Ip Chun Chi Sao

Why You Should Learn From a Wing Chun School

If you’re thinking about taking Wing Chun and already found some resources (books, dvds, etc) to begin your training, that’s great but learning Wing Chun on your own by reading books or watching videos is not enough. You should accompany these resources by taking Wing Chun classes. Here are 5 reasons why you should learn from a Wing Chun school.

1. Learning from an expert. If you have flipped through any Wing Chun books or watched any DVDs or videos, it is hard to make sense of some of the things they mention because without proper knowledge and training, those books and videos are meaningless. It’s easy to imitate the movement of a person in a Wing Chun video or a form in a Wing Chun book but it’s hard to understand the purpose of each move. By going to a Wing Chun school, you will have experts teaching you thoroughly so that you learn the reasoning behind every move and if you make any mistakes, your instructor, or sifu, will correct them for you.

2. Making new friends. Meeting new people in class and training with them creates a bond. Some bonds turn into friendship. Having friends in class will definitely help motivate you to get better and spark friendly rivalries (think Ken and Ryu in Street Fighters). And by having friends in class, you can continue your training outside of class.

3. Getting results. This can mean something different for each person, whether it’s learning new techniques, or perfecting a form, or understanding the reason behind each move. Whatever the case, getting results is about training consistently. This is where resources are handy because having a Wing Chun book to study or a video to watch can help you understand what you’re learning and now that you’re taking classes, everything you read and watch makes sense. Instructors, or sifus, will teach the class as a group but when it comes to individual training, they will teach you new things when they decide you’re ready.

4. Gaining confidence. Wing Chun is for people of all shapes and sizes, and the training focuses on sensitivity and reacting to the opponent’s force. It’s possible to be very good at Wing Chun without being very muscular or big.

5. Having fun. Wing Chun is definitely an interactive martial art and the main drills are done in pairs. The training I enjoy the most is Chi Sao (Sticky Hands) as it trains sensitivity and utilizes the techniques I’ve learned and because it’s fun to come up with new combinations of attacks to see what works and what doesn’t.

How do you find a good Wing Chun school?

There are a lot of Wing Chun schools but the best way to find the best one is to look around and visit them. Here are some things you should look for to find the right Wing Chun school for you.

Every school should allow a sit-in, where they let visitors sit through a class. During your sit-in, pay attention to how everyone interacts with one another and see if it’s the right type of environment you want to learn in. You might also be looking for a certain type of environment, whether you want to be a part of a big class or want more individual training, it’s important to find a school that caters to your need.

Make sure that you ask questions. Some questions that I would ask are:

  • How many years have they been teaching Wing Chun?
  • How often are the classes? Can I make up classes that I miss?
  • How much does it cost per class?

If there are multiple Wing Chun schools in your area, definitely check them all out. Some schools may offer extra perks that the other schools may not have such as discounts to martial arts stores, a gym, open availability to come in and practice whenever you want, and so on.

Learning and Training Efficiently in Wing Chun Class

Today we talk about learning and training efficiently in our Wing Chun class.

When I’m learning, I need to process everything. Meaning, when someone is teaching me something new, I have to visualize it in my mind first to determine how I can use it in my Wing Chun. Meanwhile, in real time, my body is kind of just there because my mind is focused on the learning part.

Which is why I like that my Wing Chun class is structured. Structured meaning that there are always things we do in every class.

We start off with warm ups and forms. We go through all the open hands forms together, this includes Sil Lim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Biu Tze. I think this gives everyone a chance to review the forms especially if they’re not familiar with it yet.

After the forms, we do drills and Chi Sao. I love this because I get a chance to work with everyone, and in between, learn more about each person. I think martial arts creates the biggest diverse environment because people of all shapes, size, colors, and gender get together to focus on improving themselves and I think it’s amazing.

After all the warm ups, forms, drills, and Chi Sao. We finally work on our own thing where my Sifu spends time with each student to work with them on the next thing they need. This is the most important part because everyone is at a different level and I appreciate the individual attention I get from my Sifu.

I know that repetition may come off as boring or just plain repetitive but for me, the repetition helps my muscle memory so that when I’m going through the motion, instead of worrying about my technique’s form, I can spend my thoughts on what I need to work on for that moment.

So my question for you is, how’s your class normally structured? And do you prefer it that way? If not, what would you change? Let me know in the comments!

To learn more Shan Wu Wing Chun (New York Martial Arts School), check out https://www.shanwuwingchun.com

Photo Credit: Stuart Shafran

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