Monday, October 27, 2008

Economics

The stock market is crashing down to record lows. It seems that every channel you turn to, the news headlines are the economy and the US Presidential election. For months, we Canadians have been told by economists that, although we are not immune, we would not be as hard hit as our American neighbours in terms of the housing price slashes and in terms of overall economy. Within the last few months, we are seeing price decreases, with some new condos slashing prices by 20% (in addition to lower promotional mortgage rates). And now, only a few days ago, condo developments in Vancouver (The Ritz/Onni) and in Surrey have stopped construction. Most likely because the developers are having troubles finding money to finance these projects.

So how is this affecting your wingtsun studies in terms of tuition payments? or even commitment time? perhaps you need to put in more hours at work to make more or to get in good with the boss for job security purposes.

or maybe this won't affect you at all.

To many, this is a hobby, while to others it's an indispensable one. I mean, wing tsun training is a relatively good investment. Instead of purchases (bag of chips, beer with the guys, etc), WT is investment into yourself. You are making yourself better than before - a sense of appreciation in the time and money you've put into it. This is your health and safety too.

So, is the economy affecting your training?

Until then.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The WT Structure

Kung Fu is generally taught in a relatively unstructured way. There is no ranking system - it's just the time put in, seniority and what sifu wants to teach you that day. Many in wing chun circles feel this is how wing chun should be taught, just like our ancestors. It is the Chinese way. Actually, this unstructured teaching method was one of the reasons why karate implemented a ranking system. Otherwise the quality of teaching was inconsistent. Some students knew more than they should and others less. Others missed out on complete sections and just thought it wasn't taught. Then comes the arguments of what system is right or best.

This is where the ranking system in WT comes in handy. It's not a measure of fighting skill, per se, but a measuring for one's own progress. What does erk me a little is that some think that because that a set curriculum does exist, somehow, it's less-effective or not as good as other schools that teach without a ranking system.

But I have to admit, in my experience, the ones that laugh at the structure are also the ones that show less than impressive wing chun. Why focus on what is wrong with a technician grade ranking system when, instead, it can provide benefits?

The technician grade system lays out the basic skeleton on how your progress SHOULD proceed. This at least gives you some idea of what to expect for yourself, from your teacher and where you want to be.

On the first day of school, what does your teacher give you? the curriculum for the entire semester - when are your exam dates, project dates, presentation, final exam, course material, etc.

Now imagine a school where the curriculum isn't standardized. There is no exam date, there is no criteria on how your project is marked, and there may or may not be an exam.

YOU tell me, which school would you want your kids to be enrolled in?

So why laugh at the ranking system of WT?

Until then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Technician Testing

www.wingtsun.ca is the official Leung Ting school in Canada. Like our school, there was recently a technician grade testing.


Here's the link to the footage taken of the testor undergoing the "exam". In case you need to figure out who that is, he's the guy with the black shirt. And I say that because, you really can't tell who's winning. Is that a sign of skill?

http://www.wingtsun.ca/multimedia/videos/

*They suck. There. I said it.



*Not saying I'm good. I'm just saying that it should be distinguishable as to who's at the higher position. It's a bitch-slap of a fight. Where's the body control, the mobility/stability of the legs? You just see a flurry of patty-cake flickering of hands that, yes, WT/WC/VT is guilty of being known for.

Oh and at 0:38, there are two black shirt guys. I THINK the one that's senior (based on his badge on his shirt) falls down and they cut the scene. hahahaha..why even include the clip. Unless, I'm mistaken and he's the junior? Anyway, I should keep my mouth shut. We're all as vulnerable as the next WT guy...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weight Training

We just wrapped up the last seminar for the year. It was a four part seminar - something that hasn't been done before. Steve McMinn (link to his blog on the right) gave a presentation on kettlebell training. As part of his technician grade requirements, Steve discussed how kettlebell training fits with the physical requirements of wing tsun. I found the talk incredibly informative and a good introduction to the kettlebell. Being a personal trainer, and a great training partner, his talk introduced us to proper form, what muscles are used and how that relates to WT.

Steve is probably one of the few guys, in my experience, that have actually advocated by example, that WT can be practiced in conjunction to weight training. This has also been my experience, but my purposes for training may be different for others. First of all, I don't train to increase bulk/size. I don't train to necessarily make my wing tsun better. I only train because I enjoy it and the physical fitness gained from it. I am no expert, but over time have tried to learn what weight/resistance training is all about.

Here is what I've learned so far:

1) You cannot bulk up muscle while maintaining a low fat percentage. It's either one or the other. You get strong, but at the same time (because of the increased caloric intake) you will gain weight and that gut.

2) High intensity interval training and Tabata training is a more effective form of cardiovascular training compared to long, marathon-like cardio sessions.

3) The body is an incredibly efficient and adaptable machine. So it's a good idea to switch up your exercises every 2-4 weeks to "confuse" your muscle.

4) There is a muscle to mind connection.

5) Resistance training without any WT training will diminish your skills in WT (at least for chi sao).

6) Workouts shouldn't last longer than an hour.

7) Working out the legs is more important that working out the upper body, in particular the biceps, chest, etc.

This is it for now. I'm sure there will be more.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mental Block

So far, I've discovered three major stages of hitting. Perhaps there are more - but I don't know any better to say otherwise at the time of writing.

1) There's hitting at the target. You hit the target - you make contact with the target. Simple (and as bland) as that.

2) There's hitting the target. This time you can make an impact on the target. You hit and the force is felt. Albeit, it may not be dramatically damaging, but at least you're not rocking yourself back and the target in front of you is moving as a result of your hit.

3) There's hitting through the target. This one is what we want. Its like a cannon ball being sent through the brick wall. You're solid enough to be able to hold your ground, your hands/wrists can sustain the impact and all the force dissipates into and beyond the target.

The third stage is not neccessarily a result of a lack of physical attribute - weak wrist, small fist, not fast enought, etc. What really impedes progress at this stage is also mental - because we know the target exists we cannot hit beyond it.

take this as an example; first, trying punching a door. Then, have someone blindfold you, spin u around and have u throw a punch, not knowing whether there is a door in front of you or not. If u do happen to hit the door, you'll find that the impact and commitment of hitting the door unknowingly is, by default, more powerful than simply seeing the door and hitting. Why is this?

It's all mental.

There is no spoon.

Until then.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Magnetic Zone

What is the “magnetic zone”? It’s the area between the attacker and the WT defender, in which the attacker can make physical contact either by a punch, kick, grab etc. The maximum distance of the zone, is generally measured as the distance a stomach level side kick, delivered by the attacker, can cover without taking an additional step.
 
It is in this range in which the WT defender can be attacked. Once the attacker moves into the zone, it is the responsibility of the defender to bridge distance as fast as possible, smothering any incoming attack – hence the term “magnetic” zone.  This is also a very dangerous situation, in the sense that it makes or breaks the outcome of the fight.  Hesitation will definitely be a factor. If, however, the defender can bridge this distance safely while yielding a forceful attack, it will maximize both damage to the attacker and maximize safety for the defender.  But this is only ideal. During the bridging, any attack can be delivered. So that means the defender must not only be able to cross distance, but he’s got to be able to defend against an oncoming attack at the same (whether it’s a punch, kick, chop, tackle) and throw his own attack in there. This all happens within one step. The defender must also pack boom into his punches.
 
It is a critical time of the fight.
 
Otherwise, you may resort to a few other options that is more “naturally occurring”.
 
1)       You close distance and grab onto him and he grabs onto you – how good are you at grappling?
2)       You maintain distance and square each other up and start trading shots from a distance, a la round 12 of western boxing – are you taller than he is? how long can you keep this up?
3)       To maintain distance, especially against a taller opponent, you are placed right in his sweet spot where he can punch you and kick you fine, but for you, he’s slightly out of reach. – how good is your pain tolerance?
 
Until then.

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