Anyone who knows me knows I love a good quote, and whenever I happen upon one that really resonates with me and passes my stringent criteria for some really cool stuff Master Po would say to a young Grasshopper I copy it down in a little journal I have that I use for on-the-spot motivation and reinforcement in my noggin.
One such great quote I read re: all things self defense goes like this:
A tornado haze of windmill violence… brutal defeats refined; simple dominates complicated.
Let’s break this one down bit by bit.
A Tornado Haze of Windmill Violence
Any attack in real life will be sloppy, aggressive and terrifying. There are bad intentions tacked onto any motion an attacker will throw at you; he will not take his time or stand around to admire his handiwork once it is done. Your response to such an attack must be to out-attack an attacker by mirroring and trumping all of his aggression, intention and force. This seems counter-productive to the seemingly slow and relaxed mode of Wing Chun forms training but therein lies the magic.
By training our forms properly, treating them as reinforcing both structure and theory along with technique, we are reinforcing the principles of conservation of energy and body unity and awareness. Training Wing Chun forms to me in a fast or overly aggressive way makes about as much sense as pissing on an electric fence. On the flip side, a pace that would make a Tai Chi guy fall asleep is just as kooky.
Wing Chun forms are meant to reinforce concept, structure and the idea of no extra energy expended. For example, the opening of any of the forms uses the crossing of the wrists to delineate the centerline. I have seen so many different variations of this basic move that are fancy and demonstrative but let’s not forget that the more energy you use for something small the less you can call on when you need it.
Forms in Wing Chun are for finding out how to accomplish something as quickly and efficiently as possible with a minimal expenditure of energy. That’s good, because when shit gets real, you’re going to need to call upon that energy in very short order to steamroll this prick.
Note how I didn’t say “defend” in any of the last few paragraphs when dealing with the idea of an attack. The word “defense” while used by many including myself when speaking in generalities has NO place in our discussion.
What concerns me is PROTECTION-aggressive, full-bore, sadistically motivated intensity with the sole purpose not of deflecting an attack or pacifying an attacker, but taking this sicko OUT OF COMMISSION so that not only do I remove myself from his intentions but so he gives serious pause to never hurting anyone else again.
Brutal Defeats Refined.
The bone I have to pick with martial artists out there is this: your complex, pretty and thoroughly unrealistic responses to brutal attacks have NO PLACE in my mental and physical toolbox of personal protection. All that concerns me is getting right to this scumbag’s vital areas (eyes, throat, balls and shins) and tearing through them like a hobo through a ham sandwich. Leave the 18 move defenses against a right side punch to those folks laboring under the delusion that what they see on Saturday night Kung Fu Theatre is legit. Keep working on your dragon claw-just be sure to have your will and Power of Attorney ready to go before you leave your house.
Wing Chun folks aren’t off the hook here! Merely training Wing Chun does not spare you from falling into this trap no more than walking through the doors of a library turns you into a genius. We need to be just as diligent-in fact, even more so, since our art is predicated on simplicity and efficiency but can only be expressed through our knowledge and understanding of the art and how well we can apply what is a structurally flawless system.
By applying the idea of minimal and efficient motion through concentrated forms practice, we can transmute the energy saved on not running through our forms like some goofball at a sport karate tournament yelling and jumping with all that “ASSSAAHHHH!!” bullshit into the sadistic urge to punish someone who attacks us. This must be trained mentally and physically in order to be called upon when needed. I will elaborate on mental training in a future post but for now, just to plant the seed, think “go button” and find out what yours is.
Simple Dominates Complicated
An attacker will aim to incapacitate his victim in the simplest, quickest and most forceful way possible to accomplish his goal-be it rape, robbery or worse.
He knows that the longer he takes, the greater chance he has of being caught, so he aims to get in and get out as quick as possible, along with being so forceful that his victim has no idea what is going on. See the previous point for how the mainstream martial arts community is about as prepared to handle this scenario as a one-legged man in a potato sack race.
Our only option when dealing with such an attack is to rely on simple, direct and efficient skills and strategies designed to inflict pain, incapacitate an attacker and get out as quickly as possible. That is what Wing Chun is tailor-made for. All the techniques we need are in the forms. We just need to reinforce them through diligent training, extricate them through practice and constant mental reinforcement (such as watching instructional DVDs) and train them in a functional way through a variety of drills and live-fire exercises. That’s our roadmap in a nutshell.
At first glance, chi sau practice might look like an exercise purely in refined, complicated motions. The reality is this: once your sensitivity is heightened, you are then able to dial up the intensity and brutality in intention as well as simplicity in motion…that’s when things get nasty.
A training partner of mine who is a 15 year police officer veteran once said to me, “when things go down, these (he raised his arms and began waving his fingers) become clubs; they go numb and they can’t grab anything.”
What he meant was the adrenaline dump causes your extremities to shut down; this is a natural byproduct of the fight-or-flight response, which is also why when you run away from something it feels like you’re about to piss, throw up and have your legs give out like they were just hit with double shots of novcaine.
It is at that point that, if you are approaching training in the correct way, all of the attention to detail in forms training; all of the body awareness gleaned from feeling your inward tension on your thighs in stepping; all of the springing energy drills and shooting forward pressure training you have practiced; all of your mental training and focused aggression scenario work will pay off. You will have bridged the gap between theory and application. Will it look exactly as you practice it? Highly unlikely. Will the essence of the art remain the same and be expressed through your motions and attitude? You bet.
Let’s read the above quote once more:
A tornado haze of windmill violence…brutal defeats refined; simple dominates complicated.
Your response to any attack must address these factors otherwise you’re setting off on the Titanic with a pair of water wings on.
Train Smart, Stay Safe