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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: MANIPULATION OF MATTER.

 

 

This is a bit like a Kung Fu Big Bang Theory.

We live in 3 dimensional space {excluding time} parameters described by height, width and length, which give way to the six directions of up and down, left and right. forwards and backwards.

These parameters can help us identify the position and orientation of a body in space but not the properties of that body, we need finer explanations such as sinking or rising, expanding or contracting, moving forwards or backwards.

The descriptions we use and how we use them have a different effect on the Neuro – Muscular response from our body,  for instance both of the terms rising and expanding could be regarded as growing, while both sinking and contracting could be looked at as shrinking, although the mental images are really quite different, and the physcho – physical response would also be different, this is the whole point of intention.

Forms allow us to explore these movements and come up with our own way of understanding them, our own way of explaining them, our own perspective of intention, in a way they allow us to observe and understand the dynamics of matter in our personal universe, once we have described these dynamics to ourselves our bodies phsycho – physical response can be looked at as a way to manipulate matter in our personal universe that does not really involve directly applied attention.

This is a stretch I know but it does allow us to step out of the box of Wing Chun and into the wider universe of being a dynamic human.

While we are thinking way, way outside the box consider this, there is a Quantum Mechanics theory that is known as the Pauli Exclusion Principal that states that no two particles of matter can ever touch each other, when one particle moves every other particle in the universe also moves.

There is a resonance to Wing Chun thinking here, we are never trying to move our partner only ever trying to move ourselves, the Pauli Exclusion Principle in action.

There are other properties that also describe actions working on the six directions that have very different Neuro – Muscular responses such as giving or taking in respect of weight, issuing or receiving in regards of force, leading or following in regards of action.

The First Form allows us to explore all these avenues with just our arms, the Chum Kiu allows us to explore these same avenues with our body, but also introduces rotation, a variable that brings in new complexities, new IDEAS, that lead on to Biu Gee’s Core Winding that comprises of sinking and contracting acting together, and the opposite action of Core Release that is a combo of rising and expanding.

This is a bit like a Kung Fu Big Bang Theory.

This exploration is the sole purpose of Forms, in themselves Forms teach us nothing, they are simply the messenger, it is our job, all of us, to break the code and understand the message.

 

 

As I have said before the Wing Chun Forms should be looked at as six episodes of the same series, it is only once we have watched them, perhaps even a couple of times and spent time reflecting that we see it was just one story all along and then we get the IDEA.

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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY; PSYCHO-PHYSICAL, NEURO – MUSCULAR CONNECTIONS.

When I wish to look deeper into my own training I usually look towards sports or dance that share the same movements

All movement is a psycho-physical process, an outward expression of inner intent therefore we should engage our thinking and feeling to create a mental image to both inform and match the movement, there is a ton of empirical evidence that show the Human Brain fires up identically to thinking about an action, watching the same action or performing that action this is the Neuro – Muscular connection  I refer to.

Many people refer to this type of training as “Internal”, I am not a fan of this term as it too easily slips away into mumbo jumbo that practitioners cannot explain in general terms and is brought into disrepute by too many Chi Masters, another aspect of “Internal” that I am uncomfortable with is that at its heart “Internal” ideas stem from meditation practices, they are not very dynamic, whereas Psycho – Physical and Neuro – Muscular ideas stem from sports and application of sports science knowledge, very dynamic.

When I wish to look deeper into my own training I usually look towards sports or dance that share the same movements, in general sports and dance have easier accessed and far more accurate information about how best to use the Human Body. When I see any physical action used in sports or dance I try to find them in our Forms, they are of course present but hard to find due to their subtle appearance in the Forms.

With the next few posts I will try to explain my thinking on integrating the psycho – physical through comparing Chum Kiu and Biu Gee applications to the application of these same ideas in Basketball, Wrestling and Dance.

Sinking and rising on a purely physical level is straight forward manipulation of the Centre of Gravity, each action is the opposite of each other, but when we engage our mental image we do well to move along the lines of sinking the pelvis but rising the chest, when we take force into us we take it into our pelvis, this brings with it a feeling of condensing and settling into ourselves but when we issue it we should think of issuing it from our chest, this brings about a feeling of rising and stretching.

Wing Chun employs progressive training, each Form introduces separate components that require combining as we progress, through the First Form we develop and IDEA of  Body Unity, we create the Frame or Wing Chun Body, the Chum Kiu introduces sinking and rising of the Frame and the Biu Gee introduces compression and expansion of the Frame.  Intuitively this gives birth to becoming a heavier or a lighter presence, interpretations of stability and mobility.

Traditionally Chum Kiu shifting is done in a pretty flat lateral manner that does not develop a great deal of momentum, but if we add the Core Winding from Biu Gee to the shift it at once becomes dynamic and far more natural, the more we can integrate Biu Gee dynamics into the Chum Kiu the more fluid, powerful and natural we move.

 

 

 

When performing any exercises, or in fact when doing any Form, we can make these moves over large so that we can identify everything more easily, but in real application they would want to be a relatively small, large movement tends to be slower and less powerful than small movements.

 

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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: WHY WE SHOULDN’T IGNORE THE CONTACT POINT.

What is doing the work, and where is it being done?

 

 

Why does this “ignore the contact point” reference get used at all when it is not in any way correct?

This blog is primarily a portal for my own students to stay up to date with how I am thinking day to day, this is important because our training sessions usually mirror what I am currently talking about on the Blog, so on this past Monday, the second day ofJuly 2018, working on Chum Kiu we were looking at how to use our Kinetic chain to increase momentum so that we could apply WORK to our partner / opponent.

It is my personal conviction that to truly understand Chum Kiu we must understand mechanically exactly what is creating the work, what is doing the work, where the work is being done and what we expect to occur because of the work, these are all very seperate issues.

In physics, a force is said to do work if, when acting, there is a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force. Wikipedia.

One of my guys told me that he had very recently seen a video where a Wing Chun  Master was instructing his student to “ignore the contact point”.

This is plainly a contradiction of the established science, but it is something that I have heard said before at my Sifu’s school, I have even had an Instructor advise me to avoid the contact point!!!

Which is of course totally impossible, at least in this universe and this dimension.

Why does this “ignore the contact point” reference get used at all when it is not in any way correct? 

Wing Chun is a versatile and effective fighting art that is based on some very clever thinking about how to use the body, but its main strength is of course Fist Logic, and as we would expect Fist Logic does not ignore the contact point, Fist Logic is all about the contact point.

They move, we hit ’em.

At our very first introduction to Wing Chun we are told to make contact with the opponents wrist because it gives a leverage advantage, it is where we do what we do, where we intercept, where we redirect, where we latch, where we Pak, if we ignore the contact point how do we play Chi Sau?

 In so many ways the contact point is the only point worth making.

Every now and then we come across some explanations or ideas in Wing Chun that are really silly, in my experience these are usually translation issues and not genuine silliness, that is why if we ever have doubt we should check the science behind it, Wing Chun is very clever and the science proves it.

 


This passing on of silly ideas is not helped by the fact that in some Wing Chun circles there seems to be a complete misunderstanding between the function of MIND and the function of BRAIN with regards to what does what within the human body, but this is for another post.

 

 

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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: STABILITY, DO WE UNDERSTAND IT?

 

Of all of our stances the Goat Stance, Y.C.K.Y.Mah, is the least stable and the least suited for accepting force

What do we mean by stability.

To most students stability is the ability to stay still or remain in place, such as maintaining our Y.C.K.Y. Mah stance {Goat Grabbing Stance or Goat Stance} against pressure while playing Chi Sau, this is very much the IDEA that comes through when training in the First Form.

But is this the only way to look at stability, is it even the correct way when we are talking about dynamic, antagonistic situations?

Stability is also defined as “the property of a body that causes it when disturbed from a condition of equilibrium or steady motion to develop forces or moments that restore the original condition”.

From a dynamic antagonistic perspective “to come back to the original position from a condition of steady motion” begins to make stability look a great deal more like a product of Chum Kiu than a product of the First Form.

Sometimes looking at what we do from a purely mechanical perspective can give us a clear indication of what we should be doing instead of just doing what we have been told or what we think we are meant to do.

What are the requirements for stability?

The things that have a great impact on stability are the height of the Centre of Gravity {CoG}, the size of the base of support {in our case the width of the feet}, the orientation to the line of force and the weight of the object.

We cannot do much about our weight { we can of course borrow weight from our opponent / partner but that is a different topic} but we can easily and readily adjust the height of our CoG, the size of our base of support and our orientation to the line of force.

The lower the CoG, the larger the base of support {width of the feet} the greater the stability, the higher the CoG, the smaller the base of support stability is diminished.

If we compare the Goat Stance of the First Form with the Front Stance from the Chum Kiu we find that the Goat Stance has a higher CoG and a much smaller base of support than the Front Stance of Chum Kiu, the obvious result is that the Goat Stance is  less stable, even without the implications of orientation to the line of force.

If we follow the progression of our training on to the Horse Riding Stance from the knives and pole we are bringing in even more stability, but this is not how much of mainstream Wing Chun explains itself.

This is science not opinion and it is independently verifiable so there is no need to take my word as truth, Google it.

Of all of our stances the goat Stance, Y.C.K.Y.Mah, is the least stable and least suitable for accepting force, but this is the opposite of what is most often taught. 

As I pointed out in an earlier post the Y.C.K.Y.Mah comprises of 2 rear leg positions and is how we are introduced to the mechanics of Chum Kiu movement through activation of the adductor muscles, it prepares for movement, not how to stand still.

Allowing the physics to just be physics what we should be thinking is whether we wish to be still or be mobile, how to move from a position of stillness or how to achieve stability from movement and what is the best way to accomplish this. 

This is of course one of the two the central learning objectives of Chum Kiu, the second being how to support our arms with our body which is another aspect of bringing in stability.

This leads us on to weight shifting {which is expanded and refined through studying the Biu Gee Form} and understanding what is actually doing the work, where we want that work done and what we hope to achieve through the work, in this instance I am talking about work in a purely mechanical sense, as in work and load.

 

 

Every Middle School kid in the world understands that stability is the cornerstone of power production, stability is the cornerstone of force absorption, why is it then that most of our training is done from the least stable of our stances?

There is a reason, a good reason, Wing Chun is a very clever martial art, but here as in so many instances in Wing Chun the messenger is getting mistaken for the message.

Would you try to push a stalled car from the position of the Goat Stance, and if not why not if it is such a good stance?

 

 

 

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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: BONG SAU – FLAT EARTH THEORY OR JUST LOST IN TRANSLATION.

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The mistake is not in thinking that Bong Sau is a defence the mistake is in thinking that Bong Sau is a particular shape.

Once upon a time the whole population believed that the Earth was flat,  that the moon, the sun and all the stars circled around the Earth.  Everyone knew beyond doubt that when Christopher Columbus sailed away he would fall of the edge of the world and be lost forever.   This was common knowledge to the whole community, history teaches us that holding an alternative view to this common knowledge could have very bad consequences, disagreeing with the majority sent many a heretic to the flames.

There were some seriously egged faces the day Chris came home.

As Westerners so much of what we think we know about Wing Chun depends  just as much on someones translation as their skill or knowledge, I have spoken of this before, Jim Fung {my teacher} spoke excellent english, was well educated, very intelligent and possessed high skill and deep knowledge of Wing Chun if any one could translate this thing we do well it would be him, yet he would say that so much of Wing Chun does not translate into english, sometimes close but never really accurate, no cigar.

In the past few post I have pointed out how certain practices, Y.C.K.Y.Mah and Chi Sau in particular have the tendency to lead us into weird territory, we end up like passengers on an abandoned space ship who do not know what levers to pull or buttons to press, we find the instruction manual but it is in a language we don’t speak, we really have no choice other than guessing and hoping, when it appears to work we think ourselves clever and it becomes the new normal, we rewrite the book.

If we cannot trust the translation we must fall back on Fist Logic, “if I use this can I hit them”?   At the very core of Wing Chun, at the centre of the beating heart of our Fist Logic is simultaneous attack and defence, it is this  practice more than anything else that sets Wing Chun apart from other Martial Arts.

A no brainer that states the obvious is that our simultaneous attack must strike the opponent, this needs to be pointed out, some people appear to forget it.

One of the most popular tools for Wing Chun training is Chi Sau, of the many things that Chi Sau teaches us,  the co-ordination of our Arms is of great interest, if one arm circles forwards the other arm circles back, if one arm circles upwards the other arm circles down, this is repeated through different planes and angles all brought about by shoulder rotation.

The action that most Wing Chun practitioners call Bong Sau rotates forward, up and across, while the other arm rotates back, down and across, in Wing Chun any movement that goes forwards is an attack, thinking that Bong Sau is a genuine, useable defensive structure just because most people believe it, is lining us up with the folks that thought the Earth was flat.

If my defending arm is moving towards my opponent then my attacking arm is moving away from him, this is flying in the face of simultaneous attack and defence, this is not Wing Chun thinking, this is not Fist Logic. It makes little difference what past master told us that the Earth was flat the proof is clear that it is not, when Fist Logic speaks all other voices should be ignored.

Looking back at my own training I cannot actually remember anyone of any significance telling me that Bong Sau was in reality a defence, quite the opposite as it happens.

To the best of my knowledge Sifu Jim Fung only ever held one seminar, sometime in the late 1990’s, in this seminar Sifu Jim clearly stated that Bong Sau was a punch, not that it was shaped like a punch, but that it was plainly and simply a punch.

Something worth pondering on is that It did not change how we all played Chi Sau, but the truth was out there.

Why do we think that Bong Sau is a defence?

In Wing Chun’s genesis fairy tale a nun watches a crane defend itself from a snake by deflecting the attacks with its wings, Bong Sau is the Wing Arm, the mistake is not in thinking that Bong Sau is a defence, the mistake is thinking that Bong Sau is a particular shape, every time the snake attacked the crane flapped its wing and deflected it, Bong Sau is the flapping wing.

When we move our arms in any shape, in any direction we are flapping our wing.  Bong Sau is HOW we move our arm, not where or why, this means that everything is Bong Sau, anything we do is just us flapping our wing, terms like Garn Sau, Fook Sau, Tai Sau, Chum Sau etc, are the intention behind why we flap that wing.

 

Wing Chun’s Fist Logic is pretty much bullet proof, if I cannot hit you immediately then what I am doing is potentially not even Wing Chun.

 

 

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