Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Wing Tsun Kung Fu - Chi-Sau sections
Please find the video for the following blog post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv3Vzhd9n5QIn the video I am showing one example out of each one of the 19 Wing Tsun Chi-Sau sections.
During last Wednesday’s class, we once again reviewed the 1st section of Wing Tsun Chi-Sau. I never get tired of it. For me it's a key section that lays the foundation for any other Chi-Sau training.
Even the most advanced techniques or drills, applications don't really matter ...- if your structure is not connected,- if you lose too quickly your balance,- if you resist too long and/or too much,- if your timing is off,- if you misjudge the distance,- if you generate power too early or too late,- if your foot- and hand-techniques do not connect,- if your actions are not fluid enough,- if you are not mobile enough, even in the smallest space,- if you yield too early and/or too much (and into the wrong direction!),- if the purpose behind the design of your positions doesn't come to life,- if the often misunderstood and misinterpreted idea of the WT centerline is not present,For now, we keep this list short! :-)
Using the number 3 as an optimum example we also touched upon ...- the three Pak-Sau/Punch attacks of the first section- distance of the attacks (far apart, medium, close)- technical positions while connecting with the concepts behind SNT and CK, even BT- height of attacks delivered (low, middle, high)- direction of the attack, inside and outside ... and fake(-out)- inside and outside responses- stance training of SNT (Siu-Nim-Tau)- horizontal movement of CK (Cham-Kiu)- vertical movement of BT (Biu-Tze)
Once we went through above points, about ten minutes had already passed!
The Push-Button Toy and a Wing Tsun training method
This is simply a visualization of one of our training methods. The desired result is a continuous whole-body motion, maintaining a for us favourable mobile and elastic structure whilst setting up the training partner, forcing him into pushing or pulling actions. Either one leads due to our setup to the training partner’s attempt to close or open our structure.
Many of us remember the push button toy version of, for example, a giraffe or a donkey. They are also called floppy toys, thumb toys, collapsing toys, dancing toys or bendy toys. The hollow base contains the pushbutton and a spring. The strings, often fishing line, attach to the pushbutton and are fed up through the figure which sits on top of the base.
Now imagine the point of contact established with our training partner is this push-button. May it be on our forearm, elbow, upper arm, front or side of the shoulder, even the chest.
Two typical training scenarios of many, assuming contact via forearm to forearm.1. The Wing Tsun response Tan-Sau has been initiated, yet the elbow locks in a certain angle. The whole arm ends up being tense and is being used like a handle by the training partner to instantly push us out of balance.2. The partner’s action causes the Wing Tsun response Bong-Sau. The elbow angle between upper and forearm gets smaller leading to an collapsing position, one gets hit.
The right training will enable you to maintain a chain-linked structure. The angles of the wrist, elbow and shoulder in relation to the attack and each other are floating, neither one in this chain is resisting nor collapsing. Any impact or pushing is being sent like a wave through the contact point into our structure, often via wrist, elbow, shoulder, spine, hips, knees, ankles.The visualized push-button toy effect.
To achieve even better results, I make it for myself more difficult by training Chi-Sau while under any circumstances remaining on my toes. Or I stand on my heels. Might feel or look initially a bit weird. But it dramatically increases your ability to adjust to attacks, pulling and pushing, grappling. You will greatly improve your balance.
It also works the other way around. Almost like pushing yourself off the ground, the chain works through your ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, elbows and wrists into the stance of your training partner, often surprisingly easy pushing him out of balance or effortlessly crushing his positions.To clarify the “pushing yourself off the ground” part. You initially learn in (Wing Tsun) Chi-Sau to feel and interpret your partner’s actions via your arms. Now imagine your feet having a similar awareness of the ground. It’s OK if it sounds a bit silly. Your whole body is a shock absorber or a whip between the floor and the contact point with your training partner.
Don’t cheat with speed or strength. Always train slow first. And I mean really slow. Somebody who for a moment looks at your training, will think that you are not moving at all. Yes, that slow.Paraphrasing what my Si-Fu said a long time ago: “To train in slow motion is the best training method in the world, that fails more than 99% of the time.” Of course, we asked him as to the why. His answer: “Because most guys find it boring, don’t have the patience. They rather wrestle, compare their strength. They try to speed up, test who is the fastest.”All that is OK, if you compare the final achievement of your training. It is not suitable to build, let alone finetune one’s skills. And it only favours the stronger and faster student.Remember, we are talking about a training method. I am not saying that one should fight juiceless, without speed or strength.I am often being asked about the type of contact pressure during this type of training. I typically demonstrate three versions:1. I make contact. Partner pushes or punches and collapses my positions.2. I make contact. Partner pushes or punches and due to my tension, I get pushed back.3. I make contact. Partner pushes or punches and I minimally respond and have already hit back.
Then I ask about the difference in how the contact was felt in all three scenarios and the answer is always, that all three felt the same. So, it’s not about the amount of pressure but its quality and that of the movement.
A last example. Have you ever in an elevator closed your eyes and touched the braille, trying to guess what floor it announces? Most of us feel the raised dots but can’t read it at all. But with training it can be read. A blind person can read an embossed braille newspaper very fast, that doesn’t mean he would push holes into the paper.
Meaning, you can have sufficient pressure that the partner can barely feel or not at all. Important though is the fluid mobility and maintenance of an elastic structure, which should neither collapse nor resist.
Once you move well and have achieved above qualities, now you add during training your speed and your functional strength.
In the end, in your Wing Tsun, your elasticity, mobility, fluidity and power, all come together.
To be a beginner again. Discover the Kung Fu Secret.
Thinking of it, currently in November of 2016. It happened almost 40 years ago. I stepped for the first time into the University Judo Club in Rostock (HSG Südstadt). Somebody helped me in the locker room to figure out how to tie up that brand-new white belt. Loud noises came from the mats. We were about to be introduced to the first falling exercises (Ukemi-Waza). Just making that loud noise, slapping the mat while falling seemed very manly. Very exciting. The instructor with his washed out brown belt was preparing for his upcoming black-belt test. Judo throws, breaking balance, bleeding elbows, getting the wind knocked out of you, gasping for air, eying up what comes next, yellow belt, manly sweat in the air, orange belt, feeling almost motion sick from the sheer amount of falling exercises.
About a year later, I switched to Jiu-Jitsu. The oldest members, around 17, 18, were juggling with strange round weights (kettlebells). I was 14 years old. The about 70-year-old Sensei, Johannes Trybull, appeared on the mats, doing several falling exercises. I remember thinking how somebody that ancient, could still move this powerful. A handshake turned into a painful fingerlock, throwing me on the ground. It really hurt, but damn did I want to be able to do that to someone else. More falling exercises, now on concrete floors. Even the kettlebell dropped on toes, wasn’t really that bad. You want to learn to defend yourself? You get every now and then hurt. It was that simple. It was exciting.
1980, the first karate katas in the backyard. Long evening walks, checking the neighbourhood buildings for roof repairs, grabbing quickly a stack of roof shingles. I remember one breaking test in particular. Some fifteen roof shingles piled up, gasoline poured over it, match, fire, lights off. Guests said, that the flames went for a moment up my arm while breaking the tiles. How much cooler can you be as an 18 year old.
In 1984 I started training the Siu-Nim-Tau, chain-punches, partner exercises, exchanged letters and postcards with my future Si-Fu, Keith Kernspecht. Soon I faced my first WT instructor, a mighty 1st Technician Grade. WT people might chuckle now. It was the mid 80’s. First level TG’s were the kings. One hand still in his pants pocket, he knocked three of us young guys down. I wanted that skill.
Now it is 2016. I still enjoy showing every beginner the very basics. To be a beginner again.
What do you do?Ask yourself what single point you want to achieve in tonight’s class?Help a training partner.Show up! Get involved. Don’t wait at the sidelines.Communicate with your training partner.Remember the magic of the first hours of training.Remember your goals. Did you lose sight of them?Is the grass greener on the other side?I see so many, even instructors jump from one martial art to another. Everywhere seeking the “thing”.Challenge yourself. Set goals. Write them down. Ask your instructor for help.Don’t wait to be entertained.Find something new, even in what seems the most basic exercise.
To be a beginner again. That is the Kung Fu secret. Train hard. Ask. Make others better. Analyze yourself. Only you can make yourself good. Don’t wait for something to happen. Don’t just jump on the next bandwagon, the next trend. Kung Fu is hard work.
To be a beginner again.