Articles, My Own Opinion

FEATHER RUFFLING TIME:

PUNCHES END THINGS

 

Lets Ruffle some Feathers.
Lets Ruffle some Feathers.

cartoon-character-popeye

If we get into trouble we want to get out of it as quickly as possible, if we get into a fight we want to win it, this is patently obvious.

We achieve these results by moving well and hitting hard.

You don’t, won’t and never will achieve this through defence.

Chi Sau is Defence, most Structure work is defence.

This is is the paradox within Traditional Martial Arts, T.M.A, training that focusses the majority of its time on using structure to resolve incoming force, it teaches defence.

If we look at most Wing Chun Videos, including my own, we see a collection of Cut downs, Pak Saus, Garn Saus even Holy Cows performed against resistance from a Big Burly Bloke, what are these Vids teaching?

My explanation to my own Students is that we are trying to teach them to trust themselves, trust their FRAME based on the fact that if nothing else, they can stop the Bad Guy hitting them no matter how big he is, and hopefully they will be upright long enough to fight back, even while I explain to them that no one defends in a Street Fight.

What most T.M.A are not teaching is how to end what is going on.

In your own training how much time do you spend on developing your Striking, especially your Punching?

What is the Ratio?

Punching 5 : 1 or is it more like Other Things 5 : 1.

Punching ends fights, hopefully for you, defending stops the other guy ending the fight, basically it keeps the fight going.

Q:   If you are drowning does your chance of survival increase the longer you stay in the water?

Something that I am quite critical about with Modern Day Wing Chun is that so often the rhetoric is not justified by the training.

Wing Chun talks up devastating power, the “One Inch Punch” but its approach to striking, especially punching is extremely naive, basic concepts are fine for beginners but why maintain them once the lesson has been absorbed, where is the expansion and refinement? The shape and action of the Sun Punch from the First Form is an introduction to the CONCEPT of Punching, and not as it has become to the majority of Wing Chun Students the METHOD of Punching.   The act of trying to punch down a line from your Sternum contracts your upper Arm into your Shoulder and creates tension in the Pectoral muscles negating maximum power and weight transfer.

Punching down that Sternum Centre Line is DEAD WRONG, there are 3 sides to a right angled triangle, the adjacent side, the opposite side and the hypotenuse, the Sternum Central Line is the ‘opposite side’, to effectively transfer power you need to expand down the ‘hypotenuse’.

Very few Students hang around long enough to study Bill Gee, as a result many get the fanciful idea that you can Punch without using maximum effort, attack with softness, { in YODA’s voice} “much amusement from this one is received”.   Instructors may amaze or inspire you with soft little pokes that jolt you on your feet, but will that really work?    It is quite astonishing how much punishment the Human Body can endure and the Human Mind ignore, think State of Origin.

Attacking with softness will not cut it.

I was trained for many years by one of the very best Wing Chun Masters on the Planet, after about 12 years diligent training I was introduced to Punching Mechanics that I had been shown as a 9 year old Junior in my Boxing Club.

There is no doubt that my Sifu could punch with great power, but very few of his students could replicate him, the correct approach to the work of punching was not there, if we were lucky Sifu would give us a snippet of advice that would lead us forward, a reward for being a diligent student, but it was more luck than planning, if we did not get it at that time we had missed our chance to expand our knowledge, meanwhile at my Boxing Gym all of the well trained guys had a punch like a falling fridge.

Punches END things.

After almost 25 years in the Wing Chun Community I find it really distressing that the vast majority of Wing Chun Students,pretty much everyone that has trained for less than 10 years, cannot Punch effectively, not on the move and under pressure at any rate, even sadder is the fact that they think they can.

Most people try to Punch too fast, too hard and too often, I have hit people, they move in unpredictable ways once hit hard, landing effective multiple punches on the same target is a fantasy unless the guy keeps walking into you, just like your partner in training, just like Oliver Twist he stands there asking for more.

But it is not just Wing Chun, it is all T.M.A. Too much defence, 1 or 2 good punching mechanics and practically no instruction of how to bring about the environment to land your Punch when the other guy does not want to be hit.

And absolutely no instruction on how to Punch from the wrong position, everything is about being in the right position.

Real fights do not have “right positions”.

In theory Wing Chun and many other Southern Fists use just 1 defence and then step in and deliver a multitude of attacks finishing it off there and then, I have had a good few fights, and since my early teenage years I have had the ability to hit really hard but very few situations turned out to be one defence and then goodnight Irene, landing a solid Punch is as much to do with the other Guy being in the wrong place as it has to do with you being in the right place, I have knocked guys out cold in the Street, but never with the first Punch.

Unless it was a Sucker Punch.

T.M.A training, Wing Chun included, tends to be about building confidence, and there is nothing wrong with that, but this is just FEAR MANAGEMENT, and by pretending that what your doing is a viable Martial Art that will work against a nasty human the way that it is taught in the Training Hall is doing nothing to get past that FEAR because deep down everyone knows it is improbable, in many ways it is embedding FEAR into the Psyche and eroding any confidence that has been built up.

Knowing that you can hit people and really hurt them builds a great deal more confidence than knowing you can perform a Cut down on  Big Dave the Power Lifter.

To be really effective 60% of our training should be Punching, or at least Striking but Punching is the ‘go to’ tool in a street fight, after all if someone is a true believer of the Art then they are going to use simultaneous Attack and Defence and launch into Continuos Punching, 1 defence then multiple attacks { if you need to hit someone 6 times then the first 5 sucked}, I realise that very few part time Martial Artists have the patience or focus to do this, I realise that to most people that do Wing Chun it is just a hobby, but if somewhere in the corner of your mind you hope to use your training if you get in trouble then your training needs to be around 40% Punching and 60% other stuff.

And your training motto should be “Lights out MOFO, I am not playing”.

Well thats my opinion at any rate.

WHAT KIND OF DAY WAS IT FOR HIM….
Articles, My Own Opinion

OPINION: THE ROAD TO ???? WHERE EXACTLY.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE IMPROVEMENT?

plan and balls

“EVERYONE HAS A PLAN ‘TILL YOU PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE”.

There is a conundrum at the centre of Traditional Martial Arts, the majority of students do not like violence, they genuinely hope they will never need their training and if a situation did arise they would rather talk it down than test their knowledge.  While this is very civilised and sensible it does have a profound input on how they view their training, what they think it is for, its relevance to survival is never considered because they have no frame of reference to equate to and no goal to aspire to.

A genuine puzzle.

Training is what it is, TRAINING.

Sparring is what it is SPARRING.

Neither of them are FIGHTING.

It makes no dif. what style you do, what it is called {Reality Based Self Defence????  w.t.f.}.

What we do in training is not and never can be what we need, and instead of helping us grow a pair this knowledge has the potential to emotionally castrate us.

But this does not happen to everyone, so it is obviously not inherent in the training.

At my School we do a lot of partner imposed resistance training, based on maintaining your structure and powering it with your Centre of Gravity alone, no Arms or Legs just Centre, insanely physical and awesome fun, very few people no matter how long they have trained {most of my Students are over 5 years training} manage to keep their Arms out of it, although I will cover this aspect in a later post it is important to understand that we are ‘hard wired’ to use our Arms, it takes great focus not to use them, and focus is the first casualty of violence.

The exercises and Drills we practice have little resemblance to Default Wing Chun training, but then neither does true violence, so they pretty quickly take you into unfamiliar territory, Indian Country, where its a good day if all you end up with is an arrow in your hat.

A great many Students from every style are capable of performing well in their respective Training Halls against their fellow travellers, solving the usual problems with the usual method, because basically they are engaged with someone that moves the way they move and thinks the way they think, they are almost taking themselves on, but once the partner / opponent is moving, thinking and acting differently the Standard Operating Procedures begin to fall down.

Students of most styles truly believe that their style is capable with dealing with anyone anywhere, as Instructors it is what we tell them after all, but this is really just a Bonding mechanism, “us against the world and we are winning”.

There are contradictions and complexities involved in all Martial Arts, there is not one single style on the planet that does not have holes in it big enough to drive a Bus through, or at least a Fist, Combat Sports have a system of rules that affect a persons thinking to the extent that they may not see ready opportunities to close the problem of a Street Fight down at an early opportunity.  Traditional Martial Arts focus way too much on defence something that can prevent a “Win at all costs attitude”, in truth no one defends in a Street fight, it is all about attack.

Wholesale systemic limitations are very real once you cross into ‘Enemy Territory’, holding your Guard on the Sternum Centre Line as we do in Wing Chun becomes extremely problematic if you have adrenaline imposed tunnel vision, holding your Guard each side of your Head like a Boxer invites an attacker to drive your own fist into you, holding your Guard extended forward invites an attack to your fingers or the back of your Hand the list is much longer than you may think and it is in all styles.

There is no ‘Right Way’.

Once I hear an Instructor or a Student saying that there is a correct way to do something, especially a Form Movement, I know I am talking to a Zombie.

I mentioned in an earlier piece that I was not convinced in the value of seminars, my senior student works in the city in a large financial institution, in his building there are 3 other persons that train at Wing Chun with another School,  all 3 travel to Hong Kong at least twice a yearend attend every seminar or workshop that pops up, when they began occasionally playing together at lunch time about 6 years ago my student was very much the junior, now they cannot touch him.

Every trip to Hong Kong, every seminar just appears to throw more options in the mix making it more chaotic and to my student at least they have not progressed at all in all that time.   They have an open invitation to come and visit me but they decline because they are happy where their training is at despite the fact that my student is improving and they are not.

To me it appears that they are no longer involved in improving their ability, they now have a Hobby, collecting ideas and going on holiday together, flocking.

Surely the only measure of improvement in any Martial Art is that you are becoming a more effective fighter.

Today is my Birthday, I am now 63, I am not as strong as I once was, not as fast and not as mean, the reason I still train and train diligently is to replace these failing attributes with improved skill, everything is perishable, Entropy is an aspect of the Universe, the never ending decline, to be happy with your present level and condition is to begin to sink into the pit.

As the Gentleman above so succinctly puts it, the goal should be to forget plans.

WHAT KIND OF DAY WAS IT FOR ME….

 

Articles, My Own Opinion

Sifu Jim Fung. Ave Atque Vale

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It was 9 years ago today that the world bid farewell to Grandmaster Jim FUNG Chuen Keung, at only 63 {the age I am this Birthday} he was taken way too soon and this loss is still felt by many.

To the larger Wing Chun World Sifu JIM is undoubtably one of the forgotten greats of Wing Chun, his ability, the depth of his knowledge and his generosity with that knowledge was shared by very few other Masters.

I was extremely lucky to have my training supervised by this man for 15 years and I consider myself privileged.

I am more than proud to call myself his student.

The name of this Blog actually came from a conversation I had with my Sifu, training under him was as good as training with anyone, and as he once told me coming to train with him every week in Sydney, even if it was 36 klms from my home was “Closer Than Hong Kong”.

Never Forget.

Ave Atque Vale

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

Food for Thought, My Own Opinion

HOW DO WE PROGRESS?

wing chun sydney

ALL IN THE MIND.

??????????????????

 

I run a class for my senior Guys on a Saturday morning, this is something I sent out to them some time ago, more than likely forgotten by now.

I hope not.

I post it today so it may be of use to any that follow my thinking.

PROGRESS IS A NEW UNIVERSE WITH OLD SKILLS, AND NOT AN OLD UNIVERSE WITH NEW SKILLS.

This is for me is the corner stone of everything we are doing, and the sooner we find a way to get comfortable with the idea, the sooner we can align ourselves in this direction the sooner and the quicker we will move forward.

If you honestly believe that you can transcend from one level of Wing Chun to another by physically training the shit out of what you know now then you will be where you are now for ever.

I am sure you are all well aware that what I do in Wing Chun is “different” from what you do in Wing Chun.

“Different”, let me repeat that

“Different”, one more time for the slow Guys,

“Different”.

What I do is not better than what you do, better implies that we are doing the same thing but that I am doing it closer to the way it should be done {and by extension it means that you should be able to get there from here}, what I do gets better results there is absolutely no question about that, but what I am not doing, ………….  is doing what you are doing, ……………. and just doing it better.

If what I am doing is different than what you do, do you really think that getting better at what you are doing is going to help you catch up with me?

PROGRESS IS A NEW UNIVERSE WITH OLD SKILLS, AND NOT AN OLD UNIVERSE WITH NEW SKILLS.

Each and everyone of us lives in a Universe of our own making, once we have made that Universe it is there forever and cannot be changed from that present viewpoint, as Albert Einstein noted

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

if something comes into our Universe that is not a part of it then we simply do not understand it, in many ways it does not exist.

If it does not exist how can you understand it?

And if you do not understand it how can you learn it?

If “Soft Focus Wing Chun” does not exist in your Universe it does not matter how hard you train, how hard you look or how much you want it you will never find it because it is not there, it does not exist.

What is our Universe?

Our Universe is nothing more than our Perceptions manifested in to what we think is Reality.

How we move and interact with our Universe is nothing more than us co-existing with a Universe that contains all the things we can already do, what I mean by this is that if your Universe contains mediocre Wing Chun Skills then you will be able to do Mediocre Wing Chun because it is part of your Universe and not something you trained.

Training for a thousand years in a Universe that only contains Mediocre Wing Chun will result in nothing more than Mediocre Wing Chun.

How could it do anything else?

There is nothing else there?

What we are really involved with through ongoing practice is learning how to change from the Universe we inhabit now to another Universe that has different values, different values will bring different perceptions and of course different perceptions will create a different Reality.

Wing Chun is nothing more than the Vehicle that we have chosen to travel to our new Universe.

How well and how quickly you move forward depends on how you connect with this idea.

What I do now in Wing Chun is almost unrelated to what I used to do 5 years ago, is this because my Skill base has changed?

I personally do not think that this is so, how can a Skill Base change anyway, how can an Arm movement change how can a Bong Sau change, no I believe that I am doing the same Shit that I had been doing for the previous 20 Years, in fact in many respects my Physical ability has gone down hill, I do not use many of the tools I used in the past at all.

Same Skills, Different Person, no I do not go for this either, I am definitely still me.

Quantum Mechanics postulates that every time you make a decision a new Universe comes into existence that continues the time Line with the other choice being the deciding factor.

We just live in the version with our current decision.

Same Person, same Skills, different Universe.

Changing Universes is a simple as making a choice, you decide what you want in your Universe and it appears. It is the deciding that is the tricky part, some people refuse to change, some out of Fear, some out of misplaced self importance and they hope that they can force change by hard work and effort.

If you think that you can get better at Wing Chun without changing to a Universe that has that possibility, that has that type of thinking as the normal thought all I can say is…

You can’t get there from here.

WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
WHAT TYPE OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
Articles, My Own Opinion, Weekend Wonderland

THE CULT OF THE CHERRY PICKER

wing chun sydney

Here in Sydney Australia there are more Wing Chun Schools than MacDonald’s, or it seems that way in any case, every week my Facepage is pushing me to like the page of someone else is offering instruction, in itself this is not a bad thing, the more people that get access to Wing Chun the better.

But there is another aspect that I do not think is very good.

Cherry Picking Students.

Continue reading “THE CULT OF THE CHERRY PICKER”