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W.C.W. BREAKING RIBS, KNOCKING PEOPLE OUT.

Edmonton - April 9, 2009 -Kris Andrews (Edmonton, in white shorts), left, takes on Anthony Osbourne (Miami, FL, in red shorts) in the blue corner, at the Blunt Force Trauma boxing card at the Shaw Conference Centre. Andrews wins by decision.

More than once my Wing Chun Brothers have commented upon my approach to teaching Wing Chun as being overly aggressive, my Sifu’s son branded me a Thug, all because I believe that when you hit someone you should really hurt them, and that you should always be looking to knock them out.

Why do I think this way?

Because I am a kind person ……………………… really.

Let us look at a typical situation, a Guy throws a straight punch.

ME….... take the blind side, punch him in the ribs really hard, fight over.   1 Blow to the Bad Guy.

Typical Wing Chun…  Counter pierce, cut down and multiple straight punches, let us say 4, hook kick and a palm strike or 2, fight over.  7 Blows to the Bad Guy.

I do not see how I can be looked upon as over aggressive when I strike many times less than a typical Wing Chun Student.

A solid punch to the Ribs will very often finish a fight right there and then, I know this from personal experience, more importantly I know this from both sides of the story.   It is the same thing with Knock Outs, you get to go home and you have caused a lot less damage to the Bad Guy.

There is a great big misunderstanding about Knock outs, many people think that you need to hit people really hard, this is incorrect, Neurological Damage can be produced with very little effort, and that’s what a “Knock Out” is, a Neurological Shut Down, on one occasion when I was Boxing I tried to dodge a Right Cross and just did not get completely out of the way, the punch barely clipped my chin, I did not even feel the contact but a split second later my Knees turned to rubber and the next thing I knew I was looking up at the Referee.  There was not even a mark on my Jaw where the Glove hit.  If it is done right it does not take much.

Another thing to be aware of is that not all “Knock Outs” leave people asleep on the floor, that is the Typical “Out Cold” Boxing knock out, there is also the  “Technical Knockout”, where a person is awake and standing but unable to see, hear, move and of course they are unable to defend themselves or fight you, and then there are “Flash Knockouts” that simply turn everything off for a brief instant of about 2 to 3 seconds, people comeback from these as if nothing happened, except of course they have no knowledge of what happened in that lost time.

Blows to many parts of the Body can bring about a  “Knock Out”, a hard blow to the Liver or Spleen {which are situated beneath the Ribs just below the Chest on the right and left side respectively}, can shock the system into simply shutting down, but usually most  “Knock Out” blows are blows to the Head that produce the shut down by Concussion, Brain Stem Damage or Interrupted Blood Flow to the Brain, it is not unusual for there to be a combination of the causes involved in a single Knock Out.

Concussion is caused when the Brain slams into the inside of the Skull.

Brain Stem Damage is caused when the Brain rotates inside the Skull.

Blood Flow Interruption is caused by a blow to the Carotid Artery and / or the Vegas Nerve, both situated in the side of the Neck.

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It is important to understand that it does not take all that much to knock someone out, it does not take special training, you do not need to be a Martial Artist, all it takes is a blow to the Head. You yourself could be knocked out just as easily by the blow you are defending yourself from.

There is an Elephant in the Room when we talk about “Knock Outs”, and that is that sometimes the person that goes down does not get back up, but before you stop training remember that it could just as easily be you, what we need is to be talking about it with our Instructor and Training Partners, being actively aware of it and involved in shaping our training to minimise the possibility.

The majority of people that die from Knock Outs die as a result of falling backwards like a plank and banging their head on the floor, it is the impact of the Brain inside the Skull that does the damage, if you can somehow build in a way to control how and where the fall will happen, sideways, forwards or straight down, then you will greatly reduce the chances of the Elephant stamping on the Bad Guy. If you push people push them down and not back,  if you pull people pull them sharply downwards so they do not spin.

If you are in a violent situation, when the Red Mist of Anger or the White Fog of Anxiety descends you will not be thinking you will be too busy fighting, I believe you would do well to build this into your training routines so that it has a chance of being automatic.

This is what I teach to the INCa’s, especially as everything we do leads to P.H.O.P.O.  Push him over and piss off.

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W.C.W. FA JING.

DEVELOPING FA JING {INCH POWER} IN WING CHUN.

After the last post a Friend who follows the Blog contacted me for a bit more information on Fa Jing, this is a post from last year but there may be more people out there that will find value in it hence the re run.

As mentioned previously it is usually when we are working with the Bill Gee form that we begging to develop FA JING / INCH POWER, this is primarily due to the fact that until Bill Gee we are not utilising Spiral movement and Fa  Jing is intimately connected to Spiral movement and it is in Bill Gee that we pay particular attention to the creation of Spiral movement in the Spine.

But there is spiral movement everywhere in Wing Chun, rotation is used in all actions, but they are partial, unformed Spirals that can be difficult to identify, the larger movements of Bill Gee make it far simpler to make the initial connection to the spiral energy.

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT A SPIRAL?

Quite simply any Energy Wave travelling along a spiral path is actually covering more ground / distance than an Energy Wave travelling in a straight line, it is taking more time or taking the same amount of time at an increased velocity.

In a similar way to the Rifling in the Barrel of a Long Fire Arm the spin imparted by the Spiral aids in acceleration and direction.

It is important to understand that Fa Jing is not in itself powerful, it is simply a method to unleash your Intrinsic Energy, it is a Means and not an End, it is better to look upon it as the detonator and not the Bomb, the more initial Intrinsic Energy {Chi} the greater the effect,  FA JING / INCH POWER is a means of weaponising your Intrinsic energy.

For the Energy Wave to be allowed to travel unhindered it should be obvious that there needs to be ZERO RESISTANCE, complete relaxation of the Muscles and free movement of the Joints are essential, any addition, such as EFFORT will simply kill any FA JING / INCH POWER dead.

If we choose to look at the Sun Punch, in the first Form it is simply an Arm, even if we maintain the Fist vertically it can be easily seen that the Forearm and Upper Arm are rotating slightly, as small as this Arc is it is there all the same, an unformed Spiral from Shoulder to Wrist, if we add a tiny amount Waist turn from Chum Kiu the Spiral is naturally extended from the Waist to the Wrist, if we promote our Body forward with a tiny hip rotation, as in the opening Leg move of Bill Gee, we are now causing a spiral from our Foot to our Wrist, none of this is contrived or aimed at, it is quite natural, and if all the movement is empty, relaxed, smooth and unhurried there will be no tension caused anywhere in the Body.

When we make contact we have created a Kinetic Chain from the Floor to the Target, all that remains is to encourage this Kinetic Chain, this energy Wave to EXPLODE on contact.

Explosions happen in an instant and are gone, there is no lingering Energy or Force, just a Shock Wave moving outwards, this is an important consideration, everything happens in a split second, and then everything resets to a state of relaxed readiness.

FA JING / INCH POWER is not cumulative, it is not the whole Kinetic Chain Exploding but just one tiny part of it, it is small by nature so there is no combining Ankle then Knee then Hip then Shoulder then Wrist, in fact trying to create a rolling FA JING / INCH POWER effect is moving in the wrong direction completely.

The Energy Wave that is created when you press your Foot into the ground is a very real thing, it is a very large aspect of Wing Chun Power development, of Chum Kiu, this Energy Wave travels along the Kinetic Chain until it is emptied into contact, FA JING / INCH POWER is a way of amplifying this Energy Wave as it EXPLODES and not a means of accelerating it as it travels along the chain.

The Kinetic Energy Wave remains smooth and steady, any attempt to change this increases tension.

Forming a Fist creates tension, so if you aim to release the maximum JING then perhaps it is more suitable to use a Palm or an Elbow or even a Foot.

DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF RELEASING YOUR JING.

FA JING / INCH POWER is not a physical thing, it is spontaneous manifestation, like a mini “Big Bang” it comes from nothing, from nowhere.

YOU THINK IT.

IT HAPPENS

IT IS GONE.

This may sound like something that is beyond us but it is not, we can all do this right here and right now even if you have absolutely no training.

We do it every time we Sneeze.

I introduce my Students to the quest for Fa Jing in the “B” Section of the First Form, the reason I use the “B” Section is simply that I find it easier to explain my thinking with this section that any other, once the “Idea” takes hold it can be done anywhere.

The first requirement is that you are able to perform the “B” Section in a smooth steady fashion that does not disturb your stability, the feeling is like an Ocean Wave, the energy moves out effortlessly until the Sea Bed begins to compress it and form what we recognise as a Wave, with Fa Jing instead of the wave collapsing under its own weight we release it, to get some idea of were to begin the search move effortlessly out through the moves of “B” until you reach ultimate angle and then instantly release yourself to extension. Our ultimate aim is to be able to choose at will when we release our energy, but first we need to be aware of consciously releasing it, the speed or intensity that you work at is unimportant as at this stage we are simply trying to find the trigger, begin slowly and gently, as you progress and begin to release more and more energy be sure not to do it in such a fashion as to destroy your “Set up”, it is only the last link that releases, in this way our release is like letting loose an Arrow that is held ready, the Bow simply slips away as the Arrow takes flight.

Whichever movement pattern you choose to use it is essential that you do not get involved in the mechanics of what you are doing, you MUST be in a state of Wu Ji  moving without aim or thought, in the midst of this nothing you bring into existence a something.

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“B” Section & FaJing from WC INCa’s on Vimeo.

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If we are ever unfortunate enough to need our Kung Fu to save the Day it is unlikely that we will be allowed to perform at ranges and positions that suit us more than the attacker, we must be able to release our  JING / INCH POWER anywhere at any time, and not just at “Ultimate Angle”.

Understanding the “Idea” behind FA JING / INCH POWER will allow us to turn any Body part, in fact any Body movement into a weapon.

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W.C.W. The Close Talker. Zoning Out.

I love this Seinfeld episode, but what is it doing on a Wing Chun Blog ?

We all have our own innate idea of “Personal Space” that we have been developing all of our Lives, it is at a level that we are often completely unaware of, but we all know it exists, especially in other People, it is not a constant, it changes dependent on where you are and who you are with.

In this Seinfeld video you can see Gerry’s Mother and Father trying  not to move away from Aaron out of politeness but their nervous system overrides them to a very large extent and they end up leaning backwards to try to regain their “Personal Space”.

Elaine is in a relationship with Aaron so she has no problem with the closeness of his talking, and it looks quite normal but when Jerry maintains the same distance it takes on a comic aspect due to the recognised strangeness of the almost Nose to Nose conversation.

We all see this as quite normal Human Behaviour, but should we make allowances for this in our training?

 

Comfort Zones and Training.

As so humorously pointed out we all have inbuilt “Exclusion Zones” that operate without our being aware of them, instincts that some Behavioural Scientists think have been passed on over generations and not just put in place in our own Lifetime, if this is the case then no amount of training will replace them.

My own introduction to the “Fighting Sciences” was through Western Boxing, and our Club’s coach used to train us to favour our natural Instinctive way of fighting,  press forward slipping and dodging, stand and deliver or stay out of range and counter, so my own opinion is a bit biased towards this type of thinking to be expected.

In the following Video I have used Chi Sau simply as a place to examine my idea, it does of course apply to everything we do

I teach my Students to work out where they feel most comfortable and to work from there, it makes a lot more sense to me that trying to get someone to put their head somewhere they do not want it to be, in Wing Chun we prepare for Street Situations that we may not even see coming, the chances are very high that our Body will react before our Brain has a chance to employ our training, it would help if we had some idea where this position our Body is likely to move us to was likely to be.

As I mention in the Video, Wing Chun training pretty soon becomes a Social Occasion and as such our natural “Exclusion Zones” get turned off and everything happens in our Social Zone, almost a Happy Place, if you ever need your training you will be somewhere else completely.

And not very happy.

It has been my personal experience that most of the time you get attacked it is by the “Up in your Face” type, this make standing your ground and going “Hey Diddle Diddle” somewhat precarious unless you have exceptional skill and prior warning.

As I said earlier my own opinion is heavily influenced by my involvement in Western Boxing, if your experience is different please share it.

MORE ON ZONES, THIS TIME THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

I found this Video on YouTube, and it it is quite useful to observe what happens when someone has been training to use his Wing Chun in a place that his Nervous System does not want his Body to be in when things get a bit Real, as I mentioned earlier.

This is in no way any kind of negative attack on these Guys,  Wing Chun is very difficult to use with gloves on apart from anything else, I have no intention of commenting on either persons ability, just on how the Guy in White is actually involved in 2 fights, one against Green Shirt and the other against his own Nervous System that does not want him to be presenting himself the way he is.

The Guy in Green is very much in his “Comfort Zone” and is obviously fighting from the position that he has done his training in, but his opponent White Shirt never once looks like he wants to be in the “physical place” where he is trying to do his work from.

And because of this his  Nervous System is calling the shots, as a result his Brain does not get the chance to use the most basic of Wing Chun practices, to redirect {or at the very least adjust your own position to get off line}, he ends up just back pedalling on the same vector as the attacks, I very much doubt that this was his Pre-Fight intention.

White Shirt is trying to use things like Chit Sau and Punch that require you to move forward  {like Green Shirt does} or at least stay put and accept what comes in, but they are not effective for him because he is backing off, not once did he attempt to latch as he stepped backwards, something I am sure that he would  do if he was aware that he was going to step back because that was an aspect of his “Fighting Personality”.

Something that sticks out to me is that even before the fight begins White Shirt does not know where to place himself to accept the attack, he did not appear to know where his own Comfort Zone was while Green Shirt was clearly in his Comfort Zone and confident and raring to get in.

 From the restricted view of a YouTube video it looks pretty obvious that White Shirts Style did not match the way his Body was reacting, he was never once in a position to use his training, and without meaning any disrespect to Green Shirt this was not because he was out manoeuvred, half the time Green Shirt had to try to find White Shirt because despite his best efforts his Nervous System wanted him out of there.

But out of respect they both deserve credit for getting in and “Touching Gloves”. If the 2 guys involved here are upset in anyway by my use of this Video I apologise unreservedly, this is not meant in any way to be a negative attack or criticism, I found this on YouTube, that pretty much makes it “Public Domain” and I think it just happens to be a good example of what I was talking about in earlier in the Article.

As always, Your Milage May Vary.

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”

― Hunter S. ThompsonFear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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W.C.W. 10 ASPECTS OF CHI SAU

10 ASPECTS OF CHI SAU .

wing chun sydney
Sigung Tsui and Sifu Fung, sadly reunited.

When my Students and I are playing in the laboratory that is Chi Sau, I find it helpful to have some specific IDEA’S that we are trying to gain further insight to, small pieces of the puzzle to work on independently, often these pieces fit into more than one class or place, have more than one function and that itself is a fruitful area of contemplation, I see them as 10 aspects that we  look to identify.  Most of these aspects are covered by everyday Chi Sau practice, often though Students do not realise the multi faceted potentials of BASIC moves and tend to put them in little boxes, most people do not look beyond the first best answer to a problem, they have the attitude that now that the problem is fixed lets move on to the next problem. Job Done.

Separating the component parts of Chi Sau and treating them as unique exercises can greatly extend your all around understanding of Wing Chun and not just Chi Sau.

Many of the Actions could easily be placed in a different category, and I encourage you to do just that, the value of any CONCEPT is found in how you interpret it.

  1. Asking
  2. Running
  3. Intercepting
  4. Leaking
  5. Destabilising.
  6. Crushing.
  7. Engaging
  8. Evading
  9. Leading
  10. Expelling

ASKING.

Man Sau, the “Asking Hand”, is a way to gather information from our Partner, we can find out the level of our Partners awareness or readiness, we can gauge their “Ability” even their “Intention” simply by connecting to them in such a way that prompts them to react, to answer us.  This “Asking” can be done with the Body moving the Arms.  A perfect example is the presented Palm in Dan Chi Sau.  The first intention is to “ask” if the partner is aware of what you are attempting, to gauge his level of readiness to intercept you et.  The aim is to increase your awareness of your Partners actions, by adopting the Mind Set of ASKING you will automatically pay a lot more attention to what is happening, “you will be actively awaiting an answer”.

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RUNNING.

After presenting Man Sau if you are aware of your Partners Intention, or in Lok Sau if you identify the direction of your Partners force then “Running” is the act of taking yourself off the line of your Partner. In Dan Chi Sau this is often done by simply moving the Arm to avoid the pressure, but it can also be done by completely removing yourself, allowing your Partners force to slip into emptiness.

INTERCEPTING.

If you become aware of your Partners Intention before it is fully realised, for instance again using Dan Chi Sau as an example you feel your Partners Man Sau begin to transition into a Palm Strike, you can prevent it from coming into being, “Intercept the Idea and neutralise the Action”.

LEAKING

Leaking occurs only once the alignment of your Arms is correct, simple movements just seem to fall through your Partners defence, small rotations of the Body cause your Partner to fall away from your structure. You can LEAK through on the inside, or cause your Partner to LEAK through on the outside.

DESTABILISING.

Taking your Partners Balance by shifting his Centre of Gravity, uprooting, twisting or jerking. At first learn how to do this with very small Arm only movements such as Tok Sau, Huen Sau, Kwan Sau, Jut Sau or any favourite, then to really make these aspects dynamic introduce shifting, pivoting even stepping. Disturb with your Arms then Destabilise with your Body.

CRUSHING

Destroying your Partners Structure by applying your own Centre of Gravity in an aggressive manner, dropping your weight into your Arms or simply dropping your weight directly into your partners Centre of Gravity , this is almost the opposite of Destabilising as we use our Partners own Stability to crush him against.  Arms in and down, Body drops, shifts or steps inwards / forwards.

ENGAGING

Gwoh Sau, Pak Sau and Lap Sau techniques whereby you take the initiative to attack, first from a more or less neutral position, later in free play you can Neutralise your Partners attack and Counter Attack.

EVADING

Using Body movement to redirect your Partner, Pivoting, shifting or stepping without changing your Arm shapes. Allow your Partners effort to push you off the line of attack, this will help you understand the nature of Force Vectors, through repeated practice and close observation this can develop the skill of being able to move to the correct place even before contact.

LEADING

A combination of Intercepting, Running and Evading with the intention of deliberately taking your Partners Body Mass away, usually by latching or pressing  Physically leading them into an Obstruction or into Emptiness. 

EXPELLING

A combination of Engaging, Destabilising and Evading, after LEADING once the Partners Balance is broken Throw him or shove him away VIOLENTLY, preferably into something hard.

Many of these “IDEA’S” are present simultaneously in our example techniques and usual practice, breaking them down into separate actions allows us to gain greater control and variety in their use.

I teach Wing Chun from the premise that we have been attacked and are in a disadvantaged position from the onset, EVADING, LEADING, EXPELLING and DESTABILISING are aspects that can allow you to regain the position to bring all the other aspects into play.

Ideas like LEADING and EXPELLING can be viewed as different levels of intensity, having the ability to shift from one to the other on the fly can really keep your Partner / Opponent in a spin making it impossible for them to offer any kind of realistic defence.

Y.M.M.V.

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Articles, Video's, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 29-04-2015

TAKING YOUR EGO OUT OF IT.

ego-fear

To put this post in the right place I need to tell you a bit about my Sifu’s School, and how I met my wife.

My Sifu had a very large School, it was in 2 cities here in Australia, Sydney and Adelaide, and each City had a main Headquarters and a number of Satellite Schools that were referred to as Suburban Branches. There were 14 Suburban Branches in Sydney and 8 in Adelaide. The H.Q. was open 7 Days a week from 10am through to 8pm, and the Suburban Branches operated usually twice a week just in the evening.

All in all the Sydney School offered around 120 classes each week, the vast majority of these classes were not supervised by my Sifu, but in fact by a Certified Instructor, my Sifu only supervised training on Wednesday and Thursday evening from 8pm to around 9.30 pm.

In the Suburban Branches the aim was to have as many Instructors as possible, the ideal being 6, the syllabus was broken into 4 Grades and the aim was for there to be an Instructor for each Grade, a more Senior Instructor to oversee the overall quality of the teaching, and then another to take care of the everyday business side of running a Martial Arts School. The City H.Q. tried to have similar Instructor numbers for the 6 or 7 classes they ran each day.

To supervise all of these classes that the H.Q. and Suburban Branches ran required a small Army of Instructors and Assistant Instructors, and to maintain the number of Instructors it was a pre-requisite that to attend the Wednesday or Thursday class with Sifu you needed to be a Certified Instructor.

Add to this the motivation that only Sifu taught Chum Kiu, Bill Gee and beyond, most Students, at least the ones that wanted to learn the whole system, eventually became Instructors, and trained with Sifu on a Wednesday and / or Thursday evening.

It was at an Instructors training evening that I met a Girl that would eventually become my Wife, Amanda.

Sifu would often joke with us and say that it was because of him that we met and got married, and he hoped that we could one day forgive him.

When we married we moved to one of the outer suburbs of Sydney and Sifu asked if we would take over the running of the Satellite School out there, he liked the idea of having a husband and wife running the School,we did this of course, happily, the only down side was that the Branch opened on Thursday evening, this reduced our availability to train with Sifu, and because of this we made sure that we never missed a Wednesday evening unless it was unavoidable.

From the very beginning Sifu recommended that I did the majority of my training with Amanda, he said it would help me to keep my EGO out of my training, as there would be less of a motivation to prove myself better or to try to prove myself stronger than there would be with another Bloke, and when I would go and do some Ju Jitsu Chi Sau with one of the other Instructors he would find a way to let me know I was making a mistake.

Like most Martial Arts Schools there were not that many Female Students, Martial Arts Schools tend to be really quite “Blokey”, Sifu would always insist that Wing Chun was not a “Blokey” Martial Art, that it was started by a woman and was a lot closer to a Woman’s Martial Art than a Man’s, because of this Sifu gave all of his {not very many} Female Students more assistance, more time and effort, add to this that he felt responsible for us getting married plus the fact that we ran a Suburban Branch for him {and also the fact that he liked my sense of humour} Sifu always found time to chat with us and give us all the help we needed.

My wife Amanda like to take small notes during training, then when we got home she would use them to write a more detailed account of the evenings training in her journal, at first I would make a little fun of this until one day when I read what she had written I noticed something very different to what I remembered, when I asked Sifu about it the following week it turned out that I had completely missed something that Sifu made a point of telling us, from that point on I also started taking notes and filling them out when I got home, when we compared notes they would always be different, usually just because we saw things differently, but many times because one of us had missed something, we would always bring these things up with Sifu so he was very aware that not only did we take notes but that we would go over the lesson at home in the week.

One Day at Instructor training he jokingly said to us after an exercise we struggled with “you should make this your Homework for this week” we all laughed, but we also did work on it all week.

The following week he straight up asked us “How did you go with the Homework”?

I said something on the lines of “I think I am getting it” but my wife Amanda piped up “He was always using Strength and would not listen to me Sifu”.

Sifu then gave me a little lecture, he told me “In training your partner is trying to help you, and you repay this friendship by using Brute force to over power them, this is just being a Bully, and Bullies are governed by their Ego”. The lecture was a little bit longer than this but this is the gist of it. He then went through the “Homework” exercise with us, and chastised me for using strength again.

He recommended that I work on the exercise until I could keep my Ego out of it, he would come back to us about this from time to time to see if I was making any progress, “In Wing Chun we do not use Strength, there is no skill in Strength, that is why Bullies use it, if you are using Strength you are just being a Bully”, this would piss me off a little, this fact alone proved that my Ego was still far from under my control.

This is the exercise.

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Sifu could be maddeningly enigmatic at times, if I was struggling and I asked him why I was having difficulties he would laugh and say “Because you do not understand”, when I would agree and asked him to tell me what it was I did not understand he would say “I have already told you this many times, go home and read your notes”.

Something that cropped up frequently in my notes was the phrase “If you could only understand what it truly means to avoid force you would no longer need my help”.

I have spent months and years thinking on this, and even now it will often help get a deeper understanding of what my Sifu was trying to teach me.

Sadly my Sifu is no longer teaching on this Plane of Existence so I am left with just my memories, and of course my Notes.

START TAKING NOTES.

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