December 9-10, 2000
by Andy Kalish
This workshop represented a follow-up to the 1st Marathon Workshop held at the Ving Tsun Museum (VTM) on September 22-24 of 2000. As such, this workshop was similar in nature to the first, with students sleeping at the school in order to spend every possible waking hour on the learning and development of their Wing Chun Kung Fu. Together, these workshops covered the Yip Man lineage Wing Chun through Chum Kiu level along with several aspects of Biu Ji. (This refers to the Yip Man system as passed down through Grandmaster Moy Yat and as taught by Sifu Meng at the VTM).
Day 1 started bright and early on Saturday morning. Sifu began by covering two preliminary topics in order to set the stage for the workshop. The first topic was an overview of Grandmaster Moy Yat's philosophy of Chan (Zen) and overall system approach to Wing Chun. It is this systematic approach that has ultimately culminated in the well-defined and detailed curriculum that is used at the VTM. But even more than this, it provides the students with a mind-set with which to guide their learning and development.
The second topic was the status of the Museum's research into the history and development of Wing Chun. Included in this discussion were several topics from Hung Fa Yi lineage Wing Chun, including history (anti-Qing revolutionary activity), the concept of time & space, subjective versus objective references, and the Shaolin roots of the Muk Yan Jong and weapons. This provided a framework against which to compare and contrast the Yip Man lineage system information. These two topics served to calibrate everyone and provided a foundation for the rest of the workshop.
The main portion of the workshop opened by covering the Yip Man system Chum Kiu form, discussing structure, motion, and applications. Sifu then began an intensive discussion and demonstration of the training methodologies associated with Chum Kiu level chi sau. This involved very in-depth coverage of positional and energy conditions for rolling, running, and striking. Significant time was spent discussing and training this area. Day 1 of the workshop concluded with a brief overview of the next day's material, including a discussion of the role of Biu Ji in the Yip Man system.
Saturday night's festivities were very special. A very large portion of the student body turned out for a banquet celebration of Sifu Meng's birthday. As always, it was a pleasure to be a part of a very close gung fu (and Taekwondo and Taiji!) family. All who attended had a very enjoyable evening.
Day 2 opened with some chin nah training and a review of the previous day's discussion around the role of Luk Sau in chi sau. Then the workshop got into high gear by covering various aspects of fighting. Prior to Biu Ji training, the VTM curriculum requires the student to understand and train the ranges and stages of combat. Sifu covered the details of combat set-up and interception. This led into a discussion of the ranges of combat, from long kicking range to grappling range.
After a review of the Yip Man system Siu Nim Tau and Chum Kui forms, Sifu segued into an in depth discussion of Biu Ji. The main focus of this portion of the workshop was on the Biu Ji form. Conceptual and body mechanics details were covered in depth, and applications of techniques from the form were shown.
After some additional discussion of some miscellaneous topics such as weapons conditioning and the Hung Fa Yi Keun Jong progression (after all, who wants a Wing Chun weekend to end!), the workshop was wrapped up and group photos taken. As always, the VTM students were very grateful to Sifu Meng for taking an entire weekend of his time and dedicating it to helping us all learn and grow.
At Benny Meng's birthday celebration