Weekend Headspin

WEEKEND HEAD SPIN: BODY LOGIC, MIND LOGIC, FIST LOGIC.

 

In a nutshell I am the guy that will be using it to prevent getting his ass handed to him.

SO MUCH LOGIC, SO LITTLE {TRAINING} TIME.

Every Wing Chun teacher has to decide what to take from the pot that is
Wing Chun Concepts, interpret them and find a way to communicate them to others, this is why there is so much difference between teachers, as humans we do not see things as they are but in fact as reflections of ourselves.

What we all teach is what we already know by way of our personal experiences served up in the manner of Wing Chun.

My own experience contains quite a bit of fighting, so for me everything is inevitably looked at through the filter of Fist Logic.

This does not mean that I am right and Body Logic or Mind Logic teachers are wrong, but it does explain a lot about where my teaching is headed and what it can offer, and by inference a lot about what other teachers teach and what they offer.

Fist Logic is less interested with the process and far, far more interested in the results, this is why some people find my views challenging, often bringing into doubt the advice of even the most respected Gurus.

I have been asked what gives me the right to question the teaching of our Wing Chun predecessors?

In a nutshell I am the guy that will be using it to prevent getting his ass handed to him.

A case in point, around about 2 years ago I was invited to a workshop at a friends school, the guest teachers were 2 of the most respected teachers from Hong Kong, on one occasion they were teaching something that really did not make any sense to me so I asked its purpose, I was told that it had no real purpose that it was only an exercise, when I asked what was the value in spending training time doing something without purpose I was again told that it was just an exercise.

Out of respect for my friends I left it at that, to prosecute the argument of practicality, one of the pillars of  Wing Chun,  would of done nothing but upset the other students present that valued that type of training.

I have significant fighting and sports experience, winning and loosing, something I know intimately is that violence and aggression when they are up in our faces is mind numbing.    

Injuries and debilitating knocks are part and parcel of any clash in any environment, no ones body is ever operating optimally if we cannot do something well enough when we physically do it wrong we are screwed.

Is Mind Logic worth the time spent training it?

Is Body Logic worth the time spent training it?

If there is a balance then absolutely shit yeah they are, but there needs to be balance.

Mind Logic develops the thought to do work, Body Logic develops the body to do work, but only Fist Logic does the work, this is the way of all disciplines, of all encounters, even in the workplace, as a Chef there have been many times when the orders just keep pouring in, so much work, looking around I could see my staff shell shocked and semi paralysed just by the thought of the work to be done and the short amount of time we had to do it in.

Mind numb, Body offline, the answer was to buckle in and make a Fist of it.

 

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Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: POSITIONING, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LINES WE CHOOSE.

 

 

Position in any martial art is all about getting off line, but which line?

 

The standard scenario envisioned by Wing Chun is that if we are set upon we reply to this attack with simultaneous attack and defence, followed by unrelenting attacks immediately finishing off the threat, job done in what we could call the “first phase” of the fight.

This is at the heart of most Wing Chun thinking, and the main reason we do not train dynamic movement or consider a need to study positioning, in the standard scenario they would never be needed.

What happens if we do not finish things in the “first phase”?

The standard follow up scenario is “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow” then rinse and repeat our earlier efforts, and again if this did happen it would work.

This may be acceptable from the point of view of Mind Logic or Body Logic, but not for Fist Logic.

There is no doubt at all that our biggest weapon in Wing Chun is surprise, fights can be over before the our opponent knows it has started, but even the best get things wrong, and when it happens do we really think that the Bad Guy would choose to repeat the same thing that had just failed  in the first phase?

If the Bad Guy goes to plan “B” what do we do?

When it does not work “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow” leaves us stranded like a Bunny in the headlights.

If the Bad Guy is a Judo player, or a Ju Jitsu player or just a very basic grappler we will never stop them taking us if we just stand there as in the standard scenario, where is our plan “B”?

Despite the fact that none of our Forms are about fighting, Chum Kiu and Biu Gee do contain some really clever footwork that readily converts into useable applications to gain strong positions for attack and defence, to really appreciate this footwork I get my guys to do the Forms without using any arm moves at all, just the footwork.

It is often said that of all our Forms the Dummy Form is full of fighting applications, but I think this is drawing a very long bow, at least half of the moves in the Dummy Form are flat out wrong due to the fact that the Dummy does not move and its frame prevents us from taking the side position correctly.

It does however offer some really good positioning concepts that really should be introduced much earlier.

Every move on the Dummy puts us on the outside of an attackers arm and teaches us how to take up the side position where the attackers other Arm {other than the one we intercepted} cannot strike us properly, this is very sound positioning theory and consistent with every other martial art.

A great deal of the footwork in the Dummy Form is at its heart evasive footwork, a hybrid of Chum Kiu and Biu Gee, that allows us to shift and rotate, there is nothing in the Dummy Form that goes hey diddle diddle, again this is very sound positional theory, it is interesting that there is not anything in the Dummy Form that reflects “Face the Shadow / Chase the Shadow”.

If we can combine the movement of both Chum Kiu and Biu Gee we end up with something very, very close to how Western Boxers move, once we recognise this there is a wealth of information on the net that we can learn from.

 

 

Position in any martial art is all about getting off line, but which line?

 

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Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: IS FIST LOGIC MISSING IN CHI SAU?

WING CHUN IS FIST LOGIC

 Wing Chun is a Fist Arts therefore the logic behind it is Fist Logic, which at its most instinctive level simply hits things.  Wing Chun is first and foremost about hitting  people. No matter what drill or activity we are involved in we should always measure it by the Fist Logic metrics of Simplicity, Practicality, Directness, Economy of Movement and Minimal use of Brute Force.

The five main Logics are not stand alone ideas, we cannot use one or two and ignore the rest, if we claim to do Wing Chun they must all be present.   They are “The Five Principles” and as close as Wing Chun comes to dogma.

There are sub logics that evolve from combinations of the Five,  sub logics are not so strict as the Five and allow some latitude, exceptions to the rule because reality is never like training.

Simultaneous defence and attack is a Sub Logic that is paramount to the Wing Chun Idea, where ever possible this approach is taken literally but in its wider sense it means hit at the earliest opportunity.

Another important sub logic is never using two arms to defend against one, we cannot implement simultaneous defence and attack if both arms are defending, in its wider sense though we can use two Lan Sau’s or Jit Sau’s to ward of a stick or high kick, we can employ a double Lap Sau to propel someone into an obstacle or a wall.

Once we seriously consider our actions by this metric, which means become serious and honest about Wing Chun it becomes clear that any action where a Bong Sau is used for defence is not working in accord with the Five, Bong Sau defies Fist Logic and if we can see past the theatre that is Chi Sau this means that it is not a working Wing Chun option. Thinking that Bong Sau is a viable option leads into all kinds of bad practice and misunderstanding, that infects all of the Chi Sau drills, the understanding that many students end up with from the Lap Sau drill also defies Fist Logic, and as such Wing Chun because there is a moment where we use two arms to defend against one.

 

 

Other important sub logics are to never fight force with force, to never carry our opponents weight, but Chi Sau play ignores this to a large extent as we grind, grind, chug, chug.   If we cannot see drills for what they are then they become something they are not and where never meant to be,  they become a parody that only works with friends in the training hall and they fail to deliver the intended result when it is really needed.  We need to see the seductive safety and elevated opinion of Chi Sau practice for what it really is.

 

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Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: FIST LOGIC – THE PARADOX OF DEFENCE.

 

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.

 

 

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?