Chicago Wing Chun Gung Fu Club: Articles

Over the years, web site content and articles written by students and teachers can stack up!  This page is meant to make sure that we continue to have access to historical information. 

Article 1

The objective is acquiring the skill to deliver the right technique at the right time negating...

Articles 1

Article 2

Wing Chun is designed to allow one to achieve the most effect for the least effort through efficient use of...

Articles 2

An Interview

Sifu Ken Harnish was kind enough to give his insight into quite a few topics in this CWC interview.  

Articles 3

A letter to students

It never hurts to recieve good advice early and often, and new students are often very receptive to input. 

Current Page

Martial arts options

Picking the right martial art is the best way to set yourself up to succeed.  Enjoy yourself, and reach your goals. 

Articles 5

The path

Meeting your Wing Chun goals means taking things step by step and building a strong foundation for growth, to improve upon. 

Articles 6

Sifu Ken Harnish

Sifu Ken Harnish gladly shared his knowledge about Wing Chun with students at all levels, and often with a quiet smile. 

Articles 7


Wing Chun teaches us how to approach problems in every-day life, as well as in a fight.  It is amazing how perspectives shift. 

Articles 8
    An Open letter to Students

    I welcome you to your Kung fu/martial art training. I hope that you will learn to open the various doors that appear before you. Some of these doors will open up to expand your knowledge. Other doors open inwards to distill your center, balance and awareness.

    You will be taught some simple things. Bear in mind that there is more to them than first appears. You must observe the small details, they are of key importance.

    Your objective should not be to learn a little bit about a lot of things, you will want to learn a lot of things about the small details. This sounds like a little twist but it will make a world of difference in knowing how to use the art.

    I offer you a true path to the root of the art of Wing Chun. You must tread this path cautiously, like a tightrope. One wrong step could lead you a mile off course.

    I will try to teach you to see little things, of which you are initially unaware. Once you learn to recognize and develop these things they will lead you to acquire new powers.

    These powers are already there but they are not yours until you know them. It will take only short time to show you the foundation. But how long will it take you to understand exactly what it means? Each student will assimilate things at their own pace. There is no short-cut. You must work slowly but surely to understand and develop the principles, theory, concepts and performance of the art. To develop the wondrous use of the art you must assimilate it in depth. There is much self preparation involved. I can only teach you that which you are ready to receive and understand. At some point you may think that I should be teaching you more, in truth I must wait for you to bring yourself to the depth of what I have shown you.

    In the beginning you must empty yourself and start from zero. Finding zero may be more difficult that you'd imagine. Your first opponent to conquer is yourself. Each little correct step advances your skills. The art reveals itself to you a grain of sand at a time. You must learn to stabilize your base and purify your motions harmonizing them to an opponents force. Learning to control an assortment of little dynamics can amount to a very persuasive advantage. Once you develop the keys to utilizing soft power you can control little forces very quickly, before they can become large forces. The more sensitive and natural you are the better you can perform. You must not rely on your muscle strength, it would be far too limiting and actually interfere with your reactions and control.

    I tell the students not to even think of fighting at first but just approach the art as though you were learning to dance. This way you will be more aware of controlling your balance, motion and leverages without your tense muscles pulling you out of alignment or distorting your timing.

    Only practice what you have been taught. Don't get too ambitious and go off on your own, you'll get lost. Don't assume that you already know the correct way. It may appear simple but there's always something more to it. If you proceed too far on your own you'll miss it.

    In a nutshell you will want to take these four steps;

    1. Empty yourself down to zero.
    2. Learning the exact positions.
    3. Learn to purify your motions.
    4. Learn how to use the positions.

    What level do you wish to achieve? To become good at something requires some sacrifice. If you miss class when it's too cold out or too hot or too nice out or you're too tired or too busy then you will lack the momentum to carry you forward past the distractions. To master these skills you must be focused and committed enough to overcome the obstacles that will arise.

    Only when you have learned the correct positions and motions may I teach you how to use the positions. If you are still struggling just to get the position then your use of the position will not be performed well.It's important to be patient and learn correctly in the beginning. It's difficult to have to go back and do it over.

    If you only think of trying to fight in the beginning then you will develop bad habits and resistance rather than flowing with and controlling forces. Sensitivity, balances, distance, timing and precise control; by developing these elements you can creatively and skillfully defend or attack with the least amount of effort.

    If you don't care much about your training then don't expect your sifu or classmates to either. If you want your sifu to be inspired to teach you then you must demonstrate focus, effort and dedication.

    Each student is expected to foster a respectful attitude towards fellow students and the training atmosphere. Everyone helps each other along the path. Do not be a hindrance to the teacher. Keep idle chatter to a minimum.

    Keeping a good attitude is very helpful to the entire class. If your partner trains incorrectly because he doesn't understand something, don't let it disturb you. Every one is there to learn. Try to explain it to them. Just keep in mind that they can only understand up to a certain level corresponding to their level of achievement. Don't rush them and expect them to perform at a level beyond their capacity. Let them mature at their own pace. You'll find that you can only practice certain things with certain level students.You help the lower students to advance and you eventually have higher quality partners with which to train. You help each other.

    The path is often confusing. When I made mistakes they were not always analyzed for me. I found that I was taught some conflicting things. I had to figure some important things out for myself. This is an aspect that makes each student AND each teacher differ in their in their comprehension and facility of the art.

    Different things are true at various stages of your training. What was once true for you at a particular time of training becomes replaced by something else later as you progress.

    A simple approach is adhered to, to help lay the foundation. As you develop further the approach will change, applying different methods. All true, but useful at different stages, to help you to learn.

    Much of the training is problem solving. Instantaneous problem solving!Each little detail of the forms and drills is offering you something that you will need if you wish to acquire full use of the high level skills in Wing Chun.

    The nature of the art requires much contact. If your name is Ed Norton and you work in the sewer, please take a bath before class. And don't forget to wash behind your ears. You've always been told to cover your mouth when you cough. Forget that. Do not cough or sneeze on your hands and then offer them to your partner for training. Turn around and cough toward the floor. Particularly in cold and flu season.

    You may find it helpful to keep a notebook detailing your training, the material covered, the insights gained and any questions that you encounter. Sometimes you are not quite ready to assimilate a bit of information at the time but logging it down for future reference may help you to fit pieces of the puzzle together upon a subsequent reading over of your notes.

    Sifu Ken Harnish


Member Image

Class Pictures

Chicago Wing Chun is, above all, a positive group interested in building friendships as we grow in understanding of a martial art we all love.   

Member Image

Ho Kam Ming

We value our relationship with Master Ho and his students, and take every opportunity to participate in seminars or take private lessons.  

Member Image


Teachers and classmates who write articles, published or otherwise, are welcome to have their thoughts posted here for public consumption. 

Member Image

Curt James' Site

Curt James has written some great articles, over the years, and many are available on his site, linked here.    

Link to CJ Site