Articles, Food for Thought


Learning all of our Forms is the second most important thing we will ever do in our training, the most important thing for us to do is to learn how to forget them.

Of all the Wing Chun Forms Biu Gee is by far the most complex and far reaching, I am not trying to imply that it is difficult or advanced, just very, very deep, and a great deal of this is because through Biu Gee we are forced to reexamine everything we thought we knew from a more profound and dynamic perspective.

Above all else Biu Gee is closest to the manner in which we will make contact with an opponent in real time, as paradoxical as it sounds Biu Gee is the way we should use Chum Kiu, but we should not really be surprised by this, after all Chum Kiu is essentially Biu Gee inverted.

Question.   How deep is Biu Gee?

Answer.      As deep as we can make it.

Biu Gee introduces the universal physical IDEAs that are in play whenever we are using Wing Chun, but these IDEAs are not found in the movements of the Form itself  but in the way Biu Gee creates the moves, the way it employs applied kinesiology, and of course the more we each understand the facets of applied kinesiology the more we will take away from Biu Gee, it is simply not enough to turn up to class and ask Sifu we must hit the books, engage in serious research or at the very least ask Google.

Understanding the Conservation of Momentum Principal will revolutionise everything we know about striking. Understanding how Torquing increases force will change the way we pivot for ever. Understanding the Kinetic Linking Principle will have us creating power instead of using force. Kinetic linking expresses force as a wave and as such understanding the Doppler Effect will make us more effective in both defence and attack.

When we take our new knowledge back into our Forms the aim should be to see how all of the laws of natural science exist in their own right the Forms simply allow us to see these laws from the singular perspective of Wing Chun, but it is the science that is the real magic.

Learning all of our Forms is the second most important thing we will ever do in our training, the most important thing for us to do is to learn how to forget them.

Learn the form, but seek the formless, learn it all, then forget it all, learn  “The Way”  {Dao}, then find your own way.


Articles, Food for Thought



He was asked “how do we know when we are on the right path”? He replied “you know you are on the right path when you do not know where you are , as soon as you think you know where you are, you are lost”!

Unfortunately for me the last 30 years have been marred by chronic back problems as result I have spent way too much time in the company of sports science doctors, osteopaths, muscular skeletal specialists and neurosurgeons, people who know how the body works, one thing I took away from this is that none of us are truly aware of why our body does what it does, in most cases we have it completely wrong, even those who know academically what is going on tend to fall for the same trap.

Most of this stems from the fact that we confuse our Mind with our Brain, but our Mind is not our Brain, there is a significant separation, mind works on the body via conscious thought whereas the brain works subconsciously.

From the brains perspective everything it does is to protect the body, to keep it healthy and keep it alive, nothing is about Martial Art, or Ballet or Football, but from the minds perspective everything is related to the the activity we are involved in.

For example no matter what the activity the instant we have the intention to move our arm the brain activates the muscles of the spine to support and protect the spine from the consequences of the intended action.

This is not Mindfulness, or Nim Lik or Chi, they all reside in consciousness, this is the brain – body link that works the same with babies as it does with Kung Fu Masters. Our body is making choices aimed at self protection it is not about the creation of outward forces.


Since the 1960’s and the coining of the term “Training Effect” our understanding of why our body changes through exercise activities has been hijacked, we now all believe that adding extra load through exercise conditions our muscles, makes us stronger and fitter and this allows for better force or energy output, but in reality our body – brain develops stronger muscles and a more robust system to deal with the incoming consequences of the increased activity. 

Some may see this difference as being more semantic than actual, but think what happens when we have an overuse injury, we tell everyone or perhaps our doctor tells us that we tried to do too much, it is an output problem ,when in fact the truth is that we did not put enough support in place for the load we were asking our body to carry, this is an input problem.

It makes very little real difference which perspective we hold either way the result is the same, and this is the reason that we must approach Biu Gee as a genuine conditioning exercise and engage it physically.

In application Biu Gee is capable of producing remarkable power, and when we contact something that power is returned to us via Newton’s reaction force, if we have not prepared the body to work easily with that increased load the consequences could be quite dire, getting injured in the middle of a violent encounter will not help things at all.

Bill Giu needs to be done right up to the limit of our physical body {however it is advisable that we approach our limit incrementally and with caution}, in this way we will in time be able to perform Biu Gee with much more effort than we would ever need to use and the reaction force incoming load will never be more than the body can support. It is important to do this from as early as possible, there will come a time in our lives when we can no longer improve our body, only maintain it. In the mid / late 1990’s Grand Master Chu Sheong Tin was at my Sifu’s School, when we began to discuss Biu Gee he asked my Sifu to demonstrate because he was now to old to ask so much of his body.  There was no doubt that he could still do Wing Chun but by his own admission he could no longer do Biu Gee as it should be done.

Over the last few decades there has been a movement within some quarters of the Wing Chun community to use no physical force, instead to use Nim Lik, Thought Force, Mindfulness or Chi, I do not wish to poke at this particular wasps nest but all of these things are aspects of  the mind, of consciousness, the body is controlled by the brain subconsciously.  It should be obvious that the conscious can never override the subconscious, because it is just not aware of it.  We cannot know something unknown.

Many years ago when I was involved in Yoga and Meditation we had a visiting Swami from India, when asked at a workshop “He was asked “how do we know when we are on the right path”? He replied “you know you are on the right path when you do not know where you are , as soon as you think you know where you are, you are lost”!


Articles, Food for Thought


the more research I do the more it appears that if we are referring to Wing Chun as a genuine martial art that uses one specific way, one specific method then there is no such thing as Wing Chun.

What is Wing Chun?

The biggest problem facing Wing Chun today is that there is no overall consensus on what Wing Chun is, it appears that every lineage is coming from a different place to the extent that they are almost different styles.

How did this happen?

If the majority of Hong Kong Masters were taught Wing Chun by the same man how do we get such differences in appearance and application? Even between the 2 lineages that come down from the genuine closed door students Wong Shun Leung and Chu Shong Tin there are major differences.

After his death in 1972 Instructors such as William Chung, Leung Ting, and his own son Ip Chun started to rewrite history to suit their own agendas, I am not saying that they did not have any Martial skill, I have never met the men so I have no idea of their skill level, but each has a different version of the historical records regarding Ip Man and his Wing Chun, they cannot all be correct.

In more recent times there has been another rewrite of Ip Mans history to suit the series of semi biographical movies that tell a story that is totally removed from the truth of Ip Mans life, but this is now being accepted as fact.

Something that must be considered is that this problem started with Ip Man himself, perhaps he never knew or fully understood the complete Wing Chun system, he was only a teenager, 13 or 14 when his Sifu Chan Was Shun passed away, and it appears that his future training was spasmodic and with a variety of teachers who themselves were teaching different variations of Wing Chun.

As we know Ip Man lived in Foshan which was a melting pot of Southern Fist Kung Fu perhaps we should ask ourselves what did he actually learn?

Once Ip Man fled China after the Cultural Revolution he found himself in Hong Kong with no means of support so he started to teach Wing Chun publicly so that he could eat, perhaps he was still trying to sort Wing Chun out himself and used his students to approach what he knew from different perspectives, this could of easily been seen by his students as tacit permission to go in different directions with what they were being taught.

I am not suggesting that Ip Man was not a good Martial Artist, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest he was, but did he know the full Wing Chun system?

In recent years several other lineages of Wing Chun have surfaced, all sharing a common ancestor with Ip Man,  the Chinese Cultural Revolution caused a scattering of Southern China’s middle and upper class, Wing Chun was the Martial Style of the middle and upper class so Wing Chun itself was scattered, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, the one thing all these lines have in common is that they all appear to be hybridised with other southern fists, elements of Ba Gua, White Crane, Hung Gar and even Tai Chi can be observed in the different lineages so even before the more recent departures from Ip Mans Wing Chun there was already quite a divergence in the approach to Wing Chun.

There are some modern day researchers, such as Henrik Santo, Robert Chu and Sergio Ladarola that are trying to create a ground swell to unify all Wing Chun based on Chinese historical texts, in short claiming that they know the original IDEA of Wing Chun and everyone else is getting lost, this IDEA is of course creating uproar in the general Wing Chun community, after all if they are right we have all been hoodwinked and wasting our time, perhaps they are right, but the more research I do the more it appears that if we are referring to Wing Chun as a genuine martial art that uses one specific way, one specific method then there is no such thing as Wing Chun.

If this is even just partially correct, what are we all involved in, including  Henrik Santo, Robert Chu and Sergio Ladarola and how can we tell if any of it is any use, more importantly does it even matter?



Articles, Food for Thought




Does reaching Master Level have anything in common with surviving violence?

There is a saying that my Sifu used, and many of my fellow students still use that I absolutely and completely disagree with….  Wing Chun is easy to learn but difficult to Master, maybe like so many things in Wing Chun this saying simply does not translate clearly to English, because in English this statement is an Oxymoron.

Improving in any Martial Art, but especially Wing Chun is not really about the physical training, it is not about power production or dexterity, it is not about footwork or punching, it is not about Chi Sau or Forms but these are the things that consume our time, this is what we consider to be the work, but is it?

I know from personal experience that in the Chaos of a street fight there is precious little thinking going on, it is only in hindsight that we can garner any idea of what we did to survive, and then we try to retrofit those actions to reflect our training, as if our training was even important, only the outcome is ever important.

Does reaching Master Level have anything in common with surviving violence?

These oblique ideas need to be justified if we truly wish to be in control of our own training and have it fulfil the role we wish it to play.

How do we do this, how do we shape our involvement and propel our training to the top level?

Many people in Wing Chun focus the majority of their training on the Siu Nim Tao Form, which if it works for you is just fine but how do you know it is the best approach if it is the only approach you use?  We benefit in any endeavour by using multiple approaches, by having different result  expectations, it may be a cliche´but it is also true that “If you only do what you have always done you will only get what you always got” so hoping to achieve upwards momentum by continually working on the Siu Nim Tao is more of a hope than a plan, personally I believe that only working on one Form is procrastination, it is lazy,  growth and improvement require feeding with a complex diet, they need dynamic involvement.

There is another relatively large stumbling block when it comes to advancing in Wing Chun, most of the important work is in understanding how to “NOT DO” certain things, such as not fighting force, not creating tension in the body, not using overt strength so the real difficulty becomes how do we learn how to not do something by actively doing something?

This is quite a conundrum.

Anchoring our training in any single Form not just the Siu Nim Tao is always self limiting bordering on self defeating. Each Form has a core learning objective often multiple core learning objectives that only begin to make sense once they are viewed in relationship to each other.  For instance what does the Siu Nim Tao teach us about moving our body or accepting force?  What does Chum Kiu teach us about driving our energy out to the edges of the Body or Core winding.  What does Biu Gee teach us about moving around and negotiating an opponent? What does the Dummy Form teach us about extending our awareness and energy out to power a weapon?

Ultimately we must ask ourselves what does Wing Chun teach us about anything that is not Wing Chun?  Because when the brown gets airborne it will not be Wing Chun, interpersonal violence is chaotic and complex, it is mind numbing in the extreme, every event is the sum of its parts so at best it will be only 50% Wing Chun and that can only happen if we are able to remain 100% Wing Chun, which of course we will not, next stop madness and confusion.

Violent situations are complex, infinitely complex and every changing, people on the other hand are finite, as finite as a brick wall, or a glass ceiling.

A painting of a Horse never won the Melbourne Cup.


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Trying to claim that the what we do is suddenly “Internal” because the thinking that generates the energy is Internal  is like saying our television is steam or coal powered because that is how the energy that operates the T.V. is produced.

One of the guiding principles of Wing Chun is PRACTICALITY, my own Sifu Jim Fung would go so far as to say that if it is not PRACTICAL it is not even Wing Chun, so why is it that some Wing Chun schools are becoming obsessed with so called “Internal” training?

I have had people punch me and genuinely think they are using “Internal” force but they make contact with their fist, by way of their arm, by way of their body mass, all of which are “External”. It really does not matter what mind games they are playing with themselves everything that happens is external and physical and has nothing to do with internal or mystical.

Power is equal to the amount of weight we can transfer, attack or defence in Wing Chun we give the opponent our weight, there is no internal connection to our body weight, there is no kind of thinking that can change our weight.

Imagine what Jenny Craig would do with that if there were?

Contact with another body is all about momentum, what we may or may not think caused the movement is quite unimportant, contact is where the work is done, movement is just the bus to work.

Let us look at this in another way, if I am employing  “Internal” thinking, and I throw a brick at you that hits you in the head, within the brick there would be no circulation of Chi, no Song, no Jing, no Hsin, in other words nothing Internal / Mystical just a moving brick, its hits you in the head, you fall down, job done. 

Could I still claim that I am using “Internal” Kung Fu?  

What difference to the brick or the outcome of the contact would it make if I was or was not thinking “Internal”?

How is this in any way different from what people are doing when they punch while thinking of their “Internal  Mysticism”?

How are we abiding by the principal of PRACTICALITY by doing one thing while thinking something else?

Impact Force is always external,  no matter what you may think generates the power.  Trying to claim that the what we do is suddenly “Internal” because the thinking that generates the energy is Internal  is like saying our television is steam or coal powered because that is how the energy that operates the T.V. is produced.

My own Sifu, Hong Kong born, raised and trained, who was remarkably skilful in Wing Chun and freakishly powerful would refer to any mention of “Internal” energy as Chinese Mumbo Jumbo, incredibly some of his own students that had become enamoured of the Mystical IDEA of the Internal would say “ He may not believe in it but he uses it”!   WTF?  My Sifu did not know what he was doing but somehow they did!

Beyond a doubt there is something going on, but what is it? Can it even be trained or are some people simply getting distracted from the real work?

Nim Lik or Kundalini?

Kundalini, “the coiled one” is part of the Dharma in ancient Indian spirituality that made its way into Chinese Buddhism and Daoism, it is vehicle for meditation that undoubtably existed at the Shaolin monastery, many people that say they practice Nim Lik or Thought Force are really involved in trying to raise Kundalini, the practice of Dai Gung is a shortened version of Mula Bandha, the yoga lower spirit lock.

I myself believe that Kundalini is real, but it is a spiritual practice and not a practical practice.

Once humans get involved with a spiritual practice it is not very long before reality flies out of the window, it is a short and slippery slope from practising Nim Lik to pushing people around without making any contact.

The study and practice of Kundalini {Nim Lik} is essential in the building of a bridge between who we are and our higher self, but this same bridge is destroyed forever by the study and practice of violence {Kung Fu}, they are incompatible, in fact in the Yogic traditions using Kundalini for negative reasons, such as powering a Martial Art is considered evil and self destructive and a absolutely certain way to NEVER achieve enlightenment or mindfulness as it is oft refered to these days.  You cannot become a higher person by learning how to beat people up, the myth of the Spiritual Warrior is the same fantasy as the Kung Fu Hero.

But without doubt there is something extraordinary that becomes available through deliberate, diligent, functional Martial Arts training.

I do not think that there are many intelligent people that would deny the existence of INTRINSIC ENERGY, which can appear as  limitless and incredibly powerful, we see it frequently in elite sportsmen, effortless power, the thing is that INTRINSIC ENERGY is inherent, natural and inborn, it is what it is, it is already what it will always be, it cannot be enhanced or circulated it is beyond human control, saying otherwise is at best self delusional and at worst deliberately deceptive for dishonest gain.

Highly skilled Wing Chun practitioners can do things that may to the ignorant or low skilled seem like magic but it is easily checked out and seen to be the Physics of the natural world.

If imagining hidden forces and energies circulating the body help you get out of your own way and begin to act naturally then it is not all bad, except for the wasted time, however trying to say that it is something “Internal” that needs to be developed and groomed and worked on is moving in completely the wrong direction, it is moving in the direction of the “Law of Attraction”, lets be honest how many people do you know that believe in and practice the “Law of Attraction” who actually have the Lamborghini and the Big house?

Physical contact, impact forces, impulse, momentum and kinetic energy are all real, measurable and observable in everyday life, they exist in and of themselves, they are part of the human experience and not something that needs to be shaped to be used, just understood.  Wing Chun is based on and firmly centred in “Normal Human Body Movement”.

If you are a serious Martial Artist that wishes to develop a long lasting and effective skill set I agree that it is important to align yourself with one particular Master / Style but this Masters / Styles instruction, information must operate in accord with the Master of Natural Physics.

Sifu Isaac Newton.