A core principle in Wing Chun, and many Martial Arts, is to work from your center, your ‘dan tien’ – the life-energy center.
Kuen Kuit is a Cantonese phrase that translates as, ‘Punch Philosophy, Punch Poetry, or Fight Wisdom’. In a blunt fashion, Wing Chun’s Kuen Kuit is ‘Meet, Guide, and Go Forward into the opening’. It is applicable to your entire life, not just the fight.
These two concepts, dan tien and the Wing Chun Kuen Kuit, are closely related. They are hand and glove. The dan tien is the reason, the Kuen Kuit the tools.
In Martial Arts, we focus on the dan tien as a source of power and stability. It is most certainly that, but it is far more. Your dan tien, your center, is more than a spot within you. It is what is important to you, that which centers you, grounds you. When the world goes wild, when the boss gets pissed, the bills seem to overwhelm, return to your center. The answers you need are there. Which bills take precedence is determined by what is important to you. How to deal with your boss is determined by holding true to your center – is it a fight worth having or not.
Whatever is most important to you; your family, success in a specific field, a hobby, whatever it is, is in your center. The answers to all of life’s difficult choices are there. Now enters the Kuen Kuit. How do you act with your center in the focus?
Meet what comes toward you. If it is a punch, face it. You can call it block or deflect or evade or whatever, the important thing is to deal it. In life, meet the challenges that come to you. Look them dead-on.
It sounds simple and straightforward, but it is not easy. Meet simply means, meet. Do not go looking for it. Do not reach out for the attack. When it comes your way, meet it, nothing more.
If success in a specific field is important to you, do not allow the acquisition of money to cause you to stray from the field. Did you conflate riches for success? Did you fall in love with an art or style, and then find yourself studying 20 different styles with less and less time spent with the style you love? Do you love your spouse but find yourself spending most of your time concerned with work? If you do, you lose your footing. You forget your center. You reach out for something that is not there, at least in terms of your focus. Sifu Francis Fong calls it, “Greedy”, reaching for the punch or kick that is not there. You are not meeting; you are seeking a fight where there is not one.
Once the attack is met, guide it, stick to it. Escort it. Do not meet it and then abandon it. Stay with it as it leaves. When the challenge is no longer focused on you, you do not need to meet it, nor guide it. It is gone.
When the bills relating to your primary needs and focus are met, life is good. Things not connected to your center that you may want or wish for are not important. You are getting greedy again, looking for new bill fights that were not there.
Go forward into the space created as you guide the attack away. Fill the opening with your response, whether it is a punch or kick, or a hearty handshake. As the challenge before you fades away, move into the opening. Consider the things important to you and with those goals in mind, move forward into the space made available. Do not look back at what was. That is over. Do not give time to the attack that did not land. Do not reach for an unworthy or unnecessary challenge or attack. Simply go forward with your goals.
Meet the attack, guide it, and go forward into the opening.
Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”
Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Always return to your center.