Wing Chun Residential Course 2023

This course marked the first residential course to be held in four years – the first since COVID 19. The course was held at Harper Adams University in Shropshire – a welcome reunion for many and a pleasant encounter for first-timers.

In the space of a few days Grand Master Tse went through all the forms of the Wing Chun system – sometimes covering the whole form and other times introducing certain sections. For some of the 23 students this was the first time to ever see a certain form. For others it was a welcome chance to dive deeper and to see the Grand Master’s movements up close.

After a big English breakfast at the canteen the days would start with a long Siu Lim Tao – Wing Chun’s first form. When performed slowly the form can take an hour or more and from the outside it looks like nothing much is happening – the body is completely still and the arms only move a fraction every minute. Inside, however, there is a lot of power building – a power called Gong Lik. Standing still like this for a long time can actually be exhausting for a beginner – the legs will start shaking uncontrollably and the arm will cramp or go numb but with time and continued practice the internal power develops and it starts to feel effortless – every part of the body will feel connected, relaxed and stable.

After Siu Lim Tao, GM Tse would continue with the other forms – choosing one to focus on at a time. GM Tse would have everyone follow his movements and then demonstrate on his own to make details clearer and let people ask questions. Then he split the students into groups to polish the form under the guidance of a senior student. As Wing Chun is a martial art GM Tse asked us to choose any movement and have him explain the martial application – he would demonstrate the technique on a student and then have everyone practice the technique in teams of two. This really helped with learning the forms as knowing what the movements mean makes it easier to remember. There was also great satisfaction in trying out the techniques on fellow students in the flesh rather than imitating on-line!

For the Tsum Kìuh form we enjoyed working with the forearm techniques and the kicks and there was an interesting explanation of the difference between using Tsum Kìuh Sáu and Màai Jāang Kyùhn to attack the opponent’s elbow. The Wooden Dummy was very exciting and having three dummies standing ready in the big hall had built up a good level of suspense. GM Tse taught the 4th section of the form and explained that it is the same section that actor Donnie Yen uses when playing Ip Man in the movies portraying our famous Wing Chun ancestor. The dummy is not supposed to be hit hard – the focus is on precision of structure, angle and distance. That being said, there is a fair bit of beating to the forearms. The next day quite a few people had bruises to show and GM Tse shared a story of himself learning with his master Ip Chun. Ip Chun had told him that the bruises were actually a good thing and that they should not be rubbed or massaged – they should be left alone as the bruise would help stimulate the bone and make the area stronger. After this story, we wore our bruises with a certain level of satisfaction.

The Six-and-a-Half Point Pole was my own favourite this year. It is quite heavy and thus tests your ability to use your body optimally. The best part was left to the end as everyone got to spar against one-another with the poles – extremely demanding but also great fun! We also got a chance to win a free dinner – the person to hold the Pole outstretched in horse stance the longest won – the prize went to a happy Daniel Nwume.

The Biu Zi form presented some good techniques for using the elbow to attack and how to regain control if someone is controlling your elbow. GM Tse also showed how to defend against a Kāp Jāang with a Jám Sáu. The last form of the course was the Baat Jáam Dōu. GM Tse taught the first and fourth section. The knives can be fairly heavy and so help strengthen the wrists.

In the evenings we had some delicious meals – two of them at the Vineyard Cantonese restaurant. Cantonese food is very varied and with a big group like this we had the chance to share many different dishes. After dinner we would all meet up in the big Queen Mother Hall to socialise and Chi Sau together. It was so much fun and time would seem to fly. One evening the night guard even had to ask us to leave so he could lock up! The last evening for Chi Sau was the most exciting as everyone got to Chi Sau with GM Tse. It was interesting to see how he would handle different types – tall, short, strong, fast, wild. In the end everyone learnt a good lesson both from doing Chi Sau with GM Tse and from watching him with the other students.

GM Tse started the course by laying out the goal: socialise and deepen the skill. What a success! Somehow learning and improving is vastly more efficient in a group when having fun. Our Wing Chun ancestors must have known this as the third ancestor instruction says: “Love your Kung Fu brothers and sisters – unite and enjoy being a group”. Now we can look forward to the two Chi Sau days later this year where we can meet up again and go even deeper!

by Paul Hogg

The 2023 Wing Chun Residential course was everything I have been dreaming about for a long time now. I am a big fan of the 3 pillar format of train, eat, sleep (repeat) as well as the focus on Chi sau every evening and getting a bit of every single form in the system. It gives you a feeling of having the full picture while still being very aware that there is in fact much more to the story and always more to learn. Thank you for giving us this great experience, Sigong! Already looking forward to next time! Best, Tom Hogg.

It was so good to be back at Harper Adams university for the first residential course since 2019. Sigong covered a lot of Wing Chun skills in the three days we were there, and it felt we were there for much longer than that. Finally we were able to have time for in-person social chat with everyone on the course! Many thanks Sigong and Sitai for a great course. Christine

The 2023 Wing Chun Residential Course has been absolutely brilliant! This is the first time I’ve seen my Kung Fu brothers and sisters in person since before covid, so the anticipation and the excitement of being with the family again has just knocked me out. There has been so much to take in and even if I only remember a fraction, it will still be a lot. What will stay with me most perhaps are the Chi Sau sessions, which I have sorely missed over recent years. Thanks to everyone for creating this special time. Special thanks to the seniors for their dedication and patience and, finally, a thousand thanks to Sigong for sharing his knowledge and skill with us. Thank you Sigong. Peter Hogg

Thank you for the best wing chun residential! So enjoyable and informative. Can’t wait for the next Chī Sau days and the next residential.
Peter W

“WOW!” what an absolutely fantastic residential course. So much knowledge and true depth generously shared by Sifu, along with the added bonus of invaluable tips to improve one’s skill from Senior Brothers and Sisters.
Getting to know and train with fellow members from near and far, created such a fantastic atmosphere which I hadn’t previously imagined. Hey, you guys are great I can’t wait for the next one.

I have enjoyed the Wing Chun Residential a lot and have learned a lot. Going through all forms and especially the Wing Chun pole and Baat Cham Dao was really good to deepen our knowledge and experience all aspects of Wing Chun. Also, the Chi Sau and coming together with all students helped a lot to understand it even better and to exchange experience. Thank you Sifu for helping us expand our knowledge and skill and for organising this great course!

A full-on exciting 3 days from start to finish, and to meet up with my brothers and sisters and my seniors, going through the hand forms and weapons and the wooden dummy, so much learning and knowledge in this great event and most importantly to Chi Sau and one of the topics was about improving yourself and I think I did not only through Sigong but all of the seniors as we Chi saued and exchanged understand, this course was one to be remembered thank you Sigong for a great and challenging 3 days and all my brothers and sisters for for their advice and encouragement, earl

The 2023 Wing Chun Residential will be thought about for a very long time. It was so great to get back together at Harper Adams with our Wing Chun family from far and wide after many years. There’s something special about being able to come together to stay, eat, laugh, practice and totally immerse yourself in the skill as a group. Even in the short time we had, we managed to cover many aspects of the skill, but more importantly we were able to get that overall sense of the Wing Chun attitude. Of course, we also got a humbling reminder that there’s much more to master. Being able to Chi Sau late into the night is, and always will be for me, the highlight of the residential courses. Thank you Sigong, the organisers and everyone who attended for such an enjoyable and enlightening experience. Sam

It was wonderful to be back at Harper Adams learning Wing Chun in the fresh air. And it was so good to see everyone again and Chi Sau for hours each night! This year we looked at Sil Lim Tao, then the wooden dummy, concentrating on part 4. This part was new to me, so of course once I tried it at home I now have a load more questions for next time. Although the weather wasn’t great, on Saturday morning we were able to get outside for Sil Lim Tao and on the afternoon we had plenty of Sun Shine for the Luk Dim Bun Guan, and we covered this in detail and was able to try Chi Sau with the poll! A fantastic dinner at a local Chinese restaurant finished off the day, then back for Chi Sau by night. Sunday was drizzle again, so we were back in the hall for half an hour of Yat Guerk Jong, followed by Baat Jam Doe. Throughout the course Tai Sigong explained very clearly the movements and applications. Thank You very much Tai Sigong and Tai Sitai for organising this residential, and Thanks to Tai sigong and all the senior students for help and explanations. Also thank you Tai Sigong for taking the time to Chi Sau with everyone on the course, I learned an important lesson! Looking forward to polishing these forms next time, thanks, Rod.

I am so grateful to everyone for making the wing chun residential such a fabulous experience. I learned a great deal from everyone – it is a truly amazing experience to chi sau with so many people. Thank you to all and especially to you, si gong, for leading and teaching us. Carolyn

We have been waiting for so long to meet again in Harper Adams and it was worth the wait. Walking around and training in its familiar ground having great intensive teaching, Sigong sharing so much knowledge (we had a taste of all aspects of Wing Chun) and spending good time with Sigong and our Kung Fu brothers and sisters, many of whom we had not seen for long time in person, catching up, having great meals and doing lots of Chi sau. Thank you Sigong it was all excellent!