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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY; PSYCHO-PHYSICAL, NEURO – MUSCULAR CONNECTIONS.

When I wish to look deeper into my own training I usually look towards sports or dance that share the same movements

All movement is a psycho-physical process, an outward expression of inner intent therefore we should engage our thinking and feeling to create a mental image to both inform and match the movement, there is a ton of empirical evidence that show the Human Brain fires up identically to thinking about an action, watching the same action or performing that action this is the Neuro – Muscular connection  I refer to.

Many people refer to this type of training as “Internal”, I am not a fan of this term as it too easily slips away into mumbo jumbo that practitioners cannot explain in general terms and is brought into disrepute by too many Chi Masters, another aspect of “Internal” that I am uncomfortable with is that at its heart “Internal” ideas stem from meditation practices, they are not very dynamic, whereas Psycho – Physical and Neuro – Muscular ideas stem from sports and application of sports science knowledge, very dynamic.

When I wish to look deeper into my own training I usually look towards sports or dance that share the same movements, in general sports and dance have easier accessed and far more accurate information about how best to use the Human Body. When I see any physical action used in sports or dance I try to find them in our Forms, they are of course present but hard to find due to their subtle appearance in the Forms.

With the next few posts I will try to explain my thinking on integrating the psycho – physical through comparing Chum Kiu and Biu Gee applications to the application of these same ideas in Basketball, Wrestling and Dance.

Sinking and rising on a purely physical level is straight forward manipulation of the Centre of Gravity, each action is the opposite of each other, but when we engage our mental image we do well to move along the lines of sinking the pelvis but rising the chest, when we take force into us we take it into our pelvis, this brings with it a feeling of condensing and settling into ourselves but when we issue it we should think of issuing it from our chest, this brings about a feeling of rising and stretching.

Wing Chun employs progressive training, each Form introduces separate components that require combining as we progress, through the First Form we develop and IDEA of  Body Unity, we create the Frame or Wing Chun Body, the Chum Kiu introduces sinking and rising of the Frame and the Biu Gee introduces compression and expansion of the Frame.  Intuitively this gives birth to becoming a heavier or a lighter presence, interpretations of stability and mobility.

Traditionally Chum Kiu shifting is done in a pretty flat lateral manner that does not develop a great deal of momentum, but if we add the Core Winding from Biu Gee to the shift it at once becomes dynamic and far more natural, the more we can integrate Biu Gee dynamics into the Chum Kiu the more fluid, powerful and natural we move.

 

 

 

When performing any exercises, or in fact when doing any Form, we can make these moves over large so that we can identify everything more easily, but in real application they would want to be a relatively small, large movement tends to be slower and less powerful than small movements.

 

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: WHY BIU GEE MUST BE PHYSICAL

 

He was asked “how do we know when we are on the right path”? He replied “you know you are on the right path when you do not know where you are , as soon as you think you know where you are, you are lost”!

Unfortunately for me the last 30 years have been marred by chronic back problems as result I have spent way too much time in the company of sports science doctors, osteopaths, muscular skeletal specialists and neurosurgeons, people who know how the body works, one thing I took away from this is that none of us are truly aware of why our body does what it does, in most cases we have it completely wrong, even those who know academically what is going on tend to fall for the same trap.

Most of this stems from the fact that we confuse our Mind with our Brain, but our Mind is not our Brain, there is a significant separation, mind works on the body via conscious thought whereas the brain works subconsciously.

From the brains perspective everything it does is to protect the body, to keep it healthy and keep it alive, nothing is about Martial Art, or Ballet or Football, but from the minds perspective everything is related to the the activity we are involved in.

For example no matter what the activity the instant we have the intention to move our arm the brain activates the muscles of the spine to support and protect the spine from the consequences of the intended action.

This is not Mindfulness, or Nim Lik or Chi, they all reside in consciousness, this is the brain – body link that works the same with babies as it does with Kung Fu Masters. Our body is making choices aimed at self protection it is not about the creation of outward forces.

INPUT v. OUTPUT.

Since the 1960’s and the coining of the term “Training Effect” our understanding of why our body changes through exercise activities has been hijacked, we now all believe that adding extra load through exercise conditions our muscles, makes us stronger and fitter and this allows for better force or energy output, but in reality our body – brain develops stronger muscles and a more robust system to deal with the incoming consequences of the increased activity. 

Some may see this difference as being more semantic than actual, but think what happens when we have an overuse injury, we tell everyone or perhaps our doctor tells us that we tried to do too much, it is an output problem ,when in fact the truth is that we did not put enough support in place for the load we were asking our body to carry, this is an input problem.

It makes very little real difference which perspective we hold either way the result is the same, and this is the reason that we must approach Biu Gee as a genuine conditioning exercise and engage it physically.

In application Biu Gee is capable of producing remarkable power, and when we contact something that power is returned to us via Newton’s reaction force, if we have not prepared the body to work easily with that increased load the consequences could be quite dire, getting injured in the middle of a violent encounter will not help things at all.

Bill Giu needs to be done right up to the limit of our physical body {however it is advisable that we approach our limit incrementally and with caution}, in this way we will in time be able to perform Biu Gee with much more effort than we would ever need to use and the reaction force incoming load will never be more than the body can support. It is important to do this from as early as possible, there will come a time in our lives when we can no longer improve our body, only maintain it. In the mid / late 1990’s Grand Master Chu Sheong Tin was at my Sifu’s School, when we began to discuss Biu Gee he asked my Sifu to demonstrate because he was now to old to ask so much of his body.  There was no doubt that he could still do Wing Chun but by his own admission he could no longer do Biu Gee as it should be done.

Over the last few decades there has been a movement within some quarters of the Wing Chun community to use no physical force, instead to use Nim Lik, Thought Force, Mindfulness or Chi, I do not wish to poke at this particular wasps nest but all of these things are aspects of  the mind, of consciousness, the body is controlled by the brain subconsciously.  It should be obvious that the conscious can never override the subconscious, because it is just not aware of it.  We cannot know something unknown.

Many years ago when I was involved in Yoga and Meditation we had a visiting Swami from India, when asked at a workshop “He was asked “how do we know when we are on the right path”? He replied “you know you are on the right path when you do not know where you are , as soon as you think you know where you are, you are lost”!

 

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT. IMPACT FORCES v. INTERNAL FORCE.

Trying to claim that the what we do is suddenly “Internal” because the thinking that generates the energy is Internal  is like saying our television is steam or coal powered because that is how the energy that operates the T.V. is produced.

One of the guiding principles of Wing Chun is PRACTICALITY, my own Sifu Jim Fung would go so far as to say that if it is not PRACTICAL it is not even Wing Chun, so why is it that some Wing Chun schools are becoming obsessed with so called “Internal” training?

I have had people punch me and genuinely think they are using “Internal” force but they make contact with their fist, by way of their arm, by way of their body mass, all of which are “External”. It really does not matter what mind games they are playing with themselves everything that happens is external and physical and has nothing to do with internal or mystical.

Power is equal to the amount of weight we can transfer, attack or defence in Wing Chun we give the opponent our weight, there is no internal connection to our body weight, there is no kind of thinking that can change our weight.

Imagine what Jenny Craig would do with that if there were?

Contact with another body is all about momentum, what we may or may not think caused the movement is quite unimportant, contact is where the work is done, movement is just the bus to work.

Let us look at this in another way, if I am employing  “Internal” thinking, and I throw a brick at you that hits you in the head, within the brick there would be no circulation of Chi, no Song, no Jing, no Hsin, in other words nothing Internal / Mystical just a moving brick, its hits you in the head, you fall down, job done. 

Could I still claim that I am using “Internal” Kung Fu?  

What difference to the brick or the outcome of the contact would it make if I was or was not thinking “Internal”?

How is this in any way different from what people are doing when they punch while thinking of their “Internal  Mysticism”?

How are we abiding by the principal of PRACTICALITY by doing one thing while thinking something else?

Impact Force is always external,  no matter what you may think generates the power.  Trying to claim that the what we do is suddenly “Internal” because the thinking that generates the energy is Internal  is like saying our television is steam or coal powered because that is how the energy that operates the T.V. is produced.

My own Sifu, Hong Kong born, raised and trained, who was remarkably skilful in Wing Chun and freakishly powerful would refer to any mention of “Internal” energy as Chinese Mumbo Jumbo, incredibly some of his own students that had become enamoured of the Mystical IDEA of the Internal would say “ He may not believe in it but he uses it”!   WTF?  My Sifu did not know what he was doing but somehow they did!

Beyond a doubt there is something going on, but what is it? Can it even be trained or are some people simply getting distracted from the real work?

Nim Lik or Kundalini?

Kundalini, “the coiled one” is part of the Dharma in ancient Indian spirituality that made its way into Chinese Buddhism and Daoism, it is vehicle for meditation that undoubtably existed at the Shaolin monastery, many people that say they practice Nim Lik or Thought Force are really involved in trying to raise Kundalini, the practice of Dai Gung is a shortened version of Mula Bandha, the yoga lower spirit lock.

I myself believe that Kundalini is real, but it is a spiritual practice and not a practical practice.

Once humans get involved with a spiritual practice it is not very long before reality flies out of the window, it is a short and slippery slope from practising Nim Lik to pushing people around without making any contact.

The study and practice of Kundalini {Nim Lik} is essential in the building of a bridge between who we are and our higher self, but this same bridge is destroyed forever by the study and practice of violence {Kung Fu}, they are incompatible, in fact in the Yogic traditions using Kundalini for negative reasons, such as powering a Martial Art is considered evil and self destructive and a absolutely certain way to NEVER achieve enlightenment or mindfulness as it is oft refered to these days.  You cannot become a higher person by learning how to beat people up, the myth of the Spiritual Warrior is the same fantasy as the Kung Fu Hero.

But without doubt there is something extraordinary that becomes available through deliberate, diligent, functional Martial Arts training.

I do not think that there are many intelligent people that would deny the existence of INTRINSIC ENERGY, which can appear as  limitless and incredibly powerful, we see it frequently in elite sportsmen, effortless power, the thing is that INTRINSIC ENERGY is inherent, natural and inborn, it is what it is, it is already what it will always be, it cannot be enhanced or circulated it is beyond human control, saying otherwise is at best self delusional and at worst deliberately deceptive for dishonest gain.

Highly skilled Wing Chun practitioners can do things that may to the ignorant or low skilled seem like magic but it is easily checked out and seen to be the Physics of the natural world.

If imagining hidden forces and energies circulating the body help you get out of your own way and begin to act naturally then it is not all bad, except for the wasted time, however trying to say that it is something “Internal” that needs to be developed and groomed and worked on is moving in completely the wrong direction, it is moving in the direction of the “Law of Attraction”, lets be honest how many people do you know that believe in and practice the “Law of Attraction” who actually have the Lamborghini and the Big house?

Physical contact, impact forces, impulse, momentum and kinetic energy are all real, measurable and observable in everyday life, they exist in and of themselves, they are part of the human experience and not something that needs to be shaped to be used, just understood.  Wing Chun is based on and firmly centred in “Normal Human Body Movement”.

If you are a serious Martial Artist that wishes to develop a long lasting and effective skill set I agree that it is important to align yourself with one particular Master / Style but this Masters / Styles instruction, information must operate in accord with the Master of Natural Physics.

Sifu Isaac Newton.

I FIND MOMENTUM SO IMPULSIVE. LOL.

 

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W.C.W. DAI GUNG = YOGA.

IT ALL STARTED WITH BODHIDHARMA {TA MO}.

bodhidharma

Recently one of my Students commented that they could not source any good information about the practice of Dai Gung, something that is widely followed in my Lineage of Wing Chun.

The main reason was that he was looking in the wrong places, he was looking in Wing Chun and then Kung Fu locations when this aspect is not even Chinese.

The practice of Dai Gung, in fact the idea behind the whole physical set up in Wing Chun and other Southern Fists is from the Indian Practice of  MAHA BANDHA or the Great Locks.

Continue reading “W.C.W. DAI GUNG = YOGA.”

Wing Chun Wednesday

W.C.W. 09-07-2014

DEVELOPING INCH POWER – FA JING.

Developing Inch Power is something every Wing Chun practitioner should be taking an active interest in, in many ways developing “Inch Power” is exactly the opposite as developing Nim Lik, and because of this and the fact that so many Wing Chun Practitioners spend the majority of their time trying to develop Nim Lik, Fa Jing is conspicuous by its absence, which is very sad because once you have developed Nim Lik it is Fa Jing that delivers it, this fact is often overlooked in the quest for “Thought Force”.

Inch Power / Fa Jing is the “EXPLOSION” of energy “ON AND INTO” the Target, and not as is very often explained as “ACCELERATING THROUGH” the Target.

Using acceleration is almost a misunderstanding.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

A great deal of the misunderstandings in Wing Chun stem from not questioning your Sifu’s use of the English language, my own Sifu spoke exceptional English, but quite often what he said did not match up with what he wanted us to do, our Idiomatic Connections with words like “RELAX” have little to do with being “ACTIVE”, and out Idiomatic Connection with “ACCELERATION” is so tightly bound up with Motor Cars that we think it goes on forever, constant unending acceleration, these Idiomatic Connections are Cultural Connections and not something we think deep and long about, they are at a level below conscious choice.

The “GOOD NEWS” is that once you change your understanding of the “Word” your actions automatically change in accordance with your new understanding. 

It is usually in the Bill Gee Form that you start to work on Inch Power / Fa Jing, this is not because it is somehow an advanced aspect of training but simply because, as my Sifu told me, “This is where the Information is kept”, this is one of the reasons that I advocate studying all the Forms a soon as possible, some very “Basic Information” is stored in the later Forms.

But in saying this Inch Power / Fa Jing is already present in the First Form in many places, most noticeable is the Jut Sau action.

Many Students work on developing Nim Lik through out all of the First Form {there is nothing wrong with this if it is what you do}, and then work on maintaining it while active in the CHUM KIU FORM, this is {in my opinion} why Inch Power / Fa Jing is not introduced until the BILL GEE FORM, simply to prevent confusion, and an overload of information.

Times have changes significantly since the synthesis of Wing Chun, people are far more comfortable dealing with multiple trains of thought at once so perhaps this practice has become outdated.

With my own Students I get them to work on developing Nim Lik in only the “A” Section of the First Form, and then they can work on Inch Power / Fa Jing in the “B” Section of the First Form, in this manner their progress is far more balanced, and readily accessible, at least in my opinion.

Inch Power / Fa Jing lives in the Gap between “Ultimate Angle” and contact with the Target, the “Acceleration”  only covers the distance to “Full Extension”, and usually contact is made inside this Zone creating acceleration “INTO” the Target.

The majority of movements in the “B” Section achieve “Full Extension” so I find this to be a great vehicle for Inch Power / Fa Jing development.

Some Students that are not up to date with my methods see me or my Students doing the “B” Section, introducing “Inch Power”, they MISUNDERSTAND SO CONFIDENTLY that they tell me I am doing it wrong.

When developing Inch Power / Fa Jing through the “B” Section simply explode to extension on every move, it is important that this action is not destroying your Stability and Structure, because the overall “Idea” is to issue your energy it is important to exhale strongly as you extend, in other Arts this would be a Kaia or the Ha of Tai Chi, the OOSH of Western Boxing and the overriding feeling should equal a violent sneeze.

Once the “Idea” and feeling of this Sneeze / Explosion begin to make some kind of sense it is relatively easy to take it into your Pivots, Shifts, Parries and Latches.

The development of Nim Lik is the collection and storage in the Body of “Intrinsic Energy”, Inch Power / Fa Jing is the issuing of the “Intrinsic Energy” into the Opponent.

Understanding only one aspect of the Nim Lik / Fa Jing connection if of very little real value, both are equally necessary and equally important. Power with no means of delivery, or a delivery system with nothing to deliver are equally useless.

A very basic understanding of how to connect your Multi Vector Force, Kinetic Linking , Nim Lik and Fa Jing is achievable in a very short time with a good instructor, and it will at least quadruple your Power.

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