Attitude 2.



 I realised my calmer, gentler nature is probably my best form of self defence. My Wing Chun skills are Plan C after Plan B (walking away) fails. When it is on, I know I need find that nastier side. I lost a fight many years ago by doing exactly what you said, trying to do just enough to win the fight, which of course is what the law expects you to do. Given that experience, my humble advice to students is you can’t be half pregnant. It is either on or not. No point pushing and shoving. Either move away (preferred option) or move in (if it is your only option). I look forward to reading your post later on this.

In no way is this post a criticism of my Friend.

There are two very distinct sides to the Martial Arts, there is Combat Sport Martial Arts and then there is Traditional Martial Arts.

And the people that populate these Universes are usually very different.

I have experienced both sides, for the first 20
Years I was involved in Combat Sports Martial Arts, Boxing and Competition Judo.

For the last 30+ years I have studied Traditional Martial Arts, mainly Wing Chun Kung Fu.

I think that we all know that C.S.M.A’s think that all T.M.A’s are wimps and T.M.A’s think that all C.S.M.A’s are Thugs.

But where does this come from?

Is it even remotely accurate?

Combat Sport Martial Arts are not about maiming and killing, it is all about personal competition, Traditional Martial Arts on the other hand have evolved from the Battlefield and are all about causing as much damage as possible in the shortest possible time.

We appear to be substituting the Sports in the old Maxim….Rugby {now T.M.A.} is a Sport for Thugs played by Gentlemen. While Football {now C.S.M.A.} is a Sport for Gentlemen played by Thugs.

There is an ATTITUDE with a lot of Traditional Martial Artists that what we do is not Violence, it is somehow honourable and perfectly acceptable at all levels of society, but Combat Sports Martial Arts, M.M.A. in particular, are just War without the Bullets.

Some years ago at a weekend Camp with my old school one of the most Senior Instructors said of kicking someone on the ground that “Wing Chun people do not fight dirty”????

 He unwittingly implied that rupturing someones Testicles with a snap Kick, breaking someones Nose with a Punch, bursting someones Ear Drum with a Palm Strike, snapping someones Rib Cage with an Elbow Strike or simply fracturing someones Femur with a Hook Kick {all of which are techniques he taught} are perfectly good, clean acceptable things to do, but hitting someone on the ground is not.
This is how loosing mentalities, loosing mind sets or loosing attitudes are formed.
There is a huge section of my Traditional Martial Art that claim to be doing it for health reasons, they are confused by the many Kung Fu flicks that make out the Hero to be some sort of misunderstood Holy Man trying to reach nirvana despite the hordes of ordinary mortals he destroys on the way.
There is simply no possible way to Punch someone that does not include the deliberate wish to do that person harm.
There is another difference between C.S.M.A’s and T.M.A’s that is the cause of much of the name calling.
Combat Sports Martial Artists are training for a Fight that they know WILL HAPPEN, in fact they would like it to happen sooner rather than later and they are looking forward to testing their skill.
Traditional Martial Artists are mostly training for an event that they personally hope will never happen, and if it does kick off it will only be because there was absolutely no chance of avoiding it.
Who would you put your money on?
My Friend said  I lost a fight many years ago by doing exactly what you said, trying to do just enough to win the fight, which of course is what the law expects you to do.
What Law?
As far as the Law is concerned you are not allowed to hit anyone at all at any time for any reason.
There is an unwritten law for most T.M.A’s that they will use only as much force as is needed and no more.
How much is Enough Force?
How long is a piece of String?
The amount of force used in a fight is determined by nothing more than Social Convention, and the higher your Ego holds itself in this fictional society the less force you will use based on the idea that you are a higher human.
 We should take our lead from the law.
A Slap to the face is the same under the law as an Elbow to the Face, it may or may not be treated the same by individual Magistrates but that would just be Social Convention and the Magistrates choice, not the Law, the Law put you up in front of that Magistrate.
Enough is when the Threat has gone completely.
When you hit someone you break the Law, you may fancy your chances of convincing a Magistrate the you had a justifiable reason for doing so, this is whole premise of Self Defence, but you are pleading guilty to Affray{at the very least} asking for circumstances to be taken into account and throwing yourself on the mercy of the court.
If you are a Martial Artist and the other person is not you will find it very hard to make that claim stick, especially if you are an Instructor, the prosecutor would simply paint you in as an expert fighter.
A Thug.
Taking the “Higher Moral Ground” will not get you out of trouble.
Dealing harshly with Evil People does not make you an Evil Person.
It makes you a survivor.
So you may as well take it all the way, develop the mindset that makes it him and not you that goes to hospital.
And then send him there.






It's the Body that carries the weight, and passes it down to the Floor.
It’s the Body that carries the weight, and passes it down to the Floor.

This post is a natural progression from the post “Don’t Push, Don;t Attack” from a few weeks ago.

Chi Sau, our Multifunctional Training Drill, is in my opinion a Chum Kiu action, and as such its main purpose is to allow us to discover how to support the Arms with our Body.

It should be obvious that I also believe that the main purpose of Chum Kiu is to allow us to discover how to support our Arms with our Body as we move.

There are a few exercises that I use that not only help you to explore this concept, but also transition very nicely into real defensive applications.

We begin with the basic Lok Sau [Rolling Arms} with one partner deliberately pushing quite hard and vigorously, it is training so the level of power should not overwhelm your partner, it can be increased and varied as you progress.

Firstly Partner “A” {the correct Wing Chun Partner} simply accepts the incoming force and allows his arms to be pushed deep into the Shoulder Joint, if the Stance is half decent the incoming force will now be pinning him to the floor and partner “B” {the incorrect Wing Chun partner} will begin to feel as if he is being pushed away, but should not really be able to say how.

At this point Partner “A” is supporting his own Arms with his own Body.

Partner “B” is using his own Arms to push his own Body away.

The first exercise from this is to simply pivot into a new position without your Partner feeling any change in the contact, and of course with out you being pushed out of your Stance.

This is of course the first pivot from Chum Kiu Form.

The reason for not wanting your partner to be aware of the change is simply to improve self control of your Structure, in application “Intention” would determine where and how you pivot and how that affects your Partner.

If you cannot pivot behind your own Arms, remain Balanced and Stable with the ability to carry out what ever action you decide you need to do, your Body is no longer supporting your Arms, it is simply pushing them.

And in Wing Chun we do not “PUSH”.

This exercise is not as easy as it sounds, very few students have the correct type of Body Awareness to pull this off at first, and even fewer have the patience to persevere.



Students have asked me “Why do I need to learn how to pivot without affecting my Partner, doesn’t that defeat the purpose”?

It is simply about Self Control.

And of course realising how small the first pivot in the Chum Kiu is.

If you do not have the ability to do this exercise, which is a lot easier than Pivoting correctly against an aggressive non co-operative opponent, you do not really have control over your own movements, you are just Dancing, and hoping it will all end up the way you want it.

Which of course it never will because the Bad Guy has his own plans.


At a separate level of understanding the Arms in Chi Sau are acting as a Conduit to allow Force to travel to and from your Body, just like a busy Street, traffic is flowing freely in both directions at all times, pushing reduces this to a One Way Street, this is a large topic and one I will cover at another date but for now your aim should be to recognise the existence of that two way traffic, observe it, understand where it is coming from and where it is going, just observe it, get to know it, before you can manipulate something you need to know how to get at it.




wing chun sydney

After one of my recent post last Friday, a friend, who is also a Wing Chun Veteran like myself and also an Instructor messaged me on FaceBook with the following.

Brother Derek, following on from your thread, I would love to hear your view on how much you would attribute winning street fights to skill and how much to attitude. Such a broad question I know, but when I see boxing, MMA or even a lot of Wing Chun practiced, I found myself increasingly saying great skills, but you couldn’t fight that way in a street fight. Eg how long could you grapple someone in a pub fight before his mate kicks you in the head from behind. Certainly not saying self defence is useless, but there seems to be a fair gap between theory and practice that could difficult to close without the right attitude which often comes from winning and losing many real street fights. Your thoughts or may be requires its own dedicated blog. Thanks.


This is indeed a Broad Question but it is well worth looking at from a General  point of view as well as a Martial Arts point of view.

This seemingly straight forward question could easily generate a whole Book, {and to a certain extent it is a portion of what I put in my E=Book} so this may end up a lengthy post.

Here is another part of the same conversation, I will cover this when relating ATTITUDE to Traditional Martial Arts that will be a separate post.

 I realised my calmer, gentler nature is probably my best form of self defence. My Wing Chun skills are Plan C after Plan B (walking away) fails. When it is on, I know I need find that nastier side. I lost a fight many years ago by doing exactly what you said, trying to do just enough to win the fight, which of course is what the law expects you to do. Given that experience, my humble advice to students is you can’t be half pregnant. It is either on or not. No point pushing and shoving. Either move away (preferred option) or move in (if it is your only option). I look forward to reading your post later on this.

First thing first, what is ATTITUDE?

In psychology, an ATTITUDE? is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event. You can follow the link to get the full breakdown but for this post the Key is Psychology.

It is how you think.

Attitude is a “MIND SET”.

But surely if there are two people in the fight then there are two Minds and by default two Mindsets, two ATTITUDES.

Why is it that many people think that only the person with the opposite agenda to themselves that has an ATTITUDE?

If one person in the fight is trying to Win, what is the other person doing?

Both protagonists in a fight have an Attitude, an adopted position, it is just that only one of these is suited to coming out on top.

People usually lose Street Fights because they do nothing to Win.

Unlike a Prize Fight, a Street Incident is extremely time sensitive, it needs to be resolved before there is some kind of intervention be it Police, Friends or Passers by.

Simply hanging in there is often enough to get through relatively unscathed, but many people just CHOOSE not to do anything in return, they adopt the ATTITUDE of a VICTIM, even when they try to do something it is at best half hearted because they have already adopted the Attitude of a Victim.

Why Me?

Predator and Prey.

With regards to Martial Arts and Martial Arts training {I will expand on this next week} quite a few M.A. Students identify themselves as being in the Victim category {even if they do not see it quite so Black and White} and so they take up a Martial Art, the intention being that should that day come around they will be able to deal with it, but when that day does come they find that they are still victims, with a skill set that they do not know how to deploy.

Every Martial Art teaches you how to perform that particular Martial Art…..

……not Fighting.

My Friend asked if I though ATTITUDE was important in Fighting, in my opinion it is way more important than Skill, it is Attitude that will let you unleash Hell on someone that means you harm, not your training. Your training is simply the tool you will use to get the job done.

What type of Attitude should we develop?

That really does depend upon your personality, Attitude does not mean becoming a monster, becoming the thing you hate, it can be as simple as Indignation.

“You do not have the right to do that to me, and I am not going to allow it”.

If you want it to be more Fighting specific then there are really only two options.

I am going to Win at all costs.

I am not going to loose.

How do we develop an Attitude?

In my experience most people already posses the Attitude they need to stay safe, but for some reason, upbringing, religion, political correctness or just plain old stupidity they do not allow themselves the freedom to adopt it.

There is sadly no cure for stupid, everything else is a choice.

Choose Life, loosing is a Little Death.




W.C.W. 13-05-2014



Anyone that has spent more than just a few years studying Wing Chun will tell you that it is more about how you get your Head working than it is about your Body.

The very fact that that the core elements are based around a “Little Idea” should be a dead give away.

Wing Chun is at least 50% mental, if you are focusing on the Physical aspects then you are at best only working on 50%.

My own Sifu would frequently drop what I would call “Thought Bombs” on us at training, little comments or statements that would elicit an immediate W.T.F.

Thinking on these “Thought Bombs” would often just create more questions.

In many ways he was doing what Edward DeBono does when he uses the word “PO”.  A “po” is an idea which moves thinking forward to a new place from where new ideas or solutions may be found. It is a provocation, the “Idea” being to use the most obvious answer to act as a new departure point.

One particular incident that really acted upon myself as a “PO” was the time in training when Sifu was supervising us in the “Shifting Double Bong Sau” movement from the Chum Kiu Form, apparently out of nowhere Sifu put his hand on my Shoulder and asked…………………

“What is moving, and what is being moved”?

I thought for a moment and answered “My Shoulders are moving, my Arms are being moved”

“But how about your Feet”?

At that point it all just expanded and left me speechless {quite a rare event I assure you}.

I have no idea if this was my Sifu’s intention, it could simply be that my own long term involvement in Lateral Thinking  took me to a different place, but my Sifu was very intelligent, very well educated {Western Education} and had a cheeky sense of humour {Humour is pure Lateral Thinking} so I think it was part if not all of his intention.

Finding different approaches to the usual problems of Wing Chun can be like looking at a room through different windows, the contents are all the same, but the order they appear in is now very different, and that can radically change your opinion. For one thing, things that where hidden before suddenly appear “Up Front and Centre”, like a Chair tucked under a Table.

Some “PROVOCATIONS” I use with my own Students are the fore mentioned..

PO. “What is moving, and what is being moved”?

But also.

PO. “What direction does Tarn Sau move in”?

PO. “What do you call a Bong Sau that moves backwards”?

The number of possible “PO” questions are limited only by your own imagination, but remember the aim is not to come up with a definitive answer, but to open up your perception.


Another useful tool is contemplation, this is almost the opposite of PROVOCATION, the aim being to take a Statement and to study it, to make it smaller and smaller until it just becomes a feeling, an intimate, innate understanding that permeates the very heart of everything you do and think in Wing Chun.

Here are 3 Statements that I believe to be totally correct that I use with my Students with an eye to Contemplation and deep understanding.

1. A Circle is a shape and not a size.

2. There is only one movement in all of Wing Chun.

3. No Wing Chun movement moves in a direction towards the Bad Guy / Opponent…… not even when you Punch him.

Human beings have great difficulty placing ourselves in the “Real World”, everything is overshadowed, coloured and affected by our EGO.


It is very difficult to reconcile something as simple as Vision, as in Sight, looking at things.

Most people feel that when you look around a room you sweep your vision across the objects in the room a little bit like using a Torch.

In truth it is almost the opposite, we rotate our Head so that the light reflected off the objects can enter our Brain by way of the Eyes.

What you think is “OUT THERE’ is actually an image displayed somewhere in the back of your Head.

There is no OUT THERE.

There is only IN HERE.







Pacquiao – Mayweather wrap up.

wing chun sydney

A number of people engaged with me about the Fight of the Century, and my Blog Post regarding it, this is in part a reply to all of those people.

The first really obvious thing of note was how few people understood the Sport of Boxing, and it is a sport, and like all sports the objective is  to win.

But there is a great deal more to Boxing than winning and loosing.

We often refer to Boxers or any Professional Fighters as Modern Day Gladiators but this is just Media Hype, there is nothing Gladiatorial about Sport Fighting, the aim is not to KILL your opponent but to win the match according to the rules of the game, and hopefully go home to your family.

Some of the people I spoke with did not think that the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight was a good fight, mainly because nobody was visibly beaten up, there was no Gladiatorial aspect to the fight.

It turns out that quite a few people do not watch Boxing for the display of Pugilistic Skill but in fact they just tune in for the Blood, there is little appreciation of a skilful fight won on points with not even a knockdown to show for all the efforts.

It is not just Boxing either, few people enjoy a Soccer game that ends up 0 – 0 despite there being passages of sublime football.

Many of the guys I spoke with were Wing Chun people,  or at least Martial Artists of some style.

My own students understand how I think, so to them there was no surprise that I said Mayweather won clearly and easily, and that the fight illustrated perfectly how a Wing Chun Fighter would deal with a Street Fighter, I have said here on this Blog previously the Floyd Mayweather jnr. is as close as any professional fighter gets to being a Wing Chun Fighter.

Now that the fight is over and there are repeats of the fight readily available I recommend that every Wing Chun student download it and study it.

What are the principals of Wing Chun?


2. Practicality.

3. Directness.

4.Minimum use of Brute Force.

5. Economy of Movement.

Mayweather epitomised all of these in his fight, the same cannot be said for the Pac Man.

Similarities between Wing Chun and Boxing.

Mayweather and Ali were defencive Counter Punching Fighters that ruled World Boxing and their most famous challengers where often regarded as Street Fighters, Pacquiao and Frazier fit that bill perfectly, my own Sifu would say that when Ali stepped back and set himself to Jab at an incoming fighter {that he was always leading around and never backing away from} he was simply using Chum Kiu thinking.

If as a Wing Chun student your cannot see how Mayweather clearly beat Pacquiao using Wing Chun thinking { and how most of the OLD SCHOOL Maxims and advice from the Kuen Kuit could well of been written for him} and why we should all to some extent try to emulate him  with how we deploy our own skill set,  you need to spend a bit more time on Chum Kiu, and  avoid Street Fighters like the Plague.