Saturday, 20 January 2007

Foshan vs Hong Kong Wing Chun

Although the Wing Chun I study comes from Yip Man in his later years in Hong Kong, I have recently visited and trained at another club, who come from a very different lineage. They trace their lineage back to Lun Gai, the first student of Yip Man in Foshan, bafore he fled to Hong Kong.
The main differences I noticed was that they placed more emphasis on the physical side of training, for instance the warm up was much more intense, involving press ups and such. The Hong Kong style is much more yielding to force, whereas looking at the Foshan style you can see how a younger Yip Man would have practiced, putting much more emphasis on power and directness.
Also looking at the forms the first thing I noticed was that whereas in Hong Kong style we place most of the emphasis on correct angles and positions, their emphasis was placed on the development of power. Also their forms were more flowery, ours looks more refined.
Also I noticed that they placed more emphasis on footwork drills than we do, when we practice Chi Gurk it is a freeflowing exercise similar to Chi Sau, whereas they practiced set drills more akin to Dan Chi Sau/Lap Sau. Whereas we practice more Chi Sau and set drills to ensure correct positions, they seemed to practice more sparring and grappling type exercises. The Foshan style also used a lot of armlocks as well, which we do not.
So to conclude I feel that from attending this other class I feel it has given me a greater understanding of Wing Chun, enabling me to see how Yip Man progressed through his life. I would not like to say that either style is better, only that they both reflect different aspects of the art. It is evident how Yip Man liked to simplify things, as looking at the Foshan Wing Chun it is much more traditional, Hong Kong Wing Chun appears more practical and faster to learn. The Foshan Wing Chun however does seem to have a much larger syllabus, incorporating a larger variety of techniques and applications of things.