Author(s): Jose M. Fraguas
Publisher: Empire Books (2013)
Author Jose Fraguas has recently released what promises to be one of the most valuable books ever written on the Wing Chun system. Wing Chun Masters is essentially a guided tour through the minds of some of the most notable Wing Chun masters of our time.
Just imagine spending a day with some of today’s most prominent Wing Chun Masters and getting the opportunity to ask them some probing questions about their background, their days spent training, the lessons taught by their teachers and even their own experience from years of training and researching the Wing Chun system!
The Wing Chun system is physically quite simple—with just three empty-hand forms, one additional set applied on the Muk Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy) as well as two weapon sets, the Luk Dim Boon Gwan (Long Pole) and Baat Jaam Do (Eight Cut Knives), Wing Chun is not the most physically complicated of Gung Fu systems, in fact, it is relatively simple in comparison to others. The real treasure of Wing Chun lies in its operating system—the very principles and theories upon which the system is built.
This is not the average step-by-step Gung Fu forms book. These are real insights on the Wing Chun operating system. Compiled inside is the knowledge and understanding gained from lifetimes devoted to training with some of the great warriors of the past, as poignantly explained by the present generation of masters.
The names in this book read like a who’s who of Wing Chun. First generation students of Grandmaster Ip Man, such as Ip Chun, Ip Ching, Victor Kan Wah Chit and William Cheung are featured, coupled with their training experiences in Hong Kong as well as stories about Ip Man and Bruce Lee. Ip Chun and Ip Ching relate some of their unique insights as the sons of the late Grandmaster.
There are insights provided by modern masters such as Francis Fong, Shaun Rawcliffe and Robert Chu. Master teachers like David Peterson and Gary Lam relate the lessons of their own teacher, the great Wong Shun Leung. They explain what Master Wong learned from his fighting experience, and how it subsequently affected his teaching and training methods. They relate to the reader what it was like to learn under the direct guidance of one of the most respected Wing Chun fighters to come out of the Ip Man Wing Chun clan.
There is even an interview included with the late Master Wong conducted prior to his untimely death in 1996. The reader is treated to Master Wong’s unique perspective on Wing Chun training and fighting application, learned from his own experience of putting Wing Chun to the test on his way to becoming known as “Gong Sau Wong” or the “King of Hand-talking”.
The Masters in this book reveal their unique understanding and experience in the training of Wing Chun. The secrets of how the forms lead to the development of the weapon that each Master becomes are duly revealed in their own words. The Masters explain how the unique training exercise of Chi Sau relates not only to the forms taught in Wing Chun but also to the proper development of fighting skills.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I need to reveal that I too was honoured to have been included in this book. But despite that one grievous error in the author’s judgement, I still genuinely believe that this book is a must-have for any Wing Chun practitioner’s library!