Most M. A. Styles spend most of their training hours on this aspect of Connectivity but it is in no way specific to the Martial Arts, the Hand / Eye co-ordination of all Ball Sports, the ability to be able to ride a Bike without falling off, in fact simply Walking are all working in the same direction,  often it is more to do with ensuring there are no surplus or erroneous movements introduced, the action becomes Right once we stop doing things Wrong.

Body Unity requires that all of the Body parts be responsible for how they interact individually with all of the other Body parts.  Body Unity is often as simple of being aware that we do this naturally.

With just a few minor adjustments we can change normal everyday movement into Functional Martial Art Movement.  Connecting the Mind and Body is always the first step, once we understand what and why the how is quite simple.

Of particular importance are …..

The connections of Shoulder / Hip ensuring that they move together to the same place in the same direction.  Especially during rotation, when Hook Kicking for example both the Shoulder and Hip must move towards the target.

The connections of Elbow / Knee ensuring that they move together to the same place in the same direction.  In normal walking where we allow our feet to cross, which results in us twisting our Torso the Knees and Elbows adopt a counter action to keep us stable and stop us from walking like a Drunk and loosing fine control of our direction. Most Martial Arts, especially the Fist Arts advocate not crossing the Feet for this very reason.  That is why most Arts shift instead of step, as Wing Chun does in Chum Kiu.

A few years ago I began teach my Students do a rear Hip rotation to keep in synch with the Bong Sau when shifting in Chum Kiu to maintain the Elbow and Knee on the same line, it is not an original thought it is just bringing in {Connecting} some of the ideas from the Pole.      The increase in power is astonishing.

The connections of Hand / Foot ensuring that they move together to the same place in the same direction.  This is the easiest of the connections to work on, and usually if this is working so are the others, the stepping from the Knives is a fine example of this action.

The connections of the Nose and the Navel ensuring that they move together to the same place in the same direction.  Wing Chun’s Chasing the Shadow / Facing the Shadow Idea make this second nature.

If we allow the connections to be out of synch then our upper Body and lower Body are moving counter to each other, dissolving any kinetic energy chain, effectively fighting ourselves.

Although this is more Functional Human Movement as opposed to strictly Natural Human Movement it should be performed Naturally.



Taking the Body as a whole there are some priorities that we should hold as being vital.

Align with Gravity.  Mostly we do this without thinking, but we can improve our awareness of it by allowing ourselves to sink down into our Abdomen at all times, and then by extending it to feel for our Foot on the Earth.  Posture, Structure are just elements of being in Balance and being aligned with Gravity. A specific M.A. Styles Shape of Body is often as much Fashion as Function.

The Earth takes precedence over the Body.  All actions begin with the Earth, no matter what we think we are doing the Feet create the movement, the Foot presses the Planet and the Planet presses back, the Centre’s function is to direct this return force.

Lower Body takes precedence over the Upper Body.  The Feet, Legs  and Centre  are both the drivers and the supports for the Chest, Shoulders and Arms {this can be difficult to accept at first for Wing Chun Students, there is so much emphasis on the Spine and Arms, both of which are Upper Body} when the Waist or Hips move, the Shoulders follow, this allows the Upper Body to SIT or RELAX on the Lower Body, when the Shoulder follows the Hip the Spine remains in a natural and relaxed way.

Centre takes precedence over the extremities.  Both the Arms and the Legs are directed by the Centre, when we move, our Nose must follow our Waist, no matter what direction we are moving, basically remain in one piece, take the Waist to where you wish to do the work and look where your Waist is going, this prevents the Shoulders from falling out of position.

All movement is Human Movement, and we are Humans so it is how we do every task once we allow ourselves to move NATURALLY, the main aim is to become aware when we introduce movement that is UNNATURAL,  this is the function of all M.A. Forms, but too often  Form turns into per-form-ance and how we do it becomes more important than just doing it and observing, the most important aspects of training are consistency of action and understanding the task at hand, being mentally involved with what our Body is doing as in Mind/Body Unity.

Sometimes understanding what is WRONG is even more important than understanding what is RIGHT, once we remove the errors all we have left is correct and indisputable.

Body Unity is as natural as breathing, we do not need to try to develop it, very few people are truly uncoordinated, Students that struggle to move their Arm in a straight line to place their Wrist to a partners Wrist in training have no problem posting letters into a 3 inch high by 12 inch wide slot, even as they are walking past it, they have no difficulty in lifting a full cup of Tea to their lips while reading the Breakfast Newspaper without looking at the Cup or spilling a drop of  Tea.

There comes a point in everyone’s training  when Arm shapes, Stances and Movements are no longer important, you just deliberately move stuff out of the way with one simple Intention and normal Human Body Movement, this is the Grail after all.

We are all born with Body Unity, why doubt that we still posses it?





We may talk in terms of Mind / Body Connection but in reality there is only Mind.

The Mind is in the Body, the Body is a reflection of the Mind, they are one, indivisible, we were born CONNECTED.

Our Body always does what our Mind tells it to, no matter what we may think is happening our Body is just following orders, it is a communication issue.

Mind / Body Unity can be looked at as “Thinking what we do while doing what we think”  it is our thinking that needs to be worked on, as in do we know what we are attempting and how to go about it?

Thought + Intention = Action, if we are having the wrong thought we will always get the wrong action.

Anything that is formed in the Mind, by the Mind, is Imagination.

Mind / Body Unity is a product of our Imagination, firstly we think about something to bring it in to existence, then we observe it to fully integrate the idea, then we use intention to activate it.  The more we think about it the easier it becomes to use it, the clearer we can think about any action the easier it is for our Body to understand the message, we build ever more efficient Neural Pathways, conduits for information exchange, the more often we perform an action, the simpler we can describe that action to ourselves is like enlarging the diameter of the pipe allowing more information to flow at a greater rate of exchange.

All Martial Arts Forms are platforms that we use to observe ourselves creating an action,  we use this observation to understand the movements fully, to create a clear image of what it is we are doing, the clearer and simpler we can make this image the more accurate will be the movement.  When the movement and the image are the same we have Mind / Body Unity.

The Body cannot work at all without the Mind, there is no such thing as an Automatic Reflex, all action requires consciousness,  that is why they pull the plug on people classified as Brain Dead even though their Body may not be impaired at all.



If Mind / Body Unity is imagination then we can improve it by improving our imagination, by training our imagination, for instance simultaneously be aware of the top of your Head and the ends of your Fingers and Toes and try to make them tingle, Imagine that you are a Human shaped Balloon and inflate yourself, what does that feel like?  Imagine that there is a light bulb at the end of each Finger, each Toe and on the Crown of your Head, then imagine that they all light up, the freer you are with your imagination the more real the experience will become and in time it will simply be real.

If you can vividly imagine yourself moving perfectly then you will move perfectly.

Our Mind controls our Body and our Body is a reflection of our Mind.

It is Hardware not Software.

If the Body and Mind are not in sync it is because the Mind is being excluded from the process. All actions come from the Mind so it is imperative that we not only know our own mind but also know how we wish to use it.

This is Intention.




Above all else we must keep a positive Mind. A positive Mind will allow us to explore any mistakes and give us the strength to investigate, to work through , understand and master any difficulties in practice.

Unity occurs without the need or use of effort.

Know what you want to move, know how you want to move it, know where you want to move it and then simply move it.

Mind Body Unity is our natural state of being, there is no need to try to deliberately manifest it, but we can help it survive without too much competition by thinking smaller, taking out all of the Buzz Words, all the trendy ideas and just BE whatever is left after the trimming.

We cannot DO – BEING.

There is no need to create Mind / Body Unity because we are already and always have been   Unified.

Or is that just my imagination running away with me?







Connectivity, big word, bigger issue.

Every Martial Artist knows that connectivity is an integral part of what we do, and in conversation phrases such as Body Unity and Mind Body Connection will keep popping up but what is it we really try to connect and how can we train it?

Sometimes all of us that train in the M.A’s get a little bit one eyed, thinking that Kung Fu, Karate, Judo or whatever we train are somehow different from other activities, in truth it is only the situation we use them in that is so different, in some sports like Ice Hockey, Lacrosse and Rugby League the contact can be so brutal, so sustained that a fight can be less daunting, less physically challenging. The worse Life injury that plagues me {with the obvious exception of my Spinal issues} is Arthritis in my Right Hand from when it was smashed into little bits playing Lacrosse, I have been in 2 very serious Car Accidents, had my foot ran over by a 4 Tonne Fork Lift and had numerous surgeries but this Sports Accident will not go away.

I know that I am not Robinson Crusoe in this regard.

Contact Sports are WAR SUBSTITUTES, and there is a great deal that is cross platform so to speak, when we cover ideas such as Connectivity, Body Unity, Body Planet Unity {Grounding} or Physical Interaction, Sports Science is usually Light Years ahead of any Martial Arts, after all there is more money involved, my thinking on these matters is coloured just as much by a Lifetimes Sports involvemint in things such as Ice Hockey, Rugby League, Road Cycling and Lacrosse {lets not even get started on 45 years in a commercial kitchen} as it is by my 50+ years of Martial Arts, and it is all the better for it.

One thing that has always puzzled me here in Australia is that people who have Surfed since childhood and still Surf regularly cannot bring that feeling into Chum Kiu, this is just another aspect of Connectivity.

There is great value to be gained from Connecting your Sports Skills even your Life Skills to your Martial Art.

On with the show this is it.

In”Almost Secret Information” I made mention of the fact that Wing Chun Information, not just the movement knowledge is distributed throughout the 6 Forms, an unfortunate side effect of this is the tendency to drift off towards Compartmentalisation, this is made almost unavoidable by our training method of analysing the Forms {as an aside that may not even be relevant, I have mentioned how my experiences with the DeBono method of Lateral Thinking  really changed how I perceived everything in life, the big kicker was not even a Lateral Thinking tool, it was how he regarded analysis, which is after all nothing more than data collection, he maintained that the analysis of data cannot create new ideas because we can only see it in the light of existing patterns, old ideas } each form is assessed individually in its own light and this leads away from Unity and interferes with us connecting all aspects of Wing Chun in to one whole.

We do not even notice it happening.

Most training look a bit like this.

The information is in the box, take it out of the box inspect it, put it back in its box and then open the next box.

All the information and instruction we need is there of course, it is just in 6 different boxes.

Depending on the School it could well be 2 – 3 years before a student begins to work with different information presented in Chum Kiu and this often leads to the belief that the previous Form, S.L.T. has more merit.

This box is the best box.


The “One Form To Rule them All”  method makes it difficult for students to see the bigger picture and the practice of analysis keeps them firmly in one box at a time stagnating their thinking and colouring their opinion { never forget that the word analysis begins with ANAL}.   Each box holds different information, often superficially conflicting information, the first Form emphasise stillness of Body combined with Arm movement while keeping the Torso square, the second Form dispenses with stillness and moves the Waist and Legs while moving the Arms keeping the Torso square. The third form dispenses with squareness and introduces “Core Winding”.

These things cannot be looked at in isolation, to be understood they need to be combined.   They need to be connected, Chi Sau without Biu Gee’s “Core Winding’ or at least the freedom and complexity of movement generated by  “Core Winding” is wooden and of little value, standing in the Y.C.K.Y.M. performing Lok Sau?  What is that about?

In the world of data collection, every time new data, or an updated set of data comes in it is is necessary to dismantle the old model, add the updated material and then reassemble in a new configuration.  If we do not Connect the new data in a new way it just remains old data.  Without this dismantle / reassemble component there is no possibility of progress. We are stuck in a past that is no longer up to date and hardly relevant.

Connect your day job thinking!




In Wing Chun there is very little spoken about connectivity, a surprising thing when you become aware of how important it is in every other Martial Art, and even when there is it tends to focus on the biomechanical aspects of connectivity, Structure as in Straight Spine, Ultimate Angle, absence of Muscular Tension, this is all physical, knowing how is not the same thing as knowing why.

What do we connect.

The first and most important act of Connectivity {in Wing Chun at any rate} is to connect the information from all the Forms into one method, in the course of extended training this is the function of the Dummy but how many students hang around long enough to receive “Hands On Training” in the Dummy from someone that really knows it    ……………   and not Sifu Youtube?

In the 17 years I was in my Sifu’s School in Sydney fewer than 20 people were shown the Dummy Form by Sifu.     When you consider that over 4000 people went through the School in that time it represents less than 0.5% of the all of his Sydney Students.

Connectivity is something that we can definitely approach from the standpoint of “Learning Backwards”.

Helpful access points to the work are…..





All aspects exist separately but are also made up of elements of each other, for any to exist they are all needed to function together as a whole, after all we connect things to create a unified whole, UNITY means one, you cannot have a whole bunch of one.

Instead of thinking them separate the different classifications of Mind / Body / Ground / Bad Guy should be seen as looking into the same room from different windows, even though the scene may look different, chairs and tables in different relative positions, we know instinctively that it is the same scene.

Working on seeing and understanding Connections from a position outside of normal Wing Chun training {Sport, Hobby, Job, Life} will teach you more about how to “Connect” inside Wing Chun training than all the Forms combined, understanding the WHY is more physics than Kung Fu and far more natural.  If you ever need your training you will not use Wing Chun you will simply “Do some stuff” and hope it was influenced by your training.

The most important connection of all, and one that is not even spoken of in Wing Chun training is how do you relate to what is going down? How do you Connect to what is happening?  For instance with the GOOD GUY / BAD GUY connection do you connect to him, does he connect to you or is it a bit of both, there really is a world of difference in the outcomes, and this is not even taking into account the aspects of  the connection that are Mental, Emotional or Physical.

CONNECTIVITY, big word, bigger issue.

I will attempt to flesh out some of these “Connections” over the coming weeks, although it will just be my opinion, it is an opinion that has been arrived at after a very long time in the fighting Arts and some pretty rugged Sports, at the heart of every style is just a Human Being, some rules and ideas cross all boundaries.

My Schools Logo underneath…………………………..


………………….represents the connectivity of Wing Chun, the Triangle is the first Form, the flanking arrows the second Form and the circling arrows the third Form and together it is how we use it.

Even as just a picture it is quite representative of Chi Sau with inherent “Core Winding’, completely natural and useable, if you allow yourself to see that there is no correct way to go about it everything works.






All of the Forms have such a great deal of information in them that it would be way to cumbersome to present all of it at once in a W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G.  kind of way, instead there are a number of methods used to have all of the information available but not in such a fashion that it is in your face and becomes overwhelming.

The first approach is presented to us by dividing the Forms into 3 sections, A, B. and C.  This goes much farther than just turning a big dance into 3 smaller dances, there is a different objective with each section, a different “M.O”.

Being introduced to the form as being in 3 sections allow us to understand that it is not just 1 Form, it is a progression of ideas that depending on your vision can be seen as 1 Form, 3 Forms or even 118 Forms once you understand that every move in the Forms are unrelated to the previous or the following movement, they are complete of themselves and independent. Obviously they can  be linked together to become something bigger, better but that is not their function in the Forms.

The Forms sections are generally an explanation of 3 of the major considerations in Wing Chun that the Form being worked on is detailing,

If we briefly address the first Form, because it matters not what Form we are working on the Arm movements are always just Sil Lim Tao in production, the A Section is about creating movement without tension, introducing the IDEA of the Centre Line and not disturbing the Wu Ji State.

The B Section the majority of the movements are performed with both arms this is to help us balance each side of our body, because the Arms are frequently quite high it allows us to work on keeping the Shoulders natural and it introduces Fa Jing, the release of energy at the end of each movement.

With the exception of Bong Sau the  C Section is comprised of movements we have already been introduced to so it is about observing the same moves working on different lines, in fact even the Bong Sau is a move we have already been introduced to earlier in the Form, just presented moving in a different direction, the C Section introduces Free Thinking through a deeper understanding of connectivity and unity of purpose.

I had been training for about 10 years before I fully understood this aspect of the work, and even then it was almost forced onto me by the need to work back from a problem in the Dummy Form.

As we know there are 6 forms in Wing Chun, and there is a set progression to their introduction which leads to the assumption that the third Form is more advanced than the second Form and so on but this is not the case at all, the 6 Forms are just how the information is split up to avoid it being too big to deal with, as I have already mentioned every move can  be looked upon as a separate Form in and of itself, or of course the 6 Forms can be seen as the one Form in 6 Sections.

A great many outside people think that Wing Chun is a static and unrealistic Martial Arts style because all they measure it by is the first Form, and this is understandable when you think that about 90% of Wing Chun Students only ever work with the first Form, they are working with only 16.5% of the available information, none of which is information about transitional Movement.

There is a complete and very effective movement set hidden amongst the Forms, that can only be appreciated once you take it out of the Form it sleeps in and connect it with its lost friends.

The first Form introduces the most basic IDEA of movement the IDEA of stillness.

Stillness is not separate from moving it is just a different state of being.

A bit like Ice and Water.

Stillness allows us to understand what it means to be stable and in balance, the state of nothingness or Wu Ji, this is the very first thing we do in the S.L.T. Form, we settle in, settle down, become still, peaceful, relaxed and then we open our stance.

From this point on, whatever Form we are working on the overriding aim should be to maintain this state of Wu Ji as much as possible, in the S.L.T. Form we learn how to utilise a wide range of Arm moves without disturbing the state of Wu Ji, in fact all the Arm moves in all the Forms are just as presented in the first form, the shapes become more compromising and aggressive but it is the same aim, the same IDEA.

Chum Kiu introduces “Concentric Pivoting” turning in place with both feet still on the floor, and then it introduces linear shifting, forwards, sideways and in reverse.

Biu Gee introduces “Excentric Pivoting”, turning in place with only one foot on the floor, and how to shift the Body Mass down a curve.

By the end of Biu Gee training we have an overall view of Wing Chun mobility that can Pivot on both feet, pivot on just one foot, pivot concentrically or  pivot excentricly, we can shift forwards, sideways or in reverse and we can achieve any position by use of a curved step.

The Dummy Form allows us to see these things in action and to meld them into one set of movements.  This is where the separate movements from C.K. and Biu Gee reunite and become themselves in all their inter-related glory.

The Knives Form extends on these IDEAS by combining an extension of the curved step of B.G and adding it to the linear shift of C.K..  The arm moves and Wu Ji are now further compromised by wielding 1.5 Kilogram Blades in each hand.

The Pole Form combines a different aspect of the same linear shifting with excentric pivoting, and again Wu Ji is sorely tested by a 3 metre long Pole.



Very few people stay the course to study Biu Gee let alone the Knives or Pole, and those that do have often been consumed by familiarity and  habit and are no longer really looking, this is really quite obvious when you observe how some senior Wing Chun people move.

None of the movement in Wing Chun is specific to just Wing Chun, how can it be when everything is based on normal human body movement?

In my School I utilise a lot of exercises I did as a Judo player, along with somethings absorbed over a long time working with different Martial Artists and of course all the sports training that I was involved with, at the end of the day Wing Chun is more about attitude and approach then actual movement sets, if you can keep a clear view of what Wing Chun’s aims are pretty soon everything has elements of the things we do in our Forms, Ice Skating really is the same as Chum Kiu.

In previous posts I have mentioned and showcased Sensei Akuzawa Minoru and his reinterpretation of many of the classical Martial Arts exercises, all that is needed for them to be Wing Chun friendly is to tweek the explanation so it is more in line with how we present everything else in Wing Chun, a great many of his exercises are wonderful pre training for Biu Gee.

But then so is Tennis if you think about it.

The only wrong move…….. Is to not move.



wing chun sydney


In the mid 1980’s I was employed by a large corporation in a Managerial position, this corporation was very forward thinking and all of the managers across all of the divisions were sent to Melbourne for a weekend seminar by Edward De Bono to be coached in Lateral Thinking, this became a regular work experience for the next few years either going to Melbourne for a weekend or having someone come “in house”, at first I was sceptical of the whole idea, after all I was a Chef in charge of a number of Catering operations how could Lateral Thinking help me, but I soon understood that  thinking is just thinking, it is not task specific, it is a method, once my method of thinking changed everything I did changed, especially how I trained my staff.

You may think what has Lateral Thinking got to do with Martial Arts?

All thinking is just thinking, and all training is just training, be it training apprentices to become Chefs or training I.T. Consultants to do Wing Chun.

Fighting is not really a Physical experience as much as it is a Mental / Emotional experience, in any chaotic situation the worse way to deal with the the problem is to try to do what has always been done, that has already failed or we would not be in the position we find ourselves, the solution is to innovate, to change things up, to be creative.

Creativity is a mental quality not a physical act.

What really changed everything about how I trained people, what made me understand the failings of the traditional Table Top / Building Block Thinking approach to training was the concept of Learning Backwards.

Traditionally when we are taught something we start at step 1, everything is new and unknown, everything is difficult to relate to because it is new and unknown, this is always “the hardest step”, then we move on to step 2 and then onwards 3,4,5 and so on, because this is the way we have all been taught everything, we think this is the only and correct way to proceed.  But when we move from step 1 to step 2 we are once again breaking new ground, everything is new and unknown, everything is difficult to relate to because it is new and unknown, this is just another “the hardest step”, and then we progress to another “the hardest step”.

The premise behind Learning Backwards is that it makes no difference what the first step actually is it will always be difficult, new, alien, so if we begin by teaching step 5 the experience is no worse than the original step 1, no one anywhere gets step 1, so when we begin at step 5 then move on by going backwards to step 4 we know where we are headed, we know what everything is for and what is expected, we know what comes next, it is no longer a leap into the unknown.  Step 3, 2, 1 are easier still because the path ahead becomes longer and clearer.

If we apply this thinking to Wing Chun the difficulty we face learning the Sil Lim Tao Form does not make it any easier for us to understand the Chum Kiu Form, which itself does not help us to understand the Biu Gee Form because we cannot relate to why we need the movements.

In fact I can honestly say that I only understood the Forms when looking backwards anyway.

We all learn backwards.

Traditional Martial Arts thinking, including Wing Chun’s thinking, is full of out dated Table Top Methods, how often does someone roll out the old chestnut that “to build a good house you need strong foundations”?

Houses evolved out of the need for shelter, before we built them we found them, Caves, the we decided we needed shelter closer to where we hunted so we built a basic roof to keep off the Sun and Rain, then we added walls to keep out the Wind and Dust, then we added a floor, to this day there a many wonderful majestic houses across the world that do not have foundations.

If we start teaching from Biu Gee then once we look at Chum Kiu it becomes a refinement and not an expansion, we are looking inside at what we already have and not outside to what we may think we need, the same goes for S.L.T.

I have had a number of Private Students that I  started off with the Knife Form, and they did really well really quickly.  When difficulties arose I would introduce tiny sections from the other Forms to help illuminate what we were trying to achieve, when we ran scenarios based on real incidents they transferred the Knife information seamlessly into empty hand use.  Obviously these students main aim was to learn how to be better fighters TODAY and their personal investment was serious, I fully realise that many students are not interested in becoming better fighters as quickly as possible so they do not see the fault with becoming a disciple and spending years learning the craft, the thing is we all love and enjoy the things we are good at, Learning Backwards would help everyone reach a level of personal enjoyment in their Wing Chun much sooner as well.

Quick Art is still Art.

Thinking is just Thinking.