Randy Williams

"Wing Chun Gung Fu:
The explosive art of close range combat"

[Singapore: Clean Ace Printing Press, nd]

A review by Ray Van Raamsdonk

Instead of a lot of subjective opinions, here is what is in Randy's volume 1:

The books are 8½ by 11 inches and are about ¾ of an inch thick with about 190-200 pages per volume. They are well laid out and have plenty of photos and theory.

Foreword: Randy explains his credits - Sifu George Yau and Augustine Fong. He credits nearly everything to Augustine Fong. He claims that many people in Fong's organization are better than himself though and he acknowledges the high skill level of other Wing Chun branches as well.

Page 14-19: Overview of the forms contained in the Wing Chun system and what they are about. Reasonable explanations.

Page 20: Photos from a Chinese TV soap Opera about Wing Chun. I saw it, it wasn't bad for entertainment.

Page 21-23: History of Wing Chun. Explanation of the characters that make up Wing Chun. Traditional legends and modern history of Yip Man in Hong Kong. Shows a 4-photo sequence of Yip Man dealing with a punch. Can't complain about this part. The history can be argued about forever. Rare photos that have appeared in Black Belt magazine.

Page 24-25: Writeup on his first sifu - George Yau. Of some interest.

Page 26-27: Writeup on Augustine Fong. Nothing but praise for Augustine and his organization.

Page 28-30: Interview with Ho Kam Ming and a photo. I thought it was a good writeup. It's always interesting to know what the first generation thinks.

Page 30-33: Wing Chun terminology discussion and quick language pronunciation lesson. Can't complain about that.

Page 34-35: Traditional Wing Chun rules of conduct in English and Cantonese. Same as what Wang Kiu handed down so can't complain there. Good stuff.

Page 37: Maxims of "Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma" in Chinese and English. This is good reference material. Each volume has a few pages of this stuff. Wong Shun Leung said a bit of it comes from other systems though (not the stuff in this volume).

Page 38-40: Talks about the stance. This should usually be the first important topic so it is logically placed in the volume. Not a bad explanation.

Page 41-43: Maxims or sayings related to the Siu Leem Tau (Randy's spelling) in English and Chinese. Good reference material.

Page 45-47: Discussion of the Siu Leem Tau. What it is about and how to do it. He gives a couple of interpretations. Ok explanation.

Page 48-81: Lots of photos along with terminolgy for each movement of the form. Clear 2x3 inch photos. Six to a page.

Page 82-83: Summary of the movements in the form. 108 movements but a different numbering than I use but so what? Also gives the ten main reaons for practicing the form. OK.

Page 82-93: Explains the three families of blocking hands - Tan, Bong and Fook and how all the other techniques fit into this scheme of things. Enough explanations and lots of photos. He probably overdoes it with the Cantonese terminology for every possible movement, but lots of people don't know any of this stuff.

Page 93-105: Detailed discussion about the various punching techniques in Wing Chun. Not a bad explanation, certainly much more detail than any other book.

Page 106-107: Long Bridge Principle discussion. I know from Wang Kiu and Ken Chung that there is something called Long Bridge energy. Randy says something about that.

Page 108-110: A discussion of the important topic of elbow position and how the energy should travel. OK

Page 111-113: Pictures and discussion of the various palm strikes of Wing Chun.

Page 114-131: Numerous photos and applications shown for the movements contained in the first form. If you don't nit-pick too much, it is basically OK because most people apply their Wing Chun in that way, e.g. Tan sau applications, Lap sau applications some single sticking hands related stuff, etc. Some leg stuff too.

Page 132-150: Detailed explanation of the all-important topic of the centerline theory. Different Wing Chun families may explain the ideas in a different way or disagree with some points but most of it is Ok. Some would call it too technical. I think it deserves the amount of space he gave to this topic. Photos and diagrams to explain key points are included (19 diagrams and 19 photos).

Page 151-159: Discusses the key qualities of Wing Chun as it relates to internal and external aspects. He tries to tie these ideas together. This part can be "academiced" too death, but it was a good effort. I would explain it in a different way and people would disagree with that too.

Page 160-166: A writeup about "Hay Goang" Chi Kung or Qi Gung. Some people include this as part of their Wing Chun, others just throw it in to be more complete or as an interest add on. It appears to be just thrown in there. But what the heck.

Page 167: Talking about the Wing Chun Spirit and helping others. Can't complain about those good intentions.

Page 168-171: Talks about a Temple in Singapore. Of travel interest. Has photos and diagrams of the Temple layout. Also talks about the background of a famous monk there.

Page 172-188: Detailed Chinese and English terminology, and Chinese characters too, for every imaginable movement in Wing Chun. If you have a difficult time explaining what you are doing to someone of Cantonese origin, show them the characters listed on these pages. In some cases various terms for the same movement are given. For example the lifting hand is called "Ding Sau." We never use this term and most others don't either. Actually we never had a term for this movement. Later we adopted Tie Sau from a Shaolin art who used the same movement. Randy also has this term listed.

After that, some photos and a writeup on the rest of the volumes.
On the whole, pretty well done.

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