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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W.C.W. 17-09-2014


A quick recap of what I term the 10 aspects of Chi Sau.

  1. Asking
  2. Running
  3. Intercepting
  4. Leaking
  5. Destabilising.
  6. Crushing.
  7. Engaging
  8. Evading
  9. Leading
  10. Expelling

The Big Question Mark over any Martial Art is….


I get asked this about Wing Chun almost weekly, and my answer is always…


Chi Sau is a fun game to play, but that is all it is, a Game.

If we allow it to be a Game it can teach us how to understand the concepts that drive Wing Chun, if we look at what I term the 10 Attributes of Chi Sau each and every one of them could apply to any given situation, they could all be demonstrated from the same example in Chi Sau, many of them happen simultaneously at contact if our shape is correct and our Stability is maintained.

Isolating these so called Attributes in Chi Sau play may just help you gain that missing  confidence in your “Basic Wing Chun Guard”, and from there everything is possible.

In my own experience the most valuable skills to trust are “Leading and Expelling”, they can be used for defence or attack and can easily be deployed in a real situation, even from a broken or compromised position. They are skills that are instinctive at any level, and as such easier to trust.

Very few Students put much time into “Leading and Expelling”  in Chi Sau, it is not what the “Kool Kids” do.

Do not get me wrong here I am as guilty as anyone for looking for the fancy “Jackie Chan” technique in Chi Sau playing, it is a way to show your understanding of the complexities of the game and often a lot of fun for both partners, it encourages Junior Students to try to learn it and creates a bond between the Senior Students that can pull it off, but we will never be in a position to use these “Favourites” if we are in the Brown and Stinky, and our Survival Instinct will not even allow us to try.

Wing Chun tends towards being an Insular Martial Art, we play Chi Sau with each other and very rarely play with other stylists, this can, and does lead us to think that our Chi Sau skills are pertinent, relevant and effective, and against a lesser skilled Wing Chun person they certainly are, but when we come up against someone that does not know what Chi Sau is how do we bring it into play?????

In case anyone thinks that I am knocking Chi Sau, trust me I am not, I personally think that it is a fantastic tool, the Jewel in the Crown of an amazing Fighting Style.

Something that I encourage my Guys to do is to isolate their favourite Technique / Manoeuvre / Chi Sau trick {we all have at least one}, and really make it their own.

Next I ask them to imagine the most likely scenario that they would be called upon to use their training {again we all have an imaginary situation that we think is more likely to occur than any other}.

The aim is to be able to use our Favourite Manoeuvre instantly in our most Unfavourable Scenario.

This is why we train.

If we are honest with ourselves this will not be achievable, at least not right here, right now.

Chi Sau is the Bridge, Chi Sau simulates contact, playing with the “Attributes” of Chi Sau {or something along these lines that makes sense to you} will allow you to find your own way to bring your own training into an “Operational Condition”.

It is very, very important that you are honest with your self about where and when you think you may be called upon to use your training.

This is easier said than done, because firstly you must admit that you have fear.

Personally I run all my training from the position of being attacked, there will always be some element of negative surprise, we will never be in the best place, we will always be “Under the Cosh” we will always be starting second.

If this is not what you think will happen then you are attacking, or engaged in some semblance of a Match Fight and that is a different story.

It is hard to take the “Front Foot” when you are on the “Back Foot” but this is exactly what I believe wing Chun is brilliant at, this is what I believe Chi Sau is all about and this is why I favour “Leading and Expelling”, getting yourself “Off Line” and using “Running body” ideas.











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Lets Ruffle some Feathers.

Lets Ruffle some Feathers.



A “Pet Hate” of mine are Schools that claim to allow you to “Learn at your own Pace”!!!!

How can anyone that does not know what they are doing have “Their own Pace”?

I frequently get Students coming to see me from other Schools, some for just a few lessons to help them move forward past plateaus in their training, some are making a shift to join me.

The majority of these Students are significantly less skilful than my own students at a similar point on their Training Time Line.

This is not because I am a superior Teacher.

I am a very good Teacher but it is not the differentiating factor.

It is that the School they are with or used to be with had no real intention of taking them forwards, no real intention of teaching them what they needed to know, no real intention of providing the service the Student was paying for.

The School was “Protecting the Rice Bowl”.

Learn at your own Pace.

No pressure.

No instruction.

Wing Chun by Osmosis.

The School I began my training with was very much like this, one day I approached my Sifu and expressed my dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of the Instruction that I was receiving {and paying for} I was informed that when I came to training I should not be coming to be Spoon Fed but should be coming too get my Homework marked.

“Then you should begin to give me homework and not expect me to guess” I answered, in fairness he did just that and took a much more active role in my development, but it was a case of the Squeaky Wheel getting the Grease, others where less lucky.

Not so long ago I was asked to assist a group of Guys that had all been training for over 10 years, some much more, and yet none of them had any understanding of the Second Form, their time had been spent on the First Form and on Chi Sau, the School they had trained with used the “ learn at your own pace” model and the much overused cliche´that it is “only Siu Nim Tao that matters”.

Deep inside most Students stuck in the Quicksand of a devious Sifu will use the “There is only Siu Nim Tao” as a means to shield themselves from the truth that they are being exploited, quite recently I spoke to a Student that had progressed to “Level 2″ with a devious bunch, and THAT STUDENT PROUDLY ANNOUNCED  that they would be between 5 and 10 years before they reach “Level 3″.

“Pass me the Key to my Cell and let me throw it out the Window for you”!


I am thirsty, pass me the Kool – Aid.

I have a close Wing Chun Brother that has been training for over 20 years and yet thinks he will never become a Master.


There is “Absolutely no reason” why you cannot Master Wing Chun inside of 10 years, if you go training, you pay attention and you apply yourself, if you are not improving every day then either you are a useless Student of you are being ripped off.

If you are at this moment scoffing at this remark you should ask yourself “WHY”.

What is it about “YOU” that is so substandard that you cannot learn all there is about one of the worlds most Simple {least complicated} Martial Arts in less time than it takes a boy to train to be a Brain Surgeon?

If you still think that it takes a lifetime to become a Master you are a lost cause and would not become a Master in 5 lifetimes, because for some unknown reason you do not wish to be one.

If you are “Training at your own pace” why not put a wiggle on and pick up the pace?









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A Map is not a Country.

A Map is not a Country.


The parable of the finger pointing at the moon has 2 popular interpretations, one is that if you spend your time looking at the finger instead of the Moon you will miss what it is pointing at, namely the Moon. The second is that the finger is not the Moon, it is just a device, or a hint to show you where the Moon actually is.

In the Martial Arts, Forms and Katas are a prime example of the “Finger pointing at the Moon”, of themselves Forms, Kata and such are of little use except for pointing you in the correct direction, but to be honest, for this they are exceptional.

Wing Chun has 6 Forms for a reason, and they should be looked upon as 6 volumes of the same Work, the complete understanding is spread among these 6 volumes, each volume enlarges the idea from the previous volume, makes it more accessible, clearer and easier to understand.

There is an overview and a level of understanding that cannot be experienced until you have a rudimentary understanding of all 6 Forms.

There are aspects of the First Form that you cannot hope to understand unless you approach them from the perspective of the Third Form.

THE 30,000 Ft. VIEW.

When I talk about a rudimentary understanding of all 6 forms I mean just that, a BASE LEVEL understanding of what is to be gleaned from each Form.

The First Form, SIU NIM TAO.

From 30,000 ft. the First Form teaches us how recognise Balance and how to move our Arms.

You can spend the next 50 years on the minutiae of how and where to move your Arms, and you would be well advised to do so, but whether your study is deep or shallow it is just about moving your Arms.

Gaining self awareness of what it feels like to be a “Body in Balance”, and preparing the Body to be able to operate in a manner that could be expected to do the Work that we will engage in later on.

Understanding what it means to operate without tension, to be relaxed.

The First Form is Chi Kung, exercises to prepare the Body to do the Work, it is not the Work itself, it is the Finger and not the Moon.

The Second Form, CHUM KIU

From 30,000 ft. the Chum Kiu teaches you how to support your Arms with your Body, how to develop “Waist Torque, Waist Rotation” how to maintain your Balance through Basic Human movement and how to coordinate this movement with the movement of your Arms from the First Form. Chum Kiu shows you how to enlist Multi Vector Force.

Chum Kiu teaches how to engage an opponent, if you are making contact with anything at any time in any place you are using Chum Kiu, if you are presenting Tarn Sau and someone is offering resistance it is Chum Kiu and not Siu Nim Tao. 

Chi Sau is Chum Kiu, If you do not know how to approach contact with an opponent from the perspective of Chum Kiu you are doing nothing.

The movements of Chum Kiu are a means to develop the ability to maintain Balance while in Motion, Stillness inside of Motion.

The Third form, BILL GEE.

From 30,000 ft. Bill Gee teaches how to send your awareness and or energy to any place on the Body, even up to the Tips of the Fingers.

Bill Gee introduces “Shoulder Torque, Shoulder Rotation”, it teaches how to use the upper and lower Body separately but together, to create multi rotation or vortices.

The rotating of the Arms in Chi Sau is shallow and empty until it is approached from the perspective of Bill Gee, the double opening Side Slash from the First Form is feeble and almost pointless without some understanding of Shoulder Torque.

The movements of Bill Gee are more complex and more aggressive than the movements of Chum Kiu and as such provide a greater test to maintaining Balance and Stability.

The Forth Form, WOODEN DUMMY.

From 30,000 ft. the Wooden Dummy is a training partner that will let you perform the same move on him for hours on end without complaint.  It allows you to explore the options of the Chi Sau shapes and it helps change the “How to Move Knowledge” of the second and third forms into a “Where to Move Knowledge” engaging timing and distance, Time and Space.


From 30,000 ft. the Butterfly Knives are an extension of the Arm that creates greater difficulty in remaining Stable, Balanced and Relaxed.  All of the Knife moves are the Arm moves from the First Form, the weight of the Knives challenges your ability to remain without tension.The Footwork of the Knives is larger and more dynamic than the Chum Kiu or Bill Gee, a much greater challenge to your Stability and Balance, a lot closer to the type of movement needed in combat.

The Sixth Form, LONG POLE.

From 30,000 ft. the extra weight and length of the Long Pole greatly multiply the challenges encountered with the Knives, the Pole movements are, just like the Knives are the Arm movements from the First Form.


This is often cited as the reason for not being instructed in the later Forms, but this is either a misunderstanding or an attempt to deliberately misinform.

The Jut Sau used in the Fourth Form {Dummy} is the same movement as the Jut Sau in the First Form.

The Huen Bart {Knives} from the Fifth form is the same movement as the Huen Sau from the first Form.

The Fook Gwan {Pole} movement in the Sixth Form is the same as the Fook Sau movement from the First Form.

Fook Gwan will teach you how to understand Fook Sau, Fook Gwan is the Moon, Fook Sau is the Finger.

Wing Chun has 6 Forms for a reason, and they should be looked upon as 6 volumes of the same Work, the complete understanding is spread among these 6 volumes, each volume enlarges the idea from the previous volume, makes it more accessible, clearer and easier to understand.




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