Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday



There is a complete suite of mental intentions that we can work on when we play Chi Sau that are of as much if not more importance that rolling arms, however we should not allow ourselves to believe that these are fighting techniques, they are just seed trays for IDEAs, for creativity.

Everything we do requires deliberate intention, without it our Brain may not be able to help our body when needed, it simply will not know what we are trying to achieve.  There are a number of conceptual objectives that can be explored and developed through Chi Sau, most objectives are quite obvious and automatic once they have been identified, some are applied simultaneously even if we are not aware of them but it does benefit us to isolate them and become familiar with the concept.

Asking.  Applying mild pressure to our partner to get an indication of his state of being, relaxed, tense, aware or oblivious, it can be done with the hands or the body.

Running, if too much pressure is detected we can run our own hand away from the pressure to an unguarded area and strike.

Slipping. Similar to running if the pressure is too weak we can literally slip through and strike.

Leading. Deliberately reducing our own pressure to encourage our partner to move to a position we can take advantage of, can be just hands or by body movement.

Borrowing. Using our partners power to move us or spin us into a return strike.  This is the same as leading except initiated by our partner.

Uprooting. Taking our partners balance away not necessarily in an upwards direction. Glide them away.

Sinking. Applying downwards pressure through the bridges by dropping the C. of G.

Evading.  Using Chum Kiu shifting to bodily evade the line of force.

Dissolving. Using Chum Kiu rotation to turn away partners force.

Pushing, Using Chum Kiu rotation and shifting to aggressively expel our partner away. i.e. into a wall.

Dragging. Using Chum Kiu rotation and shifting to aggressively tear our partner out of their stance.

Shocking. A short sharp jolt as a push or pull to create stiffness in our partner.

Ejecting, {waving}. Using Biu Gee floor to arm wave force, Chum Kiu rising with shifting and / or rotating,  along with rapid angle expansion to bring about a dynamic explosion of force.

Swallowing, {vortexing}.   Using Biu Gee core winding,Chum Kiu sinking with shifting and / or rotation, rapid angle contraction to draw partner in.

As I mentioned last post there are many aspects of Chi Sau that only really have value when playing Chi Sau the principal offender being Gor Sau {trapping and light Chi Sau sparring} these are ways of developing the ability to redirect and tie up a partners hands in real time, they differ greatly from school to school but as they are only used against fellow students it is almost irrelevant how you do them. 

There is a quite widely held belief in some schools that Gor Sau is applicable to “Real Fighting”, even though some of the exercises or traps would work in a “Real Fight” why would we ever be in a position to use them?  If we have intercepted a strike with one arm as we always try to we would be striking them with our other arm and not trying to tie them up, if we found it necessary to defend with both arms we would be kicking simultaneously or just throwing the Bad guy away.

Playing Chi Sau is great fun and educational, there is nothing wrong in playing Chi Sau as long as we understand it is only playing.

Below is some footage from our Saturday morning training, Saturday is usually an impromptu workshop of some kind so I  have the camera running just in case we get something good happening Fly on the wall kind of view and then I post it on the Members page, they are a bit rough and ready, only really intended for domestic consumption but they do highlight some of the intentions from Chi Sau.





Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday




Most of us understand instinctively that to be truly competent at anything, Kung Fu, Sport, playing a Musical Instrument we only accomplish it once we can free ourselves up, free up our thinking, free up our emotions, be uninhabited physically,  give our body permission to choose what it believes to be the best option.

This is a paradox that as Humans we seem to meet at every juncture, every turning point in our existence, unless we set ourselves free we will usually fall short of our goal, our best efforts are hampered by our own limitations.

But where did these limitations come from?

The short answer is ourselves, short but not very helpful.

The longer and more complex answer is that we worked hard and long to put these limitations in place, we chose to do this consciously and deliberately.  The first step to Freeing Ourselves Up is to understand and accept that this is what we did, and possibly what we are still doing.

When we began Kung Fu training we had nothing, no ability, no knowledge but of greater importance no limitations, but that is not such a good thing, without limits to work within it is easy to wander off and get lost, in time limits become limitations, however without limitations to escape we can never set ourselves free , so we really had no choice but to introduce some, there is no other way.

In respect of Wing Chun all of our Forms, all of our Chi Sau all of our training is to a certain extent the systematic creation of limitations.  The building of a cage that from day one we intend to escape from.

To be able to grow in an environment fraught with limitations we instinctively become creative, expansive.

Limitations are the Bridge that spans the gulf between ‘not knowing’ and ‘knowing’.

All of our Forms, all of our Chi Sau, all of our training are nothing more than the plans to a gilded cage, they are important, indeed essential if we ever intend to transcend from trying, to doing, the big question is ‘how and when do we break out’?

To continually work on the same things may seem like a way to improve but how can it be? How you trained last year, last month, last week is what it took to get you to where you are now, how can doing the same thing possibly take you anywhere else, if you always do the same thing you will always get the same result, all constant repetition does is force your knowledge to stagnate, progress is movement, progress is change.

Learn the Form, but seek the formless. Learn it all, then forget it all. Learn the Way, then find your own Way.   

Wing Chun Wednesday




First things first, this particular posting is more “My Opinion” than the interpretation and sharing of established Wing Chun thinking, after all this is My Blog set up mainly for My Students who are well aware of my personal stance on Fighting and Self Defence and the place I hold Wing Chun within these boundaries,  I have no wish to upset the feeling of anyone that views Wing Chun as “More than a Fighting System” so if that Guy is you I recommend you give this post a miss.  

Floyd Mayweather was quite possibly the best Boxer on the planet, and his most impressive strike was beyond doubt his Straight Right, which if observed from a Wing Chun mindset is just an application of Bong Sau.

Wing Chun is Boxing, Chinese Boxing, the variance or deviation in application between Wester Boxing and Chinese Boxing are simply evolution of the same IDEA taken in opposing directions in each form of Boxing.

In the ring there is no chance of having your Leg swept or being pulled over or pushed down and attacked by an opponent that now has a Position of Dominance standing over you, so Boxers will sacrifice Stability for better Mobility, Power Production and Reach, many Boxing positions could be looked upon as a controlled fall, delivering greater amounts of Body Mass to the Target.

If they miss or the opponent moves and they fall to the floor the Bout is stopped and they are allowed to get back on their Feet, a luxury you will not get in a “Street Encounter”.

A fair amount of Boxing Training is devoted to preparing the Body to take punishment, to get hit, as a result of this boxers are less concerned about being in the opponents “Hit Zone’ than any Martial Artist, in fact part of the movement is to offer yourself up to the opponent hoping to hit inside his hit.

If you are able to factor these things in as you watch a Boxing Match it becomes quite clear that they are deviations from what we do and not differences, as a result it allows us to gather very useful information without the need to get down and dirty.

Chum Kiu is a way of moving the “Ideas” we developed in the First Form, it is not meant to be done just as it is danced in the Form itself, that is just way to limiting, watch Boxers and see if you can emulate them while adhering to all of our Chum Kiu Concepts.

It acts as a catalyst to open up your understanding of your own training.

Floyd Mayweather is not unique in what he does, just exceptional, if you training has reached or passed Bill Gee then the Shoulder Freedom that the 3rd Form brings make it even more obvious that all Boxing is the same.

Although it may seem a contradiction I do not personally advocate “Taking the Fight to the Bad Guy” {I firmly believe that we are better served when we allow him to come on to us, accept what comes in}, but once you are in the ascendancy you need to be able to close things out really, really quickly by chasing him down and turning out the Lights.


Articles, My Own Opinion




Lets Ruffle some Feathers.
Lets Ruffle some Feathers.


If we get into trouble we want to get out of it as quickly as possible, if we get into a fight we want to win it, this is patently obvious.

We achieve these results by moving well and hitting hard.

You don’t, won’t and never will achieve this through defence.

Chi Sau is Defence, most Structure work is defence.

This is is the paradox within Traditional Martial Arts, T.M.A, training that focusses the majority of its time on using structure to resolve incoming force, it teaches defence.

If we look at most Wing Chun Videos, including my own, we see a collection of Cut downs, Pak Saus, Garn Saus even Holy Cows performed against resistance from a Big Burly Bloke, what are these Vids teaching?

My explanation to my own Students is that we are trying to teach them to trust themselves, trust their FRAME based on the fact that if nothing else, they can stop the Bad Guy hitting them no matter how big he is, and hopefully they will be upright long enough to fight back, even while I explain to them that no one defends in a Street Fight.

What most T.M.A are not teaching is how to end what is going on.

In your own training how much time do you spend on developing your Striking, especially your Punching?

What is the Ratio?

Punching 5 : 1 or is it more like Other Things 5 : 1.

Punching ends fights, hopefully for you, defending stops the other guy ending the fight, basically it keeps the fight going.

Q:   If you are drowning does your chance of survival increase the longer you stay in the water?

Something that I am quite critical about with Modern Day Wing Chun is that so often the rhetoric is not justified by the training.

Wing Chun talks up devastating power, the “One Inch Punch” but its approach to striking, especially punching is extremely naive, basic concepts are fine for beginners but why maintain them once the lesson has been absorbed, where is the expansion and refinement? The shape and action of the Sun Punch from the First Form is an introduction to the CONCEPT of Punching, and not as it has become to the majority of Wing Chun Students the METHOD of Punching.   The act of trying to punch down a line from your Sternum contracts your upper Arm into your Shoulder and creates tension in the Pectoral muscles negating maximum power and weight transfer.

Punching down that Sternum Centre Line is DEAD WRONG, there are 3 sides to a right angled triangle, the adjacent side, the opposite side and the hypotenuse, the Sternum Central Line is the ‘opposite side’, to effectively transfer power you need to expand down the ‘hypotenuse’.

Very few Students hang around long enough to study Bill Gee, as a result many get the fanciful idea that you can Punch without using maximum effort, attack with softness, { in YODA’s voice} “much amusement from this one is received”.   Instructors may amaze or inspire you with soft little pokes that jolt you on your feet, but will that really work?    It is quite astonishing how much punishment the Human Body can endure and the Human Mind ignore, think State of Origin.

Attacking with softness will not cut it.

I was trained for many years by one of the very best Wing Chun Masters on the Planet, after about 12 years diligent training I was introduced to Punching Mechanics that I had been shown as a 9 year old Junior in my Boxing Club.

There is no doubt that my Sifu could punch with great power, but very few of his students could replicate him, the correct approach to the work of punching was not there, if we were lucky Sifu would give us a snippet of advice that would lead us forward, a reward for being a diligent student, but it was more luck than planning, if we did not get it at that time we had missed our chance to expand our knowledge, meanwhile at my Boxing Gym all of the well trained guys had a punch like a falling fridge.

Punches END things.

After almost 25 years in the Wing Chun Community I find it really distressing that the vast majority of Wing Chun Students,pretty much everyone that has trained for less than 10 years, cannot Punch effectively, not on the move and under pressure at any rate, even sadder is the fact that they think they can.

Most people try to Punch too fast, too hard and too often, I have hit people, they move in unpredictable ways once hit hard, landing effective multiple punches on the same target is a fantasy unless the guy keeps walking into you, just like your partner in training, just like Oliver Twist he stands there asking for more.

But it is not just Wing Chun, it is all T.M.A. Too much defence, 1 or 2 good punching mechanics and practically no instruction of how to bring about the environment to land your Punch when the other guy does not want to be hit.

And absolutely no instruction on how to Punch from the wrong position, everything is about being in the right position.

Real fights do not have “right positions”.

In theory Wing Chun and many other Southern Fists use just 1 defence and then step in and deliver a multitude of attacks finishing it off there and then, I have had a good few fights, and since my early teenage years I have had the ability to hit really hard but very few situations turned out to be one defence and then goodnight Irene, landing a solid Punch is as much to do with the other Guy being in the wrong place as it has to do with you being in the right place, I have knocked guys out cold in the Street, but never with the first Punch.

Unless it was a Sucker Punch.

T.M.A training, Wing Chun included, tends to be about building confidence, and there is nothing wrong with that, but this is just FEAR MANAGEMENT, and by pretending that what your doing is a viable Martial Art that will work against a nasty human the way that it is taught in the Training Hall is doing nothing to get past that FEAR because deep down everyone knows it is improbable, in many ways it is embedding FEAR into the Psyche and eroding any confidence that has been built up.

Knowing that you can hit people and really hurt them builds a great deal more confidence than knowing you can perform a Cut down on  Big Dave the Power Lifter.

To be really effective 60% of our training should be Punching, or at least Striking but Punching is the ‘go to’ tool in a street fight, after all if someone is a true believer of the Art then they are going to use simultaneous Attack and Defence and launch into Continuos Punching, 1 defence then multiple attacks { if you need to hit someone 6 times then the first 5 sucked}, I realise that very few part time Martial Artists have the patience or focus to do this, I realise that to most people that do Wing Chun it is just a hobby, but if somewhere in the corner of your mind you hope to use your training if you get in trouble then your training needs to be around 40% Punching and 60% other stuff.

And your training motto should be “Lights out MOFO, I am not playing”.

Well thats my opinion at any rate.

Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday


How do the 6 Wing Chun Forms relate to each other?

KLEE water, waterwheel and hammer.

Are they stand alone Idea’s or are they part of a progression?

There appears to be a tendency with many Schools to focus more on the First Form than the following 5 Forms ,this could of course simply be that far too many Junior Instructors begin their own School before they  have a more rounded knowledge and you will hear these Instructors claim that there is  only the Siu Lim Tao Form.

I do not see the point in spending many Years studying the “First Form”, I do however understand why you would spend a great deal of time and effort studying the 19th Form.

I think it obvious that if there was a need for only one Form then Ip Man or an other Ancestor would of trimmed away the lesser 5 Forms due to Simplicity and Directness being the corner stone of Wing Chun, or perhaps joined them into one longer Form, but the fact that this was never done should be enough for us to accept that we have 6 Forms in Wing Chun because we need 6 Forms in Wing Chun to fully understand it.

In my observations Students attempt to retro fit the First Form with idea’s and functions that just do not belong there, this is mostly due to an inherent understanding that something is missing, but a great deal of this is also due to the practice of using resistance during analysis to gain a feedback loop that can help you understand.  The first Form does not make contact with any outside agency, it does not SEEK THE BRIDGE.

The First Form allows us to study how to correctly use the Joints of the Arms, it introduces some very basic strategy and alignment concepts and it teaches us how to be in balance / centred and to stay in balance / centred as we move our Arms.

How can this Form alone be the basis of Wing Chun?

The Second Form has the attributes of how to support our Arms with our Body and how to use the Waist to power the Frame. None of this works without the Basic Attributes of Balance brought in by the First Form.

The Third Form has the attributes of how to liberate the Shoulder Girdle creating the vortex through Shoulder torque, liberating the Shoulder Girdle brings about more effective alignments and a exponential increase in power. None of this works without the Basic Attributes of Waist Rotation brought in by the Second Form.

The Fourth Form is simply the combination of all the attributes of the first three Forms. When you are working on the Dummy you are simultaneously practising all 3 earlier Forms, if for any reason you think that the Dummy is a separate Form you have missed the point completely.

The Fifth and Sixth Forms, in todays World using weapons is not even worth considering, if for whatever reason you do live in a world where you need a weapon you would get a Gun so the 5th and 6th Forms are not about weapons, they are more akin to Wing Chun weight training, using the Wing Chun Weapons while moving increases the difficulty of correctly utilising the attributes of the first 3 forms.


Wing Chun is a SYSTEM, and just like all systems it requires that all the parts work correctly and run together for the system to work, if even the smallest cog is missing or broken the system cannot function as it is meant to.

Any School that presents its training through a single aspect of Wing Chun is not teaching the System,  it is not involved in teaching Wing Chun as a complete whole and you are being short changed.

The Siu Nim Tao, the WAY of the LITTLE IDEA is not complete until you have seen it evolve through all 6 refinements, you do not learn or progress to Chum Kiu, you simply expand the “Idea” that began in the “First Form”, in Bill Gee you add further expansion to what has gone before, in Mok Jan Jong {the Wooden Dummy} you attempt to link the “Idea” into a useable combination {that will and should be slightly different for everyone, a personalised expression of your own Wing Chun that can and will evolve as each student journeys along their own path}, this stage of training is mainly about Defence, the Bart Cham Do {Butterfly Knives} and the Lok Dim Boon Kwan {the Long Pole} introduce the movement and thinking that allow you to convert the “Idea” of Defence into the “Idea” of Attack, in this way you complete the Six Forms and finally grasp the complete “IDEA” of Wing Chun.

Rinse, Repeat and begin again, you are now doing The 7th Form.

If we accept this suggestion of the 7th Form then we must also have a 13th, a 19th and even perhaps 25th and beyond, as we move our knowledge forward one REVOLUTION at a time, revisiting all the Forms again and again, each time with a better understanding of how they work together seeing them as a complete System.

I do not see the point in spending many Years studying the “First Form”, I do however understand why you spend a great deal of time and effort studying the 19th Form.

As I have pointed out in an earlier post the Yee Chi Kim Yeung Mah, the BASIC Wing Chun Stance is inherently unstable and ill-suited to actually fighting, it is in point a Chi Kung Stance, and the focused study of the First Form in this Stance is Chi Kung and has precious little relevance to fighting, once you understand the complete system it makes perfect sense to learn how to “Infuse the Body with Spirit”, to develop your Intrinsic Energy, it just seems a little pointless to spend that time while you lack the knowledge of the attributes of Chum Kiu Body Control and the more efficient alignments found in Bill Gee, it is a little like putting a Turbo Charger on a Lawn Mower.

The “First Form” is not the Siu Nim Tao, it is a Portal to the Siu Nim Tao.

The map is not the territory