Friday, August 29, 2014

First Ever Vancouver Wing Tsun Butterfly Knives Seminar

As part of my Si-Fu’s plans for 2014, advanced students at our school had the pleasure of attending the first ever Wing Tsun butterfly knives (bat cham do).

For those that aren’t familiar with the weapons, you can check out this wiki page.

There was a huge variety of butterfly knives at the seminar – although of the similar premise/shape, there were different weights, materials, sizes, lengths, and details across the board. Some felt easier to grip in my hand, others less cumbersome to maneuver and others that had too many pointy edges and were not pleasurable to train with.

I had the pleasure of using my colleagues butter fly knives – which happened to be one of the bigger knives if not the biggest one there! Not only could you stab and slash your opponent, I’m pretty sure I could bitch-slap them too considering how wide these knives were ;)

The entire seminar lasted about 6 hours. All we “managed” to get through was the entire Bat Cham Do form. Here are my major observations: · The is considerably longer than that of the long pole · This is part due to the repetitive nature of the movements, repeating movements on each side (left and right) ·

The movements, as described that day, seemed to be used to fight against very traditional kung fu weapons. I wonder how it would fair against other weapons and systems (eg. Escrima stick, broad sword, baseball bat, etc) ·

There’s an inherent sense that not much is known about the last form in the wing tsun system – many questions, interpretations, lack of history, especially when compared to the other forms found in the system. I should stress that I don’t mean that there was a lack of information but it just feels that we know so much more about the Siu Nim Tao, its history, it’s variations, it’s applications compared to the Bat Jam do. ·

The form feels more like a typical kung fu form, or karate kata than say the other forms found in the WT lineage (same goes with the long pole). I think it would be fun to perform this and the long pole form with the visual flair and expression of my previous days back in Karate/Kung fu.

I did notice that for students who have not been exposed to other martial art styles, it may be worth spending time to learn proper stance and footwork. Many regressed to the typical wing tsun stances we’ve practiced for years, understandably so.

I do think, however, there should be focus on proper stance training, footwork, etc and then deviating from that as the student gets comfortable with the stance and its functional capabilities.

It was another great seminar – it was jam packed with information and now it’s just about practicing the form to get the movements into me. Lots of fun!

 Until then.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Toughen Up Bitch!

Does this make you tougher? I was forwarded this youtube clip from a fellow WT colleague. Apparently it’s a lesson on making your students tougher – getting hit and hitting. Take a moment to watch this.

While the point of the drill is significant, I think this drill is more a waste of time and a bullying opportunity for the instructor rather than a teaching moment for the student. Yes there is some benefit to getting hit and to dolling out hits, but in the context of the drill, you only need a few minutes to get the idea.

If we’re here to toughen up the student there are plenty of more productive ways of doing this in my opinion. The definition of ‘tough’ is multi-layered as well and applies to more than just taking hits.

• Endurance challenge drills
• Intensity challenge drills
• Stress drills
• Circuit training

I’m not necessarily referring to weight-training or resistance training. It can also be used in the context of various wing chun drills as well. But the idea here is that it’s mentally and physically pushing the boundaries of the student’s comfort zone and just giving it his/her all.

Just receiving hits doesn't do any of this really and you can see the fairly slow pace/intensity of the drill..poor kid is just getting hit and that’s about all the value he’s getting out of it. I also think a good sparring session will be a great teacher here as well and also teaches the student how it feels to get hit and in a very unpredictable fashion.

It’s also high intensity and a test of endurance and stress – all at the same time. A few sparring sessions will teach you so much and very quickly. I really believe that, in the context of some wing chun schools, sparring is under-valued especially for students that have never done it before.

There are so many other ways to ‘toughen’ up and for some, it’s more mental than physical. What mental drills are ever taught or practiced? Many may wonder what this means.. Growing up, we suffer trauma as children – either getting bullied, parents being very abusive, injuries or accidents as kids, sickness, illness – all these factors have played into our belief systems, our confidence and our self-esteem which is expressed in our behaviours and possibly our lack of ‘toughness’.

Something to think about.

Until then.

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