it is so much more important to understand the philosophy of what we do as opposed to the methodology.
We have spent the early months of this year working on the not-so-obvious and not-so-visible side of Wing Chun, but at the end of the day, this stuff is only needed once we engage someone.
To get us back into the correct head-space to survive violence we need to change which thinking hat we are wearing.
We need our Counter-Attacking Hat.
What is the action we refer to as a Counter Attack?
Whenever we try to get deep into it we are confronted by the fact that we need additional information to put it into the correct context.
It is just not possible to talk about Counter Attacking without a concrete reference to what an Attack is, and this of course opens up the need to have a concrete reference to what Fighting is, the different phases of Fighting, the difference between Attacking and Defending, Fighting and Attacking, Fighting and Defending, in short, we need to have at least a personal opinion of the dynamics of violence.
We train and approach Wing Chun as an answer to Violence.
This affects everything we do and everything we train, and it unavoidably creates a bias towards Function and Application.
I have been involved in enough violence to be acutely aware that no man can ever truly understand or in fact prepare for violence, it is just too expansive, and its appearance is usually random and unpredictable.
But as individuals, we owe it to ourselves to try to understand what we think violence is.
This will be different for every one of us, this is why it is so much more important to understand the philosophy of what we do as opposed to the methodology.
The reason we spend a decent amount of our training time attempting to relate what we are training to where and why we think we would use it, we often learn more about the practicality of our training from exploring our conversations than exploring the physical aspect of the training.
As a teacher I find these conversations so engaging because I find myself in a position where I am trying to answer many different questions with one simple answer, this leads to my own further development.
Before discussing the Philosophy of Counter Attack, let’s talk about the dynamics of rightly or wrongly expected violence.
VIOLENCE – A GENERLISATION.
Violence is multi-faceted and layered, it comes in many shapes and sizes, one on one, many against one, gang on gang, country against country every event is a new event that has so little in common with what came before the value of prior experience is far less than we may imagine.
In general terms violence comes in two flavours, let’s call them Social and Anti – Social.
This is a FIGHT.
Fights are events between two people that have agreed to fight, a Match Fight, a Combat Sports competition or when outsides of sports someone says to the other something along the lines of ….
’I will meet you at such a place at such a time and we will sort this out’.
In this type of engagement, both parties know why they are there and what is about to go down, it is consensual, and they have given each other permission to use violence, there is no surprise here, there is usually some kind of support and a designated endpoint such as a knockout, one person being unable to continue or submission and then the thing is over.
If one of the fighters is injured help is never far away. Schoolyard fights fall into this category unless it is a bullying situation.
This is an unprovoked ATTACK, and in general what Non-Combat Sports Martial Artists train for, only one of the people involved knows the reason for this, only one person knows what the end point is, and it is usually incapacitation, there is very rarely support for the person being attacked and if at the end that person is left injured there is no guarantee of help.
This is a bad headspace that has a dramatic often debilitating effect on performance.
In the middle of this event, the intended victim may get the upper hand and turn the tables on the attacker, but only the roles change, the outcome remains the same, the victim simply becomes the attacker, and the attacker becomes the victim.
ANATOMY OF A VIOLENT EVENT.
Fighting, Attacking and Defending are three very different situations that cannot and should not be looked at as different aspects of the same thing.
Fighting is when two people are both engaged in the same event, trying to reach the same goal, for the same reason, it is consensual, usually preplanned and allows for strategies to be thought out and implemented. This is primarily a competition mindset.
Think Boxing or M.M.A.
Attacking is when one person without any thought or concern for the other uses violence to further their own agenda. This is predatory behaviour, a predatory mindset.
Think of something along the lines of a mugging.
Defending is when a person that is under attack in any situation tries to prevent an attacker from hurting them. This is a survivalist mindset.
It is important to acknowledge that defending does not mean fighting back, to fight back requires a change of mindset, this is the problem with thinking that Wing Chun’s Simultaneous Attack and Defence is a methodology instead of a concept, to be able to implement S.A & D we would need to be in two different mindsets at the same time, being in two minds is an expression used to illustrate indecisiveness or confusion.
Mindsets govern how our body works, how it reacts to stimuli, what hormones the body creates and how much control we have over our movements.
There are major physical, emotional, mental and physiological differences between the mindsets that automatically develop when Fighting, Attacking or Defending, they are not even close to being the same thing, and they are incapable of being combined.
Do not just take my word for it, do some research, and check it out.
PHASES OF A VIOLENT EVENT.
From the Wing Chun training perspective what we think we would face in a violent event would have three distinct phases that require different thinking and application. This does not include totally random surprise attacks, they are undefendable, most violence has some kind of precursor so we will at least be aware of the possibility of violence.
The attacker is aggressive and animated, Wing Chun man is passive and ready, the attacker mistakes passivity for weakness and launches the attack without fear of retaliation, W.C man intercepts and presses forward with relentless attacks, possibly ending the threat there and then.
If successful we move to Phase #3. This is a typical training scenario.
W.C.Mans first response did not end the threat, both men separate and regroup, the element of surprise is gone, and the attacker knows the game is afoot and will now be cautious, possibly use kicks, possibly try to rush in and overwhelm us, possibly set in for a long thoughtful brawl, Mano e Mano.
This phase is completely unpredictable, and as such is rarely if ever approached in training.
W.C. Man ends the threat and enacts a preplanned exit strategy.
This is another aspect that does not get enough time in most training, it brings its own bundle of questions, the most pertinent being……..
What constitutes a win?
Do I stay or do I go?
To be continued…
COUNTER-ATTACKING DOES NOT REQUIRE DEFENCE, ONLY THAT WE ARE UNDER ATTACK.