Many Wing Chun schools promote their content to be good for health. This is only partly true, i will explain why you would be better off with Qi Gong if you practice Wing Chun for Health reasons.

It is a fact that Wing Chun IS Healthy if practiced for a long time. BUT there are many risks involved which can damage your health instead. If you don’t want to use an assault rifle as a walking stick with the security switch off, take your time and read this post:

(This post does not want to insult any Wing Chun practitioners. Many Wing Chun students came to my classes and left this impressions on me. I won’t deny the value of Wing Chun as an highly effective internal martial arts, which can promote health and self protection)

The Stance

Let’s take a look at the basic stance:

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The Wing Chun stance is basically a rooted Qi Gong Stance, the other stances left and right are common mistakes from Wing Chun beginners and will damage your spine.

  • The left stance puts additional pressure on the lower spine and will damage the spinal discs.
  • The right stance puts pressure on your lungs and will result to spinal curvature and muscular pain in long term.
  • The middle stance is the correct stance, but most don’t know that the rooting must be practiced correctly too. The head and chin position is balancing your centered stance and should be taught by a knowledgeable master. If the stance is not taught correctly you learn a wrong spinal alignment which can still result in minor muscular and shoulder pains.

When you learn this stance make sure your master understands the Qi Gong principles! If not, a short class in Qi Gong is highly recommend and let a true Qi Gong master correct your stance!

Stretching

Wing Chun is often missing the internal stretching which is taught in Qi Gong.

Why would i need Qi Gong stretching for my health?

  • Remove old blockades (cramps, pain, immobility)
  • For relaxation in muscles and fascia
  • For correcting the spine alignment
  • Promoting blood circulation
  • Improve function of inner organs

Stretching is especially important for people over 25 years to correct upcoming (or existing) health problems!

Strong Mind and Body

Wing Chun often focuses on small parts in our body. A lot of other parts remain less- or completely untrained. Wing Chun should be taught as a “whole” and not just on hand and upper body movements if you want to promote health.

The principle is that a strong upper body needs an equally (or stronger) strong lower body. If you plan on building a house, you must be sure to build a strong foundation first.

Most movements in Wing Chun require strong legs and lower body. If beginners lack the required power they have difficulties to align in a healthy posture. It also becomes harder to relax and maintain the correct breathing.

Unhealthy effects of imbalanced Wing Chun training:

(These things you should avoid and indicate results from wrong or one-sided Wing Chun training)
  • Head and shoulder position falling too much forward in a normal posture. Can cause neck-, shoulder pain and upper spinal curvature.
  • Used to flat (chest) breathing: becomes tired fast and puts additional stress on the heart.
  • Static hip: most movements originate from the hip, but if Wing Chun is taught in an imbalanced way it can result in losing focus on hip movement, which can evolve in serious health problems later on.
  • Wing Chun is taught to have a flexible posture like bamboo, but if the body is not properly trained it can result to the opposite. Hard muscles in legs and back are the first indicators.

Conclusion

Wing Chun is a good internal martial arts which can focus a lot on yourself and your inner well-being. However if Wing Chun is only taught for “effective” combat and not as an internal martial arts, a higher risk to injure yourself is involved. Additional Qi Gong training is recommend if this is the case. Feel free to leave your comments and impressions of your Wing Chun training experience! 🙂

 

 

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10 comments

  1. I’m a Ving Tsun student and I agree on what you say. That’s why we are very cautious about the stance and the different sensitive points and we added taichi in our style.

    Thanks for these explanations I think it would help a lot of beginners.

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  2. I have 18 years Wing Chun experience and I am not agree with you. You seem to have a very narrow perspective. Almost all things you took for granted as wing chun standard are not practiced in our school. We care a lot about stance, knee position, spine alignment, And I know a lot of other clubs that follow the good path (not belonging to our organisation).

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  3. I disagree. A proper wing chun stance is abducted. Also the back of head should be aligned with back of heals. The chest is perfect, for I never get out winded by others and I was born with asthma.. Wing chun is stance first..

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  4. All Wing Chun is not the same! Different lineage, different teachers and different students..there are so many reasons people take it up, not just for health. The key to practice is the basic stance and a master will point the student in the right direction. Then it’s down to the student to practice to improve. From my experience the key to develop is to balance all movements but if the system is taught to quickly as so many schools do today you loose the harmony and the refinement. Yip Man-Victor Kan-Pasco David. The Classical method

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  5. I think your initial hypothesis is floored. You imply that some Wing Chun is taught incorrectly. I am sure this is true. However, anything that is taught incorrectly is likely to be unhealthy. If it is not taught correctly then it is bad Wing Chun and therefore it is not correct to start your article to say that Wing Chun may not be good for your health. It should read that poorly taught, misunderstood Wing Chun training methods are bad for your health. Despite this observation I agree with what you have said and you have highlighted the importance of working with a trusted teacher, someone who has earned the right to be addressed as sifu.

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  6. Wing Chun is not a health system. It was developed for fighting and self defence. It depends on your definition of “internal”, but by many, wing chun is not an internal martial art. Which is not to say it is ineffective or necessarily inferior to any other. Nor is it a complete martial art, but nor is any of the “internal” arts.

    No martial art on its own is a complete health system. My taiji/xingyi/bagua teacher told me that taiji stimulates the venous circulation back to the heart. But if done to the exclusion of other exercise it can cause blood to pool in the extremities leading to increased risk of embolisms and strokes.

    Most martial arts if practised to the exclusion of all else will led to muscular imbalances, postural issues, etc.

    To stay healthy to an advanced age requires a mix of cardio, mobility work, stretching, and strength training. Strength training is especially important for older people to avoid sarcopenia (muscle wasting), which will happen no matter how much qigong you do.

    To show I have some idea what I’m talking about:

    Wing Chun since 1989 (red sash, on paper at least a “master”)
    Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 1998 (black belt)
    Taiji/xingyi/bagua c. 1979-1985
    6 month course on TCM principles and acupressure with a HK-trained acupuncturist and continued personal study and practice.

    To be blunt, I’m not sure you have sufficient experience with Wing Chun ,or the ways it is taught and by whom, to write so generalised a critique with any authority.

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  7. Completely disagree.

    There is a lot of Wing Chun out there which goes against the natural laws of biomechanics. The stance (indicated above) is not how many modern day practitioners do their stance. Some Wing Chun practitioners still stand like this, but it’s not recommended.

    In regards to breathing exercises – most of the forms in Wing Chun promote correct breathing mechanics, and power generation through the whole body. (not just the arms)

    In conclusion, bad Wing Chun practitioners can injure themselves. In the same way that bad basketballers, bad footballers, and bad tennis players can injure themselves. Good Wing Chun pracitioners have an understanding of bio mechanics, utelise most of the practical concepts of Qi Gung, and on top of that they learn how to fight.

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