Yep, you read right! I realize this sounds braggodocious, sensational, more than a little presumptuous and definitely pretty ballsy…but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.
As Wing Chun folks, we need to always remember why we train this stuff! I don’t train for a medal or a trophy and I sure as hell don’t train for enlightenment, at-one-ment with the cosmos or inner peace. Now if I happen to win a medal or feel a bit more peaceful as a result of training to cave someone’s nose in who tried to jump me in a WalMart parking lot at 11:30pm-so be it, but it never detracts me from my sole objective in all of this. Continue reading
The relationship between Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do (JKD), Bruce Lee’s personal expression of martial art, is one of the most misunderstood and polarizing yet potentially valuable ones between any arts on the combative spectrum. So many folks have preconceived ideas to what each art means, what it doesn’t and how each should and should not be trained that a gap has grown between the two.
Bruce himself pinpointed the root of this gulf when he stated, “when you get down to it, real combat is not fixed and is very much ‘alive.’ The fancy mess (mainstream martial arts and how they are taught and practiced) solidifies and conditions what was once fluid, and when you look at it realistically, it is nothing but a blind devotion to the systematic uselessness of practicing routines or stunts that lead nowhere.”
For those willing to put in the time, energy and work, each art contains Continue reading
I’ll keep this short, sweet and to the point today. Here’s a little clip from one of my favorite films, The Untouchables.
I was thinking about this scene the other day. Being from the Chicago area I’ve always liked this scene but what makes this stick out in my head is the mentality that the seasoned cop Malone imparts to the determined but hesitant and somewhat naive Eliot Ness as to the way things work and what must be done in order to achieve his goal. Much the same way when discussing martial arts training for any semblance of self defense or personal protection, the reality of any encounter must be honestly addressed, and this must be reflected in the way techniques, concepts and principles are not modified per se, but rather adapted to fit any situation. Continue reading
I always say that the best and quickest way to get better at Wing Chun in the only way that counts- personal protection and combat skill-is to keep the end goal (again, personal protection and combat skill) in the back of your brain while concentrating fully on whatever task you are working on.
I train Wing Chun for fighting skill and to be able to use it in a street situation should I ever need to. However, that does not mean that my training deviates away from structure and technique work. Not at all.
What it means to Wing Chun folks is simple: if you plan to ever use your Wing Chun in the street or in a combat sport, you need to familiarize yourself with functionalizing your skills, not abandoning them in favor of thai kicks and right hooks.
Functionalized Wing Chun training is more conceptual in nature and crosses any lineage lines, so it can be easily integrated with any other form of training or left alone can be developed in devastating fashion. Continue reading
Ever had some days where your training seemed “ON?” You felt powerful, strong and productive? They’re the best aren’t they? Yep, sure are.
By that same token, we have all had those days where training seems about as productive and enjoyable as wading through mud when your shoes take turns getting stuck and coming off. God knows I’ve muddled through enough of those. It’s like I would have a voice on repeat-loop in my head that would say to me, Continue reading
It is a fact that the human brain cannot distinguish between a real experience and a vividly imagined one. If you have ever awoken in the middle of the night from a horrible nightmare to find yourself soaked in sweat or clenching your fists or moving around at all, you have just experienced the mind’s (and therefore the body’s) reaction to just such an event.
Top level coaches and practitioners in all disciplines, athletic an non-athletic, all share one training method: Continue reading
One of my favorite acronyms when teaching Wing Chun and for my personal training regimen goes like this:
Adaptation is the Shortcut to Success (A.S.S.)
When discussing Wing Chun as an effective art for street self-defense or for combat sports, or when demonstrating how and why the Wing Chun system is ideally suited to all body types, from the combat athlete to the slenderly-built woman or the older individual who lacks the physical makeup to compete in pure strength with a young, muscly dude I always hammer home the Continue reading
The Physical factor is the most-often focused on aspect of self-defense and any system or style of martial arts.
Many might read the previous sentence and think to themselves, “no shit!” I agree that it sounds so obvious it’s insulting but just work with me for a second.
It is obvious that physical techniques are going to form the largest component of training, as one obviously needs to learn specific techniques and be able to execute them effectively. That’s like going to handyman school and learning how to hang a shelf by watching a power-point but not picking up a hammer or actually changing the head of a drill.
I am not implying that the Physical aspect of self-defense training is the least important – quite the contrary. What I am saying is that the Physical aspect of training is all too often done incorrectly or, at the very least, much less effectively than it could be. At the end of the day, repetition really is the mother of skill – so long as the repetitions are done correctly. with the proper mindset and mentality and in the proper scenario or situation for self-defense and personal protection. Continue reading
The Emotional realm of any self defense encounter is where people are most often attacked first, many times without knowing it.
This manifests itself in the “gut feeling” one gets when in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment. Many times you’ll hear someone say, “I just have a bad feeling about this place” or words to that effect. This should be your first indicator to increase your awareness, for a bad situation will beget an emotion.
Often times you will feel a certain emotion before you formulate a clear thought about why a person, place or situation is cause for concern.
To experience the power of emotion, I invite you to try this simple exercise: ask a training partner, close friend, sibling, spouse, etc. to get right in your face, eye-to-eye, and hurl insults at you, screaming and staring intently into your eyes like a Drill Instructor. Even though you know in your mind this person is your friend and will never cause you harm, you will feel uncomfortable, your heart rate will increase, you will get fluttery. Continue reading
My personal approach to Wing Chun training is simple: closing the gap between the theoretical and the practical.
There are several hoops to jump through in order to close this gap, however, one thing is for sure: in order for true Wing Chun training to occur-and by true I mean effective and practical-the fundamental disconnect between theory and practice needs to be addressed: scenario-based training against an armored assailant.
Being able to train with literally all of your tools at your disposal is a gift, one that the vast majority of Wing Chun folks out there never get to experience. Choosing the best self-defense suit to fulfill your training needs is one decision that, perhaps above all other equipment or training gear, should be approached in the most discerning and thorough manner possible – but first, for those of you who have never done this type of training or who think that merely making heavier and heavier contact is the end-all, be-all of training “reality,” let me explain:
We all know that contact needs to be made in order for us to get a realistic feel for how to apply our Wing Chun in a no-bullshit, “get in-get out” way for self-defense, but there’s much more to it than that.
Contact does need to be made but increasing contact alone, while so valuable for understanding proper application of technique as well as the feel for hitting another person, is not enough. By focusing purely on increasing contact as the sole aim of “realistic training” you are missing the most important attributes of realistic scenario and stress condition training. The value of reality-based training must be viewed as the sum total of its’ parts to make it valuable for us. Continue reading
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