Anyone who has studied Wing Chun for any period of time will have an opinion on what they think Wing Chun is. Some people have an opinion on what it is even though they've never studied it at all. It's easy to see movies and hear characters talk and suddenly think you know what Wing Chun is just because some face on a screen said something. Opinions on what Wing Chun is have been argued on web forums and disputed by self proclaimed "masters" for years, which in my opinion goes against the philosophy behind Wing Chun and its Principles. The smallest minds can see the same form performed differently by different students and see and compare all of the differences to an exhaustible extent, while the greatest minds can see 100 versions of Sil Lim Tao and see how they are similar.
I've read so many opinions on what Wing Chun is from books and seen so many discussions turn to arguments on social media that I had developed a distaste for sharing my own perspective of what Wing Chun is on social media, saving my opinions for the students that walk through my door. Everyone thinks Wing Chun is this or that. Some people insist its only for fighting and can't see past how the movements can be applied physically against someone else, while some people think thats only half of it and that the true value of Wing Chun is in how it can be used for meditation. I consider both of those to be less than half at the very most.
It's true that Wing Chun Kung Fu can be used for fighting and to defend yourself and others, just as it is true that it can be used for meditation and self reflection, but I've found the true essence of Wing Chun Kung Fu to be far more mercurial than any simple definition people would wrap around it. Yet here I am three paragraphs in and I still haven't even said what I think it is. What Wing Chun really is to me boils down to its very simplest properties. Wing Chun at its very base is a way of mastering the efficient use of energy through the body which is so much more useful than just fighting and/ or meditation. Mastering the efficient use of energy through the body changes the perspective from which you see the world. The lessons in its forms are a lens to how the body moves while using the least amount of time, space, and energy required. These principles can be applied to many things, the least of which is fighting.
I've had students tell me that Wing Chun has made them
better in various ways. Everything from becoming a better chef to being a better person. After all, once you have learned to move energy around the body you learn how to move it through tools such as the staff, swords or any other weapons that can be conceived. So why wouldn't it's principles help you chop, prepare food, and move masterfully in a kitchen. Another example is in the flowing properties of Wing Chun as it finds the path of least resistance to the target. You train to not hold on to pressures that are unnecessary to hold on to because they are damaging and non helpful. So why wouldn't you be able to apply those principles to your life and improve how you deal with conflicts?
The ways that Wing Chun Kung Fu can be used are as limitless as a creative imagination. It's depth of use is as deep as someone is willing to dig. There's hard work required to be put into it in order to fully understand its uses but that is part of the very definition of Kung Fu. So what is Wing Chun Kung Fu to me? It might sound like a cop out, but the most complete definition I can give is that Wing Chun Kung Fu is everything or anything to any practitioner who has tasted it's sweetness. Wing Chun Kung fu is practical, philisophical, magickal, and mathematical. To limit with any other definition would only limit your perspective and keep you from seeing the beauty of the whole.