image below… The Suspension Bridge on the Border of Hida and Etchū Provinces by Katsushika Hokusai

Does reaching Master Level have any relevance to surviving violence?


There is a saying that my Sifu used, and many of my fellow students 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 makes no sense.

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 personal 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.

And then we try to retrofit those actions to reflect our training as if it was even important, only the outcome is ever important.

The question must be asked, does reaching Master Level have any relevance to 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?

Many people in 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 a cliche but it is also true that “If you only do what you have always done you will only get what you always got” so hoping to achieve upwards momentum by continually working on the Siu Nim Tao is a bit of a pipe dream.

Empty your cup and think about this.


I believe that only working on one Form is procrastination, it is lazy and ultimately tied to fear of failure.

Growth and improvement require feeding with a complex diet, they need dynamic involvement. 

There is another relatively large stumbling block when it comes to advancing in Wing Chun.

Most of the important work of Wing Chun is spent working out how to not do certain things.

Such as not fighting force, not creating tension in the body, not using overt strength.

The difficulty becomes learning how to not do something by actively doing something else?

This is quite a conundrum.

Anchoring our training in any single Form, not just the Siu Nim Tao, is always self-limiting bordering on 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.  

That fabled 30,000-foot view.

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 positioning and negating an opponent? 

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

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

We need a large dose of honesty here, when the brown gets airborne and the fan shares it around it will not be two people doing Chi Sau.

Dai Sigung Isaac Newton informs us that every event is the sum of its parts, so at best, even if we are faultless and perfect, it will be only 50% Wing Chun.

As a final circling of the wagons, there is another thing that my Sifu would say that I absolutely and completely do agree with…. 


A painting of a Horse never won the Melbourne Cup.

Angry, art loving punter.

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