Wing Chun Summary
As we have seen in the above, Wing Chun distinguishes itself from other types of martial arts in that it relies on superior techniques instead of superior strength, or, as we put it in the introduction, it prizes know-how over brute strength, which is why even a mere wisp of a female trained in Wing Chun can take down a hulk of a male. We have seen how Wing Chun, more than other martial arts, places greater significance on defense rather than offense, for, without a first-rate defense, the slight Wing Chun fighter – at least in a life and death situation, which is the background on which many of the early period Wing Chun fighters trained, especially those who were in opposition to the Qing government – will not live to improve his (or her) offensive techniques and to fight another day, therefore, for the Wing Chun Kung Fu fighter, a good defense reins supreme.
Moreover, as we have also seen in the above, the Wing Chun Kung Fu fighter is dogged in his offensive strategy, even if the defensive strategy commands greater importance. The attention paid to the defensive strategy is ultimately what provides the Wing Chun Kung Fu fighter the self-confidence necessary to pursue the opponent relentlessly, and, as we have also seen, this dogged pursuit also contains a psychological element that can eventually render a larger opponent despondent, leading to forced errors, as it were.
Fig 20: An elderly master (Yip Man) does a photo-op with his apprentice (Bruce Lee)
Perhaps because Wing Chun is more "brain over brawn", it is more popular on university campuses in the US and the UK than any other type of oriental martial arts. Wing Chun was somewhat late to catch on outside of China, perhaps because of a certain crowding out effect by more traditional forms of Kung Fu, and perhaps because there was a general skepticism, among those who eventually did embrace Wing Chun, toward the perceived overly macho nature of oriental martial arts.
Wing Chun has many technical similarities with the Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Wushu, aka White Crane Boxing, though it differs in many fundamental aspects as well (in stance, for example, where White Crane Boxing employs a lower-gravity, more 'feet firmly planted, legs spread wide' stance than Wing Chun). In spite of its name, White Crane Boxing's "crane" is not related to the snake and the crane legend of Wing Chun, but, rather, allegedly borrows on Taiwanese traditions regarding the superior predatory skills of the white crane.
Wing Chun, as we have seen in the above, is also related to the Hakka people's Fukien (i.e., "of Fujian (Province)") System of Kung Fu. In general, Wing Chun is more closely linked to the many martial arts traditions of southern China than to the martial arts traditions of northern China, even though Wing Chun long ago spread to northern China, where it absorbed certain northern techniques such as high (above the waist) kicking.
Viewed on the basis of its historical-cultural roots, Wing Chun is one of the "Three Great Martial Art Schools of the South", meaning of southern China, the other two being Hung Gar and Choi Lei Fut, both of which martial arts systems have their roots in the "Southern Shaolin Monastery" tradition, which, curiously enough, is preserved today in the "northern" Shaolin Monastery, or the Shaolin Monastery of the town of Dengfeng, Henan Province, near the capital, Zhengzhou.
Fig 21: Kung Fu Salutation