There is one very strange thing about Wing Chun and that is , all styles are the oldest, most original and most effective. These stories, without exception, can be found in all styles . Of course, the purpose of these stories is purely marketing in nature whose main goal is to attract as many people as it is possible who are willing to pay significant sums of money , without second thought, to learn some '' original '' and '' superior '' style .To be cheated today by this method is simply put , stupid ,because it takes only a little time to do a research search in order to verify information and just a little engagement of the brain in order to ask the right questions.
So let’s answer some important questions. Let's start from which style is the most effective? The answer is very simple, there is no such a thing as the most effective style because efficiency does not depend on style but solely on the approach to training and personal effort . If the training does not include sparring, situational training, and fighting conditioning of the body , preparing the body to withstand the shock of impact, then you cannot expect that the practitioner will be able to fight. Many people , in order to substantiate its allegations regarding the efficiency of style talking about superior fighting abilities of the founders of their style, who is usually a person who lived far in the past. Usually , “grandmaster” had hundreds of fights, and usually never lost any . More than often these people had abilities that can be considered supernatural .These stories sound more like fairy tales and are so incredible and illogical that become funny. Like, the story of Leung Jan and 300 fights. Even today professional fighters do not have a third of that number, and there is no one who has never lost a fight .Professional fighters fight for living, that's their job, they practice hard every day while Leung Jan was a doctor who worked all day with patients , it is hard to believe that he had much time to practice, especially to be so good that he won 300 fights, many of which were with the weapons !!! And finally ,he lived double of the average life span in his time . It is obvious this story is a fairytale. Or the story about on famous '' grandmaster '' who beat 12 men who attacked him with knives but later he couldn’t win over a single attacker who was, by all means beneath him in sense of skill and knowledge .So, that is another fairytale.
Speaking of efficiency , one should seek whether or not a particular school participate in full contact competitions and to check what kind and what level those competitions are .It is good to see the video recording or watch some of the competitions and compare it with professional fights to estimate what is real level of training in some school . If there is no competitions , than it is good to check approach to training and if there is no full contact sparring, situational training and hard conditioning things are more than clear in that case. Finally, let me repeat once again, the fighting efficiency does not depend on the style but in the practitioner and his commitment to training , thus no superior style, just more efficient fighters who have invested a lot of effort into training.
The next question is about originality First we need to define what does this term really means. Often can be heard that some style is original because some things are done differently from others and that is the '' original '' and only correct way while everyone else is wrong. This kind of stories may be believed by people who do not know anything about wing chun , and this kind of stories were specifically created to attract exactly that kind of people . Wing Chun is an art based on certain basic principles , and those principles are pretty much the same in all styles. There are different expression of these principles which depend on many factors, such as body build, age, height, fighting experience, approach to training etc. That is the reason why there are so many different wing chun styles today .It is because the fact that WCK is based on principles rather than rigid rules of how something must be done and that fact gives practitioners freedom to adapt the art to their needs and fully express themselves through it .
There is another kind of 'originality' and that is the statement that the style is the oldest, original ,proto style of whom were later by modification, lack of understanding and incomplete training all other styles derived , therefore ,all other styles are inferior. Historical research shows that there is no such 'proto style' 'from which were later formed all other styles. From the very beginning, there were several different wing chun styles. This is a historical fact, and one must know the history of the style (not the legend of the old nun and the girl), and bear in mind the fact that Wing Chun is creation of number of people, experienced fighters with different skills sets , physical attributes and approach to training . Founders , who worked together in creation one of the most sophisticated fighting styles , later passed down to the their successors different versions of the art . These versions are nothing more than different expression of the same basic principles. Basically , it's the same art based on the exactly the same principles, only the expression of these principles was somewhat different. It is obvious that there is no “original “ wing chun style , not in technical nor in the historical terms .All styles, if complete are equally original.
And finally, the question often asked is which is the oldest wing chun style. Historically, three styles today share the title of the oldest , Snake Crane Wing Chun, Pao Fa Lien style and Lo Kwai style. Snake Crane Wing Chun and Pao Fa Lien are included in Honkg Kong’s cultural heritage list. These three styles are the oldest known styles which technical foundation has not changed from the moment of creation. All other styles are created later by mixing two or more WCK styles. For example Ip Man's style is a blend of at least three different styles of Wing Chu and it is possible that there were more different influences.
It is important to understand what someone wants and expects to achieve by practicing wing chun . Different styles and even more , different teachers offer different approach to training . The most important thing in all of this is how practitioner feels on training , whether he is on the way of achieving his goals and he practices in positive atmosphere or not . It is more important to choose right teacher than a “right” style . From my personal experience , I have learned from many people but I’ve met only three people who I really can call teacher , they are my WCK teacher Wayne Yung , my White Crane teacher Hong Gu Rong and Baji teacher from Tainan官鋒忠