It seems far more likely that Empty Hand Fighting Skills were a repurposing of the Weapon Fighting Skills


Hi Guys,

I was talking with an ex-student of mine over the Easter break, he was a private student that trained with me ‘one on one’ for about 3 years.

With most private students I find that they are more interested in genuine fighting skills than learning the whole system to become a Master, so I have a somewhat hybridised approach to the work.

One big difference is that I teach the Knives and Pole from very early on, the Forms are shorter, simpler and I believe add context to the ‘Empty Hand Forms’.

Why do I think this way?

If we look at the history of Empty Hand Styles around the world the usual
evolution is that the carrying and use of weapons are banned by the government of the day or forbidden for religious reasons.

Throughout history, we see this when a new government or religion supplants the local traditions with their new agendas.

It seems far more likely that Empty Hand Fighting Skills were a repurposing of the Weapon Fighting Skills, that the Hand styles were a devolution and not as is often thought that the weapons are an evolution.

I have briefly trained in a few genuine weapon systems, European Long Sword, Philippine Stick and Knife and Japanese Bo Staff and a little Kendo, the interesting thing is that they all have applications for a situation where you lose your weapon, guess what? These are the very same moves that are used with the weapon.

Something that I think highlights this is that Ju Jutsu was formulated so that a Samurai who had been de-horsed and was without a weapon could continue the fight, usually by de-horsing an opponent and rearming himself with his opponent’s weapon.

When weapons are available and allowable everyone makes this choice.

If we look at Chinese history, it was Kung Fu Weapons that were used in warfare and not fists and feet.

If everyone else is using a weapon why would someone spend years to learn an Empty Hand Form?

It is so much more practical {practicality is one of the pillars of Wing Chun Fist Logic} to repurpose the weapon skill if you find yourself unarmed.



Playing with the knives will help your body prepare for the rigours of Biu Gee, and maybe put a few of the moves into a more easily understood context.

Focus on the aspect of “PLAY”.








Biu Gee needs us to unhinge our thinking a little bit and allow what we see to come into being


If we look around the Wing Chun community at the way the Biu Gee is performed we soon realise that there is no apparent consensus on how to do it.

If we take our research a bit deeper we find that this has always been the way, Yip Man taught the Biu Gee to, amongst others, Chu Shong Tin and Wong Shun Leung, not only did they both do a slightly different   {which, in reality, equates to completely different, 99% right = 1% wrong =100% wrong}   Form than their teacher but they also did a different Form than each other.

The trend repeated with their transmission of the information to their students like Gary Lam {W.S.L.} and my teacher Jim Fung {C.S.T.}.

I know that my Sifu passed on information to my group of students that was different than the information he gave our senior group of students.

Even within one generation of students, there was a difference.

This is what happens when our ‘base data’ is a concept and not a concrete IDEA.

The question before us is “what thread do I follow”?

I have been working with Biu Gee since 2003, due to my videoing of a great deal of my progress through this period I have a relatively detailed record of my thinking and my approach.

Even in this BIU GEE microcosm there is ongoing change.


In the earliest videos I was, to be expected, pretty much a clone of my Sifu, but even back then differences in our physicality {my Spine is quite literally “screwed together” making spinal manipulation a whole different ball game for me} meant that there were slight deviations.

We will all find that our body makes decisions we have no choice but to go with, this will affect what we believe we can realise with this IDEA, with this movement.

Through all of the changes during this time I have maintained the central IDEA that my Sifu passed on to me, which I expect would be the same for him and his Sifu C.S.T. and the same with C.S.T. and Yip Man.

The shape of any Form is just a dance to aid memory.

Learn it well, be accurate and perform it smoothly.

Do not worry if this goes here or if I am doing this correctly.

When the music changes so must the dance.

The difference between the steps we all make is only shading, nuance.

I will lay-out what I believe we should look for in the Biu Gee, what we should pay attention to, even point to IDEAS I think are wrong, but that does not in any way mean that I think I am right, look around, if someone else says something that makes sense to you adopt it.

Biu Gee needs us to unhinge our thinking a little bit and allow what we see to come into being, if we don’t, can’t or won’t do this it will never be our own and we will never trust it enough to use it when the chips are down.



At the still point in a moving world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is ….. neither ascent or decline. Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance”.      T.S. Elliot.

When the music changes so must the dance.








Keep your mind firmly in the realm of our Fist Logic and measure everything you do against it.



One of the most useful things we can do while in lockdown is to perfect our pivoting.

Of the 4 pivots in Chum Kiu pick one that you are comfortable with and really work down into it to find out as much about what your body is doing while you are pivoting as well as how you could utilise this pivot.

Working under load is always useful, just like we do with our shifting.

Keep your mind firmly in the realm of our Fist Logic and measure everything you do against it.



Try to be as accurate as you can but keep it fun, as always if there is anything you would like me to cover give me a ping.

It has already been a month since we held a class, we are getting there.








the discovery of Penicillin was a result of bad food hygiene




Today’s video is a bit of a mix up in itself, just some rambling ideas about how to vary what we do while still learning valuable lessons.

Finding strange ways to do normal things can frequently lead to remarkable discoveries, history is full of such things, the discovery of Penicillin was a result of bad food hygiene, keep at it and keep in touch with each other, we still have a long way to go.





FIST LOGIC, Uncategorized



What we are seeing is the Disneyfication of Wing Chun, 


This is a re-posting from April of last year, this subject is of even greater significance now that we are training without guidance.


Let me state clearly that I am a great believer in the Deeper Philosophy of Wing Chun, when used correctly as a Martial Art I think it is nothing short of remarkable.


To a large section of the Australian Wing Chun community the Sil Lim Tao is the beginning and end of everything.

So much so that they only train the Sil Lim Tao at the expense of the other more applicable Forms.

How did a ‘little idea’ become such a big deal?

It has gotten to the point that if you go to a workshop with a senior master all that is worked on is actions from the First Form, nothing is ever spoken about violence.

I was recently at such a workshop, when I pointed out that the exercise being shown had no practical value I was nearly mobbed by the more zealous attendees.

In fact there is a consensus that Wing Chun is not just for fighting.

But of course it is, fighting is all it is for.

What we are seeing is the Disneyfication of Wing Chun, the complete watering down of a once effective fighting system into a parody of itself, there are even national Chi Sau competitions, something that flies in the face of Wing Chun’s own principles.

The bigger problem though is that this is not a slow decent into obscurity like T.K.D. and Tai Chi this is a swan dive from a great height that just keeps picking up speed, helped along by Facebook and Youtube.

A question must be asked.

How can a Martial Art not be for fighting?

Can we call ourselves Martial Artists if our aim is not to improve Martial Skills for the only outcome of being more effective fighters?

I have a longstanding friendship with the senior instructor for a very large Wing Chun School who holds the idea that Wing Chun is not just for fighting, even if he does not impart this thinking to his students it must be obvious by his example, this is how the rot spreads.

I am in the process of reading a book called Wilful Blindness by Margret Heffernan, it is this book that has driven me to write this post, although the book has nothing to do with the Martial Arts it describes the malaise Wing Chun faces perfectly.

Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don’t seenot because they’re secret or invisible, but because we’re wilfully blind.

Without meaning to students put as much effort into avoiding the reality of what we do as they do into learning what we do.

They turn a blind eye to the truth and ignore the obvious.

Wing Chun is not the culprit here, it is the victim, in a market economy it is the customer that shapes the inventory, the man who pays the piper calls the tune.

Wing Chun becomes what we think it is and how we think about Wing Chun will not only shape our own training but the very future of the style.

Do we think shallow or do we think deep?

A shallow thinker sees only one problem and they answer in only one way {one Form}.

A deep thinker approaches multiple problems from different angles.

Far too often students refuse to engage their minds.

They swallow up instruction and information, but never question the thinking behind it or make the effort to analyse and quantify what they have just been taught.

Facebook and Youtube are echo chambers that allow them to obsessively seek out truth that confirms their world view and cling to it with little room for awareness and understanding of their own thought processes

The biggest barrier to deeper understanding is confirmation bias.

In Wing Chun this happens with a deep belief in lineage.

The Sil Lim Tao Form is not a shadow boxing form, this is well known, it is not intended to make contact, this also is well known.

How can training this Form help us fight?

Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don’t seenot because they’re secret or invisible, but because we’re wilfully blind.



Hendrik Santo, Keep and Open mind on Translations.


If we do not understand the conversation as presented we must treat all translations with a pinch of salt and keep an open mind.


Frequently on this blog, I have bemoaned the quality of translations when it comes to transposing Wing Chun’s logic from Chinese into English, my teacher Jim Fung often remarked that it was not possible to be accurate in this translation, and he spoke excellent English.

I have experienced some seminars, especially with C.S.T. where the translation was so bad it was hard to reconcile the words with the actions of C.S.T.

What is really worrying is that I know people that use these dreadful translations as the basis of their understanding.

If we do not understand the conversation as presented we must treat all translations with a pinch of salt and keep an open mind.

I recently was listening to a Vlog from Hendrik Santo, a Wing Chun Master and Historian, I think he is Malaysian Chinese based in the U.S.A. but I could be wrong.

If you are unfamiliar with Hendrik he is a somewhat controversial character in the Wing Chun community with opinions differing from being the worlds most knowledgeable Master to being a complete fraud.

You gotta love Youtube and the people that populate it.

I do not align with a lot of the things he says but I do think he is worth giving ear time to every now and then.

I have been aware of Hendrik for many years and a few years back purchased one of his books, Wing Chun Art and Science, which I found particularly empty, vague and self-repeating, but that could have just been me.

However sometimes his videos are really interesting and open up room for some explorative thinking, one recently he was mentioning Chinese language usage in China pre-1900 and post-1900 and the difference between Cantonese and Fukienese it was intriguing, to say the least.

Especially the first 10 minutes, where he is discussing Tarn Sau and Huen Sau.

Check it out HERE it could change the way you think.








Getting a handle on these will teach you more than I ever can.


Hi guys,


I am changing the format of these posts, we have plenty of time so instead of the usual brief videos to fit the idea of a quick visit to the Vlog I am making longer more detailed videos, I will post less frequently so that there is no information overload, and inside of the Videos, I will repeat information so that there is less chance of something going through to the keeper.


Things to get your head around and develop a deep personal understanding of are…

“How does a Counter Attacking Style operate and why.”?

“What does it mean to not carry an opponents weight”

“Why was Isaac Newton the greatest Wing Chun Sifu of all time”?

Getting a handle on these will teach you more than I ever can.



These videos are for your benefit to assist with your “Solo Training” during the lockdown, I have no personal agenda, if there is anything at all you would like me to cover hit me up, there is no reason for some sort of orderly progression, if you have a question on the knives or the pole do not wait until I start talking about the knives or pole, the dummy is difficult to set up and film as a one-man band but I am working on it William.