Wing Chun for Special Warfare

Think back in time to the great warriors of the past. The First Emperor of China, General Kwan (Kwan Kung), Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon. All had one thing in common: the ability to apply their martial arts concepts successfully in real warfare situations.

The First Emperor of China was able to subjugate millions of people under his one rule, where for thousands of years before, there were small warlords and bandit groups in separate enclaves all fighting each other for small claims of power. General Kwan attained god-like status through his ferocious fighting abilities. His skills were so great that it is said he was able to defeat five generals together during one encounter.

Alexander the Great deserved his title by conquering army after army, one after the other. His vast empire extended throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes never lost in battle as they swept over the mountains and plains of Asia. And Napoleon, for all his supposed madness, was able to create enough unity and support for his cause in a time when France (and Europe in general) was embroiled in treachery, deceit and rebellion.

All of these great leaders had something in common – the ability to apply their martial arts concepts successfully in real warfare situations. These men all realised that the most important attributes to winning, whether it be against an individual or against an entire army, were:

– The heart
– The eyes
– Balance
– Skills and combative tactics

Although conventional warfare as such no longer exists in this day of modern weapons of mass destruction, war (whether urban or international in scale) is still waged by people. So the proper training of personnel is the key to successful military operations or law enforcement. This is where martial arts still holds the key to success in today’s environment of high-technology warfare.

Traditional Wing Chun Grandmaster William Cheung first realised this during his work with the US Marines and the Navy Seal Team of the US 7th Fleet based in Japan from 1978 to 1980. It was during this time that Cheung began to develop concepts for his CDT (Cheung’s Defensive Tactics) Program.

CDT is an integrated system incorporating existing techniques and procedures directed towards the safety of those employed in law enforcement. The ultimate objective of the program is to furnish the agent (operative) with the necessary ‘tools’ which he can use in life-threatening situations.

Grandmaster Cheung’s Wing Chun system contains the fighting principles and strategies which have been the successful components of those time-tested warriors previously mentioned. The four components to winning – the heart, the eyes, balance and skills and combative tactics – are utilised by Grandmaster Cheung for use in modern day combat.

1. The Heart
One must want to win and stay perfectly calm in a crisis. Chi meditation offers an effective means of controlling the heart rate in combat stress situations. A study by Martens, 1977, on combat stress situations shows there is a loss of fine motor skills at 115 beats per minute (BPM). Loss of complex motor skills like hand-eye coordination, timing and tracking occurs at 145 BPM. During Chi meditation, the heart rate and blood pressure slow down; the body becomes relaxed. Once this is mastered, one can reproduce this phenomenon in a survival stress environment. One then had more or better options to deal with the problem(s) at hand.

2. The Eyes
Physiologically, the eyes suffer greatly from stress situations. Pupils dilate and vision becomes more binocular dominant. A 70 to 80 percent field loss of peripheral vision occurs. Loss of depth perception, near vision and night vision is also evident (Martens, 1977). Grandmaster Cheung’s eye-training program specifically addresses such problems and teaches a person ways to improve and enhance visual focusing and tracking skills, even under stressful situations. It enables one to improve the vision on static and moving objects by more than two hundred percent in a short period of time.

3. The Balance
Good balance is a prerequisite for skillful maneuvering. In traditional Wing Chun footwork, Cheung insists on a fifty-fifty weight distribution at all times. This will allow one to be able to move either foot at any time. Good balance is also energy preserving.

4. Skills and Combative Tactics
The application of skills and combative tactics is an extension of the BOEC (Balance, Opening, Elbow, arms Crossed) principles of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu.

What exactly are the BOEC principles of Wing Chun Kung Fu that can be successfully employed in combat situations?

The BOEC principles first advocate not fighting the strengths of the opponent, but rather fighting the weaknesses. If there is a weakness in the opponent’s balance, that’s where you attack. If there is a weakness in an opening, attack there. control the opponent’s elbow if an opportunity arises, as that will create an advantage. Arms crossed will also provide an opening from which an operative can secure an advantage as well.

In utilising the BOEC fighting system, neither tremendous strength nor speed is required. BOEC relies on position as an advantage. This way the exponent will be able to use two arms, but the opponent will only have the use of one. This is known as controlling the blind side.

Controlling the opponent’s lead arm is called controlling the blind side. This allows one to stay at maximum distance from the opponent’s other arm. Therefore, one would only have to deal with one effective arm from the opponent at a time. fighting on the blind side provides a logical way for one to attack the opponent’s balance by controlling the elbow.

When attempting to control the blind side, be sure to make contact on the elbow or below the elbow, but not above the elbow – in that case, the arm is still free. Controlling the elbow will control the balance of the opponent. If you push or pull on the opponent’s elbow, his balance will be adversely affected.

This leads to trapping the opponent’s arms when the are crossed to effectively control his balance and create openings for pressure point strikes for instant disablement. As you can see, the BOEC principles are an ideal choice for dealing with close quarter combat situations that often occur in law enforcement.

When you attack the balance of your opponent, or put him off balance, he will be likely to offer openings, or targets.

While the exponent is standing on the blind side and attacking the openings, the opponent will be forced to protect the openings, leading him to commit to do the wrong thing (cross arms). Some people might stand with arm alongside, offering a lot of target areas, trying to set a trap. Choosing the target to hit is vital. The exponent should attack near the elbow, restricting the lead arm. If the elbow itself is exposed, it then becomes the target.

When the elbow is exposed, the exponent can control the elbow, hence the opponent’s balance, and create more openings.

Arms Crossed
When the opponent has his elbow trapped from the blind side, most likely he will defend the immediate target, resulting in crossed arms. He will be forced into making one or more of the following errors:

1. blocking crossed arm
2. leaning back, thus losing balance
3. exposing more vital targets

When the opponent has crossed arms, the exponent can pin both arms, leaving the opponent virtually defenceless.

The eyes of the exponent should b constantly observing, detecting and assessing the weaknesses of the opponent in accordance to the BOEC system. Only then can he exploit these weaknesses and take full advantage of the opponent’s mistakes.

While the CDT Program is slanted towards law enforcement training, the basic configuration also lends itself to military Special Operations Forces, as well as to paramilitary training. this has led to Grandmaster Cheung’s recent alliance with the people of Global Studies Group Inc. (GSGI).

It has created the latest development in the practical application of martial arts, in this case, traditional Wing Chun, for use in training procedures and programs for special warfare and special reaction teams. The majority of GSGI’s programs are geared toward training-the-trainers, which are modelled after the Domestic Preparedness Training Initiative, which focuses specifically on the enhancement of crisis management capabilities for groups and organisations responding to criminal and/or terrorist activities.

The personnel who comprise GSGI include: Harry Humphries – former Navy Seal with extensive combat and counter terrorism experience and star of such movies as ‘The Siege’, ‘The Rock’, ‘Con Air’ and ‘GI Jane’; Lt Commander (Ret.) Scott Lyon – 30 years experience in the US Navy, leader of over 300 combat raised and missions including the first liberation of 28 POW’s in Vietnam in 1968; Commander (Ret.) Richard Marcinko – 30 years experience in US Navy, founder and head of SEAL TEAM SIX, author of New York Times Best Sellers’ book ‘The Rogue Warrior.’

It is interesting to note, given the qualifications of all persons connected with this alliance, that it has come to fruition at this time. Many police and military administrators have downplayed the use of traditional martial arts in their training methods for many years. They would say that (traditional martial arts) are not realistic in their approach or their training, often with a sport emphasis.

For Grandmaster William Cheung to convince these highly qualified, professional warriors of the continuing need for traditional martial arts to play a part in the successful defence of neighbourhoods, cities and even countries is a solid step for all martial arts practitioners.

Even in today’s environment of high-tech weaponry, traditional martial arts still plays a major role in the continuance of our survival.