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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. 

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