FIST LOGIC

THE DEATH OF STILLNESS.

A VIEW FROM THE GETTY, LOS ANGELES.

Stability is having control of the body while we are moving or being affected by an outside influence.

Movement is born from stillness. Movement is the death of stillness.

This is a self-evident statement overlooked during training, especially in the pursuit of Stability.

Balance and Stability are frequently used interchangeably, I plead guilty to that myself, but they are two very different things.

Balance is having control of our body under the influence of gravity alone. Essentially standing still.

Stability is having control of the body while we are moving or being affected by an outside influence.

Think of it this way…

While practising the First Form, our body is still and we can work on being aware of what it means to be in balance.

While practising Chum Ku our body is moving, our balance is effectively surrendered but working on maintaining the connections of our body brings about stability.

Stance training is about working on these connections, understanding them, internalising them.

Things to look for and explore during stance training are conditions such as…

Where is our ‘Line of Gravity’?
Where is our ‘Centre of Gravity’?
Where is my ‘Lower Tantien?
Where is my ‘Middle Tantien’?
What is the relationship of each of these to each other
Are we in ‘Balance’?

Moving or transitioning from one ‘Stance’ to another ‘Stance’, which is what we are doing as we play Chum Kiu, requires that we ask ourselves the same set of questions as we move.
Where is our ‘Line of Gravity’?
Where is our ‘Centre of Gravity’?
Where is my ‘Lower Tantien?
Where is my ‘Middle Tantien’?
What is the relationship of each of these to each other?
How is the alignment of my feet to my ‘Lower Tantien’?
how is the alignment of my Arms to my ‘Middle Tantien’?

And of course, once we arrive at/in our new ‘Stance” we ask once more…

Where is our ‘Line of Gravity’?
Where is our ‘Centre of Gravity’?
Where is my ‘Lower Tantien?
Where is my ‘Middle Tantien’?
What is the relationship of each of these to each other?
Are we in ‘Balance’?

If we choose to stop a movement mid-transition, something I recommend, this becomes a ‘Stance’ and we begin the test again.

Hitting each other, doing drills and playing Chi Sau are fun games to prevent boredom and stagnation.

Stance training is where the ‘Gold’ is.

We started with a truth that sounds like a cliché, so let us also end with one…

Moving quickly evolves from smoothness. Soothness evolves from moving slowly.

Learn the form, but seek the formless.

Learn it all, then forget it all.

Learn The Way, then find your own way.

HOKKA HEY

FIST LOGIC

CAN EVERYTHING/ANYTHING BE A FORM?

It is quite ridiculous to think that any single set of movements truly reflects the IDEA.

WITHOUT DEEP THINKING, TRAINING IS SHALLOW AND MEANINGLESS.

HERE IS SOMETHING TO THINK ON.

What are Forms for?

Forms are movement.

Some Forms have very little movement, others have lots of movement.

Essentially movement is just movement.

QUESTION: What makes one FORM any different, useful or more meaningful than another Form?

ANSWER: INTENT.

But not INTENTION.

Do we know the difference?

INTENT is potential.

INTENTION is channeling that potential.

Without INTENT there can never be INTENTION.

It is evolutionary.

INTENT is Intrinsic Energy, INTENTION is directing that energy to organise and mobilise the body.

Therefore; movement is an expression of INTENTION.

QUESTION: Is the Sil Lim Tao Form a vehicle for the development of INTENT or a vehicle for the direction of INTENTION?

It cannot be both.

All Martial Arts Styles have Forms, Kata, Movement Sets or Drills.

Do they serve the same purpose as our Form?

This is worth thinking about.

Let me reiterate; movement is an expression of INTENTION.

ARE FORMS VALID TRAINING?

All training is task specific.

What ‘specific task’ are we attempting when doing the S.L.T?

Avoid the self-delusion of thinking that the specific task is to do the Form.

The task is to illuminate the IDEA.

The shape of the S.L.T. Form {the complete set of Wing Chun ideas presented through all 6 forms} does not create the IDEA, it is the IDEA that created the shape we call Form.

It is quite ridiculous to think that any single set of movements truly reflects the IDEA.

It is closer to the mark to think that all movement reflects the IDEA.

Many other styles achieve the same end, the same IDEA, from very different Forms, different movements, different shapes.

What then is the IDEA?

The IDEA is a representation of the “HUMAN CONDITION”.

Wing Chun is exploring the Human Condition from the position of a Martial Art.

The best method is…

Learn the form, but seek the formless.

Learn it all, then forget it all.

Learn The Way, then find your own way.

HOKKA HEY

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC

SUMMATION OF FORCES IN SHIFTING.

The illustration above could very well be someone throwing a punch.

Monday evening I was working on Sequential Acceleration and Summation of Forces with Saleh, it is important to understand that in Wing Chun the overall instruction of correct movement is scattered throughout the Sil Lim Tao { the complete S.L.T. Containing Chum Kiu and Biu Gee}, no single part of the Form has all of the pieces, some assembly is required.

Separate aspects of Chum Kiu and Biu Gee introduce all of the mechanical IDEAS for shifting our weight both inside our frame and through space that is later mixed and matched through the Dummy, the Knives and the Pole to give us a more complete view.

The illustration above could very well be someone throwing a punch, all it needs is to adjust for a more vertical spine.

The exercise usually equated with pre-Long Pole training is the culmination of all of our moving mechanisms and the closest we get to practical Martial movement.

Summation of Forces.

The combination of forces produced by different parts of the human body. When a person is moving or attempting to move an object, several different parts of the body act together to maximize the force. In theory, force summation occurs when all body parts act simultaneously In practice, the strongest and lowest body parts around the centre of gravity (e.g. trunk and thighs) move first, followed by the weaker, lighter, and faster extremities. This is known as sequential acceleration and results in successive force summation. To obtain a maximum force, summation also needs sequential stabilization of body parts, with some body parts having to be fixed at stable points while other parts produce the effective forces. OXFORD DICTIONARY OF SPORT.

THE ONLY WAY TO BE A BETTER MARTIAL ARTIST IN 3, 5 OR10 YEARS IS TO UNDERSTAND THE MARTIAL ARTIST WE ARE TODAY.

HOKKA HEY
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC

Accepting Honesty.

It is well documented that there are far more non-violence related benefits to Martial Arts training than those that only benefit fighting.

A theme that reoccurs on this blog is that the most important attribute for a Martial Artist to develop is HONESTY.

Personal honesty.

Not bullshitting ourselves.

Everywhere, all of the time.

It begins by being honest about the effectiveness of our chosen style to perform were we would wish it to perform.

Which leads to being honest about our ability to use that chosen style.

The major benefit of any style of Martial Art training is that little by little they lead us to a position/stance of more refined understanding of ourselves, a better human being, a higher honesty.

But it begins by being honest about what we do and why we do it.

It is well documented that there are far more non-violence related benefits to Martial Arts training than those that only benefit fighting.

There is nothing negative about approaching training as a hobby.

You will still learn all the moves, all the skills and if you were in a situation that required them they would most certainly work.

How do you define a situation that requires you to use your training?

This is a matter of ‘personal philosophy’ and not Martial Arts.

We may not see it clearly but every choice we make in life is decided by our chosen, working philosophy.

If you are any kind of religious/spiritual/mindfulness person then violence is not the first choice of solving any problem.

That is a central tenet to all of the religious/spiritual/mindfulness philosophies.

If you turn the other cheek you will get hit a second time, then what?

What is the philosophy of your Martial Art?

Do you know it?

Does it have one?

What happens if it clashes with your favoured philosophy?

To answer this requires HONESTY.

If you are thinking that you can change horses in mid-stream due to the situation, you are disrespecting both the new and the old philosophies.

HONESTY is not binary.

It is always on, or always off.

This is the beginning.

This is the hidden agenda for all Martial Arts.

The acceptance of HONESTY as an absolute, not an option.

IF WE WISH TO BE A BETTER MARTIAL ARTIST IN 3, 5 OR 10 YEARS WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE MARTIAL ARTIST WE ARE TODAY.

HOKKA HEY

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

FIST LOGIC

THE REALITY OF THE UNREAL.

AFTER YOU, OR IS IT AFTER YOU OR MAYBE YOU?

The IDEA {S.L.T.} creates the method we call a Form as a way to describe itself to itself, nothing more.

There is only one stance, and we are always in that stance even when we are moving or standing in a completely different shape.

Say what?

Our first task is to make sense of what appears to be this non-sensical statement.

Where to begin?

In the book of 5 rings, Miyamoto Mushashi says “it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life and to make your everyday stance your combat stance”.

Thousands perhaps millions of Martial Artists have at least read this quote, perhaps even used it.

So let us start there.

Exactly what is our ‘everyday stance’?

Do we know?

What kind of knowledge do we need to understand our Everyday Stance?

 Proprioception?

Kinaesthetic awareness?

 Spatial imagination?

Is a STANCE a shape?

Or is it the IDEA of a shape?

As we all know everything we do in Wing Chun is Sil Lim Tao.

Sil Lim Tao is not a method, it is an IDEA, it is a view, a position a STANCE.

The IDEA {S.L.T.} creates the method we call a Form as a way to describe itself to itself, nothing more.

This method we call the FORM brings the IDEA {S.L.T.} into view as a tangible, explainable thing, in reality, it is nothing more than a language.

And in doing so we claim that the FORM verifies the IDEA.

Self-verification is a dubious currency, we must tread this path with caution.

Mental gymnastics, reality suspension, believing things that do not exist in any measurable way.

This is the core of what we do.

Understanding what is meant by ‘There is only one stance, and we are always in that stance, even when we are moving or standing in a completely different shape’ should be child’s play.

As sentient beings how we describe the world and the things in it to ourselves is central to our understanding.

The language we use is key.

How we describe what a STANCE is and does will shape what it is and what we can expect it to do.

Describe its POTENTIAL, both present and future.

It is a personal thing, we choose teachers that speak the same language, use the same references, talk in the same pictures.

There is no “Right” or “Wrong” just different illustrations that we do or do not understand.

A STANCE to me is an energy storage device, a battery if you wish, when it is empty I can accept force into me to charge it up and when it is charged I can issue force, use that energy to do work.

Empty batteries cannot do work.

Our most important task is to learn how to charge the battery.

A ready STANCE may appear to be still and motionless but it should be full to the brim with potential that is screaming out to be converted into kinetic energy.

Turning energy into work could go something like this.

From stillness/readiness, or just the position we find ourself in, what is the simplest, easiest kind of movement that we can make, what is available or even possible?

Why are we making this particular movement?

For instance, are we moving out of the way or into contact?

What stillness/readiness/position does this movement lead us into and how does the sequence progress?

Using this method we could if we wished, build situation-specific Forms.

If we do not know the answer to these questions before we ask them our movement becomes random, pointless.

They lack ‘INTENTION’.

Any movement must be instant, deliberate and accurate, any cessation of movement must be absolute.

There are limitations to all movement, every action has a start point and a finish point.

STANCE – MOVEMENT – STANCE.

Duration or ‘action length’.

Controlling that ‘action length’ brings neutralisation and control.

Understanding my personal ‘action length’ will familiarise me with my opponents ‘ action length’, the science of our Universe is the same for all of us.

When I move to my new stance it must be outside my opponents ‘action length’, my leg or foot must move farther than his and in doing so break his shape and intention.

When we move an opponent we must move him farther away than his stance is located.

We can explore this as a Chi Sau exercise.

IF WE WISH TO BE A BETTER MARTIAL ARTIST IN 3, 5 OR10 YEARS WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE MARTIAL ARTIST WE ARE TODAY.

HOKKA HEY
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

FIST LOGIC

A BIT MORE ABOUT STANCES.

Everything we do, everything we train for is contact with either an incoming strike or an available target. And for that we need STABILITY.

In a one on one conflict, the aim is to affect our opponent more than they affect us, hopefully, before they affect us.

It becomes a bit of a no-brainer that everything we do must affect our opponent.

If my arms are still moving, I have not yet made contact with my opponent.

If I have not made contact with my opponent, I am not affecting them at all.

As counter-intuitive as it may appear, what we do is all about stopping.

Or to be more accurate, forcing our opponent into stopping our strike or interception with their body.

Everything we do, everything we train for is contact with either an incoming strike or an available target. And for that we need STABILITY.

Somehow this gets overlooked to the point of almost being ignored.

This is where STANCES live.

Once we spend some time working and thinking about stances, perhaps even begin to understand them a little, we see our Forms in a different light.

Forms become a way of practising how to move out of one stance and into another.

A method of transitioning from one position of stability to another position of stability.

This is the beginning of the “Little Idea”.

Each section of our body, Arms, Legs, Torso examined through the first, second and third forms respectively.

Stances provide Stability, Forms introduce Mobility, Stability is at the opposite end of a sliding scale from Mobility.

In a real situation, we will be using an amalgamation of IDEAs from all aspects of the Sil Lim Tao.

We can only become the Martial Artist that we hope to be in 2,3 or 5 years by understanding and being the Martial Artist that we are today.

HOKKA HEY

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC

STANCES, FORMS, STILLNESS AND MOVEMENT.

The things we can learn from STANCES and FORMS are so deeply important that they are beyond value.

Anyone with fighting experience, especially ‘Street fighting’ experience, will tell you that there are ‘NO STANCES’ in a fight.

A stance is a perfect Idea, an ideal shape and position that we benefit from being as close to as we can be.

The reason for this is explained by the ‘THEORY OF THE CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM’.

In practice, we only ever move into a stance or out of a stance, yet all the action happens in the space between these points.

STANCES and FORMS share the same confusion, we spend a great deal of time and energy training them but in the end, we will never use them.

This is a paradox of cosmic proportions.

This is why it is so difficult to get beginning students to engage in a meaningful way, even students with zero fighting experience know instinctively that STANCES and FORMS have no practical value.

The first confusion we come across is that although we train them statically they are in fact transitional shapes that we move into or out of.

The things we can learn from STANCES and FORMS are so deeply important that they are beyond value.

How we resolve this importance from a purely personal perspective will determine the quality of most if not all of our Martial Actions.

Stances should be looked as being still points in a progressive movement, and not specific shapes and locations.

If it was available back in 1860 Doctor Leung Jan would have simply used ‘Time Lapse Photography’ and completely ignored the path of STANCES and FORMS.

Despite Stances being static they are an exploration of Human Movement, allowing us to look in detail at how our body is set up at different points in a possible progression.

Most importantly starting points and finishing points, but they can also function as a fault-finding method if we are not hitting the end stance position correctly when we move through a certain sequence.

When we look at Stances in relation to Forms we see a suggestion of how we would/could connect a start point Stance to an endpoint Stance.

STAND AND DELIVER!

Adding otherworldly importance or abilities to STANCES and FORMS has definite entertainment value if someone is a ‘Hobbyist’, but being involved in any kind of thinking that is not ‘RIGHT HERE-RIGHT NOW’ can only be detrimental to an aspiring Martial Artist.

We can only become the Martial Artist that we hope to be in 2,3 or 5 years by understanding and being the Martial Artist that we are today.

And we can only become that person by understanding the training we are doing today.

HOKKA HEY
WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC

FEEDBACK LOOPS & BODY BEING.

We become familiar with the Body Being by creating and observing Feedback Loops.

In a nutshell, the ‘LITTLE IDEA’ is about understanding how to develop/build/create the condition/shape we are after and then learning how to use it.

This aspect is often referred to as the MIND/BODY CONNECTION, but it is primarily about being a BODY.

BEING a better body than we are today, BEING a better human being.

HUMAN BEING – HUMAN BODY – BODY BEING.

To aid clarity when we are talking about experiencing the Mind and Body working together we can refer to this unity as ‘BODY BEING’.

BODY BEING is a manifestation of self-awareness.

Physical leading Mental.

Inner leading Outer.

We cannot “BE” something we are not aware of, something we do not know about.

We become familiar with the Body Being by creating and observing Feedback Loops.

AS ALWAYS…

WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESS’, PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTH.

HOKKA HEY

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC

TWO PATHS, ONE DESTINATION.

DAOISTS TO THE LEFT OF ME, BUDDHISTS TO THE RIGHT.

The scale is certainly different, perhaps that is all.

One pronounced effect this COVID lockdown and ongoing restrictions has brought upon me is that I have spent a great deal of training time on my own.

This has brought about an increased involvement in the more passive, internal side of the training, this is reflected in my teaching since we resumed.

I have a problem with this.

There is no doubt that the passive training benefits the active training and vice versa, however, I genuinely believe that when you train in the “External/Hard” approach alongside the “Internal/Soft” approach there is a very real potential to diminish both sets of work.

The reason is quite straight forward, the mind set, the emotional response and the physical condition that are required for either discipline are as close to opposite as we can get, it is an anti-matter/matter situation.

The Samurai, Vikings, Yaqui Shaman, Indian Warrior Princes, in fact all or any of the Priest of Mars from history were well aware of this and would take themselves away on “Spirit Quests” to spend serious time looking inward.

They would seperate themselves from all forms of violence or any other contact with the outside world or interaction with other people.

When the job was done, the vision received or the wisdom manifested and they returned to the world of men it was business as usual, no more meditation, no more ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ back to the old ‘hack and slash’.

I am fully aware that we live in different time with different reasons for the training we do but is what we do that far removed from the like of Spartacus or Alexander the Great.

The scale is certainly different, perhaps that is all.

But the way I think is the way I think.

Few of us could afford the time or find the motivation to go on a Vision Quest, but something we could and perhaps should do is put one week a month aside for just passive/soft/internal training and see where it takes us.

I know it will take us to a good place.

AS ALWAYS…

TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS – WORK TO YOUR STRENGTH.

HOKKA HEY

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC

INTENT versus INTENTION.

OR INTENT.

Intent is innate, it is wisdom, it is MIND BOXING.

Intention is acquired, it is technology, it is FIST LOGIC.

Thursday evening I was talking with Costas and George, two of my senior students about plateaus, wrong turns and misunderstandings.

As with all hiccups in understanding Wing Chun they stem from the difficulty in translating pictures, pictograms, Chinese script, into words, built from letters as used in the English language.

We only have 26 letters to choose from to describe everything that exists.

There are always going to be problems, especially when we use certain different words interchangeably.

INTENT  – INTENTION we can even get a bit deeper into the weeds with INTEND.

My Sifu, a Hong Kong-born Chinese Gentleman with a  Mother Tongue of Cantonese, who spoke first-rate English, would say that the best that can be done when translating from Chinese to English is to guess and try to get as close as possible. 

The trouble begins when the desired guess sounds very similar to something with a different meaning.

This then becomes an issue with phonetics, in fact exploiting this difference is a popular comedic device, using a word that means something completely different in the place of the expected word.

“Did you hear about the bald guy that had Rabbits tattooed all over his head because from a distance they looked like Hares”

This is a very common literary device in English.

Hair – Hare.

Where – Wear.

Pear – Pair.

Red – Read, {past tense of Read}.

Boot – Boot, {car versus left in this case}.

This is compounded even more when the students first language is not English.

How can we describe INTENT in a way that is clear and easy.

Intent is stored power, potential.

Intention is directing where to put that potential to use.

Look at it this way, if we have 3 or 4 devices that use the same battery while the battery is on the shelf its potential is the same, it can play music, shine a light, drive a toy car.

As soon as we put that battery in the device its potential becomes the devices potential.

Intent is multi-functional capable of moving in any direction for any purpose, it is the energy to do work, it is capable of any work.

Intention is directing this energy, using the energy to perform specific work.

Intent is innate, it is wisdom, it is MIND BOXING.

Intention is acquired, it is technology, it is FIST LOGIC.

Now that we have cleared this up somewhat are we any closer to knowing how to use it?

After all, action is potential realised.

HOKKA HEY.

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?