Monday, 25 February 2008

The 4th Form

Over the past few months the forth empty hand form of Wing Chun has began to filter down from Yip Ching to us on the fringes of the Wing Chun world.

I was a little suspicious when I first heard of the emergence of this form as I suspected it may be more for generating interest and/or money more than for the art, on reflection I suppose interest and money could be seen as a great benefit to the art.
The form appears as a combination of the idea' s from all the other forms: open hand, weapon and wooden dummy After a little chatting and reading it seems that Ip Man was rather keen on someone stripping down the essence of all the other forms into one. Ip Ching, his son, has spent a long time trying to accomplish this and it is now apparently 'ready':

The first few minutes are not the most fascinating but the video does pick up around halfway in. If nothing else the form at least looks far cooler and more impressive than the other forms as Wing Chun has never really been too interested in looking good.
I suspect once learned it may provide a more condensed training tool than practicing all the other forms together. I also worry that it may replace more thorough and concentrated training but I suppose a little of everything could also be a good compliment when training is concentrated on one thing in particular.

If any tea people have gotten this far I've been avoiding tea blogging as my digital camera has gone walkies in my, rather prolonged, house move. I think I'll just bite the bullet and keep on keeping on with my mobile in the mean time.


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~ Phyll said...

There are many similar things in Wing Chun to the martial arts that I used to practice, Ngo Chor Kun (Wuzu-qian). We, too, never really cared about looking good as much as being practical and effective in close quarter combat.

Proinsias said...

Hi Phyll,

I would like to think I practice martial arts to be practical and effective but there has always been a little bit of me that wants to look like a Hong Kong movie star. Some people are dismissing the form as it contains nothing new but this is not true as one of the few new things it brings is looking flashy.

Glad to see you back on the blogging scene although it may be partly your fault that I've started thinking it may be ok to spend more than a few pounds on a bottle of wine.

Proinsias said...
I've never heard of that style before . If that link is similar to what you've studied then it looks far more impressive than wing chun and you have no need to worry about looking good.

~ Phyll said...

That's the one, but Ngo Chor has so many sifu's around the world. I'm sure as in Wing Chun, each school has its variations.

The link above, though, seems to be influenced by northern wushu a bit, hence the longer reach.

Mine is rather like the 4th form video in this terms of its reach, that is. Every move is closer to the body.

~ Phyll said...

My style is much much closer to this demonstration...sans the annoying music in the foreground :)

Hand2Hand said...

Nie Hao Proinsias Shr Fu,

I followed the link from Dojo Rat and I have to say I'm impressed with your blog.

I've studied and taught Wing Chun for nearly 15 years. Overall, I've been in the martial arts for almost 35 years.

My main Wing Chun sifu taught both Yip Man's branch, as he learned from Sam Kwok, and mainland Wing Chun.

There is a fourth empty-hand set in the mainland Wing Chun, as well as additional sections to the dummy form and a 12-section butterfly sword set.

I've learned the mainland dummy and sword techniques, as well as the sickle hands chi sao. Unfortunately, I only learned two of the five sections of the mainland empty-hand set.

I'd rather not post more information here to avoid stirring up any hornets' nests. It's not my intent to do so. Only to share knowledge and network with other Wing Chun students and sifus regardless of their family affiliations.

Please feel free to email me if you have anymore questions.

Proinsias said...

Thank you for the kind words.

My own wing chun experience is 10yrs of sporadic study of the Yip Man - Sam Kwok line uner a few different Sifu's. My only real experience of other wing chun is via my cousin who teaches and has spent time studying both Sam's system and William Cheung's.

I recently read 'Complete Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Traditions' which really opened my eyes to the rich variety of wing chun out there. I didn't mean to imply that there was no forth hand form out there already but simply to try and convey some of my feelings when something new and shiny appeared in my neck of the woods.

Considering much of the online discussions regarding differing branches of wing chun I appreciate your wish to avoid the proverbial hornets' nest.

The variety of wing chun out there does put me in my place a little as I am still spending time trying to get my head around the first section of the the first form as it was taught to me.
It heartens me to hear of the wing chun sword as it puts learning the sword a few places up the ladder in the 'things I would like to do before I die' list.

I have no immediate questions but I can't find a note of your email address. It would be nice to have an online contact who has some respect for other branches that have not defeated them in combat.

Vitaly said...

Hey Gary,

My new email address is

As far as the different branches of Wing Chun, I hear that if you get Yip Chun and Yip Ching together in a room, and if you speak Cantonese, you'll hear a very profanity-laden argument over how to teach Wing Chun.

Or as I like to tell people:

Q: How many Wing Chun sifus does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Ten. One to screw it in and nine to argue how Yip Man would have done it.

jgiot said...

I would just like add that the "synthesis form" was also created because the National Sports Commission asked Ip Ching to create a set of Wing Chun routines for competition purposes.

And was the result.

Proinsias said...

Thanks jgiot, that would explain why it looks like three forms rolled into one.