It is a confusing, challenging dilemma but it is not insurmountable, understanding that IDEAs do not need specific orientation is the key,



A few of my guys are doing a lot of technical and free sparring at the moment and certain things are becoming pretty obvious, namely that nothing works the way we train it, this is no big surprise to me I have known this for years, it is the old chestnut of Form v Function, students that expect their training to just work the way they train it  get the surprise of their life and find things just a little confusing.

Part of the difficulty they encounter stems from the fact that to a very large extent we approach training for fighting backwards.

What do I mean by this?

The bulk of traditional Wing Chun training is set around understanding the Forms and using Chi Sau, these IDEAS are then tested against some type of resistance, a partner applies pressure and we execute whatever movement of the Form we are working on.

Chi Sau is constant forward pressure against equally returned resistance.

Everything we do in this type of training begins with contact, for instance the partner holding a wrist to prevent Tarn Sau, static resistance, people touching arms.

Here’s the rub, in any physical encounter, contact, touching arms, is the end point not the beginning, to be effective and useable the sequence needs to be ran in the opposite direction, most of our training begins at the end point, hands on, very little of our training deals with how to get there. 

A typical Form training progression goes –

  1. Initiate {make} contact.
  2. correct alignment and body structure,
  3. focus on task,
  4. introduce intent and move.

If we are fighting the progressions needs to be –

  1. move while creating intent.
  2. focus on what is needed.
  3. bring about correct structure and alignment.
  4. make contact.



The disparity between how we train and what we need to do if we intend to effectively use our training create a very real problem that we must get sorted out before we ever need to use it be that sparring or fighting.

It is a confusing, challenging dilemma but it is not insurmountable, understanding that IDEAs do not need specific orientation is the key.

When faced with a tricky question I look to sports, in this instance tennis, the application for a tennis forehand and a tennis backhand are the same in every detail except how we physically position ourselves to perform these shots, the racquet head and the ball do exactly the same thing and are affected by exactly the same forces.

A key requirement for using Wing Chun is patience, as a counter attacking Martial Art we really do need the Bad guy to attack us first, teaching students to step in as they counter attack is only possible against a feed, it is not possible against a genuine committed attack, this of course begins the confusion.



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