We have all, at one time or another, been guilty of turning up to training and just waiting to be spoon fed, waiting for the Instructor to tell us what we need to learn to defend against, what we need to work on next.

The only person that knows what we need is ourselves, we know our weakness’ and we know, or at least have an idea, of where we would need our training to save the day.

Being spoon fed does nothing to approach these concerns. How often does training resemble reality?

If we expect our training to work for us then we should at least do some deliberate work on the situation we imagine is most likely to happen. 

What is the scenario that you believe is most likely to result in violence?

A surprise attack on the train? A sucker punch thrown in the middle of an argument? Getting set about in the toilets of a pub?

We all have at least one situation in the back of our minds, we would derive great benefit from getting a training buddy to “play act” one of these scenarios to see how we can deal with it.  And of course return the favour for them.

Start this as a mental exercise, imagine the setting, is it light or is it dark? Is it indoors or outdoors? Is there music blasting out that may cause you to lean into a stranger to hear what they are saying? How much space do you have to move in? Are there tables and chairs to navigate or even use as an improvised weapon? If it is in a toilet the attacker will be either at the side of you or behind you.  Imagining where problems may arise is a way of forewarning you to stay aware if you find yourself in these situations.

When you get a buddy to help ask them to be as unpredictable as possible,    if it is something like a sucker punch coming from an argument get them to rant and rage and to try their best to surprise you, you can bet your life a real attacker will do this.

Do not spend too long on this, 2 or 3 attempts each is more than enough, in reality if you get it wrong the first time it is lights out, so if you keep trying again and again in training until you get it right you are missing the point.

Afterwards  have a brutally honest debrief with yourself, if it failed why did it fail? Where did it fail?

If it succeeded could it of been done any other way, perhaps easier?  Was your choice the best choice?  Do you have the right skill set to deal with this situation?

Whatever the debrief throws up use it, bring it into your training, if you were happy with your choice work it until it is second nature, if it failed work on fixing the failure do not simply try something else next time, whatever you did was your first best choice, training something else may not replace this choice next time, we are creatures of habit.

When it is your turn to be the Bad Guy try to be a really good Bad Guy, do not be half arsed, try to mess up your partners thinking, use attacks that you expect to work, do not worry about embarrassing your buddy, it will just inspire them to mess you up next time.

There is a real positive in using serious attempts to hit your partner, when they fail, and even if it takes months they will eventually fail, you will have a deeper confidence in your own Wing Chun.



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