Wing Chun in Yeovil

The Yeovil class

The class is part of a larger school with classes dotted around Somerset and our school is also part of a wider network that encompasses the whole of the UK and has close ties to Ip Chun's Academy in Hong Kong. Further Details Here

What is it?

A southern Chinese Kung Fu style famous for it close quarters usage and extremely quick hand techniques. The style has been popularised by practitioners such as Ip Man, his most famous student Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Sammo Hung... the list goes on! You don't often see Martial Arts films exclusively using the Wing Chun system because it's difficult to film and not as aesthetically pleasing as the flowery northern or hard hitting external styles. Note that this is a Martial Art as apposed to a sport and we teach it as such. We believe that watering down the system for the purposes of competetive fighting goes against the grain of a pure fighting art. You also won't see a clear grading system or examinations, these were largely introduced by Western practitioners to give young students something to aim for but we feel that they pretty much give people a false impression of their own ability as every opponent is different and should be treated as something individual regardless of their belt colour. The system is taught by gradual exposure to more advanced students via the use of tried and tested techniques such as Chi-Sau. In this way your progression can be tempered to minimise the risk of injury. In our sessions you will see the more advanced students involved in what sometimes appears to be an all out fight, but is actually a very carefully constructed and tactical game of cat and mouse.

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about "Nun Fu". I think this stems mainly from the story that the style was allegedly conceived by a Shaolin Nun to help a young girl fight off a would be suitor. This has engendered a common perception that Wing Chun is only for smaller weaker people. In my experience I have seen Wing Chun used effectively by people of all shapes and sizes and with widely varying amounts of energy. Some schools even use it as an External martial art similar to Karate. The way I have been taught is more the opposite end of the spectrum. The goal as I understand it is to beat your opponent using as little energy as possible! It's not known as "lazy Kung Fu" for nothing :-) I was fortunate to have a "roll" with Ip Chun in his last visit to the UK and it certainly seems to be the way he and the more senior masters advocate teaching.

Is Wing Chun for you?

I think everyone can get something out of Wing Chun (not that I'm biased). Unfortunately to reach mastery takes years of dedicated study and Wing Chun isn't as immediately useful in a fight as something like Boxing! I would say that you will be using a lot more energy as a novice and then using progressively less as you advance. This means that you will still be an effective fighting machine when you are old and grey. If you want to be fit and active when you are 86 you need to put the effort in now. Another point is that if you want something to get you fit and lose the flab then you are better off with running/circuit training than Wing Chun. One or two sessions a week of Wing Chun (bearing in mind the fact that you are always trying to use as little energy as possible) is not going to get you lean and muscular, even Bruce Lee spent a lot of time in the Gym. We see a lot of beginners in their late thirties who have given up an External martial art due to persistent injury or because the are looking for a more intelligent way to apply their energy than just battering someone as hard as possible. In a clash between two Kickboxers you can pretty much guarantee the larger stronger fighter is going to win.

We don't normally take young students. There are a few reasons for this but mainly we consider it a bit unfair to pair an adult student with a child for training and we don't have enough young students for a separate class. A simple compatibility problem!

My Experience

I did the first grading in Judo as part of my Duke of Edinburgh's award when I was about fourteen or fifteen. I did five years of Shotokan Karate whilst at University in Staffordshire and then when I moved down to Yeovil I started Kick Jitsu with Yeovil Panthers which I did for a year or so before Kire split the classes into separate Ju-Jitsu and Kickboxing classes. I then continued on with Kickboxing for a few years until moving to Germany due to work. On my return to the UK in the spring of 2004 I started learning Wing Chun which I have been studying ever since with my Sifu Karl Stanley. Karl is officially recognised as a student of Ip Chun (the son of Ip Man) and also has extensive experience in other martial arts as do many of our instructors and senior students.