The lone wolf claims that many practice Wing Chun incorrectly today. Is his claim valid?
Yes, on this point I would agree with him.
There are a number of problem areas that I do see. Whether its my place to say anything is another issue. Just for the hell of it I will say a few things. If you wholeheartedly believe that what your teacher taught you is correct I would advise you not to read further.
Otherwise, scroll down to read more.
Let’s talk about the first thing you learned – the adduction stance or Goat Clamping Stance. Would you say the stance makes sense? Why yes? Why not?
Today, I have read many as claiming that the adduction stance as “traditionally” taught is wrong and biomechanically ineffective. Some have propose alternate ways of doing it with tests of structure to back up their argument.
If I am one of those who have a problem using the stance against an opponent exerting pressure then I have to agree with the critics.
However, the way the critics do their stance does not seem to have anything to do with clamping the goat so to speak. If so, if the name of the stance a lie? Or is it that the critics despite putting up a good argument missing out on something. This is where such issues can be confusing for beginners.
In the end, those who believe in their teacher will go back to what they were doing even if they are not getting the results. Those who just care about results would go with the critics.
I have learned Wing Chun the “wrong” way as what the critics say and I have tried their way and its very persuasive. Then one day I met two teachers, two different styles, two different lineages and finally I got a better idea of what I missed out, where I went wrong.
The adduction stance that I originally learned in Ip Man style had one major component missing. Restore this component and your adduction stance would have the clamping goat flavor and still be effective even when used to pass the structure tests that critics put up. My conclusion here is that it is not that the style is wrong but that this important principle was somehow not disseminated widely throughout the Ip lineage.
Why? I have no idea. But I had the chance to observe what happened when someone who learned this same Ip style was not taught the major component properly. The end result was that this student was not able to generate the type of snappy, powerful force that his master was capable of.
I was told that even the senior disciple was not able to duplicate the master’s power. My theory is that the senior disciple probably lacked mastery of the major component because I know from personal learning that this is not easy to learn and it took a lot of persistence to keep working on it to get it right.
One thing I noted in this Ip style is that though the goat clamping was there it was not in compliance to the letter. But the non-Ip style’s method was truly a clamp the goat affair. The attributes that it trained particularly the power generation is different from the Ip style. If I may venture an opinion I would say that the non-Ip style’s method was more subtle, more natural and would fit what this lone wolf is saying about ancient methods, assuming we are on the same page.
Are we? I am not sure. I know what the internal arts, especially Tai Chi’s definition of certain key core elements. I know what I know but I don’t know if this is what this lone wolf knows. I would say that the intention model of Grandmaster Wei’s is probably not something that most people get unless they can do it themselves. This is one reason I don’t really discuss it in greater depth so people such as this lone wolf cannot borrow Tai Chi principles and try to pass it off as 17th century ancient Wing Chun stuff.
Similarly for the core model of the non-Ip style – I have to say that my great grandmaster was prescient when he imposed an embargo on the release of information on his style to the public when Bruce Lee’s popularity exploded after his first movie hit the big screens, leading to many people wanting to learn Wing Chun. The grandmaster’s key reason then was to prevent the Ip stylists from stealing information; the information blackout so effective that until today very little is known. It is interesting to note that even my teacher does not bother to inform the public that the name of the style is written incorrectly.
There is another misunderstanding about the clamping goat stance. It is a learning tool to teach you important principles relating to stability and power. The clamping action makes it easier to learn these principles. Once learned you are not meant to use this stance the way it is. This is why when practitioners complained that the stance is not useful they are correct but not in the way they are thinking.