Once we miss a planned session not only do we disappoint ourselves emotionally but we increase the chances of missing more.

It looks like we could be in lockdown for a few more weeks, fifty {50} new community transmissions overnight, things look grim, so we need to be sure that we keep our spirits up and we can help this by keeping up some level of training. 

There is plenty of things we can do solo, good things that can improve what we do and what we know, the danger to our solo training is boredom and procrastination.


Set aside a few slots of time to train and stick to it, do not be over ambitious and think that you will train for an hour each day, that is a recipe for failure.

Once we miss a planned session not only do we disappoint ourselves emotionally but we increase the chances of missing more.

Allow yourself 30 minutes 3-4 days a week, if you are in the groove, enjoying what you are doing you can extend the session to be as long as you can keep focus. If you are into it. 

When we consider the different ways we can approach the work it is easy to find something different to do every day, even if it is only 10 minutes a session.


Create a mini-program that works on completely different things each session.

  1. Awareness/stillness exercises.
  2. Awareness/movement exercises.
  3. Band work.
  4. Pole work.
  5. Form/structure work.
  6. Mix and match sessions.

If you begin every session with 10 minutes of standing awareness, especially if you are doing this outdoors early in the morning the benefits to your mood and overall well being will be enormous.

Set aside time for some related research, thinking, contemplating is a big part of all Martial Arts.

Try not to get stuck just surfing the net.

Make a list of different categories of interest and tag them to the active sessions.

Youtube can be a great training partner.

Resources we should assemble are sites that provide good information on

General Body Maintainance.

Sites I visit are…


Smashwerkx RX.

G.M.B. fitness.

There are dozens of eually good sites, find one that you like the way they present the information and stick with them

Sports-Science Movement and Bio-Mechanics.

 Wildman Athletica.

The Squat University.

The Lean Berets.

Again there are dozens of these.

Fight Related.

I do not recommend visiting other Wing Chun Schools sites, we all do things differently to a certain degree and there is a real chance of seeding confusion, but visiting other styles can oddly enough help us see what our style does.

Pual Vunak

Tommy Yankello. World Class Boxing Gym.

Watching other styles gives a good view of how other people may use their body.


Ultimately this is central to what we do, it is a huge field that we all address differently, just google it and find something that resonates.

Do not underestimate the training benefit of research, before we can do anything with our body we need to engage our head.

Knowledge is power.

Learn everything you can, become as powerful as you can be.

If you guys have any questions on any aspect of Martial Arts / Self Protection hit me up on the Whatsapp group or email me if you want to keep it private.

Moving quickly is attained through smoothness.

Smoothness is attained through moving slowly.





All I can tell you is that it is not a physical thing, it is not a secret technique that I have been perfecting for the last 40 years in anticipation of this day.

There is a great quote that I have always attributed to Helio Gracie, founder of the Gracie Ju-Jitsu clan that goes…

“Learn to fight like an old man because one day you will be”…

… but in trying to verify it I cannot find any reference at all on the Internet.

Perhaps I dreamt it, still a great quote.

Well, today, JULY 8TH, is my 68th birthday.

That day is this day.

So what does it mean, to fight like an ‘old man’?

I first heard {or dreamt} this quote when I was around 30, and like all young men that wake up one day to discover that they are 30, I was feeling old.

At that time, my thinking was the quote counselled that technique was superior to force, that patience was a better strategy than haste, that being first was far more useful than being fast.

I still hold with and teach all of these IDEAS, but at 30, I was not an ‘old man’, surely this could not be it.

Perhaps the answer lies in seeing what I am doing today that I did not do when I was younger?

I am slower, for sure.

Everything is done with less intensity, no surprise there.

Otherwise, everything is as it has always been.

What is it?

All I can tell you is that it is not a physical thing, it is not a secret technique that I have been perfecting for the last 40 years in anticipation of this day.

It is an attitude.

If I found myself in a bad situation my first choice would be to not fight at all, that is a complete no brainer, and to be honest, not an option I would have considered when I was 30.

Could this be it?

If it is not my choice, keeping in mind that this thing we do, Wing Chun, is a ‘counter-attacking martial art, I would be responding and not reacting, all the same I would want to end it instantly.

Anyone I will be in conflict with will be younger, fitter, stronger to choose any other option would be suicide.

So perhaps this is how to fight like an ‘old man’…

On the first strike, unload everything.

Looking at this, yes, this fits the quote, maybe.

The thing is I have always done this and think it is great advice for everyone because we never know who the ‘Bad Guy’ is or what he knows.

Still looking backwards the first fighting advice I ever received was from my Grandfather, Jack Finn.

Jack was a genuine ‘old man’ as all Grandfathers are, he was not a martial artist but had served and seen action in two world wars, he knew what a fight was.

He told me when I was about 7…

“it is the height of bad manners to hit a man that is looking at you”

…this makes even more sense than my idea of going in first and going in hard, clever ‘old bastard’.

Is it even something that we do?

Wing Chun is a counter-attacking martial art so in the end we will only be able to work with what the ‘Bad Guy’ gives us.

My feeling today, as an official ‘old man’, is that the real understanding of ‘fighting like an old man’ is to simply never stop training, even once you are an old man.

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. 

Arthur Schopenhauer 





We work on relaxing until we understand what it takes to not be tense.

To a large extent, this is another dimension to the last post.

My late sister was a dancer and from as far back as I can remember I was her ‘Crash Test Dummy’, I was expected to make her IDEAS become movement.

I would not consider myself a dancer because of this, but I was allowed to peek behind the curtain, or maybe just inside the tent.

Something I became very aware of is that the most important attribute of a ‘dancer’ is to not become fatigued.

I am not just talking about stamina here, not drifting towards ‘gassing out’.

It is the subtleties.

Like having the ability to shake a leg or to make expansive arm gestures for extended periods without losing shape or articulation.

It is here that ‘dancing’ and ‘ Wing Chun’ tread the same path.

Or perhaps I could say stage.

The pursuit of easy movement is ‘super’ important in Wing Chun, but I do believe that many follow this path for the wrong reason.

They pursue relaxation.

And end up missing the point.

Something all Wing Chun Instructors say is that Wing Chun is NOT meant for match fighting, it is meant for the real world, violent street encounters.

A violent street encounter is brief and rapid.

It will be over before it has begun.

Ask yourself ‘in the 5 seconds before someone {possibly you} has a position of unassailable dominance how will I relax’?

Nobody with any IDEA of violence is training to relax.

This is another case of “the finger pointing at the moon”.

We work on relaxing until we understand what it takes to not be tense.

If this is confusing get a chat going on the whatsapp group.

An average Boxer knocks people out on the street every day of the week, an average martial artist would struggle to fight off sleep.

Geoff Thompson





How we train and what we train is not Wing Chun. Wing Chun is just a tin of tomatoes.


The most valuable thing we can do at this time is to spend some time sorting out what it is we think we are doing.

What it is we want to do.

And find a way to get there.

Going into this post there are three things that I want you to take away from it for future reference.

They are more what the recently departed Edward de Bono would call a ‘provocation’ than information.

First off: In 47 B.C.E. Gaius Julius Ceasar, after a swift victory against Pharnaces II at the Battle of Zela, reported to the Roman Senate the words Veni; Vedi; Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.
Considering that he was ‘greatly’ outnumbered he would have been more accurate to say Veni; Vidi; et bonam fortunam, I came, I saw, I got lucky.

Secondly: The great S.African golfer Gary Player once hit a seemingly impossible shot from a deep bunker straight into the hole, as he walked out of the bunker, a spectator shouted, ‘That was a lucky shot, Gary’. Player turned to the fan and said ‘It sure was and you know what? The more I practise the luckier I get.

Finally: A poem I heard from Spike Milligan.
My Brother Tim had a tomato thrown at him,
while tomatoes are soft and wrapped in a skin,
this one was especially packed in a tin.

How we train and what we train is not Wing Chun.
Wing Chun is just a tin of tomatoes.

Hopefully, this will all make sense in the end.

Back in the day, 15 or 20 years ago,I asked my teacher…

‘what is needed to become a Wing Chun Master’?

He said ‘there are no shortcuts or secrets, just turn up to training and pay attention”

Very wise words that have since proven true.

Then he winked, handed me a tin of tomatoes and said ‘don’t leave home without it’.


Something to consider.

If we find ourselves in a violent situation either we did not see it coming,

if we had we would have surely avoided it completely,

or we started it ourselves. 

Think about that.





I recommend getting a solo training regime on track right now.

Reading the latest updates and information I think that there is a good chance that this lockdown may be extended and not be just 14 days.

I recommend getting a solo training regime on track right now.

Do not forget that we have a page on the Blog here from the initial lockdown…


But if you have been there done that my advice is to work on your overall conditioning, below are a couple of good places to start..

And for pure entertainment here is a video about Cassius Clay and Sunny Liston, I remember all of this so well, what a circus, what a fight.

Hopefully I will see you all soon.

If you are not on the clubs Whatsapp group hit me up.

“Every day, the antelope wakes knowing it must run faster than the fastest lion to survive. Every day, the lion wakes knowing it must run faster than the slowest antelope to survive.” 





There is a Wing Chun Maxim that states ‘every step is a kick and every kick is a step’. Add to this that we all know that our kicks [sic] are ‘no shadow’ kicks.

In the last post I omitted some important information, I have shared it before, many times although usually when talking about stances but in truth it is Chum Kiu information.

The fundamental knowledge of our kicking is in Chum Kiu, or rather the fundamental knowledge of our Jamming is in Chum Kiu.

Wing Chun very rarely kicks in the way that most other Martial Arts think of kicking.

After all we are a ‘Counter Attacking, Close Quarter Fighting System”.

Kicking is long distance and always concerned with ‘balls out attacking’.

It is easy to lose this fundamental truth when training to kick pads that someone that would prefer not to get hurt is holding for us and as such does not try to get a piece of us, and even if it is not deliberate tries to be out of range.

What we do is ‘JAM’ our opponents kick with our foot or ‘JAM’ our opponents body movement with our shin, knee or foot.

This is what a ‘Counter Attack’ does.

Our opponent feels as if we kicked them, it is just that they supplied the grunt.

There is a Wing Chun Maxim that states ‘every step is a kick and every kick is a step’.

Add to this that we all know that our kicks [sic] are ‘no shadow’ kicks.

No shadow = no back lift.

No backlift = no overt movement.

No overt movement = no attack.

No attack = no kicking.

No Shadow Kicking, non telegraphed movement is at the heart of our “Fist Logic” that states Wing Chun does not fight.

Wing Chun becomes a great deal easier to understand and operate when we truly understand what “Counter Attacking” means.

It does not mean simultaneous Attack and Defence.

It means firstly stopping the attacker, and then becoming the attacker.

I really do understand that this can cause moral issues with people.

Get over it or get done over.

Develop your own version of Trunk Monkey.


The first commercial is the Trunk Monkey we need to become.





It is your journey and your choice.

Richard asked if I could put a post up to cover as much of Chum Kiu as I could, I am pretty sure it will be of use to a few of you.

First off, when listening to anyone about any Form from any style stay aware of the fact that a Form is nothing more than a structural framework that allows the concepts to be laid out in a way that makes sense to the right person at the right time.

In due course we will all interpret the information [any Form] in a way that fits the way we think and compliments the way we move.

Remain mentally flexible.

Let’s get to it.

What is the best way to approach Chum Kiu?

We can approach Chum Kiu in as many ways as we can think up, it can be super simple such as “How many new moves are the in Chum Kiu that I need to understand”?

The answer to this is just 2?!

Pivoting and Shifting.

Or we can dig deep into every nuanced interpretation and now there are millions of ways.

The best is, as with everything, start small and grow, from the super simple to the insanely complex.

It is your journey and your choice.


There are some personal picks from the archive below that will help your journey and save you making a detour into the past posts department.


Here are some earlier posts that will help with the work and the training of the aspects we explore with Chum Kiu.

I recommend reading the text to the posts as it sometimes adds clarity to the context of the video, but if you are stuck for time, as we all are, just watch the vids.

This is a pretty complete overview of the Chum Kiu application from the perspective of vectors, but it is quite long, Video duration 18 minutes.

This is a medium length video that helps understand the transition from Crazy horse to Chum kiu. Video duration 09 minutes.

This pivoting primer that is one of the best videos I have done for information transmission that can be easily used. Video duration 11 minutes.

This post will also aid with pivoting. Video duration 07 minutes.

This post is mostly about punching but it has good instruction on Core Winding. Video duration 05 minutes.

This post is about the often overlooked aspect of sinking and Rising. An inherent part of all movement. Video duration 07 minutes.

This post covers the summation of forces. The heart of Chum Kiu. Video duration 03 minutes.



Do you know your weaknesses, more importantly, do you know how to avoid them?

Let me remind everyone that I am a Martial Artist that does Wing Chun, I am not a Wing Chun disciple.

This is in no way meant to be demeaning to Wing Chun, quite the opposite, I choose Wing Chun because I think it works as well if not better for me than my previous training.

I have a wide and varied fighting skill set that encompasses Boxing, Judo, Military C.Q.C. plus traditional European and S. East Asian weapons training, still, I choose to stay connected to Wing Chun.

Full disclaimer that needs to be factored in, I am 68years old and semi disabled, if I was ever knocked down it would be near impossible for me to get back up quickly, this greatly affects how and what I teach, how and what I train.

Do you know your weaknesses, more importantly, do you know how to avoid them?

How can we plan for something that we do not even know is going to happen?

Let’s start with the worse thing we can think of, it will be different for all of us but be honest to yourself, there is no need for anyone else to know, we all have one darker fear and if we are ever slipping towards it, we will panic big time if we have not at least played it out in our minds a few times.

My favourite military maxim that should always be considered is …. ‘no battle plan survives contact with the enemy’.

This is not about being real, it is about being semi-prepared, engage your imagination, if in doubt about what would happen in a real situation pick the worst option you can think of.

I will use my worst fear as an example, but it is just the thought process that is important, develop, ask and answer your own questions.

My biggest worry is that I am on the floor!!!

Question #1. How did I get here?

Did the Bad Guy knock me down? Did he catch a kick I attempted and threw me? Did I trip over my own feet?

Most fights that end up on the floor are there because people fall over much more than someone does Ju-Jitsu.

Whatever we decided caused this problem becomes an area for involvement in our training, develop a style that kicks less, stay out of reach of your partner, develop a better, more well-balanced movement.

Question #2. Could I have prevented this?

If it was something the Bad Guy did what happened that allowed him to be in a position to do that? Was it his skill and speed or was it a case of me being inattentive or late to respond?

Either way, this problem was caused by not being in control of my personal space and something I can take into training is the question “what does it mean to control my personal space”?

As a training exercise in Chi Sau get a friend to continuously press you and work on maintaining the same shape, position and distance from them at all times.

Ask yourself can I control my personal space by standing in the one spot while my attacker is mobile, there is no correct or incorrect answer here, just a specific personal idea that we can train to be more natural.

Question #3. Was he fast or was I slow?

We can always work on our speed, especially the speed we think, our body only ever works at the speed of our thoughts, to a very large extent being quick is about having fewer choices to deliberate on.

Do not waste valuable mental processing time on trying to develop or use ‘Mind Force’, be deliberate and only think about things you can do that will actively help.

If we do not know how to transition from one situation or one position to another we will be stuck in both time and space and an easy target.

Again as a Chi Sau drill work on changing shapes, stances, and positions in space.

Create a drill in Chi Sau where one partner applies a strong forward drive, the other partner tries to find a way to get behind the aggressor, do not be nice to each other, make it a win / lose game.

In training we usually tend to just do as we are told, often there is no genuine connection to what we as students think may happen, what we may need, very rarely is there any student input to reflect a personal worry or experience.

As Instructors we should encourage this type of engagement, as students, we should force ourselves to ask questions, even when we think they may be stupid.

Nearly everything we do in Wing Chun falls under the umbrella of simultaneous attack and defense, in so many street situations this is a practical impossibility. The IDEA is sound, but how close can we get to it?

In street situations the attacker has no time to try to find the best shot, there is no feinting, no dodging and weaving patiently seeking a better position, it is just a flurry of whatever and it is instantly in our face.

Most street violence that Wing Chun would engage with, the average mugging, for instance, is over in less time than it takes to read this sentence.

I am serious, if we lose control of the first 4 or 5 seconds it is lights out and go home.

If we do not see it coming we are not going to stop it from happening, this is an alarming thought, but it is what it is.

There is a saying in the Boxing World, “it is the punch you do not see that knocks you out”!

Question #4. Why was I unprepared?

No one can teach functional situational awareness because the situation changes from day to day and place to place, because of this most situations we find ourselves in will appear to be ‘almost out of nowhere’.

Unpreparedness is our default position, get used to it, train it.

If our regular training does not include ways to regain a good position from a bad position then the prognosis will be terminal, do not fall for the fantasy that Biu Gee teaches emergency techniques, find a way to make space and regain balance.

Question #5. How did this situation arise?

The only way to avoid potential problems is to see them as they evolve, and leave before conception.

Most people that fail in a violent situation do not fail because of a lack of skill or ability, it is usually a lack of trust, a lack of confidence all made more destructive by the shock inherent in being attacked.

There are hundreds if not thousands of violently effective people who have no training at all in our world, but they are courageous to the level of foolhardiness, they will walk into our fists, we have a huge advantage if we can only bring it to the fore.

Think. Plan ahead. Survive. This is what all training should be. Any other approach is leading to the wrong choice at the wrong time.

Work on your weaknesses, play to your strengths.



Force summation of a rower. (source: sportsmedbiotech, 2009)

Up goes the cry ‘Wing Chun does not use strength”.

Guess what? Conditioning and fitness are not just about strength!

This is a reposting from 18 months ago, but this is a vital piece of the puzzle. Rule #1 if you wish to win a blue, be a better human.

I want to spend a few weeks looking at various types of and approaches to conditioning to make the most of our training, this may sound off-key but there is a great deal more to being effective at Wing Chun than just learning Wing Chun.

Fighting is a physical experience, so surely there needs to be a physical element to the training.

It makes no difference what so ever if we do ‘Internal’ or ‘External’ Wing Chun.  If we depend on ‘Thought Force’ or ‘Physical Force’

If our body is not up to the task of performing as the blunt instrument needed to deliver our force of choice we could be in serious trouble the day we need to use it.

Hands break when they hit faces, this is the real reason Boxers wear gloves.

Talking to certain sections of the Wing Chun community about the need to introduce strength and fitness is as difficult and fruitless as talking to an Australian Liberal politician about the need to phase out coal.

Up goes the cry ‘Wing Chun does not use strength”.

Guess what? Conditioning and fitness are not just about strength!

It is just as much about building mobility to get out of the way, improving our VO2 Max so we do not gas out in 5 seconds or developing the resilience to not fall in a heap if we fail to get out of the way and get hit in the head.

Wing Chun very strangely does not have specialised training regimes such as Chi Kung of other T.C.M.A.

I have no idea why this is, it makes no sense.

But perhaps it does, perhaps we have just stopped identifying them as such, upgraded them to something else, helped of course by the post-war Hong Kong entertainment industry.

If we had not all fallen the romanticised exploitation of Chi Kung and Kung Fu that was perpetrated by the Shaw Brothers beginning in the early 1950s perhaps we would have realised that Chi Kung was a precursor of today’s sports science and maybe, just maybe Kung Fu would not have slipped into obscurity and disregard compared to Modern Combat Sports.

The idea of a genteel scholar defeating thugs was such a breadwinner for the Shaw Studios it was pretty much the theme of every movie, perhaps unintentionally it allowed weak unfit people to think they could compete if they just played Kung Fu.

Many still do.

Many are still wrong.

What conditioning do I think we need?

This is a very difficult question to answer, it all depends on what type of trouble we think we will get into.

I am sure we all think different things.

Do we need to be steady, stable and strong?

Do we need to be mobile, quick and adaptive?

Can we be both?

If we can begin to see all of the Forms as being conditioning exercises, at least at a base level, we are at least starting from a sound base.

By all means, keep seeing them as ways to circulate Chi if that is your approach but first let them be simply physical.

In my last post, I mentioned the ‘Stretch Reflex’ and how in some situations it can have a negative impact on our actions.

That does not mean that the ‘Stretch Reflex’ is always negative, there are many situations where it can be used to our advantage.

Understanding the ‘Stretch Reflex’ and how we condition our body and our thinking to work with it, and of great importance understanding that we cannot influence it in any way.

No matter what some people may say or even claim, we cannot train a reflex. Training is a conscious action, reflexes are unconscious actions.

To think otherwise is to pursue a fantasy.

But once we identify, understand and can predict the effect of a Stretch Reflex we can adapt our training so that it has less of a chance of working against us.

So that we have less of a chance of working against ourselves.


There are a lot of people that say Wing Chun does not work on account of some very sad YouTube fights, the simple truth is that a hobbyist, a weekend warrior, no matter how skilled or capable will always loose to a full-time combat athlete.

Survival of the fittest is not a cliche, neither in the ring or on the street.

If we wish to do better we must become more athletic, more dynamic, more physical, the whole IDEA behind the do not use strength argument is a misrepresentation, it should be “do not depend on strength”, which really is just another way of saying trust your skill first, however, if your attacker is smaller and weaker there is nothing wrong with using strength, it will work.

The popular sales pitch representation that doing Wing Chun will “level the playing field” against a stronger, bigger, faster, fitter opponent only works if the opponent has no skill, only brute strength.

Being faster, fitter, stronger does not guarantee a win, but it helps.

Get fitter, get stronger, get faster, get conditioned, and of course, keep improving your skill.

Learn how to walk and chew gum.





A finger pointing at the moon.

Nothing we do in training is what we are trying to learn.

I retired from the workforce in 2015, the extra time that freed up allowed me to indulge in my favourite pastime of trying to better understand the ever-widening field of modern science.

The head stuff such as General Relativity, the Quantum Sciences and Neurophysiology, and the body stuff like BioMechanics, Kinesiology and Sports Science, our access to information is astounding.

What has all this pseudo study taught me?

Everything in the universe has changed since I left school in 1970.

Dai Sigung Ip Man died in 1972.

What we once thought to be carved in stone turned out to be written in sand.

Our understanding of the Human Condition is always changing, to stay in touch we need mental flexibility.

Especially once we start to talk of concepts, strategies or ideas.

Which is the very heart and soul of Wing Chun in a nutshell.

Without mental flexibility the best we can hope for is confusion.

Here is a good place to test that flexibility.

Nothing we do in training is what we are trying to learn.


What we are trying to learn is the thinking that brought about the things we do in training.

This is once more venturing into the non-physical aspect of our training, some of these things initially appear nonsensical, new thinking always does, but that’s O.K.

Given time they will change everything we do.

In the First Form we talk of a triangle bordered by our two arms with the apex rising from our sternum {this line very often gets mistakingly called the centerline} and a circle with ourselves in the centre, these are early concepts to aid us in exploring more refined and complex IDEAs, later on, the First Form is just the view from 30.000 feet, a Global IDEA made up of large brush strokes.

In Chum Kiu we see the IDEA of that one equilateral triangle split into 2 right-angle triangles with our 2 arms becoming the hypotenuse of each triangle and the apex of the previous triangle being the opposite side of this right-angle triangle.

The apex of these two triangles can move independently, when this happens it could be thought of as being anchored to the shoulder point and not the sternum point.

In Biu Gee, the extra rotation brought about by the manipulation of the shoulder girdle effectively turns these two triangles into cones.

If we take a slice through a cone we get a circle or disk, if we turn this circle/disk from horizontal to vertical and back we get the function of a Ball.

These are just concepts, thought exercises.

What is a Centreline?
A Centreline is a real or imaginary line through the centre of something, especially one following an axis of symmetry. for instance, a centreline of a body.

It cuts the body into two halves.

As nothing exists between ourselves and an opponent except space there can be no centreline between us as there is nothing to cut in half, thinking that there is a centreline between 2 people creates major problems when trying to deal with the more refined ideas that populate Chum Kiu and Biu Gee.

I get it that all this talk of Physical and non-Physical is a bit whacky but the payoff can be huge, you will just need to trust me on this.

A finger pointing at the moon.

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small. 

Lao Tzu