Following this post from the Striking Thought’s blog got me thinking: What are the differences and similarities of Aikido and Wing Chun?
Though the comments and discussions between the commentators, myself, and Bob I had some train of thoughts: are there any connections between the two arts? What is different? What do *I* see as different? Any that I see as the same? With these in mind I realized there was an aspect of Aikido that seems to have been lost to the masses of the martial arts community: the idea of a circle and center.
According to my Sensei (both) once you break the circle, you are no longer in an optimal position (my words, not theirs). Though encouragingly it is stated that if one were to have a center, they would have a circle and visa versa. Conversely if one were to not have center, they would not have a circle, also visa versa.
In my years of Aikido, I could only surmise that there is a physical center as well as an energetic/presence one. This also goes for the circle. For those of you who pay attention to people who have the floor at a speech, are the life of a party, or notice multiple attacks during a fight, they have a certain amount of “circle” around them. It’s as if people come onto their circle, their territory.
In the same way, you will notice how someone has a certain amount of “center” in a situation; The politician keeping his cool during a harsh interrogation by reporters , Bruce Lee taking on 10 thugs, walking through a crowd of people and not getting lost. These are situations where keeping one’s center is paramount.
Now what does this have to do with Aikido? Look not further than this video. FF to 4:00 and view for the next 10 secs.
Now if only I can do that…
What about Wing Chun and the center line? Aikido doesn’t have a center line, what we do have however is the movements akin to the placement of the samurai sword.
For some reason I couldn’t find ANY good photos of how the sword is held in front of the body! Scratching my head at Google’s inability, the arms are always in front of the body. Aikido takes many of its movements from the samurai sword starting position being in front.
That’s the only similarity that I see at this time. Having your hands in front automatically protects your front, the “center” in Wing Chun.
Here’s a clip from the movie “Ip Man”. Notice how in the entire exchange that Ip Man’s (here played by Donnie Yen) arms and hands are always in front. You can argue that it’s a Wing Chun thing, but the whole point of this post is point out how similar the arms and hands are in Aikido and Wing Chun.
I would say that Ip Man kept his center and his circle, but that’s just the Aikido in me. So how does keeping one’s arms in front have to do with circle and center? I’m not sure at this point since I’m just going off of what I feel. However, I suspect that if part of maintaining a circle and center is to keep the arms in front. Now I want to take Wing Chun!