The Future of Wing Chun
Article by Dan Knight added on 6 Feb 2014. Last updated on 26 Jul 2014.
We often look at the history of Wing Chun or the lives of great martial arts legends like Ip Man or Bruce Lee. This article aims to cover some of the things to watch out for in the future for Wing Chun.
Obsession with the past
As I have mentioned, we often obsess about the past. This is nothing new. If you read magazine interviews with Ip Man, or magazine interviews with Samuel Kwok, the question always focus on the journey so far, the history or the key events that have happened. It is rare people look at the future of the Kung Fu style of Wing Chun.
To be clear, understanding the history is a very important thing. As Ip Man once said:
You should know the source of water from which you drink.
But once we have grasped the basic history, I feel it's important to look forward and prepare for what will happen in the future of Wing Chun and what changes will help the martial art grow and improve. For this I want to look at 2 areas. Firstly: How technology has, is and will continue to shape Wing Chun. Secondly: How the martial art is being changed and developed by different people. The first point will be straightforwards, but I expect the second may be a little controversial for some.
Technology and Wing Chun
As far as I am aware, Ip Man was the first person to utilize technology to spread and perverse Wing Chun. This was done just weeks before he passed away. His student and son filmed him doing the first, second and wooden dummy form on 8mm footage. The footage can be seen below.
This is one of the main ways technology has changed Wing Chun and martial arts in general. Now it's cheap enough and easy enough for anyone to record and upload footage to sharing sites like youtube. Check out the association YouTube Page. This has given people the ability to learn about Wing Chun and get new ideas for training and practice. Traditionally forms would have had to be practiced from books or over and over again in class. However in this day and age, most people learn the forms at home via videos and the internet and then refine the techniques and applications in class. This is a very good use of time.
The emergence of the internet has also helped spread Wing Chun around the world. This website alone has been visited from 175 countries in January 2014 and was visited from 219 countries in all of 2013. The only countries who didn't have anyone visit this site last year are:
- Western Sahara
- Central African Republic
- North Korea
Obviously North Korea don't have an open internet so they are out, and the population of the other 4 are pretty small. Looking through the data of the 219 countries that did visit the site, I learned some interesting facts. Users from Eritrea spend the most time on the site at over 18 mins on average. Whilst people from Timor-Leste spend ~15mins. People who live in Caribbean Netherlands visit the most number of pages per visit. The most visits come from people in the United States of America. However the most sales come from the Unite Kingdom. Users from Benin are most likely to visit the site multiple times. This information was surprising as I had never even heard of some of these countries. Lets be honest, I don't many people reading this can point out Mayotte on a map.