It is what it says on the box, power that is effortless.

I was working with Rick and Anthony last evening, the same stuff we have all been doing this week, in many ways the same stuff we are always working on…

 …developing effortless power.

Let’s be fair and honest with ourselves, in the recent training sessions you have all been amazed by the results.

And then amazed once again when I show how we have been doing this since ‘day one’ but you didn’t connect the dots.

It is tricky stuff.

What is effortless power?

It is what it says on the box, power that is effortless.

One of my favourite examples is when I ask…

Q. Have you ever walked into the edge of a table? 

A. Yes.

Q. What hit you?

A. The Table????? DUH!

Well, NO, it was you.

You walked ‘into’ the table.

 Or did the table jump out at you?

  You did not try to hit the table, you did not mean to hit the table, all the same, without malic or intention you just walked into it.


No set-up or practice, no special shape or secret move, just effortless power, creating instant pain.

There is a well-used saying, ‘to punch above one’s weight, it means performing or achieving results better than expected and beyond one’s ability, skill, experience etc.

This is used as a compliment, but it is a silly compliment because, in the real world, we cannot punch above our weight.

Our power production is an expression of our weight.

Striking power can be maximised by good movement, correct structure, accurate strike placement, and fortuitous connections with an opponent. 

But we can never surpass what our body weight delivers effortlessly in any situation.

Questions we should ask ourselves.

Do I get heavier if I contract and tense my muscles?

Do I get heavier if I put in more effort?

Do I get heavier by doing things in a particular or ‘special’ way?

Do I get heavier by … {fill in the blank}?

The answer to all of the above and any other consideration is… 

…We do not.

We can only ever hit as hard as our body weights contribution.

In so many ways power is nothing more than throwing our weight around.

It is how and where we throw it that is the key.

Effortless power is the efficient organisation of our body weight.

On one level FORMS are a way for us to begin to understand how to organise our body weight, from static, to mobile, to dynamic.

So is Dancing.

So is Yoga.

So is Table Tennis.

The difference between FORMS, Dancing, Yoga, and Table Tennis is how we organise our thinking.

You guys always laugh when I say that Table Tennis could be an outstanding Martial Art.

And I laugh at you laughing because I know one day you will get it and think that back then you must have been a bit of a dick.

Another thing to ask ourselves is… What do we need to organise first?

If we consider that we are the same weight in our sleep, the same weight on the toilet, and the same weight in training, what does that tell us?

Here in Australia, a bag of cement weighs 20kg.

I do not think that any of us would like someone to drop a bag of cement on us, even effortlessly.

With the most basic of self-organisation we can effortlessly transfer our body weight when we make contact with an opponent, even if we only bump into them.

Work out how many bags of cement you are the equivalence of and ask yourself “why do I not think this is enough”?

The lightest of us would be equivalent to 3 to 4 bags of cement and to transfer this all we need to do is reach out and touch someone.

It is our thinking that we must organise.

Consider this, when you reach out and touch someone on the shoulder and do not put them on their ass it is because your Monkey Brain understands weight transfer much better than your Human Brain.

It is time to play catch up.

Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey.

Malcolm de Chazal




I do not think that Wing Chun is a Martial Art and I do not think that Wing Chun teaches people how to fight.

Later this year will mark 30 years of training, teaching and exploring Wing Chun.

30 years and I am still finding new things, still improving.

One thing I spend a fair bit of time musing over is…. ‘why are there so many different approaches to Wing Chun’?

Different Schools teach what sometimes appear to be completely different styles.

Even within one sub-lineage there are deviations, in all honesty, these days even my own approach is very different than the contemporaries that I trained with under the same teacher, Sifu Jim Fung, here in Sydney Australia.

Personalisation is comletely natural, making our style more suited to our own body type, mentality and experience, but the differences in Wing Chun go way beyond personalisation.

Wing Chun runs the whole gamut of being a hard Bhuddist {Shaolin} style to a soft Taoist {Wudang} style and, of course, everything inbetween.

Is anyone even close?

My Sifu, who was born, raised, and trained in Hong Kong, would say that Wing Chun does not translate out of Chinese into any other language.

So at best, we are guessing.

But does that matter?

The majority of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts students of all styles that are training today are not training to fight.

Ask them and they will say it is ‘in case’ something happens, which is fear management, and not because they know’ something will happen, which is danger management.

But I digress and that is a road I have no wish to go down at this posting, but it is interesting.

So here I am, 30 years in and with no intention of slowing down let alone stopping, so when it comes to the ‘so many differences’ situation, how do I answer myself?

Considering how deeply commited to Wing Chun I am, and how I genuinly believe that what it has taught me will get me out of any tight spot or situation of random violence.

This thought I hold surprises me.

I do not think that Wing Chun is a Martial Art and I do not think that Wing Chun teaches people how to fight.

Say what?

What I think, is that it is a system or method to help fighters fight better.

Much better.

There is nothing original in Wing Chun, all of the physical movements or technical aspects were co-opted from one Shaolin Kung Fu or another by Dr Leung Jan who was himself a highly respected Martial Artist who had many competitive fights.

Unfortunately for Dr Leung, he lived at a time of great peril in S.E. China.

I think that during the unparraleled social unrest caused by the Taiping Rebellion he found that his ‘tried and tested’ competition ready Kung Fu did not work in unexpected situations and random violent events.

So he set about refining his stuff to fit the times.

Remember that he already had great skill, and more than likely a good measure of self-confidence.

Nesecity is the ‘Mother of Invention’.

He was in constant danger and needed to improve his Kung Fu.

He invented Wing Chun, or rather began the never ending search for refinement and self improvement.

We should only ever be looking to improve what we already have.

That is a pretty steep hill to climb if students think that they start with nothing.

If we look at the people around us that are very good at Wing Chun, they all did something else before taking it up, a combat sport,military service, first responder service, or club door work.

I also think we all know of someone or another that appeared to be good at Wing Chun and was highly regarded in their school, who reached a high level only to then give it up to go and play Jiu-Jitsu out of a lack of belief in Wing Chun.

Jiu-Jitsu does teach people how to fight, Jiu-Jitsu does supply tangible reasons to believe.

Two of my seniors who were excellent practitioners took this path.

Niether were brilliant teachers it should be noted, it is hard to teach without a deep belief in the work.

Something I now as a Baby Boomer growing up in the 50s and 60s is that violence is messy, chaotic, unorganised, and above all else, easy to do.

Every prison on the planet is full of people that are very good at violence that have never done any kind of training.

Because, violence is easy.

The thing is Wing Chun does not teach violence.

No one leaves training bruised and bloodied.

What Wing Chun does do, is develop incredible and effortless power that will never let you down if you trust it.

But if someone thinks that they do not know how to fight, how to match another persons violence, that is a big ask.

So what does Wing Chun teach?

It teaches us to trust ourselves and act accordingly.

The frog in the well knows nothing of the sea

Japanese proverb.



This aspect of the training is where some people get confused or threatened and think that we are drifting into pseudo-spirituality.

I am still working on the E-book, but to be honest sometimes I am happier just posting.


There is a non-physical side to what we do, we need the physical aspect to be established before we embark on this, but we should briefly mention the non-physical here to get us ready.

Developing our power is 100% in the Mind, consciousness is not an option, if we are awake we are aware, conscious power is everyday power. 

Developing our subconscious power is less automatic, we reach it through consistent, deliberate practice.  

The key to developing our self-image is positive self-talk.  

This is nothing new, every self-help guru on the Internet will tell you the same thing.

This aspect of the training is where some people get confused or threatened and think that we are drifting into pseudo-spirituality.

Thinking this takes us away from our training, away from the WAY.

The ‘Way of the Little Idea”.

The Sil Lim Tao, is the development and understanding of the Wing Chun ideal, in body, mind and spirit.

To phrase this in easy English the aim is to Act, Feel and Think in the same way to the same end. 

This could be any end, even enlightenment, so it can be a suitable vehicle for spirituality, but what type of person thinks that developing violence is a suitable approach to spirituality?

For Wing Chun these two paths cannot be mixed, the Sil Lim Tao is the opposite of spirituality, it is about becoming not only fully aware of ourselves and our potential but the best version of US there can be.

To be fully aware of every living, dynamic aspect of ourselves, not to blend into the void and achieve Nirvana.

Think on this,  jumping from a high building is mechanically  the same as jumping from a low step, but when we land the results are not remotely similar.

What we believe to be ourselves, US, our self-image was built up over many years and is still being added to today, every minute of everyday.

If we can imagine a situation that we would be using our Wing Chun training in, it will be the image we have of ourselves and the image that we have created for our attacker that will engage each other.

The physical image of ourselves is the simplest to refine, that is the first aspect of every FORM that we do, this is the entry to the “Way of the Little Idea”, our physical self-image, the bit of us that acts in the way of the “Little Idea”.

When observing ourselves doing any Form, any movement set any physical action whatsoever we must address it positivity. Yes, at all times we can think that we would like to do it better, but we are never doing it wrong.

Paying attention to what we are doing is the job of the conscious mind, activating our conscious mind by being deliberate is how we start to learn a new skill. 

We must know what we want to learn, and then we must break that down into its seperate parts. Each part is then practised individually until it’s grooved, solid, imprinted onto the subconscious mind.

Sound familiar? 

This is how we do the FORM.

This is a very wide and deep avenue to cross and it will be the focus of a seperate E-Book.

But the way in is through honesty, understanding and remembering.

Did we forget why we started this journey, did we forget that the goal was not to learn how to defend ourselves or how to fight? The goal was to become that person that was ready for the fight.  

If we stop training we stop being that person. 

Mastery of any skill fades, masters remain even when their skill diminishes.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Anais Nin.



“Never let the drive for perfection be the enemy of doing things effectively”

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a significant number of students from my Sifu’s school would travel to Hong Kong to train at Grandmaster Chu ShongTin’s school,   Chu ShongTin was our Sifu’s Sifu.

Very few would stay for more than a week but they would return shining with an inner light and full of tales of amazing feats, brilliant teachings and the sheer joy of being in the company of greatness.

A fair call.

But they also returned with an arm structure that for some reason was much less efficient and effective than it was before they left Australia.

This condition humorously became known as ‘Hong Kong Spaghetti Arms’.

Those afflicted with Hong Kong Spaghetti Arms would act as if they knew something we did not, despite not being able to prevent themselves from being hit when playing Chi Sau.

If ever there was a case of “Never let the drive for perfection be the enemy of doing things effectively” this was it.

I know where the condition of Spaghetti Arms comes from and I also know that it is a correct step on the path to a capable and effective body, but it is only a transition phase, it is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

But hey, what can you learn in a week?

Sadly these Wing Chun tourists were stuck half-way along the road to amazing unbendable arms, if they had stayed longer in Hong Kong they would have learned how to correctly take the “impractical softness” out of their arms and replace it with rigidity without using muscular strength.

The Sil Lim Tao Form, or rather the “A” section of the overall Sil Lim Tao has three major learning objectives.

  1. Set up the neutral body.
  2. Move the arms without disturbing the neutral body.
  3. Energise the neutral body so that it becomes an active body.

Step #2 is what results in Spaghetti Arms.

The purpose of the Sil Lim Tao Form is to become familiar with our own body structure, it is not in any way intended to make contact with another person or outside force so having Spaghetti Arms is of no consequence when doing the Form.

In fact, it is as it should be.

The third learning objective of the Sil Lim Tao Form, energising the neutral body, brings everything together, torso, arms, and legs by various stabilisations, both global and local.

 Stabilisation of the lower torso or Pelvic Girdle is achieved by recruiting the DEEP MUSCLES…

1. The muscles of the pelvic floor…. Contract the glutes.

2. The transverse abdominals…. pull in the navel

3. The multifidus….. Stand tall.

4. The Internal Obliques… breathe sideways.

5. The Diaphragm… tuck the diaphragm under the ribs.

In short our core muscles that attach to and hold our spine secure.

Local Stabilisation of the torso is not addressed in the S. L. T.  as there is zero body movement, it is introduced in Chum Kiu and Biu Gee.

Stabilisation of the upper torso or Pectoral Girdle is achieved by recruiting

 1. The Levator Scapulae …  Pull the head back and stretch the neck.

2. The Rotator Cuff Muscles…. Bend the Bar.

As you can see when we follow the simple set-up of…

  1. Contract the Glutes.
  2. Pull in the navel.
  3. Stand Tall.
  4. Breathe Sideways.
  5. Tuck up the diaphragm.
  6. Bend the Bar.
  7. Stretch the Neck.

… we stabilise our complete torso.

This set-up could well still suffer from Spaghetti Arms as there is still some work to do.

One of the many reasons we do the S. L. T. Form so slowly is to allow us to observe and make contact with the bones and most importantly the joints of our arms.

The shoulder joint, the Elbow joint, the wrist joint, and the finger joints.

If we ‘bend the bar’ we stabilise the shoulder joint, this results in a natural, pliable solidity in the shoulder joint.

When we hinge the elbow joint we create a kinetic force that pushes our forearm down into the wrist and our upper arm back into that stable shoulder joint connecting the upper arm to the torso and creating a return force back down the upper arm that crosses the elbow jointed reinforces the forearms force.

It is just physics.

In a contact any force pushing my wrist back toward us is met by the return force from our body, if the muscles surrounding and crossing the Elbow are contracted I have real problems, in effect both of us are putting pressure on the elbow joint, if it is natural and only working as a hinge the partner/opponent has real problems due to the aforementioned return force.

We, people, are not used to using the elbow joint as it was intended, as a hinge, instead we think that it is a way to move our arms and as such when the elbow struggles we engage all of the local muscles that we can call upon to get the elbow to move the arm.

Each muscle and there are 7 major muscles attached to the elbow joint and 9 that cross the elbow joint, calls up a favour from its neighbour, soon every muscle in our body except the little muscles in the Pinky Toe are giving a hand.

Result – Gridlock.

It is misleading of me to say just “control the Elbow Hinge and you control the whole arm” because teaching our body to trust that simple, natural movement when we are in dangerous situations is more than we can hope to get from an intense week in Hong Kong.

It can take a very long time to convince our Monkey Brain that this is a good IDEA.

Best we start today.

Book a flight.

Or come see me because as my Sifu would say about himself, “I am closer than Hong Kong”.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes




Albert Einstein.

In Wing Chun we are all and for always beginners.


Many Wing Chun students think that Wing Chun training is a linear progression, Sil Lim Tao – Chum Kiu – Bill Gee and that every time we progress along that line things become more advanced.

This may be true of some other styles but it is not true of Wing Chun.

In Wing Chun, there is no beginner level, no intermediate level and no advanced level.

In Wing Chun, we are all and always beginners.

In this respect, Wing Chun is akin to Jazz!

When asked ‘What is Jazz’? Dave Brubeck replied, “Jazz is”.

By this logic, Wing Chun “IS”.

So the question becomes “can you riff”?

If there is a set progression in Wing Chun it is circular, hop on anywhere and keep going round.


Saturday morning we decided to explore Biu Gee’s actions from the perspective of how to recover from a situation where we had lost our favoured Wing Chun position.

Sometimes referred to as emergency Techniques”, something I find over-elaborate, we explored and discovered that Biu Gee contains all the things we did, albeit badly before we even began Wing Chun, and definitely did on our first day of Wing Chun training.

This video footage is of a normal training session, it is not an organised seminar, we made things up as we went along and repeated things over and over again at a pace and intensity that we could feel, see and understand what our body was doing while we played Biu Gee.

If you are a visitor to this blog these clips may well lack continuity and possibly context, it is a bit like one of them “you had to be there jokes” but there is good info here.

At 20 minutes it is a lengthy video grab so there are some timestamps to help you navigate.










It is the brushing away that makes it Bong Sau and not the shape.

-Wing Chun is a set of IDEAS, not techniques, that we explore and develop through playacting in a variety of staged situations to see if we can deploy them.

Chi Sau is a perfect example, nothing we do in Chi Sau is in any way genuinely useful, but it does allow us to put meat on the bones of our IDEAs so that we get to understand them better.

The reality of random violence, as opposed to sparring or role-playing, is that unless we are ‘extremely lucky’ we will always be in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is where and when we need any skill-set that we have developed.

We must understand how to unpack our skill-set to find what might be un-related little pieces of info that can be reassembled into an action that can be deployed in very close quarters.

Wing Chun is a Body Method, our training has two objectives.

  1. Learn the method in a controlled environment.
  2. Apply the method in an uncontrolled environment.

The closest we can come to the second objective is to put ourselves into what may appear to be the wrong place for us to use established Wing Chun stuff and see how other stuff can become Wing Chun.

I have heard people opine that the arts that start from positions that are already in tight contact, such as Jiu-Jitsu starting from a mounted position or Wrestling styles that begin from a clinch, are not very practical.

Whatever scenario we imagine we may encounter we will sooner or later make contact with the Bad Guy, it is what we do next that is the work, moving into contact or waiting until the Bad guy makes contact is just a step in the process that Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling see as unnecessary. 

Getting into trouble is not the aim of the game, and not worth splitting hairs over, it is getting out of trouble that should be our focus.


Over the years I had numerous discussions with my Sifu about how Chinese does not translate into English or any European language. The main hurdle is that Chinese is a Logogram Language built around glyphs and all European languages are Alphabetic Languages built around letters and words.

He said this was why it is just not possible to understand Wing Chun by using words, spoken or written.

In English we expect a word to mean something specific whereas in Chinese a word simply points toward a glyph that may form part of a picture that must be deciphered to be understood.

In Wing Chun we have Chit Sau, the cutting hand, Garn Sau, the ploughing hand, Fook Sau the controlling hand, Tai Sau the raising hand and of course Bong Sau the wing hand.

If we ask ‘what is Bong Sau’ to a westerner we will get a bent arm gesture that comes out from the shoulder.

Really, that’s it?

If we retreat to the genesis myth for a moment, a Nun observes a fight between a Crane and a Snake, every time the snake attacks, the Crane brushes or sweeps away the attack with its wing.

The nun meditates on this and then decides to change her Kung Fu to reflect this idea.

What IDEA?

The IDEA of sweeping or brushing away an attack and not the IDEA of growing a wing.

It is the brushing away that makes it Bong Sau and not the shape.

It is the cutting that makes Chit Sau, the ploughing that makes Garn Sau, the controlling that makes Fook Sau and the raising up that makes Tai Sau.

If we use Tai Sau to brush away an attack does that make it Bong Sau?

This is what I refer to when I say we need to unpack the Forms, everything is pointing somewhere else.

did somebody say…..?




“There is only one move, only one shape, and only one body”.

As always at this morning’s training, I told the guy’s the usual, what I think is critical, stuff.

Everything we do needs to happen in mid-air {before contact} and will be in effect for around 1/10th of a second.

This puts everything in context, we must be correct before we make contact, albeit 1/100th of a second before contact.

Also my second sacred saying…..

“There is only one move, only one shape, and only one body”.

This one is a bit curly around the edges.

So check this out.

Take on movement, any movement let’s just pick the first movement, Jit Sau.

Spend as much free time as you can learning everything you think you can learn about Jit Sau.

If your head is in the right place you have just learned everything there is to learn about Wing Chun, but relax, it won’t be.

To help convince ourselves of this pick a movement you do not feel that you know very well, let’s pick the Biu Sau that comes from our chest in the Biu Gee Form.

Compare what you are doing, and what you are feeling in Biu Sau to what you do and feel in Jit Sau.

If there is only one move, and I assure you there is, these two moves are the same.

The first job, just observe and note where they differ.

The second job, resolve the differences.

This is a lot more difficult than it sounds, mainly getting the Head part correct, but if you can do Jit Sau how hard can it be?

As always, be kind to yourself if you are not making the progress you would like to make, and bear this in mind…..

…”when we hear or see anything we do not understand our brain translates what we are hearing or seeing into something we do understand, at this instant, we are no longer hearing or seeing correctly, we have lost it“.

This is part of the human condition and no amount of wishing or training can change this.

Fortunately, our body has its own intelligence, lets’s be Nerdy and call it “Deep Learning”, given enough time {think repetitive training}, our body will understand what our mind cannot, and hey presto we have the answer.

We all know this to be true, how often do you wake up in the middle of the night with the answer to something that has been evading you.

Long story short……..

If you wish to know everything, learn one thing completely.

“There is only one move, only one shape, and only one body”.




What we are ‘really’ learning is how to access our skills, not learn some specific Sport or Martial Art style.

This post is not meant as a tongue in cheek jab at anyone, that is not my way, it is simply sharing things I know and believe, things that may help you.

What are the unseen benefits of Martial Arts training?

Self-confidence, good decision making, dependability the list goes on, where do these attributes come from.

The secret is, as my Sifu told me, turning up to training and paying attention.

Rain hail or shine, sick or healthy, hangover or tired.

This is not a secret.

When you watch an interview about a world-class sportsman or sportswoman one thing that all their contemporaries say is that they were always the first into training and the last out of training?

Not that they trained any harder.

Martial Arts training is at heart about training to be a better version of who we are, it is not an investment in our style, our club, or our Sifu it is and always has been an investment in ourselves.

And we must understand that over time it will be a considerable investment.

But we are worth it.

We only have one life, let’s be the best we can be.

When prospective students ask me if I give any kind of “Free Trial” or free uniform or free anything I just tell them to go somewhere else.

This is not arrogance on my behalf, but if they are not willing to put their hand in their pocket to benefit themselves and their lives why would they be willing to listen and pay attention to me.

Again quoting my Sifu, he would tell me that “People put no value in things they get for free”, I have seen this first hand for years and years.

Something that chips away at a student’s chance of fulfilling their dreams is when they turn up late, leave early and generally chat more than do the training.

Let me clarify something, turning up late is not according to any particular clock at any particular training hall, we all have life pressures that dictate what, where, and when, if the class starts at 7pm but you cannot get there until 7.45pm that is your time, 7.45pm, always be on time to your own clock, to yourself.

What makes some people so good?

I have played in a number of competitive “Social Level” Sports Teams in my life, Ice-Hockey, Five-a-Side Football, Tennis, and of course as a kid I fancied my chances to become a Boxer.

Like everyone I was as keen as mustard and put in the hard yards but despite the effort, I did not make it past “A” Grade in any sport I competed in, which is a long way from State Grade and a universe farther away from what is needed to be a pro.

But I would train like I was in with a shout.

Come ‘Match Day’ there was always one guy, sometimes two, that was simply streets ahead of the rest of us and somehow did it without trying too hard.

It is an easy excuse to say that they were just more skilful than the rest of us but that is not true.

They were better at accessing their skills that is all.

They knew what their skills were and they believed in their skills.

We do not learn this on ‘Match Day’.

We learn this at training.

And of great importance, we learn this over the days and weeks later by reviewing what we did.

What we are ‘really’ learning is how to access information, not learn some specific Sport or Martial Art style.

The physical side of what we do in training is just playing.

The goal of all training is to play to our strengths and avoid our weaknesses and not learn some new trick.

Play hard.



The Sil Lim Tao Form is the filter we apply to our structure, and to basic arm movement.

A Form, any Form in any style, is nothing more than a filter.

A filter that allows us to examine certain natural movements, postures, and shapes through the lens of that particular style.

When playing a Form……… and that is all we are doing, ‘playing a Form’ ……. how we engage our mind is what takes us forward, not how move our body.

In Wing Chun, how to play the movements of any of our forms can be learned in one weekend, that is one weekend spent on each Form.

However, understanding how any Form relates to us as individuals can take a lifetime.
Central to our explanation of Wing Chun Kung Fu is that all the work is based upon the ‘Sil Lim Tao’.

Which as we know is an IDEA.

The first step, in fact, an essential step, is to understand that the Sil Lim Tao Form …. is not the Sil Lim Tao IDEA.

The Sil Lim Tao Form is the filter we apply to our structure, and to basic arm movement.

The Chum Kiu Form is the filter we apply to making contact and accepting force.

The Biu Gee Form is the filter we apply to develop a greater understanding of generating striking power and issuing force.

The practice is to see how the IDEAS that are presented in these Forms are at work in all and any movements we make.

Especially movements we already make.

To see that the IDEAS that are presented in all three of these Forms are at play simultaneously in every SINGLE MOVE we make.

And have always made.

The training is to observe and where needed make adjustments to better the alignment of mind and body.

At best it is fine-tuning, there is nothing to learn in any of our Forms.

There is nothing to learn because we already know everything we need to know.



From a still position think Fook Sau, perform Fook Sau, stop.


If we get in trouble our best chance of getting out of trouble is to stay disciplined, to do what we need to do, where we need to do it, and when we need to do it.

But what does that mean and where is it in our training?

As young kids engaged in Western Boxing, this was drilled into us by a 10-minute sparring exercise where we could not defend ourselves, hold up a guard or counter-attack our sparring partner.

Our sparring partners were free to {lightly} hit us anywhere and any way they wanted to, all we could do was evade, but without retreating, we could step away but not run away.

Without fear of a counter-attack, our sparring partner was relentless, often leaving themselves wide open for a counter we were forbidden to deliver.

This was preparing us to not fall for dummies or feints by trying to get in cheap shots that in a real fight could easily lead to our undoing.

Every few minutes the coach would shout ‘HIT’ this gave us permission to take one shot at our sparring partner and then back to the drill, this taught us how to be disciplined, how to wait until the shot was on, to not try to force the fight, to be patient.

This was an excellent drill that ‘really’ paid out when needed.

Do we have anything in Wing Chun that remotely approaches this kind of training?

That depends.

If we can look beyond what we think we are doing, and look at the fundamental IDEA we are seeking, then the answer is YES, we do.

First up, what is the IDEA we are hoping to find?

A method to develop PATIENCE and DISCIPLINE.

These are, of course, CONCEPTS, or IDEAS.

If we are completely tuned in to our training these IDEAS can be found anywhere, but an ideal, easy, and convenient place to begin is to be found in doing the Forms.

Not the specific movements of the Forms, but rather in the way we approach the Forms, the mindset more than the movement set.

The rhythm we establish, the flow from one thought to another thought more than the transition from one movement to another movement.

Essentially all Forms are a collection of single movements and not a movement set per se, there should be an established start point and an equally established finish point for each and every shape/movement.

When we finish one shape/movement we change our thinking to the next phase before we transition our posture or shape/movement.

For example, if we think of the progression of Fook Sau, Huen Sau, Wu Sau, Tor Sau {if we could endure the boredom we could do this forever and learn everything}. 

From a still position think Fook Sau, perform Fook Sau, stop.

Think Huen Sau, perform Huen Sau, stop.

Think Wu Sau, perform Wu Sau, stop.

Think Tor Sau, perform Tor Sau, stop.

 Rinse and repeat until the ‘End of Days’.

As a two-person training drill, there is nothing better than ‘Single Arm Chi Sau’.

At first, the very IDEA of ‘perform, stop, think, perform, stop, think, perform, stop, think, perform’ may seem very robotic and unnatural, but PATIENCE and DISCIPLINE, and of course awareness, will allow us to control the timing of the pauses between stop, think, perform so that it becomes Human, natural, responsive instead of reactive. 

Obviously, this exercise, this way of utilising the Sing Chi Sau Drill, requires that both players disconnect their EGOs.

 Which in itself is training us to be DISCIPLINED.

Training in any Form should never be easy, it should never be enjoyable, it should always annoy us at some level, it is learning to ignore the thing that we think is not needed and still do it, the thing Sifu says is important but we do not think is in any way important, this teaches the greatest lesson.