Most helpful critical review
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Thin on the Ground
on 9 March 2010
I have bought the book on the strength of the endorsement of Sifu David Peterson, who I (still) hold in high regard. The book is very nicely produced and looks very promising until you open it and start to examine its contents. It wastes chapter upon chapter on esoteric material that does not help to understand Wing Chun (Ving Tsun) in any practical way at all. In the introduction the author already seems have lost track of the very practical nature of Wing Chun Kung Fu: "I believe that real advancement comes from cultivation of the character...".
The chapter on Philosophy and Culture alone is 83 pages (too) long and covers such things as the "Kung Fu Salute" and "How to Stop Bullets". It goes to such length in digging around non-Wing Chun related material that, apart from the I-Ging, it even drags in The Book of Five Rings by Japanese Samurai Legend Miamoto Musashi! This, I am quite certain would raise more than a few eye brows amongst the Chinese martial arts community. Following that I was almost surprised that there isn't an in-depth discussion of the character building attributes of the tea ceremony somewhere in its 471 pages.
On "How To Teach" the author shares such deep wisdoms such as: "If the teacher does not demonstrate often, then the trick is to make sure to you're around when the teacher does demonstrate. The more often you're around, the more you will pick up. .... Either the student is patient enough to wait for learning, or not." And there was me thinking that it is the teachers' job to teach the student and not for the student to wait until he (eventually) gets lucky to be there when the teacher feels like demonstrating.
When the author does talk about the actual Wing Chun forms and ideas it gets rather sketchy and leaves a lot be desired for, especially when discussing the Wing Chun weapons. There are no applications or explanations of concepts when the author demonstrates his Wooden Dummy Form for example.
All in all it doesn't live up to its ambitious claim to give the reader a complete picture of the Wing Chun (Ving Tsun) system, it is cluttered with peripheral material and at best incomplete.