I know next to nothing about wing chun. I’ve never studied it; my preferences are for the northern styles. However, I do know many wing chun practitioners in Singapore. Some of them have been generous enough to give me some advice, and they totally outclassed me when we tried a bit of friendly push hands. So, respect.
I mention this just because I’ve found this book review on Asia Times Online, the Hong Kong-based online newspaper: Bruce who? Wing Chun Warrior by Ken Ing .
Some of the quotes are very relevant to things I’ve mused about here on previous occasions, and in conversations with friends – including wing chun practitioners:
Ing’s book ends with Leung, in his sixties, frustrated by the decline of martial arts in China – a decline for which the author blames the Chinese government, which since 1949 has banned the practice of Kung Fu for combat:
China produces many performing Kung Fu instructors whose unproven fighting techniques are becoming increasingly more difficult to perform, though spectacular to watch. However, they are not qualified to teach combat when they themselves have no genuine combat experience, and the effectiveness of the fighting techniques remains untested.
So Leung is now watching Chinese combatants who are regularly defeated in free-fight competitions by other practitioners of the martial arts, especially Thai boxers. And, even worse, stung by defeat, these combatants are abandoning their own traditions and beginning to fight like Thai boxers and wrestlers.
Sifu Leung has dedicated what remains of his life to reversing this trend. Ing’s chronicle will serve to help him in that quest.
Have any of you read the book? It’s damned with faint praise in the review, but I would be interested to hear what you think if you have read it…