Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday



There are many schools that teach people to hit while playing Chi Sau, from my point of view this is a MASSIVE mistake

In violent situations or even match fights no one defends themselves, you cannot win by defending only by attacking, Wing Chun is about 99% defence, we should not kid ourselves about this and let our ego start rambling on about counterattacking,  counter attacking is a defensive option, Wing Chun is about 99% defence.

Q.   If we can’t win by defending why do we train our defence so much in Wing Chun?

A.    Paradoxically it is to give us the confidence to engage in relentless attack, which is the only way to a successful outcome, shock and awe.

The main take away from Chi Sau and Chum Kiu should be absolute confidence in the ability of our arm structures to not collapse under pressure during lateral movement, with little or no overt, active involvement from ourselves, just the posing, moving of the arm shapes, a skill acquired through Chi Sau and the lateral body movement found in Chum Kiu. This gives us the ability to step up and knock people down, even under attack, without consciously dealing with the incoming strike.

Only once we genuinely believe that we cannot be hit will we be free from thinking about how to stop a hit, and of course once we are no longer thinking about stopping a hit we have all the time in the world to think about dominating our attacker.

There are many schools that teach people to hit while playing Chi Sau, from my point of view this is a MASSIVE mistake, if our training partner keeps hitting us how can we ever reach a place where we no longer think about getting hit?  If we are constantly hitting our partner, another Wing Chun stylist how can we believe that the Wing Chun structure can weather the storm as we are go about proving that it cannot?

One of the really negative things that we learn without realising when hitting during Chi Sau practice is to stand there and get hit without doing anything constructive about it, like getting out of the way for instance, the self depreciating part of our inner self sees this and it erodes our confidence in Wing Chun,  this makes it so much harder to not think about being hit, and to freely engage in relentless attack.

Let’s face it , when we find ourselves in trouble {and we should approach training from the point of view of when and not if} we will not try to use Wing Chun at all, we will only try to get out of trouble, if all we are doing with our training is learning Wing Chun we are not learning how to get out of trouble, most Chi Sau playing teaches people to stay in the kill zone, even when getting continuously hit.   From a practical application standpoint Chi Sau the way most people play it teaches them how to loose, now that is a paradox.

Should we train softly or hard? 

Again paradoxically, if we ever hope to fight hard we absolutely must train softly and never hit our partner with enough force to cause pain, even light pain.

Hitting our partners or preventing them from successfully performing a technique or action may make our ego feel good, but we are not doing anyone any favours {least of all ourselves}, when our partner is failing in their attempts and just getting hit they will not think that we are awesome, they will just think that Wing Chun sucks

And from the other side of the coin, the self depreciating aspect of our inner self seeing that our partners Wing Chun is no match for our pretend attacks could lead us to thinking that perhaps Wing Chun does suck and cause us as so many others before us have done to loose faith in Wing Chun and walk away.

Chi Sau can teach us a great deal if we know what to look for, but it does not teach us how to deal with violence, so many students think it does and when it fails, which it must, they are devastated.

Is there a way to practise Chi Sau that can successfully transfer to violent situations?

There certainly is, but it depends on vision, creativity and the acceptance of reality , something in short supply with most Chi Sau players, we should try to find ways that put our opponent in an indefensible position, this requires a deliberate plan of attack, a predefined idea of how we would like things to unfold that has little to do with basic, preliminary Wing Chun Logic {Fist Logic} and a lot more to do with straight up taking the bad guys balance away and shifting to the blind side, it requires movement and a change of orientation, we can move ourselves or we can move the bad guy, usually it will be a bit of both slipping laterally as in Chum Kiu while rotating the upper body as we do in Biu Gee, all the time taking their balance with clever use of latching, which of course is Lap Sau.

Like many other Chi Sau related training methods Lap Sau is practised in a way and position that will never be used in reality,  the value of any Chi Sau position drill is as a method of learning the “how” of arm mechanics and not a recommendation of “where” to use them, think about the basic Lap Sau drill from the point of directness or practicality, two of the main pillars of Fist Logic, why would anyone ever choose to defend a straight attack with Bong Sau?  In the Lap Sau drill Bong Sau is just a perch, a convenient starting position so that we have consistency in the training.

One of the earliest pieces of Fist Logic I was given was to never try to strike over or under someones Arm as they could defend themselves almost accidentally with a reflex, the standard Lap Sau exercise does just that.  A post about Lap Sau is for another time but if taken at face value most Lap Sau training flies in the face of Fist Logic, it is quite ineffective, and it leads to using strange Bong Sau / Lap Sau / Side Slash combinations that are way to convoluted to be genuine Wing Chun. Think economy of movement, another pillar of Fist Logic.

Yet another paradox, we are more responsible for our partners training than we are for our own { don’t panic it works both ways}, if we ensure that our partner always succeeds the self encouraging aspect of our  inner self begins to see how effective Wing Chun is, and we begin to trust it, when our partner ensures that we succeed, we conveniently forget that they are helping us to succeed we believe it to be personal skill, and our own trust in Wing Chun grows.

I have thought this way for many years, when I share this thinking usually people say we cannot learn how to defend ourselves by assisted success at training, I ask them to think about that deeply, because what they are implying is that we can only learn to defend ourselves by assisted failing at training.

Really?  W.T.F.

If we go back to my original point if we get in trouble we will not be doing Wing Chun we will only be trying to get out of trouble, to add to this we will not get out of trouble by defending only by relentlessly attacking, all being well our defence will not be tested after the initial counter attack as we will always and only be in the bad guys face.

The ability to take it to the bad guy non stop is more about confidence than anything else, we develop confidence by succeeding in training.



Articles, Food for Thought


Learning all of our Forms is the second most important thing we will ever do in our training, the most important thing for us to do is to learn how to forget them.

Of all the Wing Chun Forms Biu Gee is by far the most complex and far reaching, I am not trying to imply that it is difficult or advanced, just very, very deep, and a great deal of this is because through Biu Gee we are forced to reexamine everything we thought we knew from a more profound and dynamic perspective.

Above all else Biu Gee is closest to the manner in which we will make contact with an opponent in real time, as paradoxical as it sounds Biu Gee is the way we should use Chum Kiu, but we should not really be surprised by this, after all Chum Kiu is essentially Biu Gee inverted.

Question.   How deep is Biu Gee?

Answer.      As deep as we can make it.

Biu Gee introduces the universal physical IDEAs that are in play whenever we are using Wing Chun, but these IDEAs are not found in the movements of the Form itself  but in the way Biu Gee creates the moves, the way it employs applied kinesiology, and of course the more we each understand the facets of applied kinesiology the more we will take away from Biu Gee, it is simply not enough to turn up to class and ask Sifu we must hit the books, engage in serious research or at the very least ask Google.

Understanding the Conservation of Momentum Principal will revolutionise everything we know about striking. Understanding how Torquing increases force will change the way we pivot for ever. Understanding the Kinetic Linking Principle will have us creating power instead of using force. Kinetic linking expresses force as a wave and as such understanding the Doppler Effect will make us more effective in both defence and attack.

When we take our new knowledge back into our Forms the aim should be to see how all of the laws of natural science exist in their own right the Forms simply allow us to see these laws from the singular perspective of Wing Chun, but it is the science that is the real magic.

Learning all of our Forms is the second most important thing we will ever do in our training, the most important thing for us to do is to learn how to forget them.

Learn the form, but seek the formless, learn it all, then forget it all, learn  “The Way”  {Dao}, then find your own way.


Wing Chun Wednesday




In the last post I mentioned that we aim to be in the right place at the right time. easier said than done because as a counter attacking martial art the first choice of where to be will never be ours, we will be under pressure, more than likely already in physical contact in a place of the Bad Guy’s choosing, so how do we turn it around and put ourselves in a position of dominance?

For me this is the main practical use of Chum Kiu, and of course what we should be exploring through the practice of the Form itself.

Mainly due to this Blog I get quite a few visitors that come to work just on Chum Kiu, from the beginning I ask them “why do we do Chum Kiu”? The answer are usually somewhere between”For movement {it is our footwork} or to create power”.  As I have said elsewhere Chum Kiu is not about moving, it is about stopping, or to be more precise re-stabalising, what we are exploring through Chum Kiu is where do we shift our weight to when we shift our weight?

This is an aspect of Chum Kiu that is difficult to explain in writing, it is even difficult to demonstrate on video because it really needs to be felt.

And of course why do we do that in the first place?

Firstly lets never forget that the Wing Chun fighting range is close range, closer than our Chi Sau position, Handshake distance, less than one arms length, the space that is taken up when the Bad Guy grabs us by the throat, at this range Stability is more important than Mobility, but do not doubt that we will be moving, if for no other reason than as a result of our nervous system responding to the incoming attack. If we are lucky we will be aware of the attack and in some control of our movements, if we are shifting or pivoting it is an attempt to shift or pivot without compromising our Stability, the smaller the move the better, the less we are destabilised the more chance we have of gaining the upper hand, often regaining our good upright posture from a broken position is all that is really needed.

If we have been surprised and experienced a Spinal Reflex Action then our first move is to stop moving, or rather regain stability. If you think back to the last post our attackers forward pressure on us is returned to him by his own actions as we regain stability.

Let’s not slip into Wing Chun la la land here, unless we are being attacked by a complete dummy our position will be broken.

Something I have observed over many years of teaching is that when students engage in Chum Kiu analysis they begin in a perfect position and then pivot or shift, this is of course the correct way to start as it allows us explore the IDEA from an easy position, however once we are familiar with this way we really do need to explore doing the postures from a broken position, after all it is not how we start or how we move that is the real learning objective, it is how do we finish?


FIGHTING RANGE from Derek Evans on Vimeo.


In life the journey may be important but in a fight there is only the destination, everything else is just transport.

It does not matter which particular posture we choose to work this with, in time they are all the same, a good place to start is the Lan Sau.

Once we learn how to regain our good position we simply hit whatever is in range, this in turn will move the opponent and allow us to engage from the position we train in, in fact we will more than likely need to chase him down or pull him back to keep him in the Kill Zone.

The Wing Chun fighting range is anywhere we can hit the Guy, from a one inch punch to a fully extended Biu Gee finger jab.  Let the Bad Guy be the architect of his own destruction, let him come unto us.  This after all is the Wing Chun 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.


Wing Chun Wednesday


The "D" Man performing Chum Kiu.
The “D” Man performing Chum Kiu.


In Fridays post I mentioned that I think that Westerners tend to misunderstand the Wing Chun teachings, how the information they use is correct but they put the emphasis in the wrong place, I mainly came to this opinion by observing hundreds upon hundreds of Students, at both my Sifu’s School and my own performing Chum Kiu.

I believe Movement trumps Stillness, I always have thought this and not just through my Wing Chun years, seeing this in me about 15 years ago my Sifu advised me to “Look for the LITTLE IDEA, the Siu Nim Tao, in the Second Form instead of the First” he quite rightly came to the opinion that I was more comfortable working with dynamic situations than static situations, to solve problems unfolding in real time with a real outcome rather than trusting my imagination, and I think that anyone that has had a long and active participation in sport, which is the average Australian, would think just the same way.

Thanks to my Sifu’s help and encouragement in this direction I developed a very deep understanding of our Second Form, and it is the core of how I teach Wing Chun to all of my Students.

Chum Kiu is the first of the Wing Chun Forms that has movements that are intended to make contact with an opponent, as such every single aspect of it is about achieving an outcome, as opposed to the First Form that is mostly about discovering how to  develop the Frame, maintain balance and correctly use your Joints.   Chum Kiu is how we fight and fighting is about weight transfer, not just one way but mine into him and his into me.

One thing that is indisputable is that to totally transfer weight their needs to be no movement, and because of this the efficiency of the weight transfer deteriorates the more movement is involved right up to the point that there is no weight transfer at all just movement.

In a Car Crash it is not speed that kills, it is the sudden stop.

Every Wing Chun Student I have met thinks that Chum Kiu is about moving, I do not mean moving somewhere specific, just moving.  If you spend a moment thinking about this it becomes quite apparent that moving for no specific reason to no known destination to fulfil no objective is not a  skill with wasting valuable training time on.

Drunks do it automatically.

Chum Kiu is about achieving the most effective weight transfer in any given situation, to achieve this effective weight transfer we need to be as close to a still position as possible in the circumstances, through the correct study of Chum Kiu we can learn not only how to control our movement but in fact how we bring it to a point that is fractionally short of stopping, being stable, while maintaining complete Body Unity, Intention of Purpose and Freedom off Movement.

Physically there is no difference in how we perform Chum Kiu in this manner, but once you begin to focus on the completion of the movement instead of the beginning it will become smoother, more natural, easier and possibly change everything about the way you do it.

Chum Kiu is about the Pointy End.

Chum Kiu is about Moving to a new position of Stability, yet just about everyone I have ever watched works on how to Destabilise themselves to achieve Movement.

Wobbling the end of the Stick does not help you put the Point End where it needs to be.

The emphasis is on the wrong aspect of the movement.

There is another aspect that I believe gets missed or at least overlooked, and that is the development of the awareness of the Side Line Axis, the First Form focus’ our attention to the Central Axis, generally misunderstood as being the Spine {it is in reality the central core of muscle and tissue that surround the Spine}, and developing the feeling of rising through the Central Axis, in all Martial Arts we are trying to create a harmonised body, so if there is an up force there needs to be a balancing or opposite down force, Yin / Yang if you wish, often referred to as connecting Heaven and Earth, when performing Chum Kiu we isolate the activity to one single Side Line Axis, for instance the right shoulder / right knee connection, we release our Body down this line and in so doing create the up / down, Heaven and Earth force and harmonise the Body.

We then learn how to place it in a new position without disrupting the up / down energy.

The third Form, Bill Gee helps us create a Helix or Spiral from the Central and Side Axis Lines, this winding action creates natural tension in the tissues supporting the Central Axis, it is a contraction that balances out the tendency of the Chum Kiu movements to expand, this harmonising of our Chum Kiu expansion and our Bill Gee contraction are how we shift our weight without moving from our base of support and without committing our weight to any particular direction.  Without this knowledge the tendency is to move towards the target making you predictable and easy to control.

The Obsession with the First Form prevents many people from discovering the reservoir of immense power found in the contrary energy flows, especially the winding action of Bill Gee, and ironically leads them away from stopping and stillness.