Beginning Wing Chun by Alan Gibson is a well thought out and structured text that should be utilised as a continual point of reference to all Wing Chun practisioners.
In my opinion the main triumph of the book is that the authors obvious wealth of knowledge of the system is transmitted in an easy to follow logical format and accompanied by photo's that for once actually help the reader to understand the concepts and training methods being described.
It is a refreshing change to read a Wing Chun book that does not boggle the reader with science or confuse with drawn out, over-complicated explanations. As with the system itself this book is efficient and direct in its delivery and is suitable for individuals who are literally "beginning" wing chun to those who are accomplished practisioners.
Having read all of Alan Gibson's previous material, and having enjoyed them all, I approached the new "Why Wing Chun Works" edition, "Beginning Wing Chun" with some anticipation, hoping that this book would provide my students (and myself!) with a neat, clear and no-nonsense treatment of the Wong Shun Leung approach to Wing Chun; I was not to be dissapointed.
Written in his familiar, easy to digest prose, Mr Gibson presents us with a clear and logical path through the initial stages of a wing chun practicioner's learning; pointing out the key structures and exercises required of all students. His emphasis on keeping things simple (which is itself no simple task!), direct and efficient is further supported by a very clear set of explainations of each exercise or drill, and the photography is much improved from previous books, allowing the reader to "get in there" and see clearly foot, arm, hip and elbow co-ordination.
As well as Mr Gibson's own prose, there are sections written by David Peterson and others that provide insight into other aspects of the learning process. I did find myself a little dissapointed with the "reality training" and "fighting" sections, but only because they could have contained more specific practical advice, although given the title of the book, one wouldn't expect beginning students to be fighting just yet!
All in all, pretty much the best instructional and reference text on wing chun I have read to date. If you are a wing chun student, practitioner or especially a teacher, you *need* this book in your collection! Of course, for practitioners of other fighting systems, this book will be a valuable addition to your collection, as it reveals the core nucleus of one of the world's most successful fighting systems.
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