Wing Chun Stone Songs
In the traditional China a big part of the teachings was not written down, just given as verbal instructions. That includes the kuen kuit, a specific form, used by several martial art styles.
The kuan kuit (Translated as martial art song or proverb.) is a short principle of the style, which is phrased in rhymes making it easier to remember. These proverbs had been used as an “identification” between the student of the same style (there were may martial artist versed in Wing Chun styles between the secret societies fighting against the Manchu). Because of this more than one proverb vanished because of loosing its meaning or becoming obsolete (For example Fan Ching fuk Ming, Fan Qing fu Ming- translated as "Down with Qing dynasty, back to the Ming dynasty").
What remains is pointing out the core disciplines of the style. Yip Man collected and noted down the proverbs known by him. To secure the documents against the ruin of time and to make it a work of art, he choose to have them engraved in seal stones, in a form that’s document the history of the Wing Chun from the founder to himself. (Traditionally in China the personal seal have been used as a personal identification, this tradition is alive till today but mainly in the ranks of painters, calligraphists and martial artists.) The work has been done by one of his student Moy Yat and his cousin Gwong Jeh Nam. It took four years just to choose the stones. The collection finally consists of fifty-one stone. Every piece was engraved with care and with the calligraphy style of the era it represents. The series frames the whole history of the Wing Chun. A part of the collection records the information which was thought the most important points in the progression of the students by the grand masters of that time, others engraved with the names of the forms and the most relevant notes about them. The engraving had taken six years; and was finished under the supervision of Yip Man grand master, before his death. Today the stones are exhibited in Mui Yat master’s school in Ohio, which is function as a museum as well.
The kuen kuits of the Wing Chun can be divided to four groups.
These proverbs describe the outcome of an action or movement. For example: “Das au jik sin sau” (Da shou ji xiao shou) “The punch is a block as well” (literally: You can remove the hand of the other with your punching hand, or Remove the hand of the other with your punching hand.)
These are the equations of the forms and shapes: “Loi Lau heui sung. Lat sau jik chung.” (Lai lou gu song, tuo shou zhi chong). “If he comes forward retreat, if he retreats, follow; remove his hand and push straight forward!”
These proverbs are to warn the student of some special mistakes when training or during a fight: “Pak sau gei noih muhn” (Pai shou ji nei men). “The palm block must avoid the inner gate!” (The paak sau can be self dangerous if not executed properly.)
These proverbs describe the quality of techniques or principles within the style: “Yahn hahng gong, hqoh hahng yihn” (Ren hang gong wo hang xian). “Other walk on the bow, I walk on the string”. It describes the economically of the Wing Chun, we try to attack at the shortest distance.
Traditional Wing Chun lifestyle rules
Be disciplined – live virtuous life, like a martial artist.
Be considerate and honest – serve your community and your family!
Love your fellow students- be collected and avoid the conflicts!
Rule your desires and avoid the chasing of the sensual pleasures – conserve your true intellectuality.
Train diligently – improve your skills.
Learn to perfect the calmness of the soul – refrain from arguments and fighting.
Participate in the work of the community – be amiable and moderate.
Help the weak and the young – use your knowledge for the good of the humankind.
Pass down the tradition – preserve the Chinese martial arts and lifestyle.
Wing Chun principles
Retain what's coming in, and pursue what is retreating. Charge in upon loss of hand contact.
Do not be lax when your opponent is not advancing.
Once your opponent moves, his center of gravity changes.
Make the first move to have control. Attack according to timing.
Timing is achieved through practice.
A strong attitude and posture gives an advantage over your opponent.
Being alert and adapting to the situation allows maximum result for minimum effort.
Body follows movement of the hands. The waist and the stance move together.
Complement the hands with posture to make good use of the center line.
The eyes and the mind travel together, paying attention to the leading edge of attack.
Charge into the opponent. Execute three moves together.
Strike any presented posture if it is there. Otherwise strike where you see motion. Beware of sneak attacks, leakage attacks, and invisible center line attacks.
Soft and relaxed strength will put your opponent in jeopardy.
Coordinate the hands and feet. Movement is together.
Do not take risks and you will always connect to the target.
Have confidence and your calmness will dominate the situation.
Occupy the inner gate to strike deep into the defense.
To win in an instant is a superior achievement.
The Yin Yang principle should be thoroughly understood.
The theory of Wing Chun has no limit in its applications.
Be humble to request your teacher for guidance.
Understand the principles for your training.
Wing Chun Training proverbs
Upon achieving the highest level of proficiency, the application of techniques will vary according to the opponent.
There are not many sets of training exercises in Wing Chun.
They are easy to learn but to master requires determination.
Learning the usual ways will allow later variations.
Short arm bridges and fast steps requires practicing the stance first.
Siu Lim Tau trains internal power.
Lan Sau in Chum Kiu is a forceful technique.
Bui Gee contains life saving emergency techniques.
Wooden Man develops use of power. Fancy techniques should not be used in sticky hand practice.
Sticky leg practice is inseparable from single leg stance.
The steps follow turning of the body like a cat.
The posture complements the hands to eject the opponent.
The Six and A Half Point Staff does not make more than one sound.
The Eight Cut Sword techniques have no match.
The thrusting and fast attacks are well suited for closing in.
Eyes beaming with courage can neutralize the situation.
Unknown techniques are not suitable for training practice.
Those who completely master the system are among the very few.
The Seventeen Keys to Wing Chun
Be ferocious when clashing.
Be fast with your fist.
Be forceful when applying power.
Be accurate with timing.
Be continuous when applying Fan Sau.
Do not use all your strength.
Protect your own posture.
Be alert with your eyes.
Coordinate your hands and feet.
Unite your waist and stance.
Movements must be agile.
Comprehend the principles of Yin and Yang.
Be steady with your breathing and strength.
Sink your inner Chi.
Be commanding with your fighting demeanor.
Be quick to end the fight.
Pull in chest, push out upper back, and bring in tail bone.
Fill the Dan Tin with chi and distribute the strength to all parts of the body.
Point the knees and toes inward.
Form a pyramid with the center of gravity in the center.
Fists are placed by the side of the ribs but not touching the body.
Sink the elbows, the shoulders, and the waist.
Hold the head and neck straight and keep the spirit alert.
Eyes are level, looking straight ahead, and watching all directions.
The mind is free of distractions and the mood is bright.
There is no fear when facing the opponent.
The Ye Ge Kim Yeung Ma is the main stance. Develop a good foundation for advanced techniques.
Siu Nim Tao
Siu Lim Tau comes first, Do not force progress in training.
A weak body must start with strength improvement,
Do not keep any bad habit.
Yee Ma, train the chi by controlling the Tan Tien:
To maintain good balance of strength, Grip the ground with the toes.
To release chi from the Dan Tin, Will enable proper release of power.
Sink the elbow and drop the shoulders, Guarding the centerline to protect both flanks.
There are one hundred and eight moves, all practical and real.
Thousands of variations can be used, Aiming for practical use and not beauty.
Internally develops the chi,
Externally trains the tendons, bones, and muscles.
Tan Sau., Bong Sau, Fok Sau, Wu Sau, and Huen Sau, Their wonder grows with practice.
Each movement must be clear and crisp.
Timing must be observed.
Practice once a day, More will cause no harm.
Chum Kiu trains the stance and the waist, the arm bridge is short and step is narrow.
Eyes are trained to be alert, the chi flows in perpetual motion.
Strive to remain calm in the midst of motion, loosen up the muscles and relax the mind.
Turning the stance with circular movement, will allow superior generation of power.
When the opponent's arm bridge enters your arm bridge, use escaping hand to turn around the situation.
Pass by opponent's incoming arm bridge from above, without stopping when the countering move has started.
Lon Sau and Jip Sau, put opponent in danger.
Do not collide with a strong opponent, with a weak opponent use direct frontal assault.
A quick fight should be ended quickly, No delay can be allowed. use the three joints of the arm to prevent entry by opponent's bridge, jam opponent's bridge to restrict his movement.
Create a bridge if opponent's bridge is not present; nullify the bridge according to how it is presented.
The arm bridge tracks movement of opponent's body, when the hands cannot prevail, use body position to save the situation.
Using short range power to jam opponent's bridge, the three joints are nicely controlled.
Where is opponent's bridge to be found? Chum Kiu guides the way.
The Bue Gee hand contains emergency techniques,
Iron fingers can strike a vital point at once,
The stepping in elbow strike has sufficient threatening power,
The phoenix eye punch has no compassion.
Fak Sau, Ginger Fist, and Guide Bridge, their movements are closely coordinated and hard to defend and nullify.
Springy power and extended arm are applied to close range, the situation is different when preventing from defeat in an emergency.
Bue Gee is not taught to outsiders.
How many Si Fu's pass on the proper heritage?
There are 108 movements for the Wooden Man,
Repeated practice brings proper use of power.
Steps vary and always vary and maintain close contact with the Wooden Man,
Power starts from the heart and shoots towards the centerline of the Wooden Man,
Up, down, back and forth movements are continuous,
Power improvement cannot be predicted.
Arm bridge sticks to the hands of the Wooden Man while moving,
Adhesion power when achieved will be a threatening force.
Power can be released in the intended manner,
Use of the line and position will be proper and hard to defeat.
Maxims and Proverbs
There is no difference in who started the study first. The one who achieved accomplishment is first.
Students from the same teacher will differ in their skills.
Touching opponent's arm bridge makes the situation more favorable.
When facing multiple opponents, it is easy to manage the situation.
When chasing opponent's arm bridge, beware of being led.
When pushing opponent's elbow, beware of being pulled.
Learning the techniques without developing the skills will never bring any accomplishment.
The ideal in Martial Arts is humanitarianism. Accomplishment uses diligence as goal.
When opponent passes your arm bridge, avert the danger by turning the stance and facing with the appropriate posture.
Strike when you should. Do not strike when you should not.
Do not be too eager to strike. Do not be afraid to strike. Being afraid of getting hit will finally be hit.
Persistent attack will surely gain you entry.
Staying on the defensive too long will surely get you into trouble.
Punch starts from the heart.
The staff does not make two sounds. A kick does not miss.
Power is generated from the joints. Strength originates from the heels.
Store metal energy with the mind. Move chi with mental energy. Exert strength with chi. Generate power with strength.
No harm will come if chi is nurtured naturally. Power can be stored bent with enough to spare.
Chi comes out of Dan Tin, and travels along the waist, the thighs, and the back.
Know yourself and your opponent, and you will always win.
People do not know the extent of my skills, but I know their abilities.
Go along with your opponent's failing posture, in order to take advantage of it.
Glass-like head, cotton-like belly, and iron-like arm bridge.
You can strike anywhere when your arm bridge has passed beyond your opponent's three joints.
Pass by opponent's incoming arm bridge from above. Jam opponent's bridge to restrict his movement.
Create a bridge if opponent's bridge is not present. Nullify the bridge according to how it is presented.
Know the difference between Yin and Yang, real and feigned. Take advantage of any available opportunity.
Sticking to opponent while shifting hand position shows good control of situation. Being stuck to by opponent while attempting to shift your own hand position cannot produce the intended result.
Bong Sau must not remain. Fan Sau should be closely paced.
Know your own limit in the use of power. Letting all out is 90 percent of the way to defeat.
The knees lead the stance. The waist links the body.
Where the mind goes, the eyes go, and the hands and feet follow.
Strive to remain calm in the midst of motion.
Loosen up the muscles and relax the mind.
The three terrors of Wing Chun are Tan Sau, Bong Sau, and Fok Sau.
Feet and hands work together, and the threat comes to an end.
Beware of brute strength when facing someone from the same style. Beware of the situation in a confrontation.
Uniting the waist with the stance, power can be generated.
In a match do not expect any compassion.
Grasping to the throat is a ruthless technique. Once commenced, cannot be stopped.
Storing energy resembles pulling a bow. Releasing power is like shooting an arrow.
Circular and straight accompany each other. Bent and straight complement each other.
Extreme softness enables to be hard. Being extremely natural enables to be agile.
Direct the mind to store spirit, not chi, in the body. Otherwise it leads to sluggishness.
No power is obtained when occupied with chi.
Use alterations in stepping forward and backward. Hands and feet should be closely coordinated.
Invisible posture. Invisible kick.
As long as you are sticking to your opponent, you are unlikely to lose. A well trained waist can prevent loss of balance.
Hand techniques must follow the Yin Yang principle.
Strength must be applied with inner power.
There is a counteraction to every attack.
Rapid moves are hard to guard against.
Go in when opponent slows down.
Kicks lose nine times out of ten.
Feet are like wheels, and hand like arrow.
A hand used for attack serves also to parry.
Do not collide with a strong arm bridge. Get out of the way and take initiative to attack.
During sticky hand exercise, the hand which has entered beyond the elbow will win nine times out of ten.
Do not follow, force, or butt against opponent's hands.
Destroying opponent's center line will control his bridge.
In Bon Sau the forearm inclines, the wrist is on the center line, and the fingers droop.
A raised elbow weakens the force. The elbow must be strong. Then you can take on any attack.
If opponents grasp your arm bridge, do not oppose with brute force. Go with opponent's force to change into rolling hands. turn around the situation to control him.