Snake Crane Wing Chun is very specific martial system, created in specific time period with a very specific purpose. This art was first modern CQB system with all the tools and traits for successful combat in overpopulated area of Pearl river delta with narrow streets, small buildings with small rooms and boats as a main mean of transport.
After final fall of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in 1864 many rebels went underground. The reason of the fall was infighting and many officers actually changed side and betrayed their compatriots for money and position. Among rebels who went underground were members of Cantonese “red boat” opera troupe. They developed their own style of fighting called “Siu Lim Tao”. Unfortunately this style of fighting was lost, but from it emerged a style now known as Snake Crane Wing Chun which is the oldest version of Wing Chun known today. Older version of WCK or SLT had only one long empty hand form and it required quite a time to be mastered.
For a necessity of quick training old form was divided into 3 empty hands forms. That was not only change made to the style. The new concept of training was to train people to be assassins , furthermore , like it was said before , to be assassins in overpopulated area Guangzhou with its specific architecture and way of life. Assassins were trained to take revenge on those who betrayed the rebellion. Style its self was made for close combat and at the beginning only weapon were short butterfly knives that can fit in the sleeves of the traditional upper clothes. Long pole was added alter and all other styles in that area have that weapon in their curriculums, which is logical because everybody used boats at that time. While all other styles have a whole specter of traditional weapons like spears , swords ect. Snake Crane Wing Chun had only knives. SCWC was made for extremely close combat fighting, traditional architecture of the area have very narrow streets where two people can hardly pass over one another. Houses were small , not very high and rooms were also small. SCWC was main purpose was fight in a confined quarters and sudden attacks in a big crowd.
Being assassin’s art SCWC in its curriculum has not only a technical training with weapons and empty hands but also some other very important things. One of these things is awareness. The simple truth is , no matter if you have the best martial arts on the world or if you are the best fighter on the world if are not able to see the danger and you are not able to react on time. To be aware of the environment , to assess the situation is actually more important than a fighting technique, especially for a person who suppose to kill a military officer surrounded with body guards . Awareness training stars with empty hand forms and later is practiced more on a higher level. System of training is pretty much the same like in all other military , police or intelligence forces with special assignments and that kind of training , with small variations is pretty much the same everywhere .
Today ,there is no need for killing Ching officers , Ching dynasty doesan”t exist any more SCWC still keeps its value in the modern world of fighting. Selfdefense in more about situational awareness than about technique its self. While good fighting technique is essential when attack actually happens,to avoid attack , to deny opportunity to an attacker not to attack you ,but to even notice you is always the best selfdefense solution . By being aware of your surroundings, paying attention to warning signs, and noticing pre-attack indicators, you can spot a predator and deny him the close distance he needs to attack you by using space and/or objects in your environment. And even if you are approached by a predator, you can de-escalate the situation and avoid physical violence using a variety of measures.
Most traditional martial styles put all the focus on technical training . Modern selfdefense systems put focus in situational awareness development and situational training . SCWC has that since the middle of the 19th century , which means SCWC is modern for more than 150 years.