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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: VORTEX POWER.

 

Biu Gee is a very physical set of moves, it is approached in a completely different way than the first 2 Forms, it is the hard edge of  Wing Chun training that all too often gets left behind in the name of softness.

In the last post I mentioned that Biu Gee helps us observe the addition of forces, but what is the mechanism that creates these forces that we wish to add?   When we begin Biu Gee training we are often told that the movements create Vortex Power, but what is vortex power and where does it come from?  

Personally I do not like any explanations of Biu Gee that refers to turning the spine, apart from being incredibly simplistic this leads us away from what it is we are really doing, which is of course Core Winding, leads us in the wrong direction, once this added to the misunderstanding around not using strength in Wing Chun it is no surprise that few students are proficient at using Biu Gee under pressure or resistance.

What is Core Winding?

Core Winding is the deliberate and very physical activation of the deep internal muscles of the body, all of the Pelvic Floor muscles, spinal muscles such as the Multifidus, and the Transverse Abdominal, activating these groups does of course kick in all the intermediate muscles of the abdomen and spine as well, relegating the co-ordination of this collection of very powerful muscles to “Turn the Spine” is really not very helpful to a deeper understanding of what we are about, it is far more accurate and far more useful to think that we use muscular force to turn our Trunk or our Torso, the spine is the flexible support for the Trunk / Torso and in no way capable of turning it.

The Spine has 5 sections, the Coccyx, the Sacrum, the Lumbar, the Thoracic and the Cervical but for our purposes the Coccyx and Sacrum can be seen as one, each of the now 4 sections are interconnected to the extent that when we start to turn our waist the muscles in our neck get activated, doing some basic research on how the deep internal muscles work on the spine will greatly improve Biu Gee understanding and practice.

There is an aspect of Biu Gee that is physical conditioning for the muscles that control our spine, performing Biu Gee in the same manner as S.L.T. or Chum Kiu will not deliver this, Biu Gee needs to be pushed so we can condition the muscles, doing Biu Gee should leave you feeling slightly overextended. Just doing the Form is no guarantee that we are exercising the correct muscles, we cannot strengthen muscles that our brain cannot activate, and it cannot activate them if it does not know they exist so firstly we have to find that muscle and wake it up, mental imaging is a vital part of this, the wet towel imaging is really helpful, as we ‘wind’ our Core Muscles they contract and condense in the same way as when we ring a wet cloth, this creates an inward pull, the spiral action of the winding creates progressive acceleration along the spine, this is what is referred to as the Vortex,  the more aware we are of these muscles and the more aggressively we can activate them the more powerful the inward or centripetal pull of the force.

What winds up must also release, I am the first to say that videos are no way to asses the ability of a person, but so many people learn from videos that they cannot be completely ignored or excused, I am yet to see a single Biu Gee video that talks about actively and deliberately releasing the tension that is set up through Core Winding, my own sifu Jim Fung thought the un-winding every bit as important as the winding and he treated them as separate stand alone elements and not just a reverse in direction, without understanding the release, which is of course every bit as physical as the winding, it is almost impossible to come to an understanding of the “left to right – right to left” power line of Biu Gee.

Biu Gee is a very physical set of moves, it is approached in a completely different way than the first 2 Forms, it is the hard edge of  Wing Chun training that all too often gets left behind in the name of softness.

 

 

 

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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: BIU GEE & THE ADDITION OF FORCES..

At the basic level all our Forms are primarily about learning how to move, learning how to control and improve our range of motion and understanding how to use of body efficiently, at the surface level it is no more than a dance, the shape and sequence of any Form is simply a memory aid, learn the dance and we will always remember the individual moves so that we can revisit and rework them at a time of our own choosing, learning individual moves in isolation will foster the ability to come up with new pairings in new directions, help us to understand the why and not the how, help us to see the IDEA.

One aspect of the IDEA in Biu Gee is the addition of forces, this is the powerhouse, and it can be verified by basic high school physics, when two or more forces are acting upon the same body moving in the same direction these forces accumulate.

When I was first introduced to Biu Gee I was told to imagine that I was turning individual vertebrae one at a time rising up my spine, this is a very poor mind image because if we are moving our vertebrae individually we are only creating one vector and so we cannot be adding forces, it is also physically impossible this is not how the spine works so we are pretending to do something that is outside the realm of possibility, this is a slippy slope for Martial Artists.

The first flying elbow rotation in Biu Gee introduces the idea of adding forces, the waist turns independent of the rest of the body and creates force, the torso turns independent of the rest of the body and creates force, the shoulder girdle turns independent of the rest of the body and creates force, the arm rotates in the joint of the shoulder independent of the rest of the body and creates force, the body shifts its axis and creates force,  in application all of these actions need to be in motion at the time of contact, but when working on the Form we can isolate them to get a better understanding of how to bring about the forces we hope to add together and a clear idea of where they came from in the previous forms.

Although there is lower body movement in Biu Gee if we look closely we see that this is Chum Kiu movement, Biu Gee sits on top of Chum Kiu, keeping this in focus allows the upper body to work independently of the lower body or to work with a different movement of the lower body, the flying elbows are equally at home with the Chum Kiu shift as they are with the pivot or even if required from a static position, it has to be this way or it will be of zero value in the unpredictable environment of a violent encounter.

To a very large extent Biu Gee is the opposite side of the coin to Chum Kiu, especially when we look at where we place our weight, Chum Kiu receives force and as such the weight is in the rear leg and the awareness sank into the lower Dantien, Biu Gee issues force so the weight is shifted to the front leg and the awareness raised to the middle Dantien, as a generalisation we could say that in Wing Chun we take everything into our tummy but send everything out through our chest.

 

 

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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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