FIST LOGIC, VIDEO

SPORTS IDEAS FOR THE MARTIAL ARTS.

 

I am a firm believer that we cannot train for violence we can only train to control our own movement and our own decisions

 

To be expected I have a number of friends that are involved in the Martial Arts, a surprising number of them in Traditional Chinese Styles with traditional approaches, they often quiz me on why I put more stock in sports instruction than even the instruction from the very top teachers  of my own lineage, especially now that I am at Master level and have my own school and students.

The first thing I ask them to consider is the position that modern sports are a ritualistic replacement for combat, people engage each other with a vigour as intense and desperate as any violent encounter, at elite level even non contact sports tend towards what is essentially full contact and can readily slip into actual physical violence.

While  we as Traditional Martial Artists on the other hand are involved in training that never engages an opponent in anger with a real outcome to prosecute and secure, much if not all of our training is a lot closer to imagination than reality so can we honestly say that there is any practical difference between the moves used in Ritualistic Combat vs the moves from Traditional Martial Arts Sources?

Once we begin to ask honest questions we eventually come head first into the ugly question that asks “if we never use our training in anger how do we know it will work in anger”?

We don’t, none of us do including myself, I am not trying to set myself above anyone here, it has been approaching 10 years since I used my skill set to its obvious conclusion.

Relating back to sports I am not sure I would put my money on a player that has been out of the game for 10 years no matter how hard he trained, or who he trained with.

From a personal perspective I have been in enough violent encounters to know that each encounter was different from all the previous encounters, over the years  I have used numerous styles so the common denominator was not what I did, I did what I did in spite of my training not because of it, the only real common denominator was me as a person.

How I moved, how I reacted to stimulus how, how I read the play as the encounter unfolded.

I am a firm believer that we cannot train for violence we can only train to control our own movement and our own decisions, in the sports environment this could be advantageous positioning and intelligent shot selection, in a violent encounter it could be to get out of the Bad Guy’s way and hit him while he is not looking.

Some well known  issues in the M.A. training environment is that many students get a little too close to the target and try to hit it too hard, it is almost impossible to be aware of this as we do not have an accurate metric to measure it by, however if we are playing a ball sport, Tennis or perhaps BaseBall, being too close, even by as little as half an inch and trying to hit too hard always result in failure.

There is no practical difference between learning how to be in the right place at the right time using the correct timing and technique to hit a baseball or tennis ball as there is in hitting an opponent.

If we allow ourselves this freedom, and it is a case of allowance, blinding dogma is always a choice, we notice that at a base level all of the moves that create the impulse { Force times Time} to generate momentum are the same for every sport, every martial arts style every normal movement.

It is a Human Movement thing.

We Humans have a limited range of movements with which we perform all actions, as obvious as it is, it is of  no matter what we may think we are doing we can only move in a human way so to that end all of our moves in any endeavour  are the same thing from the same place, there is no special way of doing anything.

Once we see this it cannot be unseen and everything becomes the same, for instance the lateral body shift in the Chum Kiu Form is exactly the way a good baseball player hits a ball, baseball players practice in an environment that is a great deal closer to their sports reality than most of what we do in the Martial Arts.

 

 

Positional and structural ideas that Baseball Coaches think are important for hitting a base ball will crossover seamlessly into our practice of Chum Kiu, shot put and discus ideas crossover seamlessly into our Biu Gee practice, if we have the eyes to see without personal bias.

Below is the link I spoke of in the video, it is a bit long at 10 minutes but it is really well presented information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0lm_GigMJE&list=PLLTdvs1kZsQ6IEym7CzwOb0f_poNk2F2o&index=3&t=26s

 

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FIST LOGIC

Science we can feel and see.

 

it may not hang together so well without all the jibber jabber that was going on

 

On Saturday morning we were digging into Chum Kiu and justifying our actions to the basics of Newtonian physics, on the off chance of some good work being done I had the camera rolling and I was miked up, it was all pretty ad hoc and as a result some of the filming and lighting is pretty shoddy but the IDEAS are sound.

This is a 5 minute breakdown of a 2 hour session so it may not hang together so well without all the jibber jabber that was going on, as always my main intention is to try to get people to open their minds and do their own research.

 

 

 

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A little bit of real Science.

 

Wing Chun is divided into two schools of thought, one side believes in magical forces the other does not, the thing is it makes no difference

 

There has been a great deal of stuff on a few Wing Chun community chat boards lately describing how various Wing Chun Forms and methodologies can create massive force, and the implication has been that because of these mechanics Wing Chun delivers greater hitting power than some other systems, this is a really big misunderstanding of the Conservation of Momentum theory.

A misunderstanding of the irrefutable reality of our universe.

One example of how and when much of Wing Chun thinking deviates from reality is everyones favourite way of explaining why the Wing Chun way creates power, the much quoted equation F=ma  , the kicker in this is that   F=ma holds fast even if we are slowing down and moving backwards, more on this a little later.

An issue of mine with much  of todays Wing Chun analysis, especially by people that cannot reconcile that the only thing Wing Chun ever wants to do is hit other people, is confusing force {F} with momentum {p}, as a fighting art our intent is to hit people hard, to create a collision, transfer the combined momentum of both participants into our opponent or in a defensive situation to defuse our opponents attack, create a force deflection and impede the transfer of the same combined momentum into ourselves.

It is the quality of the impact and not the force of the hit that determines the amount of {p} momentum transferred on impact.

Hit Power is not the amount of Force that created that momentum but rather the amount of momentum transferred on contact, as much if not more momentum could be transferred into my opponent by the Bad Guy walking into my outstretched arm as any poorly landed strike.

The quality of the impact is determined by the relationship to each other of both participants, to this extent they are a closed system, all of the energy is retained inside the system, nothing is lost only exchanged.

We can actually hit bigger people with more force than smaller people with the same amount of effort due to the fact that they contribute more to the system by their own heavier weight.

The force of the blow is probably the least important aspect when compared to time, space, and orientation, but this is for a different post.

Newtons 2nd law states F=ma  , force is equal to the mass multiplied by acceleration.

Acceleration does not mean going faster it means changing speed, going slower {confusingly referred to in English as deceleration} is also acceleration, negative acceleration, acceleration is the change in velocity over the change in time,   a=∆v \ ∆t.

I do not have a math plugin for this site so  equations such as . ∆v \ ∆t is   ∆v over ∆t.

The conservation of momentum theory states p=mv  , momentum {p} is equal to the mass multiplied by the velocity.

We would do well to replace the idea of F=ma   with the formula of F = m∆v \ ∆t,  mass multiplied by the change in velocity, divided by the change in time, now when we are concerned with applied force we can use F = ∆t \ ∆p, Force is the change in momentum over the change in time.

Be close, hit fast, hit heavy.

It has been many years since I was at school so forgive me if the science is not spot on, the idea is correct even if the equations are not.

One of the reasons I prefer Sports Science to Traditional Wing Chun thinking is that it always justifies its approach through Physics,  a Tennis player applies Force to the ball through the service mechanics, this Force changes the velocity and direction {vector} of the ball by transferring momentum into it.

It is the same with all ball sports.

I went to a very odd Grammar School, one of the sports we played was Fives, both Eton and Rugby Fives, the game was the same but the court was different, essentially it is a racquet sport played without a racquet, if we used Fives methodology there would be absolutely no difference whatsoever in hitting a ball and hitting a person.

Wing Chun is divided into two schools of thought, one side believes in magical forces the other does not, the thing is it makes no difference because no matter what we think is happening it is all governed by the rules of the universe and we would do well to become a little better acquainted with them.

Punching someone is the same science as a car crash, the same science as throwing a ball.

Defending is the same science as surfing or flying a kite.

I will revisit this in more detail in the not too distant future.

Work on your weakness, play to your strength.

 

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Align with Sports Science.

 

All power is momentum.

Momentum is a product of  velocity, in particular changing velocity, dynamics.

When I am digging deeper into the Fist Logic of Wing Chun my first port of call is to see if what is being suggested can be understood along known Sports Science and Modern Sports Methodologies lines, if it cannot it is dispensed with immediately, if it is dubious it is relegated to the bench to be explored at a later date.

Why do I do this, is Sport the same as violence?

Any one with competitive experience of any of the contact sports knows all to well that contact sports are a thinly veiled substitute for combat, in important matches between local rivals the veil often slips and we all know what happens next, many sociologists make a life long career out of just this topic.

North American first nation tribes such as the Mohawk and Choctow would solve regional differences with a version of what is now called Lacrosse instead of all out Martial conflict.

These types of  War games are at home in most cultures, in 600 B.C. Persian and Turkoman tribesmen would try to place a goat carcass in the opposing tribes territory, a similar game appeared in South America today it is organised into Polo and is one of the oldest team sports on record.

And of course there is the fighting sports, variants of boxing or grappling, the Greek style of Pankration was documented at least 2500 years ago.

There are very tangible connections to the creation of Kung Fu from Alexander the Great’s Army introducing Pankration into the Indian Martial Art which then made its way to China with Bodhidharma.

The practice of these Martial Sports was not just about conflict substitution or resolution, often and more importantly they were about conflict readiness.

Anyone can learn the moves of a particular way of engaging an enemy but making it work in real time against a real and equally engaged opponent takes hands on experience, in a Martial Sport you can fail, try again, fail again try again until you get it right.

There are no do-overs in war.

For me the question should not be why do I need everything to align with the most up to date Sports Science with my own M.A. training, but rather who are people kidding if they think that there is no need for them to do this with their own Martial Arts training?

I do not buy into the thought bubble of “not everyone does a Martial Art to fight”, people may very well remain in training their art long after they have developed a fighting skill set for other reasons, but everyone starts from the standpoint of wanting to fight better.

I have played numerous contact sports, Ice Hockey, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Lacrosse, the difference between myself and the many people that played better than me was very rarely plain old skill, often my own skill level was on par with them, usually it was speed and co-ordination, this gave them the opportunity to do the exact same things that I could do, but sadly before I could do them.

All power is momentum.

Momentum is a product of  velocity, in particular changing velocity, dynamics.

Violence is dynamic, if our training is not dynamic we are not training for violence.

In an organised and social society it is difficult to train for violence without being involved in violence.

Hence the importance of Sport, and here we are back at the beginning.

 

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BENEFITING FROM OUTSIDE INFLUENCES.

 

In top level professional Elite Sports if a player can improve by as little as 1% they can earn many millions of dollars in extra prize money

In the last post I spoke of changing our thinking and approach to moving in Wing Chun, and how if we can connect to other skills from other places, such as sports, then we can dramatically increase our rate of improvement.

Previously I focused on throwing skills and how they relate and can improve our understanding and application of Biu Gee, today I want to revisit how Ice Hockey and Speed Skating can improve our understanding and application of Chum Kiu.

But firstly we need to accept that there is no internal power in Wing Chun, as hopeful and tempting as that may be, standing still moving our arms will give us nothing we were not born with, everything is physical, in fact everything is Physics.

I occasionally get outside students from other schools or friends of friends coming to see me to help them with Chum Kiu.

I ask them to show me what they know and then apply resistance against their movement, in fairness if they knew what to do properly they would not be seeing me so to be expected they fail to move correctly.

I ask them “where are you moving from”?

The most common answer is “my centre”.

This is wrong.

All movement comes from the ground, not the hips, not the centre, these are the initiators of the force but not where we are moving from, this is a subtle but enormous difference, once we understand this we can begin to understand the fundamental aspects of Chum Kiu.

Straight off the bat we can explore this with an office chair.

It is the interaction with the ground that makes all movement, when the waist turns it creates torsion that is transferred into movement.

Without that connection to the ground all we can do is wiggle our butt.

It is the torsion in the leg that creates the down force that coupled with dropping the weight creates instant movement as soon as we remove any brakes we may of put in place, such as our other leg, a common error made by students that think the Y.C.K.Y.M. is an actual working stance.

The Y.C.K.Y.M. introduces us to the idea of torsion, allows us to experience it, feel it, trust it, to get what I mean think of it as being two rear legs in Chum Kiu being trained at the same time, which of course is what it is.

The torsion in the leg can be created in numerous ways, but the most effective for dynamic application, and the most natural is by turning the chest.

If we understand Core Winding and allow the upper body separation that we can learn from Biu Gee the act of turning the chest creates torsion with the waist and passes it down the kinetic chain via weight dispersion into the foot, then the ground, Newtons third law then turns this into movement.

When I was a nipper and learning the fundamentals of Skating for Ice  Hokey the coach would say when you turn you go top down, turn with your head not your feet, this is the same thing, the head turns the Chest and so on down to the feet, the legs and feet themselves do nothing except keep us upright.

When we do Chum Kiu in the training hall we can get many things wrong and never really notice, on the ice even the smallest errors in balance, weight dispersal, weight shifting and postural alignment can and usually do result in kissing the ice.

An error many students that spend too much time in the Y.C.K.Y.M frequently make is trying to keep the feet flat on the ground, this interferes with the alignment of the reaction force from the planet, in our everyday life when we walk there is a certain amount of natural pronation that occurs, we really must free up the ankles to allow natural pronation to occur where and when it is needed, we do not deliberately pronate the foot, but neither do we prevent it from happening.

Allowing the natural weight shift to pronate my foot, even if I just lean into it creates and action that pushes the floor, the resulting reaction moves me forwards, if I use torsion to pronate it has the effect of magnifying that action / reaction.

 

OTHER INPUTS from WC INCa’s on Vimeo.

 

The big difference between being on the ice and being in the training hall is all about traction, in the training hall our feet create traction with the floor that prevent us from realising we are minimally out of balance and alignment, or that we are building negative or at least contrary tension or torsion in our body, on the ice the traction is so slight that these negatives instantly effect our direction and stability.  Having even just a slight understanding of what it takes to be balanced on a slippery surface is a huge advantage on a sound surface.

In top level professional Elite Sports if a player can improve by as little as 1% they can earn many millions of dollars in extra prize money, it makes sense to cross reference everything we think we know against modern sports science.

 

TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS, WORK TO YOUR STRENGTH.

 

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NEUTRAL AND THEN FORWARDS.

 

 

Once we can align our present study with established knowledge we learnt in another context we understand that there is nothing new to learn.

 

CONNECTING THE FORMS.

What I believe is the most important of the Wing Chun Forms and the one that I would recommend spending more time on is not as many think the First Form but is in fact the Fourth Form, the Mok Jan Jong or Wooden Dummy.

Each of the first three Forms brings us part of the total information that we can then work on uniting through the practice of the Dummy, Knives and Pole, however only the Dummy works as a hands on solo training that allows us to explore possible combinations of the various movements and ideas introduced in the first three Forms, in real time and real space.

As Sci Fi as it may sound the 2 most important things to be comfortable with are time and space, the time to do the work and the space to do the work, without this control everything goes out of the window, only the dummy gives us this aspect of training, everything else is little more than imaginary training, and is only of use in imaginary fighting.

Working on the Dummy is working on all of the previous Forms in a compounded and more practical way, this is in fact the raison d’être of the Dummy.

To understand and benefit from the Dummy it is critical that we abandon all fantasy,  50% of the moves in the Dummy Form are wrong and the other half are useless, it is a training aid that helps us understand ourselves and how we move, accept force and issue force, it is not a sparring partner.

Before we can have any hope of gaining benefit from the Dummy we must understand the core aspects of the first three Forms, and have at least a basic understanding of how to combine them.

This is a very brief overview that is intended to prepare the mind to change its Frame of Reference that I hope to fill out over the coming months.

Before commencing any of the Forms there is a period of non activity, we simply stand, settle in and settle down, this is not just a precursor to doing the Forms, in so many ways this is the most important aspect of our solo training, and the most important frame of reference to measure all of the Forms against, I call this our Personal Neutral.

The Personal Neutral is the state of being that we inhabit before we do anything, the person we are when we are not thinking about or talking to ourselves, the person we are when there is no time to chose or make plans, the person that we hope will get us out of trouble.

It can and usually does take many years before we wake up and realise the importance of establishing and understanding our own Personal Neutral.

Core aspects of the First Form.

Developing and understanding our Personal Neutral, being still, in balance with the correct alignment for self support, in many ways it is learning how to connect to ourselves as a being, understanding what and where we are.

The  Personal Neutral is both a physical condition and a Mental Mindset.

Once established the active aspect of the First Form is to be able to move the arms without disturbing our Personal Neutral.

Core aspects of Chum Kiu.

Moving the waist with minimal disturbance of our Personal Neutral whilst maintaining balance and correct alignment for self support.

Develop the ability to support the arms with the body, which leads to being able to coordinate the movement of the arms and waist with minimum disturbance of the Personal Neutral which allows for an acceptance or transfer of force without resistance.

Core aspects of Biu Gee.

Moving the Shoulder girdle with minimal disturbance to our Personal Neutral whilst maintaining balance and correct alignment for self support.

Connect the upper and lower halves of the body primarily with the Muscles of the Core which leads to developing and understanding the kinetic chain including muscle hierarchies to issue force.

If we can allow ourselves to explore Biu Gee as a purely mechanical process we will find many movements shared by all throwing sports, golf, tennis and even swimming.  Once we can align our present study with established knowledge we learnt in another context we understand that there is nothing new to learn.

This will accelerate our progress.

Play to your strength, work on your weakness.

 

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FIST LOGIC, Uncategorized

DO WE THINK IN WING CHUN?

 

What we are seeing is the Disneyfication of Wing Chun, 

Let me state clearly that I am a great believer in the Deeper Philosophy of Wing Chun, when used correctly as a Martial Art I think it is nothing short of remarkable.

However….

To a large section of the Australian Wing Chun community the Sil Lim Tao is the beginning and end of everything.

So much so that they only train the Sil Lim Tao at the expense of the other more applicable Forms.

How did a ‘little idea’ become such a big deal?

It has gotten to the point that if you go to a workshop with a senior master all that is worked on is actions from the First Form, nothing is ever spoken about violence.

I was recently at such a workshop, when I pointed out that the exercise being shown had no practical value I was nearly mobbed by the more zealous attendees.

In fact there is a consensus that Wing Chun is not just for fighting.

But of course it is, fighting is all it is for.

What we are seeing is the Disneyfication of Wing Chun, the complete watering down of a once effective fighting system into a parody of itself, there are even national Chi Sau competitions, something that flies in the face of Wing Chun’s own principles.

The bigger problem though is that this is not a slow decent into obscurity like T.K.D. and Tai Chi this is a swan dive from a great height that just keeps picking up speed, helped along by Facebook and Youtube.

A question must be asked.

How can a Martial Art not be for fighting?

Can we call ourselves Martial Artists if our aim is not to improve Martial Skills for the only outcome of being more effective fighters?

I have a longstanding friendship with the senior instructor for a very large Wing Chun School who holds the idea that Wing Chun is not just for fighting, even if he does not impart this thinking to his students it must be obvious by his example, this is how the rot spreads.

I am in the process of reading a book called Wilful Blindness by Margret Heffernan, it is this book that has driven me to write this post, although the book has nothing to do with the Martial Arts it describes the malaise Wing Chun faces perfectly.

Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don’t seenot because they’re secret or invisible, but because we’re wilfully blind.

Without meaning to students put as much effort into avoiding the reality of what we do as they do into learning what we do.

They turn a blind eye to the truth and ignore the obvious.

Wing Chun is not the culprit here, it is the victim, in a market economy it is the customer that shapes the inventory, the man who pays the piper calls the tune.

Wing Chun becomes what we think it is and how we think about Wing Chun will not only shape our own training but the very future of the style.

Do we think shallow or do we think deep?

A shallow thinker sees only one problem and they answer in only one way {one Form}.

A deep thinker approaches multiple problems from different angles.

Far too often students refuse to engage their minds.

They swallow up instruction and information, but never question the thinking behind it or make the effort to analyse and quantify what they have just been taught.

Facebook and Youtube are echo chambers that allow them to obsessively seek out truth that confirms their world view and cling to it with little room for awareness and understanding of their own thought processes

The biggest barrier to deeper understanding is confirmation bias.

In Wing Chun this happens with a deep belief in lineage.

The Sil Lim Tao Form is not a shadow boxing form, this is well known, it is not intended to make contact, this also is well known.

How can training this Form help us fight?

Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don’t seenot because they’re secret or invisible, but because we’re wilfully blind.

 

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