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ralph haenel, hänelwingtsun, wing tsun kung fu instructor, author, publisher, self-defense expert Sifu Ralph Haenel, learning and teaching Wing Tsun Kung Fu since 1984
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Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Wing Tsun Kung Fu training tips

Three ways to improve your martial arts (Wing Tsun Kung Fu) training and two examples to learn from!

Self-defense class at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch - www.wingtsunkungfu.comTip 1 – Take it slow
To get the most out of every exercise, slow down the movement and stay in control. Your muscles need time to recognize the movement, let alone build muscle memory. Go too fast and you will cheat with momentum (strength & speed).

Tip 2 – Make small changes
Your muscles get used to doing a movement after just a few weeks. To keep the results coming, change the exercise. Work with less strength, try to recognize tensions, feel your whole body moving.
You hear from me a lot of times about the chain of muscles, muscle groups, throughout our body. We want to enable the right muscles to work with a minimum of effort, while switching the “wrong” muscles off (get rid of tension). We train towards creating a powerful, continuous movement from toes to fingertips, always ready to adjust instantly to any change in an ongoing physical confrontation.

Tip 3 – Learn your limits, …
for the sake of successful training. It’s okay to challenge yourself, but don’t push yourself or your partner past the point of getting results. If you are stronger than your partner, work with a minimum of your strength, and speed (slow motion training!). Don’t forget how each exercise should benefit both partners! Help each other! If you are weaker than your training partner, ask your partner to fine-tune his pressure. Both sides can only learn from it, by having to enable each other to equally learn from every exercise.
This is NOT a competition. This is NOT about finding out who is better. It is imperative to separate ego from training or one is destined to fail.
It’s no secret; both partners have to contribute to make any exercise work.

Don’t forget, when I show a exercise, I often demonstrate a “finished product,” how it should look and feel  after weeks or even months, years of hard training.
Don’t try to jump to the end of the chain without going through all the little steps that are necessary to be truly successful.

Don’t mistake the following with acquiring real Wing Tsun skills:
1. overpowering your training partner,
2. speeding up when you know ahead of time what your partner does, or
3. using certain tricks as a result of your experience.

Sometimes we may not even be aware of our training routine. So, it most certainly helps to review our attitude towards a successful training. When you support your partner’s growth, your partner will help you in return to progress faster. Real Confidence comes from reliable skills.

Ask yourself: Do your skills match superior strength and speed of a violent attacker, who sees you as a weak victim?

One example to learn from
About ten years ago, I had a student who wasn’t very tall, or strong, or experienced. But his first punch was extremely fast. Again and again, every training partner got hit, even the best. Most now overwhelmed the weaker, shorter training partner. I asked them repeatedly what they would have done, if the person would be tall and very strong, if those surprisingly fast punches would have kept coming?

1. Train the very important initial ability to control fast punches that seem to come out of nowhere.
2. Let the shorter, weaker training partner resume fast attacks. What if you can’t stop them? Imagine, there is a body weight of 200 pounds behind them. Imagine, it’s a 6.2” guy delivering the strikes. You have to move fast, time well, coordinate your actions, learn to take some.
Now any training partner can become an enormous challenge.

A few times, I have experienced the following question: “Can you team me up with someone else. The guy is just too weak!” Yeah right, think again, you are missing one of your best training partners. Besides, it’s up to you, what you make out of every training session. If you just train to get a good workout and sweat, maybe you should rethink your intentions and goals.

A second example to learn from
Some five years ago, I worked for a while with a Wing Chun student from Sweden. He was tall, strong and confident. To make a long story short:
- He always wanted to pretend to hit the face, instead of striking to the body.
- Instead of following a specific exercise, he almost always wanted to fight his training partner.

Now, what’s so bad about that?

Point 1. I can pretend to hit somebody’s face as much as I want, as often as I want. It doesn’t make me better. For the purpose of this brief training note, I neglect here possibly important issues regarding the law and potential reports of witnesses against you after a physical altercation. (Scenario: The initial attacker bleeding all over the place and blood dripping from your fists. … Get a good lawyer!)

Our trainers work on striking to the body. Now you can give it all in your training session and see if you can move a person, find out if your punches have any impact. Why?

I learned from skilled instructors who could vary the results of their punches. Just to mention a few (controlled!) examples:
- a light punch to the chest that makes you feel you want to drop on the spot
- a powerful punch that lifts you off your feet and thrusts you against the wall without injuring you
- a punch, seemingly coming from only the wrist, penetrating the best six-pack and having the recipient on his knees

You can’t achieve that skill by imitating a punch that “would in reality hit the face.” Why then martial arts training at all? Anybody can hit somebody else in the face. But a powerful, yet controlled punch to the chest, leaving the other person rattled, for this skill you have to train hard, very hard.

The goal should be increasing punching power that can be measured. Variations of striking power depending on different scenarios. Once example only: A ‘light’ palm strike that sends a opponent flying and gives you the chance to remove yourself from the fight, instead of a exchange of  wild punches, leaving a bloody mess on both sides. That’s a skill.

Instead of fighting your training partner, help each other to figure out the details of your training to become knock-out punchers!

Two more examples, to help you improve your training, will follow soon!

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Posted by ralph haenel at 8:25 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 October 2010 8:46 PM PDT
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Part 9 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 9 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

LT: frm my Dai Dizi (most senior student).  Later she learned from me.  Have you seen God of Crockery?  A movie by Stephen Chow.  She (Karen Mok) was the character with the scar on her face.  It was before she was in the movie that she came to ask me to teach her Wing Tsun.

Host: Can she do a few moves?

LT: Yes, she can do a few moves.

Host: You’ve taught so many female actresses.  Among them, which one do you feel was your best student?

LT: Oh my! This is really hard to answer.   Like Michelle (Mi Xue) for example…. (interrupted by hose).  [This Michelle is not Michelle Yeoh]

Host: They all have talent?

LT:  I feel that all actors/actress have a natural talent.  If they did not have any natural talent then they would not be such outstanding actors, right?

Host: Michelle Yeoh.   Has she learned WT from you?

LT:  Michelle Yeoh has never approached me.  I don’t really know her.

Host: I think she also made a movie called Wing Chun.

LT: I know. The director was Yuan Heping (Yuen Woo Ping).  Yuan Heping and I know each other fairly well.  He often visits my school. He made that movie without telling me.  What a bastard.  At the time he went to visit his doctor whose office was across from my school and we ran into each other.  He asked me to introduce one of my foreign students who is a champion fighter and I said “sure”.  He never followed up on that meeting and not long after his movie “Wing Chun” came out.   I was ribbing him. “You bastard, you made a Wing Chun movie without telling me”.  I am very familiar with him.

Host: What do you think of Michelle Yeoh’s performance in the movie Wing Chun?

LT: I won’t comment on that. (laughing).  Actually, I feel Yuen Woo Ping is a really talented director.  He made many martial arts films and they are really good. Otherwise he would not/ cannot (unintelligible)

Host:  I know you have been a fighter choreographer /adviser in a lot of martial arts film.   In the up coming movies Yip Man 2 and 3, would you consider providing any advice for these films?

LT: If they are interested in seeking out my advice then I would provide it. Right?  Actually, I feel if you are using Wing Chun to do things, this is my life’s principle.  Like for example, my literature degree (background). I studied to high levels. But I have never desired to become a literature professor. My doctorate degree is for martial arts instruction. So I feel because this is my part of my character. I don’t like to sit inside an office working all day.  I feel Chinese should promote Chinese martial arts (?).  This has always been my principle.

Host: Actually you have promoted WT in over 60 countries moreover so many of your tudi, tusun….i know you are very busy.   You have many followers on the mainland… (interrupted by LT)

LT:  I just started now because I was always abroad.  At the time I was only spending 3-4 months in Hong Kong. Now I am over 60 years old and retired. Then I realized that it is impossible to completely retire because there continue to be many overseas students coming to HK to see me.  So I said, OK I will just go into semi-retirement.  Now in the last 2-3 years, each year I have travelled the world for about three months to a few larger countries.  For example, Germany has the most branches, Hungary has many branches and also America has many branches.   Sometimes I go to Australia.  Now I feel, especially the Chinese…. Why do Chinese do not learn Chinese martial arts?

So I feel strongly, Chinese should try their best to promote Chinese martial arts.

Host: Right.  Today we have been very lucky because it is very difficult to get Professor Leung Ting to come on to our show.  As one member of the audience has said, it has been a real eye opening experience and thanks to the Sifus for visiting.   Thank you Professor Leung Ting.  Also thank you Bun Jai… Ah- Ming.  Thank you.

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:36 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:25 PM PDT
Part 8 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 8 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

LT: You can work out the numbers based on the average of how many students per school, right.  It is close to 1 million people.   If they say 2 million that is BS.

Host: One member of the audience writes that “Sifu, your martial arts skills is truly amazing”.  “Compliments to your toe-soon as well”.  Their martial arts skills are amazing too.  Another member of the audience asks, “Does Wing Tsun have 9 moves 22 patterns?

LT:  Nine moves and twenty two patterns? I have never heard of such a thing.

Host: Ah…. Never heard of it. (laughing). Must be from TV (fiction show).  Another person writes, “ Wing Tsun is suitable for women’s self defense ”?

LT: You could say that.

Host: Another member of the audience writes, “ Are your guests eagerly anticipating the Yip Man movie staring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai?  Compared to Donnie Yen’s films, which movie seem more realistic and representative of GM Yip Man’s life”?
 

LT: I won’t (movie) review this. I am not a movie critic.

Host:  A different member of the audience writes “Both WT and Taiji are based on the principle of “using gentle power to subdue force, right”?

LT: Correct. But WT, we are more simplified.  How are we considered simplified/direct?  It is because we (WT) are attacking through out.

Host: So Chi Sau it builds up to an attack?

LT:  Correct. You can see that each action is an attack.  But when we attack….  most important is to learn how to control. So our goal is not to teach you to bully others, but to teach you so that you cannot be bullied. This is WT’s goal.  So our association does not take students if we feel that are not of good character.

Host: Then are you like GM Yip Man with his four “Don’t Teach Rules”?  No rich student, No poor student, No dumb students and No Smart Students? Your selection process is like this too?

LT: Actually are requirements are a bit less complicated.  We don’t have the “four no’s”. Most important is we don’t teach persons of bad character.

Host:  I know  … I have seen the news report which said that Sifu Leung Ting that you emphasize the martial moral martial code.  So you won’t teach persons of poor moral character.

LT: Yes. This is has always been my principle. I feel that no matter if it is learning/practicing WT or any other activities, right?   Learning it is for ourselves and for self defense to prevent others from bullying us.  Right?  Otherwise if you are learning it to bully others then you don’t need to learn martial arts.  Right?  That has always been my principle.  Also towards my kungfu nephews and kungfu grand children, I teach them that sometimes that we must have (“wong hun han leung”)  our limits.   Must have our bearable limits.   I don’t just teach them martial arts. I train their minds as well (Hard to translate this. But he is saying he tells his followers to be morally upright.   Oh the irony!)

Host:  Ah Ming and also Bun Jai. Have you both ever encountered any angry situations where you must fight?  Where you absolutely must fight.  Where there is no choice. Have you ever?

Ah Ming (Lee Man Ming): No. No in Hong Kong.

Host: Not in Hong Kong, then where?  In Mainland China

Ah Ming:  In Mainland China.

Host:  Did you fight?

Ah Ming: I did not.

Host:  So since you’ve learned martial arts, there no opportunity to use it. Have there been times where you have used it?

Ah Ming: In the instructors class can spar.

LT:  They spar with each other in exercises.

Host: In real life you don’t have the chance to use your martial arts on anyone?

Ah Ming: No.

Host:  How about on your boy friend?  When he has gotten you upset, would you beat him up?

Ah Ming: No.

Host: You wouldn’t beat up your boy friend?

Ah Ming: No. He is very nice.

Host:  I think it is great that girls learn WT.  It is great method of women’s self defense as stated by a member of the audience.  So Ah-Ming, do you agree that this is a good form of self defense for women?

Ah-Ming:  Yes.  I can demonstrate for you to see. (She turns around to face Robin)

Host: He pretends to be the rapist /molester.  How are you going to defend yourself (Ah Ming makes a double jut sau and biu tze to the eyes of Robin)

Host: Wow! So fast!

Robin: Slow motion. First I am trying to attack her chest.

Host: (giving a verbal description of the motion) Before the attack reaches target then you’ve cut down on his arms and then pokes his eyes.   So fast!   You don’t need to Chi-sau first?  (LT, Ah Ming and Robin all say “NO”)

LT: In actual combat ..(interrupted by host)

Host: ….you don’t need to chi-sau first?

LT:  You attack right away.

Host: Ah. You attack right away?

Ah – Ming: Yes.

Host: So these are the techniques that you teach?  Those who don’t know kungfu won’t know the technique.  So you (Robin) knew the technique?

Robin: Yes.

Host: So what happens when a rapist comes from behind to grab you?  (Ah Ming demonstrates on Robin with an elbow)

LT:  (Laughing)…direct hit in one move

Host: Just like that?  What happens if he continues?  (Ah Ming turns around with a low elbow punch)   How do you kick his lower body?

LT: We don’t need to kick the lower body.

Ah Ming : No need.

LT:  Wing Tsun is very polite.   We don’t kick people down there and grab their lower….

Host: So such “polite” moves are enough, eh?

LT: Polite but deadly methods.

Host:  There are many interesting photos that contain fight scenes. I have seen some that … you have knives.  That is you.  You are not wearing glases.

LT: That is when I was young. That is me.  Yes. I did not wear glasses.

Host: Looking like Bruce Lee.

LT:   Now I am an old guy. Bruce Lee was more handsome than me.

Host: This one has fighting.

LT: That was when I was young.  1969 April…(interrupted by host)

Host: A competiton?

LT: No. No. In front… kicking was me.  In the background is GM Yip Man.  This was when I was in Baptist College.  I organized the first Chi Sau and Demonstration event.  See I kicked the opponent flying.  See it?

Host: The one wearing glasses is you?  That was not fighting, right?

LT: No. A demonstration.

Host: I see many of you photos holding knives … (interrupted by LT)

LT: This is Hungarian legislature….one of my kungfu nephews…a elected member of the legislature who is now minister of public security

Host: Wow. (looking at photo of double knives against 6.5 point pole).

LT: That is WT two weapons. On the right is me and on the left is …(interrupted by host).

Host: WT also use weapons?

LT: We also have. One long pole…. (looking at new photo).  This is …

Host: Masked Rider / Kamen Rider? (a very famous Japanese sci fi super hero – hostess trying to make a joke here).

LT:  No. This is European special forces.  The masked guy before he learned WT was already 2nd or 3rd dan black belt Karate champion. Later he learned WT. Many European Special Forces use WT.

Host: A lot of your followers already have a heavy martial arts back ground. You must be very good otherwise how can you control them?

LT: Yes. That is why..… This is in Hungary group photo.  In the white clothes is me and in the black clothing is the head Hungary instructor.  Behind are his students.   Here is me teaching the Hungary army Special Forces.  I am teaching them killing techniques.  Look at those in the front……now look at the one wearing a mask.  He is European special forces.  He just gave me a trophy.  He was Shorinryu Karate champion and later learned WT and is now 5 level.

Host: These Special Forces all have a martial arts background

LT: Yes. They all have a martial arts back ground.  So before they were taught WT they are already capable of beating people to death.

Host: Wow.  These pictures are so interesting.  You have many photos of taken of you with GM Yip Man.   Who are they?

LT: Jin Zidan (Donnie Yen) and Zhong Liti (Christie Chung).

Host: Zhong Liti knows kung fu?

LT: She took 10 days of lessons with me for a TV station program/movie.  She came to me to seek instruction.

LT:  This is Big Brother Cheng Long (Jackie Chan).  He came to visit me in my school.

Host:  He already knew WT?

LT:  He….

Host: What kungfu does he know?

LT: He knows a lot of various kungfu

Host: For making movies?

LT: For making movies.

Host: He is not originally WT background?

LT: He knows a little of everything.   As you know, for making movies, authenticity is not important because but what is attractive to the audience that is important.

Host: This is ….

LT:  This is one of my early students. Mok Man Wai - Karen Mok.  I know her whole family quite well.

Host: Does she know kungfu

LT: When she was really little she learned from my most senior student.  Later she learned from me.

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:33 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:23 PM PDT
Part 7 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 7 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

Starting at 2:37

Host: We were just with Sifu Leung and his two “toe soon” - Bin Jai and Ah-Ming chatting.   It turns out Bin Jai is a 2nd dan black belt holder in Taekwondo.

 (They are laughing because the Hostess mixed up her words between “Hei dai” = black belt and the words “Tai Quan Dao” = Taikwondo.  Instead she said “Hei dao” which is one way to say “Mafia” or “under world”.   Her guests quickly corrected her).

 Sorry.  There are too many technical terms.  I am not entirely familiar with Martial Arts.

LT:  That was his rank (in another martial art) before he learned Wing Tsun.

Host: So that was before he began learning WT from you he already has another kungfu rank?

LT:  Yes. Already instructors rank.

Host:  Instructors rank.    Bin Jai, why did you decide to learn WT?

LT:  Because he thinks WT is great. (laughing)

Bin (Chinese name Tsang Ho Bun): Because when I was learning TKD, whenever I came across opponents who were larger than me then…(interrupted by Host)

Host: Hey you are fairly big size.

Bin:  Yes. But there will always be people who are bigger than me.  So I was a little worried about fighting them.  But WT… because being physically bigger.. won’t ensure a win.  So in the end I choose to learn WT.

Now I also teach many students and some of them are physically big in build … (interrupted by host)

Host:  You teach TKD or WT ? Now.

Bin: I have not taught TKD because I think WT is more useful … (interrupted by host)

Host: “Yi Rou Zhi Kang” (using gentle power to subdue greater strength)?   That is the attraction?  I know you are an instructor.  Do you mind performing a bit for the audience?.

Bin:  This is the TKD kick.

Host: This is TKD’s most basic kick right?

Bin:  High kick

Host: High Kick.  Is the high kick hard to learn /practice?

Bin: Yes it is hard to learn.

Host: If you are a bit overweight, that would be difficult.

Bin: Yes. You have to be balanced.

Host: So you must be in good shape then to do this?  I know Sifu Leung in WT you often practice rolling your arms like this.

LT: We call it Chi sau (sticking hands)

Host: Oh. It is called Chi Sau.

LT: yes.

Host:  In Mandarin it is also called “Chi Sau” ??

LT: Wing Tsun is Guangdong style martial art.  The word “Chi” basically already existed in Kangxi era dictionaries. It is not exclusively a Cantonese word.  It existed in ancient Chinese.  Later on, it was replaced by “Nian” but we Cantonese still use “Chi”.  You know in Cantonese, we are (Zhong Zhou Gu Yu ).*  So the word “Chi” can still be found in dictionaries.
 

*[ Tony’s comment: Cantonese can arguably be said to be more “pure” as a Chinese language compared to modern Mandarin because Cantonese still use many “ancient” Chinese characters that are not used or known today in modern spoken Mandarin.  Ancient invaders of China tended to come from the north whereas the south of China was usually the last hold outs to invaders, authority and influence from the north.  So, it is not surprising that the father of modern China – Dr. Sun Yat Sen was a Cantonese along with many of his supporters. I am not sure how to translate the phrase that LT said, but it basically means “we are an ancient language”].

Host : Can you demonstrate what is Chi Sau?  In the movie Yip Man, we see the hands are like this (she waves her hands around)

LT: It is almost like Taiji. But in WT …. we shall demonstrate a bit. (Struggling with the wire of the mic).   Taiji pushes like this.   While WT… can you see it (in the monitor)?  It flows forward.

Host:  It flows forward

LT: Also most important is Guo sau.  The space here is small so I cannot really hit him.

Host:  Wow. I can hear the booming sound from here.

LT: Our control is the most important.

Host: Wow.  So fast! . I just saw you do I slow.

LT: I was going slow already.

Host: Once again but slowly.

LT:  See very slowly.

Host:  I saw you were going very slowly and then suddenly “pop”

LT:  Do you see it?

Host: Beginning was slow and gentle.  Wow.

LT: It is like this.    It boils down to these two simple movements but in reality it is many more movements.  Wait a second I will get the both of them to show it slowly.

LT: Look how it is constantly adjusting / transforming. Right.

Host: This is called Chi Sau?

LT: See, it is continuously adjusting / transforming

Host: The female can also attack?

LT: Yes both male and female can attack.   Actually, they are instructors.

Host: Ah-Ming is also an instructor?

LT: She has been practicing for a long time.  Also she teaches all female classes.

Host: She sticks hands and ultimately strikes at the chest?

LT:  Hit the chest because it is just part of the action (in the exercise) but we actually hit the head, ears, the chest, and many other places…the weak points in the body.

Host:  How long does she stick hands before she has to strike?

LT: It is not fixed because we do not have a pre determined form.  If you have a pre determined form, then it is not real combat. Speaking of real combat, you basically are going by feel, right?

Host: Wow. It is like in the movie.

LT:  In the movie, that is using the camera …(interrupted by host)

Host: Wow. That was really impressive.   Your two Toe-Soons are really impressive.  Lets give them a hand of applause. Better than the movie.

LT: This was real……Thank you, thank you

Host:  Leung Sifu, why don’t you make your own movie (a biopic)?

LT: Make a self documentary?   xxxx

Host: If you make your own movie, you must have a lot of stories to tell the world.

LT: It should be that I am the only one….currently there is…… in the mainland telling journalists that “our Wing Chun has spread to 65 countries”. Now it is not just 65 countries. It is we now actually in 66 -67 countries.  (hostess tried to cut in)

Hostess: That is your association’s branches are in 66 countries?

LT:  It is “my wing chun”, not “our wing chun”  (that has spread to 67 countries).   Now many on the mainland misunderstood. They think a certain wing chun sifu (on the mainland) has spread his art to 65 countries. That is B.S.  It is actually “my wing tsun” that has done it

Host: So you are actually the innovator?

LT:   In the world, actually I am the only person who has gone out there to promote thru out the world.

Host: Yes to promote. Leung Sifu..you are the innovator.  Promoted in 66 countries now.

LT:  about 4000 branches/clubs.

Host: Your membership now number how many ??

LT:  Over 1 million.  Now some people claim over 2 million and that is also BS.  You can work out the numbers…. (clip cut off)

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:26 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:19 PM PDT
Part 6 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 6 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

LT:  I was already teaching at age 19

Host: Wow!.  At the time you were tall and handsome (looking at the photo of LT practicing the wooden dummy with Yip Man watching)

LT: no, no, no, no (trying to be modest)

Host: You still don’t look much different now.

LT: That (photo) was not long after I started classes at Baptist College.

Host: Where are you in the photo?

LT:  I am on the right.  GM Yip Man is on the left. In the center was my 2nd Si Hing.   Actually, my 2nd Si Hing went to visit GM Yip Man who was in Queen Elizabeth hospital for surgery.

Host: For what kind of surgery?

LT: Stomach surgery.  My 2nd Si Hing went to visit him at the hospital.  During the visit he asked Yip Man “Have you heard of Leung Ting”?  I have a Si di (younger kungfu brother) named Leung Ting.   Yip man replied, “Ah, Little Ting (Ting Jai), I have heard of him”.   At the time I was still little.  GM Yip Man called me “Ting Jai” or “Ah Ting”.  At the time, I was the first person to hold (WT) classes in university.

Host: Right.

LT:  So that was why I was a “little bit” well known at the time….(cut off by Host)

Host: So, Sifu Yip Man really was fond of you because he used such an affectionate /friendly form of your name.

LT: Here….Here…(Looking at another BW photograph). This is from the magazine New Martial Arts Hero (Xin Wuxia).

Host: Who is who here?

LT: That is me and GM Yip Man.   GM Yip Man is on the right with his leg raised and I am on the left.  He was getting interviewed for the magazine.

Host:  GM Yip Man he is….(cut off by LT)

LT:  Can you see another person in the back, behind me and GM Yip Man?  There is another person there.  He is the journalist.

Host: What is this move called?  This move he is demonstrating?

LT:  That is the Piercing Body Leg.   Actually, we WT people call it the Close Body Kick.

Host: Close body kick.

LT: Wing Tsun style does not fight from a distance.  In the shortest time we are able to kick.

Host: Your (plural) hands are moving around like this…. (Interrupted by LT)

LT: Right, see my hands have grabbed your arms and then I kick.  By then it is too late for you block.

Host: Right.

LT:   In WT, why is the body so high / erect?  This is its reasoning.

Host: During your time learning from GM Yip Man what deep impressions do you have of him?

LT:   Ah….hmmm…right.

Host: Besides the funny side of his character.

LT: One incident stands out in my mind; we were in Kowloon on Shanghai Street inside a restaurant having a meal.   I was complaining about my previous Sifu who often talked badly about me in front of others.  He said, “Ah Ting, the more you dislike this person, the less you should talk about him”.  I asked “Why”?  He (Yip Man) said, “If you mention his name often, then you are advertising for him”.    After he gave me his advice, I have never mentioned again to anyone that I was the student of that Sifu.  I have not uttered any further bad words about this person because I felt this made a lot of sense.   Also, one time we were having dim sum, he suddenly asked me, “Ting Jai, do you know how to use Bong Sau”?  (LT shows the positioning of the arm to the host)  I was scratching my head wondering why he was asking.  Then he said, “So-and-so said Bong Sau is useless”.  This “So-and-so” is already deceased now.  This “so-and-so” used to be a senior level police officer.  He was sent to England for police officer training where he encountered a boxer.   He tried to block the boxer’s punch with a bong sau and got nailed.  So he came back and told Yip Man, “Sifu, let me tell you. Bong Sau cannot be used”.  Then Yip Man then said, “Why would you bong sau against an income punch?  Such stupidity!  If he punches then you should throw a punch back at him”!  Only when the opponent puts pressure on your arms does it activate the bong sau (LT shows the host).  Bong sau is not something that i do purposely.  He told a lot of theories. Most of the time you won’t understand.

Host: Your student Bin Jai, how long has he learned from you? (She is pointing towards Robin Tsang).

LT: Bin Jai is my Tusun /Toe Soon.  He started learning from his Sifu for a few years, later in my Instructors Training Class he was with……my Toe Jung Soon (LT seems to be pointing to the female student Ming) they came together to my Instructor Training Class.

Host:  They both seem very calm natured (pointing to Robin and Ming). You cannot tell they know Kungfu.

LT:  Actually Bin Jai he was already a black belt 2nd Dan in Taekwondo before he came to learn WT.  We’ll ask him to show you his high kick.

Host:  Wow!  In a moment then…Let’s break for commercials.  When we come back, we’ll talk with Bin Jai (Robin).

Skip to Clip # 7

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:21 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:16 PM PDT
Part 5 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 5 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.


LT: After half a year you can enter competitions.

Host: competitions?

LT: Normally.  Now I don’t guarantee that you will win. But basically you should be able to deal with the average boxer.  But whether or not, you can take on a huge number of attackers all at once, that is….(interrupted by host)

Host:  WT hand techniques are suitable for competition fighting?

LT:  Yes.  I need to clarify one matter.  Many people believe once you put on the boxing gloves, then you cannot use WT.  That is wrong.  The gloves would get in the way when you chain punch.  How about you can space your punches out a bit, right?

Host: Right.  So, will a competition fighter improve if he learns WT?

LT: He should.

Host: Why do so many professional boxers in America and from elsewhere they do not consider taking some WT training?

LT: Not only in America.  There have been of my students. Look here.  This one is the European champion.  He came to Hong Kong to learn WT.  There were many others.

Host:  This one, photo number 16?

LT: Yes. Photo 16.

Host: This is your student?

LT: No.  The one on the left. The black man.  He is the European middle weight champion.

Host:  A competition boxer?

LT:  Yes. Frank Bruno.  He came to Hong Kong to learn WT from my students. At the time I was not in Hong Kong.  My students taught him the first form.  I said, “My God, he came here for short period of time and you teach him the first form! That is useless”.

Host: Another audience question:   Is there a difference between the movie version of Yip Man and the real person?

LT: There is a difference.  A little bit similarities but many differences.

Host: What parts were similar?

LT:   For example, the scene where he hit the first challenger at his home and then he asked him if he was alright.  Also, while he was in the middle of dinner, he made the challenger wait until he finished his meal.

Host:  That was true?

LT: That really happened.  He was not like more Sifus.  He did not like to pick fights with others (challenges).   He really is the kind of person where after he hit you (like in the movie) and then asks, “Are you all right”?    He was a funny person who liked to joke a lot.  He made nicknames for just about everyone of his students.

Host:    What sort of nicknames did he make?

LT:  He had a student nicknamed Nuclear (Yuanzi) Chen. (a few seconds spent trying to explain “nuclear” to the hostess because LT cannot pronounce it correctly in Mandarin) because it did not take much to get him hurt or bruised. Another senior student he gave the nickname Tarzan because he looked “ape like”.

Host: He was quite a funny guy.   Was he strict?

LT:  Not at all.  GM Yip Man taught kungfu only because he needed to make a living.  Otherwise he would not have done so.  The movie portrayed him as having fallen on really hard time but that was not quite accurate.  When he came to Hong Kong, he came by himself.   At the time, my sifu Leung Sheung was a leader in a labor union.  One day he saw the union secretary named Li Wen do a huen sau.  That caught Leung Sheung’s attention and he asked “Do you know kungfu”?

The secretary replied “Yes” and asked Leung Sheung, “Have you heard of Wing Tsun”?  Leung Sheung was a martial arts fanatic so he was very interested to hear further.   After a long discussion, Li Wen told Leung Sheung that a Wing Tsun expert is in town and asked if he was interested in learning from this expert.  This was how Yip Man ended up openly teaching Wing Tsun at the labor union office.  The first two students were Leung Sheung and Lok Yiu.  For the first few months there were only a handful of students who joined.  At the time Yip Man was still relatively conservative.  He was hesitant towards teaching and held back on what he taught.  The students could not figure out the function of the first form.  It seemed so slow and boring.    Beginning from the mid 1950s to late 1950s, WT slowly became well known in Hong Kong.

Host: One of the audiences asks about the character played by actor Huang Xiaoming in the second Yip Man movie.  Did such as person exist?  [In the movie, Huang Xiaoming’s character was named Huang Liang who was supposed to represent the famous Sifu Wong Shun Leung.]

LT:  Wong Shun Leung was not the “daidizi” (most senior student) but he was one of the very early students. That part is true.  But what happened in the movie was false.  Wong Shun Leung, when he was young liked to challenge others to fights, so that is how he became famous.  He was not Dai Sixiong (“the” Senior Kungfu brother), but you could call him “one of” the senior students.   Later Bruce Lee learned sparing from Wong Shun Leung.

Host: I know you have a lot of pictures.  Of students.

LT:  @9:39 that was taken during the opening ceremony of my school and Yip Man attended.  I was very young.

Host: Wow. How many years ago?

LT.  That was in 1970.   I should be 21 years old.

Host: At the time,  Sifu Leung was quite handsome.

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:17 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:13 PM PDT
Part 4 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 4 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

Beginning at 1:10

Host:  Welcome back.  We have additional guests.  Tsang Sifu (male).   Ming Sifu (female).  Both are LT’s “toe soon”.  Please call our station with some questions.  We already got a lot of questions from the audience.

One person wants to know if WT training will build big muscles.

LT:  You can become stronger from WT training but you do not gain big muscles.  If you want big muscles then just lift weights.

Host:  All three of you look very healthy. (She rambles further about asking people to phone in with questions) …  We have another question.   Is it possible to train Yoga and WT together?

LT:  You certain can train both at the same time, but I don’t think it is necessary to train Yoga because of WT.  Although WT is a combat art (activity), but practicing WT can also improve your health as well.  Our first form, the Sil Nim Tau.  Let me show you a little bit.   The first form can also help train our internal kungfu (nei gong).  On the mainland, they call it Qi Gong. Look at my palm and how it changes.

Host:  This is Qi Gong?

LT: Now look at the changes to my palm.

Host: Look at here or there?

LT:  Look at my whole palm.

Host: What am I supposed to look for?

LT:  Look at the colour.  It is getting darker and darker.

Host: Woah!  It is really happening. How can this be possible?  Very mysterious.

LT: Touch here.  Does it feel cold?   Look into the monitor screen.  You can see it, right?

Host: It was pale before.

LT: Right.  Then I take it back (he does the huen sau).

Host: Wow!  It is pale again.  Very mysterious. How is that done?

LT:  This is what is called internal power (nei gong) or Qi Gong.  More over….(cut off by host)

Host: I see you are very relaxed. You are transferring your energy (Yun Qi)

LT: My yunqi is very relaxed.  Under certain circumstances, the yunqi is very natural.

Host: How long do you need to practice in order to be able to change the colour of your palm?

LT: It depends if your XXXX is sufficient. (I could not make out that word).  It depends on…(cut off by host)

Host: What will it take for those of us who are “not too dumb and not too bright” to learn this (laughing).

LT:  In WT, there are two important words “Yi Li” (intelligence) and “Heng Xin” (perserverance).  If you understand the meaning of each then you’ve got it.

Host: I have grasped half of each.

LT: Well, then you’re an expert already.

Host:  I will practice daily for an hour.

LT: I will point you to a Sifu who can teach you how to raise you….(interrupted by host)

Host: That sifu must be you.  After the show I am going to sign up.

LT: Thank you. (laughing). He is going to teach you how to raise your fuqi or gongli. How to do that exercise.

Host: To learn how to change the colour of my palm, how many years of practice is necessary?

LT:  For most people to be able to blacken the palm like me is not easy to achieve but to change the palm to a red color takes a week.

Host: Wow. Looks like there is hope for me. I thought it is very complicated but if one can get the palm to turn red after a week….(interrupted by LT).

LT:  Because in China, we have had the concept of nei gong over 1000 years ago. Back then, we did not call it nei gong or qi gong.  We called it “Dao Ying”.

       (LT goes on to explain in detail the meaning of Dao Ying from 7:09 to 7:51.  Too complicated to translate).

LT: Chinese people describe Qi as energy. It is not air.  But energy is not like rays or beams that shoot out from your body. If we can exert beams of energy then why waste our time practicing on the sand bag every day?  It is a health exercise.

Host: It is also a type of Qi Gong?

LT: Yes.

Host: So it don’t matter if it is male or female…

LT: Both can practice it.  More over, if only I can do it but you can’t, that would be useless, right?   But if I can do it and teach you how to do it then it is real (?)

Host: Here is another audience question.  Can WT enable one person to fight off ten attackers?  This must be a question related to the Yip Man movie.

LT:  Let me tell you… (interrupted by host)

Host: It depends on the quality of those 10 attackers.  If they all are like me who don’t know kungfu, then I am sure you can take on 1000 attackers.

LT:  1000 attackers is impossible.  Let me tell you, in many movies….which I have said before… movies are movies.  You said to fight 10 at once, who are these 10?  If you fight ten 10 year olds, the of course!

       I think it is impossible.   We have new students come to sign up and they ask, “Sifu, after half a year of lessons, how many attackers will I be able to fight off”?

Host:  Who asks you this?

LT: Many people do not understand.   If you really study hard during six months…..(clip cut off)

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:14 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:09 PM PDT
Part 3 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 3 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

Host:  Everyone is welcome to phone in and field questions.

          Ting Boguang writes, today’s guest sifu is amazing.  Can he demonstrate a few moves?

Host:   In a few moments I will invite Sifu to demonstrate. Do we need to bring out a wooden dummy?

LT:  A wooden dummy is not required.

Host:  We are going to keep the audience interest alive. Later we will have Sifu LT demonstrate a few moves. Don’t go away.

          Siji ask, “Does it take a long time to learn WT to become a good fighter”?

LT: No, because I have taught military Special Forces overseas using five days classes. But each class is five to six hours long.

Host: After 30 hours they can grasp the basics?

LT: Yes.  More over, it depends on what is the topic because many traditional sifus stretch out their teachings. Teaching the Sil Nim Tau over and over again.  That is not right.   In WT, it depends on how you teach. So who is the Sifu is important.

Host:  Hmmm… teaching the skills.

LT: Skills is only one aspect.  The other is theory.  Why do I punch this way?  Why do I block this way?  Why do I not block this way?  Why should I not strike this way?  This is the most important.  This is at an intermediate level.

Advanced level we begin to see that I can’t hit this way but I can get thru to hit this way.

Host:  Do you WT people focus only on using the hands but not any footwork?

LT: At the primary level, we focus on the hands.  Footwork/techniques are at the advanced level.  At the time, why did Bruce Lee claim that WT is only focused on the hands but not any footwork?  (I think here, LT throws in a Chinese proverb –He described Bruce’s WT education as “ San Nian Er Yi”, which probably means that Bruce Lee only went half way in his training).   I am sorry Miss…. (interrupted by host)

Host: He only studied for three years?

LT: Just look at this man’s education history.   He started studying under Yip Man when he was little.  But he studied less than half a year before running off to his kungfu brothers for…(cut off by the host)

Host: He studied in Foshan or in Hong Kong?

LT: He studied in Hong Kong. He went to his Kungfu brothers for sparing practice.  So later, some say he was 15 or 18 years old when he went to America.  Of course, he did not get to learn WT’s footwork.

Host: It seems Bruce Lee’s kungfu was different from Wing Chun, is that right?

LT: Yes.

Host: He created his own martial arts, right?

LT: He created his own thing because he believed WT was focused only on the hand work but forgot about the footwork.

  Actually WT covers the “Shi peng gong fu” (not sure what this phrase means):  footwork (bu fa), body work (shen fa), stance work (ma fa), leg work (jiao fa).  All this is very high level theory.  University level … professor level stuff so to speak.

Host: So the basic defensive kungfu is taken care of thru hand work, right?

LT: Traditional WT only teaches the handwork but don’t teach the “Shi peng gong fu”.  So even today, many people think WT hand work is good but the foot work is not good. They misunderstand.

Host: Because so few people are able to demonstrate foot work.  All show hand work.

LT: It is like saying that most that you run into among the crowd are at high school level.   How many doctors or professors have you seen (met)?

Program takes a commercial break starting at 4:28  (move to the next clip).

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:09 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 7:06 PM PDT
Part 2 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting 

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 2 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

LT:  When Liang Bo Chou taught his nephew Liang Langui, he called the art Wing Chun’s art.  Liang Langui taught an opera actor named Huang Huabao (Wong Wah Bo). Some where along the way as the art was passed down, it changed from being called “Wing Chun’s martial art” to simply being called “Wing Chun”.

Host: So generally how old are your students?  Are there more children than adults?

LT: Generally not too many children because our martial art tends to be a “thinking man’s” art.  For example, “Why do we have to strike this way and why do we have to block this way”?  So that is why WT is different from other martial art styles.

Host: Oh. So, you have to do some thinking?

LT: Yes. “Why is there this reason/purpose and why is there that reason/purpose”?  So WT is different.

Host: So practicing this martial art not only improves your fitness and health, it also helps improves (nurtures?) the mind, right?

LT: Yes. You could say that.  I think it is most appropriate to begin learning WT after the age of 10.

Host:  You would advise to start learning WT after 10 years old?

LT: Yes, because if you are too young you would not be able to absorb anything.  For example, GM Yip Man told journalists that he did not begin lessons until he was 11 years old. (LT pulls out his book to show the host).

Host: What is the title of this book?

LT:  Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun.

Host:  Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun.  Let’s show them (the audience). You wrote this book?

LT:  I spent 18 years and interviewed countless number of WT persons to produce this book.

Host: Wow.  You spent 18 years to work on the book?

LT:  Yes. Look here is a chapter.

Host: Wow. This book is a treasure! Can we buy it?

LT:  Yes you can, in Hong Kong bookstores.

Host: From libraries.

LT:  From bookstores.  Let me show you.

Host: Where you said …

LT:  Yip Man said…. eleven years old.  That is where he told the journalist.   Some people claimed Yip Man started learning at age 7.  That is impossible.

Host: As you’ve said.  This requires some analytical ability.  It is impossible at such as young age.

LT:  Yes.  (flipping thru pages in the book)

Host: The text is pretty small. (Probably LT is showing her page 176 of the book where it is a photo of a magazine article).  Yes. It says here “11 years old”.  This book proves it.  He began lesson at age 11.  How many years passed before he became a Sifu?

LT:  He began learning at age 11 but his Sifu died when he was 13 years old.

Host: What happened then?

LT: His Second Sihing took over teaching him.   His Second Sihing (Er Sixiong) was named Wu Zhongsu.  Actually, when he sought Chen Huashun as his Sifu, Chen Huashun already had a stroke and was pretty immobile.

Host: You can still succumb to a stroke despite knowing WT?

LT: Chen Huashun loved to eat too much.  He was very fat. Moreover he was already over 70 years old.  Back then, people were not aware of such diseases as high blood pressure. If they encountered health problems such as loss of energy or mobility, they brewed remedies (“bupin” - difficult for me to translate but basically Chinese herbal concoctions that are designed to restore vitality or energy to the blood).  Taking such concoctions only made things worse.

Right?  So, it was mainly his second sihing who really taught him.  At 16 years of age, he came to HK.

Host: He came to Hong Kong at age 16?  How come that is different from the movie?

LT:  The movie…(Iaughing).

Host: Our audience is going to suspect the authenticity of this movie

LT: Reality and the movie are totally different.

Host: Totally different?

LT:  For example, in the movie, Yip Man shoveled coal. (LT and the host were making a joke /play on words “Dao Mei”.  The phrase “to have bad luck/to be unlucky” sounds the same as “shoveling coal”.  LT points out in the movie Yip Man was really unlucky because he was broke and needed to work in a coal factory to get by).  In reality, Yip Man never worked at a coal mine/factory.  In Fatshan (Foshan), Yip Man only worked three years as an undercover police detective.

Host: Why didn’t the movie portray that?

LT: The movie changed things.  We needn’t bother.

Host: So basically his life was not like that?

LT:  Yes.

Host: While watching the movie, I cried because I felt really sad about his situation.  But in reality it was not like that!

LT: His characteristics…..since I’ve been with him for a length of time so I know his character well.     He had “Four No Teachings” (Si Bu Jiao).

Host: What is a Si Bu Jiao? [LT’s mandarin pronunciation is very bad.  It is heavily accented in Cantonese so the hostess –obviously a native mandarin speaker – has some difficulty understanding him.  Moreover, Chinese being a tonal language makes it even harder.]

LT:  [There is a lot of joking back and forth here between LT and the host so I will keep this translation of this part of the dialogue simple because I think most of us can figure out why] (1) No teaching clever people (2) No teaching stupid people (3) No teaching rich people (4) No teaching poor people.

Host:  Well, I would be very qualified if Yip Man was still alive! I am neither too smart nor too dumb and neither rich nor poor. (laughing)

LT: I think Yip Man would be happy to teach you.

Host: The audience has sent a lot of questions to us.  A lot have asked if the Yip Man movies are real or not.  If you keep telling the truths, the audience will be so disappointed towards the movie, especially the second one will be out soon.

LT: The second movie is completely false.

Host:  The audience will be so disappointed.

LT: Are you familiar with the stories of Huang Feihung?  He never actually had that many fights.

Host: So for this movie who provided the research?

LT: The movie changed and embellished some things

Host: Did Yip Man’s son provide any information to the production of this movie? (she is referring the first Yip Man movie starring Donnie Yen).

LT:  I don’t know (shaking his head with a smile)
(I am not sure about my translation of the next three lines).


Host: ….can’t possibly allow them to do whatever they want.

LT:  I feel most movies are following a much commercialized formula / process.  Do you agree?

Host: Perhaps the commercialized process is to give the audience a fantasy with emphasis on entertainment.

LT: Yes.  Moreover, like the San Guo Yanyi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms).  That is not real.

Host: Yes.

LT:  There are more people who have read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms compared to the number of persons who have read than Record of the Three Kingdoms (San Guo Zhi).

Host: Because Romance of the Three Kingdoms was more fun to read?

LT: Right.

Host: Audience member NuNu writes - Today an important Sifu is here, we are so happy….

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Posted by ralph haenel at 3:02 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 6:59 PM PDT
Part 1 of 9 - Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting

Interview with WingTsun grandmaster Leung Ting 

Health & Lifestyle Channel
Hostess Zhao Ling
Hong Kong Cable TV Channel # 27

Interview part 1 of 9 - Translation by Tony Leung* of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver

*The opinions and views expressed are those of the authors and participants of the TV show and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver.

Beginning at 1:15

The hostess introduces Leung Ting as a professor, Yip Man’s “closed door disciple”, IWTA founder and life time chairman.  She is much honored to have LT as their guest today since he has many students in China and thru out the world and must be a very busy man.  The audience is asked to phone the TV station to ask questions about WT and Yip Man so that Leung Ting can answer live on TV.

Beginning at 2:40
 

Host:  Dr Leung Ting, you are Yip Man’s closed door student?

LT: That is what they say, but I am actually one of GM Yip Man’s “Toe Soon” or “Tusun” (in Mandarin,  which means kungfu Grandson in Chinese).  I started learning WT at 13 years of age under GM Yip Man’s most senior student Leung Sheung (Cantonese spelling).  At 19 years of age, I began to teach WT.

Host: Wow, at 19 years of age, you were a sifu? That is pretty awesome!

LT:  When my school opened, we were running classes 6 days per week.

Host: Wow. You must have been very busy!

LT: Yes.  Now it is opened 7 days a week.   I used to practice every day for 4 hours straight.

Host: Four hours every day?!

LT: Yes. Back then, my interest was strong.

Host: You began learning at 13 years of age.

LT:  Yes.

Host: So under GM Yip Man…

LT: Under GM Yip Man’s most senior student (dai dizi)

Host: Oh….Under his most senior student.

LT:  The most senior student in Hong Kong.

Host: So you can be considered to be GM Yip Man’s student (dizi)?

LT: Actually, I am one of his Tusun /Grandson (Toe Soon).

      When I was 20 years old I was … no..actually when I was 19 years old, I was admitted into Hong Kong’s Baptist University, which at the time was known as the Baptist College.

Host: For academic studies?

LT: Yes. I went for post secondary education.  At the time, I wondered why a foreign martial art such as Karate was taught in college, but none of our Chinese martial arts were taught. Not even in our high schools and elementary schools.  I thought we Chinese should be ashamed of this.  So I became determined to organize a Chinese martial arts class in university.  Eventually, after much hard work, I managed to organize a WT class in university.

Host: At Baptist University?”

LT:  Yes. At the time, my situation was … which you can describe as being “xxxxx” (LT uses a Chinese proverb which I am not familiar with.  But under the context of the conversation, I think he was describing himself as an incomplete instructor).   So, I was pestering my Sihing / Shixiong every day to teach me the advance form….the Wooden Dummy form.

Host: What form?

LT: The Wooden Dummy form.

Host:  The Wooden Dummy form. Oh. Like the one I saw in the movie?

LT:  Yeah!  Yeah!

Host: That thing that looks like a tree trunk!

LT:  Yes, a trunk with three arms.

Host: This is Wing Tsun’s most advanced form?

LT: Yes. It was invented very, very early on in our Wing Tsun system.  Actually, very early on in the South Shaolin Temple they had used a wooden dummy for training but that one was different from ours.  It (the Shaolin one) only had two arms sticking out and below it had a very long thing sticking out (? LT was not too clear in his last words).  It is very different from our Wing Tsun one. The idea behind our Wing Tsun dummy is actually very abstract.

Host: I think your (Wing Tsun) style’s idea of “Yi Rou Zhi Gang” (using gentleness/soft power to deal with hardness/brute strength)… while I am watching the movie….Donnie Yen (Jin Zidan)…his performance in the movie where he is exercising on the wooden dummy

LT:  Yes. Yes.

Host: It looks like a pitch fork….it has three pieces of wood

LT:  Three limbs. The structure is a little different ( I think LT is still comparing to the Shaolin dummy).
 

Host:  Actually while watching the movie, I was thinking can Donnie Yen really fight?  Does he really know WT?

LT: (Pauses for a few seconds before answering).  When he came to my school, he told me he learned WC in New York.  At the time, I never asked him from what branch and from whom did he learn the art from.  It would have been pointless to do so. At the time, I had many tudi / tusun already in New York and of course there were schools of other branches as well.  So I don’t know. He could have learned from a different branch of Wing Chun.

Host: He should already know other forms of kungfu, right?  Because when I saw him make movies…(cut off by LT).

LT: His mother is a wushu expert / teacher.  She is the senior student of the Grand Master of the Fu family Taiji (Tai chi).  His mother and I are well acquainted.  I still remember at the time when he was only 7 years old. He was with his mother and her husband.  As they were about to depart / emigrate to the United States, we treated them to a farewell meal of pigeon in Shatin (a suburban district or city in Hong Kong).  That was a very long time ago. That was the late 1970s – early 1980s.

Host: I saw in the movie and I thought it was quite something seeing him demonstrate the kungfu….that is Wing Tsun and later in competition.  Wow. That was amazing.  After watching the movie, I wanted to learn WT.  Right now you are my guest but maybe soon you will become my teacher.

LT: That is why WT is not bad.  It is a woman’s martial art.

Host: Really?? !!

LT: Our founder was a woman. So yeah.

Host: So if men practice WT every day, won’t they become sissy like?

LT: Well do I look like a sissy?

Host:  No. You are actually quite handsome and manly.

LT: I’ve believe, according to our origin legend, our founder Ng Mui (Wu Mei) was inspired by witnessing a different style of martial art called Ling Lum near Dai Liang Shan (Mount Dai Liang) which is located near the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. I’ve researched this.  There really is such a place. Thru mutual exchange of ideas between the two styles (Ng Mui’s and the Ling Lum practioner), she came up with a very new boxing style. At that time, the new boxing style did not have a name.  This was a totally new combat style and she taught it to a young female name Yim Wing Chun (Yan Yong Chun).  Eventually, Yim Wing Chun married a man surnamed Leung (Liang).  So all of those who are surnamed “Leung” are quite awesome. Many generations (of us WT practitioners) are surnamed “Leung”.  (Laughing)  I am just joking.  Yim Wing Chun’s husband, Leung Bo Chau (Liang Bo Chou) later taught his nephew. Up until that time, our martial art still did not have a name.  Our art is quite strange and unique. The is a proverb, “Fa Yang Guang Da”.   The other martial arts want their students to “bring glory and promote their art.   Our fore bearers have an edict, “Fa Yang Kuang Da, wei bei zushi”, which means to “bring glory and promote the art would be to betray your fore bearers”.

Host: Oh.  That means, it must remain a secret!

LT: Yes.

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Posted by ralph haenel at 2:55 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 August 2010 6:47 PM PDT

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