WITH practitioners like the late Bruce Lee, and recently popularized by a Hong Kong film, it’s no wonder the martial art Wing Chun (or Weng Chun, in its native Foshan) is resurging, even in our own native shores.

In Cebu, a lone Wing Chun club hopes to bring the teachings of the old Chinese masters to the Cebuanos.

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Considered as the first and only club in Cebu that teaches Wing Chun, the Philippine Weng Chun Kuen Society-Rusmad System has been propagating the art for almost two decades but has remained known to only a few people.

Instructors Michael Ricablanca and Rodolfo Bellaflor Jr., who formed the group in 1990, told Sun.Star Cebu the main goal why they formed the group is the propagation of the art.

“A long time ago, Wing Chun masters from China refused to teach their arts to foreigners. But with Wing Chun being taught here in Cebu, the Cebuanos are given a chance to learn this art”, said Ricablanca.

Wing Chun is a Chinese martial art and form of self-defense that utilizes both striking and grappling but emphasizes more on close-range combat.

 

The art’s origins are traced back to the Southern regions of China, where many stories surrounded it history, including the tale that the martial art was first founded by a Buddhist monk, Ng Mui. 

In its growth as a martial art, there were stories the old Wing Chun masters refused to teach the art to foreigners, particularly to Westerners.

But due to Yip Man, romanticized as Ip Man, who is known as the master of the late Bruce Lee, Wing Chun was later propagated in other countries, despite the strict restrictions it has been imposed by the old masters.

While they recognized Yip Man as one of those who made Wing Chun popular, Ricablanca and Bellaflor named another master who helped form their own school.

Both instructors learned Wing Chun from Rusello Madrona, who is from Oslob. Madrona learned the martial art in Chinatown in Manila back in the 1970s.

Madrona was taught by Antonio Mendoza, a Chinese-Filipino friend in Manila, who learned followed the style of Yuen Kai San, one of the prime propagators of the art, and was also a Wing Chun master of his own right.

But the Madrona system, as it was formally called, is almost similar to the system being taught by Yuen Kai San but with a difference.

Some unique forms and techniques of the Madrona system are the “Boang Sao” or Wing Arm block; the “Seven Stars Overlappin Hands”, which is a basic blocking drill that emphasizes ambidexterity; Fregile Qi Gong; the Club Routine Drill; Eleven Hands Drill; the four-formed Mook Yan Jong , which is wooden dummy used by Wing Chun practitioners during practice; ground techniques, throwing darts, and the wooden flute, which trains the student how to use a dagger.     

In terms of their teaching style, Ricablanca said they always emphasized to their students the use of a “center line” as the point of reference for their attacks.

He added Wing Chun is a known mixture of the Southern and Northern styles of Chinese martial arts. Southern Chinese martial arts focus on slow but flowing movement, while the Northern Style focuses on the delivery of power.

“A hybrid of North and South styles”, Bellaflor said.

In the delivery of techniques, Wing Chun emphasizes on delivering punches and strikes within a “centerline” wherein the target is the total center of the body.

Notable strikes in Wing Chun are the Sun Fist, which is a series of punches delivered simultaneously to the center of the opponent, and several trapping techniques.

“What is taught in Wing Chun is that it is better to intercept than to anticipate.

That is why the art is so aggressive”, said Ricablanca.

Practices on different strikes and blows are usually practiced in the “Mook Yang Jong”, the wooden dummy popularized in Hong-Kong as the “punching bag” of Oriental martial artists, particularly Bruce Lee.

But aside from teaching techniques and physical skills, Wing Chun also emphasizes on character building.

“(Wing Chun) teaches patience. For without patience, you will never learn the art”, said Ricablanca.

Also, Ricablanca also said Wing Chun is about camaraderie and respect for one’s partner and co-student and most important, respect to instructors and seniors.

In terms of its popularity with practitioners, Wing Chun had recently received acclaim through Hong-Kong cinema such as the “Ip Man” movies with martial artist Donnie Yen playing the titular character Yip Man.