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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY; BIU GEE AND BEYOND.


 

The composer Stravinsky had written a new piece with a difficult violin passage.  After it had been in rehearsal for several weeks, the solo violinist came to Stravinsky and said he was sorry, he had tried his best, the passage was too difficult, no violinist could play it.  Stravinsky said, ‘I understand that.  What I am after is the sound of someone trying to play it.

Before we begin the exploration of Biu Gee, in fact before we begin the exploration of any Form we simply must accept that all Forms have no practicable value, they have no real use, no way of becoming active, they are vehicles for thinking not acting. The real work is in recognising what the forms are detailing.

This is a very abstract position to find ourselves in and not a position our Brain likes to operate from so we connect this abstraction to something tangible, something we recognise and can do, we retrospectively give it a role or a job so as to glimpse the possibilities within the Form, this can have some very distracting consequences but there is no other way, how can we explore how something feels if we do not perform it physically?

This is one of the reasons that different Schools, different Masters have different ways of describing the Forms, they are retrospectively fitting the same IDEA to different actions, actions that they themselves are more comfortable performing, it has little to do with accuracy or correctness, depending on our point of view everyone can be correct or everyone can be wrong, either way it doesn’t matter, as long as we do not fall into the trap of believing that the action we are using to look at the Form with is what we are actually learning, they all work the same.

Something that helped me get to grips with understanding how to study Forms and what to look for in Forms was about 15 or 20 years ago I asked my Sifu how come there was no kicking in the Biu Gee? He answered me

“While there is no kicking in Biu Gee there is plenty of Biu Gee in our kicking”

One thing I knew was that when talking about Wing Chun with my Sifu he never said anything just for the fun of it so I thought a lot about this and eventually it did something special to everything I knew of Wing Chun, it made everything one IDEA, an expression of potential, a process.

Accepting that all Forms are just a process that contains the potential for action, and not in any way an action in themselves can be a difficult task, it requires honesty, it requires courage, it requires self belief as opposed to believing in the teaching of past masters, we do better and move forwards much quicker once we abandon clan thinking, ultimately getting caught up in idea that lineage is somehow related to performance is just being caught up in someone else’s process.  Who cares who did what or who said what, the real question is always what can we do, what is our process?

Most of what is taught in standard Wing Chun training will not work outside the training hall, this is of course true of all Traditional Martial Arts, there is no way around this, training is training, fighting is fighting, it is the same for all of us and this is why we must not get lost in process but always try to see what end result we want and how the process can help us achieve it.

The real work in Wing Chun is not to be found in the Forms but rather in the spaces between the Forms, we can never learn what we think we are training, I for one do not believe that we where ever really meant to learn it, just understand the feeling of it, the essence of it.  

The composer Stravinsky had written a new piece with a difficult violin passage.  After it had been in rehearsal for several weeks, the solo violinist came to Stravinsky and said he was sorry, he had tried his best, the passage was too difficult, no violinist could play it.  Stravinsky said, ‘I understand that.  What I am after is the sound of someone trying to play it.

It is the combination of the spaces and the silences that shape the music, not the notes, over the coming weeks I will offer some different perspectives, different spaces and silences around the process of Biu Gee. 

 

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