We cannot find something that is not there.


Why is it that different schools, different lineages even different teachers think so differently about the Wing Chun Form?

Why is there no overall consensus on what the Form is all about?

The issue, if we consider it an issue, is not with the different schools, lineages or teachers but to be expected is with ourselves.

Each individual student.

Q. What can we expect to get from practicing the Wing Chun Form?

A. We can expect to get the same thing as we would from any empty vessel.

We can only take away what we put in.

If you want softness and relaxation then you must put in softness and relaxation.

If you want strength and speed then you must put in strength and speed.

If you want to observe balance and stability you must put in balance and stability.

We cannot find something that is not there.

How could it possibly be any other way, that would require magic or at least the intervention of an outside magical force?

As always I like to relate all things Wing Chun to sports and sports training.

Today I choose Tennis.

If we have an important game coming up in a couple of months we decide to prepare for it by 6 weeks of daily, intensive training.

But imagine if all we train is our forehand, what do we think will happen to our backhand?

If we train nothing but groundstrokes from the baseline, what do we think will happen to our volleying or dinking?

If all of our training is with a Ball Machine set to the same speed/force always into the same corner of the court how will we learn to cope with rythm changes and speed changes, drop shots or lobs?

And during all this time the most important shot of all, our service, is going to the dogs due to lack of use.

It is foolish to think we can engage in one aspect of training and yet learn something completely different.

What many students expect to get from the Form is at best unrealistic, most, if they think about results at all, expect to get multiple benefits from a single action.

Where else in life does this happen?

If you know please leave a comment, we will all benefit from such information.

We can take away only what we put in.

We have been hearing a variation of this since we were kids, but what does it mean?

Most of us, and I have most certainly been guilty of this in the past, think it just means more effort, longer hours, to engage more attention to the subject at hand, to get a better teacher.

None of the above have anything to do with what we put in, only how we put it in.

If I was to ask you to go into the forest and find me a Rana Caerulea the very first thing you would do was find out what the hell it was.

No one would just trot off into the forest hoping that somehow they would stumble upon it.

But that is exactly what most people do with the Form.

We can take away only what we put in means that we must know what we are looking for.

As with all training, a good place to start is to seek advice from someone skilled, but no matter who that person is they can only tell you what they were looking for, tell you what they found.

What I put into my Forms today has nothing in common with the things I put in to get me here, where is the value in describing the destination without pointing out the path?

‘Intention’ is a nebulous word, hard to pin down to a single IDEA but that is what we put into our Forms, this is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card, a one size fits all type of answer, it leads to other questions such as what is Intention? What are you Intending to do as you practice your Form?

What are you putting in?

Many years ago I was diligently practicing my First Form at my Sifu’s school, I knew he was watching so I put in extra effort, applied more focus, engaged more attention.

Sifu came across to me, watched as I played Tarn Sau and asked ‘What are your feet doing right now’?

He knew by my blank expression that I did not know what my feet were doing.

‘Why would you expect that Tarn Sau to be effective if you do not know where your feet are, what they are doing or how they relate to the rest of your body’?

We tend to think that wisdom and knowledge arrive like a flash of lightning out of a clear blue sky, the reality is that wisdom and knowledge are a hole in the ground that we accidentally fall into while walking in the dark.

What we need is a flashlight.



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