Here is a thoughtful post by Lau Yip of the Houston Wing Chun Association discussing what makes a Grand Master and why Yip Man was one.
Sifu Kenneth Chung with good friend Chen Style Taijiquan Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang during the latter's recent Bay Area tour.
Ken is pictured here with members of the North East Wing Chun Student Association on his recent visit to Rochester, New York. The group includes members from Rochester, Buffalo, Montreal, Georgia, Maryland and Missouri.
During Ken's visit, members of the North East Wing Chun Student Association presented him with a hand blown glass art dragon and commemorate plaque in appreciation of his ongoing support to the group through the years.
Sifu Petrus Wai interviewed by Today's Chinese magazine on his leading efforts in the founding of Leung Sheung Tong, to honor his teacher, Leung Sheung, and to unite his followers by providing a platform for fellowship and research and development of Yip Man's Wing Chun as passed down by Leung Sheung.
Congratulations, Sibak! And thank you, from all of us.
Sporting a tee shirt bearing the proverb, "Don't be greedy, don't be afraid," Ken emphasizes the importance of this idea in practice. He demonstrates the importance and efficacy of this concept even when working with much larger, stronger, and more athletic opponents.
Two professional defensive players from the Houston Texans football team participated in a May 2014 workshop with Kenneth Chung. The athletes were young and strong, over 6 feet tall, and ranging in weight from 290 to 350 pounds.
At 165 pounds and 5 feet 9 inches, a 65 years young Kenneth Chung was dwarfed by the much younger men. Ken spent a great deal of time working with them, and demonstrating the concepts of Wing Chun. Above all, he emphasized the importance of never being greedy and never being afraid. He illustrated how he incorporates this idea to maximize his own potential.
Keith Browner, one of the Houston Texans, observed: "As Ken demonstrated different attacks and feelings, he asked me if he [Ken] looked like he was nervous to fight me. Looking into his eyes, I could not see fear, but confidence, calmness, intensity, and consciousness."
There are many ways in which greed and fear manifest themselves, thus interfering with optimal martial arts performance. It happens in meeting an opponent forcefully, by tensing up, and when we rely on muscle instead of relaxing. It happens when we reach out beyond our own range, rather than allowing the opponent to come in where we can more effectively receive and utilize that force. Ken repeatedly demonstrated the importance of position, sensitivity and timing in dealing with the young, strong, and aggressive men.
An observer from the Houston Wing Chun group noted: "Ken demonstrated that fighting back against a larger or more athletic opponent would give [the opponent] the advantage because such a person is highly trained to deal with rigid energy. By relaxing, listening and using our long and lasting energy, a larger foe can more effectively be dealt with. Ken was fluid, which disrupted the football players' stronger rigidity."
Ken emphasized the practical point that he cannot out-muscle someone much taller and heavier than himself. "When the bigger guys leaned on him," an observer pointed out, "he absorbed their excess energy through use of a turn or rearwards sidestep instead of trying to push them away. At the same time, he was never afraid to send his force into them."
"Wing Chun focuses on conservation of energy through precision and accuracy," noted Yip Lau, another practitioner at the event. "Sifu Ken speaks frequently of the idea that we only strike when the opportunity presents itself. Relying solely on speed will consume large amounts of energy, and yields little result. Wing Chun stresses the idea of optimization." The proverb, "Don't be greedy, don't be afraid," is central to this optimization.