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?
FIST LOGIC, VIDEO

MOVE OR STAND STILL?

MOVEMENT AND SEPERATION

 

Wing Chun is Boxing, that is what Kuen means.

 

Yet another Kung Fu Master has been humbled by an M.M.A. Fighter in China, here is a LINK to a video commentary on the event by the China-based professional fighter and trainer Ramsey Dewey, it is well worth watching, Ramsey never just puts people down,  he is polite, knowledgable and impartial.

One thing that always sticks out like Doggy Meat Bags to me is the almost complete absence of anything like dynamic or just plain old strategic movement by these Masters, this one just stood still while the M.M.A. Guy picked his spot, stepped in and turned his lights out.

Over the years I have had many conversations with Martial Artists who believe Wing Chun has no footwork, I would play with them and at least hold my own only for them to claim that I was using my old Boxing training and not Wing Chun.

Haters are going to hate no matter what we show them, but then during training at my Sifu’s school training partners would make the same accusations, I.M.O. this was just them trying to find excuses for not moving.

Wing Chun is loved by lazy students if we are honest.

Wing Chun is Boxing, that is what Kuen means.

Surely in the light of so many Kung Fu / Wing Chun hopefuls falling in a great big pile of doo-doo, we would do well to explore the similarities of what we do and what other styles or sports do?

Something we should all realise is that no part-time Martial Artist, living or dead,  would last long against a full-time professional Combat Athlete and we do ourselves and our style a disservice when we pretend that they would.

The following 2 videos are part of what I teach my students, some if not most of the information you may recognise if you watched my posts on throwing the discus and Wing Chun.

 

 

 

 

I advise all of my guys to get on Youtube and watch some Olympic Level fencing, Ice hockey, Speed skating, even a few episodes of ‘Come Dancing’, pretty much anything lively and to try to recognise movements that they use that could easily be from one of our Forms.

 

Movement is just movement, if you are in trouble the only wrong move is to not move.

 

TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESSES, WORK TO YOUR STRENGTH.

 

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

 

 

FIST LOGIC, VIDEO

SPORTS IDEAS FOR THE MARTIAL ARTS.

 

I am a firm believer that we cannot train for violence we can only train to control our own movement and our own decisions

 

To be expected I have a number of friends that are involved in the Martial Arts, a surprising number of them in Traditional Chinese Styles with traditional approaches, they often quiz me on why I put more stock in sports instruction than even the instruction from the very top teachers  of my own lineage, especially now that I am at Master level and have my own school and students.

The first thing I ask them to consider is the position that modern sports are a ritualistic replacement for combat, people engage each other with a vigour as intense and desperate as any violent encounter, at elite level even non contact sports tend towards what is essentially full contact and can readily slip into actual physical violence.

While  we as Traditional Martial Artists on the other hand are involved in training that never engages an opponent in anger with a real outcome to prosecute and secure, much if not all of our training is a lot closer to imagination than reality so can we honestly say that there is any practical difference between the moves used in Ritualistic Combat vs the moves from Traditional Martial Arts Sources?

Once we begin to ask honest questions we eventually come head first into the ugly question that asks “if we never use our training in anger how do we know it will work in anger”?

We don’t, none of us do including myself, I am not trying to set myself above anyone here, it has been approaching 10 years since I used my skill set to its obvious conclusion.

Relating back to sports I am not sure I would put my money on a player that has been out of the game for 10 years no matter how hard he trained, or who he trained with.

From a personal perspective I have been in enough violent encounters to know that each encounter was different from all the previous encounters, over the years  I have used numerous styles so the common denominator was not what I did, I did what I did in spite of my training not because of it, the only real common denominator was me as a person.

How I moved, how I reacted to stimulus how, how I read the play as the encounter unfolded.

I am a firm believer that we cannot train for violence we can only train to control our own movement and our own decisions, in the sports environment this could be advantageous positioning and intelligent shot selection, in a violent encounter it could be to get out of the Bad Guy’s way and hit him while he is not looking.

Some well known  issues in the M.A. training environment is that many students get a little too close to the target and try to hit it too hard, it is almost impossible to be aware of this as we do not have an accurate metric to measure it by, however if we are playing a ball sport, Tennis or perhaps BaseBall, being too close, even by as little as half an inch and trying to hit too hard always result in failure.

There is no practical difference between learning how to be in the right place at the right time using the correct timing and technique to hit a baseball or tennis ball as there is in hitting an opponent.

If we allow ourselves this freedom, and it is a case of allowance, blinding dogma is always a choice, we notice that at a base level all of the moves that create the impulse { Force times Time} to generate momentum are the same for every sport, every martial arts style every normal movement.

It is a Human Movement thing.

We Humans have a limited range of movements with which we perform all actions, as obvious as it is, it is of  no matter what we may think we are doing we can only move in a human way so to that end all of our moves in any endeavour  are the same thing from the same place, there is no special way of doing anything.

Once we see this it cannot be unseen and everything becomes the same, for instance the lateral body shift in the Chum Kiu Form is exactly the way a good baseball player hits a ball, baseball players practice in an environment that is a great deal closer to their sports reality than most of what we do in the Martial Arts.

 

 

Positional and structural ideas that Baseball Coaches think are important for hitting a base ball will crossover seamlessly into our practice of Chum Kiu, shot put and discus ideas crossover seamlessly into our Biu Gee practice, if we have the eyes to see without personal bias.

Below is the link I spoke of in the video, it is a bit long at 10 minutes but it is really well presented information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0lm_GigMJE&list=PLLTdvs1kZsQ6IEym7CzwOb0f_poNk2F2o&index=3&t=26s

 

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FIST LOGIC, VIDEO

BENEFITING FROM OUTSIDE INFLUENCES.

 

In top level professional Elite Sports if a player can improve by as little as 1% they can earn many millions of dollars in extra prize money

In the last post I spoke of changing our thinking and approach to moving in Wing Chun, and how if we can connect to other skills from other places, such as sports, then we can dramatically increase our rate of improvement.

Previously I focused on throwing skills and how they relate and can improve our understanding and application of Biu Gee, today I want to revisit how Ice Hockey and Speed Skating can improve our understanding and application of Chum Kiu.

But firstly we need to accept that there is no internal power in Wing Chun, as hopeful and tempting as that may be, standing still moving our arms will give us nothing we were not born with, everything is physical, in fact everything is Physics.

I occasionally get outside students from other schools or friends of friends coming to see me to help them with Chum Kiu.

I ask them to show me what they know and then apply resistance against their movement, in fairness if they knew what to do properly they would not be seeing me so to be expected they fail to move correctly.

I ask them “where are you moving from”?

The most common answer is “my centre”.

This is wrong.

All movement comes from the ground, not the hips, not the centre, these are the initiators of the force but not where we are moving from, this is a subtle but enormous difference, once we understand this we can begin to understand the fundamental aspects of Chum Kiu.

Straight off the bat we can explore this with an office chair.

It is the interaction with the ground that makes all movement, when the waist turns it creates torsion that is transferred into movement.

Without that connection to the ground all we can do is wiggle our butt.

It is the torsion in the leg that creates the down force that coupled with dropping the weight creates instant movement as soon as we remove any brakes we may of put in place, such as our other leg, a common error made by students that think the Y.C.K.Y.M. is an actual working stance.

The Y.C.K.Y.M. introduces us to the idea of torsion, allows us to experience it, feel it, trust it, to get what I mean think of it as being two rear legs in Chum Kiu being trained at the same time, which of course is what it is.

The torsion in the leg can be created in numerous ways, but the most effective for dynamic application, and the most natural is by turning the chest.

If we understand Core Winding and allow the upper body separation that we can learn from Biu Gee the act of turning the chest creates torsion with the waist and passes it down the kinetic chain via weight dispersion into the foot, then the ground, Newtons third law then turns this into movement.

When I was a nipper and learning the fundamentals of Skating for Ice  Hokey the coach would say when you turn you go top down, turn with your head not your feet, this is the same thing, the head turns the Chest and so on down to the feet, the legs and feet themselves do nothing except keep us upright.

When we do Chum Kiu in the training hall we can get many things wrong and never really notice, on the ice even the smallest errors in balance, weight dispersal, weight shifting and postural alignment can and usually do result in kissing the ice.

An error many students that spend too much time in the Y.C.K.Y.M frequently make is trying to keep the feet flat on the ground, this interferes with the alignment of the reaction force from the planet, in our everyday life when we walk there is a certain amount of natural pronation that occurs, we really must free up the ankles to allow natural pronation to occur where and when it is needed, we do not deliberately pronate the foot, but neither do we prevent it from happening.

Allowing the natural weight shift to pronate my foot, even if I just lean into it creates and action that pushes the floor, the resulting reaction moves me forwards, if I use torsion to pronate it has the effect of magnifying that action / reaction.

 

OTHER INPUTS from WC INCa’s on Vimeo.

 

The big difference between being on the ice and being in the training hall is all about traction, in the training hall our feet create traction with the floor that prevent us from realising we are minimally out of balance and alignment, or that we are building negative or at least contrary tension or torsion in our body, on the ice the traction is so slight that these negatives instantly effect our direction and stability.  Having even just a slight understanding of what it takes to be balanced on a slippery surface is a huge advantage on a sound surface.

In top level professional Elite Sports if a player can improve by as little as 1% they can earn many millions of dollars in extra prize money, it makes sense to cross reference everything we think we know against modern sports science.

 

TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS, WORK TO YOUR STRENGTH.

 

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?