Winging It at Wing Chun

This post is part of our throwback series as we look back at the enriching and exciting events of 2016.

From crocheting to wakeboarding, the wide range of activities on offer for the C1 Sabbaticals on 4th October 2016 meant that every student could try something new after undergoing the stress of the Promotional Examinations.

My course was Wing Chun. As I had no prior experience in this style of martial arts, as popularized by Donnie Yen in his portrayal of “Ip Man” (叶问), it was definitely a new experience for me as an amateur.

Held at ITE College West by Evolution Fitness Studio, the course lasted almost 7 hours. The instructor, Mr. Yip, started us off by giving us a brief overview of the history of Wing Chun and the basic principles behind the martial style. Wing Chun, as the legend goes, was taught by a Buddhist monk to a young lady named Yim Wing Chun (for whom the style is named after) during the Qing dynasty, allowing her to escape a particularly unpleasant marriage arrangement. However, Mr. Yip emphasized that one lesson would not be sufficient to master Wing Chun, and that constant hard work would be required to develop any real ability to fend off attackers.

The young martial artists perfecting their Goat Riding Stance. Photo Credit: Wong Yi Jie (16S72) @ Hwa Chong Publications Society

Within the short time we spent at the studio, we were taught various open-handed stances and attacks, all of which looked deceptively simple but were surprisingly effective. With some guidance from Mr. Yip and another instructor, we were also given the opportunity to practice our newly-acquired moves. This was meant to allow us to develop automatic responses to attacks, and is known as Chi Sao (黐手). This was the most enjoyable part of the course, as we made new friends over candid conversation while practising Wing Chun moves on each other. The exercises also allowed us to move faster and more fluidly than we thought ourselves capable of.

Our writer Yi Jie (foreground) and his partner practising their moves. Photo Credit: Wong Yi Jie (16S72) @ Hwa Chong Publications Society

At the end of the day, our arms were red, sore and aching, but all of us enjoyed the session greatly. Medals were also presented to those who had performed exceedingly well, such as by completing the greatest number of punches in a minute.

While I may not be able to defeat any brutal, oppressive generals, and I certainly can’t beat ten men in a fight, I did leave the studio having had one of the most engaging, enjoyable sabbaticals in my Hwa Chong journey.

Written by Wong Yi Jie (16S72)

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