And YES, it can be influenced by training.

One of the most valuable advances from the ‘information age’ is that we can now easily access high-level academic research papers and other sources of trusted, up-to-date information such as podcasts from reputable professors at world-class Universities.

This information is readily available and usually free of charge.

One such professor is Andrew Huberman, and his podcast is Huberman Lab.

Andrew D. Huberman is an American neuroscientist and tenured associate professor in the department of neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine who has made contributions to the brain development, brain plasticity, and neural regeneration and repair fields. Wikipedia

If you follow the link to the podcast you can see that the scope is breathtaking.

The central theme, even when the subject is physical such as diet and exercise, is focused on the role of the Brain and Nervous System in everyday tasks.

Although there is not a specific podcast that deals with intention, the subject comes up time and time again.

I will not cut and paste from Huberman Lab, you would be better served sitting back and enjoying a handful of podcasts, instead I will use his information to lead my own IDEAs.

In Martial Arts we talk about “Intention”, but do we know what we mean by this?

It is not as straightforward as we may think, due to the fact that in the English language we us the same word for some very different concepts.

Especially if we are coming from the conscious and subconscious mind.

In the conscious mind ‘Intention” is a deliberately chosen emotional goal. : we plan or want to do something. i.e. We have every intention of continuing with this project, whatever the cost.

However, Sub-conscious ‘Intention” is an automatic neural process that precedes a motor action, i.e. breathing in before jumping into cold water. 

Or in a more extreme example contracting our Anus if we are scared or anxious to avoid losing control of our bowels.

Frequently this sub-conscious intention process has been influenced by prior experiences of the same or very similar experiences.

And YES, it can be influenced by training.

Conscious intention can be looked at as happening on a ‘local level’.  We need to actively engage this type of intention and of course, it is reactive to the surrounding environment, it can be just as readily turned off as turned on.

Sub-conscious intention can be looked at as happening at a systemic level, it does not need a deliberate call to action to activate and as such is less likely to be influenced by external events.

In so many ways this leads us back to a discussion of the relationship between Form and Function.

In this instance, Form would be looked at as conscious intention whereas Function would be the more sub-conscious intention.

It gives us another portal to understand the importance of Forms and hopefully provides us with a more effective way of interacting with them.

For the majority of us, if we are in a situation that calls upon us to use our Wing Chun training to defend ourselves from harm, it is unlikely to be a calm, controlled, or stress-free thinking environment, we will be unlikely to try to set up combinations or enact complicated strategies.

Our brief will automatically be to deal with what is happening this very instant, right here, right now and not worrying about what may or may not come next.

In any violent situation, every action can be seen as happening in isolation, it will always be a single blow that finishes the event, and everything is on the line all of the time.

The way we practice our Forms, start at the beginning and carry on through till the end, possibly even roll straight into the next Form, there was a time when this was my practice, will do little to help us deal with ‘right here, right now’.

Even if we think we are focusing on every individual movement the ‘conscious intention’ is to do the whole Form, and even worse if our intention is to then do the next Form.

The other evening I was attempting to explain this to Costas and George but could not find the words to clearly explain it, but one thing I do know is that the ‘intention’ we are trying to develop is not actively thinking about what we are doing and how we are doing it.

This not meant to be negative in any way, everything in Wing Chun is based on Natural Human Movement, to a certain extent we already know all that we need to know.

If we allow our Mind/Body to make its own choices, if we stop trying to make it DO Wing Chun, the closer we will be to correctness.

This needs to start with how we do the Forms.

There is no clash between Form and Function, neither can exist without the other, but for the Form to influence Function, we need to do the Form with the goal of Function.

Neither Conscious Intention nor Sub-conscious Intention is a physical thing, if our focus when we are doing any Form is physical, and of course that includes physically relaxing, we are not working on Intention.


Attack what is weak, avoid what is strong.

Every General ever.

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