The Forms are nothing more than a loose collection of mnemonics, aids to memory.

For a very long time, I struggled to work on the Wing Chun FORMS.

I would get angry because so many of the moves in the FORM were just plain wrong, even by Wing Chun’s own metrics and I felt that I was being asked to accept something that I knew to be flawed.

How and when did things change?

Things changed once I realised that it just did not matter.

For some unknown reason, I thought that the FORMS were a complete and finished pattern that I needed to copy immaculately and that somehow I could not understand them if I did not do them perfectly.

This is not the case.

The Forms are nothing more than a loose collection of mnemonics, aids to memory.

Realising that it was not the content, the shapes or the moves that I was trying to learn changed the game.

The content of the FORMS was just a way to access the process.

Once I understood the process, the non-physical aspect, and the IDEA theory, I revisited the previous work and set out to correct the mistakes.

It was with untold delight that I discovered that the mistakes were really quite minor and concluded that they may have been included deliberately as a kind of hidden test and that the needed correction was already there, in the Theory of the IDEA.

I wrote about this some time ago in the post ‘Hidden in plain sight’, here is a LINK if we need to refresh your memory.

At that time I only saw Biu Gee in this way, but it is everywhere.

How could it not be?

FIST LOGIC, Uncategorized



it is so much more important to understand the philosophy of what we do as opposed to the methodology.

Hey Guys,

We have spent the early months of this year working on the not-so-obvious and not-so-visible side of Wing Chun, but at the end of the day, this stuff is only needed once we engage someone.

To get us back into the correct head-space to survive violence we need to change which thinking hat we are wearing.

We need our Counter-Attacking Hat.

What is the action we refer to as a Counter Attack?

Whenever we try to get deep into it we are confronted by the fact that we need additional information to put it into the correct context.

It is just not possible to talk about Counter Attacking without a concrete reference to what an Attack is, and this of course opens up the need to have a concrete reference to what Fighting is, the different phases of Fighting, the difference between Attacking and Defending, Fighting and Attacking, Fighting and Defending, in short, we need to have at least a personal opinion of the dynamics of violence.

 We train and approach Wing Chun as an answer to Violence.

This affects everything we do and everything we train, and it unavoidably creates a bias towards Function and Application.

I have been involved in enough violence to be acutely aware that no man can ever truly understand or in fact prepare for violence, it is just too expansive, and its appearance is usually random and unpredictable.

But as individuals, we owe it to ourselves to try to understand what we think violence is.

This will be different for every one of us, this is why it is so much more important to understand the philosophy of what we do as opposed to the methodology.

The reason we spend a decent amount of our training time attempting to relate what we are training to where and why we think we would use it, we often learn more about the practicality of our training from exploring our conversations than exploring the physical aspect of the training.

As a teacher I find these conversations so engaging because I find myself in a position where I am trying to answer many different questions with one simple answer, this leads to my own further development.

Before discussing the Philosophy of Counter Attack, let’s talk about the dynamics of rightly or wrongly expected violence.


Violence is multi-faceted and layered, it comes in many shapes and sizes, one on one, many against one, gang on gang, country against country every event is a new event that has so little in common with what came before the value of prior experience is far less than we may imagine.

In general terms violence comes in two flavours, let’s call them Social and Anti – Social.


This is a FIGHT.

Fights are events between two people that have agreed to fight, a Match Fight, a Combat Sports competition or when outsides of sports someone says to the other something along the lines of ….

’I will meet you at such a place at such a time and we will sort this out’.

In this type of engagement, both parties know why they are there and what is about to go down, it is consensual, and they have given each other permission to use violence, there is no surprise here, there is usually some kind of support and a designated endpoint such as a knockout, one person being unable to continue or submission and then the thing is over.

If one of the fighters is injured help is never far away.  Schoolyard fights fall into this category unless it is a bullying situation.


This is an unprovoked ATTACK, and in general what Non-Combat Sports Martial Artists train for, only one of the people involved knows the reason for this, only one person knows what the end point is, and it is usually incapacitation, there is very rarely support for the person being attacked and if at the end that person is left injured there is no guarantee of help.

This is a bad headspace that has a dramatic often debilitating effect on performance.

In the middle of this event, the intended victim may get the upper hand and turn the tables on the attacker, but only the roles change, the outcome remains the same, the victim simply becomes the attacker, and the attacker becomes the victim.


Fighting, Attacking and Defending are three very different situations that cannot and should not be looked at as different aspects of the same thing.

Fighting is when two people are both engaged in the same event, trying to reach the same goal,  for the same reason, it is consensual, usually preplanned and allows for strategies to be thought out and implemented. This is primarily a competition mindset.

Think Boxing or M.M.A.

Attacking is when one person without any thought or concern for the other uses violence to further their own agenda. This is predatory behaviour, a predatory mindset.

Think of something along the lines of a mugging.

Defending is when a person that is under attack in any situation tries to prevent an attacker from hurting them.  This is a survivalist mindset.

It is important to acknowledge that defending does not mean fighting back, to fight back requires a change of mindset, this is the problem with thinking that Wing Chun’s Simultaneous Attack and Defence is a methodology instead of a concept, to be able to implement S.A & D we would need to be in two different mindsets at the same time, being in two minds is an expression used to illustrate indecisiveness or confusion.


Mindsets govern how our body works, how it reacts to stimuli, what hormones the body creates and how much control we have over our movements.

There are major physical, emotional, mental and physiological differences between the mindsets that automatically develop when Fighting, Attacking or Defending, they are not even close to being the same thing, and they are incapable of being combined.

Do not just take my word for it, do some research, and check it out.


From the Wing Chun training perspective what we think we would face in a violent event would have three distinct phases that require different thinking and application.  This does not include totally random surprise attacks, they are undefendable, most violence has some kind of precursor so we will at least be aware of the possibility of violence.

Phase #1.

The attacker is aggressive and animated, Wing Chun man is passive and ready, the attacker mistakes passivity for weakness and launches the attack without fear of retaliation, W.C man intercepts and presses forward with relentless attacks, possibly ending the threat there and then. 

If successful we move to Phase #3.  This is a typical training scenario.

Phase #2.

W.C.Mans first response did not end the threat, both men separate and regroup, the element of surprise is gone, and the attacker knows the game is afoot and will now be cautious, possibly use kicks, possibly try to rush in and overwhelm us, possibly set in for a long thoughtful brawl, Mano e Mano. 

This phase is completely unpredictable, and as such is rarely if ever approached in training.

Phase #3.

W.C. Man ends the threat and enacts a preplanned exit strategy. 

This is another aspect that does not get enough time in most training, it brings its own bundle of questions, the most pertinent being……..

What constitutes a win?

Do I stay or do I go?

To be continued…




Creating power on contact is both simple and complex depending on which way we look at it.

Hi Guys.

Sadly there was a S.N.A.F.U. With the copy from Saturday morning’s training so the footage could not be used.

But I ‘really’ wanted to get some vision down while we are working on the IDEA that I posted to the WhatsApp Group.


Imagine that you are crossing the road, and a motorbike comes barrelling down, for some reason the rider does not see you until the last second, he swerves to avoid you but the bike fishtails and the rear wheel takes you out.

This is ‘Wing Chun’ movement to a tee and covers many of the learning objectives of Biu Gee.

Things to observe and think about are that at the moment of contact, the rear of the bike is moving slower than it was before the swerve because of the rotation, but the front of the bike would be going at the same speed in the original direction.

And also it should be noted that this fishtail was not the intended result of the swerve, so there is no overt involvement with the contact.

It was not a plan, it was not deliberate, but the bike still knocked you out.

Hopefully next weekend I will go over the stuff we did on Saturday and try to get a record of the stuff we discovered, in the meantime I press-ganged Rick to help me out.

Creating power on contact is both simple and complex depending on which way we look at it.

Simple; Transfer as much of our body mass as possible into the contact point.

Complex; There are dozens of methods to do this, from the alignment of the frame to the hierarchy of movement, from increasing overall momentum to the summation of forces, and even increasing our weight through training, which is of course a method favoured by Combat Athletes.

Evermore complex; Accurately coordinate one or more of the above methods.

Our forms address all of this, however, we are required to cross-reference all Wing Chun information with known and accepted science, and we should at all times avoid magical thinking.



what does this say about our ability to use these methods in a situation that requires us to be “aware” of what is happening and what we hope to achieve?

To a large extent, this post is just me shooting the breeze, hopefully, to get us all thinking, and get us all talking.

There is a widely held opinion in the larger Martial Arts community that there is no such thing as genuine Wing Chun.

Some commentators regard this as a negative reflection of our style, while others, like myself, consider this to be a sign of continued evolution that has been at Wing Chun’s heart since Dr. Leung Jan first chose to modify his Shaolin-based Martial Art style. 

It does not matter what side of this argument we stand, as all of us that are a part of Wing Chun will tell anyone that chooses to listen that “Wing Chun is a concept-driven Martial Art”.

And that at its heart it is a single idea that is explained and interpreted through our Forms.

Dr. Leung Jan continued to adapt and refine his Wing Chun from his home at Gulao Village after he had retired and passed on his mantle to Chan Wah Shun, so from the outset there was a divergence in how the style was taught.

Chan Wah Shuns most celebrated student, Ip Man, taught an almost unrecognisable style from his master, and 2 of Ip Man’s most famous students, Chu Shong Tin, and Won Shun Leung, taught different approaches again, and both changed in different directions from each other in how they passed on Ip Man’s teaching.

My Sifu Jim Fung {Chuen Keung} trained under master Chu Shong Tin but also taught something quite different from his teacher.

But as much as things change they also stay the same.

The “Little Idea” at the heart of Wing Chun was originally and still is ‘SIMULTANEOUS ATTACK AND DEFENCE’.

The only difference between all past and present Masters is how we choose to explain and demonstrate this idea.

We should all spend a little time reading up on the evolution of Kung Fu in China, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, of how it migrated from a Military Method to a Civilian Style, and to understand the changes that this brought about.

Military Methods focused on attacking and killing the opponent while Civilian Styles focused on defending oneself from unwanted attacks.

From its inception Wing Chun was a ‘Civilian Method’, ergo, it is a self-defence system.

This bifurcation between military and civilian practices provides a very neat Segway to talk about ‘Internal Kung Fu” and some of the new discoveries with regard to meditation.

The civilian cohort that practiced Kung Fu tended to be the same population that practiced Health and Longevity Exercises known as Chi-Gong.

As stand-alone doctrines, these required a large investment in time for each practice, so it should be no surprise that someone somewhere would see if the two different streams could be combined.

This was the motivation to create a new type of training that contained both combat elements and health/longevity elements, which became known as ‘Internal” training.

Jump forwards to 2023.

I was listening to a Huberman Lab Podcast with Stanford Neurology Professor Andrew Huberman and guest Sam Harris, who is also a neuroscientist, philosopher, and widely respected expert commentator on meditation and awareness.

It is a very long podcast but full of brilliant information and observations.

If you are at all interested in how our brain does what it does these are two of the very best guys to listen to.

The observation that really spiked my attention was when Sam Harris was talking about the different goals and objectives of meditation from a realistic and achievable standpoint.

Two neuroscientists chatting was a bit over my head but what I did understand is that the condition we relate to as “Relaxation” is a completely different condition to what we refer to as ‘Awareness”, and that they exist in very different Brain States.

He said that it is a misconception to think that the same practice can produce both ‘Relaxation and Awareness”.

We can achieve one, but not both.

Returning to ‘Internal Kung Fu” that is practiced with the goal of ‘relaxation’, what does this say about our ability to use these methods in a situation that requires us to be “aware” of what is happening and what we hope to achieve?

As you all know, I am skeptical about the benefits of any sort of ‘Internal” training on fighting ability, it is the reason I moved away from Hsing Yi Qaun and Bhaguazhag, both ‘Internal Kung Fu’ styles, so I may be reading into this something that is not there.

But Kung Fu to one side, here we have two experts in the field of neurology telling us that everything we thought was set in stone about the Brain/Body connection at the turn of the 21st century {Jan 01 2000 } is turning out to be incorrect, what does that say about information from the end of the 19th century {Dec. 30, 1899 }.






The best advertising is always word of mouth


Now that I have decided not to go ahead with surgery we at least know our forward path and can look to growing the training group.

To do this we need to advertise to get the word out there and I am currently working on some IDEAs on how to do this, but we do not have buckets full of cash to run an extended campaign so we need to get it right the first time.

The best advertising is always word of mouth, so if you get any chance to begin a Wing Chun conversation with anyone please do.

With us being a very senior group, not many schools can boast 1 Master level, 3 Associate Master levels our best effort would be to try to help people that already have some Wing Chun knowledge, perhaps they stopped during covid, or as we all know from the Academy, perhaps they are frustrated with the type of training that takes a lifetime.

Here is a post that I am hoping to use as a bit of a landing page for a new website that you could just cut and paste and email to anyone that might be interested.


On the surface Wing Chun has 6 Forms, S.L.T.  Chum Kiu, Biu Gee, Mok Jan Jong {Dummy}, Lok Dim Boon Kwan {long pole}, and the Baat Cham Dao {Knives}.

On closer inspection, we discover that only the first three Forms have independent learning objectives and that the second three Forms are suggestions, methods, or even drills, of how to combine the individual IDEAs presented through the first three Forms.

On closer inspection still, we discover that the first three Forms are not separate, individual IDEAs, but rather segments or aspects of the one complete IDEA that have been broken down and presented in this way to make the learning curve less steep.

Sil Lim Tao.

The first Form, the S.L.T. Is not, and never was, intended to deal with any aspect of making contact, it is purely about self-organisation.  However, this step is the most important and can be looked at as being something like 60% of the total work, it is foundational and without this knowledge progress is doubtful. 

On a foundational level, the S.L.T. is about organising our body, learning the optimal way to move our arms effectively and efficiently, without the need of added strength, and learning the correct alignment of our arms to become a conduit for force.

Chum Kiu. 

Chum Kiu translates to ‘seeking the bridge’, at its most basic level of understanding it is how we make contact with incoming force, how we redirect incoming force, and how we stretch and diminish the power of incoming force. Chum Kiu teaches us and allows us to explore, the defensive capabilities of Wing Chun.

Biu Gee.

Biu Gee translates to ‘thrusting fingers’, it is how we develop dynamic, moving, kinetic energy that fills our whole body and thrusts forward ‘even to the fingertips’, it develops force multipliers through ‘core winding’ and ‘weight shifting’ that maximises power without the need of added effort or strength. Biu Gee teaches us and allows us to explore, the attacking concepts of Wing Chun.

And beyond.

Set up {S.L.T.}, accepting force {Chum Kiu}, and issuing force {Biu Gee}, are practiced and studied as separate aspects or IDEA of Wing Chun but are used as a unified aspect or IDEA of Wing Chun if we ever need to use our training in a violent situation.

The three later Forms allow us to study, develop, and understand the lessons or aspects of the IDEA presented in the first three Forms, and then combined into that one, unified, IDEA.

At a foundational level, all Wing Chun training is about dealing with force, how to accept it, and how to issue it.

AllWing Chun movement utilises ‘Normal Human Body Movement’ and is governed by the Fist Logic of…






It is no exaggeration to say that until we hold a basic understanding of the first three Forms, we have not yet begun the real training of Wing Chun as a useable, dependable Martial Art.


Sil Lim Tao teaches us how to set up the ‘Wing Chun Body’.

Chum Kiu teaches us how to move the ‘Wing Chun Body’ to avoid, evade, diffuse, and diminish incoming force.  In other words how to defend against an attack.

Biu Gee teaches us how to recruit our body mass and physical movement to maximise impact power.  In other words how to counter-attack.

Hopefully, I can have a website and an advertising IDEA up by April, if we could get as few as another 6 people to grow the tribe that would be brilliant.

Stay Frosty.



This does bring up the conversation around ‘what constitutes training’? 

Hey guys,

Do not pass this up because it is a bit wordy, if you pay attention to the points raised it could take you to the next level and save you years.

In an earlier post, I mentioned how what we did in the last 24 hours can influence our actions/abilities much more than anything we did in the past 24 months.

And it has to do with just about everything that we do not touch on in our training.

Accessing our training comes down to our ability to access information via our internal storage, our memory.

This means that access to our training is influenced much more by how good our memory is than the inherent functionality of any training protocols or advice of any gurus.

If we look at how humans operate in the same way we look at computing operations, everything we do is influenced by R.A.M.

In humans this is called Short-Term Memory, or as some call it working memory.

What is our short-term and working memory capacity?

The Magic number 7 (plus or minus two) provides evidence for the capacity of short-term memory. Most adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short-term memory.

Working memory has been conceived and defined in three different, slightly discrepant ways: as short-term memory applied to cognitive tasks, as a multi-component system that holds and manipulates information in short-term memory, and as the use of attention to managing short-term memory.

This is all a bit nerdy so I advise you to do some research to make better sense of it all.

START HERE, and then surf the net for more personally aligned information.

For a serious Wing Chun practitioner, if there is a downside to regular weight training, or any regular excessive physical training, be it for speed or endurance, it is that these protocols that will flood our S.T.M. and as such be the most easily available method of choice for our nervous system in a time of stress.

To general Martial Artists, especially combat Athletes, this argument holds the same for Relaxation and Softness, and it could well be that we ignore this at our peril.

All training is task-specific, we will learn what we work on, and the chances are very high that in times of stress, we will choose the protocol that we attach the highest priority to, which is going to end up as the one we spend the most time or effort on. 

If we are in the gym every day working on muscular strength do we really think that our nervous system would choose to use relaxation or softness over muscular strength if we need to defend ourselves?

The answer will depend a great deal more upon what we have in our Short Term or Working Memory than any preferred philosophy,  balanced training is likely to result in balanced responses.

If we are not involved in some sort of Wing Chun training in the previous 24 hours but have been vigorously involved in some other training our chances of choosing Wing Chun as opposed to some other option slip away remarkably quickly.

This does bring up the conversation around ‘what constitutes training’? 

Especially from the perspective of loading our SHORT TERM MEMORY.

By far the easiest and most economical training for time spent is some aspect of FORMS training, engaging in correct, accurate FORMS training, even if we are only working on one movement, brings in a whole package of Wing Chun related influences.

However, there is a rather large caveat.

If we wish to be capable and effective in terms of using Wing Chun, but we are only training in Wing Chun, we are facing a very steep uphill climb that many will simply not succeed at.

The reason should be self-evident, Wing Chun is comprised of normal human body movement, if we are not actively working on improving our normal human body movement, this aspect of our training will go backward, and this will wreck our Wing Chun.

This may sound a little contradictory, first I say that external physical training can make it difficult to access our Wing Chun, but now I am saying that without external training there will be no Wing Chun.

It all depends on how we prioritise each training.

If we train something every day, even if we are only training for 10 to 20 minutes per session, our brain will prioritise that over something we do 2 or 3 times a week, even if that training is for much longer per session. 

I know that there will be some Gy Junkies out there that think we need to be in the gym every day, to run every day or to swim every day if we do not wish to lose what we have gained, but the science does not agree with this, quite the opposite in fact.

The days of no pain – no gain are well and truly over, even the most elite of athletes train smarter and not harder.

The science is clear, in the past 5 years or so it has become obvious that just about everything we thought about exercise, diet, how muscles work and all forms of accepted physical improvement was a long way from accurate, of course, this is true of Martial Art as well.

There are several well-respected Doctors and Professors that run podcasts bringing clear, peer-reviewed information into the public space, most if not all of these presenters are successful in their own field and do not run these shows for personal short-term gain, their aim is to correct the record and to try to help people steer clear of bogus information.

When push comes to shove it is our body that does the work.

Becoming better acquainted with how our body works, from accessing information to completing tasks will improve everything we do, including Wing Chun.

How could it not?

People I listen to include but are not restricted to….

Prof. Andrew Huberman.  Neuroscience.

Dr. Kelly Starrett.  Doctor of Physical Therapy and movement expert.

Dr. Andy Galpin.   Kinesiology. 

Move all joints through all ranges of motion



And YES, it can be influenced by training.

One of the most valuable advances from the ‘information age’ is that we can now easily access high-level academic research papers and other sources of trusted, up-to-date information such as podcasts from reputable professors at world-class Universities.

This information is readily available and usually free of charge.

One such professor is Andrew Huberman, and his podcast is Huberman Lab.

Andrew D. Huberman is an American neuroscientist and tenured associate professor in the department of neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine who has made contributions to the brain development, brain plasticity, and neural regeneration and repair fields. Wikipedia

If you follow the link to the podcast you can see that the scope is breathtaking.

The central theme, even when the subject is physical such as diet and exercise, is focused on the role of the Brain and Nervous System in everyday tasks.

Although there is not a specific podcast that deals with intention, the subject comes up time and time again.

I will not cut and paste from Huberman Lab, you would be better served sitting back and enjoying a handful of podcasts, instead I will use his information to lead my own IDEAs.

In Martial Arts we talk about “Intention”, but do we know what we mean by this?

It is not as straightforward as we may think, due to the fact that in the English language we us the same word for some very different concepts.

Especially if we are coming from the conscious and subconscious mind.

In the conscious mind ‘Intention” is a deliberately chosen emotional goal. : we plan or want to do something. i.e. We have every intention of continuing with this project, whatever the cost.

However, Sub-conscious ‘Intention” is an automatic neural process that precedes a motor action, i.e. breathing in before jumping into cold water. 

Or in a more extreme example contracting our Anus if we are scared or anxious to avoid losing control of our bowels.

Frequently this sub-conscious intention process has been influenced by prior experiences of the same or very similar experiences.

And YES, it can be influenced by training.

Conscious intention can be looked at as happening on a ‘local level’.  We need to actively engage this type of intention and of course, it is reactive to the surrounding environment, it can be just as readily turned off as turned on.

Sub-conscious intention can be looked at as happening at a systemic level, it does not need a deliberate call to action to activate and as such is less likely to be influenced by external events.

In so many ways this leads us back to a discussion of the relationship between Form and Function.

In this instance, Form would be looked at as conscious intention whereas Function would be the more sub-conscious intention.

It gives us another portal to understand the importance of Forms and hopefully provides us with a more effective way of interacting with them.

For the majority of us, if we are in a situation that calls upon us to use our Wing Chun training to defend ourselves from harm, it is unlikely to be a calm, controlled, or stress-free thinking environment, we will be unlikely to try to set up combinations or enact complicated strategies.

Our brief will automatically be to deal with what is happening this very instant, right here, right now and not worrying about what may or may not come next.

In any violent situation, every action can be seen as happening in isolation, it will always be a single blow that finishes the event, and everything is on the line all of the time.

The way we practice our Forms, start at the beginning and carry on through till the end, possibly even roll straight into the next Form, there was a time when this was my practice, will do little to help us deal with ‘right here, right now’.

Even if we think we are focusing on every individual movement the ‘conscious intention’ is to do the whole Form, and even worse if our intention is to then do the next Form.

The other evening I was attempting to explain this to Costas and George but could not find the words to clearly explain it, but one thing I do know is that the ‘intention’ we are trying to develop is not actively thinking about what we are doing and how we are doing it.

This not meant to be negative in any way, everything in Wing Chun is based on Natural Human Movement, to a certain extent we already know all that we need to know.

If we allow our Mind/Body to make its own choices, if we stop trying to make it DO Wing Chun, the closer we will be to correctness.

This needs to start with how we do the Forms.

There is no clash between Form and Function, neither can exist without the other, but for the Form to influence Function, we need to do the Form with the goal of Function.

Neither Conscious Intention nor Sub-conscious Intention is a physical thing, if our focus when we are doing any Form is physical, and of course that includes physically relaxing, we are not working on Intention.


Attack what is weak, avoid what is strong.

Every General ever.



Intentions create signaling molecules that release an assortment of hormones to prepare our body for action.


This post is intended as a conversation starter, it is deliberately loose so that we have the freedom to mentally wander around and hopefully go off on some interesting tangents.

All my life I have held a certain fascination with the workings of the Human Body, and to that extent I am always reading something to do with Human Movement.

My most recent book is ‘Exercised: The Science of Physical Activity, Rest and Health written by professor Daniel Liberman.

Daniel E. Lieberman is a paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, where he is the Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. 

In short, he knows his stuff.

I will not go into the book here but I do recommend reading it, the takeaway is that all exercise was unnatural, in fact, unknown in a pre-industrial world, and from an evolutionary perspective, it still is to a very large extent.

It made me think about how we blindly accept so much information about health, movement and exercise when there is now proof that not only is much of this widely accepted information misleading but that it is incorrect.

As always my thinking drifted towards Kung Fu, and especially our Wing Chun.

We are all well aware that we face an uphill battle because of the difficulty that lies in accurate translations of established IDEAS, this is stretched even further once we accept that what laymen thought was the “Gold Standard” in 1950, 1970 even 2000 is now universally accepted as being well off the mark.

Something scientists have been aware of for a very long time is the importance of the role of intention in any action.

Intentions create signaling molecules that release an assortment of hormones to prepare our body for action.

This signaling happens at a level beneath cognition, despite what we may think, intention happens before thinking, not afterward as a result of thinking.

The concept of the often-mentioned Mind-Body Connection is based on our intentions more than our thinking.

If we misunderstand functions, protocols, and methods, if we apply importance to the wrong IDEAS then we create the wrong intention and send our body the wrong signals.

This of course leads us full circle and back to translation, comprehension, and implication.

Hands up, I am not a scientist so I could well be wrong, but where I feel this could cause problems is when we give credit to methods and protocols that are not actually responsible for the benefits we claim they deliver.

This is usually done as an attempt to retrofit our actions to what we believe we were thinking.

Once such method or protocol is relaxing {SONG}, I am in no way trying to say that relaxing is not important, it is very important and central to our training.

I am not trying to claim that we do not develop a “Net Benefit” to everything we do by relaxing.

But that benefit does not come from relaxing.

It comes from not being tense.

We must be weary not to ignore this difference just because it sounds like semantics.

When we are talking about something as nuanced as “Intention” and the subtle effects that “Intention” delivers, working on being relaxed sends a completely different signal than trying to not hold tension.

These conversations can create comprehension challenges if students choose to hold an either-or mind-set, some students totally refuse to accept that being relaxed is a different state than being in tension.

Separate, not a self-contained opposite, not the other side of the same coin.

It is lazy thinking to look at these two different states as being different ends of a sliding scale.

But even if we choose to hold this IDEA, what happens if someone falls in the middle, which is more likely than being at either end, are they relaxed or tense?

It should be obvious that we cannot, would not, hold the intention to be both relaxed and tense at the same time.

“Intention” is the precursor to function,

function is the realisation of intention,

neither requires thinking or decision-making.



We cannot lose a fight if we do not get into a fight.

Hey Tribe, 

Here is a thought exercise that I took part in way back when I was a youth, and it is still a valuable aid to our training, or rather an aid to understanding and shaping our training.

Sit down, close your eyes, clear your mind of everyday things, and imagine a situation in which you are called upon to use your training.

Describe it to yourself in as much detail as you can come up with, it is imagination so you can make it as simple or as complicated as you feel fit.

A few questions to ask ourselves once we have formed the imagining, purely to put the situation into a more detailed context are as follows.

Q. Where did the violence happen?

  1. Obviously, we decided on this imaginary place, it is not possible for us to see into the future and know this, but we created this place, this environment is where subconsciously, we believe we stand a greater danger of violence than any other place or any other environment. This place worries us, and accepting this can help us to be aware of these dangers, and by extension be in less of a chance of being caught unaware in similar situations.

Q.  Who was the attacker?

  1.   Again this is an unknowable quantity, but what it tells us is the type of person that deep down we think we may struggle to get over. It makes little difference if they are big or small, heavy or light, male or female, quick or slow. It is imagination after all, but if this is the kind of person we think may cause us problems we should focus our training on solving this problem instead of trying to solve all problems.

Identifying this can also prevent us from overreacting due to possibly unknown bias should we meet this type of person.  

We cannot lose a fight if we do not get into a fight.

And lastly…

Q.  What type of day did we have the day before this violent event?

Did we sleep well?

Did we eat well?

Was it a happy day, or a stressful day?

  1. This is the most important question and one we should think hard on.

Again this is pure imagination so how can we know.

Studies have shown time and time again that how we respond to any stimulus, not just violence, is affected more by the previous 24 hours than the previous 24 months.

Our ability to solve problems is affected more by the previous 24 hours than the previous 24 months.

How well we perform physically, mentally, and emotionally is affected more by the previous 24 hours than the previous 24 months.

When we are imagining a situation that we cannot possibly anticipate, what is the role of training, and what should we focus on?

There is no one size fits all answer to this, but by its nature training tends towards one size fits all solutions to a multitude of different questions, it is very difficult to avoid this, it is how our brains are wired.

The common denominator to surviving all of these varied situations is to be able to move well, not fall over, and stay as calm as possible.

The most effective training method for this outcome is FORMS training.

Forms training allows us to work on, become familiar with, and be capable of all aspects of a conflict situation, except for the fighting itself.

Different situations, different environments, and different types of people can and do bring about completely different problems, we could have 10 fights and none of them would be a repeat situation, there could well be no common denominator in what unfolded.

This is much closer to reality than we may wish to admit to ourselves.

We end up putting all of our eggs in one basket, training one way to successfully answer 10 very different questions.

But one thing that will be the same in all of these situations is that we will be in the middle of it.

The best chance we have is if we can consistently organise our body so that it operates close to optimal if we develop one way of moving that we can control and depend on, and have a method that is founded in one simple IDEA.

This is the power and functionality of FORMS training.

If approached in the right way, FORMS training can be equal to techniques or sparring.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”

Leo Tolstoy



Once the body has been developed in this way everything we do becomes Wing Chun.

I know from my own experience that it is difficult to see how just doing FORMS can make somebody a more effective fighter.

This was my default position for a very long time, in fact, it is why as a young man I stopped training in Hsing Yi Chuan and Baguazahng, both Kung Fu styles that share a central focus on FORMS.

This began to change once I began training in Wing Chun Kung Fu back in the early 1990s.

The first stage of Wing Chun training, the first 12 – 24 months,  is approximately 80% practical techniques and physical self-defence applications,15% theory, and only 5% FORM work.

This allows students to feel that they are learning ‘Real Stuff’ for use in ‘Real Fights’ without any need to understand what is going on under the hood.

After around 2 years of this type of training, everybody that applies themselves to the work has a skill set that can get them out of just about any kind of trouble, this is an observable fact.

More importantly, everybody that does this training believes that they have a skill set that can get them out of trouble, if we believe, we will accept, and by accepting we will choose to use what we have practiced if we find ourselves in a bad situation, and yes it will and does work.

Many students give it away at this point having achieved their primary goal and do not stay to study what makes Wing Chun work and how to improve it.

This is what Chum Kiu and Biu Gee do, they help us understand the why of it all, there is nothing new, once we understand Chum Kiu and Biu Gee we can look back and see that we had been using these tools since day #1.

From here on in the trajectory is lifelong continued improvement.

Chum Kiu introduces us to Wing Chun’s thinking on how to accept and redirect incoming force, in short, our defence, while Biu Gee introduces us to Wing Chun’s thinking on how to issue force, in short, our attack.

From the first day when we performed our first Tarn Da {Tarn Sau and punch}, we were influenced and informed by both Chum Kiu {Tarn Sau} and Biu Gee {Vertical Punch}.

To describe Wing Chun in as simple a way as possible, when someone throws a strike at us, we move it out of the way and hit them at the same time.

An oversimplification to be sure, but it also covers every situation we may face, be it a kick, a punch, or even a weapon, move it out of the way and counter-attack at the same time.

Developing the shape and the alignment of a structure that can intercept incoming force without buckling under pressure is the prime objective of Chum Kiu.

Developing the shape and alignment of a structure that can transfer accelerating body mass to a chosen target without the need for excess effort or strength is the prime objective of Biu Gee.

There are many secondary objectives that we can explore and discover in both Chum Kiu and Biu Gee, but our first goal should be to achieve competence with the prime objective.

It can be a challenge for all of us to deliberately choose simplified solutions to solve what we think are complicated problems, but when we consider that one of the central pillars of Wing Chun’s Fist Logic is simplicity, this approach is more than just far-sighted, it becomes necessary.

There is an often unnoticed benefit to FORMS training.

It allows us to divorce the training from ‘real-time’ fighting.

If we look at our primate relatives, the Chimpanzee or the Gorilla, we can observe them fighting in very human-looking ways.

Who taught these guys how to fight?

No one, it is innate, as it is with us.

Training is not about learning how to fight, it is about learning how to be better at fighting.

How to develop a body that is better suited to fighting.

The Shaolin Monks knew this and styled at least two of their training sets,  Hóu Quán (猴拳, monkey fist),  and Baiyuan Tongbei Quan 白猿通背拳,  White Ape Connected Arms boxing, after the way Monkeys fight.

Chum Kiu and Biu Gee allow us to continually improve the condition and coordination of our body to take our basic fighting skills to another, much higher level.

Once the body has been developed in this way everything we do becomes Wing Chun.

Learn the form, but seek the formless.

Learn it all, then forget it all.

Learn The Way, then find your own way.

The Silent Monk