Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fight Quest: The Answer...but not really

Well, seems that there's a position on the Wing Chun Fight Quest episode from within the Leung Ting Organization. I think with the blogs and forum posts out there, it's about time they do have a position. Here's my blog post if you haven't read it.

You can find the post here. Unfortunately, it doesn't really answer anything..at least not yet. I look forward to their response.

One thing I found interesting, from the Sifu Richter's blog: "You honestly have no idea what a debacle this was..."

No shit - you don't say?! All you gotta do is watch the episode...unfortunately.

Until then.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Head Hunters

WCK fighters are pressure fighters. Our strategy is fairly simple - full on offensive attack with a flurry of punches, surprising the attacker and either knocking the guy out or over whelming him to the point where you can then leave the situation.

To do this, the student learns the wing chun signature punch - the chain punch. The training emphasizes power generated from the elbow, chest and stance. it also stresses the importance of attacking the same target over and over again. Great for training, but that is what it's for - training.

This type of attack leads to the concept of head hunting - always attacking for the head of the opponent. It's very apparent when you watch two wing tsun fightings go at each other or even when a wing chun fighter goes against a non-wing chun fighter.

The wing tsun fighter aims for the head. But what about every where else? what about the ribs? the stomach? the kidneys? these are all legitimate targets and it seems that the WC/WT/VT curriculum can easily sway off this course, albeit, unintentional in many cases.

It's hard to deviate from the chain punching architecture to aim for ribs, face, then abs, then back to the head...it's not only physically demanding, but the rhythm is disrupted making it more of a conscious strategy.

So to that, I saw train to aim for other targets, Take the time to see what other body parts are exposed. I don't see why you can't follow WC principles (offensive, non-stop attacks) while aiming for various targets and not just chain punching.

Until then.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Si-Fu's Blog

Would like to direct you here. Very detailed, certainly aimed at the wing chun student.

until then.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Great Open House

Well we had another open house last night. Great class. But i'm not gonna tell about how cool it was to see all the new comers and all the fun people had, etc etc. No. Not here.

What I want to talk about is the "trainer team". As always, Sifu puts a lot of time, effort and energy into his students. I'm sure he puts in more than he gets out as many students have come and gone...newbies, intermediates and advanced students. Many have a change in career goals, or have a family, or simply want to take their hobbies into another direction. He puts in the time to build each person individually and, unfortunately, that person leaves. Of course, the connection is always there and the influence he's had on them will never be forgotten, but still...as a teacher, i think there's something to be said to see his/her own student make the finish line.

So came last night's open house. And there it was, incredibly apparent, that over the last few years, a good group of us guys make up a core of advanced/senior students - dubbed the "Trainer Team". I think this core is essential to every successful school. It's not required, but it does say something.

Now, it's up to the trainer team to take our own skills to the next level as the team, itself, represents the school.

But you can see it - the senior students were able to provide supplementary instruction to the new guys, to provide different scenarios for Sifu's explanations and to give variety of perspective with a common goal.

I'm really happy to see this. Can't wait for the team to get bigger and badder.

Until then.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Who Fears Wing Chun?

Found this the other day. I'm sure it'll stir up some thought. What are yours?


Until then.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mind-Muscle Connection

If you haven’t read my Si-Fu’s latest blog post dated September 7, 2009, you can find it here. The post is on target. The only way to get better at Wing Tsun is to practice Wing Tsun. It’s a pretty a obvious statement and applies to anything else, yet surprisingly, you do see many that rationalize the approach of practicing X will make them better at Y.

Now let me clarify that I’m not referring to methods of supplementing your training – what I’m referring to are the methods that (for whatever reason) rely on abandoning wing tsun training, for the purpose of excelling one’s wing tsun training.

I’ve seen this everywhere. At work: people don’t talk to the boss about a raise, instead the stay silent and work harder. I’m sorry, if you want a raise, then go to the boss and get one. Dating life: you can mentally prepare on how to approach the girl at the bar all you want, but buddy, you gotta step up and JUST APPROACH the girl. Dieting: people simply limit their caloric intake (eg. order diet pop with their big mac) – how about sweating it in the gym, eating well and cardio training?

Back to Wing Tsun – the post mentions that wing tsun uses certain muscles that only wing tsun can develop. This is very true. There is no exercise in the gym, or a focus mitt, or a striking dummy that can replicate the stimulus required to develop these muscles. With all exercises, a mind-muscle connection must be developed. The Wing Tsun-related muscles must be connected to the mind but can only be done so with wing tsun-specific exercises.

(Think about it. The exercise in the gym rely on a push/pull mechanism, and away from your centre-line. There’s nothing there that provides a push/pull or even a compress/decompress action ALONG the centre-line. Yes, some exercises can replicate the actions, but nothing provides the perfect stimulus to trigger the appropriate muscle reaction.)

But once the connection is made, supplementary exercises may help in increasing the load or capacity of that connection (think squat exercises for stance training). But, again, only the wing tsun-specific exercises can target this mind-muscle connection and stimulate it over and over again. When it comes to self-defense, reflexes, reactions, etc. this is what matters – you need that stimulus to maintain the proper firing of the wing tsun specific muscles.

(Back to the squat exercise example, you are pushing up against a downward force. While in wing tsun, you’re “pushing up” against a force directed at you perpendicular to that replicated in the squat exercise)

So sure, if you want to practice BJJ to get a better idea of how to use wing tsun, that’s fine. But don’t expect to get a wing tsun punch by practicing BJJ. If you want to be able to fight, then you will probably get the gear on and spar. But if you want to be able to fight with your wing tsun, you still gotta practice wing tsun.

Until then.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MMA vs Wing Tsun Kung Fu

I’m sure many of you have seen this clip already. It’s a great video clip and I think it should be a wake up call for many us that train in the martial arts – especially those that do not incorporate the mentality of really fighting against a resisting or attacking opponent.

First off, let me say whoever this WT guy was – he has balls. Mad props for him to go out there, try his thing against a MMA fighter and on camera…and wearing the WT shirt. I don’t know what he was trying to prove, maybe to be the next Emin Boztepe and propel the art back into the lime light? But this guy is a student level, according to the colour of shirt. And i gotta give him credit too - he's text book WT. You can tell, stance, the intention of the front kick... But text book is only theory...

I wonder how he feels now – is he going to stick with WT or try his hand at the typical muay thai/bjj combo?

Some have mentioned that his loss was a result of him not knowing or ever experiencing a real hit. It’s a common criticism of wing tsun/chun/aikido/hapkido/etc as many of the arts train simulated hitting, or stopping the hit or simply tapping the opponent and counting that as a hit. But it’s pretty evident in the clip, that taking a hit has nothing to do with this. He ate a perfectly executed one-two punch combination. It’s that simple.

So what can we learn from this? For starters, let’s remove the technical aspects of tan sao, bong sao, weighting of his stance, knee pressure, etc. None of that EVEN started, before the fight was over – the missing element is even more basic than this. It also has nothing to do with whether he’s strong, fast, short or tall, whether he’s got a punch or a fast kick, etc. Again, these factors didn’t even play into the fight.

What was missing was aggressiveness – that killer instinct – that commitment to the cause. I’ve posted about this before – training with that killer instinct, that unadulterated thirst to destroy the guy in front of you – none of this was there. I believe the WT fighter lives and dies by this commitment. We are pressure fighters, if we do not pressure, we are not fighting our way. We go in and don’t care what happens, and if we get taken down, so what? At least we have no regrets, I say.

But as you can see, that thirst to hit was never there. instead he was waiting. He sat there, waiting…as if waiting to tan-sao punch or something. Unfortunately, I can see why – he’s a product of the training. Many of the drills encourages being reactive, rather than pro-active. The training drills are required to be performed in this format to instill the wide array of reflexes, but it always comes down to the basics. If you can’t step and punch, there’s no chance in hell you’ll be able to rely on your cool reflex/sticky hand skills.

Another element that is possibly missing is sparring with skilled and resistant fighters. WT is an amazing system, but it’s easy to get caught up in the comfort zone of predictable attacks, cooperative partners and a lazy instructor that wants to show off all the cool moves without challenge. Over time, a false sense of security of skills develops and next is a false expectations of how dangerous or fast a wide circling punch can be (especially since WT teaches that the shortest point between 2 points is a straight line – but it’s not necessarily the fastest!).

But this can easily be trained – sparring with or even drilling with a partner that can throw a good punch – preferably someone who does not go to your training school. Just drilling intensely will demonstrate how dangerous a resisting opponent can be, let alone sparring altogether. The intensity of the punch - the speed and power - can then gradually increase and this allows the WT practitioner to adjust his structure, timing, strength, response accordingly.

You can’t expect that training with your regular class partners is going to make a fighter out of you. Chances are he’s just some guy working his nine-to-five, has kids, trains 3-5 hours/week and probably just had dinner before coming to class. How can you expect to go from that to a MMA fighter?

I don’t care how good your chi-sao is. If you can’t step and punch, if you can’t close the distance with step and punch, there’s no chance of you being able to use your chi-sao skills.

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