Nothing is automatic, we need to give our sub-conscious mind some very clear options if we wish it to not only choose for us under pressure but choose wisely.


This is another part of the free preview to my E-Book MAKING YOUR MARTIAL ART WORK ON THE STREET,


The Majority of people that train Martial Arts do not have very much personal experience in fighting, most of the assumptions of what a street situation will be like have no basis in reality, most of the knowledge that they are working from is only what they have witnessed, and that will overwhelmingly be either Competition Match Fighting or on screen Movie Fighting, this is where they get their internal idea of what a fight looks like, no one does this deliberately it is just the way our brains file away information, you see it everyday with new students, they are trying real hard to look like a Jackie Chan, a Bruce Lee or a Liam Neeson.

Movie fights need very clever people to set up the fight scenes so that they look like a fight to the camera, this usually means the swings need to be bigger and slower so they do not blur, in fact most movie fight scenes are shot relatively slowly, pretty much walking pace and then the frame rate is adjusted in post production, punches that break toilets in 2 or smash tiles from the wall hardly even bruise the hero, and it takes an atomic bomb of a combo to eventually put down the Bad Guy, even then he is likely to come back for one last futile gasp of an attack, and the hero comes out with a band aid on his nose or an arm in a sling, especially Jason Statham or Matt Dillon.  

 Match fighting, as real as it gets match fighting is still entertainment on one level, no one likes to pay good money for a fight that is over in 5 seconds, the first few rounds are just to give the punter his monies worth, both of these set up fight situations unconsciously have us thinking there will be time to get the job done, while in reality there will not be, street events are over in a matter of seconds, even if the beating goes on for minutes there was no doubt about the outcome after the first 5 seconds, movie and match fights unconsciously have us disconnecting to how bad it feels and how serious the consequences are when someone punches us in the face, real hard.


A couple of things, firstly we need to change what we think a street situation will be all about, it may shake our conviction for a while but once the dust settles and we accept that this was the way it always was anyway we will be training for something a lot more likely to happen.

Secondly, if street situations only last 5 seconds we need to be the one finishing it in 5 seconds, do you train to put people away, or at least do you incorporate putting your attacker down and pissing off?

The Nike defence has saved many lives, do you add it to your own training, do you have an exit strategy to use after you have dropped your best moves on a Bad Guy?


So here we are it has all kicked off and we are deep in the middle of the one thing we never wanted to be in the middle of, being in the middle is easy, the Bad Guy decided that, but how do we end it? 


Does pushing him on his ass and running away count as a win?  If it doesn’t will you allow yourself to take this option?

 There is plenty of advice available on the Internet about the importance of fighting to the goal but how do we know what the goal is when we are in the middle of somebody else’s sh*t storm?

If in everyday training the usual procedure is for us to do our stuff and then stop and let our partner have his turn then guess what, that is the goal of that training exercise, that is the goal you are fighting to here and now, the goal was to finish your attack and allow the other guy to have a go.

In training if you do something wrong, use an improper strike for the combo or use it in a different sequence what do you do, do you carry on regardless to the goal or do you stop and replay it. If you stop and replay then the goal is perfection and not punishment.

Can a strike really be delivered from too close or too far or be wrong in any way if it connects with the target in such a way that it compromises the targets defence and allows us to follow up with more strikes? 

Nothing is automatic, we need to give our sub-conscious mind some very clear options if we wish it to not only choose for us under pressure but choose wisely. If we genuinely  think that pushing people over and pissing off is a good option, a good result then we need to put it into our training, always finish with a goal achieved and acknowledge it to ourself before we give our partner his turn, and encourage our partner to do the same, because in doing this we remind ourself that the other guy has a plan as well, and it is to hurt us.





The end game we are looking for is to have complete movement system that comprises of shifting and pivoting without any set pattern or mechanics, one that allows us to have control over our weight from a feeling stand point and not one that relies on being in the right place at the right time, the beauty is that we were born with this, all we need to do now is polish it and trust it. I am sure that at one time or another all of us have ran through a crowd of people for some reason, catching a bus or a lift for instance, we avoid other people easily and do not fall over, physically this is all we need if you think about it, except that in these incidences we are controlling our weight so as to not impact any one else, in fighting all we really need is to learn how too change our intention.

All of our movement comes from the floor, the first move is downwards, and usually this is performed by gravity os we may not notice or recognise this, Newtons third law then sends this force back to my centre, Ground Reaction Force, I push the planet and the planet pushes back to push my lower centre then the lower centre transfers the force to the upper centre, feet, hips, shoulders and out into the world.  Often it is said that we move from the hips, this is only partially correct, if you are aware of your own body to a high degree when you move your hips you will feel that what it does is push your feet into the planet, everything comes from the floor.








If a nut or bolt comes loose and it needs tightening immediately or the “sh** will hit the fan”,  do you spend time measuring the nuts and then track down the perfect spanner or do you use an adjustable wrench?

This another page from the E-Book,  MAKING YOUR MARTIAL ART WORK ON THE STREET,



This is not as straight forward a question as it may seem, it is not possible to have a stock answer for this because that would mean there will only be one type of encounter against one type of person and you know that is unlikely.

If, we do not have some vague idea of the impending attack and attacker how do we evaluate what we are learning, how do we decide which areas of our own training should be worked on, improved and which just need maintaining.

Is the attacker short or tall, heavy or light, fast or slow does he want to dance or does he want to stand and deliver?  These criteria change everything.

If, as a couple of my own students have said before, we do not have any particular type of foe in mind we are just trying to get as many tools as possible in our survival toolbox how can we ever know if we have all the right tools, when is our toolbox full and ready for work, do we just keep stuffing in more tools? ”

“Never forget Hicks Law {the more choices you have the longer it takes to make a decision}.

The type of guys that like the toolbox analogy tend to be tradesman or handymen, it is something that resonates with their everyday experiences.  If you are this type of guy answer me this about a real maintenance situation.

 If a nut or bolt comes loose and it needs tightening immediately or the “sh** will hit the fan”,  do you spend time measuring the nuts and then track down the perfect spanner or do you use an adjustable wrench?

Does this choice have any different effect on the outcome of the job?

In the original question I asked, “Who are we training to defend ourselves from?”  Most training uses generic attacks to work against, if we are using Generic Attacks then it would make sense that there is a Generic Attacker that is using these attacks, or at least a recognisable collection of attackers. 

What could that collection look like?

Taller people will hit us from farther away and be far trickier to get inside of, they will usually kick first, and may very well be out of immediate striking Range as we defend their Kick so any counter strike will need movement, and then when we do strike the fact that they are on one leg will make them less stable, they will definitely move on contact, stealing our power and negating  combinations.

Shorter people will by necessity be much closer as they attack,  it is hard to get inside someone that is already inside our space, they will be too close to kick effectively if we cannot control the space, and may of already compromised our Balance, moving back to create space or regain Balance will prevent us from moving our Body Mass into them sacrificing  power.

Fast moving people will favour darting in and out of range, they will use combo’s and be more difficult to land an effective strike on, hitting a moving target is very difficult if this skill has not been trained.

Slower moving people will usually prefer to ambush or Sucker Punch us than a straight face off,  once fighting  they may continually press forward and use powerful strikes to counter their lack of speed.

Well-conditioned people, on top of the above options these guys will be harder to injure or hurt because of their toned bodies, body shots may be less effective.

Heavy or fat people, similar to well-conditioned people will require intelligent target selection, usually their weakness is their Legs, and they know it so they will close the space.

Your average attacker will have similarities to at least 2 of the above stereotypes.

A big roundhouse punch from a quick tall well conditioned attacker will require a completely different response than the same attack from a short, slow and fat person.  In training we can change partners to get some variation but can we cover the extremes?  Finding a way to at least play with these differences even if they are nothing like the real thing  will allow us to become familiar with the potential differences, and often that is all it takes to be prepared.

We all have favourite “Fan Boy” techniques that amuse and excite us at training, usually they are impossible to pull of in the street, hitting a moving target is way harder than hitting a stationary partner and it is going to be very difficult to pull off under pressure, hitting a quick moving small target is going up a level and going to be very, very difficult indeed, hitting a quick moving small target with a small weapon, well I am sure you see how this is turning out so we would do well to keep it simple, I recommend forgetting all about Dim Mak pressure points, darting finger jabs to the eye, or flying Superman punches.





Keep an open mind and do your own independent research, especially about the spine and how to use it.

The Biu Gee pivot is an upper body pivot powered by the shoulder girdle, it creates Shoulder Torque which is completely separate from Waist Torque, because of this they can be performed in unison creating more power than each can create individually, the Biu Gee pivot can be performed as the the body is shifting in  linear fashion as we do in Chum Kiu creating multiple vectors on impact.

Some Instructors describe the Biu Gee pivot as beginning at the waist and raising upwards one vertebrae at a time, this approach is mainly  a mental process , as a mental process or visualisation it does have value due to the fact that early on students engaging in “Core Winding” tend to loose there shape and at the speed and force that Biu Gee rotates this can result in loss of balance, attempting it physically is potentially hazardous, trying to turn the shoulders with the spine can result in serious injury to the lower back, especially the joints L4, L5 and S1. when anything is twisted or wound it gets shorter, more condensed, attempting to stretch {raise up} a spine that is naturally winding down is creating antagonistic tension that will eventually result in failure of either the vertebrae of the lower back or the core muscles, these injuries are quite common with Golfers, Cricket Pace Bowlers and Baseball Pitchers. 

Core winding, because that is what we are talking about is achieved as one would expect by using the muscles of the core, specifically from the Thoracic area of the spine, the easiest way to think about this is that we use our rib cage.

The majority of Wing Chun Instructors, myself included, have a limited understanding of Functional Anatomy, and we are usually explaining this limited knowledge to students that have an even more limited understanding, to try to improve the communication we use analogies and descriptions that have no basis in reality, lets be honest there are frequent and numerous contradictions in Wing Chun logic, as long as we understand that this is just a vehicle for imagination there is no harm being done, but once we start thinking that IDEAs such as “Raise Up, Sink Down and Relax” are more than just a mental process, that they are things that can genuinely be done we are slipping off into the Fog.    To remain upright bodies require tension.

Before my last operation 2 years ago I was hoping for a non surgical outcome so I signed up at the Sports Medicine department of N.S.W. Institute of Sport, I was treated by well credentialed doctors and physios, when I eventually described the treatment to my neurosurgeon he remarked that they did not know enough about the human spine to be in the business and had complicated my problem, there was no doubt an element of professional bitchiness about his remark but their knowledge was not as deep as his, and I paid for it.   Keep an open mind and do your own independent research, especially about the spine and how to use it.

In many respects the Biu Gee rotation is the same as swinging a Baseball Bat  or the Golf Swing, due to the money in golf there is a tonne of great information on the internet about how to swing around the spine and not with the spine.

In Wing Chun irrespective of what method we use to pivot there are two criteria that must be met 

  1. We must remain in balance.
  2. We must not create extra tension in the legs or body.

Strictly adhering to these criteria and keeping an open mind about the mechanics will teach us the best way for our own body to pivot, we are all different so instruction should always be treated as a starting point and not a destination.

It is often said that Biu Gee teaches us what to do when we make a mistake or find ourself in a bad situation, this sounds great and somewhat reassuring to people that have no genuine experience of violence, sadly it is a bit of a fiction, for sure we could use it this way and it would work, but,  if you ask anyone that has been in the melting pot with someone that wants to hurt them, they will tell you that it is  only in hindsight  you see that you made a mistake, and if you did make a mistake it is often only when you get back up that you realise it, if you mess up in a street fight there is very rarely any way back.  Biu Gee is about power production, attacking power, it is how we attack and not how we correct mistakes.


Not for everybody, madmen only.  Harry Haller, Berlin 1927.







Training is preparing for the Future.    Dealing with Violence is right here, right now.  How do we make the Bridge between these very different Animals.

This is another part of the free preview to my E-Book MAKING YOUR MARTIAL ART WORK ON THE STREET,


What we promise ourselves and what we deliver are not always the same thing, what we know and what we believe are not always the same things, and finding out where these tracks part ways is important to our Self Defence training because our attitude, acceptance and approach { to Life in general not just the Martial Arts} stems from what we believe and not what we know, I want you to  answer the following question the instant you look at it.

“Can you fight”?

Once we allow ourselves to think about questions, without really being aware of it we start to think about how any answers we give will reflect us, so we choose an answer that we think best fits the situation while portraying us in the best light. 

 This is an answer from the person Inside that makes the base choices in our lives, the person inside that decides self worth.

If the question is a little vague we will change the question to have it make sense, so instead of answering the very real question of  “Can you Fight”?

We answer the reimagined question of  “can you fight well, are you any good at fighting?

Everyone can fight, not everyone is good at it, and that is why we train, to improve something that we can already do.

Reflect on why you began this journey in the first place?

What ever it was, from day 1 you wanted to be at least “good” at it, if you are honest you wanted to be “More than Good”, you wanted to be a Black Belt, a Kung Fu Master or a Martial Arts Hero similar to your favourite movie character that had inspired you.”

“These are very normal situations for a beginning student, as soon as we enter training we become aware of the gap between where we are today and where we wish to be, this is crucial for our motivation, no one who takes swimming lessons jumps into the pool on day 1 thinking about swimming the English Channel even if they have been inspired to take up swimming by someone who has done just that. No one in a swimming class would think about attempting to swim 35 Kilometres before they could swim 200 Metres.

But in Martial Arts training people do this every day.”

“There is a conundrum for all of us Martial Artists, especially the non competitive Martial Artists that are training for self defence.

Martial Arts are fear management, we are training to be prepared in case of an unspecified threat, the chance of a potential threat, and not danger management in response to an unfolding violent event.

Training to deal with an unformed, general threat that may not ever eventuate is a never ending story. As a result it generates countless “what if” questions, that require even more training to satisfy, but when you do not know what you are training to deal with how do you know when you are ready to deal with it?

Training is preparing for the Future.

Dealing with Violence is right here right now.

How do we make the Bridge between these very different Animals.