An Inclusive Perspective on WC

ShortBridge

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My read of the original question, summerized, is something like this:

Do you tell your students that you have the one source of truth? Do you prevent them from considering other perspectives? Etc...
 

wayfaring

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I tell my students I am one of the sources of truth for them in martial arts not the only source. Their primary source is to be proving things for themself through testing it and verifying the multiple sources of truth for themselves in whichever way that makes the most sense to them. Im not a fight promoter or a tournament organizer.

Geezer, any other meaning you wanted to highlight from your OP since youve been saying it for years?


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yak sao

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I still haven't learned the entire Bart Cham Dao form, and being of modest resources, may never get it, at least as taught in my lineage! On the other hand, I feel that I can make good use of what I do know ...or I'd have left the system long ago!

Come to Ky.....I'm sure we could work something out.
 

APL76

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The original post which proposed a risk benefit analysis of I guess Wing Chun. The fact you are asking this illustrates that this conversation currently kind of has nothing to do with the original post? Im still trying to figure out what people are trying to measure. All I hear is not trying to make cookie cutters of something or other and whether people learned all of the knife form that some say many top masters never learned from Yip Man anyway as a foundation for talking about measuring some intangible thing.


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I think the discussion has to this point revolved around answering the risk/benefit question in that people are saying, implicitly if not explicitly, that once someone knows they system to a level of adequacy and proficiency they should be able to make that call themselves. Until they know and understand enough of it people really cant (to a sliding level of degree) make that call.

And when one is teaching, you can only teach what you learned and of course anyone with any competence should be able to provide good reasons for doing it they way they do and not some other way. One should also have a completish picture and know how each thing integrates with other elements of the art. If a student improvises something in sui lim tao they might inadvertently stuff up something in bui ji they havent even come close to learning yet. Doing such improvisation is an enormous risk. Without an adequately wholistic picture of as much of the art as possible one just cant know all of the risks or all of the benefits in doing a given element of the system one way or another.

The footwork is an example. It takes a lot of training to be able to do wing chun footwork properly. You wont have even learned all of the elements of a basic step, lets say, cutting a diagonal line on someone, until you know at least the first three forms. Then to make it actually work takes a huge amount of training on top of that; and some of the most useful footwork for perusing a fast retreating opponent is from the knife form. So, what do we encourage students to do? Just do as they are told and train so that one day it will work for them provided they put in the training? Or do we encourage them to improvise and do what works for them? If we do the latter they will decide: this doesnt work, the risk is I get punched or kicked. Ill do it this other way instead, that stops me getting punched or kicked. Chances are too that whatever way they figure out themselves to do it will have inherent risks or very low benefit compared to risk that they dont even know about. Is that not all dealing with a risk to benefit ratio?

And as far as top masters never having learned the knife form from Yip Man: I dont know who learned what from Yip Man but I suspect there are plenty getting around who are top masters for little other reason than that they learned from Yip Man. All of the forms in wing chun are mutually supportive, in both directions, including the knife form. That isnt to say you cant have good wing chun without it, all Im saying is that you cant have a complete picture and contextualization of everything without it; example, the knife form footwork is great for when someone retreats very fast, better than the stepping from chum kue, if you dont have the knife form you wouldnt know that or be able to do it.
 

APL76

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How many years of training would you say is typically necessary befor a reasonably dedicated student to reach a level where, as you put it, they can "actually be able to use some (or most) of it"?

...I ask in part because in my lineage, it may take decades to get the entire system. I still haven't learned the entire Bart Cham Dao form, and being of modest resources, may never get it, at least as taught in my lineage! On the other hand, I feel that I can make good use of what I do know ...or I'd have left the system long ago!


Just in case anyone suspects I'm trying to say that one cant have good wing chun, or what they have learned wont be useful, I want to add: Im not saying that. What Im trying to get at is that unless a student has an adequately large enough picture of the art and see how enough of it is interlocking, and why, they wont be able to have a full appreciation of the risks v benefits of doing any given thing in the particular way they are shown. Obviously the more one learns the more complete that picture gets; but given that it is integrated right through from opening the stance to the knife form, unless you have that there will be gaps. The footwork for pursuit being a good example.

Conversely, if one has good foundations, understands how to use what they have, and has trained hard, they can be very good. The best example I can give of that is my first student. When my sifu retired (so finished up with his wing chun school and took a hiatus from teaching for a while) one of his other students asked me to take him as a private student. That was in 2008/9. I started teaching him Guangzhou wing chun in about 2009/10 once I received permission to teach it from my sifu. To this day that student still hasnt learned past about half way through the Guangzhou style sui lim tao. But, the guy is a weapon because the only time he doesnt train is when he is asleep (wheeeeeelll not quite, but he does train a LOT), has extremely good foundations, and very good sup yi sik and knows how to use it. Yet, every time we go to my Sifus house and learn from him (at least once a week) we are blown away by how much we DONT know about stuff we both have been able to do for years. When Im confronted by that depth of knowledge and understanding, I sure as hell do EXACTLY as Im told because to go improvising and trying to do what works for me without having a complete picture is simply too much of a risk.
 
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geezer

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Just in case anyone suspects I'm trying to say that one cant have good wing chun, or what they have learned wont be useful, I want to add: Im not saying that...

I've long felt that we need another button at the bottom for "Thanks for a thoughtful and well written reply". This forum needs more quality input like this.
 

wayfaring

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I think the discussion has to this point revolved around answering the risk/benefit question in that people are saying, implicitly if not explicitly, that once someone knows they system to a level of adequacy and proficiency they should be able to make that call themselves. Until they know and understand enough of it people really cant (to a sliding level of degree) make that call.

And when one is teaching, you can only teach what you learned and of course anyone with any competence should be able to provide good reasons for doing it they way they do and not some other way. One should also have a completish picture and know how each thing integrates with other elements of the art. If a student improvises something in sui lim tao they might inadvertently stuff up something in bui ji they havent even come close to learning yet. Doing such improvisation is an enormous risk. Without an adequately wholistic picture of as much of the art as possible one just cant know all of the risks or all of the benefits in doing a given element of the system one way or another.

The footwork is an example. It takes a lot of training to be able to do wing chun footwork properly. You wont have even learned all of the elements of a basic step, lets say, cutting a diagonal line on someone, until you know at least the first three forms. Then to make it actually work takes a huge amount of training on top of that; and some of the most useful footwork for perusing a fast retreating opponent is from the knife form. So, what do we encourage students to do? Just do as they are told and train so that one day it will work for them provided they put in the training? Or do we encourage them to improvise and do what works for them? If we do the latter they will decide: this doesnt work, the risk is I get punched or kicked. Ill do it this other way instead, that stops me getting punched or kicked. Chances are too that whatever way they figure out themselves to do it will have inherent risks or very low benefit compared to risk that they dont even know about. Is that not all dealing with a risk to benefit ratio?

And as far as top masters never having learned the knife form from Yip Man: I dont know who learned what from Yip Man but I suspect there are plenty getting around who are top masters for little other reason than that they learned from Yip Man. All of the forms in wing chun are mutually supportive, in both directions, including the knife form. That isnt to say you cant have good wing chun without it, all Im saying is that you cant have a complete picture and contextualization of everything without it; example, the knife form footwork is great for when someone retreats very fast, better than the stepping from chum kue, if you dont have the knife form you wouldnt know that or be able to do it.

This is a fairly long response that basically says we dont know what we are measuring from a risk/benefit perspective but if you have enough then you can subjectively decide for yourself what is good or not?

Are you not kind of highlighting the general problem with wing chun?


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wayfaring

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Ok so to address footwork for example. You say in HK wt you need all 3 open hand forms plus the knife form to deal with a retreating opponent and make it effective. In our lineage I feel we handle this in the first footwork taught. Bun yut ma and Leung yi ma. Our front and side footwork in HFY.


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wayfaring

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Students coming up testing things out is a little different than universal objective measurement. Or risk / benefit analysis.


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wayfaring

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Completish?

Is this a wing chun specific term?


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wayfaring

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APL76 what is Guangzhou version of SLT?

Is this some special mainland lineage version you learned from someone to augment HK wt training?


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APL76

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This is a fairly long response that basically says we dont know what we are measuring from a risk/benefit perspective but if you have enough then you can subjectively decide for yourself what is good or not?

Are you not kind of highlighting the general problem with wing chun?


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APL76 what is Guangzhou version of SLT?

Is this some special mainland lineage version you learned from someone to augment HK wt training?


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Ok. Ill deal with all of it in one post.

Risk/benefit. Essentially certain structures work relatively easily others dont work as effectively. When people learn correct structure, it wont work until they have practiced it for a while; however, in some instances using the incorrect structure works easily at first but is not as good as the correct structure in the long run. Example: Tan sao to block an incoming punch circling in towards about jaw level. To do the tan sao takes a fair amount of practice and at first it is really hard to get it to work. However, if one uses the outwards sweeping technique from chum kue (It comes right after the three turns in the beginning, I dont know what its called) it works more easily than tan sao at first and will work pretty much straight away provided you arent facing a really hard punch. However, when someone hits really hard, that technique will buckle and possibly hurt the shoulder whereas tan sao wont once its trained enough. The difference is the structure. Once students have trained enough, they can make their own assessment of the risks and benefits and judge what works and where. So no, it isnt a long post without really knowing what we are measuring. We are measuring where things work and where they dont. Before one has put in the training and has the knowledge to really know, the wont have an overall enough picture to have a good judgment of what works and what doesnt and under what conditions.

Completish= as far as I know it isnt a wing chun term, I thought it was simply something I typed. I would say its when you have a reasonably complete picture of wing chun as a whole, not complete (in terms of knowing the entirety of the forms and accompanying material) but pretty close. Id say generally knowing the first three forms and most of the way through the dummy form, if not all of it, is completish. One knows most of it but not all = completish.

Guangzhou version of Sui Lim Tao = My Sifu learned Yip Man wing chun from Yip Chun but later became a disciple of Sum Nung and learned Guangzhou wing chun from him. We refer to them as Hong Kong wing chun and Guangzhou wing chun respectively as those are the places my Sifu learned them (he is a native of Hong Kong). Others call Guangzhou wing chun Yuen Kay San style or sometimes Sum Nung style. It is not some Mainland thing to augment Yip Man wing chun, it is an entirely different style of wing chun from beginning to end. Totally different in every way other than in general overview. It tends to be much more difficult than the Yip Man stuff. My sifu taught them as totally separate things, and I follow his example and also teach them separately.
 

APL76

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Ok so to address footwork for example. You say in HK wt you need all 3 open hand forms plus the knife form to deal with a retreating opponent and make it effective. In our lineage I feel we handle this in the first footwork taught. Bun yut ma and Leung yi ma. Our front and side footwork in HFY.


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Sure, I can see how that might be the case. In the Guangzhou style of wing chun you also learn to deal with it in the sup yi sik (training drill you do before the forms) so fairly early on. That is not to say however you can get a complete picture of the system as a whole without learning all of it however.
 

wayfaring

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Ok. Ill deal with all of it in one post.

Risk/benefit. Essentially certain structures work relatively easily others dont work as effectively. When people learn correct structure, it wont work until they have practiced it for a while; however, in some instances using the incorrect structure works easily at first but is not as good as the correct structure in the long run. Example: Tan sao to block an incoming punch circling in towards about jaw level. To do the tan sao takes a fair amount of practice and at first it is really hard to get it to work. However, if one uses the outwards sweeping technique from chum kue (It comes right after the three turns in the beginning, I dont know what its called) it works more easily than tan sao at first and will work pretty much straight away provided you arent facing a really hard punch. However, when someone hits really hard, that technique will buckle and possibly hurt the shoulder whereas tan sao wont once its trained enough. The difference is the structure. Once students have trained enough, they can make their own assessment of the risks and benefits and judge what works and where. So no, it isnt a long post without really knowing what we are measuring. We are measuring where things work and where they dont. Before one has put in the training and has the knowledge to really know, the wont have an overall enough picture to have a good judgment of what works and what doesnt and under what conditions.

Completish= as far as I know it isnt a wing chun term, I thought it was simply something I typed. I would say its when you have a reasonably complete picture of wing chun as a whole, not complete (in terms of knowing the entirety of the forms and accompanying material) but pretty close. Id say generally knowing the first three forms and most of the way through the dummy form, if not all of it, is completish. One knows most of it but not all = completish.

Guangzhou version of Sui Lim Tao = My Sifu learned Yip Man wing chun from Yip Chun but later became a disciple of Sum Nung and learned Guangzhou wing chun from him. We refer to them as Hong Kong wing chun and Guangzhou wing chun respectively as those are the places my Sifu learned them (he is a native of Hong Kong). Others call Guangzhou wing chun Yuen Kay San style or sometimes Sum Nung style. It is not some Mainland thing to augment Yip Man wing chun, it is an entirely different style of wing chun from beginning to end. Totally different in every way other than in general overview. It tends to be much more difficult than the Yip Man stuff. My sifu taught them as totally separate things, and I follow his example and also teach them separately.

So to relate to your background more, HFY origins are southern mainland which I dont know if are more like your YKS. I dont think so. The Pin San stuff Ive seen is quite different.

Im writing on a phone so posts will be more piecemeal.

On your risk / benefit analysis on the collapsing tan sao. We utilize 3 tan sao depending on energy and range. For a hook punch or rounded punch biu da is more effective and efficient from any risk / benefit analysis I can use.

On specific HK form references I can kind of relate as my first sifu was Moy Yat lineage before we all switched over to HFY. So I learned all the HK open hand forms but I dont currently practice them only HFY forms. I watched Yip Man chum kiu and after the initial 3 turns it looks like double biu to double tan. Is that what you are speaking of?

As to completish our progression is different so I dont think it is apples to apples comparison there. Our SNT is so long and involved with supporting drills and concepts that I feel most would call completish after getting through all that. It has threads of supporting training including an intro dummy form, kiu sau, chi kiu, chi sau progressions, skill challenges, and other kinds of drills. I think the depth is why most of us switched over and stuck with it.


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wayfaring

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Also in discussion is structure. That seems to be a common topic thread. Our structure is taught, developed, and built from the Hung Fa Yi formula, which is a series of six introductory concepts, measurements, and physical movements with correct form. Over time these develop the 10 bright points, or sup ming dim in the student where the body seeks natural wing chun alignment in knee hip elbow. This to me has been most beneficial. This carries over into checkpoints in our SNT for structure.

Other lineages build structure in different ways with drills exercises concepts.

How does yours?


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geezer

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Also in discussion is structure. That seems to be a common topic thread. Our structure is taught, developed, and built from the Hung Fa Yi formula, which is a series of six introductory concepts, measurements, and physical movements with correct form. Over time these develop the 10 bright points, or sup ming dim in the student where the body seeks natural wing chun alignment in knee hip elbow. This to me has been most beneficial. This carries over into checkpoints in our SNT for structure.

Other lineages build structure in different ways with drills exercises concepts.
How does yours?

Sounds like a good topic for a new thread. I'm just getting organized to start the day here at work. I will have a free moment in a few hours ...maybe I can get back to this then. :)
 

Buka

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Aren't we instructing, then guiding, then mentoring individuals to be individuals? I don't want clones of me or to be a cookie cutter instructor. We aren't slaves to the system or to any particular person or method of doing. Find out what works best for you. I apply many techniques differently than my instructor. He often has have me and other senior students show how we apply the same technique differently or in different situations. "Oh that's good, that's good! Show that again." Other times "uhh...I wouldn't do it that way but I can see why you do it like that." Now when he is teaching we stay on the system and how he teaches it. But he gives everyone the freedom to experiment and is constantly saying "It's not what I can do. You have to be able to do for yourself. You have to find a way to make it work for you. My way may never work for you. Train to find your way."

From the perspective of my Yang Taijiquan Shifu.... "no two people are alike, no two bodies are alike, why would someone be expected to do anything in Taijiquan exactly like someone else. Same can be said to Wing Chun, or any MA for that matter

Gospel.
 

FinalStreet

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Yip Man knowledge still resides in lineage like Yuen Kay San. So it's definetely still alive. But bad teachers turn into good sellsman. ;). Not "knowledge" meaning secrets or just ideas which can be passed as original or 'trade secret', but something like techniques from original red opera era. It's a lack of willing to share NOT lack of clueless teachers. o_O:pigeon::mask: .
 

APL76

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Yip Man knowledge still resides in lineage like Yuen Kay San.

Them's fightin words for some people!!!

While it might rise the ire of some Yip Man people, knowing both Yip Man and Yuen Kay San wing chun, in my opinion, Yuen Kay San probably had a wealth of knowledge Yip Man could only dream of. If Yip Man ever knew it I am not convinced he really passed it on, particularly during his Hong Kong period.
 

FinalStreet

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Yip Man knowledge still resides in lineage like Yuen Kay San.

Them's fightin words for some people!!!

While it might rise the ire of some Yip Man people, knowing both Yip Man and Yuen Kay San wing chun, in my opinion, Yuen Kay San probably had a wealth of knowledge Yip Man could only dream of. If Yip Man ever knew it I am not convinced he really passed it on, particularly during his Hong Kong period.

This is true
 

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