FIST LOGIC, VIDEO

FOOTRING AND LIP.

 

If you start correctly and finish correctly it is just not possible to go wrong in the middle.

 

After my Spinal Fusion surgery in 1996, I decided to try a new career path so I studied to be a Ceramic Artist, part of the three-year course was reading up on the history of Ceramics and Ceramic Artists from all around the globe.

It should be no surprise that the approach of many of the Japanese Potters was very closely connected to Zen Buddhism, it was impossible to read about a period or pottery area without deviating into Ikebana, Rock Gardens, the Tea Ceremony and even the Martial Arts.

Everything was interrelated, positions for fighting were used in flower arranging, advice for throwing clay was used in fighting.

One particular thing from pottery that has had a deep influence on my training and teaching of Kung Fu is that when making a vase or teacup only the footring and lip are of importance, and these must be correct and as near perfect as possible.

The IDEA is that when the footring and lip are perfect, nothing in between can be wrong.

 

When my students get to Chum Kiu this is when I introduce them to this thinking, start perfect, end perfect ignore the middle.

When I have a guest or casual students from other schools I notice that they tend to put most if not all of their attention on the movement in the middle, as a result, they struggle to perform or properly understand Chum Kiu.

So many students think that it is about the moving of the body that they ignore the simplicity of knowing what shape we are in now, and what shape we wish to be next.

If you start correctly and finish correctly it is just not possible to go wrong in the middle.

If the Footring and Lip are in the correct alignment and relationship to each other the pot pretty much shapes itself and does so perfectly. if they are out of synch the pot will throw itself from the wheel.

Our eyes may not see it but our senses feel that when the footring and lip are in harmony the pot breathes, it comes alive and we can feel its practicality.

When the foot ring and lip are out of synch the pot may well be very beautiful, but we see it in a sculptural way, solid but stationary and ever so slightly dead.

This is true of any movement set.

If we start correctly and finish correctly by default with no effort on our part the middle becomes perfect.

If the middle was not perfect we would struggle to finish at all let alone finish correctly.

 

STARTS AND FINISHES from WC INCa’s on Vimeo.

 

Bringing this into line with my posts on conditioning I would like to offer a quote from a book I am reading…

“Correct human movement is not open to debate. Technique is not some theoretical idea about the best way to move; it provides the means to fully express movement potential in the most stable positions possible’.

 “Becoming a Supple Leopard”.  Kelly Starrett.

We should work hard to keep this attitude, things either work because they are correct or they fail because they are not, the result is usually injury and not just failure to fire, this is not a critique of your Sifu or Lineage.

 

WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESS, PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTH.

 

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?
FIST LOGIC, VIDEO

CONDITIONING, A CONTINUATION.

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!

 

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.

 

CONDITIONING – STRETCH REFLEX from WC INCa’s on Vimeo.

 

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.

 

TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS, WORK TO YOUR STRENGTH.

 

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?