in pushing when I was tired and correcting me when I needed correcting. Without that it would not have been possible to be ready for the gradings. My Sifu told me “it’s the preparation that will be the test” and he was right!

I am proud to be part of the UKWCKFA and a student of Sifu Abid Mahmood whom I thank for being patient and understanding when I had problems outside of class when my training suffered and I was so erratic, and for the valuable knowledge he shares with us, and to everybody at Birmingham, THANK YOU. With this kind of attitude the club and others in the Association can only prosper!!

Michael Ward - Birmingham, UKWCKFA Student