NO TRICKS, JUST TRAINING – NO BULLSH*T, JUST BETTER SKILL
Author: Sifu Bobby
My name is Robert Bartkowski. I'm just a regular dude who has been studying martial arts since 1994, and has been training exclusively in Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun since 2002. Among other rankings I hold an Instructor’s certificate in the Wong Shun Leung system of Ving Tsun from the Ng Family Chinese Martial Arts Association headquartered in Chicago’s Chinatown. I'm a Charter Member of the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Coalition of Chicago and a member of the Carolinas Association of Chinese Martial Arts. I founded the 820Express Ving Tsun Martial Science Club (820XVT) in 2012 to further propagate the WSL system of Ving Tsun as passed to me by my Sifu Philip Ng. I conduct private and semi-private training by appointment. My purpose and mission is to constantly functionalize, refine and improve my skills in Wing Chun as a system of combat for personal protection as well as to aid others to do the same, for in doing so we all grow and the art of Wing Chun perpetuates in an honest and practical manner.
My favorite movie of all time is the original Karate Kid. I was 7 years old when it came out and although I have had a fascination with the martial arts (thanks to re-runs of David Carradine branding his forearms in the old Kung Fu series) since I was old enough to toddle around the room, I credit that movie with jump-starting my involvement and lifelong passion for martial arts and self-defense.
In keeping in line with our never -ending quest to functionalize our Wing Chun; harnessing its’ power for the singular purpose of simple, effective and realistic self defense, let us continue with the second of the “6 Principles of Combat” from John Kary, USMC (Ret.) founder of the American Combatives system of self-defense, a close-quarter, battle-tested system that is both structurally and conceptually congruent with proper use of Wing Chun for self-defense and personal protection.
Out of my many resources I have amassed over the last 20+ years which I refer back to often to feed my brain and my subconscious as I constantly seek to refine my training in Wing Chun to be as combat effective, practical and efficient as possible is a nondescript little book I purchased online as an e-book a few years ago, the author of which has forgotten more about real life-or-death fighting than 99% of the population will ever know.
It’s no secret that I am a fan and student of various methods of close-quarter combat training as they make the perfect complement both in theory and application to my lineage (WSL) of Wing Chun/Ving Tsun as well as any other system of Wing Chun out there. Out of the mountain of material out there, one book resonated with me-I appreciated its’ simple nature, its’ streamlined curriculum and the plain and nonchalant, matter-of-fact nature in which it was presented. I for one believe that Continue reading
The last of Sgt Rory Miller’s 4 Basic Truths of Violent Assault as laid out in his book Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence, which should be on the nightstand of any martial artist who actually wants to be able to use their art in real life, states that attacks happen with MORE POWER than most people realize. (Click HERE to read my review on this excellent book as well as others that address similar issues I feel most martial artists and those claiming to teach “self defense” are sorely lacking in).
This ties hand in hand with #3-the sudden nature of an attack. If you are a predator, are you going to dilly-dally or are you going to hit them hard, fast and powerfully? If I were some shitbag mugger rapist I’m going with Option B. Continue reading
The third “truth” of violent assault, as per Sgt. Rory Miller’s 4 Basic Truths of Violent Assault found in his book, Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence, states that attacks happen MORE SUDDENLY than most people believe.
He goes on to state, “an assault is based on the threat’s assessment of his chances. If he can’t surprise, he often won’t attack…when the attack happens, it’s almost always a surprise.”
That’s not to say if someone is giving you a glare at the bar or if a few gangbanger thugs approach you in a parking lot or walking down the street that you aren’t in danger of attack because you are able to pick up on vibes or other cues that something not so good is fixing to go down. That is a different scenario entirely, one he also addresses at length in his book (check out my review of this and other books of his HERE) and one we will cover in the near future. Continue reading
Basic Truth #2 of Sgt. Rory Miller’s 4 Basic Truths of Violent Assault as stated in his book Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence states that attacks happen FASTER than more people realize.
Fights start quickly and most often, the one who gets the first shot in wins. It’s the old “firstest with the mostest” theory, and it is true. Real violent assaults are quick, ugly and overpowering. Wing Chun is designed for self-defense and as such its drills need to reflect the quick and violent nature of the street’s attacks. (For a list of resources that address the nature of combat and fighting from a realistic and balanced perspective, click HERE).
Think back if you have ever taken a “self defense” class. After a brief overview of the “technique,” you paired off, and practiced the “technique” on a classmate or friend, and most likely with little or no speed. Continue reading
Why do people who don’t practice Wing Chun think that Wing Chun is not effective? Because they don’t see (or at least they think they don’t see) Wing Chun on TV in a cage.
These are the same folks who always love to say things like,“Wing Chun sucks!” or “Wing Chun isn’t realistic.” I ask them to define realistic and it almost without fail leads to the next question asked to discredit Wing Chun which happens to be one of my favorites as far as ham-handed objections go: “if Wing Chun is so deadly, why don’t Wing Chun people compete in MMA?”
The answer to that is easy. Wing Chun folks DO compete in MMA! They just don’t stick solely to Wing Chun proper. The end goals of each discipline are different. So listen up, ’cause I’m only going to say this once. Continue reading
Wing Chun solo practice is to my hectic life what church is to the devout or what an open-air nature park is to a claustrophobic.
If my practice is in the evening it is my means to peace of mind and a mental “RESET” button after a long day. If I choose to or my schedule forces me to instead train in the morning, my solo training sessions serve as a way to set my mind on the right track to approach the day ahead in the right way and in the proper mindset and mentality.
Either way, my training time is a sacred little chunk of each day that I am very protective of, chiefly because I know the value of solo training in terms of making my Wing Chun skills functional, practical and effective.
In my never ending quest for tools, tips and techniques that will refine and improve my Wing Chun training routine for self-defense, fighting ability & combat sports I am always on the lookout for good quotes. Now I don’t collect them just as a novelty or as a way to blow up my Twitter of Pinterest feeds; I remember ones that resonate with why I train the fighting art of Wing Chun and help me ingrain in my subconscious helpful reminders regarding self-defense and personal protection. One of my all-time favorite quotes goes something like this:
“Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going.”
Too much emphasis today is placed on being “motivated.” Rah-rah self-help coaches make obscene Continue reading
One of the biggest diseases in martial arts today which undermines the ability to make one’s skills functional, practical and usable for purposes of self-defense and protection on the street is the issue of rank, belts, titles or whatever else you want to call it. I have lost count of the times I have seen a soccer mom tote young A.D.D / A.D.H.D / whatever other bullshit acronym-of-the-month-afflicted Timmy into the school I was training in to inquire about lessons and within 5 minutes ask the question, “How long will it take him to get his black belt?”
The problem I have with that is the word “get.”
“Get” a black belt? If you want one just go buy a friggin’ belt to put on the shelf next to his lacrosse, soccer and baseball trophies. Shit, I’ll just give you one if that makes you happy. Sorry honey, if Timmy really wants to “get” one, Timmy is gonna have to work his ass off to EARN one.
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Since the physical activities described herein may be too strenuous in nature for some readers to engage in safely, always consult a physician prior to training.
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