Wing Chun as an Art of Grace

What I’ve come to like about Wing Chun and how it resonates with me is what I call its “aggressive grace.”  Without trying to use muscle strength to overpower a person, it teaches you to flow, use relaxed movements and to be non-resistant.  We don’t try to clash with the person’s energy but to flow with it, so that we could use the opponent’s own energy against him.  Wing Chun generates power from harmony, peace and grace.

I think one of the key principles of Wing Chun illustrates this grace-oriented flow.  The principle is: as the person gives, I take (loi lau) and as the person takes, I give (heui sohng).  Wing Chun teaches us to fight with a person by not fighting with a person.  If the opponent wants it then I’ll give more of it and if he wants to give to me then I’ll take more of it.  For instance, if he pulls my arm or retracts his own, I’ll let it go and move in for a strike, which is following the flow of his own energy.  Or if he pushes forward, I’ll let his arms pass me and let him walk into my punch.  It’s a wonderful and artful concept, and yet I find it is not a new one just a rarely discovered one.  I think the martial art of Wing Chun illustrated a teaching of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, when he said if a person wants your cloak, give him your tunic as well; or if someone forces you to go a mile, go with him two miles (Matthew 5:40-41).  The Apostle Paul reinforced this teaching and added the effect of grace where he said if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, so that it is like heaping hot coals on his head (Romans 12:20).  There is power in grace.  To a friend, the power of grace moves a person’s heart.  To an adversary, the power of grace overcomes the opposition.  In either case, grace changes things

I think there is a misperception of power in this world.  We think power only comes from might.  The common lesson for every Wing Chun student is to not tense up but to relax when you feel opposition.  It’s our normal reaction to tense – we unconsciously believe muscling our way through a situation will help us prevail.  I find there is tremendous power in grace.  Grace is meant to change a situation.  It is delivered by a person who has complete inner strength.  A person who exercises grace is always at peace, is not anxious and is not a victim to blind rage.  A person of grace does not resist because he can’t, but because he chooses not to.  And he does not exercise force not because he is weak, but on the contrary because he is generating power.  A person of grace flows with adversities in the world and delivers power through that flow.   Martial arts teaches the art of overcoming struggles and oppositions in a physical fight but even metaphorically in life.  In Wing Chun, I see the general revelation of God’s truth about grace.  There’s power in grace to overcome and create change.  Jesus knew this and ultimately demonstrated this on the cross of calvary.  If there is a martial art against sin, death and Satan, it’s seen in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross.

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