We need to learn things that we can use today.


Though Sydney has opened up after the worst of the pandemic things are slow, quite a number of people are playing it safe and have not yet returned to training and to complicate things when they get here it does not resemble the training we were doing before the shutdown.

Teaching during this post lockdown time is taking all of us in unexpected directions, it is forcing us to think more and believe less.

This post is a thought exercise, well at least I think it is.

A quite surprising, at least to me, turn of events are that there are people that I know, who practice a style of Wing Chun that I do not believe is a working, practical Martial Art, who are suddenly interested in the reality of violence.


‘believe less’.

The three most important questions to ask if we hope to get a complete understanding of what we do are ‘WHY, WHERE and HOW‘ in that order.

Recently a couple of my students asked if we could dedicate a complete class, 2 hours, to kicking, no Forms, no drills, no Chi Sau.

No veg, no potatoes.

Just MEAT.

Just kicking.

I believe that if my students think they need to learn something in particular then I need to teach it to them, irrespective of their level of skill or where what they want to do sits in the system.

As well documented I teach a practical approach to Wing Chun, physical, not internal, so I take situations such as this seriously, we are talking genuine self-defence.

Get it wrong, get hurt.

These training events begin with me asking…

“Why do you think you will need to use this”?

Nothing goes ahead until this conversation takes place until opinions have been voiced and positions established.

Beyond a doubt, this is the most important, even a critical aspect of how we interface with our training, without this I do not think we can hope to achieve our training objective.

Not only does this question, or more accurately the answer to this question help us navigate our training but it also shines a light on our deepest and most personal thinking.

In my experience very few students, practically zero, in fact, have a plausible reason.

Mostly the answer comes around to some variation of ‘in case I ever need it’.

Their concerns are based on an irrational fear of a non-existent problem and not on real and present danger, everyone is learning things to ‘maybe’ use in the future.

I get it, we all think that shit can happen down the line, but shit could also happen tomorrow, we need a much narrower focus if we hope to deal with whatever tomorrow or beyond may throw at us.

We need to learn things that we can use today.

For the sake of brevity, clarity and to cover in advance all possible bases as we revisit the question, we could paraphrase it as…

‘why would we need to use violence’?

To work through this we would do well to have a scenario that contains at least a locally possible, genuine incidence of violence.

This approach should eliminate the “what if” type of question especially if the subject matter is driven by the students and not the school/business.

If the student has no personal experience with ‘street violence’ where does that scenario come from?

This becomes even more complicated and perilous when the Instructor has no personal experience of street violence, and there are many.

Why this approach?

Understanding the attack will dictate our response, and in doing so guide our training down a specific path.

If informed by genuine experience, while still imaginary, these training events are completely possible and have valuable learning outcomes.

“Only spend time learning things you genuinely believe that you will use”.

Fantasy techniques and spiritual influences have no place in a violent situation.

Why does that statement make me think of this one?


‘Never take a knife to a gunfight’.


To my guys, think about this and bring it up next time we are in each others company.

To guests of this blog, please feel free to engage in this conversation.







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