Articles

W.C.W. MORE THAN TEA


The reference to “More than Tea” comes from a story I was told about the Japanese Tea Master Furuta Oribe, student of the Great Tea Master Sen Rikyu, when asked to describe his thinking on the Tea Ceremony he said,

Japanische-Teezeremonie-München-DSC_7046

“Before I studied the The Way of Tea { The  Tea Ceremony}, Tea was just Tea.

As I became involved in the The Way of Tea, Tea became much more than Tea.

But once I understood the The Way of Tea,  Tea was once again just Tea.”

I have reached a point where Wing Chun is a simple and straight forward Martial Art, easy to understand and easy to do, it is now “Just Tea”, but it was not that long ago when like everyone else I did not quite get it, it was “More than Tea”, I can look back and see that what I know now I knew 15 years ago, I just thought that there must be more to come so kept looking instead of simply trying to understand what my Sifu had already given me, these days I truly believe that all of us can learn all there is to know in around 7 years, depending of course on how much time we can invest and how deeply we dig, but even an everyman should get there in no more than 12.

In saying this I cannot overlook that it took me 20 years to turn the light on.

This Blog is part of my journey to understand why that happened, why it took so long.     And secondly it provides a Library of sorts for my Students who work with me on my slightly idiosyncratic way of teaching Wing Chun, hopefully helping them to be able to put a wider understanding to what I say during our training.

At the beginning of Wing Chun we get overwhelmed by the amount of movements in the Forms, 118 in each of the first 4 Forms. however once we get over the initial rush of information we see that the moves are repeated on the left and right side so there are really only 59 moves done on each side. As we become more comfortable in our training, when Tea moves towards becoming just Tea once again, we notice that some moves are the same thing going upwards and downwards splitting the number in half again, soon we start connecting the dots until we understand that there is in reality only 1 movement in Wing Chun, and that everything we do is this movement performed at different angles and in different directions with different intentions.

In keeping with the Genesis story of Wing Chun the movement is the flapping of a Cranes wing.

It is the inherent difficulty in explaining very simple things that leads us to extrapolate and end up with something that is much more than Tea.

Time and time again we are confronted by Frame of Reference issues that require us to suspend our normal way of describing the world around us, for instance if you ask someone what direction does a clock move in they would answer Clockwise or Anti Clockwise, but Clockwise is not a direction, North, East, West , South and their intermediates are directions, Clockwise is just a description, like Wobbly.

If we used the Sun as our Frame of Reference the whole idea of up and down would change as the Earth rotated.

As Humans we instinctively use our position in the world around us as our Frame of Reference, but this does not always work in Wing Chun were we are more concerned with Vectors than Body parts, we get confused between using our external position as a Frame of Reference and our internal position as a Frame of Reference, most students when asked to drop their elbow take it backwards {in this Universe everything drops downwards, it is called Gravity}, in the First Form it takes a student many years before the side slash is actually done sideways, it is usually a move that has its energy going backwards.

Force, or energy if you prefer must always travel down the Arm from the Shoulder, if the Arm is pointing upwards the energy still travels DOWN the Arm, if the Arms are horizontal the energy still travels DOWN the Arm, this goes against our spatial understanding that uses the planet as our main Frame of Reference.  Even more confusing is when you ask a Student to hold their Arms parallel to the floor for a period of time they struggle because they tend to hold their Arms UP instead of holding their Arms OUT, which is what you would be doing if you allowed the energy to travel DOWN the Arm in any position.

When we act out any of the Forms we should be more involved in creating one single explanation for what it is we are doing instead off worrying about accuracy or correctness, the only way possible to  move our Arm is to rotate our Shoulder, the multitudes of possible Arm movements are the product of a single action, a Shoulder rotation, rotations do not have directions because like any circular movement it is rotating in all directions at the same time, when one aspect of this rotation is travelling up wards the opposite side is travelling downwards, and so it is with every direction, I am sure you get the idea. We make a choice of where to place our awareness of this rotation,  but then it becomes the direction of a single point and not the unit as a whole.  In Chi Sau we envisage a spinning Ball, there are points on that Ball travelling in every direction conceivable so by extension they could simultaneously go to every corner of the Galaxy let alone out towards your partners centre, the Arc your Elbow point travels on is never going towards your partner, only one of millions of possible tangential extensions can do that.

Do we really think that just one of millions of possible tangents happening at the same time from the same source by the same mechanics supersedes the rest?

Well yes we do but are we paying attention to the right tangent?

As we know all force is a straight line, a tangent coming off a circular movement that is it self a result of inertia.

Wing Chun is about observing and understanding tangents and not about creating circles, all straight lines are the same, people use various value systems such as length and direction to separate them but they are still all the same, circles are how we create the tangent, focusing on how to make circles is…

“MORE THAN TEA”.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

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