View My Stats

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Form and function squashes the debate

Look at the Wing Chun wooden dummy. Really stare at it.

Look at the length of the arms. Look at that leg. See how short they are from the body of the dummy.

'That' short, means it's a short range system and most of the moves, (not all), in the 108 reflect that you will be in this short range. (Only the kicks on the flank are where disengagements in that space occur - but you come back in).

So what ? The forms leading up to this 108 set are now being deployed with more footwork. You are in a showcase now of what fighting may look like, to a degree, in this optimized set of skills. When you specialize you leave things behind. This system has voluntarily left behind the long range kicks - it hasn't got any. This means it doesn't want you to get into a long distance game. No kick-fencing. It does give you tools to smother long low kicks, however. It does know 'others' do things that way.

Also in the form there are no long range punches. The arms partly influence this. They are so short, you have to do a calculated shuffle if you want that in. Look at the Choy Le Fut dummy. See how long the arms are on that - the central movable one. That is designed that way, as CLF, as long range aspirations in it. Design means intent - or at least it used to in the Middle Ages.

All this tells you of the design assumptions in Wing Chun's aims and optimizations. It has a small content because it only specializes in a limited range. THAT is its specialty. IT didn't claim to do anything else if you ask me. (assuming we have the perfect knowledge set of 'Wing Chun'), then it is a deliberately limited art to get you up and running. THAT story of Beautiful Spring time is to reinforce that point. SHE had a short term goal that needed seeing to. To 'sort out a bully', in a short time frame. Things had to be excluded.

The 108 repeats and drills many shapes and explores different scenarios of a 'small' array of moves in a short space.

Carrying on from this I would not even bother getting dragged into 'is Wing Chun good for sparring with'. No, it isn't as that uses space tactically - back and forth - and kick boxer / boxers have different appreciation of that space in sparring.

In its optimised space - if you can get the other person in that zone - that is what Wing Chun is for. Wing Chun is good at what Wing Chun specializes in. Pull it out of the ideal shape and its less useful. That is why I would not get pulling into, a verbal debate in the same way. That too, is out of range, by design. If you bring Wing Chun into different terrains with claims for it, then its a pain. You have to show how you can fight with others in different ranges in your ideal structure, (that makes it Wing Chun still and not become de facto kick boxing). Or you have to cite others who can - and this leaves you in a virtual world of possibilities not your own experiences. So don't bother. That argument is out of range too. Stay away from that and 'stick' to the aims and claims of 'the design'. That dummy is the design.

Short aims. Short arms. Limited content.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Will the real Robin stand-up

I have to defend the honor of the wooden dummy sometimes from non-believers and this needs Super Hero like skills.

This is in fact the Robin that came to aid me in the previous post and gave me magic powers. The picture is of the Boy Wonder doing Gum Sau, and that is a roof top dummy on the edge of the picture.

The Robin was correcting my Bong Sau - or wing arm technique.

Bong sau is good if your hands are low by your sides, say you are carrying shopping. None of the Wing Chun literature tells you that. They assume bong sau is from stance. We are not in stance in everyday life. When we are suprised we have no defensive / offensive structure. So we need to think about that one. Upright stance IS our structure when surprised - or is it a lean back - becuase we are shocked ?

Boxers have a version of bong sau when they drop the lead arm and hide behind their shoulder. I think Fillsack on youtube does it in some boxing sparring he shows. This is a conscious effort to drop the lead arm, that was up in the first place, into that shape.

Wrestlers have their bong sau to get rid of a one armed grab around the neck, in a shrug like motion. I have once done it then after than never did it again in sparring.

Bull fighters have a bong sau like action with their cape BUT their footwork is the real deal as it angles off in a box-step / spiral. This type of step-off to the side and slightly forward can be seen in Master Wong's 116 video - which I have below somewhere. It comes early on, and is followed by a dumog-like action / lap sau. That is some good footwork for that form and its not in Yip Man's version.

The 'A' frame in grappling 'in guard' is a supported bong sau. Bong sau is in Kali when you block a straight thrust with your stick - again matador.

On the dummy Bong sau can be sticky with a diagonal forward motion, that crushes the opponents structure. OR it can be ballistic and you can bounce off them. You can have inner-gate bong sau - the first section of the dummy has this and you repeat it often. Its to correct a mistake and you get to the outside gate with your step circle slide footwork as you tan sau.

Here are 2 pictures from

Here is an outer-gate 'wing arm'. That leads to 'the-very- hard-to-do-in-a- struggle', lap sau. Nice finesse here actually that the lap sau is on the same arm, that has been bumped right by the bong sau.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hands make the way - but not on the dummy

Did some drills today for aiding sweeps in Silat. Si-gung Sackvill showed me them in the garage academy. I put gusto into drilling them slowly, as if it was 2004 again and I was going over my dummy form and the sacred 108.

Anyway, what I wanted to day today was get the dummy involved into the Silat swing of things and do the sapu on that. You can't on the dummy with all the pieces are plugged in. Hands make the way for you to impale yourself.

So you have to take out the leg, and the central arm and one of the top arms. This leaves on arm left pointing on the triangle 'V'. You have to imagine you have made the way and left the path free now (no hardship) and then you can 'uproot' and have a flush - or near - flush torso to the dummy body and push that away on a 'T'.

I used the 'T' there as the 'I' part of the 'T' is me coming in and the cross-part is the force for the opposite lever for the top half. Next comes the foot which needs some imagination or an air sweep the other way 'L'.

My dummy is in a trough, so the thing can rock forward that helps too.

I hope this is all worth it and I have not got a fundamental flaw in here.