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Monday, December 17, 2007

How Many Wing Chun Fighters Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb ?

The above joke title applies to Wing Chun especially as there is so much hair splitting. The answer is : 5. One to screw in the bulb - the other 4 to say they are doing it wrong !

I am prompted to say this because I saw on someone elses' blog they had a video on their wooden dummy use. He had to disable comments as he was getting slated. Even if he was perfect in his sub-style of Wing Chun he would STILL get slated I bet (see above joke answer).

You don't get this in MMA, Thai boxing, Judo etc. These arts are very effective. They test their techniques full contact too remember - an acid test.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Steve Sinclair's wooden dummy knowledge

Go here for some good insights:

very sensible comments made.

For example he shows the double 'garn sau' hands - that are broad apart onthe dummy but are close in application.

I have his video on wing chun 'Pure and Simple' and its very good indeed. Not many people talk about it, strangley. It's the only one that shows you how to use the hit fall wine - Dit da Jow - to condition your hands after sand bag use. He does this in a circular motion really rubbing hard into the area. I use this and believe it works - but don't know why - it could be just the rubbing itself ?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Josh Waitzkin: The Art of Learning on ABC News - Part 2

Here is part 2. The clips about Martial Arts look more like Ju Jitsu than they do Tai chi. Then at the end he says why ! Hope he succeeds !

Josh Waitzkin: The Art of Learning on ABC News - Part 1

This is the first of 2 videos on a chess master who also is into Martial Arts. He has a book out about the learning processes behind both. I want this.
I know this isnt about the wooden dummy - but I have to make an exception - because I have an interest in chess too and the learning process too. So should you. There is a debate out there about 'transferable skills' / 'sports specific' skills etc. in learning. Search for transferability in what you do. Get a pair of eyes that see ideas in other disciplines. Be a magpie don't be like water - as you fit into someone else cup.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Who Do You Believe?

Look at these three pictures. They are from a known Wing Chun book that has positive reviews, (Alan Gibson Simple Thinking Intelligent Fighters); and a JKD book that has positive reviews, (Teri Tom The Straight Lead). I know this post is not about the Wooden dummy but I wanted to make the point.

Here the Wing Chun stance takes forward pressure.

Now look at this picture from Tom - same stance - similar test - different result ! The JKD stance is solid but the Wing Chun stance buckles under a palm. Mmmmmm.

This is Ted Wong here, too, involved. He was Bruce Lee's training partner. And he appears in Randy Williams' Wing Chun training videos so he no stranger to these issues.

So what's going on ? What sense are we to make of all this ?

The point is how when you crosscheck your information in martial art research you sometimes get 2 different answers. I have seen this Wing Chun stance pressed forward so I know it can withstand some pressure. Alan Orr - a MMA inclined Wing Chun player - has this useful drill that is worth checking out below. I adapted it from his www page just to examine a point :

I may invite all 3 authors - Gibson, Tom / Wong and Orr - to reply to what they see here and explain what the issues are involved here.

It would be interesting to get feedback from each of these experts: to explain how the same forces applied to the same structures yield different results ! What is it I am missing here ?

PS. ON reflection this should be telling us to pressure test the knowledge we are given and double-check it. Take nothing on trust alone. If the Wing Chun stance takes time to perfect and eek out its nuances then I can imagine the JKD comparison being 'accepted' by the student as 'true'. I am not in a position to judge properly what is 'true' here. I may have missed a point. But I suspect this example isn't isolated in martial art literature. (It isn't isolated in chess literature. You get the same positions on the board sometimes evaluated differently - it drives you nuts if you 'need' your answers given to you).

Silat Suffian Bela Diri - Kuntao (Empty Hands) Mook Jong

Look at this - a Silat man using some shapes on the dummy.
Other than Joseph Simonet this is the only time I have seen a Silat man use a wooden dummy. Applications need showing ideally.
The use of the drills seem to be mainly conditioning - eg the ones that bash the arms @ 90 o angles nearly. But there are some moves that sheer along the arms. Believe me these are sought after moves when training after a while as you save your arms from destruction.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sifu Chung Kwok Chow Wooden Dummy

Here is a video that illustrates the traingle idea that I drew below and that Randy Williams uses in his drills video on the dummy. Its a 'male triangle' in Kali speke.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stopping The Shoot ?

When I tried to spar recently I found it really really hard to stop the shoot for my legs. MMA people are good at this - ie they change the level. Wing Chun doesn't.

I thought maybe this idea could be worked either on the bottom arm or the leg even ! You simulate pummeling for under-hooks [I need to keep elbows in here] and then drop your hips a level and shift your legs back. You're meant to simulate the force driving you back as you prevent your hips being forced back and your legs grabbed.

I was a bit half-hearted in this as I didn't want my hands to slip and break my face but with practice I bet you could get quite aggressive on this and even drop to the dummy leg level. It is just an idea. ( I wanted to give it a try to drop to leg level but the camera would need readjusting and it was getting dark).

Low Kicks on the Weeble

Here are some Wing Chun type kicks on the dummy. They are low line kicks. They are straight line and I know they are awkward to deal with. I am wearing my safety shoes while doing this. The heel takes the force so Wing Chun slippers would not be up to this.

If you cant tell by now I don't take myself too seriously - the Weeble [tm] stuff etc.

Straight blasting the Weeble [tm]

"When in doubt straight blast". I think Bruce Lee is attributed with this phrase. When I saw these punches I thought they looked like Rabbit punches. I know JKD uses these too as well as Wing Chun.

The Straight Blast gym under Matt Thornton use boxers crosses in fast succession not this type of punching I am doing. That is really harder to do and is really committed body weight forward top half.

I know this punching makes people flinch at least. I throw in elbows too on the pads. The punching isn't an end in itself.

Weeble Dummy [tm] ?

In a conversation with a learned colleague the wing chun dummy doesn't 'give' and can be limited for some martial art applications. This was a reason why one of his Wing Chun friends had stopped using it in favour of a punch bag.

I am a fan of the dummy so set about creating the 'Weeble Dummy' [tm]. Ahahaha. Seriously I know that my dummy can be made to give 'if' you remove the wedges from the corners of the trough its in / and / or put it on bricks. I put my dummy on bricks to stop it getting too muddy and stuck in there. Also it heightens it when I want it higher. THAT is heresy I know to traditional wing chunners who like it low so their stance is low and legs bent. Joseph Simonet in his Slam Set dummy said his dummy is modified as he is is taller and not expecting small people to fight him (actually he didn't say it like that but you know what I mean).

In another Blog on wing chun [see below] the Classical dummy should not give 'if' you want your structure to be tested and force going back down your legs.

Anyway enough of the apologetics. I wanted the dummy to rock so I can do this drill shown on the video. The leg is taken out so I can move the whole unit with my arm and without the leg acting as a break. I put 2 x pads up for the elbowing. I could have used my Thai pad and belt to keep it up there alternatively. The dummy weighs about 13 stone. I have added extra weights on the base to make it heavier - although they may have slidden off in this drill.

I TOOK THIS VIDEO OFF. On re-watching the elbow I used looked like one from a Wing Chun stance, Lan Sau , up-right stance etc. [like a 90 degree elbow attack - I should have had a more Silat angled elbow - pointed forwards more and hand 'home' on the neck, less space between the elbow and my chest and an angled torso - ready to flick out to grab the dummy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

2 triangles or one ?

Look take the 2 shapes below and add them in for a footwork matrix !? Good stuff eh.

Look there is no north south line. One of the things I regret is learnining to step forwards and backwards in a line mechanically. No doubt it has its place but the 'V' and '^' angles of stepping are really useful and worth in-graining early on in someone. Backwards steps are a bad habit to rely on to get out of 100% pressure. In a confrontation in public if someone is blocking your path a step diagonally forward or away would move you around - or away - from their colleague who may be behind you unbeknown to you.

The is a place for forwards and backwards lines but maybe their practice should not be moving me away from these other angles.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Footwork - angles to think about.

Here are 2 diagrams to show footwork ideas on the dummy. These can be interpreted classically or Jeet Kune do style borrowing from Kali. Randy Williams' work on the dummy does use this type of approach from a classical view - ie body stance is upright in Moving on the 'V' or male triangle. A Kali approach angles the body away from center line however in addition.

The 'V' shape:

Here stood at point 1 a blow from the left hand side or even center can be avoided by stepping to point 2A. In Kali this is where the 'pressure' of the attack is evaded. Maximum attacking pressure is @ 1. Therefore we need to be away from point 1.

(Invert for a right handed attack ie- step from 1 to 2b).

You can experiment how tight you get to the dummy with the prefered range: in tight if you want for grappling finishes. At a distance if you have a stick / boxing / kick boxing range. In retreating you can slide back from 2A, 2B along the 'V' again. This type of retreat I notice Alan Gibson makes in his book on wing chun (vol 1). He uses garn sau hand shapes [a cutting parry - if you like but it doesnt matter (non wing chun people just think block / counter strike / cover) ] to in retreating from attack diagonally away. He likens it to zig-zagging away from a sniper bullet. The point is to avoid a step backwards in a straight line from a frontal attack. That allows pressure to build up against you in an escalating manner.

A more traditional way to see this 'V' shape is to step off to 2a and apply say bong sau / lap sau and a stamping kick to the leg of the dummy.

The 'male triangle':

Here is another method of stepping. The Yip Man form has this in the 116 movemnts and involves moving from 1a to 1b with the right leg and the left leg circles in to 1c. Once there it can sweep or kick back with the heel on the calf muscle - whatever. the point is it bisects the opponents stance by cutting in on the triangle.

Williams work on dummy drills shows another application of this triangle where hand shapes like tan sau and punch [tan da] are applied from standing square on the base line and the hand movements are applied as a leg plunges in to 1c. When I have done this I either step deep in to the base of the dummy or try to collide with the leg to impact with a clashing movement (ouch !).

Male triangle vs 'V':

The 'V' evades the attack in a counter-attacking way / the 'male triangle' is wither direct straight in (OR can be evasive but circles in too). The choice is based on (your) style and context of the conflict.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Catching-Up !

Ahhh. I typed in my name for this place on google search to see what came up. And someone had noted it. So ... this jogged me back into action here again. Thanks Dojo Rat !

I have been meaning to put up progress on here and talk about things. It gets a bit demoralising when no one replys to my messages here #but# if its being read by at least one person who goes off and ponders then its worth it. Also if it helps me reflect on ideas then this needs to be kept up.

OK. Whats new. I have been looking at footwork on the Kali / Silat side of things. Wing Chun does seem to have a paucity of official footwork so I have always been wanting to check up on the Silat side of things.

What I have been doing is stepping on a 'V' shape - first one side then the other. This gets me to the outside gate. In a way this IS what the 116 movements does in the form it makes you move from centre to flank, back to center to flank .... in a 'V' shape if you like. BUT here the 'V' Kali does just go to the edge 1st of all - not just if the center is blocked.

Also I have been stepping in on the male triangle ... imagine a pyramid pointing forwards. I have been stepping forward to the point away from me with a circle step [like in the form that goes to the leg sweep in the 116 movements.]. The legs meet at the peak of the triangle and I sweep one foot back to the corner of the base. The sweep is called a biset - it drags back to base.

I tried to make a short video of myself using the dummy for a test. The dummy had no leg on and I was just seeing what it would look like. I was really hitting the dummy hard and wacking it - showing off if you like - and on the video you cant pick this up at all really ! I have more respect now for the videos I see on places like youtube. I bet these guys do really have some force in there that doesn't come across on that medium.

Using the dummy without the leg plugged in is very useful. I have reconfirmed this after watching Jospeh Simonet's slam set tape I have. It lets you do things that are prohibited by the 'official' form or space wise - like stand toe to toe and 'pummel' like grapplers for underhook.

I will post some pics here of other training things I have done or attempted and gave up!