Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wing Tsun Footwork: "One Step - NO KICKS"!

The Chinese have a name for the "single advancing" or "arrow" step in Wing Tsun. I don't have the Chinese transliteration handy right now, but they call it the "One Step No Kicks" step. It's a very apt description.

Kicks need distance to work. Kickers need distance to kick. If you as a WT fighter take that distance away from them, they can't kick you, period. It's really that simple. This also relates to the concept of "sticking". Once you have quickly covered the distance between you and your opponent, you "stick" by using your advancing steps to keep following him wherever he goes while constantly invading his stance with your front leg.

The first part of this idea is perfectly demonstrated by this video clip from a WT guy in Argentina, I think. Watch his opponent jump and spin around like a mighty whirlwind - but when it's time to engage, you suddenly see a very different picture. (What happens after that on the ground isn't that relevant here, but it is also a form of "sticking") Watch this:

How many kicks did you see the kicker throw after the fight started? Zero. He never had a chance. No room. Hence, the Chinese name for the step.

Also consider the size difference between the two fighters here. The kick boxer in the red jacket probably outweighs the Wing Tsun guy by fifteen to twenty pounds. Another piece of evidence that Wing Tsun is indeed a great "equalizer" in self defense.

When you practice your footwork from now on, especially when practicing your arrow step, remember this video!

Sihing Alex
(832) 452-9966

Thursday, July 23, 2009

News from the Backyard

A lot of changes are in the works and happening already.

  1. We will resume Student Grade (SG) testings every two months, or at least once a student has attended twelve lessons since his or her last testing. The Lesson Plans on the Meetup website (for the first five lessons) cover the entire material needed to pass SG2. That means that the rest of the twelve lesson will be for practicing what you have learned. Should be plenty.
  2. The Teaching Outline (also on the Meetup) currently goes to SG-4. At SG-3, you are already beginning to learn the first section of two-armed Chi Sao. That's downright heretical by current European (and even Chinese and American) standards. Back when, Chi Sao started at SG-6, about a year and a half into your training!
  3. Salomon is a trained carpenter. Yeah!! That means, time permitting, he will help us put up a fighting platform very soon.
  4. He can probably also build us a wooden dummy. I have the specs and plans, and he has the skills. That will really lower the price we have to pay for the darn thing considerably.
  5. I am starting free Saturday self defense classes at Discover Green in downtown Houston (1500 McKinney). Current students are free to participate, of course. That will be great advertising for us.
  6. I have just ordered the first of a series of WT DVDs from Germany that teach the entire system - and it's not garbage like all the other ones are that claim to do the same thing but never deliver. The only problem is - they're in German only, so far ...
As you can see, there's a lot going on. I will also start making contacts with other Wing Chun schools around town so that when you guys are more advanced (very soon), you have other people to practice your Chi Sao with. It keeps us from committing martial arts "incest" by only practicing with people from our own school all the time. I hope they're not too skittish. I really don't want this to turn into a "who's school is better?" kind of thing. I have no interest in that. I just want you to learn and practice.

More news to follow soon, I am sure.

Until then,
Sihing Alex

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wing Tsun is 'Defenseless' Against This ...

Seriously. Do you think Wing Tsun is unbeatable? Then try this on for size:

Who could compete with that, hmm? :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Much Wing Tsun CAN Be Learned in 3 Years:

There probably is no better example for how much Wing Tsun can be learned in 3 years than these kids from Armenia. Just take a look at this 15 year-old girl's chi sau skills:

Or this 17 year-old who knows bart cham dao - the highest skill level of Wing Tsun:

Okay, so maybe he isn't Leung Ting yet, but pretty damn good for three years of WT, wouldn't you think?

Guess who his father's (who taught him) teacher is? Go figure it out yourself. It's all right there if you look for it - and then consider how your own Wing Tsun career could have gone if he had taught you the way he taught this boy's father.

So, all of Wing Tsun in 3 years? Why not?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

All of Wing Tsun - in Only 3 to 5 Years??

Everybody who learns WT knows that Wing Tsun was designed to be taught much faster than the so-called 'traditional' styles like Shaolin-based Kung Fu - so how come it takes most people more than ten years to learn the whole system?

One of the great things about being free of any organization is that you can do what you want. I can do what I want. In my eyes, Wing Tsun is nothing more than an ongoing experiment. It's supposed to be a scientific system based on scientific principles, right? And science is based on experimentation. From a thesis, you form a hypothesis, and then you experiment until you can find out whether or not you can produce the desired result. If you can, then great, if you can't, you keep on experimenting until you either know that it's probably impossible to produce that result or until you find a way to produce it. And then you test the result. Isn't that how it's supposed to go?

So, I am going to try and see if I can teach my students (at least those who come regularly and who practice at home) everything I know in 3-5 years.

It's very liberating to teach this way. I am no longer constrained to drag things on and on - and my students can progress much faster. What's the result? I get more and better training partners faster than ever before - and that, to me, is the point of it all, really. I teach Wing Tsun because I am an 'addict' and i need to feed my own habit. I haven't figured out how to "kick my own ass" yet, like Jim Cary did in the bathroom scene in the movie "Liar Liar" (If you haven't seen that movie,please do. It's hilarious - and shows you perfectly why, in WT, you absolutely need a partner.) It's like wrestling. Maybe you can practice kata by yourself all day long - but can you wrestle with yourself?

So, I have this private student who is really just learning daan chi (single arm chi sau or "clinging arms" exercise). I already started teaching him lap sau and how to apply the concept of both in the European Lat Sau program (at least a "privatized" version of it), so why not start him on Chum Kiu and poon sau?

So I did. Let's see how well he absorbs it. I expect he will start learning wooden dummy no later than a year from now.

I am also starting him on the long pole exercises. Not the form and application, yet, but the basic exercises, i.e., techniques. My new teacher (who has practiced since the mid-70's from one of the very early students of Sifu Leung Ting and many others) says that long pole is supposed to be taught early on in WT, while you form your Wing Tsun - not after you have already formed it! That means I am way too late already, supposedly (but then again - so what? I have really never stopped forming' my Wing Tsun. Let's see if I can learn it well enough, even though I'm turning fifty this year). Makes a lot of sense to me. Long pole has a different way of using 'power' (i.e., transferring energy). If you can build that into your WT as it grows inside of you, you can excel much faster, and you get stronger than you would otherwise.

Too bad I 'grew up' in an organization and an environment where everything is being taught so piece meal. But, then again, so what? I can only practice and teach what I know and I can only learn what someone is willing to teach me. Better now (although late) than never. Why wait until even later?

Bottom line is, I will no longer treat my own students that way. I will pass on what I know and I will experiment to see how early I can teach it to them without messing up their progress and technique. That's my new ambition. Let's see where it takes us.