WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 17 – 12 – 2014.

TRAINING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS.

kung fu santa_03
Christmas is upon us and this will more than likely be my last post for 2014, to everyone that follows my Blog I hope you have a happy and joyous end of December, no matter what you may personally call it, and that you do not find a reason to use your training.

I know from personal experience that trying to maintain any kind of training regime through these few weeks is very difficult, just about everyone has something else to do, so it is often a month without Chi Sau, but this can also be a blessing, reflection is as important as action.

We will all find ourselves with some free time to sit and reflect about the “Whys” and “What Have You” of our training, here are a few suggestions to improve your connection to this thing we do.

Try to deepen your understanding of what we mean by “INTENT”.

There is a Japanese proverb that goes something like…

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.””

We could say the same thing from a Wing Chun perspective by replacing “VISION” with  “INTENT”.

These things we do need to be physically done!!!!!

Do you GROK?

Try to evolve and expand your understanding of what it means to “AVOID FORCE”. 

Are we simply referring to redirection, or perhaps we need some other interpretations, as Mr. Miyagi would say “Not being there”?

A constant thought that keeps me looking for new answers that still drives me to this day  came when my Sifu said to me “There is only one move in Wing Chun”, after more than 20 years of contemplation I finally understand this.

But can you make any kind of sense of it?

A very sad fact that all School owners are well aware of is that something like 30% of their Students will quite simply not come back to training next year.

It is what it is.

If you do not wish to be one of the lost, keep your Eye on the Goal, if it was worth beginning it is worth continuing.

 

Have a great

Christmas,

St. Nicholas Day,

St. Stephens Day,

Yuletide,

Mōdraniht,

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti,

Shabe Yaldā,

Hanukkah,

Pancha Ganapati,

Kwanzaa,

Hogmanay

or Dōngzhì.

Even have a happy Festivus, if you have a length of Aluminium Pole.

JUST BE HAPPY AND STAY FROSTY.

images

See you all in 2015.

Look for us on January 7th.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

Posted in Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday | Tagged | Leave a comment

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 10 – 12 – 2014

TRAINING — WHAT ARE YOU PAYING FOR?

Printimages

There has been a fair bit of press lately about Bogus Martial Arts Instructors, and without a doubt there are some out there, just check out the W.O.M.A. Crowd, or check out this FB page, Fraud In Martial Arts Awareness Society, but there are also a great many genuine and dedicated people who suffer from the “Bad Press”.

 

For some reason I have had more than the usual number of enquiries about training with me over the past few weeks, and of course eventually the conversation comes around to Fees.

My response to prospective Students asking me “What do you charge”?

Is to ask them “What do you think you will be paying for”?

Their answer, to be expected is Wing Chun tuition.

My answer to this is to inform them that the Wing Chun is only a very small part of a much larger package, that the reality is that what they are paying for is for me to give them something that can never be replaced.

My TIME.

And not just the 2 hours twice week that they think is involved in Hands on Training in any Martial Arts School, but also the TIME involved in getting to know individual Students to the extent that I can make adjustment to suit each and every individual and unique person that make up the average training group to give them the best chance at understanding the Art.

The TIME involved in maintaining a clean and friendly Studio for them to train in.

The TIME involved in maintaining the condition of all the Pads and Mitts.

The TIME involved in the normal, everyday behind the scenes running of any School, preparing lessons, learning First Aid, securing and paying for decent premises.

My COMMITMENT.

Students can never learn if their Instructor does not take a keen personal interest in their advancement, any and every decent Instructor will be at least as involved in the training as the Student themselves.

Any and every decent Instructor will be at training on every training day, even if they have something far more fun to be at, Dinner with friends, Staff Christmas Parties from work, major sporting events all take second place too being at the Training Hall, this very rarely applies to the Students who take this commitment for granted and do not think to inform anyone that they will be going on holiday for 6 weeks.

My PATIENCE.

Especially in the beginning going over the same thing time and time again and finding new ways to keep encouraging the struggling student, even if as they told you one day one “I pick things up really quickly”.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM.

One very well known benefit of Martial Arts training is that when you are at training the “Ordinary Madness” of the Everyday World is left far behind, for 2 hours you are transported to a place with no Wife, no Kids, no Boss, no Bullshit and no Stress.

This last aspect alone is worth more than any Student pays.

At the end of the day the Wing Chun is free.

Oh and by the way I am putting your Fees up.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

 

Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY. 03 – 12 – 2014

ON SMALL ROTATIONS AND LONG POLES.

Last weekend I was invited to aWorkshop at  friends Tony Chiu and William Leung’s  School in Rhodes, Sydney, hosted by Sifu Peter Wong of Macau / Hong Kong, this was a 2 part workshop, pt.1 was on aspects of Siu Nim Tao and pt.2 was on the Long Pole.

Peter is very highly regarded in my Lineage, and for good reason, his ability is outstanding {and to think that he has only been training for 45 years} and his method of demonstration made up for the fact that many of us did not speak Chinese.

It often appears that Wing Chun is just a constant refinement of Joint Rotation, Joint Control and basic Joint awareness, and it also appears that there is no limit to how minute these Joint rotations can be and still have enormous effect on a Partners Structure.

If there is a limit then it is imposed by ones own lack of control over various Bits of our Body.

When teaching Wing Chun Arm movements we usually talk a great deal about Elbow rotation, this in itself creates some minor issues because the Elbow Joint does not actually rotate, pronation and suppuration of the Fore Arm is just that, the manipulation of the Radial and Ulnar Bones by the muscles of the the Anterior and Posterior Fore Arm, there are something like 7 muscles that comprise the Anterior Fore Arm and around 12 muscles in the Posterior Fore Arm, is it any wonder that we struggle to control them.

The work we did with Sifu Peter on Tarn Sau, Tor Sau and Fook Sau essentially came down to firstly becoming aware of the Anterior and Posterior Fore Arm Muscles and then using them correctly.

The idea itself was not new to me, the real challenge was moving the Ulna and Radius from the Elbow {Proximal} end of the Fore Arm and not the Wrist {Distal} end.

Once you can actually feel what is going on with your Arm this is not a particularly difficult thing to do, the difficulty is in isolating the movement.

Once control of the fore Arm is established Newtons third Law comes into effect with even the slightest rotation, and your training Partners Arm is redirected or crushed as if by Magic,that is as long as your focus / Intent is maintained to the extent that you do not simply move yourself away from your Partner instead.

SIFU PETER WONG, SIFU CHRIS HIGHMAN AND THE "D" MAN.

SIFU PETER WONG, SIFU CHRIS HIGHMAN AND THE “D” MAN.

 

THE LONG POLE.

Part 2 of the Workshop was focused on a couple of aspects of the Wing Chun Long Pole, watching Sifu Peter waltz his 13 foot long Pole across the floor gave the impression that it was not such a big ask.

We were wrong.

Just about everything that I know about the Pole was ever so slightly wrong, so nothing worked once it was placed under pressure, the problem with being 95% correct is that you are also 100% wrong, my Horse Stance was more like a Llama and I completely lost contact with my Joints once I was thinking of the Pole.

What Sifu Peter showed us was really very easy, I just could not do it, but at least I know what to work on.

My thanks go out to Sifu Peter Wong for his patience and skill in teaching what can sometimes be very abstract concepts.

To Sifu Tony Chiu and Sifu William Leung of the Australian Wing Chun Association, for once again putting themselves out of pocket to bring World Class Instructors to Australia.

And to Sifu Chris Highman of Panther Wing Chun for initiating the Long Pole Workshop.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Wing Chun Wednesday 26 – 11- 2014

Moving Exercises.

When my Sifu passed away I was contemplating how to take my Wing Chun forward in his absence, I had no wish to find another Sifu {in many ways having a Sifu or an Instructor is just a luxury as in the end we all teach ourselves and it is our own research and endeavours that improve our knowledge} eventually we all need to tread out own path so I looked about for comparable information.

A work friend of mine showed me an article in a French Martial Arts Magazine Dragon about a Japanese Sensei named Minoru Akuzawa that really piqued my interest so I invested in his Video, and subsequently in his later Videos.

They have greatly enhanced my understanding of Wing Chun.

Apart from the Chum Kiu Form and the Knife Form there are a couple of other things I teach my guys to improve their movement, I teach movement as movement, and not as an integral part of Wing Chun, if you can learn to keep your body in balance as you move around getting it to do Wing Chun is not really all that challenging.



Above is the Shintaijinku exercise, the aim is to become aware of your Axis and how to rotate it . Observe how Azakawa Sensei maintains his Spine.



Above is the Maho exercise, again observe how the Spine is held.

What I initially connected with was that Azukawa Sensei teaches his Art from the perspective of simply being a Body moving through Space, something that I feel resonates strongly with Wing Chun, and as such his exercises immediately brought into my Mind what the Chum Kiu would look like if it were truly let loose.

If you can spare the time to Study the Shintaijinku and Maho exercises, and learn them to a degree of competence, and then superimpose the Idea onto the Chum Kiu and the Butterfly Knives it has the potential top bring the Forms alive and to a level of sophistication that is very rarely seen in any Wing Chun School.

Obviously the exercises suit me because of my background in Judo, to an extent I already know them, but I genuinely believe that they bring a freedom and purpose to the Knife form in particular that is instinctive and simple to bring to an aspect of application.

I also think that there is great benefit in practising exercise that are definitely NOT Wing Chun, liberated from the Dogma of Form they can be looked on as a game and become brilliant vehicles to learn how to stay relaxed as you function.

Sensei Azakuwa’s web site is well worth a visit.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY. 19-11-2014

MOVEMENT WHILE DEFENDING.

maxresdefault

Combat Twerking.

Talking movement with Wing Chun people is always quite difficult, mainly because so few Wing Chun practitioners have any genuine experience with “Street Violence” to draw on that they can only go by what they have been told.

And what you get told changes with every Form.

Add to this that not many Students stay with Wing Chun long enough to explore Chum Kiu or the Dummy it means that most people’s opinions stem from what they learnt in Yee Chi Kim Yeung Ma so they have this perception that Wing Chun is Static.

This is compounded by the fact that for the first few years training is all Face to Face standing still.

There are good reasons for this type of training and many valuable lessons to be drawn from it, but surprisingly enough very few of the lesson have anything to do with Wing Chun and are in fact more about getting familiar with the basic dynamics of Violence.

If we adopt either the Box or the Ball idea from the pervious 2 W.C.W. posts it should be obvious that at the very least we move to try to keep up the same relationship with our attacker as I set up with my training partner.

If you are at Chum Kiu level then you would use the “SHIFTING” or “WAIST TURNING” to keep you in a place as close as possible to a set up that you train in.

This is very important.

Any movement that we make should be to place us in a position that will allow our Body to support our Arms, this is the highest understanding of Chum Kiu, there should be no thought of moving to increase power and equally no thought of moving to avoid contact, both of these aspects will be realised but it should not be why you move.

There is a misconception with some Students that Wing Chun practitioners step down the middle to engage an attacker, this would just create a Force on Force collision that goes against everything Wing Chun stands for, the justification for this is usually the Maxim “Wing Chun never takes a backward step” {and the somewhat crooked logic that turns it into if we do not go backwards then we must be going forwards}, if this was the case why is there a “Backwards Step” in the Chum Kiu and two sections of “Backward Stepping” in the Butterfly Knives Form and a “Backward Step” into the Cat Stance of the Pole Form?

Stepping Backwards correctly is something every Student should work at until it is second nature.

I mentioned earlier that you are told different things with different Forms, this is just common sense, what is the point of talking about how to move your Centre of Gravity if all your training is done in the Y.C.K.Y.M.

It would not make any sense and just cause confusion.

My own Sifu would often say that “You cannot create Forward Force if you are going backwards”, and this gets quoted to me from time to time by some of my contemporaries,  but in fact basic physics will show that this is incorrect.

But if your level of knowledge is pre Chum Kiu then the chances are that you do not move with anything like decent Body Unity and it is simply a ruse to prevent you from placing yourself in a weak position.

If you understand how to move in Unity if you make contact with someone who is advancing on you as you are going backwards the contact itself will force you into a Stable position and the attacker will impale themselves of your rapidly approaching fist.

This was Cassius Clay’s { Ali before he changed his name} bread and butter play, he would annoy his opponent to the point that they were almost chasing him around the ring and he would Jab them on the way in, their momentum would pin him to the floor and they would become the power in his Jab, their contact pushed him into a Solid Stance.

If you can do the Chum Kiu rear step imagine jabbing an advancing Foe as you land.

A great deal of Wing Chun training is done from a “Static” position, this is not a weakness, you can never have any idea where the Bad guy will put himself so to a large extent every place you train in is going to be wrong, this “Static” position, in fact the whole First Form, teaches us how to use our Arms in relation to our Centre, any movement we make should simply be to keep the relationship of my Centre to the Bad Guy, we just move the Ball so that it can do the same job as it would if I were still.

Stepping Backward takes on a completely different nature once you move away from the Central Axis idea that is typical of the First Form, if you allow your Axis to be in either the Left Leg or the Right Leg the backward step is now an arc, an arc that allow you to remove yourself from the line of attack and take any intercepted Limb with you but at the same time stay in Striking Distance of the Target with your Attacking Hand, without trying to step for power or step to avoid contact you do both.

Pivoting around a “Real Axis” that is your Leg is far, far more effective than pivoting around an “Imaginary Axis” that is the Centre Line.

But this is usually not introduced until the Knife Form.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

Posted in Articles | Leave a comment