At the age of 18, I traveled to study for my Bachelor in Business in Melbourne, Australia. During my younger years, I had many experiences in street fights in Hong Kong, China and had never lost to any challengers. Because of that, I believed my skills were exceptional and I was ready to challenge anyone, at any time and at any given day.
It was then that I decided I wanted to further my skills to deal with any martial artist or any fighter in combat. At the time, I remembered hearing about a Grandmaster in Wing Chun located in Melbourne, Australia.
I decided I wanted to see how Wing Chun dealt against my street fighting ability. When I met Grandmaster William Cheung, he was in his office room. I told him about all my years of street fights in Hong Kong, and that I wanted him to show me some moves in Traditional Wing Chun (TWC) that could counter my fighting style. I remember that day very clearly.
He didn’t say a word. He smiled and asked me to follow him. As I followed him to another room, we entered a conference room and he started moving all the chairs and tables away. Then he asked me to stand in my fighting pose, so I decided to use my Sanda stance.
In a split second, he quickly came and executed an entry technique. Before I could react or comprehend his speed, he had already caught my elbow, taking my balance away. All I can remember is seeing his shadow split into 2, while I was stunned and shocked from the experience.
After that, he asked me to throw any strike I wanted ,so I decided to hit him with an upper cut. When I went at him, he quickly countered it with a Gum Sao, after which I could not move my arm. As I looked at my arm, I saw three hand strikes on it and it was so painful internally that I couldn’t fight anymore.
He smiled at me and said to come back again for training if I wanted to. That day, I decided I wanted to learn from him for the rest of my life.
When I started my training, I attended Master Dana Wong’s classes to learn the first form of Wing Chun, the Siu Lim Tao form. Not long after that ,Grandmaster Cheung asked me to train solely under him. It was a great opportunity to learn this unique TWC System.
To learn from him , I needed to pay full attention. It wasn’t easy to understand the meaning behind all the movements, but once you can grasp the solid foundation, you can understand why he does things differently to conventional Wing Chun systems.
Many people think that his Wing Chun is somehow very different to Ip Man Wing Chun, and yes, there are differences, but in my opinion it’s only a different approach. The destination is the same.
For example, centerline theory: In TWC, there are 4 centerlines. If you count the back as a centerline, that makes it the fifth centerline.
As for TWC, your own axis is the first centerline and underneath your elbow, we draw a horizontal line as the second centerline to define your 4 gates. The upper & middle gate.
In addition, if you cross both your hands up and down and across with 135-degree angles, that creates another centerline. You need to maintain this during Chi Sao.
Lastly, when you are in a fighting position, the fourth centerline is what we call the central-line. The fourth centerline (central-line) teaches you to easily use both arms at the same time, for counter attack purposes.
TWC uses BOEC (balance, opening, elbow & cross arm) as a fighting strategy. It enables the fighter to fight effectively on the blindside, as well as controlling someone who is much stronger, faster and more skillful than you.
TWC emphasizes to not fight through the middle but instead fight using the blindside to control the situation. For Chi Sao, sensitivity is the main quality one tries to cultivate.
You should never use any technique to over come strength, but rather to understand leverage of the human structure and use it to control, subdue, and limit your opponent’s movements and get him off balance. Like a bamboo that absorbs, deflects and releases its energy back. If you can understand the logic behind that, you can see things more clearly than others.
As for weapons, I will briefly say that this training comes only after you master all the empty hand forms and have extensively trained in a deeper layer of the TWC system. To train your internals and to become strong, you must train your stance. You must learn to transfer the incoming force to the ground and then it will automatically be redirected back to them. To get to this level, you will need to put in a lot of effort, training and time. This is known as Gung Lik – the internal aspect of your body mechanics. From all my years of training, I have learned a lot from my Sifu, Grandmaster William Cheung. I would like to respectfully and honorably say a special thank you to him for having taught me Traditional Wing Chun as a way of life . Ω