Author(s): Wayne Belonoha
Publisher: Blue Snake Books (2009)
In the premiere issue of Wing Chun Illustrated, I reviewed The Wing Chun Compendium: Volume 1 and commented that the book’s breadth of coverage made it one of the most ambitious and comprehensive Wing Chun books ever written. So when The Wing Chun Compendium: Volume 2 landed on my doorstep, my initial thought was: what other Wing Chun topics are there that weren’t already covered in Volume 1?
This question is answered in the introduction where Wayne Belonoha states that he wrote this volume to record the Muk Yan Jong and weapons forms as passed down to him by his Sigung Moy Yat and Sifu Sunny Tang, and to detail some less commonly explored aspects of Wing Chun, which can help to cultivate the practitioner’s expertise in the art.
Just as in Volume 1, Wayne’s easy to follow writing style is evident (very important for keeping the reader’s attention over a 500-page book) and the production quality of the book is first class.
The book’s first section is entitled “Theory” and covers an eclectic mix of topics, covering everything from practical Wing Chun tips such as punch mechanics and how to train for the fight, to more diverse subjects such as how to teach Wing Chun and the key attributes of a Sifu. As both a coach and student of Wing Chun myself, I love the author’s attitude towards training expressed in this quote: “Regardless of which teaching style you choose, the final goal will be to improve your technique and character while improving the technique and character of your students and instructors. This will help build a strong school with students of strong character.” This sounds like a great attitude towards teaching and one day I hope to visit his school to see this teaching philosophy in action.
The “Philosophy and Culture” section expands upon and extends the themes that the author writes about in the “Philosophy” section of Volume 1. Again, Wayne demonstrates an unparalleled knowledge of the philosophical and cultural aspects that affect Wing Chun as an art and may impact the training and goal setting of the Wing Chun practitioner. Indeed, this section of the book covers everything from Buddhism and Zen to the evolution of Wing Chun and the Gung Fu salute and is so comprehensive it would stand up well as a book in its own right. A great read.
The author moves on to more commonly trodden ground in the “Drills” and “Forms” sections. The drills are demonstrated clearly by using photographs and supporting text, and either expand on the drills detailed in Volume 1 or introduce more drills for the advanced practitioner. I especially like the two-person Luk Dim Bun Gon (Long Pole) drills—it’s the first time I have seen these in print.