Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday


Springy Force, sometimes referred to as Forward Force is one of the conceptual aspects of Wing Chun that means different, often very different things to different Instructors, I am not talking about Constant Forward Pressure, I see Springy Force and Constant Forward Pressure as two separate and almost unrelated IDEA’s, it is at times like this that the inherent weakness of a “Conceptual Martial Art” hits us smack in the face.

This is the stuff that fuels inter school arguments and turns intelligent students into, well, lets call them myopic partisans.

Wing Chun’s original traditions are oral, so for me I tend to start with the words used, and the pictures that those words evoke.

What are the qualities of a spring?

  1. A spring compresses { or stretches} under force.
  2. A spring decompresses { or contracts} as the force weakens and returns to its natural state.

This is a completely passive action, if no force is applied it is impossible to tell a spring apart from a helical shaped steel statue.

The compression / decompression that the spring undergoes is the result of an outside influence, and not a reaction brought about by conscious choice or even training.

“Stick with what arrives, follow with what departs”.

We do not bring Springy Force into existence, but obviously we lay down the conditions for it to spontaneously appear.

We build the spring.

One thing that a spring is not is resistant to force, it is not rigid or tense, so an important component of the spring is a lack of tension, the ability to accept the incoming force and allow it to pass through to the ground, in certain Constructional and Mechanical Engineering examples springs are used as supports that are only expected to carry weight, to compensate for vibration and only ever compress, never push back.

This is a very good approximation of Wing Chun Springy Force.

Another characteristic of a spring is that as the force is decreased the spring decompresses, eventually returning to its uncompressed state, a spring can never get any bigger than its natural size, Springy Force does not and never can expand.

There are schools that teach Springy Force as an active, physical pressing  thinking that Springy Force will automatically turn your defence into an attack by virtue of your decompression becoming a strike.

Springy Force does not and never can expand, it goes against the laws that rule our universe, expansion is pushing, pushing is not good Wing Chun.


This is a surprisingly tricky thing to come to terms with both physically and mentally, mainly due to the fact that we must integrate three distinctly individual aspects of  our Wing Chun training, S.L.T. Chi Sau and Intention.

There is a potential weakness in the way a lot of schools analyse the S.L.T. in that the student expands his Arms structure against incoming force, this can easily lead the student to think that Springy Force actively presses outwards, if you are training with a highly knowledgable Instructor this is  not such a problem as they will clearly explain why you are doing it backwards, but at this stage most people are taught by relatively Junior Instructors and receive mixed messages.

Chi Sau is a method to “stick with what arrives”, to roll the incoming force down the helix and into the ground, what is difficult to grasp early on is that this is the same mechanism that once the force weakens allows the force to return up the helix, “follow with what departs”, there is no need for anything to change, it is completely passive.

If there is an “active ingredient’ then it is Intention, but it is the Intention of S.L.T. the blueprint that we develop and not the Intention to action.

Through S.L.T. training we discover where our arms belong, where they operate efficiently, it is the Intention of having our Arms in that place, or more accurately one of the many places that we discover through Chi Sau, not pushing or trying to force them there, just the knowledge that that is where they need to be that creates Springy Force.

Springy Force comes into existence through the laws of physics and not through Wing Chun training, our training really only teaches us how to not inhibit it.

Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday



EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to film or take pictures in Tehran. An Iranian Fateh (Victor) missile is launched during a test at an unknown location in central Iran September 27, 2009. Iran test-fired short-range missiles on Sunday to show it was prepared to head off any military threat, four days before the Islamic Republic is due to hold rare talks with world powers worried about its nuclear ambitions. REUTERS/Fars News/Ali Shayegan (IRAN MILITARY POLITICS) QUALITY FROM SOURCE

Without intending to sound like a broken record Training is not Fighting, what you learn in training you may never use in a fight and of course training in Wing Chun is teaching you Wing Chun and not teaching you how to fight.

Wing Chun has a certain philosophy and if you are doing something with a Wing Chun shape or Wing Chun idea that does not follow the Wing Chun Philosophy then it is simply not Wing Chun.

Continue reading “W.C.W. THE PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE.”

Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY, 15 – 07 – 2015



I mentioned that there are certain results that I look for in any combination of actions.

Hurt, {Cause Pain, Damage}.

Disorient {change their ideas, physically move them around}

Compromise Balance.


HURTING PEOPLE is something that a Civilised Person does not want to do, Society in general would not of progressed if it was natural to hurt others. We are a Species that survived by forming groups and working together, as a result hurting other members of the group was not tolerated, if you transgressed you where exiled from the group, and without the groups support you did not survive. This is a Genetic Memory, and it is difficult for normal civilised people to depart from this way of behaving.  In fact this memory is so ingrained many people get surprised when someone acts out in any way different from what they would do, they expect the world to be like them.

Continue reading “WING CHUN WEDNESDAY, 15 – 07 – 2015”

Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 08 – 07 – 2015


Edmonton - April 9, 2009 -Kris Andrews (Edmonton, in white shorts), left, takes on Anthony Osbourne (Miami, FL, in red shorts) in the blue corner, at the Blunt Force Trauma boxing card at the Shaw Conference Centre. Andrews wins by decision.

More than once my Wing Chun Brothers have commented upon my approach to teaching Wing Chun as being overly aggressive, my Sifu’s son branded me a Thug, all because I believe that when you hit someone you should really hurt them, and that you should always be looking to knock them out.

Continue reading “WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 08 – 07 – 2015”

Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

W.C.W. 13-05-2014



Anyone that has spent more than just a few years studying Wing Chun will tell you that it is more about how you get your Head working than it is about your Body.

The very fact that that the core elements are based around a “Little Idea” should be a dead give away.

Wing Chun is at least 50% mental, if you are focusing on the Physical aspects then you are at best only working on 50%.

My own Sifu would frequently drop what I would call “Thought Bombs” on us at training, little comments or statements that would elicit an immediate W.T.F.

Thinking on these “Thought Bombs” would often just create more questions.

In many ways he was doing what Edward DeBono does when he uses the word “PO”.  A “po” is an idea which moves thinking forward to a new place from where new ideas or solutions may be found. It is a provocation, the “Idea” being to use the most obvious answer to act as a new departure point.

One particular incident that really acted upon myself as a “PO” was the time in training when Sifu was supervising us in the “Shifting Double Bong Sau” movement from the Chum Kiu Form, apparently out of nowhere Sifu put his hand on my Shoulder and asked…………………

“What is moving, and what is being moved”?

I thought for a moment and answered “My Shoulders are moving, my Arms are being moved”

“But how about your Feet”?

At that point it all just expanded and left me speechless {quite a rare event I assure you}.

I have no idea if this was my Sifu’s intention, it could simply be that my own long term involvement in Lateral Thinking  took me to a different place, but my Sifu was very intelligent, very well educated {Western Education} and had a cheeky sense of humour {Humour is pure Lateral Thinking} so I think it was part if not all of his intention.

Finding different approaches to the usual problems of Wing Chun can be like looking at a room through different windows, the contents are all the same, but the order they appear in is now very different, and that can radically change your opinion. For one thing, things that where hidden before suddenly appear “Up Front and Centre”, like a Chair tucked under a Table.

Some “PROVOCATIONS” I use with my own Students are the fore mentioned..

PO. “What is moving, and what is being moved”?

But also.

PO. “What direction does Tarn Sau move in”?

PO. “What do you call a Bong Sau that moves backwards”?

The number of possible “PO” questions are limited only by your own imagination, but remember the aim is not to come up with a definitive answer, but to open up your perception.


Another useful tool is contemplation, this is almost the opposite of PROVOCATION, the aim being to take a Statement and to study it, to make it smaller and smaller until it just becomes a feeling, an intimate, innate understanding that permeates the very heart of everything you do and think in Wing Chun.

Here are 3 Statements that I believe to be totally correct that I use with my Students with an eye to Contemplation and deep understanding.

1. A Circle is a shape and not a size.

2. There is only one movement in all of Wing Chun.

3. No Wing Chun movement moves in a direction towards the Bad Guy / Opponent…… not even when you Punch him.

Human beings have great difficulty placing ourselves in the “Real World”, everything is overshadowed, coloured and affected by our EGO.


It is very difficult to reconcile something as simple as Vision, as in Sight, looking at things.

Most people feel that when you look around a room you sweep your vision across the objects in the room a little bit like using a Torch.

In truth it is almost the opposite, we rotate our Head so that the light reflected off the objects can enter our Brain by way of the Eyes.

What you think is “OUT THERE’ is actually an image displayed somewhere in the back of your Head.

There is no OUT THERE.

There is only IN HERE.