MightyBands, home gym system

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Duality of Wing Chun Training

There is duality in everything..

Dark, light

Feminine, masculine

Yin, yang

Positive, negative

Summer, winter

Giving, receiving

Anabolic, catabolic

If you’ve taken a moment to observe the yin/yang symbol, you’ll notice the dynamic of this duality and, as well, within the yin there is some yang and within the yang there is some yin.

When it comes to kung fu training, the method my instructor encourages is to go soft, sink more, exaggerate body movements, take things slower.

On the surface, it contradicts the essence of fighting. Fighting should be aggressive, fast, strong, crushing and indeed it is.

And to a very good extent, such training is needed. However, that is only half of the equation..and is usually the type of training our body is more familiar with. Perhaps maybe too much..too much yang.

So, training at a slower pace, over emphasizing certain moves, exaggerating sinking and yielding..is more yang..it’s more feminine. But it comes with the purpose of fulfilling the other half of the equation.

Your training and your fighting skill should be both yin and yang..it cannot be one or the other.

And in every moment of yang, you must maintain some yin and in every moment of yin, you must maintain some yang.

You can be flexible or soft, but not weak.
You can be strong and hit hard, but not tense.

It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, about getting out of what you’re used to so that you can progress to the next level.

One step back, two steps forward.

For the majority of people studying the fighting arts, aggression and tension is easy to come by. But there are certain people are by nature not aggressive, strong or tense and in their case they must train more yang.
I realize this is common sense and can easily be overlooked. Instead, I would consider this a reminder to reflect in yourself and your training to see if there’s an opportunity here to add more yin or yang to your training.

There is duality in everything. Make sure you cover both grounds.

Until then.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Obasi Saga Continues - Obasi Talks!

Thanks to a fellow reader, I was forwarded this clip of Obasi sharing his thoughts on the recent events of crossing hands with Boztepe, Ng and Williams. If you haven`t yet, you can catch the whole story behind the Obasi saga and the corresponding video clips here.

So here Obasi speaks about what happened with Williams, Ng, and Boztepe and he makes a great point - that each situation was very specific within their own context and cannot be compared to each other.

Granted that`s the case, he does provide his own opinion on who he felt had some considerable skill or at least made an impression on him.

That said...does it matter what this guy says? It's not like he's a benchmark of wing chun..or is he?

Regardless of what he says, can we treat (from an observational level) this a rough estimate of the skill levels of the various teacher's Obasi has crossed hands with?

Obviously the best way to get a better read on his skills is to cross hands with him personally. Obasi, you game? ;)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Do You Practice Wing Chun?

In my last post, I asked you how you’re able to keep your motivation up for the art. This time I want to take a look at the other end of the spectrum and ask you why you practice wing chun.

Well, let’s look at why I train.

Let’s hammer through the primary reasons – I consider this very wing chun specific:

I wanted to learn how to defend myself in a non-sport oriented manner
·        I wanted to learn a Chinese boxing system
·         The simplicity of wing chun makes sense to me
·         Wing Tsun (roots in EWTO) was perfect the balance between Chinese boxing and Western thinking/approach.
·         I hate training in the low horse stance found in other kung fu styles.
·         I’m not particularly athletic enough to do the high jumping spinning kicks
·         My teacher was the only person that I’ve experienced that could actually apply wing chun in a combat situation as opposed to many other teachers that just show off pretty katas, forms or their trophies.
·         My teacher kicked my ass the first day in class. Where do I sign up?

But let’s go into the next level of benefits I get when training

·         Wing tsun training teaches you to let go of that ego (getting hit and allowing to get hit does that pretty quickly)
·         All the demos I did with Sifu back in the day and the classes I’ve helped, teaches you public speaking skills and being sociable.
·         It  develops self-confidence  (especially when you start noticing the moves start working)
·         It creates a level of physical awareness that other sports/physical activities cannot develop (eg. rootedness, structure, sensitivity developed from sticky-hand training)
·         Relaxation under pressure is huge. There’s always an underlying nervousness under high pressure situations (either physical confrontation or even in a board room negotiation setting)..but it’s not a panicky nervousness..but instead a “Let’s do this” type of nervousness.

Now from an even broader perspective as to why I train wing chun..

·         WT builds character.  WT is not particularly easy to learn, in my opinion. There are other combat arts out there that can get you up and running in terms of just fighting much more quickly.  Wing Tsun forces the body to work in counter-intuitive ways and your mind/reality has to get around that.  It certainly has its challenges and experiencing those moments build character.
·         You (Me) need a life beyond work and loved ones! Wing Tsun adds that other dimension to your life, developing you into a well rounded person.
·         It opens your social network. You meet a variety of people in class, all great people from different backgrounds.
·         It adds to your social value. Think of yourself as a product worth X amount of $ (I know, horrible example, but please bear with me..), adding wing chun to your menu increases your value – you know how to defend yourself, it creates character, self-confidence, ability to relax under stressfull situation, to be more sociable, etc – altogether it contributes to raising that $ value.

So now I ask you, why do you train?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Maintaining That Wing Chun Mojo

I have to admit, although I’ve been practicing WT for a quite a while, there are those moments where the energy is not there - breaks, lags, gaps, etc through the years. Obviously the length of time I’ve been ‘involved’ in wing tsun doesn’t reflect the hours I could’ve been practicing wing tsun.

There are times in class when I have all the energy in the world, and other times when it’s just SO difficult, where I feel drained even before I start training.  This takes its toll on the training itself, the drills are sluggish, my performance lacks, I get frustrated, and getting hit hurts just a little more than usual.

It’s interesting to see the types of students in class.

There are those that absorb wing tsun so quickly and immerse themselves into the programs, train like crazy, learn everything and anything..only to leave. They love the art, but I can’t help think that they’ve burned themselves out and that excitement and drive eventually dissipates.

 Others take a slow and steady approach.  Their development is very gradual, but consistent.  It means that it’s less likely that they’ll burn out from training, but at the same time, they could be at risk of stalling.

Then others seem to be unphased by anything. They just keep truckin’, keep training and keep progressing, although don’t immerse themselves into everything wing chun. They don’t burn out like the first group, but progress much more quickly than the second group.

How do you guys keep that passion, that drive, alive? Wing tsun draws us in by its simplicity, but could that simplicity also make for a bland and repetitive menu?

Maybe it’s just the way we choose to train – a matter of perspective, a matter of psyching yourself up.

Or perhaps how we train?

Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of a coaching approach, rather than the typical Si-Fu, student classroom approach.  For example, teacher sees your footwork is weak, so over the next 4 weeks, your ‘coach’ has you do a specific program designed to improve your footwork using a combination of drills, exercises, chi-sao, etc but all with that one goal in mind.  Then after that, move onto a different weakness, say punching alignment and then coach you through that.

Although not particularly different from what schools teach already, I’m thinking of a more structured, individualized, athletic, measurable, goal oriented strategy, which might help provide those’ mini-victories’ that could really motivate someone like myself.

This is an approach I take throughout the year when it comes to the gym…months 1-4, work on strength, months 5-8, increase cardio and cut down on body fat, month 9, take break, active rests, etc.

But back to my original question – how do you keep your motivation and passion strong? What works for you?

Until then.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Obasi Saga Spin Off

If you haven’t read my previous posts regarding the Obasi, Williams and Boztepe Sage, please do so now before going any further.

You can find the article here.

Quick recap

Sean Obasi (wing chun man aspiring to conquer the MMA circuit) does a challenge chi-sao match with various wing chun experts with surprising results:

Obasi vs. Williams – winner: Obasi

Obasi vs. Ng (Obasi’s teacher) – winner: Obasi

Obasi vs. Boztepe – winner: Boztepe

And now, the plot takes an interesting twist…

Williams vs. Ng – winner: You'll have to check out the video

Randy Williams obviously has something to prove here and you can see this in his energy. The hits are harder than what we’re used to seeing in chi-sao clips. Albeit, the wing chun here is absolutely horrendous. I’m allowed to say this because these guys are supposedly masters in their art and this is anything but masterful. 

Side note: although I guess it shouldn’t matter – there’s just something wrong about seeing Philip Ng, old Chinese man, get hit by the younger, more athletic Williams.

If this is what master wing chun looks like, what is wing chun for the rest of us supposed to look like?
This is absolutely embarrassing to wing chun practitioners and again I’m not surprised when other arts simply laugh at wing chun. If anyone from Randy Williams or Ng’s camp is reading this, please let me know your thoughts!

If I can make a special request – I would love to see a Pacquiao vs. Williams clip next though. Ha, just kidding..or am I?

Kernspecht and Williams, now that’d be interesting too.

Until then.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Empty Your Cup or..?

Some of you may have come across this video already of an instructor trying to give a lesson to an uncooperative student.

What do you see?

Do you see an incompetent teacher, unable to apply his skills to a "student"?


Do you see a douchbag of a student with something to prove?

I see the latter option. The student is, in my opinion, probably from some other school and hoping to catch exactly this on camera. Really stupid and doesn't prove anything in my opinion. if you want to prove that person A sucks or his style sucks, then fight him.

Participating in the drill, uncooperatively, is a waste of time for everyone.

you can find the video here - curious to read your comments and emails!

Until then.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

This and That

Quantum Shock – my Si-Fu and WT brother have been involved in quite the project lately. Ladies and gents, I present to you, Quantum Shock.  Part 5 was just released and you’ll find yours truly in a fight scene with the main character.  Although the scene was quite short, it took quite a while to shoot.  It was a lot of fun being a part of it.

Power punching/training routine – I actually posted my power training workout routine on my other blog as it’s fitness related. You can find the entire routine and explanation here.   I’m still hitting the boxing gym on the weekends which gives me a good opportunity to hit the bag (I don’t have a wall bag or wooden dummy). Still enjoy it but it’s revealed a weakness in my right wrist that I’ve injured back in my karate days. Really means I can’t deliver right hooks as powerful as I’d like. Of course, still fun though.

Succession – in business, there should always be some level of redundancy/succession built into the system.  If the CEO of Company X were to retire tomorrow or get hit by a bus, what would happen? I ask this of current martial art instructors. You’ve invested so much into your students, how do you ensure your teachings are maintained past your time here on Earth? Do you keep a binder of notes, videos or just hope that your students can pass on that message for you?

Anyone know if Robert Downey Jr is still practicing wing chun? I would love to train with him.  Why? Because he’s friggin Iron Man.

Finally, stumbled upon this on Youtube - Steven Seagal training with Lyoto Machida. As much as I give Seagal a hard time, he's obviously got skills and you can see it here (as well as similar ideas from WT). although the running kick still looks funny..and I just can't help but remember all those Mad TV skits...

Until then.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Trust Issues? We all have them.

In the moments of a fight, an intense drill, or even a regular exercise where you just don’t know what to expect – tension happens.  Stress happens. Your muscles tighten, your jaw clenches, fist squeezes just a little bit harder, for just a little bit longer than you want.

It’s a very natural reaction.

You see this in all fights. It’s built into our nervous system. When animals fight, they all fight with it. As quick as a snack bites..you can see the flexion in its muscles to make that happen.  We are wired to fight in this way…to be tense, to use strength.

From this tension, comes other bad habits – our centre of gravity rises, we tend to reach for our opponent, we hit at him, not through him.

It’s primal…it’s what got us here as a species. We understand it. It makes sense to us  There’s sex and there’s fight – the two most primal of states that we are hardwired to do.

And then you have wing tsun. It says to you, do the exact opposite of tension - relax. Do the exact opposite of what all those thousands of years of evolution has built into us.  The more relaxed you are, the faster your strikes will be, the more powerful they will be, the more grounded you will be. It will also help with your mental state – being relaxed keeps you from freaking out. it keeps your options open..there’s always a way out..there’s always the opportunity to think of what to do next or what to do now. 

Relaxation is key.

But what is hindering us from relaxing during a fight? TRUST.

We do not trust what relaxation can really do. We do not trust the benefits of relaxation and we revert back to our comfort zone – tension.

(Let’s take a quick moment  to state that relaxation does not mean being weak or frail in your structure. You can have very solid structure and be quite powerful but without being tense.)

There is no tension in water. It just flows and it can be devastating.  There is tension in ice, and while it can be a strong tool, it can snap or break.

We have to learn how to trust relaxation. But how do you build this trust?
It’s like a relationship in which we have to build from the ground up starting with a little bit of faith. Fake it till you make it, as they say. 

When practicing your drills, partner exercises, forms – you will have to learn how to relax the body. You will get hurt, and get hit as you go determine the difference between weak and relaxed, but this risk of getting hurt is common with any process of allowing yourself to trust something.

From there, it becomes a matter of fine tuning to see how much more you can relax while maintaining solid positions and structures…sometimes too much tension, sometimes not enough structure.  It’s all part of the discovery process. 

Give yourself up to relaxation, let it take over you.

And just when you think you got it, relax even more.

Side note: You can have your “strong” wing chun days and you can your “relax” wing chun days. No need to ignore one or the other. You should incorporate both sides of the spectrum to your training. Some give wing chun styles a hard time because they’re too relaxed and others give wing chun styles a hard time because it’s too tense.

But the message here is that tension is inherent in all of us. We already trust tension. We already know what it can do, we also know its limitations.  Now it’s time to discover the benefits of relaxation in fighting. 

Until then. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Ace Up Your Sleeve: Implosive Wing Tsun..”TM”

Typical catch-phrases, buzz words and tag line for wing tsun – explosive wing tsun, dynamic wing tsun, ..what’s next, primal? etc etc.  The idea these terms invoke makes sense to people. You want to react quickly, with bursts of power unleashed onto the poor guy that is trying to hurt you…

Here’s one for the books – Implosive Wing Tsun.

“What the heck is implosive wing tsun?” you must be thinking.

It’s a new term I’m officially going to coin…

But really what is “implosive wing tsun”?

Ultimately, it’s an idea my SI-Fu has emphasized over and over…and over again – the ability to sink your body behind an action whether it’s an attack, defense or both.

Much easier said than done, especially at that moment of extreme stress – you know, when someone is trying to hurt you.  It’s also the most opposite of natural body reactions..so training oneself to fight “implosively” is going to take a while and probably not something a beginner or intermediate student could do.

It’s about sinking your entire center and bringing any forces into that center during a defense.

It’s about concentrating your energy into your center, dropping your weight into that center, and coordinating that “dropping” movement behind every hit (much like the falling step punch, without the step although a step could be used if needed).

The analogy I’d like to use:

When it comes to defensive actions, your actions/body would be like one of those huge inflatable mattresses that stuntmen land on when they jump off a tall building. As the stuntman lands, all that energy is absorbed into the center and the outer areas of the “mattress” folds inwards and around the point of impact. Your body would react no differently - you sink, absorb and transfer the energy into your center, and fold around the attack.

When it comes to offensive actions, think of your attack as a million rocks all fusing together to form one huge solid boulder at the point of impact.  All that energy from your legs, hips, core, back, shoulders, chest, etc. concentrated into your center and then shot into your opponent as you “drop” into the hit.
The harder you hit, the more you implode.

The harder the hit comes at you, the more you implode.

The only time you could “explode” is when it’s truly safe to do so – your opponent is compromised, off balance, stunned, etc.

You can train your body to hit or react implosively. It’s a long process and does not require hard hitting drills. In fact, quite the opposite. You’ll want to tone things down when training with a partner or to hit light on a wall or heavy bag.  It’s all about coordinating the dropping mechanics and concentrating all the energy into every hit, while still being able to hit fast and with multiple attacks and combinations.  You gotta keep elbows, shoulders, and body low while still being able to reach out to hit. It’s very contradictory when you think about it..but that’s what makes this so powerful.

When doing partner drills, slow things down a lot as you work on coordinating the dropping movement with your defensive actions in a way that doesn’t leave you vulnerable or hinders you from your next move. 
Implosive wing tsun is not necessarily an obvious dropping motion..it might be when you first start and that is fine..but the end product should be a subtle drop or transfer of energy to a lowered center that is not visible to outside observers. Of course, it’s always dependent on your opponent’s energy too..if the situation calls for an exaggerated drop, so be it.

Your legs will fatigue, your core will fatigue. It just goes to show you how much of your body is truly involved in the fighting movement, not just your upper body. Implosive fighting is more work than the more natural “explosive” fighting reaction. 

(Do note that, in the context of my sentence above, “explosive” refers to rising up of the center, reaching high to the head, elevating the shoulders and elbows, reaching for the opponent as you try to hit…)

The interesting part of all of this – one could progress through an entire wing chun curriculum without ever incorporating the idea of “implosive” fighting…yes, they could learn all the forms, double knives, long pole, wooden dummy, know all the chi-sao moves, drills etc and yet have no practical concept of implosive fighting.  Yes, they could still be quite a decent fighter, but implosive wing tsun is that extra ingredient that can really makes your wing tsun sing. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wing Chun vs. Wing Chun

So a fellow WT colleague forwarded me this video the other day.  It’s WT vs WT my friends and yes, while one cannot fully judge a Youtube video without actually being there…I’m still gonna do it.

You can find the video here.

Two wing tsun guys would not make a great fight. In fact, the first minute of this clip pretty much highlights what two expert wing tsun guys would do in a fight…nothing. But that, in essence, is part of the WT fighting philosophy - to intercept an attack or entry, not to initiate one.

So they got that right.

But then things just fall apart from there and people are going to say they suck and they ran after their attackers and the other back peddled..and non-WT punches landed and grappling happened and anti-grappling didn’t work, why didn’t he see the kick, etc etc. 

Or that he didn’t use this principle or that principle or no knee pressure or didn’t just step in and punch.
Yes while that’s all true and yes maybe they do suck and are quite bad at Wing Tsun
I have to say that this is typically how fights seem to look especially between everyday Joe’s like you and I. You can see how difficult it is to fight an opponent that has space to move.  On top of that, you can see how once an opponent knows that you constantly try to move forward, that they can play with you. You can also see how difficult it is to just GO IN..especially when you are really getting hit. 

You can see how it’s hard to maintain that close distance without grabbing on.

You can see how difficult it can be to knock a guy out.

You can see how little wing tsun anyone really uses..of all their techniques, skills, chi-sao sections, etc..step and punch is all you got..you barely can throw in a chain punch.

These guys fought like how I sparred back in my days in University using my wing tsun (albeit I was a student level back then and didn’t fight other wing chun guys – instead MMA guys, karate guys, hapkido, taekwondo, kick boxers).  Sparring quickly reveals that things don’t happen like they do in the drills. The opponent doesn’t stay in your range and tries to get out as quickly as possible. I remember how annoying that got and I strategically ended up having to corner them.  Then there are moments where you grab them or they grab you, pin you against the wall with grabs/attempted takedowns..and you end up grabbing them to restrict their movements..yes it’s not Wing Tsun..but the reaction is just too natural. 

I have to also note that it’s different fighting guys who are used to fighting and guys who have limited fighting experience. The former have a tendency to take more risks, commit a bit more into their hits, get into a more realistic distance, put more weight into their punches

…while the latter hit with the tendency to stay away, with a fear of getting hit…it’s like they’re more concerned with being hit than hitting..

And fighting that type of opponent can be quite annoying as they are constantly trying to just “tag” you and back peddling which means you can’t get the right distance to land a meaty hit and just end up fatiguing over time.

Space is a factor. They fought in a huge gym. They ran around a lot because they had to the room to do so.  When WT guys train, they may train in smaller quarters, plus under the comfort and cooperation of maintaining close distance fighting.  But in this case, those rules didn’t apply. Any one of these guys could run around to their hearts content..of which you could see the other was getting incredibly frustrated with that.

So what’s my point?

My point is that…for the majority of us..this is what free-fighting will look like.  We can blame them for not doing this or that, but at the end of the day, I think this is the end product (sadly) especially for us guys who train WT for fun, as a hobby or extra-curricular activity. But this applies to any fighting system…karate, kung fu, jkd, mma. It just looks like shit. 

Another point

I do think that in a self-defense scenario, it would/could look different.  This is where the attacker just attacks. There’s no hesitation, just full commitment and with no knowledge of what your reactions would be. He attacks under the assumption that he will ‘win’ and hurt you. This type of scenario presents variables that may favor the person defending themselves, of course, could also mean you could get hurt more too.  But the self-defense scenario and the challenge match scenario above are two very different situations.

My last observation

Why didn’t they show the ending of the fight??? I thought that was lame. I don’t care how bad or boring it could’ve been but still show it.

My 2 cents.

Until then. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Power Punching Workout Plan Update

I have not forgotten about my power punching workout plan!  This past week has been a trial run as I’m just getting back to the gym (from a horrible flu that put me out for 2 weeks), figuring out my schedule and just going through the workout plans. 

I’m switching from a more conventional body building routine to a routine that emphasizes cardiovascular resistance training, with a lot more attention to wing tsun and boxing. Conventional body building training will be dropped considerably as I’ll only be pushing weights once a week for muscle maintenance.

Here’s what I have so far, in terms of the workout schedule:

I’m pretty much doing a different workout for each session throughout the week.

1)      Power Training
2)      Speed Training
3)      Weight Training
4)      Small muscle conditioning and total body stretching

Power training will consist of the use of body weight resistance and light weights with an emphasis on explosive movements. It will also develop my endurance.  I hope to finish off with some heavy bag training.

Speed training will focus on speed and coordination. Really light weights (if any) and just focus on developing the nervous system to move my hands and feet quickly.  I will also incorporate kettlebell drills to work the core and structure.  The session is neither about fatiguing nor building muscles.  The goal is to get the nervous system to throw punches faster, and with precision. I plan to finish off with the double end bag and mitt work.

Weight training will be designed to maintain muscle, hitting all major muscle groups. For the sake of time, I will superset the various exercises.  It will consist of reps and sets schemes typically used for body building.

Small muscle conditioning will consist of a short list of exercises to hit the small muscles including forearms, wrists, neck , as well as take the time to stretch out joints (eg. knees, ankles, hips, etc).  I will also stretch all major muscle groups.  I’m still not sure when or where I can fit this into my schedule. 

For the rest of the week, I’ll be training more wing tsun. I’m trying to rearrange work to make this more feasible. Given that I’m working such odd hours, it’s been difficult the last couple of years to attend consistently.

I will lay out the exact workout plans for each section above, but only after I run through them and make any needed adjustments.

Until then.

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...


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.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Work In Progress - The Punching Power Resolution!

Happy 2013 everyone!!

i posted on my facebook link what my new year resolution should be. Guess what? Si-Fu ended up commenting "PUNCHING POWER". And I thought, "shiettt..why not!"

So here it goes my friends - I'm currently looking at developing a fitness plan that will be more focused on developing punching power.  

Over the last month of December, I've switched my own fitness routine to a more conventional "body building" routine. Nothing crazy, but it's split in your standard fashion and has 4 sets of 10 per exercise..that type of idea and the goal is simply to work on physique. There's a plan here..as we are in the winter months, it's a great time to 'bulk'. Of course, i'm not looking to get huge, just gain some 'visible muscle' in time to cut down the body fat for the summer.

But now, come March, i'll be switching to a power punching routine.  i'm doing my research now and if you guys have any feedback, thoughts, drills or exercises that you think may be helpful, please do let me know!

The power punching routine i have in mind will not be focused on building muscle size, but to develop power, speed, structural integrity, small muscle and joint conditioning and overall cardiovascular fitness.  My research will look into the mechanisms of punching, concepts of punching and then figuring out how that develops into a specific workout plan.

i really don't know what it will look like as everything at this point is conceptual but I do look forward to it. And I also look forward to you guys following along, trying out the plan with me and sharing your thoughts.

Cheers to 2013 and cheers to PUNCHING POWER!

Until then...

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