This is another post addressing the misunderstandings common with Wing Chun Students, the aim is to get you to look closely at what you think and do and whether or not your idea’s can be backed up by hard facts and not just popular opinion.

 I am not trying to change your ideas, but I am hoping to get you to question them.

I have 3 close Wing Chun Brothers that also run their own thing, we started training together in the same School, did the majority of our Gradings together and were pretty much at all the same classes with our Sifu together, we heard the same words and saw the same examples yet we all approach Wing Chun from a slightly different perspective, and sometimes the difference in our understanding is far from slightly different, but we definitely think we are teaching the same Wing Chun as was passed to us from our Sifu.
Non of us understood the same “Idea” so it is not so crazy to say that non of us truly heard what our Sifu was telling us.
Once you accept this as “just what it is” you have no choice but to accept the possibility that your Sifu did not hear his Sifu correctly, that his Sifu did not hear his own Sifu and on and on backwards through time.

People hear things differently, process information differently, understand things differently and this can lead to practising things differently, one thing that does not change however is the Physics involved, Gravity, Inertia, Motor Mechanics, Impact Forces and Vectors are constants in our Universe that can be revisited, studied separately and clearly understood, it does not matter what you think is happening there is only one actuality.
The thing about Science is that even when you disagree it is still correct.
Because of this I try to get my Students to see the basic Science in everything we do, and I do mean basic, I am not in any way a gifted Science Student, but I do believe that if we cannot get the Science into our Head we will struggle to get the Mechanics into our Body.
If you cannot think it then you cannot do it, simply because you would have no idea what you were trying to do, no “Frame of Reference”.
Just looking at the Science can let us see how our thought process operates, how we think.
 Many people are uncomfortable with simple, uncomplicated explanations, there is not enough to hold onto, too many holes to drop into, this results in some Instructors filling the spaces with well intentioned but unnecessary and often incorrect information.
In the last 2 posts and in this post I want us to observe Gravity.
Gravity is everywhere, and we all know what it does, so why is it that when you ask a person to drop their weight they lean forwards?
You ask a Student to drop their Elbow and they ask “In what direction”?
Gravity only works in one direction, if you are not sure take your Computer to the top of a building and drop it off, which way does it go? even if you throw it, which way does it go?
When you drop your weight your weight goes down to the ground, if it is going towards your Partner you are leaning.


Martial Artists get sexually excited about creating a more powerful punch, there are video’s on how to Punch harder and I have been to many workshops on so called “Power Punching”, and just about all of the idea’s fall apart once you investigate the Science regarding Impact as opposed to the Science regarding Force Production.
Impact Force is far more dependent on the Target than the Attacker, if the Target is still it will experience a different amount of force than it would if it was moving, that is why Boxers weave and Roll.
Most Power Punching Gurus teach something that keeps you moving into the Target, they mistakenly think that this creates acceleration, this type of method simply extends the amount of time you are in contact and extends the amount of time that it takes you to release your Kinetic energy, it is the rate of the energy exchange {acceleration as the rate of momentum change} that causes the damage and not how fast you hit the Guy.
To keep it simple Impact Force is the amount of force it takes to stop the Punch, even if it is with your Face.  Hard surfaces stop force quicker than soft surfaces, if the Target absorbs force then the impact is less, in fact this is one of the principals behind Wing Chun defence.
If your Instructor is holding a Power Punching lesson and he spends more time talking about your end of the event than the Target he either does not understand the Science or he is involved in “Fear Management”, thinking you can hit hard will make you feel safer, more confident, but it will not knock people out.
It is not what you throw that is important, it is what lands.



W.C.W. 18-03-2015



There are a great deal of contradictions between Wing Chun training and Wing Chun usage, and for beginners this causes  more than just a little bit of confusion.

Many Instructors base their “Training Model” on the first form, and everything is done from a static position, great importance is placed on “Stance” and “Structure” but these are the first elements to vanish on contact with an uncooperative opponent, so much so that many students abandon Wing Chun after the first year simply because it does not work.

How can idea’s like ‘Do not Push, Do not Pull or Do not Attack’ possibly be of any use in an environment where someone will be attacking, pushing and pulling you?

It does not matter how long you have been training or how good you are at Wing Chun if someone attacks you, you will not stand still, your Nervous System, Spinal Reflex Mechanism, Amygdala will override anything your Mind thinks is a good idea, your training will be ignored to a large extent simply because your Body will be moving before your Brain is even aware that something is wrong.

But we do train in a static position.

I teach my Guys from a static position.

So what is all that about?

Firstly are we ever truly still?

We live on a spinning rock that is hurtling through space at 13 million miles a day, stillness is an illusion, Gravity and the fact that all our reference points are spinning with us creates this illusion.

The First Form is not to be taken literally, it is just a Portal, a Door.

If you do not get this then you are not training you are just “standing around, waiting for the other Shoe to drop”.

We do a lot of training in a static position simply to take away the need to factor in movement, but movement is implied in the stillness, and must of course be eventually included, how we do that is Chum Kiu.

This post is not overtly about Chum Kiu, but if you make contact with an opponent / partner you make a Bridge, so everything becomes Chum Kiu.

Standing still and moving are the two sides of the same Coin, just as moving forwards and moving backwards are the two sides of the same Coin, just as Pushing and Pulling are the two sides of the same Coin.

If we do not push then we do not pull, and for all the same reasons.

When you think you are pushing someone else you are only pushing yourself, and when you think you are pulling someone else you are only pulling yourself {innuendo adds a certain amount of serious humour to this statement}.

In a similar vein to the Tarn Sau misunderstanding I think the same thing happens with the Tor Sau.

The exercise is performed with a partner pulling or adding static resistance to your Wrist and as you correctly perform Tor Sau the Partner is pulled in, this is the action we appropriate when latching or cutting down, but is this what we are trying to learn?

I believe not.

My understanding of any and all of the “resistance” exercises is that they are observation platforms, they allow us to have a “Physical” experience of the concepts that drive Wing Chun.

  One of many things we are able to observe and to recognise is the timing of achieving Status Quo, the time and place where every action is equal and all movement is balanced out, practically stilled. At this point the Partner / Opponent begins to work against themselves {just as we would if we push or pull}, this is a trigger point, an indicator, this is where you initiate your own independent movement and adopt Chum Kiu thinking.

The exercises allow us to observe the effectiveness of Multi Vectors and how to achieve them.

But for me the most important thing is that they allow us to experience Gravity and its application in Wing Chun.



In the Tor Sau exercise before my Partner takes hold of my wrist I am holding my Arm in space, to be able to do this I use an equal amount of force as Gravity uses to try to pull my Arm to the floor, even if I am unaware that I am doing this.

The first thing I do when my partner takes hold is to simply “Let Go” of my Arm, some people refer to this as relaxing the Arm but this is simplistic and a long way from the truth of what is really happening, Gravity immediately pulls my Elbow downward, my Elbow pulls my wrist downward and of course my partner resists with an equal and opposite force.

My partner is now trying to fight Gravity, it is not my Tor Sau!!

As I apply Shoulder Rotation I multiply the Force that Gravity is using on my Partner this makes my partners Body react and commit to the Vector coming from the Elbow, as my partner is now actively pulling on my falling Arm he now has no way of preventing me from moving my Elbow hinge and uprooting him. If he changes his focus to the Wrist then Gravity, not me, just pulls him from the Falling Elbow.

Realising that it is Gravity means that I do not need to do anything physical with my Elbow I simply stop holding my Arm up.

The same thing is happening with the expanding Tarn Sau exercise, except that now Gravity is working on the Wrist {the wrist travels in a straight/level line because the rising of the Elbow caused by rotating the Shoulder is countered by the dropping of the wrist} and the hinging Elbow multiplies the force, it is a lot easier to observe this in the Tor Sau exercise than it is in the Tarn Sau exercise because Gravity is pulling the whole Arm down towards the Earth and not just the ForeArm, but it is the same if you look closely.

And then of course there is the “Cut Down”, I will look at this next week.

Wing Chun is a study of Vectors, directions of force, if you really wish to improve your training revisit the Physics you covered as a School Boy.






For many years I was a Senior Instructor with my Sifu’s School and I would visit the Branches / Sub Schools to do Training Workshops, after the workshop I would help the Branch Leader with any training issues that they may have, nearly all had the same issue, even though they did not really know it, “Pushing”.

Why is it that some people think that “Pushing” is normal in Wing Chun?

I believe it is because of a misunderstanding of how to approach some of our basic teaching tools, Chi Sau and Siu Nim Tao analysis in particular.

When doing Chi Sau my Sifu would recommend that only one student practised Chi Sau while the other Student basically pushed punches from a Chi Sau shape, the punches were not meant to land, they were intended to help the Partner not beat him up, in this way the Training Student could practice against strong forceful attempts to defeat his structure.

After a few minutes the Students would reverse roles so they both benefited equally.

Ego’s hate equality, punches that do not land upset the the student punching and punches that do land upset the student practicing Chi Sau, soon the idea of training to help each other goes out of the window and without close supervision both students would begin using force and before long neither were practising Chi Sau, instead both were pushing forcefully trying to hit each other.

My Sifu had a large School with literally hundreds of students, most of whom were taught at outside Branches / Sub Schools by fellow students and not Sifu Jim himself, in this environment there was rarely any one senior enough to know better to supervise the Chi Sau training and “Pushing” became the norm.

The issue I observed and what I wish to pay special attention to is the misunderstanding of the Siu Nim Tao analysis exercises that I believe begin the descent into “Pushing” that later becomes Jiu Jitsu Chi Sau.

In my Sifu’s School we would explore the structure of Wing Chun by performing movements from Siu Nim Tau Form against resistance, for instance Tarn Sau with someone holding your wrist and offering resistance.

If a Student did not have a complete understanding of what these exercises entailed it was very easy to think that we used our Structure and our Arm movement to unbalance or shift out partner, because that is exactly what it looked like from the outside and what it felt like if you were the partner holding the wrist.

This of course is wrong, totally and completely wrong, if YOU are moving your Partner even slightly then YOU are “Pushing”.

Time and time again I would do this exercise with students, I would use enough force to create a Status Quo and of course the Student would slightly increase their effort to move me.

If you increase your force by even as little as 0.01% then you are “Pushing”.

I know some very senior people that still do this, they do not think that they do this, but they do.

I believe that there is a flaw in the way the exercise is performed, not the exercise itself, but its execution.

How should we do it and what should we look for?

I teach my guys a couple of “precursor exercises” that help them understand what to look for.

1. The Student extends Tarn Sau to a position that he feels is correct and then his partner takes hold of the wrist and quite gently pushes back at the Tarn Sau, from here the Student performing Tarn Sau can observe his own alignment and feel how the incoming force affects his Arm and Body Structure, and more importantly STABILITY.

It is extremely important that the incoming force is quite gentle so that the Nervous System does not react and push back.  What the Student should be looking for is an alignment that creates a conduit so that the incoming force is pinning him into the floor and not pushing him backwards.

2. This exercise begins with both students in contact as before but the Tarn Sau is is in the process of extending, the Student holding the wrist offers ever so slightly greater resistance than the student that is extending Tarn Sau is using, this should stop the Tarn Sau in its tracks but not push it backwards, in this position the student performing Tarn Sau maintains his extension but of course it does nothing to his partner, he is learning to understand that you can be moving your Arm without your Arm actually moving. A bit like your Wheels spinning but the Car not moving.

3. From precursor #2 the student offering the resistance steadily increases his force, if the alignment is correct as discovered in precursor #1. And the Tarn Sau is still attempting to extend, all be it gently, then the pusher will begin to push himself backwards off his Partners Tarn Sau. To both parties this may feel as if it is the Tarn Sau that is moving the partner, and it will most definitely look that way to an outside observer, but it is in fact just the activation of Newtons Third Law of Motion, the equal and opposite reaction causes the student pushing to repel himself from the Tarn Sau, the continued movement of the Tarn Sau now accelerates an already moving partner away.



These exercises will help you see that all you do is create a platform for your partner to push himself off, a valuable tool in real self defence where actions can happen before you see them, quicker than thought.

Once the understanding has sank in you can perform the Tarn Sau extension against any amount of force, and yes your partner will move backwards but he will be pushing himself away from you and your extension will become a force multiplier.

If this idea is not fully understood then you will forever struggle with Chum Kiu, struggle to understand how and why we use the body in Chum Kiu.





W. C. W. 04 – 03 – 2015


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”???







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”.


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.