Monday, December 20, 2010

Ultimate Defense

With more and more people taking up kick boxing or MMA-like martial arts these days, a common defensive move they are taught is the 'boxer's cover up" where the arms are held up to the head, protecting it from getting hit and letting the forearms take the blows.

This is a very easy move to teach and implement. It also caters to our natural instincts as well.

Gone are the "karate" days where people would actively block in an outwards fashion.

So how do you crack through the defense of the boxer's cover up? Do you go for the body shots? Do you resort to elbows? Do you try to jolt the arms out of the way?

What is your tactic?

If you aim for the body - how do you protect yourself from getting hit? Do you have enough punching power to do damage to the body? Are you trapped with chain punching where punching to the body feels awkward?

If you use your elbows - how do you manage to maintain a close distance? are you accurate enough to hit your intended target or only manage to hit the forearms?

If you move the arms out of the way - do you have enough power to move the arms out? What if the attacker has thick forearms? what if the arms don't move out of the way?

So what do you do?

Until then.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sticking Hands

One of the signatures of wing chun is its sticking hand drill. It develops tactile reflexes, body structure, stance, coordination of footwork and handwork, and provides a relatively safe environment to increase the intensity without full-out sparring or fighting.

But what's the problem with sticking hands?

For starters, there's the idea that sticking hands is a measure of fighting skill. I always find it funny that wing chun teachers generally challenge each other with sticking hands drill or criticize the other's ability in sticking hands but they don't actually free fight.

Sticking hands encourages the concept of sticking and not hitting. The ability to hit becomes secondary in nature and has to be trained back into the student after he's learned how to stick. Ironic, considering that it's a fighting are we are learning after all.

Sticking hands can be too convoluted, choreographed and complex. It becomes a dance rather than a fighting drill.

Sticking hands can be addictive and can cater to one's comfort zone. Why fight when you can just chi-sao? Why do push-ups when you can just chi-sao? why do step and punching drills when you can chi-sao?

what are you thoughts?

Until then

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gender Skew part 2

Saw an interesting comment from my last post that really caught my eye. The person leaving the comment was female and this sentence caught my attention:

"In my limited experience, I'd say it is the teachers. And to some extent the ego of men."

I think there is truth to this - not the extent that the ego of men must huff and puff to show the ladies in the class how good their kung fu is...but in the "general ego of men." It seems, especially in wing chun, that such ego exists and that the general nature of teachers, assistant instructors, and students (senior relative to their training partner) spend more time "lecturing" and "demonstrating" beyond the point of the drill than actually training or letting their students train.

There are only a few teachers I would say that can go extend a lesson at length and incorporate quality demonstration of skill, while still provide a lesson to their students...but the majority, it seems, takes each lesson as an opportunity to show off.

Why is that? I think the general nature of wing chun, the inherent nature of requiring partner contact (rather than air - as in karate, for example) to demonstrate the ideas and practicality of wing chun effectiveness, encourages the ego as every hit makes you feel bigger.

To add, I would go as far as to say the demographic for martial art students would incorporate many men who have been picked on in life, have low self-confidence, and seek power and attention by way of martial art skills.

(Hey - i'm not afraid to admit i was picked on in school and thought that by learning karate i could kick the bully's ass and win the cute girl in class.)

But there comes a point in ADULTHOOD, where you just gotta let go of this.

This "ego of men" is not really an action or what you say..it's how you say it..it's how you act..it's an energy that men give off..and to pair that up with martial arts..well can come off kind of lame.

I don't believe it's the close contact nature of wing chun that turns off many women..i believe it's the close contact nature of women with the "ego of men" that turns them off.

hell, even I get turned off by it and I'd rather train with someone else or hope person A doesn't teach class next time or person B would let us train, etc etc. Ego comes in many forms...most commonly where they don't let you practice the drill, yap too much about how i'm doing everything wrong, making the drill too difficult where I can't even do the exercise, or having to "always win" by hitting me.

it's rather annoying.

Why would anyone want to stay in a class full of such guys?

i think such "ego of men" get in the way of training that only other men can bear it...and women that stick with it...only progress to the higher student grades where the ego of men get even more inflated because of their higher rank..only to end up eventually leaving. i also think this is why many men leave after they hit a certain level in their studies.

So are you one of these guys with such an ego?

Am I?

Until then.




Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gender Skew

In my limited martial arts experience, I've joined karate clubs, kung fu clubs, some tai-chi and now wing tsun.

One thing i've noticed over the years, is the lack of women in wing chun classes, compared to say Karate, or Taekwondo.

Why is that? What is it about wing tsun that results in such low numbers for women?

the whole marketing of wing chun ("created by a woman"), would attract the women demographic wouldn't you think? Or how about the whole "realistic self-defense" campaign?

Wouldn't you think that women would want to learn such things?

But instead, there are a lot more women enrolled in classes (and stay with it) in things like wushu, karate, aikido, capoeira.

Is it the curriculum? The teachers? the students? the atmosphere?

Why is wing chun so low on the female numbers? I personally think it has something to do with the students in the class, as well as the curriculum or teaching format. But i really don't know. I'm totally guessing.

What do you think is the reason?

Until then.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Advanced Wing Chun Sparring

This video was posted with the comment as "one of the best WC clips I've ever seen.." and "...kind of like old school boxing"

your thoughts??

I thought it was two blokes messing around starting off with wing chun, as the tension increased, so did their wing chun techniques..and resorted more to something else..

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Strength Finder

Some of you may be aware of the Meyers - Briggs Strength Finder tool. In essence it is a series of questions designed to reveal your strengths and then to match you up with a career that capitalizes on these strengths.

Unlike conventional advice/wisdom, where we're told that if we work hard enough at anything and we will be good at it, strength finders believes that if you work hard at what you're good at, then you'll be good at it.

Take the idea of your typical "bad singer" at an American Idol audition. This lady walks up to the audition floor and gives it her all. She's taken years and hours of singing lessons, performance and practiced day in and day out. She has no tune, can't hold a note and doesn't get through the audition. Can't blame her as society says if you practice hard enough, you'll be great!

Strength Finder, instead, believes that if you focus on your natural strengths and talents, with the same amount of practice, singing lessons, etc., then you'll sky rocket in achievements.

In this instance, think Celine Dion with her natural talent + hard work = real amazing results.

Think Michael Jordan - natural talent + hard work = 6 NBA championships. Do you think I would get 6 NBA championships even if i worked as hard as he did? probably not.

Applying this to WT - as much fun as it is to try different things during class, to explore different options and test our limits, we can't forget to see what exactly is our strengths. Are we naturally fast, strong or good at take downs? maybe quick with our footwork?

once these are determined, to take the time and really make them your own, to put in the extra hard work to take what you're already good at to an even higher level.

You will product better results focusing on your natural talents rather than spending all your time on fixing up what you're not good at...at least according the Meyers Briggs strength finders assessment.

Until then.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

15 Year Old Wing Chun Girl

I'm sure many of you have come across this video. It has surfaced upon the wing chun forums and the general consensus is that it's choreographed and the head pull downs are unrealistic and a lot excessive movement, but overall, decent considering it choreographed and a young girl only at the age of 15 doing the demo.

So what are your thoughts?

Regardless of whether it's choreographed or not, it seems that her ability to transition from movement to movement quickly and more importantly, smoothly and creatively is just awesome! Many at higher levels don't have that creativity and just resort to chain punches..even at a demostration level. To add, many move stiff, heavy and choppy...even at the demonstration level.

Her ability to move the way she does can only help her down the road assuming she's aware of the difference between choreography, a cooperative partner and reality. And I'm pretty sure she does. How do I know? If she's putting that much effort into a demo youtube clip, she must take her training fairly seriously and realistically. IF not, well, i hope she has the right teacher to show her the way - there's a lot of potential there.

Probably moreso than the WC'ers out there that only move strong and stiff, yet think they move smooth and relax and even on a demonstration level...and also think they're excellent fighters.

I say good on her. Great video and would like to see more from her!

Until then.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kung Fu Fitness

I was browsing through the latest wing tsun blogs and came across Kyklosphaira's post about "Kung Fu Fitness".

In case some of you are not aware, the author is also a student in wing tsun kung fu and soon to be medical doctor. So his observations aren't unfounded..

Interestingly, he brings up the concept of physical fitness and wing tsun kung fu...which, in wing chun circles, is an area of controversy.

Some say that such training is unrealistic, slows one down, makes you less flexible, etc.

While the other camp argues that such training is good for stamina, overall health, more powerful punching.

Here was a video i posted using resistance bands and wing chun training. you can already see in the comments section, of the two types of thinking in play.

I believe that the wing chun principles of staying relaxed, using the opponents energy against him/her, etc is all true. But why not be fit while doing it?

Until then.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sil Lum Tao Fighting Application......NAWT

So check this video out for SLT fighting applications.

It gets better (read "funnier") as time goes on

There's room for interpretation, and there's room for different lineages, etc...but there are just too many wrongs even with that in mind..


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Do You Believe?

Met someone the other day. He has a great interest in Chinese kung fu, in particular Tai chi, Bagua and other, what many would say "internal arts". He was very enthusiastic and overall a very nice fellow.

What was interesting was his emphasis on the power of chi and the cultivation of chi and other internal aspects of chinese kung fu. He then went on to describe how such force was delivered either by his instructor or his instructor's Sifu and so on.

As I was just listening to him describe his insights, I wondered if i believed in the concept of Chi cultivation? I suppose I do, either because of my previous martial arts experience, exposure to traditional chinese medicine, and I suppose, the concept of life energy is pretty evident everywhere..even in "western science" (although they may not apply this concept in similar ways).

But do I believe of its use in the context of fighting? I don't think so. I'm sure, if you were to analyze it, you could RATIONALIZE that chi cultivation is in other arts, it's just that they don't know it, but i just think it comes down to hitting harder, better timing, harder training, etc. Not really about how long you stood there and would breathe, etc.

In the context of fighting, chi cultivation is good...but don't let it get in the way of the other stuff like actually sparring, of actually taking hits, of hitting the bag, etc. Remember the 80/20 rule? What is that 20% that produces 805 of your results?

Would chi cultivation be in that 20% or would physical training be in that 20%? maybe sparring?

What do you think?

Until then.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

BACK Up Your Punch With This...

A powerful punch requires not a strong chest, not strong shoulders and not neccessarily strong triceps. Instead, a powerful punch will need a really strong back! The back muscles are what really supports and explodes the punch, along with the legs.

Notice the guys that have a powerful punch? The ones that you know have BOOM - they all have very developed lats. It's just the nature of punching. Skinny arms can still have boom as long as the back and leg muscles are really into the strike.

How to develop the back? Well, proper chi-sao will help you. You'll have to find an instructor who can actually help you develop these muscles in the context of chi-sao (i would say, not many instructors do this)..and yes, you'll have to master the pull-up. It's a really amazing exercise.

You can check this post out on my other site on how to do the pullup if you're new to pull-ups.

Try various versions - wide, neutral and close grip pull ups and chin ups.

At the end of the day, don't neglect the back muscles. It's really what drives the punch and allows the rest of your arms to be relatively relaxed for a powerful yet relaxed and heavy strike.

Until then.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just Like Riding A Bike...

Been on a 3 week hiatus, given work duties, then a trip out of town and then back to an incredibly difficult grind after labour day..

which brought me back to class last Monday and boy did it feel AWESOME! Of course, you can sure feel the skills being a bit rustier than usual, but just as quickly as they left, they come back pretty fast too.

Miss being hit (haha, did I really say that?) and I miss the interaction with my fellow kung fu brothers and of course, with my Si-Fu.

Although I don't really advocate stopping lessons, sometimes a breather is kind of nice. Looking forward to training...

Until then.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wing Chun Is Simple..or IS IT?

The wing chun system prides itself in its simplicity, so then why the heck is it that wing chun is taught in such a complicated way? The end product is supposed to be simple, but the concept of step and punch can be analyzed to death.

It seems that students of the wing chun system has a tendency to over analyze the crap about everything - tan sao should be this, but mean that. Or that the centre line is defined this way, but defined in another way by another teacher.

And the history of wing chun - oh gawd..it's a nun, nope, it's a secret gang/society, ..nope it's shaolin...nope...it's from people in the opera..and so on.

What about just training and just seeing if that works? What about just stepping into the ring and see what happens. What happened to just punching the heavy bag and see if you hurt your wrist?

Why must it be overcomplicated? is it because the teachers or the students that complicate such things are trying to make themselves sound smart, all knowing? Is it some kind of insecurity complex?

I don't see Rocky Balboa giving a damn about what angle his punch is or his weight distribution on his feet are - he just wants to hit the target.

Until then.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Good Teacher Communicates..a GREAT Teacher...

..connects with their students.

Although I can't brag about my extensive (or lack thereof) years of martial arts experience, I can look back at a handful of teachers and think back to what made them really good teachers or simply, mediocre instructors (albeit, exceptionally skilled in their respective art).

It comes down to the teachers ability to connect with their students. Although on the surface, this may seem very simple, I really don't think it's all too common. Instead, there are many teachers that simply teach in a manner that essentially allows for them to brag about their skills, either in the form of putting down students' techniques, beating up on students repeatedly, or just talking too much and not allowing their students to really get into the flow of the exercises. Many just want to show off what they can do and teaching the student, letting them "get it" becomes secondary.

Sure it may not be intentional on their part, but if i were paying, the teacher better realize this and fix this asap.

Teachers that connect, on the other hand, finds common ground with the student, to see the world in their eyes, to teach from the perspective of someone who is just learning this for the first time in their eyes (even though the teacher may have done this drill for the billionth time).


Teachers that connect expend great energy - not in the sense of physical energy, but in terms of intonation, attitude, emphasis and giving good examples, explanations in addition to the day to day practical/physical aspect of the martial arts.

The worst are the "arm chair" teachers that sit in the office during the teaching hours and have their students run the majority of classes. They believe that their skills are too great to share directly with the "inferior" students and risks teaching them "dangerous/deadly" moves...which is just BS. Knowledge is power, but secrecy is isolation - there is no connection in such a relationship.

Because connecting expends great energy, it's truly amazing how these teachers can do this day in and day out, set time for their own training, private lessons and have enough left over for family time or work time. It's truly a draining process that requires essential moments of recharging.

But to these teachers, I thank them. These are the ones that really make the classes exciting, that bring perspective to the students and help us discover our own "aha moments". And not only do such moments last for only a second, we can bring home these moments to explore even more so on our own time.

A good teacher simply tells you what to do, a great teacher connects with you so that you know what to do.

What kind of teacher do you have?

Until then.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Saying Goes...

...that strength beats a 1000 techniques.

There is truth to this and it's probably one of our own enemies - our own strength. It's an innate survival tool - our body tenses, our jaws clench, our limbs stiffen up, we grab, we hold, we clench. The use of strength is a natural phenomenon in the battlefield, in mating, in surviving..

But when it comes to wing tsun training, it's also our weakness. Strength, whether it's our own or that from our opponent can be used against us. Either our own strength stiffens us, allowing us to be manipulated by the attacker or we let the strength of the attacker overcome us.

It's not easy to let go of our own strength, in addition, to using our opponents strength.

it just goes to show how difficult wing tsun application truly is. The stance, the angles, the structure - sure to get yourself out of harms way in a scrap may take only a year of training, but to fight with wing tsun will take several years of dedicated training. Not half ass, casual training that the majority of take part in (myself included).

Strength is the enemy...only at first. But it's also a good thing. Once you got the angles, the structure, the stance right, then strength can added. It's not something to shy away from.

Once you got the structure, the angles, the timing,and the strength - all you really need is a good step and punch. That's it.

Until then.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

HIIT The Rounds WT Style

Have you ever tried rounds of shadow boxing? If not, i strongly recommend it. It's freaking exhausting stuff. Really give props to them boxers out there that really know what killer training is all about.

I would recommend you pick an exercise that you like to perform (but i say, skip the chain punching since you do it all the time) and now perform them in separate rounds. For example, a typical routine might be:

1) round 1 - hooking punches
2) round 2 - lifting punches
3) round 3 - biu sau
4) round 4 - knee strike

Each round will last between 30-60 seconds depending on your fitness level and you will have a rest period of 30-60 seconds in between rounds.

Get your timer on and for each round go as hard and as fast as you can for the full minute. Alternate hands as you like so you do work both sides.

Repeat rounds 1 to 4 for a total of 2-3 times. Let me know what you think!

Until then.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's All In The Forms

Here's a quick run down of the learning process of wing tsun kung fu and probably any other martial art. I would say much of this lost, and hence, why many believe forms training is useless. I do see where they are coming from, but I also think they only see part of the truth.

1) Learn the forms: this introduces the body mechanics, "contortioning", positioning and muscle memory

2) Understand the forms: Application, principles, ideas of the forms are introduced, explored and developed.

3) Let go of the forms: Release your body of the restrictions imposed by the body positions found in the forms, of the muscle memory developed in the forms

4) Immerse yourself in the forms: Much like immersing yourself in a hobby, in a concept, in a philosophy, in a movie, etc. where you can recite any line in a movie, play a song on your guitar on demand, explain to others what's so great about the latest cell phone technology - it's really about exposing yourself again and again to something, of which you know it inside and out. You want to do this with your forms training - do it so many times, so often, that you can "recite any verse of the form on demand"

Only then do you really "know" the forms and I think, at this point, it would be where real free forms sparring can be explored. Many don't have the patience for that and it's not like one has to do that to be a good fighter. But in the chinese kung fu world, it's the most effective path for full expression of real kung fu at the free fight scenario.

As you can tell, that narrows it down to quite a dedicated few. Are we that dedicated? are you? am I?

Until then.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Basic Instincts

Here's a video of UFC in its infancy. Back then, it was all about one style versus another - it was before "MMA" ever existed. UFC 2, I beleive. And in this video it has a wing chun guy versus a karate guy.

Now, the point of this video is to look at how "instinctual" grappling seems to be or even "primal" if you will? What is it about grabbing onto someone in the fight scenario that just seems so..well..natural. You don't think about it, you just do it.

It just goes to show, how the grappling arts take advantage of this instinctual urge. It comes easily to anyone and those that aren't skilled, really set themselves up when they "grab by reflex".

Definitely makes the striking arts harder to be more skillful at now that grappling is so popular. Doesn't mean it can't be done, but it's harder knowing that the person in front of you may not be afraid to grapple you.

And, add to that, that as much as you wouldn't want to yourself, you are very likely to grapple back.

Not good.

But what do you think makes it so easy for us to want to grab onto something under stressful conditions?

until then.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wing Chun Defeats MMA

Interesting - Wing Chun fighter in a MMA setting, against a MMA champion. As they set up the fight, the announcers show his wing chun skills during training. Looks like wing chun to me! But how does this translate when the bell rings?

Here's the video.

I now open discussion to you..

Until then.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Essential Half: the Training Partner

I had the pleasure of running the latter half of class on Monday night. In that time, I wanted to make a special point - that the partner attacking the wing tsun student is incredibly crucial to the wing tsun student's progression.

There must be an emphasis on the attacking partner that s/he must attack with intention of hitting, with the proper distance of hitting and with the emotions of hitting. too many times our partners "go easy" on us or go "mentally lazy" as they play the role of an attacker.

What good is it to learn how to apply self defense moves against someone doing some softcore, pseudo attack??? I mean, yes, there are times where slowing down is good, but there are also times when it is not. In particular, when drills are what relatively well ingrained into the student or that the moves can be considered "elementary".

I wanted to create the idea that the attacker's role is to..well..be the attacker, not just simply model a punch, but actually try to punch the wing tsun student (without actually hurting them should contact be made).

As such, the wing tsun student must not see his/her partner as a partner at all, but as the enemy. The wing tsun student must remember that there's more to it at stake than purely going through the motions.

For some reason, our detail-oriented martial art some times leads us astray from the realities and blatantness of a real attack.

The partner is crucial. If s/he is giving you half-assed attacks to drill, you might as well just sit down and twiddle your fingers.

Until then.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chain Punch Video

I came across this chain punching video. I like the idea, but to me, the drill kind of defeats its own purpose.

I mean, how often do you come across a guy who resists your chain punching with tan sao/bong sao?

Let me know your thoughts!

Until then.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trapping Range

Many argue that "trapping range" (probably defined as the distance between punching and elbow distance) rarely makes an appearance during a fight. It can be pictured in one's mind that punching and clinching/grappling is what primarily occurs - most likely a mix up of the two (clashing distance, breaking distance)..but then you might have the occasional kick...but rarely would you imagine someone pulling "trapping" moves in the appropriate range..

Even if the range presented itself, can "trapping" techniques even be pulled off, especially against an opponent that tends to pull their arms back, pull back with strength and tries to create space and distance....

the argument then goes on to say, well, if trapping range/distance rarely occurs in a fight, then why does wing chun (or even other kung fu styles) emphasize so much of that training in the school?

Well guess what? there's a lot of truth to this argument. (Scary isn't it?)

I think it's easy to get caught up in chi-sao/trapping drills and distance, and end up forgetting that all it comes down to is whether you can punch/hit/kick or not.

that said, i would see wing chun, (as i'm taught) as a basis or foundation for being able to punch or kick or hit your opponent. Not "trap." I see chi-sao, not necessarily as a tool to see what kind of cool trapping techniques are available, but more as an exercise to increase structural resilience, fine tune the tactile reflexes, simply for the purpose of punching/hitting the opponent.

It's easy to get caught up in this, and easy to confuse chi-sao as a measure of fighting effectiveness or even punching ability.

But chi-sao and punching your opponent are two different things

Much like jump rope and hitting the heavy bag for the boxer are two different things, but both essential to the training curriculum.


your chi-sao may be good, but it doesn't mean you can hit the other guy. Wing chun is not meant for trapping range. It's meant to knock out the opponent. The premise that wing chun is for trapping doesn't/shouldn't hold.

Until then.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wing Chun Makes You Fat?

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day talking about the exercise benefits of kickboxing. This person was referring to cardio kick boxing and then she made mention, that the good thing about this is that she'll be able to kick some real butt too. That's where, of course, I interjected and mentioned that just because you can hit a bag doesn't mean you can fight.

on goes the conversation into economy of motion, structure and eventually, not having to be super fit like those capoeira guys to kick some butt..

so it got me thinking - does wing chun make you fat?? I mean, the lack of cardiovascular exercise, the class structure where many Sifu's are no longer hands on, the emphasis on chi-sao, etc.

Funnily enough, this thread pops up on the forums..

So what do you think? Do you think wing chun makes people fat?

Until then.

Here's the forum thread posted by Robert Chu:

WCK - watch your lifestyle and diet!

Oftimes, WCK is too economical in movement. What I mean by that, is for your health, you need to supplement it with proper diet and nutrition, and supplementary exercises. Modern man does not walk enough and problems modern WCK has is health.

Here is something related to diet from Jamie Oliver:

http://www.foodmatters.tv/_webapp_37...ty_and_Disease

The founders ate what they ate, but probably had shorter lives due to war, famine, disease, but they had to do things on the Red Boats by hand and walked more than us. I will say that what is done today as "Chinese Food" is overindulgent in fat, oils, sugar. MSG, salt/sodium, and simple carbs.

Too many carbs like rice, noodles/pasta, pho, buns/bao, bread, breadsticks, cake, cookies, chips, soft drinks and juices load up the body with too much sugar that can be detrimental to your health. This easily leads to overweight, obesity and eventually, diabetes.

What Hawkins Cheung always said to me was, "If you survive, your art survives..." It has strong wisdom behind it.

Many WCK teachers see the pounds coming on as they age and have to consistently do something to change their eating habits, build lean muscle, and rest properly. By eating poorly, it leads to many modern diseases like hypertension, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, obesity, coronary artery disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and cancer. Diabetes (usually type II in overweight or obese individuals) can lead to blindness, neuropathy, impotence, etc. It is important to maintain a healthy BMI.

For example, WSL passed on due to a brain aneurysm (stroke) - it usually means that his diet was not that good, and he smoked and drank alcohol.

Yip Man died at 79 due to throat cancer, which is diet related and due to toxins in the food. Cantonese often like to eat preserved foods like salted fish, preserved eggs, stinky tofu, etc. which are full of cancer causing chemicals.

Bruce Lee's favorite dish of Oyster Beef on rice is full of sodium, carbs and preservatives. Drinking raw beef juice is also not a good idea... some of his diet ideas were very poor.

Late nights talking, extensive Mah Jong, many Dim Sum sessions with students is detrimental to health, as are bobas, sugar cane juices, and shave ices Chinese like. And eating late at night after class is very unhealthy and leaves for bad digestion problems, like diverticulitis, bowel cancer, ulcerative colitis. Gambling, along with smoking and drinking, it is a very dirty habit that some Cantonese enjoy and detrimental to health.

Juicing is also unhealthy as it releases tons of sugar in your system at once. I shudder to think of the many cokes and snapples I drank after long workouts in my youth. Plain old water or unsweetened ice tea would have been better.

It is good to be conscious about health.
__________________
Robert Chu, PhD, L.Ac., QME
chusauli@gmail.com

http://www.chusaulei.com
http://acuchu.com

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Martial Arts Change ALL THE TIME

in my last post, I talked about how the Siu Nim Tao form in the wing chun system was actually an "incomplete" form as result of a teacher's death, where they passed away before having taught the entire form to their students. Or also a result of physical restrictions - for example, small training place limited the movements they could do, so the students never really learned parts of the form that involved wide steps/stances...

What I find interesting is the perception or even the "traditionalist forces" that try to prevent change. Change in martial art systems is very much like an eco-system. 1000 branches of various styles and only 2 or 3 surviving - either due to untimely deaths, ineffective system, inabilty to teach, lack of students, etc etc.

Learning and do what was taught 1000 years ago in a temple somewhere doesn't mean it's a good thing. Think about it. You want a record player or a blu-ray player?

The generation of MMA is a great example of an incredible evolution of martial arts - it's like the rise of humans or death of the dinosaurs or the emergence of single cell life forms. It threw away the concept of training like our ancestors and focused on scientific/athletic/competitive training in a martial arts context.

It was quickly realized that "traditional" martial arts was not as effective in the octagon, and out came this new breed of martial art - MMA.

And now, as with any shake up of the eco system, it's time for other martial art styles to adapt to this new breed of martial art. Those that can't adapt will die off, those that can will live on.

Change is always happening. Change is good. Change doesn't mean that the wing chun teacher will teach grappling, instead, change could mean applying your system of martial arts differently to adapt to the opponent.

There's an idea that martial artists want to do what their ancestors did or what the original shaolin monks did and people have even propelled them into a mystical realm where they have super powers...

this is complete baloney.

History of war is all about adaptation and change. When the gun was used on the battle field, the guys using the bows and arrows didn't create sharper bows - they used guns. Change is inevitable and if you can't accept this, you're done.

Until then.

Until then.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Siu Nim Tao Is Not Complete!

Thanks to my wing chun brother, Tony for forwarding this. It's a lengthy interview, but definitely worth your time if you're into wing chun.

Here, the person describes the time before Yip Man wing chun and he describes how the Siu Nim Tau form that we have all come to know within the Yip Man lineage is not complete at all. It's only a portion of the original form, as a result of the timing of the death of key teachers (due to old age) and space limitations during teaching lessons. Very interesting stuff.

Maybe not as mystical as watching a leopard fight a frog and forming a style of kung fu from that, but the story that the interview reveals seems much more plausible.

To add, the person interviewed mentions a lot more forms (eg. 12 empty hand forms) involved in the "real" wing chun curriculum - so much for it being an "efficient" style of kung fu. Turns out, the other forms just died with the teachers.

You can find the interview and the complete Siu Nim Tao form here.

Until then.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Deadliest Move EVER

i don't know if my Si-Fu would teach me after having revealed this to you. Please keep this as our little secret.

This is the deadliest move ever in all martial arts history.
















WOW - REALLY?

Until then.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lesson from The Karate Kid

So I'm planning to catch the latest Karate Kid movie starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, unfortunately the timing's been bad and will have to push it to next week hopefully.

In the mean time, I thought it'd be cool to check out the original Karate Kid that got every kid in school back in the 80's amped up about signing up for karate. I watched the entire movie from beginning to end, but this time, 20+ years older and with wayyyy more martial arts experience and I have to say, this movie really is a gem. It's not an action movie, but a drama - about teacher/student relationship and the life lessons of karate. Simply brilliant.

Ok, I want to go over some important lessons from Mr. Miyagi (Daniel's Sensei) that I think serves as a great reminder for all martial artists.

1) Walk on road. Walk left side - safe. Walk right side - safe. Walk in the middle - squash! like grape! With karate - it's either karate yes or karate no, karate guess-so and squash! like grape!

Great lesson here - commit to it. Either you're in or you're out - you can't be half-assed about it.

2) Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good. Karate good.

Another gem - oh so true. Balance is vital. Without balance, you can forget about any cool arm locks, spinning kicks, pressure points, etc. Balance is key.

3) Drive punch - use whole body - legs, hips - drive punch!

Couldn't be any truer. The key to a good punch is using the entire body. Sometimes this is kind of foreign to the wing tsun student since we're initially taught to restrict such movement given the mechanics of the chain punch and 100/0 weighted stance. Flash forward a bit and you'll realize that putting the entire body into the punch is key and always has been.

4) Karate here (points to head). Karate here (points to heart). Karate never here (points to belt).

it's not the colour of your belt or student level or sash. Martial skill is comes down to what you truly know, what you feel and your ability to express that.

Love this movie! can't wait to check out the new one!

Until then.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is Your Wing Chun Real?

Here's an interesting question for you - how do you know that the wing chun that you're learning is the real deal and not some watered-down or elementary form of wing chun?

The same can be said of any martial art I suppose - karate, taekwondo, kung fu, etc.

What makes a style real or not, and more importantly, would the person seeking real wing chun even know what real wing chun is when he or she sees it?

Is it a Chinese teacher that determines if your wing chun is real? Or the traceability of lineage to Yip Man, Bruce Lee, William Cheung, etc?

Is it how hard he can punch?

Is it how hard he or she trains you?

Is it the robes that the teacher is wearing or, like a chinese restaurant, the number of chinese students attending the class?

How do i know if the wing chun I'm learning right now and for the last years, is the real thing? Maybe all that matters is that helps me improve from where ever I'm at..and that's all that really matters.

But then again, maybe that's what real kung fu is supposed to be.

Until then.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Victor Guiturrez

Came across this video of a seminar held by ex-WT Victor Guiturrez on a wing chun forum. You know what? This video got flamed big time. I was really dissapointed. Many took the assumption that since he's training with partners and with no footage of free fighting, that this guy knows sh*t all.

I liked what I saw here. There was un-orthodox attacks (in the eyes of wing chun), there was an emphasis of a realistic attacker, and there was importance placed on putting weight and your whole body behind the hits. I would say these are all good points to pick up, rather than focusing on how co-operative the partner is.

One note on the "co-operative partner" - you can't really tell on video clips, but sometimes the hits ACTUALLY HURT LIKE A BITCH so there's really no point trying to resist the attacks and so you cover up or don't "fight back". in other cases, you can try to fight back or resist, but then the teacher doing the demonstration will hit you harder to the point where you can only take so much pain. Is it worth it? not really, so you kind of "co-operate" by not fighting back.

There's a reason the partner doesn't attack back - it's because it hurts to.

Anyway, what are your thoughts/

here's the video clip.

And on a lighter note - here's a prank gone wrong - just the first half of this clip though.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Karate Kid

Just saw a commercial for the Karate Kid! Man, i dunno........

I loved the original Karate Kid - the story was something people could relate to, the characters awesome and Mr. Miyagi was like the best karate teacher in the whole wide world.

What i even liked more about it was how "Daniel-san" was good at karate but not THAT good..he just knew the basics really well. No spinning kicks, no flashy flips - just basics and his one special move - the crane kick ;)

But then i see this new movie starring Jacky Chan in Will Smith's son...looks entertaining, but is it Karate Kid worthy? i don't know. There isn't even karate in it!! Plus, the kids look kinda young too..is there a love story involved? Might be kinda weird...

anyway, you gonna check it out? i probably will.....

Until then.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chi-Sao Pushing: Kick The Habit!

During chi-sao, you're training with your partner. I repeat..YOUR PARTNER..not your attacker. As such, there's tendency to be nice to the partner - how do you train a fighting art with someone as to not hit that person all the time?

In some wing chun class, the attacks are controlled and eventually turn into "slaps" which isn't good.

but the other extreme, the attacks turn into "push" so as to physically move the opponent showing them they can't continue, but the problem becomes that the wing chun person only learns to push.

And then you see this pushing translate into natural reaction..which is something we DON'T want under all circumstances.

Pushing your opponent or partnet, for that moment, may show that you "won" or resets the drill, but really it doesn't show anyone won..in fact, probably worse.

The wing chun fighter works so hard to close the distance and likes to maintain distance, so why would you want to push the person away and create more distance?

The wing chun fighter wants to remove time, opportunity and distance for the attacker to make a move, but by pushing someone away, you're giving the attacker all three factors!

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?

Remember, you want to hit, you want to cause trauma - pushing doesn't do this.

Until then.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Double Knockout!

One of the "problems" with MMA...

it's easy to forget how many bad MMA guys are out there when all we see is Pride and UFC..

Anyway, gotta good chuckle





Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wing Tsun is Liberating

To apply wing tsun, you have to liberate yourself from all restrictions of the wing tsun kung fu style. If you don't, it is not real kung fu.

You have to liberate your stance, so that you are not in anyone one stance - not 100/0 or 0/100.

You have to liberate your arms so that you can hit, instead of block, struggle, grapple, stiffen up.

You have to liberate your mind so that you do not feat being hit when closing in the distance.

You have to liberate your muscles so that your limbs and core maintains a certain flexibility but is never tense.

You have to liberate your concept of what kung fu is or isn't and just fight.

You have to liberate yourself from your enemy - whether he's a MMA guy or muay thai guy or whatever doesn't matter. When this point comes, it's too late.

You have to liberate your spirit so that you'll not restrict yourself from hurting the enemy attacking you.

Until then.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week 16: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

HA! You've made it to week 16!!

the question is can you throw a 1000 awesome chain punches???

Time to find out now!

Your test this week, throw a 1000 chain punches full blast, full power - see how far you get without running out of gas!

until then

Weekend Wing Tsun Seminar

This past saturday, a small group of us had attended a seminar held by my Si-Fu, Ralph Haenel - the topic: The Core Concepts.

In essence, the core concepts are 10 factors that must be satisfied during training in order to make your wing chun work. Many systems understand or are exposed to say 5 of them, some get 2 of them and so on, while other martial arts see the other 8.

The stuff we practiced could be perceived as "basic" but, within the context of the core concepts, it is anything but basic. I believe that without a strong foundation and the hours of hard work of "boring" basics, you cannot really grasp the concept of the core concept in a practical concept.

On top of this, the intensity of training is very important. especially when the drills are not performed fast, or "powerful", the intensity of the training can still be very high. During the course of the seminar, there was nothing that was cardiovascular draining per se, but by the end of it, my entire body was exhausted. Only to find out that the next morning, my shoulder and back muscles and calves (who would think that calf muscles would be affected??) were so sore.

Anyway, another great seminar!

Until then.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week 15: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

How are your shoulders feeling? probably not that bad by now ;)

chain punch as hard as you can for 30 seconds, followed by 20 second rest. Repeat this 20 times.

Follow up with vertical fist push ups (with fist protectors or not) 4 sets of 10 reps.

Followed with forward step, alternating legs, for 10 minutes.

Good luck ;)



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sun Run 2010

So this year was my return to the Sun Run having skipped out last year. What an amazing day, the sun was shining, the people were incredibly friendly and there was a lot of energy all around. I have no idea what my time was but I managed to conquer the run without having to walk.

BUT, there was a price I had to pay. My left knee was incredibly sore by the final stretch and the only thing that kept me in it was keeping PROPER FORM. Making sure that my feet, ankle, knees, hip all lined up ensured that I was running as efficiently as possible, using as little energy as possible and minimizing stress to my knees.

It worked - i was able to finish without stopping I have to say that I would have to thank this to my wing tsun training believe it or not. There's a type of self/muscle awareness that this training brings to light and it came in handy tonight.

I know I know..perhaps you'd rather me talk about how I chain punched someone at the sun run, but the people out there were just all pretty happy to be there. Cheers all around!

Until then.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bare Knuckle Fights!

Kyklosphaira sent me this clip of some bare knuckle brawls. OK, i'm not gonna say this technique is wrong or they don't know how to fight etc. The reality is these guys got the guts to get in there and just give it their all. Pretty crazy if you ask me.

I would like to bring you attention to two things:

1) Notice how the dynamics of fighting change when it's bare knuckle fighting. There's something inherently different by how they fight, how the fists are clenched, etc. to maximize impact but minimize damage of the hands themselves. It's ugly and it's brutal for both fighters. You seem to lose a sense of "security" created with gloves or fist protectors. The fist has to connect almost perfectly to avoid damage...and that changes the way one has to punch.

2) 1:49 into the clip, there's a wing tsun guy!! At first, i'm like ALL RIGHT!! then, you look at the background and the guys are cheering. UHM..i think this is a fake. What guys cheer like that in the background? it's not some kind of video game or B-rated movie. TOO BAD and shame on you WT.

Here's the clip

Until then.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Guns Don't Work

OK, this one i'm going to have to thank my kung fu brother, Tony for forwarding this clip to me. It really is amazing and scary at the same time.

The video clip is a cop vs. an exboxer hopped up on ANGER. A gun couldn't even stop the boxer.

If that's the case, what good is our chain punches?

Here's the clip.

Until then.

Week 14: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Hello everyone!

These weeks are getting harder and harder for me. After my journey to six pack abs workout and hiit training, it just gets really really difficult stamina wise and mentally as well to hammer out chain punches...

but..here goes..

1 rounds consists of:

double punches (one fist aiming at throat, one at lower abdomen), stance stationary, blast as many as you can in 30-60 second intervals, depending on your fitness level.

Then advancing step left leg, back in IRAS stance, step with right leg and repeat this for 1 minute.

repeat for a total of 10 rounds.

Have fun!




Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wing Chun YouTube Video Clips

Get satellite tv service from top satellite dish providers likedish network and dish latino.

In the YouTube world, wing chun will bring you the following major types of videos:

1) Instructor/teacher drills and explanations
2) Demonstrations (this includes commercials, or any pre-arranged sequences)
3) Free sparring

Let's focus on the 3rd category. Although many would want to believe otherwise, wing chun full contacting clips on the web are pretty weak. Either the wing chun guy loses or the use of wing chun skill just goes to crap in the free sparring environment.

Do you think that such videos are a good thing or a bad thing to post for the art of wing chun? Will wing chun meet it's inevitable fate as a horrible system of fighting (at least in the context of sparring/full contact fighting)? Or will it simply encourage those that can use their wing chun to post a video to demonstrate that it does work?

If there are so many wing chun instructors out there that know their stuff, how come none have been able to post their skills in a free fight, MMA type of scenario?

Where are all these wing chun fighters hiding?

And why are they hiding?

Nothing to prove? Sure, but how about simply to spread the art? Why does it seem so difficult to find really convincing wing chun action? Look at the Leung Ting WT organization with THOUSANDS of schools and students and instructors. I'm sure they can at least produce 1 guy to shoot a video on youtube and post it?

Until then.

Week 13: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

This week is very straight forward but may not be that easy.

Set the timer for 10 minutes and chain punch away until it beeps at you!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?


Very simply. What's wrong with this picture? or what's right with this picture?

This picture was pulled from a blog where Robert Downey Jr. discusses his wing chun training.

And yes, I realize that this is just a snap shot and that such a snap shot provides no real context to the actual move, nor fairly represents any form of wing chun skill. But what if he was posing for it?


Until then.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sexual Assault In Vancouver Response

This is in response to some feedback I received regarding my last post. Apparently, changing behaviour or, apparently, my recommending the changing of behaviour to sexual assault victims is actually offensive to victims. I had no idea! From what I understand, it implies that their attack was their own fault.

Let me make it clear that I have no intentions of implying that.

That said, there is no doubt in my mind that attackers look for a particular victim and measures their victims based on their behaviors, activities, daily routine, etc.

My advice was never to imply blame on anyone, but simply to avoid such horrific situations. It would seem silly to me, however, to maintain status quo after such an attack and do something about it.

When a house gets burglarized, chances are you'd invest in a security system. Does that imply fault tot he home owners?

When someone's car is stolen, does that imply the car owner's at fault for parking in a wal-mart parking lot?

Maybe it does. But, realistically, we all know it can happen to any of us and we have to do what we can to prevent it.

"Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Until then.

Week 12: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Hello gang! Week 12 is going to be an interesting drill...don't worry, not as fatiguing.

Now, take the position advancing stance position (left leg forward, right leg back) and be ready as if to throw your first chain punch.

Let's say you're going to throw a punch with your right hand.

Now I want you to imagine how the energy is generated from the ground and continues all the way up along your body and then to your fist, tensing each muscle group and then relaxing, as you imagine the force traveling through your body.

For example, so imagine the force generated in your feet(tense then relax), then ankles (tense/relax), then calves, then knees, then thighs, pelvis, butt muscles, lower abs, middle abs, lower back, upper back, lats, chest, shoulders, low elbow, triceps, forearms, fist, neck and spine.

Remember to tense, then relax the muscles - in essence you want to be aware of the muscles being used. This is not a muscle building exercise where your tense like crazy.

Then repeat it again for the other side.

Do this for a total of 10 times per side.

Until then.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sexual Assault in Vancouver

I've been following the news lately and within the recent weeks or days, it seems there's been a string of sexual assaults and/or attempts all located within the fairly safe and busy area of Vancouver. In all instances, the report is that the man assaulting these women is described to be someone in his teens.

This is a good time to refresh some good habits of self-defense beyond the actual fighting aspect. A lot of this, on the surface is common sense, but when you have a cell phone on you, or if you're walking in a safe area, or if your mind is in the moment, it's easy to let our guards down.

  • Be aware of sounds around you. Unfortunately with the iPod days, this may not be possible. Simply listening on a lower volume, or having only one ear plugged into your iPod may be better. You want to be able to hear who's walking or running behind you.
  • Don't be afraid to turn around. If you hear people coming up from behind you, turn around and see what's going on. Maybe it's just some guy catching the bus, other times, it's a bit more shady. The attention you show him makes you less of a victim.
  • Keep your head high and eyes aware. When you're looking around and aware of your surroundings, this is like "the club" and visually signals to potential attackers that you'll notice them, noticing you.
  • Keep distance. If they walk toward you, walk away, cross the street, change direction
  • Watch for corners or door corridors. When you turn the corner, be sure to leave distance between you and the corner in case anyone is standing right there.
  • In parking lots, watch for corners or hidden areas, keep the keys ready to go to enter the car or as a weapon.
  • Got bear spray? it's useless in your bag. You actually have to have this ready. Keep it ready when you're in open, quiet areas - this is prime mugging/assault territory
Got more ideas? feel free to post in the comments section!

And don't forget, when an altercation happens, that's where your fighting skills really kick. Consider self-defense schools that go beyond tournaments or sport fighting. You want something that mimics the reality of the street, including it's emotions and variables.

Until then.

Week 11: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

My apologies for not getting this to you sooner folks! I've been incredibly busy with work, my two blog sites, and other projects...it's been a lot of fun, but, unfortunately I missed this post.

OK, the week is simple.

Find a hard surface like a cement wall, tree, or even floor.

Depending on how soft/hard your fists are, begin to tap the surface repeatedly for a total of 100 counts. Then switch hands and do the same. Just light taps. You can add more pressure if you feel it's required.

Repeat this for a total of 5 times/side.

Finish off with a blast of chain punches for 1 minute.

Until then!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trauma Factor

Common in many martial art styles is the idea of inflicting pain onto the other person.

"oh that's painful!' "ouch!" or "oohh! that's gotta hurt!"

There are certain parts of the body that is very susceptible to pain, where there are certain areas that contain concentrated bundles of nerve endings. Pressure points, joint locks, and bony areas are great for this.

But there's a problem with this.

When the attacker is hopped up on adrenaline, pain isn't a factor. When the attacker is hopped up on drugs, pain isn't a factor.

What that means for us is that we have to take our focus away from hitting areas that are "painful" and focus in simply inflicting TRAUMA no matter where you hit.

Trauma means you're going to shut down a physiological function as a result of the physical impact. Hit the guy hard enough in the jaw, temple, chin - the brain will hit the sides of the skull and the person will shut down no matter how hopped up he is.

If you're able to hit the person hard enough in the solar plexus - the force of impact will disrupt his breathing and he will collapse.

These are automatic physiological reactions - the enemy has no control over this.

So then this comes to our training - do we have enough force in our hits to inflict TRAUMA? or are we just "patty-caking" the other guy?

Chi-sao has this problem - slapping, or touching or this "i got you" mentality. None of that means anything. You have to know that not only can you "get there" but that getting there will drop that person down.

Don't inflict pain. Inflict trauma.

Until then.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Functional Power vs. Powerful Looking

Four videos are brought to my attention:

1) Choy Lee Fat - to me, each move is incredibly powerful. Probably one of the best looking one's I've come across. That said, i'm not CLF expert.

2) Choy Lee Fat - this one is bag work using CLF moves. New video to me, interesting to see how power is released into the moves.

3) Wing Tsun - many of you have seen this before. Fast hands.

4) JKD - I'm sure many have seen this one too.

Now which ones do you think can actually throw powerful hits or just look powerful on video?

Until then.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wing Chun Workout

For those within the wing chun circles, there are two camps - one that is for weight training and another against weight training. Let's take a look at reasons for weight training/workout and wing chun:

1) Increases muscle mass, therefore adds to punching power
2) Health benefits from working out contributes to overall body health
3) It does NOT slow one down (look at the sprinter!)
4) Trains muscular endurance (minimize fatigue during a fight)

But here are the reasons for why weight training is not for wing chun:

1) Increased muscle mass restricts freedom of movement, therefore slows you down (look at the body builder!)
2) There is always someone stronger than you and wing chun is designed to fight the stronger enemy
3) The muscles trained with weights counter muscles used for punching (eg. biceps vs. triceps)
4) Want to be better at wing chun? train more wing chun!

So what's the right answer? Is weight training a good thing or a bad thing for wing chun? Can one design a workout that finds the happy medium between these two extreme positions?

You bet.

And I've found it! I was playing with my resistance bands on the weekend and, after some consultations with my Si-Fu, I was able to find some really interesting drills that can be replicated with the MightyBands while sticking to wing tsun moves!

After 15 minutes, I was sweating like crazy! But not from some crazy pushups, but simply performing step and punch drills, positioning and stance drills and kicking drills all with the use of the resistance bands! I actually made a quick video for you guys to check out the type of wing chun resistance training drills I was able to perform. There was very little compromise of the positioning of the hands, elbows, shoulders and stance - unlike using weights or machines. I was pretty impressed with what I was able to do.

Something like this provides enough resistance to challenge muscle (promote muscle growth) specific for wing chun structure and punching power, without creating huge muscles. And while it's doing all this, you can perform the exercises in a manner that gives you a great cardio workout! Best of all worlds.

So check it out - my wing chun workout/wing chun resistance bands training drills.

Until then.

video

Week 10: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Welcome to week 10!! only 6 more weeks to go - it just seems to have flown by! this week's theme: 300 training!

The drill is simple:

300 chain punches

300 hooking punches (alternate each side)

300 lifting punches (do 150 lifting punches with right arm, 150 punches with left arm).

Until then!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MMA In Vancouver

Vancouver, for some reason, does not like mixed martial arts. I don't know what it is, but they don't. The MMA expo was initially approved to be held in Abbotsford, but was recently cancelled as they felt that it would draw too many gang members.

So they moved it to Vancouver. Where, it has now been cancelled due to insurance coverage issues. Apparently, they don't want any man-to-man touching. In terms of the organizers, this meant no demonstrations, no opportunity to let attendees learn some cool grappling moves. For some reason, the city of Vancouver, painted a picture of some kind of bar fight.

Which now brings us to the issue of whether the UFC will be held here. Latest rumours are that it's cancelled, but a quick search on the new says it's still on. Who the hell knows?

This is ridiculous. There's no doubt some kind of agenda fueled by a misunderstaning of the sport and a prejudice to it, is what's really at work here.

Look at all the efforts going into to pass the HST regardless of all the opposition to it and yet, apparently, insurance is the reason that kills the MMA expo - c'mon!!

That said, it doesn't really help when the organizers on the talk radio discuss how the moves are safe and that any kid learns this, but describes the move as "triangle choke hold"...i'm sure those in the MMA circles knows it can be practiced safe, but to some Vancouver council member who's experience of martial arts probably consists of Kung Fu starring David Carradine, the term "triangle choke hold" is gonna kill someone.

Let's see how it all plays out.

Until then.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

WT Home Gym System and Week 9: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Before I get into this week's drill - I've been getting questions lately regarding the resistance bands I've been using in my "train with me" campaign on my other blog, Mighty Fit Grasshopper. Well, I've also been playing around with it for WT training and it's been a lot of fun. I am in the works of developing an amazing training program using those bands! So stay tuned!

In the mean time, you can find the bands here. I've been using them for stance training, chain punch drills, even working on coordination between knees and elbows during step and punch (i can attach bands to all four limbs at the same time!).

Ok, now on with this week!

This week is going to be a little different.

Warm up by performing the following:

Squat with bodyweight - 10 reps
Followed immediately with 50 chain punches - full blast

Perform this 5 times total.

Now into the push up position - making sure that it's your fists (vertical, of course) that are making contact with the ground (you can wear fist protectors if you're not used to the contact). Staying in this position, lift the right arm and touch your right hip. Place the fist back to the ground, and now lift your left arm and touch your left hip. Alternate to do a total of 20 reps.

As you alternate arms, be sure to maintain good posture and focus on keeping the core tight.

Have fun!

Until then.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Am a Wing Chun Man!!!!!!!!

Here is a clip of a MMA competition try out. A wing chun guy was not allowed to compete and here's the video. What do you think?

1) it's really too bad how this guy is reacting. Reminds me completely of those American Idol rejects.

2) it's pretty apparent that MMA has shifted away from fighting any style to fighting only in "MMA-style"

What are your thoughts?

you can find the video here.

Until then.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 8: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

WEEK 8!!!!!!!

HALF WAY!!!

ok...the drill is simple.

Set the timer for 15 minutes. Start it up and throw punches till it gets to you zero. Do not stop, but if you need to, slow down, but keep going!


Until then.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

P Company One Minute Aggression

Just came across this video as I was visiting the wing chun forums. The guy who posted asked us wing chunners "can you make what you do work in this?"

and this video was posted.

And as much as I question my own skills, progress and abilities...i'd have to say this video is not impressive at all, not intimidating, and is rather stupid.

and the answer to the question, is yes. I can make it work. The hits have nothing in them, it's just long range flailing of the arms in a punch-like motion...there's nothing there.

Those that have trained WT as I've learned it, would know the type of pressure we're normally under, the type of power behind the punch, and what's needed. This video is probably one of many "free fighting" videos that are crap...and is probably the equivalent of some crappy chi-sao video on YouTube.

Although I'm familiar with the original poster, I have to wonder what his skills are like for having even asked this question.

Until then.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Para-Olympic Games 2010

Well this past Friday marked the opening of the Para-Olympic Winter Games for 2010. It was an amazing ceremony. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it, but they have my 100% support no doubt.

Speaking to many, it's a common feeling that should anyone lose a limb, their world is over. It really is amazing that these athletes can compete at such a level with their "handicap." to them, they don't see any handicap..they are themselves, doing whatever it is they enjoy!

Now, in the context of wing chun, I know there's a few clips of a WT expert demonstrating the ability of utilizing their skills in a wheel chair. I find this very interesting and have to ask, how stable is the wheel chair in the context of absorbing forces or rooting? Can the person adjust the various vectors, the shifting, the turning, etc and translate it into a wheel chair context.

This pass week, in Australia, a Canadian was a victim of a beating by two teenage thugs. The victim was also in a wheel chair, and I wonder what the scenario would play like should he have had some self-defense training.

I would imagine the assailants knocked him off the chair, and in that state, how would WT be applied by someone without legs?

Very interesting..

Until then.

Week 7: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Daylight savings has really screwed me up and it's only an hour! ha! On that bombshell, here's week 7: chain punch challenge drill!

Step and double punch (one punch high, one punch low - one aiming at throat, other aiming at lower center of the lower abs). When you complete the step and double punch, repeat the double punch (alternating hands between high punch and low punch) 50 times.

Repeat the drill for a total of 10 times.

the next section part of the exercise:

Simply place your hands behind you, relaxed, in the SNT stance. Step forward as fast as you can and then return to the SNT stance. Step forward with the other foot and then return.

Do this drill for a total of 50 steps each side.

Until then

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Painful Lessons

Last Monday night, I had the pleasure of working with my Si-Fu one-on-one for a good 35-45 minutes (I really don't know how long it lasted, to tell you the truth). It was a mix of lat-sao, chi-sao, stress, physical endurance, punch training, and resistance training..all in one. You tell me of any other training that does all that at once? It is probably the most efficient hybrid form of training in the world!

This type of training is, in my opinion, a rarity. Generally, when it comes to training regardless of lineage, many of the chi-sao sections or drills are done in a manner where it's done slow, done fast, soft, or fast, detailed, or focussed on memorization of the movements.

But Monday night highlights a specific way of training wing chun that beats any workout that any weight, machine or combination of the two that exists on the planet.

Essentially, my Si-Fu provides pressure, resistance and opposing force in such a way that makes it feel like my arms, legs and entire structure are working against giant springs, where each spring is independent of the other (think of that bowling ball mattress!). Imagine performing a tan sao, a punch, a fook sao against a constant spring-like force, that's constant throughout each move and during the transition of the movements.

It's common practice to provide a force at the beginning of the move, and at the end of the move. but in between there's nothing. Just imagine the arm position in between the tan sao and bong sao. Usually the partner generally lets you complete the movement. But in this spring-like resistance training, if that "in between" movement isn't performed with proper forward pressure and muscular endurance, that "in between" movement is essentially dead and is an opportunity to get hit.

The more I write, the more difficult I realize it is to describe with words.

Anyway, it was a fun night. About 40 minutes after, it was painful. My arms were all bruised, my chest was bruised. Blood vessels popped and I'm getting funny looks from co-workers all day. Of course, this type of "physical abuse" isn't for everyone and is generally not performed on a regular basis (in case the picture ispotentially scaring new students to wing chun).

Until then.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Is Your Wing Chun Martial Art Complete?

Wing chun is characterized by straight-line attacks, simultaneous attacks and low kicks. There aren't that many different moves in the system beyond, stepping, chain punching, tan sao, bong sao, kao sao and fuk sao (for the most part), front kick and side kick.

That's it!

I've been able to summarize all the weapons of the wing chun system in one sentence. Very unlike the karate I've been exposed to or other kung fu styles I've had the pleasure of training in.

Sure, this may be a testament to the efficiency and simplicity of wing chun, but is it a complete martial art? are there things missing?

Obviously, people wonder about it's "ground game" or the lack of "long range" attacks. These are just the obvious things. What about the need of a round house kick, back fist, etc etc - the list goes on.

So what are your thoughts? do you think wing chun is complete? do you think YOUR style of wing chun is complete? maybe yes, maybe not and that's why you're practicing other martial arts?

My thoughts? Yes, the wing chun that I know is complete. Yes, I also realize that, although there are some solutions, there is also a lack of ground game. That said, a car can be complete but can be made for sport or it can made for off road - both products are complete.

Your turn!

Until then.


Week 6: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

So are your arms about to fall of yet??

this week - we change it up again1

The drill:

1) Step and punch aiming high, throwing 50 punches. Rest to catch your breath.

2) Step and punch aiming low, throwing 50 punches. Rest to catch your breath.

3) Step and punch aiming at your centre, throwing 50 punches. Rest to catch your breath.

Cycle through the three drills for a total of 6 times.

Have fun!

Until then.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week 5: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

One month down - how are those arms feeling??

ok, this month we switch it up to include the legs now.

The drill:

Part 1: Step and punch - one step and throw 20 punches

Repeat and do that 25 times.

Part 2: Plank

You can do this on carpet or, for those conditioned, to do on hard floor or tile.

Go into the push up position (elbow locked or have slight bent) and instead of the palms touching ground, make sure it's the fists (in vertical fist position) touch the ground.

Hold the position for 45 seconds

rest for 1 minute

Repeat for a total of 4 times.

Have fun!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wing Chun is Close Distance Fighting

Wing Chun is close-distance fighting or "phone booth" fighting. I don't believe this, although it seems that i may be in the minority on that. Sure we may not have long swinging punches or high roundhouse kicks, but does that define whether a fighting style is close-distance or far?

What is more important is commitment - commitment to your attack, faith in your structure, faith in your skills, and faith in your punching power. You have one shot and that's it.

Perhaps, from a distance, because we commit so much into our attacks, that we appear to favour close-range fighting. But if we can extend this commitment to other attacks, perhaps longer range or almost "reaching" attacks - as long as they're committed, they will work.

I believe that the reason why the wing chun fighter suffers defeat is because of the fear to commit. We get too comfortable in a "sticky hands" range and not into the attacker. We also get too comfortable 'touching" our opponent but not really going in to hit the opponent.

It requires us to "let go" and just go for it. Who cares if we get hit? We are bound to get hit if we don't.

Go big or go home. There's a point where you just gotta trust what you got..whatever you got...and go it..commit to the hit.

Until then.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How To Beat a Wing Chun Guy

Ever wondered how you would beat a wing chun guy? I'm not asking from the perspective of a wing tsun student, but from an outsider of the wing chun system. Knowing what you know now of WT/VT/WC, how would you defeat the guy?

For me, I would try to capitalize on their eagerness to close the gap, playing with the distance to keep them either waiting for me to come in or for them to come in too early.

Using distance and circular punches to offset their straight line attacks. I'm sure i'll get a few fists in the face, but would hope for one awesome knock out punch.

If the distance is too close, then to grab, hold and take down.

Of course, this all said, knowing what I know now of what a great WC/VT/WT practitioner can do, I'm pretty sure I'll be knocked around pretty bad.

Until then.

Week 4: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Ok, week 4 - chain punch challenge (oh my, a month almost done!)

Similar to week 1:

One round consists of:
75 chain punches/side = 150 chain punches total

Repeat for a total of 10 rounds

Rest for about 30-60 seconds, or to catch your breath.

Until then.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On and Off

There's a concept in wing chun training that I came across describing a recurring issue with wing chun training, called "on and off."

Essentially, "on and off" can be characterized when students do a drill and, upon closer observation, you can see that it's "off" or "lazy" during the transition of the drill from the point it starts but "turns on" at the end of the execution of the drill.

For example, take the simple straight punch. You can even try it. Take a moment and do a few punches in the air.

You'll think it's not too bad, i'm sure. But when you keep doing it, i want you to ask yourself, "did the punch have the same intent in the punch at the end of the punch as it did when you started the punch? how about when the punch was half way to the target?"

usually, when the punch starts, it's already "off" but then it becomes even more "off" or "dead" half way through the punch and then as you reach the end of the punch it turns "on"..in a sense where you really then throw the intent of the punch. But, really, the intent was not consistent throughout the entire punch.

From this, we can learn that we should create that intent to hit and MAINTAIN that intent throughout the entire punch from beginning, middle and end - so that essentially it's "on" the entire time.

For those who follow the WT lineage, this can be applied to lat sao. Usually when both partners start off in the basic pak-sao/punch drill, it's "off" until contact is made and then it's "on" again, and we think "yea, this feels good!" but really, it's not.

Next time try to keep it "on" all the time during the pak-sao/punch platform so that the punch's intent, as well as speed, form and structure, is always there from beginning, middle and end and the same goes with the pak-sao. You'll find, quickly, that it's more exhausting both physically and mentally.

Until then.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trouble With The Wrong Guy Part 2

If you missed my original post, you can find it here. I just wanted to talk about this video. I thought this was a very good clip, so thanks to whoever shot this and posted it on youtube.

There's no doubt in my mind that this guy has a karate or martial arts background. I say Karate only because of his eagerness to use a reverse punch, but I could be wrong. What I love about this clip is how the "victim' stood his ground the entire time, never broke eye contact and just placed his hands in front of his groin area, to protect it.

Now, he has guts. i don't know if I would've let the assailant come so close to me..and that many times..but this guy definitely was calm and assertive. He was not aggressive, he did not egg the attacker on. He just stood there..and from that, there was a confidence to it.

That's what self-defense is about. It's not necessarily about being to spin kick some guy in the head or slam him to the ground. It's about holding your own, and when the time calls for action, you can deliver..right then and there. There is no cage, the "attacker" isn't going to be always be the MMA fighter..the attacker can just be some whack job puffing and huffing their chest..but the question is how do you/we react??

Yes, sure if you can fight in the cage, then the skills will translate to the street (at least, that's the idea). But, at the same time, the street's measure of victory is not a knock out, is not a choke..it's just getting out of there.

I don't want to rant about self-defense vs. MMA..

I just want to point out that self-defense as self-defense only can be very practical and successful on the street..and at the end of the day getting your ass out of a dangerous situation is all that matters...not whether you choked the guy out.

Back to the video, props to this guy. And what an idiot that "attacker" is..typical young kid trying to show off to his friends. He deserved getting punched in the face. And the "victim" did a great job on remaining calm and acting only when he needed it.

Until then.

Week 3: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

Already, we are at week 3 of the 1000 chain punch challenge! Now if you haven't already, please check out my "train with me" section of my other blog, Mighty Grasshopper. The feedback has been great and the comments have been a lot of fun to read. Although you can do the 1000 chain punch challenge exercises on your own, they are meant to supplemented with the Journey to 6 Pack Abs Program that I'm doing.

Ok, here's week 3:

Instead of the usual chain punch, where you just start blasting away the punches. Think of just punching one at a time, full power, but be sure to maintain PROPER form so that you do not hurt yourself.

So your punch count will be 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-10-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-20 etc. with short pauses between punches. You can shorten the duration of the pauses, but be sure that each punch is full power and fully extended and that you do NOT go into the normal chain punch speed. If it gets sloppy, the slow it down again with longer pauses between punches.

So you're going to do a total of 5 rounds, where each round will be a 150 punches. Take a quick breather between rounds, maybe 5-10 seconds.

Until then.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Waves System

Have you guys seen this before? i came across this randomly as i was "youtubing". to some it can be quite the exaggerated movements, but still, there are similarities to the wing chun i'm familiar with. I think many can confuse it for just being fancy moves, but applying these ideas to as simple as a right hook or straight punch can make the right hook or straight punch quite devastating.

It's all about movement of the joints, really letting them become flexible and free. Initially, it's usually the muscles that are tense and not used to the movements that prevent us from being so flexible. But that's about 20% of it. the other 80% of it is simply our own mind - we don't let ourselves free. Either we're too shy, or don't know how to let loose...having that flexible force, that natural movement in the legs as well as the arms really depends on our mindset.

Here's the clip

Until then.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trouble With The Wrong Guy

I want you guys to watch this - it's a little long, but the ending may surprise you. There's no doubt, from the "victim's body language" that something was going to happen. I think for the average viewer, the victim is in trouble from the get go..but i think for the self-defense expert, he tells a different story.

Great lessons here.

let me know your thoughts!

for the video click here

Until then.

Week 2: 1000 Chain Punch Challenge

**BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN TO THE POST AFTER THIS FOR LATEST POST***

OK, here's your 1000 chain punch challenge exercise for week 2:

  • Chain punch for 5 minutes straight.

That's it. Try to make sure they're all full speed and fully extended, as I've described in my video here. If your arms start to fail, then just make sure they're fully extended, focusing on using your back muscles to throw the punch, as well as your elbow.

in the works - how not to throw chain punches..stay tuned!

Until then.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Knife Defense

This was brought to my attention by a fellow FaceBook friend. Here is a video of Grandmaster Keith Kernspecht demonstrating some knife defenses. This FB friend actually asked us for our thoughts (keeping it respectful) and it's no surprise that the majority of the comments did not agree with the tactics demonstrated here.

Here's what I think of the video - i think it's not the most effective methods for knife defense, in fact very different from what I've been exposed to by my instructor (who's Sifu is Kernspecht himself). In fact, it's probably very dangerous to try pulling these moves against a weaponed attacker.

That said, I do think that the exercises he's showing are great for making your tan-sao, bong-sao, etc more effective. It emphasizes complete relaxation, compromised positioning and ideas of attacking. it's hard to say if he's teaching this as a method for knife defense, or simply using the knife as a practice tool to train bong sao/tan sao and has explicitly told his students that these are not knife defenses.

anyway, what are your thoughts?

for the video, click here.

until then.

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