Over the years, several practitioners from within
the Wing Chun Clan have referred to Grandmaster Stephen T.K. Chan as an
eclectic who has altered the original philosophy of the Wing Chun School.
But in Grandmaster Stephen T.K. Chan's own words, "There
is no alteration from the original roots of Wing Chun Kung Fu within my
instruction. All my techniques follow the practice of the Grandmaster and
ultimately from my Master - Chow Tze Chuen. My system may seem to be different,
but this is only due to the change in my stature at this time. As a youth
I was much smaller and was trained by Grandmaster Chow Tze Chuen in his
own skills which were based on his height and weight. I being of similar
size was a perfect subject for Grandmaster Chow Tze Chuen to relate to.
Now twenty years later and with a total change in my stature, I have of
course had to make adaptations to allow the original techniques of Wing
Chun to be effective in a taller and heavier individual. My school uses
the centerline theory as a guide and always follows the ideology that as
all individuals are made different, every body's personal
skill should be conditioned to the capability of their ability, even if
that means slight changes to compensate for the
2nd August 1997, Great Grandmaster Chow Tze Chuen sparring with Grandmaster Stephen T.K. Chan
Grandmaster Stephen T.K. Chan demonstrates the Wing Chun Butterfly Knives' Technique.
after being a closed door
disciple of Grandmaster Chow Tze Chuen, I can categorically state
that what is assumed to be different is only the closed door teaching of Great
Grandmaster Yip Man and Grandmaster Chow Tze Chuen.
As an example of the difference found in the instruction
of Grandmaster Stephen T.K. Chan, "Chi Sao" which
literally translates as "sticking hands" is seen
only as a drill by traditionalists to stylize the techniques of a Wing
Chun practitioner during sparring. To Grandmaster Stephen T.K. Chan however,
the object of Chi Sao is to successfully tie up an opponents hands with
one of the practitioners hands and render the adversary defenseless. This
permits a strike to be executed by the practitioner's free
hand. Not only will the practice of Chi Sao enhance a practitioners perception
and reflexes, but it teaches the practitioner how to flow freely within
a confined space. This ability to flow freely is an extremely important
aspect of Wing Chun Kung Fu as it gives the practitioner a greater spatial
awareness allowing him or her to refrain from the use of ineffective techniques.