Philipp Bayer: Myths and false impressions concerning Ving Tsun training

The most important, simplest and economical thing one can do is train daily and as such keep themselves combat effective. Roughly 90% of our training consists of Chi Sao and sparring. The remainder extends to the Forms and Weapon Training.

But how many hours shall one train daily to continuously improve themselves? Some say that they, in their time with Wong Shun Leung, trained 14 hours a day without breaks. What are they trying to say to us? We know that would entail 90% of 14 hours of Chi Sao.

It annoys me when I hear people say that my teacher must’ve been crazy to let his students train so many hours without any break.

It shows all the more how misunderstood Wong was by these simple minds. Wong Shun Leung possessed more knowledge about physical training than they can imagine. He knew that regular training, especially Chi Sao, helps to further the quality of life and under good conditions improves resistance against cardiac and vein related diseases. It isn’t necessary for Chi Sao to be exhaustive in order for it to pay off. Chi Sao is the soul of Ving Tsun. It is the tool with which we train our flexibility, speed, distance assessment, strength, stability and timing pertaining to attack and defence at the correct moment. One should not overdo it.

I remember a time in which I was very exhausted. My willpower remained unbroken, but physically I was nearly at an end. This is when Wong made me take a whole weeks rest. He explained to me that in order for it to develop, my musculature had to rest. The only things which are important for the musculature are regular training and taking sufficient time for recuperation. And from time to time one must look for ones physical limits. Only then can the flexibility be attained which one needs to increase ones speed of movement. Wong always displayed tremendous flexibility, in this he had no equal, and it taught me not only to find the shortest and most economic way to the opponent, but also to develop the most economic way of training.

He also recommended I should never train if my motivation was not up to par. Meaning if you have improper motivation, you shouldn’t be training. Every other kind of sport orientated towards movement, whether it be dancing or jogging, can still be trained as such, but not VIng Tsun. The errors will continue to increase, never diminishing and eventually your long hours of training will have gone to waste. Remember: Ving Tsun serves to correct mistakes, not train them, which in the end is what is necessary to win the fight.

And do not forget: These ideas are the direct result of the last four decades of Wong Shun Leung’s training. His time spent instructing his students has established that Ving Tsun training only pays off when used in conjunction with sufficient periods of recuperation.

In conclusions I would like to say to you: In order to improve your Ving Tsun, you do not have to spend your life training 14 hours a day. This would mean that by the time you reach 80, you will have spent half your life training. But would that truly be worthwhile, for a fight that may never come?

Philipp Bayer