Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday




There are many ways to look at what we do in training, and many little boxes that we can stick them in, for me though it all comes down to three little things,  Solo Training, Partner Training and Contemplation.


Solo Training is by nature subjective, it is all just about us, how we feel and how we think, in many ways it is not real.

Wing Chun Solo training is mostly doing one of the “Empty Hand Forms”, to allow us to take part in the work when we are alone, to work on ourselves, on our understanding of ourselves, Solo Training has no partner or opponent, it is simply about getting a deeper understanding of “How” our body moves, and not why or where {it is possible to do Solo Training with a partner if all the partner is doing is offering static resistance, the desired outcome is the same}.

The Dummy and Weapons Forms can be viewed and used as Solo Training but they are more a Hybrid Bridge between Solo and Partner Training, the Mok Jan Jong is in itself a surrogate partner and in the Knives and Pole we are learning how to manipulate a Tool, it is no longer just about ourselves, as such, any training aid is a surrogate partner.

It is important to do a decent amount of solo work, especially in the early years, only when there is no other person interfering with our movement can we come to any type of conclusion about what it is we are trying to do.

Once we have an inkling about what it is we are trying to do it is time to see if we can use it to affect another human being.


Partner Training is objective, deliberately physical, everything we do has a genuine outcome that needs to happen with or to another Human Being when, where and how we expect it to, it works with plans, facts and reality.

At its most basic we take any exercise that we have been working on in our Solo Training and have a partner try to actively prevent us from completing it {if we maintaining the ethos of not using strength this leads us into Chum Kiu} . This deliberate interference or pushing back is an extension of the static resistance used solo, it moves through varying degrees of mobile resistance, in many ways Chi Sau is our partner deliberately interfering with our attempt to roll a perfect sphere. This can be a difficult place to stay on task, Chi Sau is never about us being able to move our partner, it is all about our partner not being able to stop us following our intention, getting this fact wrong will lead us in the wrong direction and ultimately undo all of our good work.

Chi Sau is Wing Chun’s main Partner Drill, in my experience it is rarely done as a Drill with defined learning objectives, usually it just becomes a series of random strikes and defences, I said in my post on Chum Kiu that Chi Sau is Chum Kiu, to fully benefit Chi Sau should be used as a way to learn how to move in various directions while maintaining the same pressure and feelings in the Arms, but it usually just becomes one partner becoming a Tank and one person backing away, bad Chi Sau practice can turn good drills into shoving matches, try to remember that it is only training,  and you have a responsibility to help your partner, not hinder them,  there is no need to become competitive.

Partner Training in Wing Chun is quite lacking if we look at it from the perspective of “Fundamental, Functional Movement”, this is a big area that I will address later, to be expected all the information is there inside the six Forms for everyone to see, but the circles / arcs are so small that it takes years to see them, this is a result  of the IDEA  that Wing Chun has no “flowery” movements, no big sweeping gestures, I find this IDEA self defeating.


In training learn big circles / arcs which are easier to identify, but when action is needed use small circles / arcs that are more effective.





Nothing works until you get it straight in your head.

This is just life as a human being, all movement, everything we do begins as Brain Activity, a thought, having a very clear unambiguous image of what we wish to do is developed through contemplation of what we are doing and why we do it.  Contemplation is the only reliable way to justify the Internal aspect and the External aspect of the work.

Contemplation is not just “thinking” about stuff, like thinking about the S.L.T. Form as you do it, it is thinking deeply about an individual aspect over a very long time.

There is no special approach to contemplation, all that is needed is an open mind free from the bondage of thinking that there is a “Right Way” or a “Wrong Way” we simply observe and evaluate, I know from my own training that observing and evaluating the same idea over many years led me to discover I had been thinking way to big for most of that time.

Wing Chun is not “BIG”.

As confusing as this may sound contemplating Wing Chun itself is not the best way to get a deeper understanding about Wing Chun !

Random thought.   Q:   What is the difference between Kung Fu and Karate?

Through contemplation we can arrive at the understanding that the only real difference is the name.

The question “what is Wing Chun”? is in many ways the same question as “what is Art”.

I was a tipical 1960’s kid that went from Grammer school to Art School,  Art School changed my opinions,  universally the understanding and acceptance of Art changed my generation, as a result it changed the world.

Words from famous artists I personally admire about Art.

Roy Lichtenstein said Art happens when “someone looks at something”

Jeff Koons said Art is “a collaboration between the Artwork and the viewer, it happens somewhere in-between them,  it it is never in the same place twice and no two people see the same thing”.

Jackson Pollock said that his Art “was not what is on the canvas, that is merely a shadow, my Art is what is happening in space as the paint falls”.

Contemplate any of these quotes from a stand point of Wing Chun Forms, Chi Sau and the like, but especially Pollack’s and it will help you develop a wider and deeper understanding of Wing Chun.



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