Tuesday, April 28, 2009

VG

This is probably one of my favorite videos. I'm sure many of you have seen this already, but for those that haven't, please sit back and enjoy. (Just try to get past the first introductory seconds with the weird graphics.)

For me, it's a great blend of the fluidity of wing tsun, but in an aggressive manner - as compared to many other videos out there that show the blazing speed of wing tsun hands or "trapping" in chi sao. 

The video, and the hits, feel real, reactive, and rather unchoreographed. I like that.

Until then. 


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Looking Good

So i came across this post recently, by Street Fighting expert (I'm simply addressing him as such, but I don't really know him or can vouch for this..), Charles Prosper. In his post, he describes how fights don't have to be pretty or look good. 

I agree. But at the same time, we want to strive for as precise and accurate of attacks as possible, which would, as a side effect, may look clean. Of course, we don't strive for flashy - but, to me, the best punch is a clean shot to the nose, chin, neck, throat, etc. That, in itself, is pretty. And since we know that street fights aren't pretty, to execute such a clean shot isn't easy. 

In class we strive to keep weight on one leg, or to maintain a certain posture or stance, and with our punch, a certain form and angle, etc. But when sh*t hits the fan, no one is going to care about where your weight is or your elbow is at the time.  Why? because natural reaction kicks in. Which makes our training even more important - trying to make what we learn in class a natural reaction. This is incredibly difficult. 

But with Wing Tsun, it's sensitivity training and lat-sao, it gradually increases the number of variables into the drill and, so, the stress to mimic that of the real thing. Takes lots of training to even get here without getting TOO sloppy or, even worse, just "fighting" and missing the entire point of the training.

Until then.

Here's the post

>>>
I remember when I learned my first kata or form. I was about 18 years old. I strove to have the best form of anyone in that dojo, and I did - until one night at a party, a jealous party-goer thought I was making a pass at his girl. He called me outside. We had a few words, and then he threw a hay-maker (a punch) at my face. I ducked my head to the side. He missed and I moved in to front kick him in the groin as he tried to grab me on my shoulders in an attempted scuffle to take me to the ground. 

After it was over, I noticed that my kick was sloppy and my moves were jerky. I didn't look pretty, but I got the job done. (The irony was that I felt bad that my execution was so messy. Years later, I realize that sloppy but effective will work every time.)

The 4 Reasons Why Your Techniques Need Never Look "Pretty" In A Real Street Fight:

Reason #1 - Street Fighting Is Chaotic And Arrhythmical - Every fight has its own rhythm and its own life cycle. If you were to only listen to the sounds of a real street fight, it would sound more like an earthquake than the metered beats of your practice steps in the dojo.

Reason #2 - In The Street, You Are Not Doing Katas - With kata or form practice, every move and beat is predictable, and predictability is the antithesis of what happens in street fighting.

Reason #3 - In Street Fighting, You Are Not Filming A Movie - Movie directors thrive on their martial arts actors doing the most impractical yet spectacular moves, such as high flying aerial spinning back kicks that always land on the bad guys face (in the movies that is). You are not Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. No one is paying you to get your ass kicked in the street by trying to look pretty and make a fool of yourself while getting yourself beat up in the process. 

Reason #4 - If Your Execution Looks Sloppy And Does The Job - Then You Did It Correctly - Even sloppy low line front kicks to the shin, though less spectacular, will get the job done.

So, if you are trying to look pretty when you fight, you are trying to impress your date, you are not focusing on your survival. Impress your date in the dojo, but fight like the tasmanian devil in the streets.

I welcome your comment and feedback.

Respectfully,

Charles Prosper

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Armlocks and thoughts..

Last Monday's class, we focused on how to escape (standing) armlocks.  I remember doing this back in the day (student grade 1-3) and I just STRUGGLED with this stuff. I never understood it and no matter what my instructor would say as to how to perform the escape, I felt my body constantly struggling between using too much muscle/too tense and getting locked up. It was incredibly frustrating! 

And, by the end of that night, I thought I got it. So, what did I do the next day? I went to show off this cool move to my friends. I asked them to put me into an armlock. And...I got locked up!

*Chuckle*
 
The escape from the arm lock is a combination of sensitivity with proper body and mobility conditioning.  As you can tell, these qualities don't come over night but over years of training (or months for the hardcore guys!). 

I just recall from last night the numerous faces of struggle and hidden frustration of just "not getting it." Well, to them I say, you won't get it...YET..but you will.  It comes with the continuous training, and much like EVERY OTHER technique in wing tsun, it's not how you do the move but that you simply do the move.   It's like trying to explain to someone how to walk versus just walking. 

"Gee..thanks for that advice." you say. 

Think of how hard it is for one to design a robot that can walk naturally smoothly, and then one that can walk up and down stairs. In this day and age, with all of our technological advances, this is still incredibly difficult to do. Telling the robot the knee should be here, the heel there, the hips this way, the arms there - all perfectly programed, yet it still can't do it.

This is exactly what wing tsun is like. Even something as "simple" as a punch or even the basic induction stance...you can't be told what to do. You just do it. 

How? Eventually in all those failures of not getting it, you just go through the motions and do your best to incorporate the advice of your instructor and then you mistakenly taste the feeling of doing the move right. Once you feel it, you know what to feel for - you know what to do. And when you know, you can do it.

As they say, knowing is half the battle.

Until then.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Compound Exercises

Do you participate in weight training, in addition to your wing tsun curriculum?  If so, then read on...

Weight training and Wing Tsun can work together. When I say "weight training" I don't mean that one should hit the bench press or starting pushing out some hammer curls.  Let's move away from the idea of WEIGHT training and instead, lean towards RESISTANCE training. 

I think the term, "resistance training" is more accurate to describe a training regimen that will help build muscle and overall fitness so that you can perform existing activities (eg. wing tsun) better.  WT already has resistance training built into the curriculum - obvious ones are the long pole and double knives, but chi-sao when trained with intentional force can provide a means of resistance training.

For many, resistance training can be performed in the (home) gym.   What you want to focus on is incorporating compound exercises.  Unlike isolation exercises (eg. concentration curls), compound exercises are exercises that use multiple joints and also require the use of the body's core muscles. Examples include chin-ups (works the back, biceps, shoulders and core), push-ups (core, chest, shoulders, triceps), squat and press (thighs, glutes, shoulders, back). You get the idea.  You don't need to lift heavy, just enough for your goals. 

That means, for us WT-er's, progress is gradual, giving ourselves an opportunity to adjust to the increased strength and muscle. We also work antagonistic muscles (eg. biceps - something we try keep relaxed). It enables us to maintain better structure as well.  Because you're using multiple joint exercises, you can't really go THAT heavy right away - the entire body needs to be able to handle the extra resistance, not just a particular area. For example, if you want to increase weight on a chin up, you'll need to make sure your arms, back and shoulders are all up to the challenge and ready to do so. But if you want to increase weight on a bicep curl, you just have to make sure your bicep can handle it. 

Another good example of compound exercises is kettle bell training. 

Want to switch it up a bit? incorporate resistance training into your program.

Until then.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

EBMAS Demo

A fellow WT colleague forwarded me this EBMAS demo. For those that don't know, EBMAS stands for "Emin Boztepe Martial Art System", where Emin Boztepe use to be an integral face for Leung Ting Wing Tsun. I've had the pleasure of attending his seminars back when we were affiliated with AWTO. The man's got skill there's no doubt about it.

I rather enjoyed this demo. Nothing particularly new, but you can see they took the time to make it flashy to appease the mass market, while staying true to the WT flavour. Found the ending particular interesting - got a good chuckle from that.

Enjoy.

Until then.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't hold back.

I came across this the other day. Thought I’d share it with you. It’s pretty much a blog about going all out on the attacker and not hesitating to do so.

I have to say, it’s easier said than done. Especially since the majority of us guys are fairly nice people. Although it’s not a good thing to use excessive force, there’s much to be said about not using enough. Which camp would you rather belong? You don’t want to hold back, but this is definitely something that has to be trained into us. For some, it comes natural. But to others, not so much and pair that with the friendly environment of our kung fu school, brothers and sisters, and it can be difficult to replicate and develop that animal/killer instinct.

So how do you guys do that? How do you replicate that in your class if at all?

You know the saying, “the suit makes the man?” The same can be said of any object that defines you. For you men, imagine how a handbag. Now imagine holding a baseball bat. One makes you powerful, the other not so much. In effect, that object defines you. I think this can be applied to the drills we do in class. Sometimes those bong sao’s and tan sao drills define and limit our aggression. How aggressive can you be with a bong sao. This is all subconscious of course – I feel a punch will always lead to a more aggressive mentality than any killer bong sao could.

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes, to develop that killer instinct, it’s good to toss away the technicalities of wing tsun and just get right in there, relying on structure, punching and footwork and that’s all.

Ok, read on –

Street Fighting Moves – 4 reasons why you should never fear hurting he who is trying to hurt you.


by Charles Prosper

You are face-to-face with an enraged assailant who by all casual observation is as intent as hell in doing you some very serious damage once he can get a hold onto you. With most people who have not been properly trained to handle this type of situation there are typically two fears that must be overcome. One, is the fear of seriously getting hurt, and the other more curiously is the fear or hesitancy of seriously hurting the other person. I think that this is a point where we confuse interpersonal diplomacy with raw street survival.

Reason #1: Why Never Be Afraid To Hurt The Other - That Person Is Trying To Hurt Or Kill You! - This is the first and foremost reason and it is the one that complies most with the dictates of self preservation and common sense.

Reason #2: Why Never Be Afraid To Hurt The Other - You Don't Know What An Assailant Is Capable Of Doing To You - To survive, you must be prepared for the most violent aggression and likewise be ready to counter will the most violent aggression.

Reason #3: Why Never Be Afraid To Hurt The Other - Street Muggers And Attackers Can Be Very Manipulative - I am reminded of the true story I was told by my sifu under whom I was studying kung fu. He told me of a brown belt that had gotten into an altercation in a street fight. This brown belt landed a very risky round house kick to the face of the aggressor, and successfully knocked him to the ground. When the other guy fell to the ground, the brown belt leaned over and try to reason with him that there was no need to fight over whatever it was that they were fighting about when "Wham!" The guy on the ground slammed a brick into the brown belt's temple, cracking his skull, knocking him out and giving him a concussion.

Reason #4: Why Never Be Afraid To Hurt The Other - You Can't Make Violence Pretty, Palatable or Acceptable - If you can avoid a fight, but all means do so, but once it's on, there is no reason to make yourself believe that your goal is to just "control" the situation. Once you commit to the first blow, you must continue until the aggressor is completely subdued or unconscious by a knockout. There is no middle ground.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pet Peeve

I was having coffee with a friend of mine the other day and she brought up the topic of my participation in wing tsun kung fu. She noticed this on my facebook profile.  She scans me up and down and says, "You know kung fu? But you're not a big guy!"

OK! This is so annoying. She then mentioned that she has a friend in hapkido who is a hulking 6'4 and can lift this amount of weight etc etc. Why am I so annoyed? Because she assumed big guys are the ones that do that "karate stuff".

The point of self-defense is to give us average guys a chance at the fight - to take on the bigger guys.  That's WHY someone like myself would take self-defense classes, maybe "need" them more than the big guy next to me. 

Who's gonna pick on a big guy? If anything, another big guy would appreciate his size and they will acknowledge each other (I call that the "Big Guy's Club". 

But it's us average folk that get picked on or is more likely to be. 

If you're 6'4 and press 350 lbs, seriously, you don't need self-defense classes. Unless of course, you just wanna take us average folk on ;)

And to that, I say "bring it on."

Oh and the next question she asks is, "So..how high can you kick?"

ARGH!!!

Until then.

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