Donnie Yen’s ‘powerful’ Wing Chun leaves boxer Mike Tyson with FRACTURED FINGER
We were all a little surprised when Mike Tyson was cast opposite Donnie Yen in the next Ip Man movie. Everyone I know is a bit curious to see how this will play out in real life and on the big screen…and our first bit of gossip about the interaction is actually not so surprising.
Finger injuries are among the most common in Wing Chun. Because our art involves manual dexterity, a nimbleness of our hands, we are more vulnerable to sprains and breaks to the digits. We even use our fingers to attack directly to the eyes or to add explosive power to pulling or slapping motions (lop sau or an exploitive pak sau). If strength is properly cultivated, our fingers have the stopping power of a knife when they are used to attack, but if we aren’t careful in keeping them relaxed and out of the way, they can stop us cold in our tracks. One catch on our training partners arm or sleeve, and we are injured sometimes for months. The payoff, however, is much greater than enduring a sprain or break to our fingers. The payoff is our lives.
We train to protect ourselves. We continue the hard work our martial art commands because we wish to protect our families. Because our art is self-defense and combat oriented, we don’t use gloves to protect our hands unless we are training under pressure and our opponent is wearing hard plastic head gear. And because we still need to be able to do more than throw punches at heads and head gear, we wear gloves the expose our fingers and cover our knuckles. Our fingers are still vulnerable and all too often can catch on head gear and face cages.
We must work to condition our hands, to relax our fingers and to tuck them out of the way when necessary. The thumb is always pulled back when the hand is open, otherwise we will most likely break it in a fight. It takes years of hard work to condition the hands and fingers properly for exposure and vulnerability. And then still, it is easy to unwittingly catch the fingers and bend them the wrong way.
So, the big news is Mike Tyson’s finger was broken. As a boxer, his hands and fingers are protected by his gloves, tucked away like a child ready for a good night’s sleep. When you pull the covers off, the hands and fingers are exposed to all the elements that a Wing Chun Master is used to engaging in. These are small injuries we deal with regularly.
However, Tyson, no doubt, will show well on the screen. His strength and agility are world class. His ability to take repeated punches to the head is formidable and if I may admit, a little terrifying.
But Tyson is a little terrifying anyway, isn’t he?