Was the ‘Don” doing Forms or Kata?


At the end of the last video, I said we would dig in a bit deeper into some ideas around moving and understanding the connections in our body/posture/set up.

Before we can do that we must have some kind of consensus about the Wing Chun Forms.

This is no big deal, nothing new, we are just setting up some reference points that make sense to ourselves, no need to inform YouTube about the Great Leap forwards.

I want to start this off by talking about Don Bradman, more than likely the greatest Cricketer / Batsman of all time.

He {the Don} attributed his outstanding ability to the fact that as a child he adopted the practice of hitting a golf ball against the house wall with a cricket stump, hour after hour, day after day week after week.

Focused, deliberate, repetative, consistent.

Are we really to believe this was the seed of his greatness?

If that was the case with a wall and a little patience we could all do it, all become like the ‘Don’.

Or could it be that he was born great and this practice just allowed him to realise his potential?

I like this idea because it allows me to not feel so bad about myself and the fact that I am a pretty ordinary cricketer.

There is a belief, amongst the believers, that Forms are the heart of any Martial Art, that they contain all of the pertinent information for that style.

Form begets Function.

As the people involved in this, Martial Artists, do we think that this is a reality or is it just an M. A. version of the ‘Don Bradman’  story?

The human body has a limited range of motion that it uses to accomplish everything we do.

If we compare actions such as posting a letter, taking a book from a shelf, putting a key in a door lock, paying for a drink, pointing out a direction even ringing a doorbell { dare I add scratching your butt}?   The action is essentially the same.

As Kung Fu tragics, we could say that Don Bradman’s cover drive was just a low Bong Sau and a pressing palm.

Keeping this in mind do we not find it odd that every Traditional Chinese Martial Art has a Form or several Forms that are individual and only suited to that specific style?

I know I do.

Throwing a cricket ball is no different than throwing a baseball.

Or a brick now I think about it.

In my M.A. back story I have, to a certain extent, studied 3 Chinese Martial Arts that all have very different Forms,  Bagu Zhang, Xing Yi Chuan and Wing Chun Kuen, in particular, Buagua Forms are very different, Xing Yi is not quite as weird, and because of familiarity Wing Chun’s Forms appear somewhat normal.

Something they all have in common though is that none of the Forms are useable in any kind of practical way.

They all need to be adapted to the situation, and in doing so all become something else, something very similar.

{As a boy did Don Bradman need to change things when he visited at his aunties house?  Did he play a completely different game at Lords than at the S.C.G}?

Interestingly this is not the way with Japanese Arts that instead of Forms have Kata, shadow boxing sets that can be used exactly as trained.

As a young man, I trained in Judo, BuJutsu, and a little Jujitsu, everything was meant to be used the way we played out the Kata.

When we think about Don Bradman, the golf ball, the stump, the wall, what do we feel?

Was the ‘Don” doing Forms or Kata?

Does it even matter?

After all, we are not the “Don”.

But then again, neither are we any of the numerous long-dead heroes of Wing Chun.


Forms, Kata, Chi Kung, Kung Fu is there really any difference?


In a previous post when I was talking about Qi Kung and Kung Fu I was implying the notion that they are simply different sides of the same coin as are passive Forms and active Kata.

Are we even interested? 

 As it turns out what we are interested in is the result of the work.

Forms as a practice unto themselves are completely useless, it is only as a viewing platform that they create any value.

In this light, do we need to view them from the dynamic of defence or from the dynamic of attack, in the application, it is only attacking that will fulfil the needs at hand.

The work is always in the attacking, this is the puzzle we face, often only defending can create the time and space to attack.

I.M.O. defending is always and only aimed at setting up an opening to attack.

I do not think that defence can be deemed successful if all it does is prevent the Bad Guy from hitting me.

The defence is not the work, it is a precursor to the work, just as Qi Kung is a precursor to Kung Fu.

In practice, as Forms lead on to Function, they pretty much morph into Kata.

There is a balance between the two states that needs a clearly defined transition point or everything fails {to me this is the ‘very heart of the Dummy training and I will go into it on another occasion}.

Any transition, as the word implies, is always about movement.

The very best fighting advice I have ever heard did not come from Mike Tyson despite my admiration of the guy’s attitude, it came from Mr.Miyagi.

In the original Karate Kid, he said:  “Best defence, don’t be there”.

Nothing about Form, nothing about Kata, nothing about Karate or Wing Chun just the IDEA of moving out of the way.





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