FIST LOGIC

ONE MOVEMENT – MIND DOES THE WORK.

Letting the Mind do the work begins with thinking about the work.

LET THE MIND DO THE WORK.
What IDEA does this statement lead us to?
There is no doubt that the mind plays a vital indeed critical part in all and any movement.

If we do not think it, it simply does not happen, quite literally.

So on one level LET THE MIND DO THE WORK could be as straightforward as being aware of what we intend to do.

INTENTION is most definitely a component, but there must be more for it to manifest itself dynamically.

All movement is the result of an impulse from our brain that informs the nervous system to move the muscles.

VIDEO

Letting the mind do the work is not Mindfulness.

Be very weary about Mindfulness, my advice is to avoid it, and any that speak it.

Letting the Mind do the work is not circulating Chi or any other esoteric IDEA.

Be very weary of talk of esoteric forces, again, avoidance is advised.

Letting the Mind do the work begins with thinking about the work and nothing else.

It begins with simply thinking anything and seeing if it resonates with the work.

The ultimate aim of training is INCLUSION.

How do we include all of the attributes of all of the FORMS into one single whole, it is only when we do this that we begin to approach what Wing Chun IS.

This is where the work begins.

This is where one movement lives.

This is the Mind thinking.

HOKKA HEY.
WHAT KIND OF DAY?
FIST LOGIC

THE ESSENCE OF WHAT WE DO.

Wing Chun is the art of “Counter Attack” without this understanding to anchor our training everything is just dancing and arm waving.

Since reopening after the 15 week lockdown we are all going through a kind of rebirth, or at the least a re-start that demands a new approach to the training to get back the lost time.

My lockdown training was taken up to a very large extent with playing with swords and poles, working on tying the body to the footwork in a dynamic and meaningful way and understanding that Wing Chun contains all of this movement.

The overwhelming benefit of playing with hand weapons is that they are direct and uncomplicated, just as Wing Chun is meant to be.

With weapons there is one and only one reason for using them, take out the Bad Guy.

Refreshing, re-invigorting, rewarding.

Wing Chun is slightly more complex than using a weapon but the goal is surely the same.

What is the goal of Wing Chun?

The goal is not to do Forms, or to excel at Chi Sau as important as those things are, it is to understand and become at the very least capable and competent at the art of “Counter Attack”.

Wing Chun is the art of “Counter Attack”.

This thinking is not a product of the Pandemic Shutdown, it has always been the case.

I covered this in some depth over 2 years ago and I am still happy with how I presented my opinions and idea so I am reissuing the posts here for you to revisit.

Do yourselves a solid and bookmark this page so that you can revisit it every few months, this is the most important thing to understand about Wing Chun, without this understanding to anchor our training everything is just dancing and arm waving.

April 30, 2019. Counter Attacking pt1.

May 7, 2019. Counter Attack pt2.

May 14, 2019. Counter Attacking pt3. Developing the Shield Arm.

All three post are stand alone pieces with important foundational information so spend time on each instead of seeing them as just one long read.

As I always say “there is only one move in all of Wing Chun”.

That move is to “Counter Attack”.

If we do not know what it means to “Counter Attack” all the moves in all the styles in all the world will only lead to defeat.

BUT READ IT AGAIN.

“In most disaster scenarios… you don’t need special skills to survive. You just need to know what you should do.”

 Amanda Ripley’s  THE UNTHINKABLE.

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT?

FIST LOGIC

ACCEPT WHAT COMES IN!

The closest we have to a working history of our style is the Kuen Kuit, a ‘Grab-Bag’ collection of training ideas and maxims created by numerous authors over different generations and situations.

Something that becomes obvious after time studying and teaching Wing Chun, is that none of the original ‘Fist Logic’ was passed down in any kind of stable or readily definable condition.

The IDEAS were passed down more like pieces of poetry than as an operating manual.

This is complicated by several magnitudes simply because we work with translations of the original ‘Fist Logic’.

Mandarin Chinese, and even more so Mandarin Chinese from before the mid-20th Century, does not translate well to English, this is the fault of English, the language is too compact and bereft of the necessary tools to accurately describe poetic nuance.

This is hampered even more because the same piece of Mandarin script can be read in different ways.

Even by native speakers.

Add to that that each speaker translates the script differently into English we end up with nothing concrete to work with.

The closest we have to a working history of our style is the Kuen Kuit, a ‘Grab-Bag’ collection of training ideas and maxims created by numerous authors over different generations and situations.

My Sifu {Jim} Fung Chuen Keung who was born and raised in Hong Kong and spoke excellent English said that even in Chinese they were not meant to be taken literally and that most of them did not make direct translations.

For instance take the maxim ‘Loy Lau Hoi Sung, Lut Sau Jik Chung’

One of if not the most pertinent of the Battle Songs.

My Sifu could translate this to be applicable to just about any situation.

Three that I can remember are

  1. Stay when he comes in, follow when he goes out, break contact and attack.
  2. Escort what comes in, follow what goes out, when the hands are free strike.
  3. When they advance, do not retreat, when they retreat advance. Discard the hands and rush straight in.

Subtle but genuine differences can make a very big difference in understanding.

Other Maxims worth thinking on are ‘The Wing Chun Punch comes from the Heart’, add to this ‘Wing Chun does not take a backwards step‘, my reading is that this was not meant as a positioning advice or a restriction on movement but rather what we English refer to as ‘Bottle’.

There are many more, Google Kuen Kuit and pick one that spikes your interest.

Exactly what does ‘He walks the bow but I walk the string’ mean to you?

These Battle Hymns, these Maxims can of course mean anything you want them to mean, choosing what you want them to mean is how you develop your own Wing Chun.

WHAT DAT?

“Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”
Heraclitus
.

HOKKA HEY.

FIST LOGIC

ABOUT TWO HANDED TRAINING.

THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING..

 From day one, we are told that Wing Chun does not use two hands to defend because we use ‘Simultaneous Attack and Defence’.

As we all know and tell anyone that is willing to listen, Wing Chun is a concept-driven Martial Art.

 Therefore everything we are taught is a CONCEPT.

A suggestion not a rule.

Nothing is set in stone.

This can induce bewilderment, on one side of the coin nothing is wrong, on the other side of the coin nothing is right.

It is our job to think and decide.

The decisions we make will change from one situation to another and be dependent on context.

Tricky stuff this context stuff.

At the centre of Wing Chun’s “Fist Logic” we have a number of ideas/principles that are meaningless without context.

Simplicity. What is simple for one person is impossible for someone else so what do we teach?

Practicality. We do not know if something is practical until we use it, and only then if it works and we live to tell the tale.

Economy of Movement. Is ‘continuous punching’, a mainstay of our attack, Economy of Movement?

It is a minefield.

Another pillar of our Fist logic is ‘Simultaneous Attack and Defence’.

 From day one, we are told that Wing Chun does not use two hands to defend because we use ‘Simultaneous Attack and Defence’.

And it makes perfect sense.

 Until we forget.

Wich does not take very long.

By the way, it is never pointed out but we do not use two hands to attack for the same reason.

‘Simultaneous Attack and Defence’

F.F.S. NOW YOU TELL ME.

But then we have Chi Sau, the Chum Kiu Form, the Biu Gee Form, the Mok Jan Jong Form and the Baat Cham Dao Form all two-handed exercises.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

There is a good reason for this two handedness, it is because even when we train we should try our best to be aware of and adhere to the Principles, to make them second nature instead of just a suggestion.

Paradoxically the principle in this instance is Economy of Movement.

We are not learning to use two-handed defences or two-handed attacks we are practising single-handed moves with each hand simultaneously, maximising our training time.

Our supervised training time, where we can learn new stuff or just get our homework marked, is a limited resource, so it is wise to maximise it.

Our solo training time is practically limitless.

Wherever possible do everything with just one hand, especially the Forms.

Think about it.

It changes everything, and it changes it for the better.

HOKKA HEY!

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT?
FIST LOGIC

SHAPES THAT WORK, AND MOVE.

DO YOU FEEL IT?

“this is the thinking, this is the shape, plug and play”.

This is a short clip from a private session I had with my student Rick.

Rick is new to Chum Kiu so it presented a perfect opportunity to change my methods from traditional approach of…

“this is the Chum Kiu Form, learn it, study it and in 10 years you may be able to use it”

…to how I think it should be taught from the perspective of Sports..

“this is the thinking, this is the shape, plug and play”.

If we can separate the primary aspects of a sequence and see them simply as “Shapes That Work” transitioning from one shape to another in any way that feels natural, instead of trying to make it look like a FORM, results in power and speed.

In Sports if we are trying to learn the motor function of an action it is broken down into shapes we should be in at certain points in the progression/sequence.

Think of FORMS as throwing a Discus or Swinging a Bat to hit a Ball.

If we practice progressing the shapes of

1. Neutral stance {Crazy Horse}

turn left into

2.Huen Ma {Cat Stance}

from here pose

3Hanging Horse Stance {Crane Stance}

step down into

4. extended Huen Ma {Reverse Lunge}

square up into

5. Huen Ma {Cat Stance}

turn back into

6. Neutral Stance {Crazy Horse}

Rinse and repeat in the opposite direction.

Make the transitions in any way that feels comfortable and in any direction that takes your fancy, this covers just about all moving possibilities we may need in any environment.

WORK ON THE SHAPES.

DO NOT STRESS ABOUT THE TRANSITIONS.

We will work on this for the next few weeks.

HOKKA HEY.
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT?
FIST LOGIC

IF WE TRUST IT WE WILL USE IT; IF WE USE IT WE WILL WIN.

WHAT STYLE IS THAT?

Watch the vid and lets get a healthy chat going, this really is the pointy end.

A common thread since the end of ‘Lockdown’ has been trying to understand how to actually make use of all of this sometimes exotic information.

Last night at training Saleh brought in some video capture of genuine street violence and it encouraged a decent conversation.

As hard as it is to understand and justify we will never use anything we learn in class out on the ‘Pavement Arena’ as Geoff Thompson calls it.

Watch the vid and lets get a healthy chat going, this really is the pointy end.

Many men appear calm for the simple reason that they have never faced a storm.

But when the storm comes they falter.

WHAT DAT?
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT?
FIST LOGIC

THINK IT, SEE IT, BUILD IT, BE IT.

I THINK, THEREFORE, IT BECOMES.

Expert level performance is as much about internal communication as it is about external movement.

I know that this hot on the heels of yesterday’s post but I wanted to address something before I became distracted and forgot about it.

FORMS AS A MEMORY FUNCTION

Something that is not in our face and as such often overlooked is that FORMS are also DRILLS.

We repeat the same set of movements over and again to “GROOVE” that action.

Performing a perfect movement may appear to be a physical thing but in reality all movement is a product of our thinking, an output from our C.P.U.

Our Brain.

Expert level performance is as much about internal communication as it is about external movement.

Think – send the memo – move.

Understanding the movement that we wish to perform is essential if we hold any hope of doing it correctly.

There are great gains to be had when we use our FORMS as a drill to aid and enhance our memory.

When I was quite serious about playing tennis I would spend hours working on just my service action, as a result my serve rarely let me down in matches when the pressure was on.

There is no difference between a body playing tennis and a body doing Kung Fu, or a body fighting.

This may sound a bit like compu-tech babble but better memory equates to higher competancy rates and better completion rates, vital stats in a violent encounter.

PHASE 2 [this is just a wee bit weird].

A deeply important aspect of FORMS training is that we are quite literally building a new person, and building a new universe for that person to operate in complete with new rules and new expectations.

This Universe is the Chum Kiu / Biu Gee Universe, if it helps in any way think of it like the ‘Marvel Universe’ and we are developing a new character to go help save the world.

This is not as ‘OUT THERE’ as it may sound, we have no REAL proof that we exist in this universe.

If we are training our Wing Chun for practical competency in fighting, which is of course the only goal to train for, the end game is to arrive at a predictable, repeatable, powerful, correct position and ‘physical end-state’.

It is all and only about the ‘END GAME’!

Do I hear you ask why?

Because where we begin any action will not be in our control as our action will be a response to an oponents action.

This is called ‘Counter Attacking’, wait a minute, that sounds a lot like Wing Chun.

And as such all of our training is about achieving the desired ‘end state‘ on the fly.

The SHAPE THAT WORKS.

In the place it works best.

As I frequently mention we need to be capable of thinking flexibly, of performing some at times tricky bits of mental gymnastics

It is an absolute ‘No Brainer’ that if we expect our training to work when we are in a perilous environment, then that environment needs to reflect, as much as possible, our training environment.

Most students shy away from even considering this.

But in reality, this is where the rubber meets the road.

MENTAL GYMNASTIC #1.

There is no way on Earth that the environment we find ourselves in will reflect the environment we trained in.

The task becomes being the same person doing the same thing in these diverse environments.

That Marvel Hero, doing marvelous things, in ‘our own’ marvelous universe.

MENTAL GYMNASTIC #2.

“The only way that we can live is if we grow.

The only way we can grow is if we change.

The only way we can change is if we learn.

The only way we can learn is if we are exposed.

And the only way that we are exposed is if we throw ourselves into the open.” — C. Joybell

HOKKA HEY.
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

FIST LOGIC

IS THERE A SHORTCUT?

THE MAN SPEAKS TRUTH.

I want us to focus on the end point of everything we do, to develop and understand shapes that work.

HI GUYS.

The title may suggest that over the ‘Lockdown’ I have discovered a short cut.

In a certain way this is true, but mostly it is not that there is a shortcut, it is more that sometimes we simply put way too much time and effort into parts of our training that we will not only never use but also never need.

If we wish to pull back the time that was taken from us by the pandemic response we need to focus on the reason for doing whatever it is we are doing.

If you are back at training already then you already know that I am emphasising end positions and end conditions, how we feel physically, emotionally and most importantly intentionally.

I want us to focus on the end point of everything we do, to develop and understand shapes that work.

Taking time to deeply understand each Form is a valuable thing to do, but not at the expense of developing a simple, practical, capable response to a Bad Guys actions.

Working on the three points I mentioned in the video is not really a short cut, to understand it, trust it and ultimately use it will take ‘TIME AND EFFORT’, that is what Kung Fu is.

Be the ‘End Point’.

The Tip of the Spear.

The Shape that Works.

HOKKA HEY.
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT?
FIST LOGIC

VAX IT AND THEY WILL COME.

UNTIL THE NEXT LOCKDOWN!

This is simply one more different perspective that hopefully will provoke some constructive thinking.

As we are getting ready to getting back into it it may be a good IDEA to refresh our thinking and actions in respect of our stances.

Mushahi famously said “let your everyday stance be your fighting stance’ and because of this there is often a debate about the difference between ‘training stances’ and ‘fighting stances’, let’s have a dig at this.

 First up, have a good think about what YOU reckon stances are all about.

Take 5, do it, then come back.

O.K. How about this?

There is no such thing as a fighting stance!

Stances are static.

Fighting is fluid.

All stances are training tools, very important training tools but all the same, ‘only’, training tools.

The very fact that there is more than one way to look at, think about, perform and practice stances should indicate clearly that this is a training concept with specific training outcomes.

If this does not sit right with you think this way, all stances are a variation of a squat exercise, front squat, back squat and most importantly a pistol squat.

Now imagine yourself in a violent encounter.

Where do you see yourself performing a squat?

Accepting that stances are training tools allows us to focus on what this training exercise is teaching us instead of worrying about a shape that at best can only exist briefly and in passing.

It can also encourage us to access some excellent and ‘up to date’ information on preparing for and executing a squat.

Here on the BLOG there are several articles relating to stances highlighting the different aspects of training.

HERE. and. HERE

This is simply one more different perspective that hopefuLly will provoke some constructive thinking.

Here is something interesting I stumbled across on Quora, I have absolutely no idea of its validity but I must admit that it sounds at least possible, and we know what Sherlock Holmes would say.

“Funny thing about the “horse stance”. (This from a scholarly article on the history of Kung fu). In the past, it was considered to be a good job for a young man in rural China to join the army. Steady pay, “benefits”, etc. However, most of the Chinese army at the time consisted of cavalry, so, the applicant for an army position was expected to show some skill at riding a horse.

Unfortunately, in impoverished rural towns… Horses were a rarity. (They were all being used by the army!) So, to build up the leg strength for riding, young men would incorporate practicing the horse stance for as long as they could.

Eventually, this was incorporated into various Kung fu “forms”…. But it was never intended for fighting, but rather for training…To ride horses”.

Mark Werner

WITH REGARDS TO THE RETURN TO TRAINING.

All being well we can resume training from monday 11th of October.

There will be restrictions to comply with.

  1. We all need to be double vacinated and be able to show proof of that.
  2. We will need to maintain safe distancing of 1.5mtr.
  3. We will all need to wear masks if we are indoors. Out in the yard we are cleared for mask free training.
  4. We must comply with the 1 person per 4 square metere rule, as this is about air circulation the Studio is 56 square meters that allows us to have 14 people so we are well safe with that rule.
  5. And finally there will be the need to hand sanitise.

All the same please contact me if you intend to train.

If anything changes I will contact everyone via whatsapp.

HOKKA HEY.
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT?
FIST LOGIC

THE MISSING LINK — PERHAPS.

AHA! THAT GOES HERE.

The first goal of training is to frame this question. The second goal is to answer it.

I did not quite hit the marks I wished to in the last POST, without ‘in-situ’ feedback it is difficult to know if I am getting across the IDEA.

In the last video, it was as if I had started the conversation at the halfway point and the act of trying to explain myself with non – Wing Chun equipment and actions may not have helped.

At the end of today’s video, I say that it is ‘we that is Wing Chun and not the movements’, the extension of this is that if we ARE Wing Chun then anything we do is Wing Chun.

What all training is about is developing the ability to be in control of our inner selves which will in turn influence the environment, our opponent and the event we are involved in.

But it is not as simplistic as trying to do everything the same way as we perform the S.L.T. It does not take a genius to know that moving as softly and as slowly as when we do the first FORM can only end up in tears.

It is not just about observing what and who we become when we do the first FORM but also what and who we are trying to become when we do the first FORM.

Are they the same person?

Are they the person we would like to be in that time and that place doing that thing?

Do we know how to frame this question? Let alone answer it?

The first goal of training is to frame this question.

The second goal is to answer it.

Once again, as always, we must ask, ‘do we understand that training is not fighting’?

Training is a theory, a concept.

Fighting is action, reality.

When we train we are always and only trying to train better, develop a better theory.

If we have forgotten the reason why we began?

How do we move forward?

How do we trust the theory?

Each FORM, each passage of training is just another theory.

Are we collectors now or is there a method to this madness?

The theory behind a pair of running shoes is related to but very different from the theory of running, they are both important and vital theories and here we are, still on the couch.

When we get out on the road there will be so many variables to contend with, rough terrain, inclement weather, blisters, how do we stick to the plan?

Is running on a pleasant warm Sunday morning the same as running on a cold rainy Thursday evening?

It needs to be.

That is the work.

The purpose of Forms training is to grow, not to stagnate.

The person we found in the first Form is just a starting point, that person needs to undergo transformation into the person that is doing the Chum Kiu, it is not the same person simply doing different movements, that is truly pointless. 

And the same proccess applies when we do the Biu Gee and beyond, observing what and who we become when we do these things.

MOULDING, MELDING, GROWING.

With enough time every single move becomes a FORM.

Every single move is just us ‘DOING’ something.

What? Why? How?

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

Sifu Isaac Newton

IS THAT A BOOGIE I SEE BEFORE ME?

WHAT KIND IF DAY IS IT?