As a concept driven Martial Art Wing Chun is really an exploration of the interpretation of the Concept, and not really a study of the Concept itself. This is the reason there are so many differences from school to school, from lineage to lineage.
An Interpretation is nothing more than a representation, but a representation of what?
One of our biggest challenges is to properly interpret the words used to colour in Wing Chun, understanding the idea that the words are trying to represent.
I have a term that I use in training “Allowing our arms to fall to straightness”, I use the word FALL to differentiate from the word and action PUSH, to give an idea that in some way we are not the one straightening the Arm, but of course it is us, we are trying to create and idea that equals “using the least possible amount of force needed to accomplish the task at hand”, it is shorthand.
But even shorthand needs to be learned and then we confront the issue of what exactly is shorthand?
Since the beginning of human existence when faced with some thing or event that we are unfamiliar with our deep and natural instinct is
“Is this safe or dangerous”?
“Will it eat me or can I eat it”?
“Am I lost or do I know where I am”?
We do not really see what is in front of us rather we relate to its relative value to ourselves, we interpret the event through the filter of value to the self instead of simply experiencing what is.
And once we have developed this vantage point we never change our view.
This is how we survived to this point in time after all, as individuals and as a species.
We have done this forever and as a result we do not really see it, as we evolved and civilisations came and went we acquired different values, social, religious, political ideas that changed what we believed was of relative value to ourselves and as a result we filter everything through these experiences, basically telling ourselves a story that we wish to hear, a story that does not clash with our pre set convictions.
When I say WE I really do mean WE, all of us.
When I listen to someone telling me something, without meaning to, completely unintentionally I listen for things that fit in with my personal narrative, it is not a conscious decision it is an inherent trait because I am human, so I never really hear what is being said.
It gets very twilight zone once you realise that the person doing the telling came to the conclusion they are sharing by not listening to the person that told them about it in the first place.
Think about that for a moment.
If we are involved in a tradition that places value on keeping intact information that has been handed down from generations before us this is a problem.
Everything we read, everything we see, everything we hear is from our own pre-conceived vantage point and not a genuine true experience.
If we are teachers we are in all reality passing on something we never actually heard, read or saw and as such do not even know, we are passing on a misrepresentation.
So was everyone that came before us, and so will all those that follow us.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted.
Hassan-i Sabbah. The Old Man of the Mountain.