Monday, March 31, 2008

Form Follows Function

Form follows function? true or false.

What about in wing tsun?

"We" make great strides in emphasizing how tan shall look, how stance shall look, where are elbows are in relation to fists, torso...why? if all we need is the function, why teach the form? why not just teach the function?

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? DNA or RNA? tan sao or what tan sao is supposed to do?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To Come

I've been keeping up with my blog since its inception, regularly and with discipline. Come spring/summer, be ready for some video clips to complement my blogs and possibly, some workout routines to get the blood going and to add some flare to your current wing tsun regimen. I would welcome any suggestions you may have.

One thing I've found incredibly difficult is to express wing chun with words that will distinguish it from other arts. I mean, phrases like "yield to a greater force" or "use your opponents strength" are said in every other art, but IN MY OPINION, not applied as such. And those of you reading now already don't believe me. Well, let's hope video can better demonstrate.

Otherwise I'll just forward you my address and I will show you myself.*

Until then.

*Disclaimer: will only happen if you're an attractive single female.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Testing the Waters

How do you know what you're learning in wing chun class works? How do you take it to that "unscripted" level to see exactly what you know and what you may not? Although I'm sure many do, I hope you don't just think that it just will.

Some people might associate chi-sao skill with fighting skill. Others may measure their skills by comparing themselves to their wing tsun class mates. Others may inflict pain on their co-operative training partners and assume that to be an accurate reflection of skill.

Others go sparring with friends or colleagues of martial art systems. This is what I did. What a great learning experience. However, I've found that as I get older, the opportunity to spar with others within the same experience/skill level/commitment diminishes as well.

So what do you do? how do you know you've got the goods? that you can walk the walk?

What have I done? I've done the sparring thing with various martial arts including MMA. And let me make it clear, it's not something I'm bragging about. In each session, I've learned valuable lessons. Some moments of victory, others of insight and opportunity. It makes me what I am today. What are YOU today?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wow..

Not sure if some of you are aware of this guy, but Mr. Carlos Lee has created a name for himself. Well, actually I don't know about that I have to say his site has given me some very good chuckles. You have to take a look at this - this guy teaches wing chun, jeet kuen do, taekwondo, thai boxing, shaolin and - I think this has got to be my favourite - self defense (so is he saying that his thai boxing, taekwondo, shaolin kung fu is no good for self-defense???)

It's the equivalent of a restaurant that offers wonton noodle soup, tacos, gelato, steak and raw oysters (yea, like I would eat there). Hey, I'm not saying he doesn't have skill or whatnot, but the marketing is dreadful and typical of many schools out there. Let this be a lesson, when someone markets themselves as master in more than one martial art, you better run the other way.

Take a look at his video clips too. Apparently, he's had some challenge matches. Ok, i'm sorry, these are not challenge matches. These are chi-sao drills. Not the same thing, dude. As a "free-fight" school, it should be pretty clear that chi-sao is not fighting. I would love to see an MMA guy walk in to "roll" with the instructor, after all, it is a free fight school - so why not show some free fighting not some horrible display of boxing or kick boxing (might as well join a decent kick boxing school!)

Let's make it clear that I'm not saying I'm better than him...just some interesting observations.

Anyway, there's my rant.

Until then.

Monday, March 17, 2008

You Down?

This is a call to all those who may be interested in a little side project - I'm looking for 3-4 people who would like to be in a little short film. It will most likely be a whole bunch of mini fight sequences put together with the goal of making Wing Tsun look good, powerful, and believable, yet entertaining on camera. Anyone with filming/editing experience would be great and anyone with stunt/wushu experience is always good to have, but most importantly he/she must want to have fun and help show off WT.




Wednesday, March 12, 2008

JKD

Jeet Kune Do - the way of the intercepting fist. JKD is incredibly popular, and some may argue that it paved the way/mentality for the mixed martial arts. If so, Bruce was definitely ahead of his time. As any wing chun practitioner would see, the philosophy of JKD is heavily grounded in wing chun: centreline theory, economy of motion, heck - even the name!

But where has it come to now? It's been overshadowed by MMA - the popular formula being a mix of boxing/thai boxing/ground fighting. I'm sorry but that does not make it JKD. In fact, it's not even MMA anymore -it's just thai boxing + ground fighting - it's like it's very own style of fighting and bound to it. How is that freestyle? JKD is beyond ground and pound - it's internal and starts within the person. It's not about learning all the latest or coolest moves. Learning the latest killer style is the equivalent of throwing money at a problem. The solution starts within and extends outwards not the other way around. Do you really think that learning dim mak # 23 is going to make you a better fighter? How about learning the latest ground fighting style? same thing.

JKD, to me, has nothing to do with the tools. It's a perspective and independent of the style of martial art.

Until then.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Superb Chi Sao

This clip has got to be one of the best, if not the best, demonstrations of chi sao, regardless of the lineage or style of wing chun. The music's not bad either (compared to the other clips on the web). For those that don't know, this is a clip of Emin Boztepe performing chi-sao. Originally from EWTO and the AWTO, you can now find him teaching his own brand of wing chun, EBMAS.

When you see this, I don't even comprehend how another can rationalize their chi-sao as any good. Take a look at this clip. This guy is one of the more well-known wing chun guys out there. Crap, compared to "superb chi-sao".

The "superb chi-sao" clip elegantly expresses Chinese philosophy in kung fu fashion - yin/yang, free flow and transition, while maintaining control, dominance and cool.

The other clip, you can see moments of tension, moments of forced outcomes, hesitation, and an implicit power struggle.

Also note how in the second clip, it's pretty obvious these guys don't hit the weights, but yet their arms are so tense at various times, compared to "superb chi-sao". Interesting observation, hey?

And before I get spammed, note that I'm only talking about chi-sao, NOT fighting skill.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Simulation Fighting

In karate, karateka believed that point sparring or full contact sparring was the next best thing to a real fight.

In kick boxing, a boxing match is the next best thing to a real fight.

In MMA, apparently it's the ultimate replica of a realistic fight. In fact, the statistic that 99% of all fights end up on the ground or clinch originated from the grappling arts and MMA popularity.

Sorry folks, but the truth is that in all instances, none can replicate the real conditions of a fight.

Sure, they may argue that some are closer than others to a real fight scenario. But why not make it as realistic as possible? You know, kind of like how the army trains - in a dessert scenario, with guns, tactical drills, desert like conditions, injured soldeirs, crowded buildings, along corridors, etc etc. You don't see them practicing in a cement box within an open area.

So why don't we extend this type of realism to fighting? Have a simulated bar scenario, or an empty parking lot, or a crowd of people? With cement, grass, glass, sand, tables or whatever that is reflective of the simulated environment we're trying to capture? They should hold MMA competitions in there. That would make most sense wouldn't it?

Monday, March 3, 2008

We're Human After All

It has been mentioned many times that Wing Tsun looks like tai chi or aikido, or kick boxing and karate, or anything except wing chun. I find it interesting that many those who make that observation also say it like it's weird, or surprising, or pleasant.

To me it's not surprising at all. It demonstrates that effective fighters fight similarly and that, we as humans, are bound to the laws that govern us all - gravity, our 4 limbs and their associated joints, strengths and limitations of our body, etc. The end result is that our bodies can only move in so many limited ways to create a desired effect. Yes, there are some variations, but in the end we are all working off of the same platform.

So good karate looks very much like good wing tsun which looks very much like good boxing.

Perhaps this suggests that styles that deviate too much from what binds all good fighters/martial artists together are not good?

You know, like capoeira. ;)


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