Interview in MAI magazine with Alan Orr on the Wing Chun Structural Blueprint

Wing Chun Structural Blueprint  by Alan Orr

 

Alan Orr needs no real introduction in the Wing Chun world. He has been dedicated to the art for nearly 30 years. Not only has become a modern Master of the art, but also in that time he has gained Black Belts in BJJ and Eskrmia, as well as coaching levels in many other arts. Plus his Iron Wolves fight team as taken Wing Chun into MMA, Boxing and K1 with had great successes, winning hundreds of fights and Championship Title Belts. He teaches a truly battle tested system.

 

He has released a whole new online learning program which teaches the blueprint to Wing Chun Structure and his Chinese Boxing skills that his fights have used to gain success. So it seemed like a fitting time to catch up and get the insiders take on what the blueprint is all about.

 

His teacher Robert Chu is renowned for his depth of knowledge of the art of Wing Chun and a respected Master and one of the key researches of the art for many years.

 

MAI – So body Structure or Structure has become a Wing Chun buzz word.

 

Alan –

 

My Teacher really introduced the term ‘Body Structure’ to the Wing Chun world over 20 years ago. It was a term his teacher Hawkins Cheung used. My teacher really focused on what it really meant to Wing Chun and as he developed his system by researching all the branches of Wing Chun to cross check, compare and contrast styles and teachings. He looked at all the Ip Man branches plus many older incarnations of the style, such as YKS Wing Chun. He has been close friends over the years with Hendrik Santo who has himself researched Yik KamWing Chun from the 1700’s.

 

The main bulk and his starting point was to understand the biomechanics of the system. After looking at all the branches it was clear too my teacher what was the correct physical structures of Wing Chun. It was also clear that many did not have a good understanding of such things. So in order to help others check if that add this the structure correct he wrote an articles on Body Structure and gave 4 basic tests, that could be performed in order to check if you had the structure in a few standard positions. Most could not pass any and a few only one. At the time the reaction was not as positive as he thought it would be. Rather than people being excited about a having a key to be able to check what they were learning made sense, many were instead defensive about not passing them. Over the years my teacher has written many article’s as have I, plus we both released DVD’s showing more on Body Structure.  Fast forward to now and ‘having structure’ has become the buzz term in Wing Chun. So it would seem in the end people did take in the importance of Body Structure. Which is some ways is good, but the problem is they took use of the words but without the depth of what it is. Now I’m not saying nobody has ever had any structure, what I am saying is the word is often misused as it implies something but its meaning can be varied. So once again we have a term which is as limiting as it is enlightening.

 

 

 

The Structural Blueprint came to life from the need to explain the bigger picture in terms of which are the key elements that really make up the Wing Chun as a system.

 

We used the term Body Structure and within that term we have many layers, from physical layers to mind to energy. But as many think it’s just basic positioning, we needed to make the layers clearer.

 

Chu Sai Lei Wing Chun Kuen has always been a classical system in many ways, from many layers within our forms to focus on Qi Gong, structural positioning and dynamics. So when Hendirk Santo started introducing us to the 6 Core Elements of Yik Kam Wing Chun, we had a fuller description of the key practices we used under the one term ‘Body Structure’.

 

 

YIK KAM TRANSFORM Six Elements or Six Layers

1          Physical body  

2          Mind

3          Breathing 

4          Qi 

5          Strength (Force Flow)

6          Momentum

 

 

The problems with the Body Structure term was many started added the term ‘Structure or Body Structure and some Body Alignment and so on. But what they were really showing was just Static Structure.

 

Static structure is simply whatever position you use. It does not mean it’s correct. Also if you just use static structure and the vectors and positions are correct, then it will still fail as structure is never static once you start using it. Static structure when used becomes stiff or tense. So static structure is purely a position and is just the starting point nothing else.

 

Review of types of Structure

 

Levels of Structure

 

Low Level                               Bad Vectors / No CoG control / Incorrect Muscle Use

 

Very Basic Level                    Static Structure

 

Basic Level                             Hip and Elbow Structure – Physical only

 

Intermediate Level                  Dynamic Structure

 

Advanced                               Force Flow – 6 Core Elements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you must have –

 

Physical body             Correct structure, Vectors, 7 Bows (springs of the joints)

Mind                             Awareness of balance, timing, Intention, visualisation

Breathing                   Relaxed, lower abdominal breathing

Qi                                    Feel the flow of energy and control the use of energy

Force Flow                 Direction of forces, pulse generation, Reaction and Action.

Momentum                Understanding of movement, Centre of gravity control

 

 

These skills allow one to synchronize with body, synchronize with breathing and  synchronize with Qi.

 

 

 

How to load weight correctly and control of momentum is key to understanding force flow skills.

 

Using your muscles at the right time with the correct timing. These are key skills.

 

Breaking down Kinetic Chains

 

The classical 7 Bows taught by Robert Chu and Hendirk Santo

 

1) Foot Arch 2) Ankles, 3) Knees, 4) pelvis, 5) shoulders, 6) Elbows, 7) Wrists

 

In application the Bows start the focus of the whole body’s Kinetic power

 

Foot                 –           Spring Wave / Pump / Points of Balance

Knee                –           Spring / Pump / Locks

Hip                  –           Press / Locks / Pressure Changes / Lifting / Sinking / Torque

Spine               –           Spine Wave                 Forward Flexion and Extension

Spine Wave                 Rotations

Spine Thoracic            Lateral Slide / Lateral Hoop / Forward Flexion and Extension

Spine                           Bow and Arrow Wave

Pelvic Pump    Hip Lock / Wave

Cranial Pump  Neck lock/ wave

Shoulder          –           Packing – Whirl

Head               –           Direction / Locking

Elbow             –           Locking / Spring / Twist

Wrist               –           Locking

Knuckles         –           Focus point

Fingers            –           Squeeze on and off

 

 

 

Wing Chun is known as a Snake and Crane art. This is a metaphor for the Energy and structure of Wing Chun. The Snake is the dynamic soft movement and control of joints and the Crane the structural frame and vector positioning. But in order for the art to work on all levels these ideas must work as one.

 

 

This helps us generate the Snake Engine and Spiral power of Wing Chun

 

A lot of Wing Chun is very Crane based and not as much the Snake body that it should be.

 

The success of my fighters has been a double edged sword in some ways. It has given kudos to our system of Wing Chun. But few have used the idea as a reason that what we do is not pure Wing Chun. Which is crazy on many levels, as if the success under combat pressure means it’s not Wing Chun. Of course it’s Wing Chun.

 

Wing Chun is a great self defence art, but it is also a Chinese boxing system. Many branches of Wing Chun do not pressure test or spar which only holds back a student’s development. In order to have good timing under pressure you need to have worked within an environment that taxes your body and mind.

 

 

 

So the Structure Blueprint is really a study of all the elements that Wing Chun is and should be known for, but is often not taught well or clearly. Breaking down each aspect of physical and mental skills needed for true body awareness.

 

I’m very happy with the outcome as the feedback has been amazing. Many people with 20+ in Wing Chun told me they learnt more from the Blueprint than in an hour that in 10 years. Which is great? That was my goal. Whatever art you practice the universal principles are made so clear you really can learn very quickly.

 

Special deal on the Blueprint at this link –

Wing Chun Body Structure Blueprint with The 6 Core Elements

 

One Comment

  1. Dick S says:

    Thank you for sharing what you are writing can be applyed to all of the martial art is just to adjust it to the techknowlige that is used in that art but the frame work is the same.

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