Wing Chun Chuan
Wing Chun (also written Wing Tsun, Ving Tsun and Yong Chun, amongst others) is one of the many types of Chinese martial arts known collectively as Kung Fu. Kung Fu means success achieved through hard work and peseverance, and Wing Chun Chuan means ‘the eternal spring fighting system’. It is an extremely sophisticated and effective martial art.
Wing Chun is, first and foremost, a system of fighting, as opposed to being a sport or an art. There are no fancy moves or wasted motion in Wing Chun. It is not as visually appealing as other forms of Kung Fu, but it is extremely effective and efficient. Wing Chun allows the practitioner to defend and counter quickly with as little effort as possible and with almost no regard for the size or strength of the opponent.
The Benefits of Wing Chun
Wing Chun is an excellent self defence system and in addition to this the movements are all fundamentally beneficial to health. In our classes you will learn to move and coordinate your body in effective, efficient and dynamic ways which will allow you to defend yourself and help to make you stronger, healthier, more balanced and more relaxed. You will also develop a greater awareness and understanding of how your body and mind relate and work together.
Wing Chun teaches correct posture, structure and alignment; once these are balanced effectively you will be stronger. Often strength is associated with hardness, and stiffness, but, due to the way that you achieve strength through training in Wing Chun, one of the key benefits is that you will also learn to become more relaxed and more responsive.
The Aims of Wing Chun
Wing Chun seeks to find the answer to being simultaneously soft/flexible (spring like) and strong. This combination of qualities can enable a much smaller practitioner to defeat a larger opponent. However the idea of ‘soft strength’ has many greater applications than just in combat and it is our aim to teach our students not only to be able to defend themselves effectively but more importantly to teach them how being both flexible and strong in their minds and their bodies can benefit them in every aspect of their lives.
Wing Chun employs the strategies of the Chinese classic General Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’, which is what helps to make it such a highly effective martial art for self defence. Cambridge Kung Fu students learn to understand the ways in which they are inherently strong and weak and how to be able to identify this in others. The aim is that knowing oneself and ones ‘opponent’ gives us confidence and the ability to be successful in whatever conflict type situation we may find ourselves in.
“If you know yourself and you know your enemy, one hundred battles may be fought without fear!” General Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’.
This quote epitomises the goal of Wing Chun training, which is to live your life freely, full of confidence and with the ability to conquer your fears. This is possible through understanding who you are, which will enable you to see others as they truly are. At Cambridge Kung Fu we believe that although this is a difficult path, it is one that leads to you achieving your goals and living a happy life.
Wing Chun is a pure fighting system with a high degree of sophistication and an emphasis on techniques. It is a direct no-nonsense system, yet profound, with depths that will take a lifetime to explore. It is mentally stimulating and physically conditioning. It is an excellent example of a problem solving system. Wing Chun is direct, ingenious, and elegant in its simplicity.
Our classes begin by giving you an introductory education into the world of self defence, to raise your self confidence, to generally help you feel empowered through knowledge of what potential threats you may encounter and most importantly to support you in understanding what you are capable of. The goal is to help you understand how your body works now, and how to make it work more effectively through coordination exercises and drills. We teach you a system to develop your body to become more aware both visually and kinaesthetically.
As you progress, the aim is to teach you a complete self defence system that allows anyone, regardless of size or strength, to defend themselves effectively against the modern threat they may face on the street today. You will become adept at understanding all aspects of modern combat including, range, timing, balance and movement. You will learn how to move softly in the face of superior strength, and to move with power into an opponents weak areas. As you continue your trasining, your development through the Wing Chun system allows you to grow as a martial artist and as a person.
We will support you in your goals and teach you the beautiful system of Wing Chun, showing you how it can apply to all aspects of your life, which will help you to become a more confident, happier, healthier and safer person. This is the ultimate aim of Wing Chun.
The four main aspects of our classes are:
- Forms: The Wing Chun forms serve as a reference for the principles, theories, and techniques of the system. There are three unarmed forms, one form practiced on the wooden dummy, and then two weapons forms.
- Chi Sau: Translating as ‘sticking or clinging hands’, Chi Sau is a way of training your muscles to respond unconsciously to impulses given by another person. You are retraining your unconscious mind and physical body to respond automatically in a highly intelligent and strategic manner. Chi Sau can be summarised as ‘tactile training’.
- Lat Sau: Translating as ‘free hand training’, Lat Sau focusses on bridging the gap and making a connection with your opponant through developing hand-eye co-ordination. Once connection is made, you are then able to utilise your Chi Sau skills. Lat Sau can be summarised as ‘visual training’.
- Self Defence: Situation based exercises and scenarios, this is where we put all your skills together in a less structured framework. For each scenario (eg. someone trying to grab and hit you) we will give you different options to experiment with so that you start to develop an understanding of how Wing Chun works outside the contraints of Chi Sau and lat Sau training.
Our classes also include elements of:
- Pad Work: Striking exercises working with a partner, whereby we will teach you how to use your bodies natural weapons in a relaxed and powerful way. This is a safe way to develop the eability to both give and recieve pwerful strikes, as well as training how to hit safely.
- Awareness Exercises: Games and exercises designed to raise your conscious and unconscious awareness of both your external and internal environment. You will learn how to move in a more coordinated, appropriate and relaxed way to potentially dangerous attacks.
- Sparring Drills: Drills aimed as pressure testing specific parts of you Wing Chun, whether is’s a group of techniques, a tactic, or an over-arching concept. Each drill begins slowly and increases in speed, power, or intensity based on the ability and comfort levels of the specific students taking part.
Each year we host Sifu Benno for two weekends in Cambridge where he teaches a variety of workshops as well as grading those students working on the PWC grading system. These are currently postponed until clasess return to normal training.
Wing Chun Instructor Team
At Cambridge Kung Fu we are very fortunate to have experienced Wing Chun from some of the top Wing Chun Masters in the world, including Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith Kernespect and their Wing Tsun system. We now practice Grandmaster Wan Kam Leung’s Practical Wing Chun under Sifu Wan’s private student; Master Benno Westra.
Grandmaster Wan Kam Leung originally trained Wing Chun under the late Grandmaster Yip Man, and then the late Grandmaster Wong Shun Leung. Teacher to Bruce Lee and generally regarded as one of the greatest fighters of his generation in the world, in Hong Kong Sifu Wan is known as ‘The Master of Masters’ due to his incredible fighting skill and his ability to communicate his Wing Chun. In addition to being a master of Wing Chun, is also a master of Chi Kung.
Master Benno Westra studied martial arts since childhood, has been a champion fighter in Tae Kwon Do and Kyokushinkai Karate, and has also been a special forces soldier and worked in security. He is now a professional Martial Artist teaching Wing Chun, Escrima Concepts and Brazilian Jui Jujitsu in The Netherlands. Before discovering his Sifu (Wan Kam Leung), Sifu Benno also completed the Leung Ting Wing Tsun system and the traditional Wong Shun Leung Wing Chun system, as well as training with several other Wing Chun Masters from Hong Kong and mainland China. Sifu Benno is a regular visitor to the UK and conducts seminars for Cambridge Kung Fu.
Our Chief Instructor, Sifu Ross Sargent, originally trained in Leung Ting Wing Chun before becoming Sifu Benno’s private student and representative in the UK in 2008.
Our Senior Instructor, Sifu Col Maggs, began training in Leung Ting Wing Chun as a private student of Sifu Ross in 2001. He is now a private student of both Sifu Ross and Sifu Benno, and the head of our Escrima Concepts and Tai Chi Chuan programmes.
We are lucky to have several senior students as part of our Instructor Team:
– Steve Sargent – Instructor
– Ka Fai Leung – Assistant Instructor Level 2
– Minh Huyuh-Quoc – Assistant Instructor level 1
– Kieran Love – Assistant Instructor level 1
– Gábor Balogh – Assistant Instructor level 1
Some of the Cambridge Instructor Team:
from L-R: John, Ross, Kieran, Minh, Col.