There is no Wing Chun Kuen

"Since the Republic of China was established there have been thousands of books written on the Chinese martial arts, but ninety percent of them are not accurate.
Everyone with an interest in Chinese martial arts has to keep in mind, that authors tend to make their teacher and their school sound better than they are. These authors exaggerate things or make up stories entirely. This is an unscientific tendency of past aeras."

Matsuda Ryuchi, Japanese historian (Kennedy & Guo, 2005)

Traditionally speaking, the setting for martial arts is extremely hierarchically organized, with the master on top of the organization as the highest authority. This particular setting is highly susceptible for manipulation of the student's awareness. Obedience to authority and magical causality alone can alter the student's perception to the point of irrationality, in which the student may sincerely believe that he is actually capable of securing the martial objective.

Reality testing in martial arts' environment is not possible due to severe injuries and/or permanent damage - even death - so, for this reason, there is no sufficient criteria to test the efficiency behind application anymore. This leads to assumptions, based on heuristic simulations that are a lot of times dangerously far off from real possible threats of reality. Loss of validity of martial arts as a form of physical self-protection opens up a dangerous window of opportunity for all sorts of magical thinking that can lead to disaster when one faces an actual physical threat and the student's expectations do not match reality.

Wing Chun Kuen is to be Transmitted, but not Spread

Some of the crucial elements of movement in the traditional Wing Chun Forms are dissonant with the psychomotoric learning principles of skill acquisition. These motions, when repeatedly executed on a daily bases - as it is traditionally done - can and will weaken the structural integrity of an application. Since form training is of utmost importance to the traditional Chinese martial arts' training, and it represents the DNA of a style, to intentionally corrupt the forms is in accordance with the art of deception. Wing Chun Kuen was always passed down secretly from teacher to student to ensure the transmission of the art to the next generation and only to the willing, diligent and smart student, who above all could afford to pay for the tuition fee; in short, only aristocrats could become part of the Wing Chun Kuen family.

According to Chinese martial tradition, it is said that "All warfare is based on deception" (孫子) as the first "Maxim of Deception" (三十六計) reads: "Fool the Emperor and Cross the Sea".

This then is further explained in the following:

"The perception of perfect preparation leads to relaxed vigilance. Familiar sight leads to slackened suspicion. Therefore, secret machinations are better concealed in the open than in the dark, and extreme public exposure often contains extreme secrecy."

I do not believe, that a kinesiological marvel of body mechanics such as the Wing Chun Kuen system lacks consistency. This very system is so ingeniously designed, that even if a practitioner lacks the core of the system, just a couple of applied principles can overcome the opponent. I strongly believe, that the forms were intentionally corrupted.

"In order to study martial arts, one must be diligent in two areas. First, one must be willing to travel great distances in order to study with those of higher ability and sincerely request instruction. Second, one must also be diligent in speech, humbling one's self and asking for guidance."

Yue Fei's Intent Boxing, Li Chun Yi (Kennedy & Guo, 2005)

Mr. Häberlin and the author of this text, Mr. Perat, worked over the course of months, day after day, to be able to retrieve the system.
When Mr. Häberlin returned from Tokyo, Japan, in 2011 we decided that it would be best, if he stays with me and my family, so we could practice and explore the possibility to actually reconstruct the lost art of Wing Chun Kuen in a traditional way, in a way that martial arts were trained in the past for the purpose of transmitting the art to the next generation.

This approach was so fruitful, that after a couple of months, I was able to restore the core of the Wing Chun Kuen system. This was only possible, because Mr. Häberlin is in a position that enables him to collect all - a lot of times - redundant pieces of scattered and inconsistent Wing Chun Kuen, from all the continents over the span of the last 23 years.

The virtues and traits of his personality have enabled him to withstand the troubles on this quest, especially because he could withdraw to the world of leisure at any given time due to his unique social standing and position.

Although according to the "Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition" (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1980) there is no higher level of mental capacity than expertise (Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient, Expert), Mr. Häberlin is capable of experiencing moments of intense absorption in his field of expertise during which his performance transcends even its usual high level. Mastery level only takes place, when the practitioner no longer needs principles, ceases to pay conscious attention to his performance and can let all the mental energy previously used in monitoring his performance go into producing almost instantaneously the appropriate perspective and its required action.

Mitja Perat,

Institute for
the Development
of Human Resources

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