‘not being broken does not mean it’s working, so if it ain’t broke break it’.


Few would disagree that in the late 1960s or early 1970s the world was given a nudge which broke its inertia and changed the direction of the future.

That nudge was Lateral Thinking, I was lucky enough, through my employment, to be a part of the mental revolution it began and it quite simply changed my life, and all for the better.

A new approach to business that took hold in the 1980s was if your competitors were doing better than you were in the market place you just bought them out, stripped out the profitable things and sold or scrapped the rest.

Overnight I became part of a large multinational company, a company that interestingly thought that all its managers, no matter how large or small their impact on the overall company, needed to be working from the same page, that page was Lateral Thinking.

From the beginning, the board meetings I attended had nothing in common with what I had previously experienced. The usual format at most Board Meetings would start by going over the last meeting, follow up reports and if the changes implemented were successful and ongoing move on to the new business.

In short, ‘if it is still working it is not broken, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

In the Lateral Thinking Board Room, things got turned on their heads, ‘can what we did be done any better? Can this solution work on other problems? Do we even need this solution?

In short, ‘not being broken does not mean it’s working, so if it ain’t broke break it’.

Echoes of this can still be heard today with Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘move fast and break things’.

A big buzz phrase in leadership and management education was deconstruction/reconstruction, we would be encouraged to break things down, study all the individual parts and put them back together in a new way, sometimes leaving bits out on purpose, this was pretty much a worldwide happening and it catapulted us forward.

By now you are probably thinking what has this got to do with the Martial Arts in general and Wing Chun in particular?

Deconstruction/ reconstruction.

Once you train your brain to work this way you cannot untrain it.

Traditional Martial Arts are by nature backward-looking, just like the business of the 1960s, change, if it ever comes, comes slowly, ‘if it ain’t broke…..’

Without any overt intention, I always find myself deconstructing the things I do, Wing Chun is no exception.

Why 6 Forms?

Why 1 Form for the Arms, 1 Form for the lower body and 1 Form for the upper body?

Why do we still train archaic weapons in the age of the gun?

Are the Forms really a linear progression?

When we deconstruct the first 3 Forms and reconstruct them into just 1 new Form something magic happens, not only do we get a better more functional Form but we see the inherent value in the 3 individual Forms.

We begin to see them for what they are and not just what we want them to be.

In the Lateral Thinking Board Room, ideas were never intended to be permanent, this month’s Epiphany will be next week’s deconstruction, as will whatever arises out of that idea.

We can make 1 new form every month if we feel like, in a strangely contradictory way this is quite possibly the best way to hold on to the original Forms, to keep it pure so that we can always alter it, rebuild it.

Keepers of the Flame and there are thousands in all Martial Arts will poo-poo this for no other reason than holding on to the past.

Let’s stick to the source code or we will all lose our way.

Where would we be, and what language would we be speaking if Alan Turing had thought this way.

There is an absolute mass of empirical evidence that modern Wing Chun is not holding its own ground.

Pretending that this is not happening is not going to save the day, it may not even slow down the coming of the night.

The Emperor has not got new clothes, but between us, if we choose to, we can go out and get him some.



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