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FLOW


FLOW

A post of my own thinking for a change.

I learned how to fight a long time before I studied any Martial Art, and if we say that a 3 year involvement is the minimum to say that you have studied anything then I have studied 5 Martial Arts, including Wing Chun that I have been studying since 1992.

I also played a lot of Football, dabbled with Ice Hokey and played enough Tennis to consider and begin training to be a Coach. And of course I Danced, not just disco but also a bit of Ballroom.

The way I teach Wing Chun is really very different than the way my contemporaries that trained with me under the same Master teach Wing Chun, which is interesting to me because we are trying to teach as we ourselves where taught, keeping the information undiluted as it where, but our own Life Experiences shape things in such a way as to make the approach to the work seem like different Arts, or at least different Lineages.

Before learning any M.A. I was taught how to move my Body to get a Job done.  Any Job.

I personally do not spend most of our training time on the Stances, or the Forms as some of my “Brothers” do, they would constitute no more than 10% of our Groups training time, maybe less.

I do of course encourage my Students to spend as much of their own time on this aspect of our thing, but not our training time, I am much more concerned with Flow. The ability to be able to smoothly move from one action to another completely different action, from one place in Space to another different completely different place in Space, and the ability to combine the controlled movement of both the action and the Space.

Forms do not do this…… If you think they do then you are drinking the “Kool-Aid” and not paying attention to what is going on.  Standing still will never teach you how to move!!

As a Footballer I was taught how to “Kick” the Ball, as a Tennis Player I was taught how to “Punch” my Volleys and as an Ice Hockey Player I was taught how to “Slap” the Puck, all on the move often at full tilt, all with great power and always with someone trying to make this difficult for me. These skills have saved the Day on more than one occasion.

Deep down everyone knows that is is not a good idea to pick a fight with an Ice Hockey Player… Rugby Player.

There are no “Stances” or “Forms” in Sport.

I used to Box, and I soon learned that things went better for me when I was not where the other guy could Punch me, I competed at Judo and I soon learned that I did better when I changed position so the other guy could not Throw me.

I did better when I moved.

Stances did not teach me this………

Forms did not teach me this……….

Dancing taught me this.

Forms, Lineage and the Old Way, this is a Big part of all Martial Arts but does it really teach you anything?

A talented Chef with Great knowledge will always find new recipe’s in an old Book, but that is due to the Skill and experience of the Chef and nothing else.

I am not trying to say that my approach to teaching is better than any one else’s {I obviously believe it is or I would not teach this way}, there are always many ways to achieve the same objective and all have equal value, but it is a lot more fun and my current crop of Students are making much quicker progress than the Students I taught with my Masters School.

There is a place for the Forms, that place is at Home when you have no one else to train with, and in this way they offer a great resource because you spend a lot of time at Home, but when you have a Partner or an Instructor you should not be spending most of your time doing something that is not dynamic.

We know what Albert Einstein said about theory…….

“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not”.

Movement works with and accepts any given situation, Forms exist like Monuments. A Student that trains and bases his knowledge on Forms and Stances cannot compare with an Adept that bases his actions in Movement and Adaptation to another’s Movement. The Form player will always be looking for answers found inside the Form, instead of allowing what is happening to happen and bring the answers in with it whatever they may be.

“Escort what comes in, follow what goes out”… there is movement here not stillness.

Movement is more important than Form because it is needed to understanding the application of Forms, for those times when you aren’t being “fed an attack”, you get a feel for real action with violent intent at high rates of speed that’s unpredictable because it’s unrehearsed. And you develop the instinct to correct incorrect actions, regain your Balance and take advantage of your opponents weakness without worrying about if you are or are not on Centre or where your feet are pointing.

“This method isn’t for everyone. That’s not to say everyone couldn’t benefit from it, but – not everyone will embrace it. Many practitioners find a kind of comfort in the safe choreography of forms, knowing they are part of a tradition that has been handed down the same way for generations”.  Terry Trahan.

What kind of Day is it for you?

4 thoughts on “FLOW”

  1. just a bit confused, isn’t the right form makes the most efficient and effective attack/defense/evasion?
    but I agree with you on the important of flow between form, many entrapped with stationary form instead of fluidity of forms…

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    1. Hi Reedone816,

      What makes something “The right Form”? Unless the attack takes place at exactly the position that you do your Form you are not using the same movement. If it is not the same movement then it is not the same Form. I have had this conversation with people before and they usually counter “But we are simply adapting the movement of the Form are we not”? The problem with this is deciding when something is “Adapted” and as such “Right” and when is it just a different shape and as such “Wrong”? That is why I teach function over Form, if my aim is to stop you hitting me then the shape is not important.

      Thank you very much for joining in this conversation, i hope this has been of some help.

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      1. thank you for answering, I hope I can catch it right.
        Just my opinion, that form is a movement or series of movements created so student can easily memorize the techniques being taught. So perfecting the form means perfecting your own techniques.
        But like you said, the form as a chain of movements is not to be used in real life scenario. The form is just an example of a scenario. That is why I also agree with the fluidity of the form, we see the form as a myriad of techniques, that we can rearrange it to suit the condition we face.
        So it is not that I contradict your point, but I just want to add that form is a good way to learn how to execute a series of techniques right. Also as assessment tool for the master to see if a student has good technique or not.
        Now about technique, technique to me is not that rigid as a type of movement, but as a theory of something (like striking or blocking). As long as our movement is in sync with the theory, then it is executing a technique right. And that is I believe as what you means as a function, because the technique if executed right will have the function right, doesn’t matter how it shape like.
        Of course knowing to execute a technique right, is not the end, you also need to learn how the pre and post of technique execution, that is to what I catch from your article is called flow (I’d like to say it fluidity).
        It reminds me of one of my grandmaster story, that no matter how awesome a technique is, it is useless if it can’t touch us.
        This is just my poor understanding, but I hope that I’m facing the right direction. =bowing=

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      2. Hello again, it would appear we are talking about the same thing just using different words. Moving towards the same place but from a different direction. Some people do not give themselves the freedom to think this way, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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