Wing Chun is a style of kung fu from south of China that was first brought to the west by the early Bruce Lee in the middle sixties. Over forty years later Wing Chun is still somehow mystified and many aspects of its training are kept secret by the majority of teachers of this discipline. In this way they ensure that the transfer of knowledge is regulated and they make a lot of money out of this process. Luckily some illuminated individuals don’t believe in politics and like teaching top quality martial arts for the sake of spreading the knowledge more than building little empires.
When I first read “Why Wing Chun Works”, back in 2001, I was immediately amazed by the simplicity and honesty of the writer. All essential concepts were there, in less than 200 pages: I found it so intriguing that I decided to write to the author, Alan Gibson, to congratulate for his great work. In fact I went one step forward, I asked him to run a seminar with my club: I could see a little problem coming along by getting an expert of Wing Chun to explain, in four hours, the basic concepts of the art to a bunch of people that practice and train something completely different: kick boxing. Alan accepted the challenge and, with his laid back but very professional approach, managed to involve people at all levels and to teach them some very important concepts that apply to any striking style. That was the beginning of a nice and strong relationship between Alan and myself and a good number of “why wing chun works” seminars have been organized since.
The most recent one was last week and, once more, Alan managed to beat any expectation and demonstrate again how knowledgeable, practical and straightforward his approach is. This time the group was of a slightly different kind: the majority of participants had some knowledge of wing chun, some of them being instructors or assistant instructors from other clubs. Alan was capable of impressing everyone with his deep knowledge of the theoretical foundations of the style he teaches, together with practical application of any possible fighting scenario. We spent the last half hour of the seminar with half of the people wearing boxing gloves and attacking the others that, bear handed, were there to apply Wing Chun concepts against the boxers. In typical Gibson’s style there is no question that remains unanswered or concepts that are considered too advanced for the person who asked them. Everybody was happy and totally satisfied of the seminar and several participants thanked Alan for his great work and me for organizing it. If you have a chance of training with Alan or participating to one of his seminars make sure you don’t miss the opportunity, you are going to like it.