There is a brilliant flip side to this, once we understand how something works, we also know how to stop it from working, how to break it.


This may end up a long post, make ‘yerself’ a coffee, or perhaps two.

There are two distinct sides to Wing Chun that in many ways have so little in common they do not, at first, appear to fit together.

Let us call these sides the Physical side and the non-Physical side.

On the physical side, the bulk of the technical work is simply to develop dexterity and coordination.

To develop a ‘high’ level of control over our physical movements.

Training is not an open-ended exercise, all training in every style is a way to deal with a specific problem.

Wing Chun training is about surviving a random, violent encounter with a ‘person or persons unknown‘.

This fact is what many students struggle to come to terms with and as such fail to grasp the purpose of the training.

Training becomes a never-ending succession of “But what if”?

Because of this, students often have less confidence after 6 months of training than they did with no training at all.

Let me repeat this, Wing Chun training is about surviving a random, violent encounter with a person or persons unknown.

For application purposes, we only need four movements/techniques to deal with all of the problems we are anticipating from this person or persons unknown, they are Tai Sau, Jit Sau, Pak Sau and Tarn Sau.

Plus, of course, striking, but all men/women already know how to hit other men/women, all we need to do is improve that aspect.

This physical side is simply generic Kung Fu.

MacDojo Kung Fu.

As hard as it may be to believe, there is no need for anything more and we could learn all of this in that first 6 months if we gave it some air.

At this stage, this MacDojo Kung Fu is not yet Wing Chun, it is just ‘the box’ Wing Chun comes in.


From day one, working with the non-physical aspects of Wing Chun, what I refer to as our ‘FIST LOGIC’, simply rubs the wrong way.

Trying to resolve physical problems with non-physical answers is ‘always’ going to be a challenge, but that is the ‘work’.

It is not difficult ‘work’, but neither is it quick ‘work’.

If we use the old chestnut analogy of a journey, the physical side and the non-physical side are heading to the same destination, however, not only are they taking different routes but Physical is going by Aeroplane, while Non-Physical is going by Boat.

Non-Physical is, to be expected, where the whole Conceptual Martial Art comes in.

So how does that work?

A Concept is an understanding retained in the mind, from experience, reasoning and/or imagination; a generalization (generic, basic form), or abstraction (mental impression), of a particular set of instances or occurrences (specific, though different, recorded manifestations of the concept).


Something to get our head around is that a Concept is different and separate from function, action, or methodology.

Concepts are starting points, whereas all applications are destinations.

Non-Physical training is to take what we do in the training hall and relate it to things we already know and understand.

Normal Human Body Movement.

Wing Chun’s Fist Logic is not a method for dealing with violence, human beings know this well enough, rather it is a self-organising map [S.O.M] for understanding certain physical aspects of violence.

Concepts are non-physical tools we use to build new approaches to old IDEAs.

They are thought exercises that only exist in our heads.

We must realise that the Bad Guy will never do what we ask our training partners to do, accordingly, nothing we do in training will work the way we train it.

But that’s O.K. That’s not what we are looking for.

The scenario that we are training becomes the seed for the thought exercise.

Our training becomes a study of the Concept of Random Engagement.

We are not trying to learn how to defend against a swinging headshot, we are using this scenario as a thought exercise to explore and observe the dynamics of the situation.

Concepts seed Sub-Concepts, this is where we can take our MacDojo Kung Fu and begin to turn it into Wing Chun.

When we explore the concept of ‘power production’, we develop Sub-Concepts of good body shape, relative positioning, stability, speed of delivery, correct skeletal alignment, the summation of force, hierarchy of joint movements, efficient recruitment of the kinetic chain and so on.

There is a brilliant flip side to this, once we understand how something works, we also know how to stop it from working, how to break it.

Now we can ask what makes this swinging headshot attack work? 

We can identify the sub-concept of relative positioning and ask “How can I prevent that”?

Or if we think the most important aspect of the attack is the speed of delivery we can ask “How do I slow him down”?

The clenched fist that hopes to land is the last link in the attacker’s kinetic chain, how can I use that knowledge? Can I break the chain?

We can take our sub-concepts and use them as stand-alone concepts, if we choose to do this with relative positioning we seed new sub-concepts such as the attacker’s movement, or possibly lack of it, our own movement and even stillness, we can understand how to slow things down or speed things up by the manipulation of this relative positioning, redshift and blueshift in spacetime.

We can get all of this by exploring just one dynamic scenario.

Once we understand this way of thinking, once we see this event from the position of our ‘Fist Logic’ what we are training almost does not matter.

Everything we do will have power, everything we choose to do will work.

But somewhere along the road, this shit might get real.

Surviving a violent attack is as far away from a thought exercise as we can get, in fact in a violent encounter, there is no time to think.

It is only the training that involves concepts and uses thought exercises.

The purpose of the thought exercises is to change how we perceive what is going on in a particular event.

To change the relative non-physical positions of ourselves and the Bad Guy.

We cannot change the reality of what is happening, things are always just what they are, but we can change how we think about it and as such how we react to it.

Without Wing Chun’s ‘Fist Logic’ we get drawn into the Bad Guy’s universe, we try to stop them from doing whatever it is they are doing, it becomes their show, it becomes all about them.

If something is happening to us, and we wish to control/understand/change it, then we must make it all about us.

Because it is all about us.

The first BIG change in our perception is that we do not want to try to stop the Bad Guy from hitting us, it is already too late for that we are under attack, fists are flying.

How we respond to situations emotionally is of far greater importance than any technique.



There is a style of Kung Fu named Yi Quan {translates to Mind Boxing} that has no physical techniques whatsoever, I worked with a Chinese guy that trained in this style, it was interesting but it did not work very well.

We can gain great benefit from any form of Non-Physical or Mind Boxing but we must never forget why we are doing it.

Wing Chun training is about surviving a random, violent encounter with a ‘person or persons unknown‘.

The most testing aspect of becoming capable in Wing Chun is being able to combine the Non-Physical {Mind Boxing} with the Physical {MacDojo Kung Fu}.

This forms the FIST LOGIC, the destination is always us hitting someone that is trying to harm us.

However, because we are decent Human Beings this is easier said than done.

“The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change. The only way we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we are exposed is if we throw ourselves into the open.”

C. Joybell

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