The three stages of combat

by Rien Bul

Weng Shun Kuen is famous for its practical use in real self-defense situations. Real combat knows three stages of development:

Stage 1: Setting Up the Stance

The Weng Shun Kuen practitioner gets ready for a confrontation by getting in the Weng Shun Kuen Bi Jong (ready-stance), the "Yi Jee Kim Yeung Ma". This stance allows maximum flexability in footwork. When the attack comes, the Weng Shun Kuen practitioner throws his hand towards it to make contact.

Stage 2: The Contact Stage

At the first moment of contact, the Weng Shun Kuen practitioner steps in on the attack, for example with a circle step to avoid being kicked. Having waited for the attack he has seen what form the attack takes on, so he never unexpectedly gets hit by neither fist or foot. The Weng Shun Kuen practitioner never initiates an attack before making contact with an opponent. By positioning he secures his safety. By contacting he can predict and control the adversary’s every move. In the second stage of combat the Weng Shun Kuen practitioner will try to obstruct the opponent’s movements by pressuring. When he succeeds in his intention, the fight will flow into the third and last stage: taking out the opponent.

Stage 3: Finishing the Opponent

After "trapping" the opponent, the close-combat techniques of the Bil Ji form will be used to end the threat the opponent poses once and for all. These techniques are mostly open hand, finger and elbow attacks to the weak points of human anatomy.

The Three Forms

It is a little-known fact that the three bare-handed practice forms of Weng Shun Kuen (Sil Lum Tao, Chum Kiu, Bil Jee) represent the three stages of combat.

  1. Siu Lum Tao represents stage 1.
    Weng Shun Kuen’s first form primarily trains the By-Jong (Basic Stance). Some say this stance is only stable on both sides, but weak when attacked from front or back. The Weng Shun Kuen practitioner’s only reason to stand in basic stance is when he is expecting a confrontation. This he always does with his center line facing his opponent. The center line is, as a rule, always sufficiently guarded. Stepping in on an attack at the right time is of course important to prevent the opponent from pressuring the stance. When there is no imminent threat, the Weng Shun Kuen practitioner does not even have a reason to assume the ready-stance. But if he does, it will be with the center line area to the opponent, not his back! If the attack comes from the side, it will be easy to turn the center line in its direction, thanks to the brilliant structure of the ready-position.
  2. Chum Kiu represents stage 2.
    The first form is stationary at all time, whereas the second has some walking - and kicking - moves in it. The theme of Chum Kiu is "Bridging the gap (to the opponent) and making contact". The footwork is aimed mostly at safely bridging the gap. Furthermore, it trains the practitioner in making contact with the hands, controlling the center line and obstructing mobility of the opponent (trapping). In a way, the techniques in this form are used for "disarming" the opponent.
  3. Bil Jee represents stage 3.
    Having "cleared the way" with the Chum Kiu techniques, we have arrived at the "Bil Jee" form. It is a form that contains only very close-combat techniques. A number of the techniques are meant for re-positioning purposes, while the others deal with finishing off the opponent (the third stage of combat). To this end the weak points of the human anatomy are targeted, like the throat, neck, eyes, etc.
    Remember: Weng Shun Kuen is a counter-attacking style, which means we let the opponent attack first. It is the only way for a being with two arms and two legs to position himself at a safe angle.

If you have a problem in sparring and you want to look for the solution in the forms, find out in which stage of combat your problem occurs. You now know in which form to look. Moreover, the form tells the purpose to the technique.

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