Many people have heard of or practice Wing Chun around the world but not many know of which philosophy under pins the art. So which philosophy is Wing Chun based upon?
To partially answer this question we can take a look at a book on Wing Chun with Yip Chun originally published in 1993, authored by Danny Connor, entitled – ‘Wing Chun Martial Arts: Principles & Techniques‘.
This book is an excellent summary of Wing Chun and it’s origins. It’s a solid book to give to beginners and those interested in learning about Wing Chun – not necessary everything to do with the foundations but a mixture of both history, principles and philosophy. I remember when I first read the entire book and realized that perhaps the most valuable information in the book was right at the back.
I believe at Grand Master Ip Chun’s request the author inserted notes of Confucius’ ‘Chun Yung’ (also known as The Doctrine of the Mean) which Yip Chun believes is heavily linked to the ideas behind what Wing Chun represents.
Confucius was a Chinese thinker and philosopher born some 551 years before Jesus Christ. His thoughts which were focused on social relationships, justice and sincerity were developed into a philosophy known as Confucianism. His teachings in all three aspects focused on practising the middle, natural way.
If you read a little into Chung Yung (a part of Confucius teachings) you will begin to understand how some of his ideas can be applied to Chi Sau (sticking hands – the virtual form of fighting (as described by Ip Chun in the book) used by Wing Chun practitioners).
In particular he picks out from the Chun Yung principles those relating to teachers and the relationships they have with the rest of society. Those who study and understand these notes should be able to relate them to both their Chi Sau (sticking hands) and their conduct with fellow students. These notes should also help teachers of all martial art forms and other subject matters flourish.
To finish off, here is a saying by Confucius from Chung Yung.
‘If the father was a Great Lord, the son a knight, he was buried as a Great Lord, the son a knight. If the father was a knight, the son a Great Lord, he was buried as a knight, the son a Great Lord. The year’s mourning reached to the Great Lords; the three years’s mourning reached to the Son of Heaven. In mourning father or mother, there was no high or low, all were one.’