Wing Chun in life
Wing Chun is a universal martial system that enables one to deal with literally any other kind of martial arts. It incorporates the elements of meditation, and regular practice helps reaching inner peace and balance. Working on Wing Chun movements, all of which are simple and natural, the practitioner learns to channel his or her efforts effectively, develops attention and increases the speed of reaction. Thus no wonder that many celebrities do Wing Chun, and some even hire security staff who have a good command of this particular martial system.
Wing Chun is a well-known art to bodyguards of Cynthia Rothrock, Jacqueline Bissette, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. Sifu (Chinese for “teacher, mentor”) Randy Williams, one of the most famous contemporary masters of Wing Chun, has experience in working as bodyguard coordinator of security teams for Steven Segal, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Antonio Banderas, U2 and others. And there is quite a list of celebrities who cannot imagine their lives without practicing this martial art. Jackie Chan, Michael Yong, Robert Downey Jr., Nicolas Cage, Cameron Diaz, and Michelle Yeoh are to name a few.
Bruce Lee is a world-famous star, great master of martial arts, actor, film director (of fight scenes in particular), producer and script writer. He became one of the first people who brought Wing Chun fame around the globe. It seems everything about his life is known to the innumerable fans, and the number of legends about him probably exceeds the factual data. Thanks to his movies many generations are and will be able to witness his unsurpassed mastery. Despite the shortness of his life Bruce starred in 36 films – the most famous are the Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon. A few dozens of movies and lots of TV programs were made about him.
· Bruce is considered the greatest martial arts master of the 20th century
· Jet Kun Do is the martial style of his creation, based on the techniques he has learned during his lifetime. It trains flexibility, practical application and the reaction speed above all.
· Once, during the morning warm-up Bruce hurt his back. Recovery took half a year but he was not idle and wrote a couple of books on martial arts.
· Bruce Lee was a close friend, student and peer of Grandmaster William Cheung. They studied Wing Chun with the legendary Grandmaster Ip Man. In 2010 Bruce would have celebrated his 70th anniversary together with Cheung.
· The emblem of our Academy was designed by Lee himself many years ago and given to us by Grandmaster Cheung.
Jackie Chan is sometimes called the successor of Bruce Lee. Jackie starred in more than 50 movies and is a producer of about a dozen of them. His usual personage is a good-natured, modest fellow who always finds himself in the wrong places at the wrong time and has to get into fights with the “bad guys”. His fight scenes have a lot of Wing Chun elements. Jackie almost always does his stunts himself, and his films are cheerful, boisterous and full of life just like he is.
· One of his nicknames is Sing Lung, which means “The one who became Dragon”
· Doing his stunts he had broken his nose three times, his foot – once, broken almost all the fingers, both cheekbones and at one occasion got a hole in his skull.
· Worked with Bruce Lee as a stunt coordinator. Once while being filmed Bruce accidentally hit him in the face with nun-chucks, and this blow Jackie remembers as the most painful experience in his whole cinema career.
· In 1989, he was awarded an M.B.E.(Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to entertainment.
· Created his own stuntmen association.
· Personal quote: “The ads all call me fearless, but that's just publicity. Anyone who thinks I'm not scared out of my mind whenever I do one of my stunts is crazier than I am.”
Cameron Diaz is a former model and a star of The Mask and Charlie’s Angels movies. For the latter she trained Wing Chun 8 hours a day, 5 days per week for three months in a row – all in order to “feel” her personage and get into the role. No wonder, she got so into it that she keeps practicing ever since. Now Wing Chun helps Cameron to keep up the shape, along with skiing and surfing. She also says that Wing Chun “is particularly good to strengthen the legs and tighten the butt.”
“Every day starts as usual. I get up, make breakfast for my son – some eggs with spices, toasted bread with low calories, and agave-flavored tea. Then I make toasts with strawberry jam for my wife. Afterwards I drink triple espresso and read morning newspapers. Then I bring my son to school, train Wing Chun and go to the movie shooting.”
For those, who only start learning Wing Chun, Downey has a piece of advice: “Seriously, don’t worry about looking like an idiot. It’s like life: the less self-conscious you are, the better it works.”
Sammo Hung (real name Hong Jin Bao) is an actor, Kung Fu master and a trend-setter in the Hong Kong action movies. He studied in the Chinese School of Opera together with Jackie Chan, where they became friends, and later they starred in the same films. Sammo played his first major role in Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon.
Sammo became famous thanks to his numerous action comedies, where he usually plays a Kung Fu fighter. Enter the Fat Dragon brought him his first success.
Nicolas Cage is also fond of Wing Chun. Once he said that it’s not only a hobby for him – it’s a lifestyle! In Bangkok Dangerous he demonstrates quite a level of Wing Chun mastery.
Michelle Yeoh is an actress and a dancer, who like Jackie Chan does her stunts herself. In 1997 People magazine published her name among the 50 most beautiful people of the planet. Her most famous movies are Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and one of the movies about James Bond, for the role in which Michelle won MTV Movie Award in the Best Fight nomination. In 1994 she played Yim Wing Chun in the film of the same name that tells the story of the Wing Chun style founder.
Personal Quote: "The reason why I decided to wait two years after the Bond movie, and to work with Ang Lee in a martial arts movie, is because I really believe that this genre deserves more respect and dignity than it's ever been given. Before, people saw it as a fairy tale; they felt they could take it easy. But it shouldn't be about that. It's so steeped in our culture, it should have more depth to it. It's never easy to find that balance, when it's such a magical type of film, to make you accept our soaring to the skies... it was a risk, but when we did this movie, it was for a Western audience."