W. C. W. 04 – 03 – 2015

DON’T PUSH, DONT ATTACK.

do epic shit

I was at Friends School Anniversary  event recently with some of my Wing Chun Brothers whom I have known for 20 years or more, to be expected soon we were all exchanging ideas and opinions about where our training and teaching is heading and how we approach the work.

To be somewhat expected our opinions differed.

I am not trying to imply that I know better than my contemporaries, but this is my Blog and in here I talk from my own perspective, I only show pictures of the view from “My Window”.

If you do not like this view simply look out of your own Window.

One thing that stuck out more this year than usual was how much people push when doing the work, especially Chi Sau, and how much people give you their weight. When I mentioned this to a few of the Guys the answer was something like ” I am not pushing I am just relaxing onto you” or “I am not pushing it is just my Springy Force”.

It was also very noticeable that all of their actions were “Attacking Actions”, but when we spoke their talk was in the direction of Simultaneous Attack and Defence and Redirection, as we all do they talk about Wing Chun as a “Counter Attacking Martial Art”, which I for one truly believe it to be.

Most people that do Wing Chun have been lucky enough to have never been attacked, most have never even had a fight, so it is understandably difficult for them to understand that nothing we do in training will happen on the Street, but they take it all so seriously and think that things like “Ultimate Angle” and “Correct Stances” are somehow important when in fact most of what we do would fail if performed the way it is done in training.

Why so precious?

Add to this that there is a world of difference between “being attacked” and “being in a fight” and understand that your understanding of this difference will colour everything you think and do.

A FIGHT is always something that both parties participate in, lets forget the whole “WHY” for the moment, both sides have decided to give it a go and it starts off with both people knowing what is about to happen and both people have the same opportunity to set themselves.

This is very much how your training operates, along the lines of “He does that, you do this”.

There really is no other way once you think about it, unless you actually fight, not spar but fight.

One thing that is just not possible to replicate in training is how Time and Space are consumed when violence occurs.

Unless both sides are well trained and well disciplined the action will take place Nose to Nose with the Bad Guy trying to get through you not to you, and definitely not at Guard or Chi Sau distance.

In a genuine Violent Situation there is just no Time or Space for you to Expand or Press or whatever you think it is that you are doing when you extend your Arms toward your partner to Relax Onto Him.

If your opponent is closing the space down, which they will be, “relaxing onto them” will just become a push with all the negative results that come from any type of pushing.

Giving them your weight, even when you think it is Springy Force, will simply add power to any strike that they land on you, and if this is not a Fight but in fact an Attack then you are already in second place and their first Strike will land somewhere on you so any advancing or expanding will increase the power of the Bad guys strike.

Most Students idea of Simultaneous Attack and Defence is a “Counter Attack” where you actually hit your Partner before he has landed his Strike, this can only happen if you are FIGHTING and are fully aware of what is going on, and of course it requires that your opponent is a “Bit of a Bunny”.

Real Simultaneous Attack and Defence means that the Bad Guy has very nearly smacked you, you have intercepted his Strike just prior to contact, and yes we do this purposefully, we wait and let it come in to us.

If you intercept something by going out to it then you are pushing it away and not absorbing it into your Structure.

This was really obvious when I was doing Chi Sau with people, they were constantly applying pressure to my Arm Bridges, as I pointed out, no matter how they tried to explain it away, forward force, constant forward pressure or simply relaxing onto me they were all in fact pushing against my Arms.

How is this even remotely useful in a situation where you are meaning to defend yourself against a Flying Fist?

There is another issue that concerns me with this approach, when you are deliberately applying pressure to your partner this is taking up Mental Bandwidth, you are focusing on something that is not going to stop the attacker, it may stop the attack, but it does nothing to put the Bad Guy to sleep and ensure your survival or at the least an escape, a large part of your Brain is involved in something that is not trying to get the Job of finishing the Bad Guy done, this is not Wing Chun at all.

I realise that Wing Chun is an evolving Martial Art but old wisdoms held in the Songs and Sayings are still the Heart of the Wing Chun Matter, the Kuen Kuit clearly talks about Wing Chun being used in a situation where we have been attacked and are Accepting / Escorting Force.

Where our structure “Neutralises” incoming force.

How is this achieved by going out to meet the incoming force??

How is this achieved by pushing??

If your Arm Bridges are advancing as the opponents Strike comes in you are in effect “Attacking” the incoming Strike, you may think that it does not matter because you are advancing only very, very softly, but the Physics of contact are that it is a “Shared Event”. The impact is the sum of both forces, from you and from the Attacker, so it makes no difference how little you a pushing, except for the fact that you are expecting a weak attack to dominate a strong attack.

At one time, and not that long ago, I was the type that “expanded my structure to the incoming strike” thinking that it was what Wing Chun does, constant forward pressure and all that.

I was very fortunate to spend some time with a very senior Hong Kong Master who pointed out that any forward movement from any part of your Body is simply “Pushing”.

It was quite difficult at first to accept that I had been pushing for almost 20 years, but I did the work and now I am very aware that what I often thought was Chum Kiu Concepts was just another type of pushing.

Do you think that you “Push”???

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

 

 

TALKING TURKEY TIME.

DEFENDING AGAINST A SUCKER PUNCH.

Lets Ruffle some Feathers.
Lets Ruffle some Feathers.

I was asked by one of my newer Students “How would we defend against a ‘Sucker Punch’ “?

You can imagine his surprise when I told him that you cannot defend yourself against a “Sucker Punch”.

“But it is in this months “Blitz Magazine” he quipped.

“Just more proof that that particular Magazine is not to be taken seriously, it is the Martial Arts equivalent of “Fox News”.

Channel_6_News

Any one who tells you that you can defend against a “Sucker Punch” will be the same type of person that will advise you to “Train for the unexpected”, they are either from a non English speaking background with English as a second language or they are just plane stupid.

It is called a “Sucker Punch” because only SUCKERS fall for it.

It is a punch that comes out of nowhere without any warning what so ever, and usually against a guy that is deep in contemplation of the cosmic confluence, or at the very least oblivious to his surroundings.

What a “Sucker Punch” is not is a Roundhouse or Hay Maker that is thrown to transition an argument into a full blown Blue.

If you or your Instructor teach people how to defend themselves against a Sucker Punch.

Stop it your are making a fool of yourself.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 25 – 02 – 2015

USING STRENGTH:

I do not use strength I am just naturally stronger than you.
I am not using strength, I am just naturally stronger than you.

 WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THAT ?

Well apart from the obvious answer that using strength usually fails against a stronger opponent.

In Wing Chun we strive to eliminate Muscular Tension from our Body, that is why you will hear your Instructor repeating “Relax’ and “Do not exert Strength”, it is central to everything we do and it is quite accurate to say that no matter how Skilful you are, if you are exerting Strength / Tensing Muscles then you may be a skilful fighter, but you are not actually skilful at Wing Chun.

The whole “Do not use Strength” argument is so easy to misinterpret, so easy to find apparent Loop Holes in that the thing becomes an absolute “Pit of Vipers” because we all use Strength of some description to some degree all of the time.

In a fight there is nothing wrong with using Strength if it gets the Job done, and it usually does, but Wing Chun is not “Fighting”!!

Wing Chun is a Martial Art, it is a Style or a System that you can take IDEA’S from and adapt them to your own purpose once you begin “Fighting”.

Let us not kid ourselves up about the reality of violence, you could perform perfect, flawless Wing Chun and still get your Arse handed to you in Street Fight.

It is what it is.

Talk to Boxer and they will tell you that Boxing is not Fighting.

Wing Chun is Chinese Boxing.

There are a lot of very tough blokes out there teaching what they claim is Wing Chun, they have devoted followers that when their belief is challenged will tell you “My Sifu could kick your Arse Mate”, they believe that Fighting Skill equals Wing Chun Skill.

It does not.

The fact that they use Wing Chun shapes and postures does not make it Wing Chun any more than hitting someone with a stick instantly turns what you do into Kali, or makes you a Student of the Filipino fighting Arts.

Let us have a look an why Wing Chun chooses not to Exert Strength, instead of just taking sides, then you can develop an informed opinion.

As mentioned we all use some form of Strength all of the time, so we need to understand good Use of Strength and bad Use of Strength, at least from a Wing Chun perspective, and it all revolves around the use of the term EXERT.

Even when we are using as little effort as possible we are EXERTing ourselves, so where is the Line in the Sand.

What I am referring to is not ordinary Default Setting Force or Strength, which is Good Use of Strength, but what happens once we OVER EXERT ourselves and start using Brute Force, Brute Strength, Bad Use of Strength.

Once you actively TRY HARDER you are using some measure of Brute Force, and this is accompanied by some measure of Muscle Tensing.

Tense Muscles are like knots in a Hose Pipe.

A loose knot will slow the Water {Force – Energy} coming out considerably, a medium knot will reduce it to a mere trickle, and a tight knot will prevent any passage of Water {Force – Energy} altogether.

When we intercept an incoming Strike we aim to absorb the Force of the Blow and allow it to pass through {back down the hose Pipe} or into our Body, Muscular Tension will simply stop it in its tracks and the result will be just as if we were pushed in the spot where the tension resides.

With a result of loosing stability being the very least that would happen.

All Wing Chun people know this, but many are happy to compromise because the Strong Arm succeeds at stopping the Strike from landing and as such delivers partial success to the problem, and soothes the troubled EGO.

But how about when we Strike back?

The Physics of our Universe dictates that all power is a result of how we interact with the Planet.

Even standing still my Body weight pushes the Planet and the Planet pushes back with the same Force.

When we drive forward from the rear Leg with the hope of increasing the power of our Strike it is the Planet that pushes back at our Leg that is pushing it, it is the planet that provides the Power.

If my Body has Zero Muscular Tension then all of that Force will be available on the end of my Extended Arm, in my Strike.

cartoon-character-popeye

If I have tightly tensed Leg muscles then the Force will stop there, in the knotted Muscle of the Leg, and all I will hit with is what is available in front of the Point of Tension, effectively no more than just standing still and poking my Arm out.

If I have tightly tensed Shoulders or Arms the prognosis only gets worse.

Unless you have unbelievable control of your Body it is not possible to have a tensed “Defencive Side” of your Body and a relaxed “Attacking Side” of your Body so using Strength in defence is robbing you of Attacking Power.

Now your Ego might be quite happy using strength to stop the Bad Guy but why would you be happy with the trade off that becomes a weaker attack.

I have had this conversation with a lot of guys that use Strength in Wing Chun and it should be no surprise that they get quite pissed off at me, I just remind them that they are not really arguing with me but are in fact arguing with Isaac Newton.

More than one of them have asked me “Who the hell is Isaac Newton and who did he train under”? You know these kind of Guys, they are not very clever but they can lift heavy things.

Isaac Newton discovered that in our Universe every action creates an “equal and opposite reaction”. 

So what ever you push returns your own Force.

This is no more evident than in Chi Sau.

 

CHI SAU ME AT YOUR PERIL DUDE!
CHI SAU ME AT YOUR PERIL DUDE!

Once you use even minimal strength in Chi Sau you immediately feel as if your Partner is using strength, you feel your partner pushing you when in fact all you can feel is yourself pushing your partner {even if your partner is in fact pushing you all you get back is your own force} as a result you offer more resistance by FIRMING YOUR STANCE { doing this is really just activating tension in your Legs and Back, putting knots in the metaphorical Hosepipe}, which is just using more strength anyway so you feel the increase in your own effort as your partner pushing back at you with increased vigour, while once again it is just your own action creating an equal and opposite reaction, and of course this starts a chain of events that lead to what most Junior Students think is “Heavy Chi Sau”.

Chi Sau is about accepting force, so if you can feel any Force at all it is not being accepted it is being rejected.

The thing about Science is that even if and when you think it is B.S. it is still correct, Newtons theories have been well and truly tested and proven over hundreds of years.

If even just a tiny little bit of your Ego is telling you that I am wrong then you are also arguing with Isaac Newton, you are arguing in the face of truth.

I think most people agree that if you insist on arguing that the truth is wrong you’re a Dick.

 

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

 

 

 

 

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 19 – 02 – 2015

CONTROLLING THE POINTY END.

My Sifu  had a Mantra about moving the Arms in Wing Chun, it went “Shoulder push Elbow, Elbow push Wrist”.

When you where with him and under his guidance this made perfect sense, but once you were alone, or with a junior trying to explain it, pretty soon you realised that it was not even close to what was happening.

Of all the Major Joints in the Body the Elbow has by far the smallest range of movement, it is simply a hinge, and as such all it does is open and close, and in  only one direction as long as you maintain your Arm as the frame of reference.

There is no rotation in the Elbow, it is a static joint, when we think the Elbow is rotating it is actually other components that make up the Arm that are rotating the whole Arm, or the lower Arm.

Once we look at how the Elbow operates we see that it is just not possible for the Elbow to “Push the Wrist”, in fact they do not even move along the same plane or in the same direction.

Despite this many Instructors place great emphasis on how we manipulate and position the Elbow, and as a result we take a right turn instead of a left.

QUESTION.

How much attention do you apply to the shape, position or the way that you manipulate your Elbow when you place a Key in your Front Door and then open that Door?

I very much doubt that you give it any thought at all………..

h6CED5385

………..but the action is identical to the Bong Sau rotation from high to low {Bong to Tarn} so why is it important at any time in any place?

Even drunk you get the Key in the door and the door open with very little difficulty.

In the last post I likened the Arm – Pointy End connection to a Spear, using a Sweeping Brush as our vehicle would fill the same roll and may be easier for you to imagine, the bit we move is not the bit that does the work.

In the case of a Sweeping Brush you are not even thinking about the Brush Head your whole attention is on the dirt and where you wish to brush it to.

Why is the action of the Sweeping Brush in any way different than the action of Tarn Sau or Bong Sau???

Janitor Sweeping with a push broom

If you have come up with ANY ANSWER to explain why they are different you need to go and have a chat with your Instructor, and if your Instructor comes up with ANY ANSWER to explain why they are different then you need to get a new Instructor.

If you are holding a partners wrist as they perform Tarn Sau it may appear to you that the force is coming from the Elbow, but this is like being hit by a Car and thinking that the force was coming from the Drivers Seat.

It is an illusion.

Next time you put a Key in a Door and unlock it, try to trace back the action to its source,  is it the Wrist?

Is it the Arm?

Is it the Shoulder?

Is the Waist involved at all?

And how about your  Feet and overall mobility?

This will help you get a better insight into all the Arm movements of Wing Chun,  Bong Sau in particular.

At the end of the Day you simply turn the Key, and because you are not trying to manipulate your Arm into some Ritualistic Position everything falls into  its appropriate position to achieve that outcome.

In this case the Key is the Pointy End.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

Happy, Happy Day Wing Chun Inc.

5 Years.

Unknown

On February 8th 2010 I held the first class of what was to become Wing Chun Inc.

I had been a Senior Instructor for my Sifu’s School for many years, but this was new ground.

In the 5 years intervening many things have changed in how I understand and approach Wing Chun, part of this is beyond doubt the fact that as the Principal Instructor you are far more connected to what you actually say and teach than you are as an agent of another individual, and also that you are held far more accountable for what you say  is correct or incorrect.

I honestly believe that if my Sifu had not passed away and I was still in the same capacity in his School my knowledge and understanding would be nowhere near what it is today, this is in no way a criticism of my Sifu, rather it is a realisation of how lazy we can all be as Students, a realisation that we wait to be given information rather than go and seek it out for ourselves.

It is human Nature and part of the Student – Teacher relationship.

Without a Teacher to feed you there is no choice but to forage and fend for yourself.

One very interesting phenomenon is that from the moment I became Principal Instructor I began to loose interest in other peoples opinions about how we should or should not teach / learn / practice Wing Chun, I simply worked on what I had learnt from my Sifu, to the best of my knowledge.

Somewhere along the line I realised that other peoples opinions where of no value to me, and of even less help.

I also realised that to the rest of the planet I was “Someone Else” and that my opinion was “Someone Else’s” opinion and of no real value to any one except myself.

This was strangely liberating.

I immediately broke all ties with past and ventured forth illuminated by the {somewhat dim} light of my own Experience, Knowledge and Intention.

I stopped comparing myself to other Teachers, and this opened the door for me to truly find my own path in Wing Chun.

It may not be the best Path, it may not even be the most correct Path, but it is my own Path and I walk it proudly and honestly.

To the next 5 years.

Onwards and Upwards.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?