Interview – Wayne Belonoha on Approach to Ip Man Wing Chun

Interview – Wayne Belonoha on Approach to Ip Man Wing Chun

We sat down with Sifu Wayne Belonoha to ask him about his new book, as well as how it, his current books (Wing Chun Compendium vol 1 and 2), his 9 disk Blu-Ray set, and his 55 Video Wing Chun University course all fit together. This is what he had to to say:

EWC: Sifu Belonoha, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us and answer some questions about your books and videos. They are the highest quality Wing Chun instructional materials we’ve ever seen – and probably some of the best in the world of martial arts period.

Sifu Belonoha: First, let me say thanks for asking me to be part of your blog and for taking the time to ask me about my new book. Before answering your questions, I would like to say thanks to my teacher and kung fu family for bringing me the opportunity to write this book. Without their help and guidance, I would not be in this position. I also would like to say that while I am qualified to write a book about Ip Man Style Wing Chun, I am not uniquely so. There are many others who are qualified to write such a book, and some of them more than me. However, as a recognized instructor, I am able to make this humble offering to the wing chun community.

Can you tell us why you decided to write this new book?

WB - Approach to VT webThe first books I wrote are very indepth. They give a deep explanation of the techniques, strategy, training methods, and even philosophical underpinnings that make ving tsun what it is. Over time they have become positioned as more of a textbook – valued by those wing chun followers who want to understand as much detail as possible. As we know the small details make a big difference.

Many people contacted me and asked if there was a lighter version; something geared towards beginners who wanted an introductory glimpse into the system. They wanted something they could study and use to learn the beginning parts of the system – an introduction.

I also heard from martial artists who practiced other styles. They were interested in this style of wing chun but couldn’t find a book that really helped them understand what Ip Man Style Ving Tsun was, what were the major logical underpinnings of the system, and generally why we did what we did.

I have been studying wing chun under my sifu for 25 years, and in that time I have worked to explain difficult concepts using simple and intuitive descriptions. It’s easy to make something more complicated or more confusing – and many people have done so. I am taking a different approach. I’m striving to make difficult concepts easy to grasp. My thinking is that if people can understand wing chun and how to do it, they may become motivated or inspired to look deeper. If more people are motivated or inspired, then I have taken a step toward one of my own goals – helping people to find a path to a happier, healthier, safer life.

Who is it for, specifically, and what should they be looking to get out of it?

My experience has allowed me to efficiently teach the system of wing chun to many people. In that time I have learned which tenets, idioms, principles, and drills bring the most value in the least amount of time.
For people who are training, or are interested in training, I have compiled these principles, idioms, tenets, and drills into one concise book. I also offer the most common mistakes I’ve seen so readers can avoid the most common pitfalls.

For those who are not training, but wish to know more about wing chun, the compilation in this book offers a thorough understanding of our system. It’s clear, logical, and explains the reasoning behind each movement.

How does the book fit into your University Course, Blu-Ray set, and 2 Wing Chun Compendium books?

This book allows people to dip their toe in the water to see if the temperature is right. It’s concise, clear, and gives a great overview – and it’s not expensive. If somebody likes what is written and the logic resonates, it might be time to take the next step and start practicing or reading more. If that’s the case, skip to the next question.

If someone brand new to the art and, wants to learn Ving Tsun from you, what should they buy and in what order?

If somebody was new to the art, I would start by buying “An Approach to Ip Man Wing Chun”. Concurrently, I would also suggest they watch the free “About Wing Chun” video. It reviews all the principles that guide the wing chun system.

From there, it depends on your learning style. The DVDs provide a systematic traditional roadmap through the entire system from step 1 to step 108. It teaches all the key information you need to master the system.

WD Blu-Ray Photo_2859 webFor example, if you follow the DVD roadmap your training would go in this order:

Step 1: Adduction Stance
Step 2: Sun Fist Punch
Step 3: Siu Nim Tau Form, Part 1
Step 4: Paak Sau Block
Step 5: Siu Nim Tau Form, Part 2
Step 6: Palm Up Block

The WCU course follows more of a topic based path through the system, where you will learn as much of one topic as practical before moving on to another topic.

If you followed the WCU roadmap your training might go in this order if you follow the punching topic (a skill category):
wcu_720p-wbvts-completeStep 1: Sun Fist Punch
Step 3: Paak Sau (Palm Block)
Step 4: Paak Da (Palm Block with Punch)
Step 10: Paak Da with Step
Step 25: Faat Jing Kyun (Explosive Power Punch)
Step 27: Paak Da with Faat Jing Kyun

and later on, at the time of your choosing, you could follow the Siu Nim Tau topic where one or two videos cover the whole form.

So the DVD roadmap breaks things up a bit more for variety and also to support pre-requisites. If you have some pre-requisites or wish to take a path through the system where you watch one skill category develop before working on the next, the WCU is a good option.

Either way, both ways support each other so whichever path you choose you can always go to the other for additional information or to see it taught slightly differently.

If you choose the WCU roadmap, start at video 1 and watch the videos sequentially through to the end. After each video, watch any supplementary videos associated with that video.

If you choose the DVD roadmap, start at DVD1 and watch the DVDs sequentially through to the end.

Don’t forget to practice.

How long does it take you to write a book? You are quite prolific in your teaching materials. :)

WCC-officialThis book took me 25 years to write. 24 years to learn very effective, efficient methods of teaching the highest value techniques and conveying them simply, and one year to write them all down using understandable language. We did the photos in one day; of course I knew from my experience exactly what photos would be needed to represent my ideas.

My other books each took 5 years to write. I wrote them while holding down a full time job and running my school / teaching in the evenings.

I took a typing course. I’m up to 80 words a minute. It helps to be able to type faster than I can think. :)

Is there anything you’d like our readers to know?

This book is a strong introduction to Ip Man Style Wing Chun (known as “ving tsun”), and as with any introductory book aimed at beginners in skill or knowledge, there are details that are purposefully ignored. If you wish a deeper level of detail and technical precision, you can check out my other books. The set is made up of two 1000-page volumes of technical wonderfulness.

Wing chun is an umbrella term, much like “car racing”. While “car racing” gives you a general idea of what you can expect to learn, after you start spending your hard earned money you may start to see differences between the different styles of car racing – and the styles can be vastly different. With wing chun and the popularity of the Ip Man movies, many wing chun instructors have appeared in the marketplace and many of them bring their own newly fabricated or unorthodox style of wing chun. The style in this book is Ip Man Style Wing Chun, it’s registered spelling is “ving tsun”, and it represent 11 generations of transmission. When learning ving tsun style, you will meet and learn from your teacher’s teacher, as well as other students who trained with your teacher – as evidence of your teacher’s credentials. Learning from both the teacher and teacher’s teacher and the teacher’s kung-fu siblings is the ving tsun method of ensuring accurate transmission.

Thanks again taking time out of your hectic schedule to talk with us today.

We hope you enjoyed this interview and learned something useful. As usual, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Sifu Belonoha or Everything Wing Chun directly.

If you would like to purchase Sifu Belonoha’s Books, DVDs, or downloads, please refer to the links below:
An Approach to Ip Man Wing Chun (Signed)
An Approach to Ip Man Wing Chun
Sifu Wayne’s Wing Chun University Lessons
Sifu Wayne’s Blu-Ray DVDs and 3 Books
Sifu Wayne’s digital downloads of the Blu-Ray Disks
Of course, for the most complete learning you would combine the books, DVD Lessons, Wing Chun University Course, and (if possible) live training with Sifu Wayne himself.

And while you are at it, check out the overview of series here:

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