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.


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