Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obasi Saga Continues...Williams, Kwok and now...Boztepe?

How can I NOT talk about this?  My good friend and WT colleague has been keeping me in the loop on the Shawn Obasi wing chun sticky hands saga..

For those of you who are not in the know, Shawn Obasi is this wing chun fighter of which we were introduced to a couple years ago as he was the self proclaimed "Wing Chun man" who tried to enter an MMA competition... unsuccessfully and embarrassingly in my opinion. You can check out my original post about him here. What was interesting and cool at the time, however, was that he wanted to represent wing chun in the MMA world. Great! You can actually see my other post about him where he actually fought in some MMA type of competition.

So fast forward to now..

This guy's been on a "rampage" of sorts..crossing hands with vary well known wing chun teachers of which have master titles and are in all the kung fu magazines and just very well known and, for the most part, respected in the wing chun circles.

Obasi's first 'victim" is this guy, Sifu Randy Williams...he is very well known. I remember seeing articles about him and on the covers and spreads of Inside Kung Fu back in the day...plus all his videos and books advertisements, etc.

So Obasi rolls hands with Randy Williams. Now given the history of Randy Williams, you would think that he'd be able to dominate against a relative nobody like Obasi. Well, not so much. Check out the video here!

What a let down!! Randy Williams was getting worked. Both wing chun sticky hands sucked, but you can see that Obasi was able to get strikes in and overpower Randy Williams. Where's the wing chun principles of using the opponents force? of yielding? of being like water? of intercepting and angles and size doesn't matter, etc etc.  Any hits that Randy got in..were nothing..just touches. Let me say, however, both guys doing sticky hands sucked here but you can tell that Randy was a let down and just didn't bring his game that you would expect a Sifu of his calibre to be...

Maybe it's cuz Randy Williams isn't Chinese. You know, if you're Chinese, then you've gotta be amazing at kung fu.  You can't do any wrong, really.

So Obasi's next "meeting" is with Sifu Samuel Kwok.  This guy is also very well known in wing chun circles. You can read his bio here. The guy's teacher is Ip Chun, the son of the great Wing Chun master, Yip Man. damn!!! Sifu Kwok has been learning wing chun since the 70's - he must be amazing!! he's got many clips on youtube and i think he even did some collaboration with some brazillian jiu jitsu guys.

Check out the video of how the whole thing went down. 

Again, a rather dissapointing show from Sifu Kwok..and again you can see that Kwok can't dominate of which you'd expect a wing chun master of his calibre to be able to do.  You can see how they just stiffen up, keep distance and pretty much just get into girl fight of sorts.. you can see the pushing, the stiffness..all the juicy openings a grappler would love.

anyway things ended fairly quickly but you can get a sense that MASTER KWOK couldn't really do much. Seriosuly..it's so dissapointing.

I feel like i can bring the same game too if i rolled with Obasi...and i'm nobody!!

So now Obasi decides to roll with the wing tsun guy that everyone just loves to hate..Emin Boztepe. Of WT origins, Emin now has his own association under EBMAS.

Now I've actually crossed hands with Sifu Emin back in the day. I was just a puny student level 3 back then..so what do I know, right? But at the time and watching how he just tore everyone apart at the seminars..i thought this guy was the real deal.. Let me be upfront and say that i have no association with him or his organization. in fact, i think the guy's a jerk..but i can't question his skill...

BUT..

so many people just hate on this guy. He's muscular..he's a bully..how could he be good at wing chun? He just does demos..and his partners don't REALLY try to hit him.  It's unreal how much people don't like this guy and think his wing chun is just absolute crap. I can't say i agree. In fact, here's my favorite chi sao clip of him. Just amazing!! But check out the comment threads..it just goes on and on how about how shitty he is..

People love to hate him..

So let's bring it back to Obasi.  Here he is doing sticky hands with Emin Boztepe.

My friends, OBASI IS JUST GETTING WORKED. He can't do a single thing and he just keeps getting hit. and guys, Emin's hits look like they're effortless and not painful..but that's what makes them SO FREAKING painful and you can tell by how Obasi is reacting each time.. every time Obasi moves, he moves in with hesitation and caution and that just let's Emin hit him even more.  You know why? because the hits received  actually have impact.  Obasi doesn't just gets slapped, he gets contact that you know has some boom behind and Emin's just holding back. There's is no pushing, no flailing of the arms..you can see who's dominating and who's not.

And Emin's not even Chinese!

And yes, some of you are going to say that Obasi's not really trying to hit. You know why? cuz he knows he can't get in and the harder he tries, the harder he himself gets hit. Obasi can feel this in his arms from his own sticky hands training..anyone who does sticky hands knows this - you can feel when you can't get in so you don't.  So as the drill goes on, poor Obasi and any partner on the receiving end really can't throw committed hits anymore because they know they'll just get whacked.

You can see the impact of fairly light hits when you watch Obasi's body move from the impact. this is how European WT wing chun trains (at least back in the day)..they don't just play tag.

to sum up...if you kind of use Obasi as the one constant in these 3 clips..you can see who's got skills and who doesn't. You can easily see who dominates and who doesn't. You don't need skillfull wing chun eyes to judge this.

Anyway these are my quick thoughts. Share yours!

Until then.

**EDIT March 3 2013**

Tons of comments and emails coming in on this one and I just felt it would be easier to add here than respond to each person individually. A lot of people are bringing up the **CONTEXT** of which the 'meetings' are taking place... in particular:

The meetings (guys, no way i can say fight, because it's just chi-sao..and if they all wanted to prove who's best, they should just fight) between Sam Kwok and Randy Williams are more aggressive..more like a "winner" must be determined..while the clip with Emin seemed more co-operative, more like Emin was showing Obasi a drill.

Yes, I also noticed the different tone of the Emin clip versus the other two. But here's the thing:

If the Randy Williams one was more of a "revenge match", and Randy has skills, Randy Williams shouldn't have held back. In fact, if he held back and still got whacked with Obasi's fak saos and got pushed around..what's the point of that??  Why can't he turn it up to Obasi's level and just neutralize things? On top of this, my own observation is that his chi-sao skills just aren't there.  Here's a clip of Randy Williams with some other guy..this time smaller and slower..and Randy is able to do the moves, but you can tell it's pretty much the same stuff that he tried with Obasi but just couldn't get it through.  I really like the part when a black belt walks in and doesn't even pay attention to the girl fight.

As for the Emin clip and how it's cooperative. Yes, i think it was too. Here's the kicker - Obasi is hesitant on all his moves, way more than before in his other clips..and he keeps distance. All stuff you do when you REALIZE you can't get in and don't want to get hit.  This was the point I tried to make above in my post...Obasi can sense through sticky hand reflexes (or just knows) that he can't get through and that Emin's hits HURT.   (i'm probably over-analyzing now...there are points in the clip where Obasi tries to hit, but he can't. Emin just shuts them down so subtly that you can barely notice it even happens..which is what good skills should do). Dominance was already established right from the get go from a purely chi-sao perspective..something that could not be done in the other meetings.

The other thing you can't fake is the Obasi grunts! haha awesome. Obasi grunts so differently when training with Emin compared to Randy Williams or Sam Kwok. This is obviously a reflexive habit of his..and it's a good measure of something he can't control..it's purely instinctual and coincides with stress.  Emin's hits are not mean or aggressive..they are just the nature of his hits. I have been to Sifu Emin's seminars and what Emin did was nothing special for Obasi or anyone..it's just how he trains/teaches his students.  And this is how we train and SHOULD train..and it's just part of the EWTO original way of training (i don't know if they do this still?). No slappity slaps..no rabbit punches.  This is normal..at least in my class.

You can tell the difference between this type of crap chi-sao (chasing hands, things getting stuck, no real hardcore hits, both partners just standing there exchanging hits) and this type of superb chi-sao (flow, effortless, determined hits, the losing partner's structure is clearly disrupted, while winning partner is relaxed and upright)

And guys, at the end of the day, you can just tell who's able to dominate and who's not. I can show the 3 obasi clips to a 6 year old and they can determine who "won" or who didn't win in each. I'm sorry, but the Sam Kwok and Randy Williams ones are just not great. These guys are supposed to be AMAZING. I pretty sure if I were to roll with Obasi it'll look like that type of crap chi-sao too..But if i was amazing, i should be able to turn it up a notch to as to neutralize or control him just like i could with my students. And if i was EVEN more amazing, i'd be able to hit him convincingly instead of posting my "explanations" on a website..

Where's the beef? as they say.

We need to show wing chun..not explain wing chun. This is why so many other martial artists just laugh at this kung fu style and I don't blame them.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Punching Power Workout Underway...


As part of my new year resolutions, I’m in the works of developing a new workout program for myself of which is designed to help increase punching power.  The plan is to start March 1st.

It is going to take some time to come up with the program as well as additional weeks for trial and error as I adjust into it.  The program will be designed to accommodate the following goals:

·         Tone up/lean out
·         Maintain muscle (if you’ve never worked out, then it will build muscle)
·         Increase punching power

The last point, increasing punching power, is not an easy task. Personally, conventional workout exercises are not really geared to increase punching power. In my opinion, I don’t even think one needs to lift weights to increase their punching power or punching effectiveness. That said, however, once your timing, positioning, angles, etc are figured out, then adding resistance training will add to your punch. 

The goal of this is to create a workout that complements punching.

(And yes, I know it’s been debated to death in boxing/martial art circles whether weight training is good for punching or not. I can tell you right now that the plan is not designed to make you into a muscle monster or slow you down, stiffen you up, etc )

Personally, I enjoy working out. I find it helps break the monotony of the office lifestyle and it conditions your body differently than say wing chun, karate, etc ..it also has an aesthetic appeal too.  Why not create a plan that provides the benefit of working out with the side effect of increasing your punching power?

Punching is a different type of action with a very specific result – knock out power. The very nature of weight training makes it difficult to replicate exercises that specifically train punching power.  That said, it doesn’t mean that they could not complement each other. Here are my observations for effective punching power so far:

We know this equation: force = mass x acceleration.  Also, power = rate at which work is being done.

·         What this tells us is we need to increase the speed of our punch to increase force and power (explosive action). Also means we could increase mass (build some muscle)

·         Kinetic linking is just a scientific term for being able to connect the force generated from the ground (your legs), through to your torso, then to your arms and then to the fist and target.


o        With this in mind, we want to be able to generate significant force from the ground (eg. strong explosive muscle action from the legs) and efficiently carry all that energy into our arms. 

o        I emphasize the word efficiently because if you can link 100% of the energy your legs generate into your punch, you will have one hell of a punch vs. a guy who can squat heavy weights but can only link 25% of that energy into their punch.

o        The idea of kinetic linking is very important in wing chun, kung fu, etc…they just use different terms for it (eg. chi, fa-jing, etc).

o        Think about it, the more efficiently you can link your energy from the ground/legs..then really, you don’t need to ‘punch hard’. You kind of just have to “touch” the other guy in a sense. In other words, you don’t need big arms/shoulders and you can throw relaxed punches that have knockout power.

·         We don’t want to ‘push-punch’, we want to ‘whip-punch’.  We want to be as relaxed as possible as we throw the punch and add in forms practice.

·         Conditioning of opposing muscles. Back muscles, rear deltoids, biceps, although not used during the punch, are responsible for bringing the hands back and also fatigue quickest which affect our subsequent punch delivery.  These muscles are also used for other grabs, holds, and actions beyond just punching.

·         We also want to condition our small muscles, joints, ligaments and fists.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We should take some time to focus on the small stuff.

·         At the end of the day, if you want to be a powerful puncher, you just gotta hit stuff.

Have I missed anything?  I have to account for all these points above while I create the workout plan.  I do want you guys to try the workout plan with me. Share your thoughts, experience.  If you’re a newbie to working out, the plan can be tailored to your fitness level, but I’m creating this plan with my current fitness level in mind.  I will let you know how to tailor it to your fitness level when I have more details figured out.
One final note – having good punching power does not mean that you’ll be a good fighter.

Until then.

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