Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: THE ROLE OF KICKING IN WING CHUN.

 

Our kicking is meant to distract or disable more than it is intended to damage

Where does kicking reside in a style governed by Fist Logic?

To answer this we should look to how kicking is presented in the Forms, the only Forms that have kicking are the Chum Kiu and the Dummy, the Chum Kiu is more about the IDEA, the role kicking plays, while the Dummy is closer to the practice or application.

There are three kicks in Chum Kiu that introduce three slightly different mechanics, in the first kick, first mechanism there is no weight shift and no body movement, only the Leg is active. In the second mechanism there is still no weight shift but there is rotation on the supporting leg creating a certain amount of momentum, a certain amount of thrust, and in the third mechanism there is still no initial weight shift just a turn and a thrust similar to the second finished with a late weight shift into the landing leg.

As with all of our Forms these are not suggested applications but rather a collection of IDEAS that benefit from being studied, understood in their first instance then disassembled and reassembled in new formation, rinse and repeat.

The fact that there is no weight shift is very significant, remaining in position implies that we are kicking from a defensive position, the target is coming to us as opposed to us needing to seek out a target.

Being defensive in nature the kicks are meant to function without compromising our balance or stability, on contact we are firmly pushed into our stance and Ground Force Reaction increases the payload transferred into the incoming target.

The science behind collisions, the Conservation of Momentum Theory, coupled with Ground Force Reaction enables us to deliver massive force without the need to manufacture massive force.

In the Chum Kiu Form once the kick has been completed we are for all intent and purpose standing still with our leg in the air, we then shift the weight forwards and land on the kicking leg, in application we are stepping into the attacker after the kick has landed so that we can continue the attack with our main weapon, our Hand Strikes or in the third mechanism we continue into another type of kick such as a stamp kick.

The role of kicking in Wing Chun is as a complimentary assistant, it is not as a primary weapon but as a support weapon that sets up positions and situations for deployment of our primary weapon. 

Later, once we understand the core IDEAS of Biu Gee and the Knives we can manufacture greater, even massive power through our weight shifting, but even then our kicking still plays a supportive role, it is almost as if our complimentary assistant has just turned into the Incredible Hulk.

Wing Chun kicking also has a strategic role, feinting as in the charging knee and bridging the gap, these are to facilitate Fist Logic.

In the Video clip below I am not moving too well as by the end of winter { it is the third day of spring here in Oz as I write this} my poor old spine is not so flexy, but the information is sound and summer is on the way.

 

 

Our kicking is meant to distract or disable more than it is intended to damage, without the need to generate force we can be quicker and more precise, once distracted or disabled our opponent will drop their guard or lose their shape allowing us to do what we do best.

Fist Logic.

 

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Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: POSITIONING, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LINES WE CHOOSE.

 

 

Position in any martial art is all about getting off line, but which line?

 

The standard scenario envisioned by Wing Chun is that if we are set upon we reply to this attack with simultaneous attack and defence, followed by unrelenting attacks immediately finishing off the threat, job done in what we could call the “first phase” of the fight.

This is at the heart of most Wing Chun thinking, and the main reason we do not train dynamic movement or consider a need to study positioning, in the standard scenario they would never be needed.

What happens if we do not finish things in the “first phase”?

The standard follow up scenario is “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow” then rinse and repeat our earlier efforts, and again if this did happen it would work.

This may be acceptable from the point of view of Mind Logic or Body Logic, but not for Fist Logic.

There is no doubt at all that our biggest weapon in Wing Chun is surprise, fights can be over before the our opponent knows it has started, but even the best get things wrong, and when it happens do we really think that the Bad Guy would choose to repeat the same thing that had just failed  in the first phase?

If the Bad Guy goes to plan “B” what do we do?

When it does not work “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow” leaves us stranded like a Bunny in the headlights.

If the Bad Guy is a Judo player, or a Ju Jitsu player or just a very basic grappler we will never stop them taking us if we just stand there as in the standard scenario, where is our plan “B”?

Despite the fact that none of our Forms are about fighting, Chum Kiu and Biu Gee do contain some really clever footwork that readily converts into useable applications to gain strong positions for attack and defence, to really appreciate this footwork I get my guys to do the Forms without using any arm moves at all, just the footwork.

It is often said that of all our Forms the Dummy Form is full of fighting applications, but I think this is drawing a very long bow, at least half of the moves in the Dummy Form are flat out wrong due to the fact that the Dummy does not move and its frame prevents us from taking the side position correctly.

It does however offer some really good positioning concepts that really should be introduced much earlier.

Every move on the Dummy puts us on the outside of an attackers arm and teaches us how to take up the side position where the attackers other Arm {other than the one we intercepted} cannot strike us properly, this is very sound positioning theory and consistent with every other martial art.

A great deal of the footwork in the Dummy Form is at its heart evasive footwork, a hybrid of Chum Kiu and Biu Gee, that allows us to shift and rotate, there is nothing in the Dummy Form that goes hey diddle diddle, again this is very sound positional theory, it is interesting that there is not anything in the Dummy Form that reflects “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow”.

If we can combine the movement of both Chum Kiu and Biu Gee we end up with something very, very close to how Western Boxers move, once we recognise this there is a wealth of information on the net that we can learn from.

 

 

Position in any martial art is all about getting off line, but which line?

 

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Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: POSITIONING.

PEEK A BOO [FRAZIER] vs PHILLY SHELL [ALI].

If we are going to fight someone should we set ourself up in a way and position that gives us an obvious advantage or should we set ourselves up equal?

As a junior Boxer, as a 20 something year old Judoka, and in all honesty also as a Tennis player and Golfer I did not have the level of success that I genuinely thought I should of had, I never made state level, never got beyond the last 16 in any tournament, it was not for lack of skill or talent I had enough of those, it was mostly a lack of discipline when it came to sticking with the plan once things started to go wrong.

Hindsight always sees things clearly and I now see that I did not spend enough training time on the correct aspects of my training, in both Boxing and Judo I did not do the type of training and sparring that would teach me how to not lose fights, instead I would get all excited about training and sparring that I hoped would teach me how to win fights.

A big mistake learned way to late.

I was well aware of this when I took up Wing Chun at 38, and with this new foresight  I was really quite astonished by the naivety of the Wing Chun approach to engaging the opponent, it really made no practical sense, stand square in front of the bad guy and walk forwards.

Thats fine if you happen to be “Smokin’ Joe Frazier” or “Iron Mike Tyson” but for ordinary people, and Wing Chun people are ordinary people, its tantamount to suicide.

Many years into my training while studying Biu Gee with my teacher we started to work on ideas that I was first introduced to as an 8 year old Boxer.  When I mentioned this my teacher said that Biu Gee should not be looked on as advanced, it was simply where that information was stored.

But a great many students do think that each Form progression is an advancement, that each Form brings in superior knowledge. As a result of this a big mistake many Wing Chun students make is that they think the Forms and Chi Sau are the final destination of their training when in point of fact they are in reality the departure point.  

The messenger and not the message.

What does Wing Chun teach about positioning?

In my experience very little, and what is taught is very doubtful.

If we are going to fight someone should we set ourself up in a way and position that gives us an obvious advantage or should we set ourselves up equal?

It is a no brainer that one, so why do we do most of our training in an equal situation with our partner?

 

 

My opinion is that from a practical point of view the way most people play Chi Sau is teaching them to be in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to do the wrong thing.

So why do we do it?

Again this is just my opinion but I believe it is so we can work at not being in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to do the wrong thing.  How to get out of that bad position into a better position.

It is a lot easier to understand the one place we should not be than understand the numerous places we could be.

Clever.

 

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Articles, Video's, Wing Chun Wednesday

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.

Articles, Video's, Wing Chun Wednesday

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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