Articles

WING CHUN WEEKEND; HANDBAGS AT THIRTY PACES.


WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH!

 

one thing that I know builds real confidence is not being where the Bad Guy wants us to be

Wing Chun is a Martial Art, it is intended for violent situations, If  we do get in to a situation and we hope to be the person that comes out on top, unless it is just as we say back in England “Handbags at thirty paces” which is a way of saying a duel without dangerous weapons or evil intent, then good movement, body unity while moving and avoiding the line of attack are essential, and as much as I love Wing Chun this is not to be found in most the training, go to any seminar or workshop that are supposedly working on the finer details of the style and everyone just stands around practicing relaxation, practicing softness and practicing absorption of force, most seminars focus on the first Form, a Form that is not even intended to make contact, a Form that is in fact Chi Gung.

Relaxation, softness and absorbing force are not in my opinion the finer details, these are baby steps and certainly not giant steps that lead to a great leap forwards. The tendency to stand in one place and train does not teach students environmental awareness and control.

Too few students ever reach the training level of the Mok Jang Jong, at least under the supervision of an Instructor that understands it, many students get themselves a dummy but use it like a wall bag, this misconception is not helped by a popular video of Master Ip Ching breaking a Dummy Arm during a seminar, the audience loved it, obviously the Dummy Arm was damaged but it does not stop students thinking the dummy is about power.

Wing Chun application is almost exclusively about breaking the opponents line of attack, either by redirecting the opponent explored through Chum Kiu pivoting, or taking oneself off the line as in Chum Kiu shifting, choosing to move oneself or move the opponent is irrelevant, it is the changing of the incoming line of force that is important, the Dummy and the Knives make this very clear yet all the Seminars that I have attended when the Dummy or Knives are explored these things are never mentioned, it is always about power and attacking, never about movement and repositioning.

We do not need more power, we need better movement, if we can reposition ourselves to a place where the Bad Guy cannot defend himself we can hit him till the cows come home. Trauma is cumulative, three 40 kilo strikes deliver the same damage as one 120 kilo strike, and they are so much easier to perform and land on target.

As an Instructor I know that helping students develop confidence is as important as technique, and I am as guilty as the next man for using rhetoric that allows us to feel all powerful, to big up ourselves, to overstate the effect that certain defences or strikes will have on an unhelpful adversary, it is part of the play acting, most students are not stupid, deep down they know there is a bit of self delusion going on, but one thing that I know builds real confidence is not being where the Bad Guy wants us to be. We all understand that there is a very real chance that our interceptions may fail, that our technique will be found wanting, you can all but guarantee it, fights are chaotic, how do we build confidence if our training has us standing there like a stunned mullet because we miss-timed the interception, it makes the next attempt even more fraught with anxiety, but if the failed interception only finds clean air not only are we relieved but we are in a position to launch a counter attack.

No matter what level a student is at they should work on the Knives Form and on the Pole Form, only Donny Yen and his fanboys think that these are real weapons, this is not real weapons training, and anyone that thinks it is real weapon training has some serious issues, this is where Wing Chun has its footwork drills, this is where you learn to move off line.  Once you learn the dance, because it is just a dance, get creative, mix and match the movements. 

Wing Chun is a system not a style.

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