"A Taoist story tells of an old man who accidentally fell into the river rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for his life. Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls. People asked him how he managed to survive. "I accommodated myself to the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived."
I found this Taoist story and felt it related well to our Wing Chun training. I'll let you draw your own conclusions to the story.
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period. 2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life." 3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work." 4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson. 5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned. 6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here." 7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself. 8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. 9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust. 10. You will forget all this.
Quote of the day. Extract from the famous 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' speech in May 1940
"We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask: what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory - victory - at all costs, victory, in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival." - Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
Change the word 'months' to 'seconds' and have it as a motto when going into a fight.
Tactics ... Read them while thinking about sword fighting, then read again and remove the swords.
U.S.Marine Corps Rules For Sword Fighting
-Bring a sword. Preferably bring at least two swords. Bring all of your friends who have swords. -Anything worth running through is worth running through twice. Blades are cheap. Life is expensive. -Only hits count. A close miss is still a miss. -If your engarde stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using distance correctly. -Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movements are preferred.) -If you can choose what to bring to a sword fight, bring a long sword and a friend with a long sword. -In ten years nobody will remember the details of sword type, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived. -If you are not attacking, you should be communicating, repositioning, and running. -Accuracy is relative: most combat fighting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the sword . -Use a sword that works EVERY TIME. -Someday someone may kill you with your own sword, but they should have to beat you to death with it because you have already broken on them. -Always cheat = always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose. -Have a plan. -Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work. -Use cover and concealment as much as possible. -Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours. -Don't drop your guard. -Always tactically reposition and threat scan 360 degrees. -Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them.) -Decide to be AGGRESSIVE enough, QUICKLY enough. -The faster you finish the fight, the less bloody you will get. -Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one. -Do not attend a sword fight with a sword, the blade of which is not larger than theirs. -Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
Technical question for you. In wing chun we strike forwards in such a way as to A - keep us covered as we strike B - intercept any incoming attack as it comes in.
I've been shown way of using this effectively against both straight punches and hooks. High and low.
My question is this: This works fine when the attack is directed at your face or torso. What if the attack is actually directed at your arms themselves?
The source of my curiosity is two things - A boxer friend of mine who was experimenting with throwing a lead hook punch at the lead elbow in order to set up the rear punch - footage Ive ssen of a Kyukoshin fighter vs a wing chun fighter, in which the Kyukoshin fighter uses a block from the inside outwards to set up a (rather powerful) body punch. (look up wing chun vs on youtube and you should find this.)
In both these cases the initial clearing movement was a very strong one and because it was opening the defenders arm to the outside, collapsing into a bong sao is not an option.
Quotations "Don't quit because you are frustrated. Find a different aspect of the art, or your motion, to focus on and develop."
This especially applies to Wing Chun, where a lot of the movements need to be felt to be really understood. When students start learning, it is very easy for them to become frustrated with the intricacies of the different shapes, or why they are moving here and not here. They can sometimes see it, or understand the explanations they are given, but they don't actually get it. It takes time and practice to feel what should be happening, and why it should be like that. There is more to it than shapes, but to begin with new students need more help to discover the path.
I also liked this one ...
"If you inadvertently hit your partner in the groin, get out of range and keep moving until he isn't mad anymore."
'There are many alternate possibilities in the mechanical use of the body at any given time, but there is, for any given situation, a way of using the body which makes for the best functioning, for the least wear and tear, and for the sweetest running engine, just as there is a use which leads to waste of energy and fatigue.'
I'm thinking .... We were looking at compression and expansion tonight, specifically with regard to the jum sau and bon sau. One of the guys was having a problem with the fact that his jum sau was kept pushing down.
We were doing danchi, and he knew that he needed to drop his elbow so that his jum would stop my palm strike, but couldn't do it without actually pushing my arm downwards. After some discussion, we were looking at what he was thinking compared to what I was thinking, so I could explain what I was doing different to him.
He was thinking that he must compress and therefore push my strike down, before extending into me.
On the other hand, I was thinking about Matrix 3. I pictured the bit where Agent Smith plunges his hand into another agent's chest (who then turns into another Agent Smith). Where as my partner was thinking about going down then forward, I was thinking of just filling the gap by going forwards in my wedge (bottom of the chest as was in outside gate).
We realised that the problem was where he was focusing - as soon as he pictured the Matrix he could do it nearly everytime.
I have put this here because I think that it's important to always think about what you are trying to achieve at the end, and there are different ways of thinking about what your body should be doing. If you can't get something right after quite a few tries, find out where you should be going, and think of something that resembles a way of getting there. Everyone 'sees' things differently, so think about how you see it, or how you would describe it to someone else.