A COMMON WING CHUN QUESTION - "Do You Know the Whole System?"

ABOUT THIS VIDEO: I meet a lot of people who don't know what Wing Chun is. However, I will occasionally meet someone who does.

When I do, there is one question they inevitably ask: "Do you know the whole system?"

What does that even mean? Think about it: if people say that learning a martial art is a lifelong journey, then how can ANYONE ever know a "complete" system?

I'll tell you what they mean: they are asking if I know all the forms. Wing Chun has only 6, whereas in other styles you might have to learn 6 just to get to your next belt...and then you have to learn 6 NEW forms!

I'm not sure why people attach such importance to whether or not a person knows all the forms. My Wing Chun journey began in 1995. There have been several times when "life happened," and I was in and out of class. That is why, despite starting so long ago, I still haven't gotten to a point where anyone taught me the pole or knife forms.

For the sake of being clear, I will say that I have learned all 3 empty hand forms and the wooden dummy forms. However, I don't think my skills are all useless simply because I haven't learned 2 forms.

Also, let me tell you a little secret: knowing the forms isn't enough anyway! If someone has a good memory, then they could technically learn all 6 forms within a month or two...but does that mean they are an awesome Wing Chun person, simply because they remember the motions?

It's not just if they can do the forms, but can they do them WELL?

Can they tell you how the moves could be applied in self-defense?

Can they explain the mechanics at work?

THESE are the things that matter, not just basic memorization.


~~~Steve Grogan

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