There is a saying in Ving Tsun (wing chun) Kung Fu: “Practice hard when you’re young, or you’ll have nothing when you’re old.” Certainly, starting young and training hard with your kung fu is good advice. However, recent studies show that human potential is so great, and the Ving Tsun system is so powerful, that it may never be too late to start your martial arts training in Ving Tsun Kung Fu and experience real benefits. Developing a strong body and sharp mind is good for your health and longevity – for self-defense against illness and life’s other challenges – including defending yourself from bullies.
Background on the Ving Tsun Kung Fu research
A core group of researchers conducted four experiments involving Ving Tsun Kung practitioners that demonstrated certain health benefits from practice. The experiments were run in the years from 2013-2016. Research subjects were long and short-term older/elderly Ving Tsun Kung Fu practitioners, and the results were published in peer-reviewed journals [1-4].
The researchers all have Chinese names and are affiliated with Hong Kong universities, with the exception of one based in Australia. They report no conflicts of interest, and say they are interested in the potential utility of Ving Tsun training for improving self-efficacy in elders, and in reducing falls, a major health-risk factor for that same group. It’s not clear who provided the Ving Tsun Kung Fu training – the “Ving Tsun” spelling is used, but the name and/or affiliation of the instructors isn’t given.
The first study used convenience sampling to recruit 16 older male Ving Tsun instructor-level students from three local schools. These subjects only did Ving Tsun Kung Fu as exercise, had at least three years experience and trained two to eight hours per week. The control group was made up of non-exercising but otherwise healthy seniors. This study reported the most consistent and dramatic differences between the groups, with the Ving Tsun group having stronger bones and grips, and better balance.
In the other studies the Ving Tsun groups were composed of Ving Tsun-inexperienced seniors who went through specific three-month programs of training two to seven hours per week, depending on the study. The Ving Tsun exercise programs included the Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu forms, and two-person exercises up to Chi Sao. Groups of Ving Tsun practitioners ranged in size from 12 to 35 – control groups were larger and composed of non-exercising but otherwise-healthy people. In all four studies, most participants were in their 60’s and 70’s – no one was under 40.
Documented benefits: Stronger bones, better balance, improved grip-strength
All four studies produced evidence that even short-term Ving Tsun training increases handgrip-strength; bone strength; and standing balance confidence and control. However, the authors did note some limitations in the studies (such as other variables and small sample sizes), and recommend further study.
It’s not surprising that training Ving Tsun forms and two-person drills would have the reported benefits – the system was designed to produce these and many other benefits. As the authors note, Ving Tsun training includes bone-hardening, horse stance and grip-strength exercises, so it would be expected that training would produce stronger bones, legs and fists.
Ving Tsun Kung Fu: A little training goes a long way
If these Ving Tsun study participants continue practicing only what they’ve learned so far, their kung fu will continue to grow and improve their health in many ways. Training Ving Tsun Kung Fu even a small amount and in a superficial way does yield benefits. For instance, in some of these studies, the Ving Tsun group only trained for three months, in some cases as little as two hours per week, and positive results were documented. Ving Tsun Kung Fu training and technique is immediately effective, but to gain expertise requires a few years of dedicated practice. Mastery can take a decade or more.
Also, in three of the studies, participants were progressed to relatively advanced levels of training (Chum Kiu and Chi Sao) in three months, meaning they did not have time to develop a stronger kung fu foundation in important basic principles. Spending more time training the first form (Siu Nim Tao) and beginning two-person exercises such as Pak Sao and Lop Sao develops the foundation needed to train in the most productive way in higher level exercises.
The full power of Ving Tsun Kung Fu available through training in the Moy Tung lineage
Even a little knowledge of Ving Tsun Kung Fu is beneficial. And with disciplined application of Ving Tsun principles to kung fu training, great power, strength, relaxation, flexibility, balance, energy, efficiency can be developed – as well as great kung fu fighting technique utility and control. Developing a strong foundation in the basics before moving on to more advanced training is one such principle.
There are profoundly simple yet elusive and difficult to master training and fighting principles, methods, techniques and details that are unique to the Ving Tsun Kung Fu martial arts training and fighting system. These details have been handed down from Ving Tsun master to disciple from the beginnings of the Ving Tsun system in the Shaolin Temple in 17th Century Southern China.
Today, these principles are taught and emphasized in the kung fu lineage of Grandmaster Moy Yat’s disciple, Grandmaster Moy Tung. The Ving Tsun Kung Fu system, taught this way, allows students to reach their own maximum human potential. This information is openly shared in our training programs, but as noted above, Ving Tsun Kung Fu is challenging and difficult for individuals to master – especially without guidance from an experienced master, and a strong kung fu foundation.
Proficiency, expertise and mastery in anything – including Moy Tung Kung Fu – is gained through years of disciplined study. Ving Tsun details are simple to practice and difficult to master, but when applied and studied with discipline, produce the most profound benefits from physical, mental and character exercise – the maximum return on your time and energy invested in working out.
Start your training program today and start getting the Ving Tsun Kung Fu benefits
It’s never too late to start training your kung fu, whether you’re six or 96 – if you start now and apply yourself to your training, it will improve your health, protect your life and help keep you young. If you’re 90 years old now, you’ll have ten years of kung fu training experience by the time you’re 100 – and Ving Tsun Kung Fu may help you live that long.
But start young if you can! Enrolling in our teens program at age fifteen will give you five years of high-level martial arts training by the time you’re 21. Starting your child at age six means they’ll have ten years kung fu experience by the time they’re sixteen, which will help them deal with all the challenges of being a teenager.
You/your kids will have a kung fu advantage that will serve you for life. If you’re interested in finding out how Ving Tsun Kung Fu training can benefit you, the best way to do it is to schedule an introductory lesson at a Moy Tung-lineage branch near you.
1. Shirley S. M. Fong, X. Guo, Alice P. M. Cheung, Alex T. L. Jo, Gary K. W. Lui, Dennis K. C. Mo, Shamay S. M. Ng, and William W. N. Tsang, “Elder Chinese martial art practitioners have higher radial bone strength, hand-grip strength and better standing balance control,” ISRN Rehabilitation, vol. 2013, Article ID 185090, 2013. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/185090/
2. Shirley S. M. Fong, Shamay S. M. Ng, Karen P. Y. Liu, Marco Y. C. Pang, H. W. Lee, Joanne W. Y. Chung, Priscillia L. Lam and X. Guo, “Musculoskeletal Strength, Balance Performance, and Self-Efficacy in Elderly Ving Tsun Chinese Martial Art Practitioners: Implications for Fall Prevention”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 402314. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/402314/
3. Ryan W.T. Lip, BSc, Shirley S.M. Fong, PT, PhD, Shamay S.M. Ng, PT, PhD, Karen P.Y. Liu, OT, PhD, and X. Guo, MB, DrMed, “Effects of Ving Tsun Chinese martial art training on musculoskeletal health, balance performance, and self-efficacy in community-dwelling older adults”, J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Mar; 27(3): 667–672. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395688/
4. Shirley S. M. Fong, Shamay S. M. Ng, Yoyo T. Y. Cheng, Janet Y. H. Wong, Esther Y. T. Yu, Gary C. C. Chow, Yvonne T. C. Chak, Ivy K. Y. Chan, Joni Zhang, Duncan Macfarlane, and Louisa M. Y. Chung, “Effects of Ving Tsun Chinese Martial Art Training on Upper Extremity Muscle Strength and Eye-Hand Coordination in Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Pilot Study”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4013989. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/4013989/