I recently watched a documentary on Wing Chun from Emptymind Films. In one part of the video one master said the following :-
What we are teaching here is very traditional Wing Chun, no modifications and no new or strange movements involved. It is traditional and practical. It is genuine Wing Chun.
Now there are many types of Wing Chun, hundreds of types. Even Ip Man’s students are different in the same movement, so are Ip Man’s students’ students.
It depends on the level you have reached and whether some new elements have been included in the training. Ip Man branches are relatively similar, since they are of the same origin. But there are still some slight differences. For some other branches the difference is even bigger.
So if we don’t set a general criteria for Wing Chun, there will be many branches with a variety of features. Some branches are just under the name of Wing Chun, but they are not Wing Chun at all.
The easiest way to regulate it is to set up a system for it. So we changed Wing Chun to Wing Chun Quan Do. Wing Chun Quan Do is actually the same as Wing Chun, but it has exams and levels. We can compete and exchange according to general criteria. It is easier to compete and spread.
But I think it doesn’t matter whether it is genuine or not. What matters is whether your kungfu can be used practically.
I like Ip Man kung fu a lot, because it comes from practice and keeps being modified in practice. Now as the world’s kung fu is developing very fast, we can’t just stick to the word genuine. To be genuine means no modification. What Ip Man taught in Foshan before he came to Hong Kong is different with what he taught in Hong Kong since the 1950s.
As I said just now, he continuously fought and competed with people and his kung fu got modified during this process. So it is different with Foshan kung fu. Although Ip Man had students in Foshan, he accepted them in the 1940s.
In many ways a good commentary on the state of Wing Chun. I just wonder how many who saw this documentary and heard this will accept what was said as is or will ponder over what was said and noticed certain interesting implications about it.
THINK – its one of the most dangerous things to be taught to students, far more than any lethal techniques. Too much thinking leads to potentially embarrassing questions or issues such as the ones raised in The Ip Man Koans – Seeking the Wing Chun of Ip Man. Its best to keep students away from such eBooks since it promotes thinking.