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Wing Chun

Traditional Chinese martial are usually described as either hard or soft. Hard styles meet force with force, while soft techniques will use the opponent's force to gain advantage. Wing Chun is difficult to categorize as hard or soft because it incorporates elements of both. It is also the only style of Wushu to have been created by a woman, which is probalby the reason why it appears to contain elements of both "hard" and "soft" styles.

Among Chinese fighting arts Wing Chun most closely fits into the Southern Shaolin boxing styles of quick hands and strong legs. Wing Chun is neither a hard style (such as Karate or Tae Kwon Do) nor a soft style (such as Baguachang or Tai Chi), but it lies somewhere in between, relying on internal strength and explosive power, simultaneously involving attack and defence. That is why it is often called a soft-hard style.

From a defensive point of view many would describe Wing Chun as a soft style as the blocks used tend to intercept and deflect the opponents strikes. However, the blocks themselves are always very solid. It is a very important part of the Wing Chun defensive concept that the Wing Chun practitioner remains relaxed because that is the only way one can feel his opponents' force and have the relaxed speed to intercept and deflect that force and use it againts him. Likewise, when punching, the arm is completely relaxed until the moment of impact when the striking muscles are tensed. The reason Wing Chun practitioners strike this way is that a relaxed arm or leg will travel much faster through the air than one that is already tensed from the start. It also allows to keep the energy intact, as it is not wasted in mid air, but instead explodes on impact with what is being hit. This soft-hard aspect of Wing Chun makes it suitable to both men and women of any sizes.

 

Martial Mechanics
Martial Mechanics:
Maximum Results with Minimum Effort in the Practice of the Martial Arts
by Phillip Starr
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See also:
Ba Gua Zhang

External links:
What is Wing Chun by Jeff Martin & Maureen Wang (modified by fellow students)
Wing Chun Kung Fu Training
Speed Training :
How to Develop Your Maximum Speed for Martial Arts
 Loren W. Christensen
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Speed training