Traditional Wing Chun follows the exact same principles set by the original Grandmasters. Since it was also originally taught by a woman, it operates on some unique principles.

Avoiding fighting force with force: Wing Chun practitioners prefer to deflect an oncoming force if possible, rather than to stop it. Therefore, a lot of arm techniques involve rotation and small circular movements. Because the Wing Chun system favours the deflection method in its defence, positioning is very important. Positioning ensures that the technique will work effectively.

Operating on the Central Line: The central line is the imaginary line the practitioner uses to face their opponent. It is "drawn" through the points in front of a practitioner where they are able to cross their wrists at the lower, middle and upper levels without pivoting their body. Using this imaginary line to face an opponent, the practitioner is able to use both arms at the same time. Where wrists cannot cross without pivoting the body is outside the central line. Instead of pivoting to cover these areas, footwork is used to position the body and bring these areas within the central line. The centreline is different. The centreline is an imaginary symmetrical line dividing the body vertically into two halves. Most of the body's vital organs and pressure points are found on the centreline.

Using Two Arms at the Same Time: This implies the practitioner must move their arms independently of their shoulders and body. In order to develop this ability, they must practice the Sil Lum Tao form the correct way. This form also trains the mind to be able to control both arms at the same time. One major criticism of Wing Chun is that because of the independent movement of the arms, there appears to be no follow-through, hence no power. This is certainly untrue. Power is the result of speed and follow-through. A proficient Wing Chun practitioner is trained to use their footwork to follow through on strikes. They can also generate great speed in a short distance. Compared with the strikes of other disciplines which are dependent on the body, Wing Chun strikes are certainly equal, if not superior.

Focusing on the Elbow and Knee before Contact: Scientific tests performed at the Gait Analysis Laboratory of the Children's Hospital Medical Centre in Boston in 1984 have proven that during punching, the elbow moves much slower than the fist. It was recorded that in a Wing Chun straight punch, the elbow moves 2.66 times slower than the fist. In a western boxing swinging punch, the elbow moves 4.03 times slower than the fist. The elbow will always indicate the movement of the punch and forewarn the practitioner of the opponent's intention. The Wing Chun system advocates watching the opponent's elbow before contact. In situations during the fight, the Wing Chun system suggests watching the elbow of the free arm because the movement of the contacted arm can be detected by contact. In a situation where the leg is contacted, it is advisable to watch the opponent's nearest elbow.

Using Contact Reflexes During the Contact and Exchange Stages: Contact reflexes can be obtained from sparring and/or contact-reflex exercises such as Chi Sao. At the point of contact, the immediate message is the movement of the contacted arm or leg. The force exerted by that limb can also be detected at the point of contact, enabling a simultaneous counter. Furthermore, using contact-reflexes, a Wing Chun practitioner can predict the movement of their opponent and interrupt their opponent's movement countering before their opponent has completed their movement.

Using the Neutral Stance in the Pre-Contact Stage: The neutral stance implies that the practitioner is not committed to any direction, forward, backward, left or right. It is similar to that of a tennis player awaiting the serve. In most situations, mobility is the most important requisite. If the defender is committed to any direction his mobility is impaired. It is not hard to realise that the Wing Chun Neutral Stance is the only stance that allows for a true side step.

 

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