Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: WHATS THE DEAL WITH CONTROL?

WHO IS REALLY CONTROLLING WHOM?

 

If we can become capable of seeing control through the filter of Fist Logic, nothing controls an opponent as effectively as a solid punch to the ribs immediately followed by three or four good smacks to the head.

 

I often refer to Chi Sau as being the laboratory of Win Chun and it really does have this potential if we can resist the temptation to turn it into a playground.

We all begin our Chi Sau experience with single arm Chi Sau, but sadly this soon gets left behind in favour of the double arm version, this is the great tragedy of our training, we abandon a simple and elegant learning platform for a complicated and non practical game of hands.

As beginners in my Sifu’s school just like other schools, we started with singles and then moved on to doubles, however once we reached the intermediate level we returned to single Chi Sau, to study it, to form our own understanding and in doing so set the tone for all future training, sometimes it was not clear what we were looking for, it was a little like digging through chicken entrails to see what the universe was trying to tell us. 

One important aspect that we can identify in single Chi Sau is why we have the maxim Lat Sau Jik Chong, when the arms are free strike through, in singles our arms are never free and we can never strike through.

Studying negatives is just as important as studying positives.

In doubles not only are our arms not free but we actively engage in control, we try to learn how to control our partners arms or at least the IDEA of controlling our partners arms.

Why?

This action overcomplicates the simplicity and practicality of simultaneous attack and defence and would seriously compromise us in a real situation. If we are using control to prevent our partner / opponent from free movement clearly the same action is preventing us from having free movement, how do we achieve a counter attack by sacrificing a weapon to control our opponent?   

In the Kuen Kuit it reads something along the lines of “do not push an elbow for fear of being led” who is really controlling whom when we apply control?

The answer to all of our questions comes back to FIST LOGIC, Wing Chun is a striking art, if we are making contact with an opponent in any way that is not 100% defensive then we should be striking, if we have the time and opportunity to press our opponents arm into his body we also have the time and opportunity to strike him, the quest for control leads to grappling, if we are not careful Chi Sau leads to grappling.

Surviving a violent encounter is more about good decisions than good technique, why do we seek control, what do we wish to gain control of and are we sure this decision is a result of what is happening and not a result of us forcing our training to exist where it does not genuinely belong and is not  really needed?

The IDEA of control is well worth investigation, but not from the stand point of controlling the opponents actions, more beneficial is looking how to control their options, their space and their timing, this is usually brought about by changing orientation, by footwork, and defence minded Strategic Structural Obstructions {putting shit in the way while we hit them}.

Limb controls such as the traps and latches we do in Chi Sau are alive and well but living in a completely different postcode to where we train them, once we understand this the traps and latches become organic as opposed to how we need to set them up in Chi Sau, if we can remove the Chi Sau effect we can see them for what they are, but the constant practice makes it even more difficult to remove the bad habits of Chi Sau than finding a way to use them. 

This is the major weakness of Chi Sau, it is self perpetuating, usually in the worst possible way at the worse possible time.

If we do use control it should be our whole body that applies the pressure, this will allow us to strike with both hands even as we control our opponents options.

If we can become capable of seeing control through the filter of Fist Logic, nothing controls an opponent as effectively as a solid punch to the ribs immediately followed by three or four good smacks to the head.