Three Cornerstones

The Three Cornerstones of WingChun.

Recently, I did a poll on Facebook and my blog. I was curious what you wanted to read about. Because of your feedback, I am laying out a vital model. To represent it visually, I created the graphic at the right.

Specifically, I will expand on several of the WingChun Principles and Mottoes written by Sifu Klaus Brand. Composed as concise strategic aphorisms, they deserve further commentary.

I’d like to share my personal experience working with them, starting with Mottoes 3, 4 and 5: Continue reading

WingChun Principles and Mottoes

Most styles of martial art have their own theory of practice. The WingChun system founded by Sifu Klaus Brand and transmitted by the International Academy of WingChun contains certain concepts based on our own research into functional Self-Defense.

These principles coordinate the performance and optimize the effectiveness of our technical movements. Many of them are in stark contrast to, and even conflict with, the ideas of more traditional lineages. We are not seeming iconoclasts for mere difference’s sake. The evolution, or perhaps revolution, of IAW WingChun is towards a theory and practice of Self-Defense unlimited by past doctrine and delineated by present applicability alone.

To paraphrase an old adage:

Theory without practice is fake art,
Practice without theory is dumb art,
Theory with practice is true art.

理論結合實踐是真功夫。 Continue reading

Is Authentic Best?

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise.
Seek what they sought.

Matsuo Basho

In any field of human knowledge with at least a generation or two of transmitted history a common question arises. It starts as a discussion and often ends as a debate about authenticity. Are the follower’s interpretations true to the founder’s intention? Does modern expression accurately represent traditional practice? What exactly constitutes fidelity to the original?

For those who are past-oriented, authenticity is the preservation of ritual forms and norms. We can describe their ideal as traditional. They are like archaeologists researching artifacts to formulate coherence from partial records.

For those who are present-oriented, authenticity is the prioritization of direct relevance and application. We can label their process as progressive. They are like engineers finding ways to create practical tools with useful functions. Neither the traditional or progressive view is more or less authentic than the other, nor are they mutually exclusive objectives. The primary meaning of authenticity and its source merely differs. Continue reading