“Some of WC is difficult for non-Asians because of the cultural differences. For example, Asians tend to yield to incoming force, whether physical or mental. That’s part of the Confucius teaching instilled in them. Westerners have a tendency to deal headon with incoming force. Thus, the BIG concept come to play. The bigger you are, the better you are equipped for oncoming force. Wing Chun is about yielding. It takes time for non-Asians to grasp that.”
First, I want to say I am not writing these “Wing Chun Masters” articles in order of importance or even in their order of importance to me.
The most important master to me would be Gregory LeBlanc, my Sifu, but I haven’t written about him (directly) yet.
I basically write them when I realize I have a body of material (this helps of course) and that this person is saying some really smart things and clearly has a body of experience that warrants respect and attention.
Which brings me to Danny Xuan.
What I like about Sifu Xuan is his emphasis on the responsibility of the individual to make Wing Chun their own.
This jibes with my experience and is something every Wing Chun student should know. Even before you finish the system (learning all the elements), you will start to diverge from your teacher. This is correct and natural. You have different attributes (height, strength, speed, structure, fluidity, etc) than your teacher naturally possesses. So you will emphasize your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.
Gary Lam (big) and Hawkins Cheung (small) have completely different fighting strategies.
I have long arms and I’m naturally fast. I used to be skinny and now I guess I’m slender. I’m not that sensitive (in my arms ) and it takes me a long time to learn movements in such a way that all the elements move fluidly in one action. But I’m curious and strong academically. These strengths and weaknesses are different than those of my teacher.
Why would I fight like him?
Greg LeBlanc’s Wing Chun is very different from David Peterson’s Wing Chun, and this is no fault of either man. Its natural. We all construct our own Wing Chun. This is why its so important to learn the whole system so you can communicate it to your students, who may need other pieces of it than those which suited you.
This is one of the roots of the differences in lineages.
I first encountered Sifu Xuan’s teachings through the website for his schools in China and Thailand, where he has posted a number of articles and videos and offers paid video training (which I didn’t try – I think video can enhance but not replace in-person teaching).