The Blind Men and the Elephant
John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)
|It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
|The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”
|The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”
|The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”
|The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”
|The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”
|The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”
|And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
In his ground breaking book “Meditations on Violence” Rory Miller equates Violence with the above parable, but it is also true of Wing Chun, if you were to get 6 Masters together in the same room the chances are very high that they would all have quite differing opinions on the how and why of Wing Chun, it would not be a case of “I am right ,you are wrong” it would simply be a reflection of where they are on the Elephant.
We only ever see the world through the Lens of our own experience, we are all at our own Station on the Elephant.
My way of approaching Wing Chun, in fact my way of approaching Violence is that it is me responding to what someone else is doing to me, it is not me doing something to them, so everything I do stems from the premise that someone is attacking me, I am “Counter – Attacking” all the time, this obviously has an influence on how I view the actions and how I teach the actions of Wing Chun.
So for me Chi Sau is always about developing skills and ideas to use when dealing with an aggressive attack, whether that be by using control or redirection.
In the first Form we are very much just using our Arms but still we can find the Concepts of Redirection and control.
In the second Form we keep the same thinking but, more and more I want to use my Body to bring about the redirection, potentially even bring about the control, but mostly the redirection, this allows me the possibility to use my Arms as a Controlling Agent while my Body acts as a Redirecting Agent, and I can play with this is Chi Sau to become intimate with how I perceive this Concept, this Idea.
Where ever possible we will be intercepting an attack and striking simultaneously, so if we look at the actions from Chi Sau any Strike will in fact be my second Strike, and this is an important issue, even if we somehow find ourselves in the “Default Chi Sau Position” initially, we still there after my first Strike lands, invariably my opponent have knocked back by my blow so my second Strike would need me to move into a new striking position, and we would benefit by trying to bring this into our Chi Sau training.
Redirect – Hit followed up immediately with Shift / Step – Hit.