The conflict between nations and conflict between individuals is only a difference of scale, the same rules are in play.

Hey Tribe.

As strange as it may seem the information that comes out during wartime can help us look at our training from a different direction.

This post is almost stream-of-consciousness stuff, open up your thinking and see where it takes you.


An ever-present conundrum for all Martial Artists is that ‘Training is not fighting’, it is not even close to fighting, to examine this if we take our cue from the recent Ukraine War, our training is like the Military Exercises that Russia held with Belarus prior to the invasion. 

Pretend fighting with a hint of malice, but when the invasion came it was completely different from the Exercise.

The shape the invasion took would have been decided in a Wargame that was played out some weeks or months before in Moscow.


When I bring up the IDEA of Wargaming, most students think about Military Exercises.

They are two very different things.

A military exercise is mostly non-aggressive and cooperative concerned with friendly forces working in unison, learning how to not get in each other’s way.

A Military Exercise is as much about logistics as it is about operations, as much about troop movement as it is about engagement, about troop formation and how to get into position to deploy those formations.

A Military Exercise is what Russia recently pretended to be engaged in with Belarus, and as such it allowed them to have 150,00 men in position to invade.

The major difference between Wargaming and Military Exercise is ‘Boots on the Ground’.

Wargaming is a simulation.

Like all simulations, it begins with accurate information regarding both sides of the conflict’s state of readiness, military capabilities, material capacity as in men, planes, tanks, bombs, and an understanding of both sides’ preferred and trained operating tactics.

These numbers are loaded into a computer and run.

The first aim of the simulation is to find the areas of conflict where known methods of operation could break down upon contact with the enemy.

Finding a solution to these problems is how future strategies are devised.

The conflict between nations and conflict between individuals is only a difference of scale, the same rules are in play.

What we do in the training hall day in day out is a civilian version of a Military Exercise, it teaches us the shape we should be and the way we should move.

Thinking that this training will be ‘Fit for Purpose’ without some kind of related Wargaming, will be walking blindly into other nations/person’s ‘area of control’, effectively walking into a kill box.

When we look at what we do in training, we see that everything is built around set-ups and feeds.

If we are honest we will see that nothing we do is n any way similar to what we would expect to come up against in a violent situation.

This is not just Wing Chun, this is every Martial Art.

Even people like Lee Morrison of Urban Combatives, who bases all of his training material on ‘real’ situations that he has been in, training is still set-ups and feeds.

There is no other way, training is training, fighting is fighting.

Wargaming our training should deliberately set out to find where everything fails, in this way we can have a workaround in place before it goes wrong or a the very least avoid that particular scenario.

In civilian Martial Arts, all of them and not just Wing Chun, there is a lot of foolishness about how good things are, how superior our style is to another so much so that many Martial Artists are blindly and quite stupidly partisan.

Every Martial Art style in the world was created to solve a particular, local problem, they all face the possibility of failure once that local problem changes.

Do not take a knife to a gunfight.


If we run a Wargame simulation between ourselves and some random ‘Bad Guy’ what do we come up with?

What do we know in advance?

We have no accurate information about the Bad Guy’s capability or capacity, this lack of information can be a source of panic, fear of the unknown. 

Is there a way to steer this into an area that is known?

It is an uncomfortable fact that {Random Street} Violence happens closer, quicker and is far, far more brutal than anything we do in training.

To achieve some kind of even playing field where we stand a fighting chance we must match the Bad Guy for pace, aggression and determination.

But we do not train these things so how can we do that?

The hardest thing to do in any contest, be it combative or sports is to take back lost ground, so the easy answer is, do not lose ground in the first place.

if we revisit the fact that {Random Street} Violence happens closer, quicker and is far, far more brutal than anything we do in training the only hope we have of not losing ground is to see it coming and slow this attack down to the pace we train at.

Can we do that?

How do we do that?

Space is Time and Time is Space.

If I can create more Space then I create more Time.

If I can create more Time then I slow everything down.

In my opinion, there is a fateful flaw in the way Wing Chun is presented to the general public, if you watch any videos or think back to any seminars that you have attended the Wing Chun Actor/Sifu is always stepping into his attacker.

Stepping in compresses Space and as such reduces Time.

This might work in the training hall with a compliant partner that is standing still but once again we must think about the fact that {Random Street} violence happens closer, quicker and is far, far more brutal than anything we do in training.

Our best hope of not losing ground is to make Space and extend Time.

Apart from anything else Wing Chun is a Counter-Attacking Martial Art, it is unlikely we would ever be in a position to step into an attacker that is aggressively stepping in toward us.

So why do we do it?

It is to get a feel for the way time and space would be compressed and changed when the Bad Guy steps into us and we stand still.


Wing Chun is a Concept Driven Martial Art, it is not a methodology.

There is a bit of an ongoing Furphy in Martial Arts, and that is that we train so we can be responsive and not reactive in a violent situation, this is of course bunkum.

Nice Idea, but so is World Peace and where are we with that?

When someone attacks us it is a stimulus, stimulus incites action, action creates a reaction.

We respond to emails, not actions.

To respond requires thought, saying that we will respond and not react is kidding ourselves, pretending that we will be able to think clearly amid the chaos.

But this is not bad news, it is simply data, it describes the environment we occupy, if we know that we cannot think amid the chaos then we must try to control the chaos, try to control what causes the chaos and in most cases it is our mind that creates the chaos.

If we can teach our Mind/Body to react in a certain way if we are in certain environments, which of course we can and we can do it easily, then the aim becomes choosing the most appropriate environments or changing the environment we are in for a more suitable one.


Sifu Isaac informs us that every action creates an equal but opposite reaction.

Can we factor this breakdown into our Wargame?


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