Wing Chun


In Wing Chun, the term “Facing” (Ying Sai) refers to the frontal reference of one fighter to another. Another time, Ying Chiu refers to a fighter’s “Facing Posture” about another. When one fighter’s “Facing” is frontally referenced to the other’s side or back, “Facing Advantage” occurs. This advantageous position does not constitute victory in and of itself but rather a favorable position from which to attack or defend. 

A simple example of Facing Advantage can be found in how old warships fought on the high seas. Because of the fact that their guns were mounted on both sides, pointing out 90° from the bow and stern, they had to pull up alongside the enemy craft before opening fire. The disadvantage was that, while they could focus their firepower on the enemy, the enemy was also well positioned for his simultaneous counterattack. This equal positioning significantly damaged both parties, regardless of who ultimately sank whom. After some experience with this type of sea battle, a clever strategist devised the ploy known as “Crossing the T,” which involves positioning the broad side of your ship directly in front or behind the enemy craft, allowing you to fire freely on the enemy without fear of being hit by return fire. His guns were pointing out to sea, while yours were dead on. The essence of Facing Advantage is to position yourself so that your “guns” are on him while he is pointed “out to sea.”

When a Wing Chun fighter achieves Facing Advantage by facing the opponent’s side or back, he is said to be approaching from the “Dead Side.” The Dead Side is anywhere outside the “Live Area”—the 90° spectrum with its vertex at the Self-Centerline and symmetrically referenced 45° to each side. This is the most challenging area to defend. It is also a problematic angular relationship from which to counterattack when the opponent is facing it. As a result, attacking from the opponent’s Dead Side is the safest option. Diagram BB depicts an overhead view of the Live Area and the Dead Side from three combat positions. When any fraction of your Live Area (however small) is on any part of his Dead Side and no fraction of his Live Area is on any portion of your Dead Side, you are said to have the “Advantage of Facing.” The Live Area is analogous to the searchlights used by correctional officers to spotlight an escaped prisoner running through a field in a typical Wing Chun analogy. The Wing Chun fighter has two roles in combat. He is both the escaped prisoner, using footwork and technique to avoid being illuminated by the opponent’s “searchlight,” and the prison guard, attempting to keep the opponent “lit up” within his Live Area at all times. In Chee Sau, sparring or drills practice, two high-level Wing Chun players are constantly jockeying for position. With this in mind, the significance of Facing the CRCA Wing Chun man becomes apparent. 

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