WING CHUN WEDNESDAY, 22 – 10 – 2014


It does not matter what style of Martial Art you practice, or what aspects of it we train to a point of competence,  will never use it in the way we train it.

Trying to simulate what a real “Violent Encounter” is like is truly impossible, “Violence” happens much Closer than training, even closer than Chi Sau {which is after all just interception distance, not fighting distance} it happens much much quicker than expected, especially if you have been surprised, and there will always be some level of surprise even if you are expecting the argument you are having to “Kick Off” and it comes with much greater ferocity, you can thank Adrenalin for that.

There is nothing we can do about this, it is just the way things are.

The way things have always been this is “Reality”.

When someone Attacks you it should be understood that they will be at a much higher state of excitement than any training partner will ever be, this can result in some very different approaches to how they attack you than are covered by your weekly training.

Some will become “Cagey” and try to trick you with feints or distractions, especially if the “Event” lasts more than a few seconds and becomes a variation of a “Match Fight”, others will give way to anger and just charge at you like a Bull, others will mix and match, every encounter will be completely different, completely unique.

You can see this in M.M.A. where some Guys sit back and look for openings while others others use headlong attacks from the word go.

I believe that Wing Chun’s “Conceptual” approach gives us the best chance possible of dealing with something that we have never approached in training, which will be just about everything the Bad Guy does.

It is the Concepts that we need to spend time on, the “Thinking”.

Most of the early training I received did little beside pay Lip Service to what the Concepts actually were, none of my Senior Instructors would say “This is the Concept we are trying to understand with this set of movements” or words to that effect, so if you did not get it then you did not get it.

As a result many people simply never get it, and it is not their fault.

Without an understanding of the concept, the “Fighting Idea” the expected, realistic result of your action, many Techniques or Drills just become Hand Waving or even worse.

As funny as this video is  Master Ken has a point, apart from anything else he has as good an idea of Wing Chun’s Centre line theory as most Wing Chun Students, I have seen far worse examples of a Lap Sau Drill than this.

Are you yourself aware of the concepts {Fighting Ideas} you are training when you play your favourite Wing Chun?

If you are just Drilling shapes and movements then you are doing a variety of Master Ken’s Patty Cake Drill.

Understanding the Concepts of Chi Sau, Lap Sau, Gwoh Sau etc turns almost any movement into a useable action, if your Partner was throwing “Continuous Punches” and you added “Intention” and “Body Movement” it would not be difficult to turn the above Patty Cake into a dynamic and aggressive Drill that would most certainly do the job of getting you out of the “Brown and Stinky”.

Below is some vision to go with my last 2 posts on Drills, outlining the Learning Objective and extending it into a useable method with simple Body movement.

As with everything we do in Wing Chun the actual Hand Shape is of little importance, Pak Sau can be replaced by Chum Sau and achieve the same ends, Bong Sau and Reverse Tarn Sau are just different aspects of the same movement, which is sideways redirection.

Playing the Drills without the Fighting Intention is not completely wasted time, developing Hand speed in the Drills will invariably lead to faster hand speed in your Punches, so playing the Drills faster and faster is not only a heap of fun but also quite complimentary to everything else you do as you learn and understand how to extend and move your Arms without tension, but at least 50% of your time spent doing Drills should be about Grooving the Concepts.



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W.C.W. 15-10-2014

Form and Function in Drills


If you are a regular follower of this Blog then you know my thinking when it comes to Form v Function,


This does not mean that I do not value FORM, on the contrary I practice my own FORM daily,  I fully understand the importance of FORM, you cannot have a FUNCTION if you do not have a FORM, it is more to point out that if your FORM does not improve a FUNCTION then how you are doing it is of little value.  I have met many, many Students that put a great deal of effort and time into SOLO FORM TRAINING without connecting it to the desired FUNCTION, the pointy end of Wing Chun.



I see the same kind of thing occurring in the way some Students perform Drills, obsessing over getting the moves perfect, in the correct sequence, trying to look good, FORM THINKING, instead of paying attention to the expected outcome of the Drill, working towards the result that the drill is teaching you to achieve, FUNCTION THINKING.

Apart from Chi Sau {which is Wing Chun’s Premier Dill} I teach my guys a few other set pattern Drills, as most Wing Chun Schools do.

Student “A” throws continuous Chain Punches at Student “B” and we redirect them with our patterns.

Our entry level Drill is…

Out to In Pak Sau with alternating Hands, In to Out Pak Sau with alternating Hands, swap to just the left Hand then swap to just the right Hand then back to alternating Hands.

Rinse and repeat.

As Students become more proficient at Chi Sau we introduce the Chi Sau shapes of Bong Sau and Tarn Sau { once the Student is ready we introduce waist turning}, Tarn Sau and Tor Sau. Again with single and alternating Arms.

From here we progress to more complex patterns,  such as same Arm Bong Sau, Tarn Sau then Pak Sau, switch Arms and repeat.

The culmination is Tarn Sau {Counter Pierce}, Reverse Tarn Sau {Counter Punch} Pak Sau and Latch. Firstly with alternating Arms and then with a single Arm.

These Drills are really enjoyed by the guys and they are useful, they teach you co-ordination and dexterity, they are an invaluable tool to learn “Dynamic Relaxation” and they bring out much laughter.

But what is the objective?

Co-ordination and dexterity are functions of FORM.

What is the FUNCTION?

At this junction I will pop in the obligatory disclaimer,

“This is how I do it, how I teach it, it may not be how you do it or how you teach it, I am not saying this is how it should be done”


The FUNCTION of everything in Wing Chun is to prevent Bad Guys from hitting you and to enable you to counter attack and “Change the Colour of their Day” in the blink of an Eye.

How is this achieved by these Drills?

Why would anyone throwing 2 punches at you end up in a position where once you have redirected his first punch you can intercept his second punch?

Wing Chun is one of the few Martial Arts {perhaps the only one} that deliberately Punches “Hey Diddle Diddle” so when our partner is dropping nice little punches straight down the centreline we are teaching ourselves to deal with other Wing Chun people and not the rest of the World.

Especially when we get cute and start using really Small Circle Hand / Arm movement that hardly deviates from the Centre.

In these situations the only reason the Drill works at all is because our Wing Chun Partner is throwing Straight Down the Middle Punches.

As we all know {or at least claim to know} Wing Chun is a Concept Driven Martial Art.

What Concept are we exploring with these Drills?

What is the required outcome, the FUNCTION  and how do we practice it?

In all of our Drills {including Chi Sau} the aim is not to develop better control of our own Arms,that is what the FORM is for, but to better effect the Arms of our Attacker.

The aim is to redirect the first punch to a position that leaves my opponent no choice but to fire the second punch over his own arm and into the Interception Zone.

Once we understand the CONCEPT behind the FUNCTION of the Drill it does not matter that we are training against Straight Line Punches, whatever shape of direction a Punch our attacker throws wherever and whenever we intercept the first punch we will redirect it to a position where any later punches that have a chance to hit me will need to travel across it and into reach of my Latch.

With respect to very Small Circle Hands when used in these Drills, the concept to study here is the way we reduce the amount our Hands / Arms move as we increase the amount our Body moves through either Waist turning or Body shifting, the FUNCTION remains the same, only the Vehicle has changed. Essentially doing the Drills from the aspect of Chum Kiu.




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W.C.W. 08-10-2014


I have found that quite a few Students do not really grasp the meaning of Multi Directional Force, mainly due to over complicating the issue.

Multi Directional means travelling to or from more than one direction, extending or operating in several directions at the same time.

Is that a “DUH” I hear?

But if you check out many students practice of Chum Kiu you find that what they try to do is to use multiple movements, say shifting and using an Arm shape such as Bong Sau, with everything moving towards / focused at their Partner / Opponent.

Even if you use as many as 10 moving parts if they are all going towards your partner they are all going in the same direction. I am not saying that you cannot do this, but this is a Linear Attack.


If we use a basic Compass, if everything is going North, no matter where they begin their journey, then they are all going in the same direction, North.

If a Body is moving on a North / South line then the only totally different direction is East / West or 90 degrees.

Moving on a North / West line or 45 degrees there is still 50% North travel and in Wing Chun that relates to 50% Force on Force, N.N.W. has 75% north travel and as such 75% Force on Force.

If, like me, you believe that Wing Chun does not employ Force on Force then Multi Direction requires that we use movement that is moving in a completely different direction and not just a slightly different direction.

The Primary Direction will be decided by the Attacker, on contact we will be engaged on a North / South line how we employ our second “Directional Force” and redirect that attack will determine if we avoid Force on Force completely by redirecting it at 90 degrees, or if we use 25% Force on Force by redirecting it at 67.5 degrees, 50% F.o.F. by redirecting at 45 degrees or 75% Force on Force by redirecting it at 22.5 degrees.


It should be obvious that anything other than a 90 degree redirection will be “Clashing” to some extent.

A great deal of how we approach and understand Wing Chun comes from a place that has nothing to do with Wing Chun itself, it comes from your imagination.

Why will you be using your Wing Chun?

Are you “Being Attacked” or are you “Fighting Someone”?

Most of the People that I meet are training to Fight someone. 

Everything they do is from the standpoint of an imaginary one on one where everyone knows what is about to happen.

 The old “If he does that then you do this” routine.

My approach is always from he point of “Being Attacked”, my goals are to redirect incoming Strikes, often after the initial contact, so that they miss me and take away the Attackers weight leaving him vulnerable to Counter Attack.

If your approach is to move all of your Mass in the direction of the Attacker and lay your weight on him, you are engaged in a fight and you are in fact attacking his attack.  This is not using Multi Directional Force.

Horses for Courses.

The most important decisions you will need to make in a Violent encounter will have nothing to do with Wing Chun.

And these decisions will be made by your Nervous System and not the Brain that you are teaching Wing Chun to.

Your training should be tailored to support these “Spinal Reflex” decisions.

Do you know what decisions your Nervous System will take?

There is no “One Answer” for all occasions, but how we train and what aspects of Wing Chun we choose to understand will only be suited to certain specific situations.

How likely is the chance that the situations that you IMAGINE you are training for will actually arise?

If you are training to redirect force with Multi Directional Movement then you are training to defend yourself from Attack.

This is my approach, I have no wish to attack someone so if I am ever called upon to use my training it will be in a situation where I am in fact being attacked, in this situation there is a very good chance that my training will suffice, it is what I am training for.

If you are training to “Attack the Attack” and you are caught by surprise what options has your training given you?

If my Arm movement is traveling North then I am best served by having my Body move either East or West, in this way I can effortlessly redirect any North / South Strike.  This is easily achieved by pivoting as you present a Tarn Sau to the Strike, but allowing your Tarn Sau to maintain its position in front of your rotating Sternum and not pointing at your Attacker.

Even if I was taking it to the Bad Guy I would still move the same way, with my Body moving in a different direction than my Strike, my Multi directional Mass would be unstoppable by any Block.

In this situation a third direction of movement by my Unified Body would allow me to step away from the line yet still close the Gap to my opponent.

My Unified Body would move forwards obliquely at 22.5 – 45 degrees to my own East / West line bringing me into closer proximity of my Target yet still moving sideways at 90 degrees to my attacker.

To sum up, Multi Directional Force is only possible when the component parts are actually moving in different directions.

Now go check out how you approach Chum Kiu and be honest with yourself.



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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY, 01 – 10 – 2014



Opening and closing the Waist Gate in the Chum Kiu shifting.

During the shifting {left Leg leading} the Right side of the Body is closing from a somewhat outside  position to a somewhat inside position { Adduction} while the Right Arm structure is using Bong Sau to promote a similar objective, at the same time the Left side is opening up from inside to out {Abduction} with the Left Arm Dai Sau again complimenting this aim, as we  reset to the 2 crossed Tarn Sau we keep our Right Leg axis stationary, this shifts our whole Body forwards the equivalent length of the rotation as the right side opens from in to out effectively pushing the left side.

We see that because the Right Leg is Grounded the Right side of the Body stays in the same location, the left side is opening up and causing the Torso to cover lateral distance the Leg simply comes to rest, this is not a step.

If we are sensitive and Body aware enough we can feel that as the Right side closes in causes the left side to open out, or at the very least adds power to this move, to experiment with this do the shifting without changing the left Arm from its starting position. In this way you can feel how your right side compresses your left side, or depending how you feel this how your right side promotes your Centre towards the left.

The sensory overload from the action of the left Arm causes us to overlook the fact that this action is also opening our Left Hip, exploring the Stance opening move of Bill Gee and the Tarn Gwan we se that this move is an innate part of the system.

Once we are familiar with the feeling of this move we can go back to the opening up of the  Y.C.K.Y.M. and see the same Hip manipulation, actively opening the hips as opposed to allowing them to be opened passively by the Thigh Muscles leads to a stronger Base.

This is explored further with the swinging Leg in the Chum Kiu Kick, we are trying to learn how to manipulate the Hip in the same way as we manipulate the Shoulder, as for instance when opening the Arms in the double slashing move of “B” Section.

When we are playing the Chum Kiu Form if we place our Mental Awareness at our Waist Gate and observe the action of Adduction and Abduction it is not that difficult to feel the Hips as separate Gates within the Waist Gate, from here it is possible to make them work separately or in unison, playing with these ideas inside Chi Sau rolling will enable small yet powerful movements from just one side of the Body, which is really what the whole idea is, one side defending one side attacking, separate tasks, separate objectives, separate potentially even opposite directions.

The "D" Man  performing Chum Kiu.

The “D” Man performing Chum Kiu.

As I have pointed out many times before Chi Sau cannot be used in a real situation, by its very nature it negates simultaneous Attack and Defence, the only reason for double rolling that has any true value is to double our defencive training time by practising to defend with both sides.

Some Schools consider this type of training to be a very high level of Wing Chun, and it has been mentioned to me that most students will quite simply not understand these ideas without years of Form training.

Strangely enough most of this, the individual control of each side of your Body and each Hip, is basic pre Black Belt level Judo.



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W.C.W. 24 – 09 – 2014

Something that puzzles me is the way many Wing Chun people hold strong opinions about what is and what is not the best way to teach or train our flavour of Kung Fu yet they refuse to get involved in a genuine public discussion.

People comment to me personally about my Blog Posts but choose not to put a comment on the Blog and start a conversation,  something that I think we would all benefit from.

This trend is most evident when I have spoken of certain key aspects that people hold on to very personally.

And these are usually the type of things that only work in training or when we play Chi Sau.

In the last post I commented that Wing Chun is by nature insular {in fact most Martial Arts Styles are},  everything that we do, we do with other Wing Chun people, this often leads us to blindly accept certain ideas without there really being any genuine proof that they work against someone that does not move, act and think like one of us.

Simultaneous Attack and Defence is a case in point.

And so is hitting through an incoming Strike.

And I get very mixed reactions over my explanation of the Ultimate Angle.

This post came about because a couple of people commented to me after the last post that they consider that Chi Sau teaches us to be able to “Hit through an incoming Strike”.

This is a “Can of Worms”.

Firstly lets quote Albert Einstein

“In Theory, – – – – Theory and Practice are the same.

 In practice they are not”.

The Concept / Theory of simultaneous Attack and Defence is quite central to Wing Chun,  but it is does not have a standard way of approaching it, different Instructors explanation of what constitutes Simultaneous Attack and Defence vary to such an extent that it becomes obvious that they are talking about very different things.

Over the years I have heard quite a few Senior People say that your Defence continues on to become a Strike, and that you can defend by hitting through the incoming Strike.

These Guys usually do Chi Sau like a Jack Hammer.

This really is an Einstein moment, why do people think this?

In Theory every shape from Siu Nim Tao can be used for defending or attacking, {but it should be considered that they cannot do this at the same time, just as a Car can go backwards and forwards, but not at the same time}.

Later on in training there are moves on the Dummy that Strike the Dummy Body after shearing across one of the Dummies Arms, it is easy to see that this can mislead.

In Theory Chi Sau does teach you how to control the opponent and Strike at the same time.

I know the accepted theory,if we are focused on making a Strike then it will in the course of its deployment remove or redirect our opponents attempted strikes or defences {I even teach it to some of my own Students, but with a disclaimer that when it works we know nothing about it, it just happens as part of what is, and not part of what I am doing}.

In training when your Partner is presenting a pretend Strike on a vector you are aware of at a pace that is intended to be easy to work with you may well be able to ignore the incoming strike and just hit at your target, but I doubt it.

Unless you are an exceptionally singular individual your own nervous system will not allow you to ignore the incoming attack.

It will be just about impossible for your Nervous System  to not deliberately intercept the Arm at some point on its path to you, and not on your path to him, once you do that you are no longer trying to hit your target.

You will argue, like most do, that you have intercepted it on the way to your target, but if you are honest with yourself you will see that you first moved in the direction the incoming Strike, in Wing Chun when we Punch our Fist moves in a straight line to the target.

It is the same in Chi Sau, people will push your Arms away with a Bong Sau rotation { up or down} and then continue to Strike you, and convince themselves that it was all just one smooth continuous movement. Even more worrying is the fact that some Instructors will teach this as a viable way to deal with someone that is not only not helping you train but actively trying to hurt you.

A lot of things change once you are in a real situation, things that have nothing to do with Wing Chun will dominate your thinking.

Basic survival Instincts will be fully operational once there is anxiety.

If you are worried about being hurt, even if you are worried about hurting someone else this will create an environment that has nothing in common with how and where you train.

If the situation you find yourself in does not resemble Wing Chun training how can you expect your nervous system to look for an answer in your Wing Chun training.

Your Body will make choices a long time before your Brain even gets the information, and it is this fact that makes Theory and Practice so different.

Wing Chun is a Fighting Art, no one chooses to control their attacker in a fight.

In the standard rhetoric of Wing Chun, it is usually stated that Wing Chun is not used for “Match Fighting”, that it is intended for genuinely getting us out of Violent Situations, but most of the comments that disagree with my thinking are very obviously coming from a position of “Match Fighting”.

I have been told that we should not pick specific targets {I teach all my guys to deliberately attack the Ribs whenever the option is available} because that would telegraph our intentions to our opponent.

Telegraphing is only a concern when someone is watching you prepare your movement, and that only happens in a “Match Fight”, when someone is attacking you they do not care less what you may or may not do, they are attacking you because they believe it will succeed.

A person attacking you is basically a Predator, and you are just a Meal.

A great deal of what is put out on the internet, especially anything using Siu Nim Tao / Chi Sau /Centreline thinking, require complete understanding of the situation that is happening, and absolutely require that you are facing your attacker and are fully aware of what is going down.

This is not an attack, this is a “Match Fight”.

If you know what is about to happen and have not either left or pre-emptively attacked and taken the Guy out you are choosing to “Duke it out”.

Simultaneous Attack and Defence is not something that you can do consciously, mainly because your consciousness will be working overtime trying to catch up.

Controlling an attacker is not something you should ever choose to do, apart from anything else it is almost the opposite of Simultaneous Attack and Defence.

Spending long hours learning how to attack from Chi Sau will only be of use to you when you play Chi Sau.

Practising how to “Hit through an incoming Strike” will simply end up with you hitting the Bad guys Arm instead of his Nose.

The chances are very high indeed that if we do get into a Fight will we not use anything that we have trained, most “Real Fights” are over before you really know that they have starters, win or loose.

Do not let the quest for perfection make you ignore or bye pass the good and effective, keep what works active even though the search for perfection may be ongoing and in no sight of completion.

I will talk about ULTIMATE ANGLE another time.



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