Articles

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: LAP SAU – LATCHES AND REALITY.

 

A complete no-no in Wing Chun is to defend with both arms, all Lap Sau is performed with both arms, all Fook Sau latches are performed with both arms, all Chi Sau is performed with both arms.

 

A major aspect of Chi Sau is the use of latches or Lap Sau, pretty much everything in Chi Sau is achieved through some application of a Lap Sau, but where does Lap Sau belong in the grand scheme?

If we are using a Lap Sau it should be obvious that something has gone wrong from the view point of effective and efficient Wing Chun, for whatever reason were not able to apply simultaneous attack and defence and then follow up with relentless striking, Wing Chun’s first choice of action.

Always.

The most likely scenario would be that we have been surprised and reacted in a manner that we would not use if the choice was our own, if we look at the Lap Sau drill in Chi Sau it is performed from a high Lan Sau position, the Lan Sau or Bar Arm is a hard block, Wing Chun does not employ hard blocking so it is safe to think that this is a position we have found ourselves in and not one we chose.

Trying to use a simulation of the rolling Lan Sau through Lap Sau and Strike is very poor Wing Chun and should be abandoned immediately.

It is Bogus Wing Chun.

The easiest way to tell if what we are doing is an exercise to explore and IDEA or an application that we could cut and paste is to ask ourselves “What would need to happen for me to be in this position”?  Asking this question can help us evaluate the IDEA, and hopefully come up with some thoughts on where to use it.

Asking how did I get here makes it pretty obvious that all of Chi Sau is just an exercise to explore IDEAS and not in any way truly applicable, apart from anything else why would the Bad Guy stand square in front of us? 

A complete no-no in Wing Chun is to defend with both arms, all Lap Sau is performed with both arms, all Fook Sau latches are performed with both arms, all Chi Sau is performed with both arms.

 

 

We need to discover where the latches we train in Chi Sau can be used in open situations, against people that do not stand where we want them to stand. 

 

 

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Weekend Headspin

WEEKEND HEAD SPIN: BODY LOGIC, MIND LOGIC, FIST LOGIC.

 

In a nutshell I am the guy that will be using it to prevent getting his ass handed to him.

SO MUCH LOGIC, SO LITTLE {TRAINING} TIME.

Every Wing Chun teacher has to decide what to take from the pot that is
Wing Chun Concepts, interpret them and find a way to communicate them to others, this is why there is so much difference between teachers, as humans we do not see things as they are but in fact as reflections of ourselves.

What we all teach is what we already know by way of our personal experiences served up in the manner of Wing Chun.

My own experience contains quite a bit of fighting, so for me everything is inevitably looked at through the filter of Fist Logic.

This does not mean that I am right and Body Logic or Mind Logic teachers are wrong, but it does explain a lot about where my teaching is headed and what it can offer, and by inference a lot about what other teachers teach and what they offer.

Fist Logic is less interested with the process and far, far more interested in the results, this is why some people find my views challenging, often bringing into doubt the advice of even the most respected Gurus.

I have been asked what gives me the right to question the teaching of our Wing Chun predecessors?

In a nutshell I am the guy that will be using it to prevent getting his ass handed to him.

A case in point, around about 2 years ago I was invited to a workshop at a friends school, the guest teachers were 2 of the most respected teachers from Hong Kong, on one occasion they were teaching something that really did not make any sense to me so I asked its purpose, I was told that it had no real purpose that it was only an exercise, when I asked what was the value in spending training time doing something without purpose I was again told that it was just an exercise.

Out of respect for my friends I left it at that, to prosecute the argument of practicality, one of the pillars of  Wing Chun,  would of done nothing but upset the other students present that valued that type of training.

I have significant fighting and sports experience, winning and loosing, something I know intimately is that violence and aggression when they are up in our faces is mind numbing.    

Injuries and debilitating knocks are part and parcel of any clash in any environment, no ones body is ever operating optimally if we cannot do something well enough when we physically do it wrong we are screwed.

Is Mind Logic worth the time spent training it?

Is Body Logic worth the time spent training it?

If there is a balance then absolutely shit yeah they are, but there needs to be balance.

Mind Logic develops the thought to do work, Body Logic develops the body to do work, but only Fist Logic does the work, this is the way of all disciplines, of all encounters, even in the workplace, as a Chef there have been many times when the orders just keep pouring in, so much work, looking around I could see my staff shell shocked and semi paralysed just by the thought of the work to be done and the short amount of time we had to do it in.

Mind numb, Body offline, the answer was to buckle in and make a Fist of it.

 

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Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: POSITIONING, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LINES WE CHOOSE.

 

 

Position in any martial art is all about getting off line, but which line?

 

The standard scenario envisioned by Wing Chun is that if we are set upon we reply to this attack with simultaneous attack and defence, followed by unrelenting attacks immediately finishing off the threat, job done in what we could call the “first phase” of the fight.

This is at the heart of most Wing Chun thinking, and the main reason we do not train dynamic movement or consider a need to study positioning, in the standard scenario they would never be needed.

What happens if we do not finish things in the “first phase”?

The standard follow up scenario is “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow” then rinse and repeat our earlier efforts, and again if this did happen it would work.

This may be acceptable from the point of view of Mind Logic or Body Logic, but not for Fist Logic.

There is no doubt at all that our biggest weapon in Wing Chun is surprise, fights can be over before the our opponent knows it has started, but even the best get things wrong, and when it happens do we really think that the Bad Guy would choose to repeat the same thing that had just failed  in the first phase?

If the Bad Guy goes to plan “B” what do we do?

When it does not work “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow” leaves us stranded like a Bunny in the headlights.

If the Bad Guy is a Judo player, or a Ju Jitsu player or just a very basic grappler we will never stop them taking us if we just stand there as in the standard scenario, where is our plan “B”?

Despite the fact that none of our Forms are about fighting, Chum Kiu and Biu Gee do contain some really clever footwork that readily converts into useable applications to gain strong positions for attack and defence, to really appreciate this footwork I get my guys to do the Forms without using any arm moves at all, just the footwork.

It is often said that of all our Forms the Dummy Form is full of fighting applications, but I think this is drawing a very long bow, at least half of the moves in the Dummy Form are flat out wrong due to the fact that the Dummy does not move and its frame prevents us from taking the side position correctly.

It does however offer some really good positioning concepts that really should be introduced much earlier.

Every move on the Dummy puts us on the outside of an attackers arm and teaches us how to take up the side position where the attackers other Arm {other than the one we intercepted} cannot strike us properly, this is very sound positioning theory and consistent with every other martial art.

A great deal of the footwork in the Dummy Form is at its heart evasive footwork, a hybrid of Chum Kiu and Biu Gee, that allows us to shift and rotate, there is nothing in the Dummy Form that goes hey diddle diddle, again this is very sound positional theory, it is interesting that there is not anything in the Dummy Form that reflects “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow”.

If we can combine the movement of both Chum Kiu and Biu Gee we end up with something very, very close to how Western Boxers move, once we recognise this there is a wealth of information on the net that we can learn from.

 

 

Position in any martial art is all about getting off line, but which line?

 

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Articles, Food for Thought

WEEKEND HEAD SPIN: THE CONCEPT CONUNDRUM.

There is a constant and vigorous conundrum alive within Wing Chun that arrises from the very fact that W.C. is a conceptual Martial Art, this conundrum is born from the very reasons we approach the concepts in the first place, our personal need, what we are looking for and what we hope to discover.

A concept is the seed for an IDEA, an IDEA is the blueprint for action, but what action do we approach the concept to find a blueprint for?

Do we know?

Any creative thinker worth their salt will tell you that good concepts are intended to create many varied IDEAS in many different directions, like a round room with many windows offers many different views.

From my perspective Wing Chun is always about Fist Logic, so any of the Wing Chun concepts I ponder will always create IDEAS associated with Fist Logic, other Teachers have a more spiritual IDEA, or a more wholistic IDEA and this will create blueprints for Mind Logic or Body Logic.

To place this conundrum of the Logics in a way that is easier to appreciate think of the concept of Freedom. 

It is a very different IDEA for political activists like WikiLeaks, a teenage girl in a religious household, a wrongly incarcerated prisoner.

But it is the same concept.

Wing Chun can never really be taught unless your teacher can show you a way to view the World and everything in it.

The only person that can do that is ourselves.

The only person worth listening to is ourselves.

My Sifu Jim Fung advised me to never take the pilgrimage to Hong Kong,  he thought it was a complete waste of time, he told me “unless you are willing to go live in Hong Kong and learn what it means to be a Hong Kong resident with all its implications you will never understand your teacher and as a result you will never understand his IDEA of  Wing Chun”.

The Concept Conundrum means that we must know the answer before we look for the question.

 

 

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Articles

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: CAN WE DO THAT IN WING CHUN?

 

My answer to this question is usually “It’s fighting not ballroom dancing, we can do anything we want”!

I run an open door policy at my school so I get the occasional visitor that has seen this blog and wants to check me out, I have no problem with this all I ask is that they do not try to tell me what their Guru does, its my school after all, and if they are there to check me out then they should just check me out and decide later.

As I have mentioned previously I have had exposure to high level training methods in various sports, it is not all that surprising to come into the studio and find us simulating tennis backhands, throwing the discus or shot putting, the methods are adaptable to Wing Chun movement so there is no need to camouflage them as my own ideas, also there are some great resources for these on the net.

Due to my personal experiences of fighting we do a lot of striking, more striking than Chi Sau, more striking than Forms and we take examples from anywhere, sometimes we are doing drills I learnt as a boxer, sometimes using a Bo Staff sometimes some fencing exercises and of course tennis backhands, at the end of the day it is all Fist Logic.

We learn to strike with everything, I personally have a great deal of respect for slaps and forearms, so these often get a bit of a workout, we should also always consider that unconditioned fists  can break quite easily, slaps never break.

We happened to be working on slapping and forearm striking the last time we had a visitor, all evening he kept asking  “Can we do this in Wing Chun”?

Variations of slapping are knuckle smashes and hammer fists, especially against a guard, a static elbow or an incoming jab, when we started applying them as a defensive option, you guessed it “Can we do this in Wing Chun”?

My answer to this question is usually “It’s fighting not ballroom dancing, we can do anything we want”!

If we are in trouble we should hit the nearest target with the closest weapon, this is Fist Logic basics, if our closest weapon is an open palm {which is how I teach the guard position} then we just Bitch Slap ‘em, with enough weight and power to knock out a horse, slaps are magnitudes more powerful than palm strikes not to mention that the psychological effect of being slapped can take the wind out of a mans sails.   If the bad guy is tricky and slips to the side my forearm would be closer than my hand, at close quarters forearms are magnitudes more powerful than elbows, and much more natural.

 

 

I may not always align myself with traditional Wing Chun training but never the less I happen to believe it is a really clever martial art, it teaches us a set of body mechanisms that can inject power into any movement from any angle and any direction, why would it restrict our options?

If  Wing Chun does not use Hammer Fists, Knife Hands or Knuckles, if Wing Chun does not use Fore Arm Strikes or Backhand Slaps why are these things in the Forms?

Another comment that got levelled at me, especially if someone engages in open play with me, is that all I am doing is Boxing, this one really makes me smile because Wing Chun Kuen is Boxing, Everlasting Springtime Boxing, Chinese Boxing.

 

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