Brierley Hill is a small town and electoral ward of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, in the West Midlands of England. Part of the Black Country, it has a population of 9,631 and is heavily industrialised, best known for glass and steel manufacturing, although the industry has declined considerably since the 1970s.
One of the largest factories in the area was the Round Oak Steelworks which closed down and redeveloped to become the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. Brierley Hill was originally in Staffordshire, but was transferred to the West Midlands metropolitan county upon its creation in 1974.
Balance, structure and stance
Some Wing Chun practitioners believe that the person with better body structure will win. A correct Wing Chun stance is like a piece of bamboo, firm but flexible, rooted but yielding. This structure is used to either deflect external forces or redirect them.
Balance is related to structure because a well-balanced body recovers more quickly from stalled attacks and structure is maintained. Wing Chun trains the awareness of one’s own body movement derived from muscular, tendon, and articular sources. Performing Wing Chun’s forms such as Chum Kiu or the Wooden Dummy form greatly improve proprioception. Wing Chun favours a high, narrow stance with the elbows kept close to the body. Within the stance, arms are positioned across the vitals of the centerline. Shifting or turning within a stance is carried out variantly on the heels, balls, or middle (K1 or Kidney 1 point) of the foot depending on lineage.
All attacks and counter-attacks are initiated from this firm, stable base. Wing Chun rarely compromises structure for more powerful attacks because this is believed to create defensive openings which may be exploited.
Structure is viewed as important, not only for reasons of defense, but also for attack. When the practitioner is effectively “rooted”, or aligned so as to be braced against the ground, the force of the hit is believed to be far more devastating. Additionally, the practice of “settling” one’s opponent to brace them more effectively against the ground aids in delivering as much force as possible to them.
Softness (via relaxation) and performing techniques in a relaxed manner, is fundamental to Wing Chun.
Tension reduces punching speed and power. Muscles act in pairs in opposition to each other (e.g. biceps and triceps). If the arm is tensed, maximum punching speed cannot be achieved as the biceps will be opposing the extension of the arm. In Wing Chun, the arm should be relaxed before beginning the punching motion.
Unnecessary muscle tension wastes energy and causes fatigue.
Tense, stiff arms are less fluid and sensitive during trapping and chi sao.
A tense, stiff limb provides an easy handle for an opponent to push or pull with, whereas a relaxed limb provides an opponent less to work with.
A relaxed, but focused, limb affords the ability to feel “holes” or weaknesses in the opponent’s structure (see Sensitivity section).
With the correct forwarding these “holes” grant a path into attacking the opponent.
Muscular struggle reduces a fight to who is stronger. Minimum brute strength in all movement becomes an equalizer in uneven strength confrontations. This is very much in the spirit of the tale of Ng Mui.