How Long Does it Take to Master Ving Tsun (wing chun) Kung Fu?
‘How long to mastery of Ving Tsun (wing chun) Kung Fu?’* Questions more to the point may be: A): ‘What does it mean to ‘master’ the Ving Tsun system?’ And B): ‘Do you need to master Ving Tsun to reach your goals for training and life?’
Regarding Question B), if your goal is simply to learn effective self-defense or become a better fighter, Ving Tsun’s simple techniques and principles can be immediately effective, for those willing to use force to defend themselves. Obviously, Ving Tsun (wing chun) principles become better understood, and the techniques more effective, with hard, smart training. Those who recognize the value will put in years to develop their Kung Fu to higher levels.
If your goal is to improve your health & fitness, if you put a year or two into Ving Tsun training, you’ll develop a Kung Fu foundation that will last you for life, along with the knowledge of how to train productively on your own.
And if you want to learn something new and interesting and have a fun, challenging hobby, you may only put a year or two into a formal training program, and continue on your own after that, or you may continue training with a sifu and classmates, simply because you enjoy it and benefit from it. At Kung Fu Fxbg, we support both serious and more casual students.
On the A) question – ‘What does mastery of Ving Tsun Kung Fu mean?’ – one basic answer is that ‘mastering’ the system first means mastering your own training, so you can train at a higher level. If your goal is to perfect the Ving Tsun (wing chun) system, after you’ve mastered it, you’ll continue training until you perfect it.
In the foreword to the late Grandmaster Moy Yat’s book “Ving Tsun Kuen Kuit”, one of his top disciples, the late Moy 4, recounts how his Sifu Moy Yat once told him, “The purpose of Ving Tsun Kung Fu is to lead you to be free and relaxed. This can never be achieved if you are tied physically or emotionally to techniques. You must free yourself from dependence on mechanical expression and trust your body, your own Kung Fu to protect yourself.” “True mastery of Kung Fu is when there is nothing.” And, regarding what becomes of the system when you’ve achieved this level: “It is there for you to guide your students to their own personal freedom.”
From this it follows that evidence of mastery can also be seen in someone’s ability to reproduce the system in others; to not only teach others how to effectively defend themselves with less movement and effort, but also teach others how to teach others to teach the Ving Tsun system.
This is what I’ve learned from studying under one of Grandmaster Moy Yat’s top disciples, Grandmaster Moy Tung, and this is what we do at Kung Fu Fxbg. We are continually improving our own Kung Fu, while helping others find their way through the system, including developing the knowledge and skills needed to pass they system on to others. There’s a saying in our Kung Fu family, “Ving Tsun Chuen Jing Tung”, which is translated, ‘Ving Tsun passing down authentically’; staying true to the principles of Ving Tsun, putting the essential system in front of our students, unchanged by our own ideas.
* A short answer to the original question is that with 2-4 years of hard training someone can become a Kung Fu expert, and with 5-10 years of even harder work, it’s possible to master the Ving Tsun system. If someone puts in less hours, expertise or mastery is still possible, but will likely take more years.