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Informative and affordable, “Wing Chun: A Documentary” is a good addition to your library
One of the things you find with most Wing Chun-related media is a one-sided view of a particular school, instructor, technique, etc. With Wing Chun: A Documentary by Empty Mind Films, the reverse is true.
Most of us have seen clips of Master Yip Man’s grave, plus a few shots of the stairs leading up the hill to get there. The interesting thing with the opening of the documentary is a more detailed look at what it takes to get there. That is the first time I have seen such depth and it was very eye-opening.
With cameras going through the streets, the documentary takes us to five different schools, with each having a different viewpoint of their personal take on Wing Chun. Most will state that they are traditional teachings yet naturally they “do” vary here and there from each other a bit.
Personally, I dig the different viewpoints and especially when it comes from direct students of the later Master Yip Man. Even with them the differences can be seen and it reinforces that just because there is more than one way, that does not mean it is the only way.
Sure, there were some opinions in a round about way that the art should be passed down “this way” or “that way” or it’s wrong, but that’s a given. When someone has done something for so long, I have no problem when their opinion is of one and only one way.
Take it with a grain of salt and absorb what they say because it’s coming directly from those that have personally touched hands with the late Grandmaster.
Who’s Not In It
For those in WingTsun looking for Master Leung Ting, you won’t find him in this documentary. You also won’t find other prominent masters such as William Cheung or other well-known personages of the art.
Don’t take it personally. As stated throughout the documentary, there are many schools and not all could be included, I’m sure. I’ve been doing videos for over a decade and I know the logistics of such a feat when trying to cram so much information into a limited time frame.
Empty Mind Films did a great job with their brief look at the art and I am positive they touched base with some excellent views.
Recommended: Yes or No?
Yes. While only a basic look at the art and by no means a teaching DVD, there are also four basic lessons from Sifu Keung concerning Pak-sau and Bong-sau. It was good seeing some step-by-step lessons from a master I have only begun researching. The only downfall I have with the video is that the sub-titles are a bit too small, plus they blend in too much with the background.
The best viewing with sub-titles is at least a 24 or 26 font, but these are actually quite smaller. It is tough to read on a regular television set, and almost impossible on a tablet or portable player.
I recommend pausing the video to read the sub-title and then continuing if you want to really get the jist of what’s being said.
That aside, it is a good documentary for the price. Informative, not over the top, yet enough information to make it worthwhile.
About the Author – Phil Bradley
Phil Bradley is the founder and head instructor of the Arizona Wing Chun Association, Peoria, Arizona USA. Training since 1985 and teaching since 1993, Phil has worked with a variety of well-known instructors and masters. He is currently an Instructor Level 4 with the AWCA, as well as an IT professional and freelance technical writer. He has written numerous books and articles on Wing Chun, as well as major operational standards for the health, fitness, and corporate security professions. Phil is married, has three daughters, one dog, and a parrot that likes to answer the phone.