Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Uncooperative Partners

When you're training a specific exercise or drill, do you ever think about how this same drill would be executed against an uncooperative partner? When I say "uncooperative" I mean, not that he's not sticking to the drill, but that acts in a way to avoid your attacks, either pushing, pulling, covering up, attacking back, resisting, etc etc.

A big problem with WT is that it's training is generally done against an uncooperative partner, OR, against someone who may be uncooperative but vulnerable either because both partners are participating in chi-sao OR one is in the lat-sao/advancing stance position. For most people, both stances are very vulnerable to many attacks, while a kickboxing/MMA stance would at least allow for some kind of cover-up defense position.

What this does is it could give the WT instructor or student the false sense that his techniques may work since he's able to execute multiple hits. But what he's forgotten is that the person receiving the hits is in the vulnerable lat-sao or chi-sao stance. When fighting someone else, how often would you face someone who would take that kind of default position? if anything, nature would call for the person to cover up or to push away...so why don't we train against someone who does exactly this?

It's easIER, in my opinion, to pull off program three lat-sao off another person learning WT because they've been taught to 1) cooperate 2) maintain the square shoulders (easier to trap hands) and 3) not pull back (first principle says go forwards, second says stick with what comes) - the end result, you can pull off the cool back fists and "trapping".

But what if you tried program three against a karateka? He would pull his punches back instantly. Maybe after he gets whacked w/ the first backfist, he may reverse punch you in the ribs. Maybe you can't easily trap both hands because his shoulders are turned. And the list goes on.

Until then.


Monday, April 28, 2008

No Surprise

So we just had our annual Wing Tsun vancouver dinner on friday. Good times! Good to see the familiar faces in a more casual setting and to see some of the older faces too :) I like how it gives us the opportunity to know the person more on a different level beyond merely being a target.

At one point in the evening my instructor gives us a rundown of his Calgary seminar. Interesting I have to admit. From what I can understand, it seems that the function of WT has been lost and substituted in place for the form of WT. Makes sense as form is much easier to teach, and more lucrative. My instructor talked about how unfamiliar the participants were of stepping beyond 100/0 weighting, beyond simply chain punching - in other words, they were only exposed to "text book form" of WT. The concept of functionality is gone, as such, the idea of deviating from 100/0 weighting and centerline attacks is non-existent.

Some might think that the idea of functional wing tsun is nothing more my Sifu or myself repackaging WT in a way as of "bastardized wing tsun" and that true/real wing tsun is simply chain punching and the "traditional" stepping. But, my friends, this is not true all. I want you take a look at this clip with Emin Boztepe at a much younger age. Ignore the hands and the attacks. Look at his legs. Observe his footwork. It's alive - his legs are revving like an engine ready to take off. You can see, during the defense against the stick, how his legs and stance are not your traditional concept of WT - again, it's alive - it's natural. The 100/0 function is there when he needs it, but not there when he doesn't. This is functional wing tsun - it's always been there. Unfortunately, it seems that it's rarely being taught this way anymore.

Oh well, makes us look way better! how lucky we are...

Until then.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Seminars

As mentioned in my previous blog, my instructor held a seminar in Calgary over the weekend. I still don't have the details just yet, but it seems that the feedback has been very positive. This is great - the environment was very friendly and, importantly, very energized. This is exactly what we all need. It's interesting to see how, even within the same lineage, communication of the same information can be delivered in completely different ways and be seen as..well.."different" or innovative!

I understand that some from the Calgary school will be making it out to the Vancouver Seminar - look forward to meeting them. To them, what may seem like normal everyday routine things, may be, to me, completely renewed and refreshing ideas to incorporate into my current scheme of things.

Until then.

Monday, April 21, 2008

This and That

Some bullet points:

  • My call for volunteers for various fight sequence shoots. C'mon people! I need more than a couple people to make this work. Ideally 4 altogether. This is a major project and it'd be great to have you guys on board to put WT on the (theatrical) map.
  • My Si-Fu is currently holding a seminar out in Calgary. Heard the turn out has been great. I really wish I could be there. Hoping to get an update and share with the rest of you. It's always exciting to meet new people with the same goal to aspire in their chosen art.
  • What do you guys do when you miss class? Unfortunately, for myself, I've been pre-occupied with a new position at work, as well as moving/renovations into my apartment. It's been hectic and will only continute for a while. I use my blog as method to curb my cravings for WT (beyond chain punching/shadow boxing/etc). What about you guys?
Until then.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is MMA?

Mixed Martial Arts, aka MMA, is mainstream martial arts. It's like the Justin Timberlake of martial arts if you will - the thing to do, the latest and greatest. It's great to see how fast this sport has taken off. I do remember when it first started out - the commentators were boring, the fights were more gruesome, definitely less showmanship, and lower budget. But they definitely marketed it as the future of martial arts, and boy were they right!

But, MMA has, paradoxically, taken a style of its own. It's not truly a mixed martial art anymore. It's simply a jack of all trades approach to martial arts - not even - a "jack of kickboxing, wrestling and bjj, and a master of none." Seriously, that's pretty much what it comes down to. Striking, which is usually kickboxing, clinching which is then wrestling, and then groundwork, which is brazilian jiu jitsu.

MMA, in essence, has lost the whole allure of being a medium of testing and/or utilizing various martial arts. I mean, fighter one is a kickboxer who is now training w/ bjj expert X. And fighter two is a full contact karate who also holds a black belt in judo. It's, essentially, pretty much as fun as watching two boxers going at it.

Give me a guy who's studied aikido for 10 years and ninjitsu for 23 fight a capoeira master who has background in combative tai chi. Now THAT, my friends, is mixed martial arts! Bring it on!

Until then.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Collapsing Force

I want you to watch this clip. It's from the Defendo system of self-defense (not related to wing chun in anyway).

What I wanted to point out are two things.

1) Similarities - the collapsing force that the instructor uses to describe closing in the opponent, is pretty much the same as bridging in wing tsun (or kung fu for that matter). He talks about using his entire body to deliver the blow as well as going in as you throw the attack to provide yourself cover as move forward. First WT principle: go forward.

2) Differences - In the video, the instructor throws the first punch at a distance and encourages movement on the second punch. WT, at least my interpretation, would be to close distance on the first punch. Why wait to the second?

The more I think about it, it's interesting to see the similarities between wing tsun and other arts. It's easy to criticize each other and by all means, my second point was not meant to criticize. I am only stating what's seen in the video and i'm sure there's more to it than that. I can't stand it when other arts are quick to judge (including those within wing chun circles).

Anyway, I'm hoping to get a video made up of "WT's approach" to the collapsing force idea. Stay tuned.

Until then.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Which One Are You?

It's been my experience that many a new, prospective, or ex-students of wing tsun/chun, etc share the common perspective that wing chun takes a long time before it becomes practical, while other arts, say karate or kickboxing, take a significantly shorter amount of time for it to be useful.

When I started WT, this was the exact same thought I had - especially coming from a karate/kickboxing background.

Looking at that perspective now, I can confidently say that that's not true. The difference between the other arts and wing tsun is this.

In karate, you think you can use what you got.

In wing tsun, you KNOW what you have to improve on.

Because WT highlights what you don't know or what you can't pull off, it's easy to confuse that for not knowing anything. As such, people get discouraged and jump to the conclusion that 1) it doesn't work or 2) it's too hard to make practical. So the end result? they give up. If you give up, well then yea, your WT isn't going to work..ever.

I think, as with anything in life - work, play, art, picking up the ladies at the bar - a little bit of faith has to be thrown into the mix. Sometimes you just gotta believe. If you don't believe, you lack the confidence, this lowered self-esteem is transferred to the external world by your physical actions, people see this from you, and so do the women, my friends. She interprets your lack of confidence as being...a wussy. The result - you don't get her number! As with wing tsun, no confidence in your actions = hesitation = getting hit = wing tsun doesn't work.

It's really not as simple as saying that other arts can be applied sooner or that WT takes a long time before it's effective. It's an illusion based on our individual paradigms - our perspective in life. So you have two choices - accept that WT doesn't work or deny that WT doesn't work..and prove your paradigm wrong.

In this world there are passengers and there are drivers. Which one are you?

Until then.

Monday, April 7, 2008

CC

Are you a carbon copy of your instructor? Is this what your wing chun instructor wants to encourage in you and his class? I should hope not.

Do not seek to mimic your master. Seek what your master sought.

Your teacher should encourage your different expressions and interpretations of wing tsun, as long as you're not deviating from its principles, as well as encourage questions, criticisms, and observations. We are not bees, we are not robots. Self-defense and the act of fighting is always in a constant state of flux, and by mimicking what you've been taught instantly puts you at a disadvantage as you've completely ignored this concept of flux.

I think this is where I disagree w/ the one and only Bruce Lee and his view of classical kung fu. The kung fu is not classical - only the teaching methods. Kung fu in itself satisfies the principles and fills the gaps that he believed were missed...Instead, the principles were missed by the teacher and the gaps produced by his instructors teaching methods.

Interestingly, I do find that there's a lot of Bruce Lee carbon copies out there...anyway..I'll save that for another time.

The point for now, is that you should observe to see if your instructor fosters an environment of synergy - bringing together what you've learned (your self discoveries, observations, etc) with what your instructor knows to solve future problems during training..rather than hearing him say "no this is wrong", "this is right", etc etc.

Until then.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Are You an Effective Person?

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - By Stephen Covey

Altogether - the 7 habits take a principle approach, where all habits originate from a principle-based perspective to life, rather than a behavioural one. Much like Wing Tsun.

Interestingly, the author explains that "we" (as in society) have developed a mentality over the years of correcting behaviour, of doing what needs to be done to get results, whether that mean take communication workshops, motivational seminars, creating contests to increase competition to get a desired result. The idea here is that we've taken the approach that if we "work harder", "throw money at it", "tell it/him/ourselves what to do" that we can get results - unfortunately, this is not true.

Why? because it's all external. Changing one must come from the inside, from our own principles, from our own imagination of what we want to be and where we want to go. That drive, in itself, is what is required for real change. If that is not there, no matter how much external pressure is placed, the results are not obtained or do not last.

Same goes with Wing Tsun. You gotta wanna do it. You have to internalize everything. It's a mistake, in my opinion, to confuse your library of "emergency techniques" with actual Wing Tsun skill. Yes, one can teach you the double knife form, yes, you know the wooden dummy form, yes you've been taught by Bruce Lee - the point is, if you don't internalize your goals, your perspective, your "end in mind", Bruce Lee can't teach you sh*t. Your collection of all the technician programs is a waste of time.

So as an exercise (firstly, you have to want to do this exercise, and you have to truly want to be good at wing chun, and not just want to learn the "cool" stuff), try "internalizing" chain punches. Make it a part of you. Make it your only resource. Examine the hell out of it. Use it as your only solution. Pummel the concept of chain punches into to the point that chain punching is just "seaping out of your pores."

Do it right, I suspect, you'll have just exponentially increased the effectiveness of chain punching.

Popular Posts