A painting of a Horse never won the Melbourne Cup.

There is a saying that my Sifu used, and many other Sifus still use that I absolutely and completely disagree with….  Wing Chun is easy to learn but difficult to Master, maybe like so many things in Wing Chun this saying simply does not translate clearly into English, because in English this statement is an Oxymoron.

To master something we must first learn it, if it is easy, it is easy.

Improving in any Martial Art, but especially Wing Chun is not really about the physical training, it is not about power production or dexterity, it is not about footwork or punching, it is not about Chi Sau or Forms but these are the things that consume our time, this is what we consider to be ‘THE WORK’.

But is it?

I know from experience that in the Chaos of a street fight there is precious little thinking going on, it is only in hindsight that we can garner an idea of what we did to survive.

Only once we are safe at home do we try to retrofit those actions to reflect our training.

As if it was even important.

Only the outcome is ever important.

An interesting thought exercise is to ask ‘does reaching Master Level have anything in common with surviving violence’?

These oblique ideas need to be justified if we truly wish to be in control of our own training and have it fulfil the role we wish it to play.

How do we do this, how do we shape our involvement and as such propel our training to the top level?

How do we become masters?

Many people here in Australia who practice Wing Chun focus the majority of their training on the Siu Nim Tao Form, which if it works for you is just fine but how do you know it is the best approach if it is the only approach you use?  

We benefit in any endeavour by using multiple approaches, by having different expectations, it may be cliche´ but it’s true that…

“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten”…

…so hoping to achieve upwards momentum by continually working on one small aspect of a large system is a bit of a pipe dream.

I believe that working on only one Form, and this could be any Form, is procrastination, it is lazy,  growth and improvement require feeding with a complex diet, they need dynamic involvement. 

A painting of a Horse never won the Melbourne Cup.

There is another relatively large stumbling block when it comes to advancing in Wing Chun, most of the important learning objectives are achieved by working out how to not do certain things.

Such as not fighting force, not creating tension in the body, not using overt strength so the real difficulty becomes how do we learn how to not do something by actively doing something else?

This is quite a conundrum.

Anchoring our training in any single activity is self-limiting, self-defeating. 

Each Form has a core learning objective often multiple core learning objectives that only begin to make sense once they are viewed in relationship to the whole.  

For instance what does the Siu Nim Tao teach us about moving our body or accepting force?  

What does Chum Kiu teach us about driving our energy out to the edges of the Body or Core winding.  

What does Biu Gee teach us about moving around and negotiating an opponent? 

What does the Dummy Form teach us about extending our awareness and energy out to power a weapon?

What do the Knives or Pole Forms teach us about stillness?

Ultimately we must ask ourselves what does Wing Chun teach us about anything that is not in itself Wing Chun?  

If we can even come close to answering this we could follow it up by asking “what are we doing about this”?

Perhaps ask “what are we training for”?

When the brown gets airborne and the fan shares it around it will not be two people playing Wing Chun.

Every event is the sum of its parts, even if we are faultless, peerless, immaculate, any situation we find ourselves in will be at best 50% Wing Chun and 50% some nutter trying to hurt us.

Do we understand that the map is not the territory?

Alfred Korzybski, an early 20th-century semantics scientist and philosopher, stated that the map is not the territory. He believed that individuals don’t have absolute knowledge of reality. Instead, they have a set of beliefs built up over time about reality. People’s beliefs about reality and their awareness (their map) is not reality itself (the territory). 

 Be nice until it’s time to not be nice. Dalton


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