There is a maxim in the military that says “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”

All Self Defence Martial Art styles suffer the same conundrum in that nothing they do has very much in common with reality, none of the training methods or drills are anything like what it is like to be attacked, there is no way around this simply because only an attack is anything like an attack, pretence is pretence no matter how well intentioned, even the Reality Based Self Defence Systems suffer the same problem, pretending harder does not make anything any more real.

Is this a problem?    Not really, not if we are aware of the learning objectives present in any of our drills, and that hopefully we do not get distracted by stuff that is really nothing more than the box the learning objective comes in.

Once we accept that nothing we or anyone else does in training is even remotely similar to what we will do if we get into serious trouble, the reality or unreality of the training becomes of little consequence,  whatever we are learning will need to be adjusted to fit the situation we find ourselves in so the learning objective ceases to be such a physical action and more of mental understanding of the desired outcome, a method to effectively navigate the possibilities presented by the scenario.   It is not what we train or where we train it, just the intention behind the action, if we truly understand this doing anything anywhere has the potential to bring benefit once we see it as an extrapolation of intent.   Chi Sau and Lap Sau are frameworks for us to work on an intention, the physical aspect of these practices is not the same as how we would use them, they are not functionally correct, if we know what we are working on it is easy to see what is real and what is packaging, it becomes easy to find the 5%.

There is a maxim in the military that says “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy” .  I experienced a similar thing in my time as a sports fighter in the ring and on the mat, very rarely did anything even remotely approach what I had prepared for, and when we think that in combat sports we already know a great deal of what to expect due to the rules in play and research on ones opponent, this is a significant point often overlooked by traditional martial arts stylists who tend to believe that everything they do is a stand alone mechanism that will work in a plug and play kind of way, that it will all do what it does in training, this is why so many Martial Artists have major issues with street violence.

As a boxer a large chunk of training time is spent on things that are supportive of fighting and not specific to any one outcome, conditioning, co-ordination, slipping, dodging and footwork , set patterns that everyone knows and to be effective need to be adjusted to suit personal physiology and different opponents, a great deal of this training is never intended to be used as taught, it is the seed from which endless possibilities grow.   In the Japanese martial arts this is the function of Kata, in Wing Chun this should be the function of the Forms and Chi Sau, but it is not, these things are looked upon as being complete in and of themselves, they become venerated, unchangeable, this is a mistake.

Seeing the Forms and Chi Sau in this way, unquestionable and faultless only renders them impotent and makes it almost impossible to realise their genius.  Forms and Chi Sau { as a collective this includes Lok Sau, Lap Sau and Gwoh Sau} are Wing Chun drills.  Forms are Solo Drills, and Chi Sau is a Partner Drill, to really understand them it would make sense to know what a drill is.

A drill is a mechanism that allows us to repeat the same action over and over again so that we can become familiar with it by observation over extended time.  Drills are composed of 3 components, the mechanism that drives the drill, a context for the drill and the learning objective.   At least 75% of any drill is the mechanism that drives it from one action to another, with partner drills this includes the mechanism that allows the drill to change from one person to the other, 20% of the drill is simply placing the learning objective into a context that can be understood from our own styles point of view, that leaves the learning objective as being only 5% of the drill.

Do we readily see what we are learning in our drills?   It is very easy to get side tracked into studying the mechanism and the context and not focus on the learning objective, this is what happens to many students when they practice any Chi Sau drill but in particular Lap Sau.

A question that should be asked of any training drill is “how did I get here and what am I hoping to achieve”, this can help us differentiate between training artefacts and Fist Logic.



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