Mirroring Techniques

futsaowingchun

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Mirroring Techniques is a concept in the MCM Wing Chun system. It is a simple way to understand how a particular technique works and how to counter it my mirroring it. This video gives a few simple examples using common techniques like punch counter punch, tan da counter tan da, fuk da counter fuk da, lop da counter lop da, pak da counter pak da, gum da counter gum da and jut da counter jut da.
 

Argus

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I do employ the counter punches on the inside and outside which you demonstrated, though I'd argue that's not really mirroring the opponent, as you have to use a different line to both deflect and hit him (going higher on the inside, and lower on the outside).

In any case, it's an interesting thing to play with. My room-mate who I often spar and chisao with likes to employ these kind of techniques, but I don't personally see much value in them as you're not (or, I would argue, shouldn't be) training to fight another WC guy. And if you're mirroring your opponent, that essentially means that you're letting him set the pace of the engagement and choosing to "play" his "game."
 

Danny T

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We often do similar drills. I much prefer to do an attack, counter/attack, recounter/attack,... and so on for a 5-6 count attack action. Slowly building speed and pressure until one is overwhelmed.
At the lower level I want my student to learn to intercept and counter attack and his/her counter attack being countered as well yet to continue attacking.
Mirroring is good for the beginner student; they don't have to think about what to do they simply follow your lead but we don't want to stay on that for long building the habit of following rather than intercepting and countering with something different.
Thanks for the video.
 

geezer

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In any case, it's an interesting thing to play with. if you're mirroring your opponent, that essentially means that you're letting him set the pace of the engagement and choosing to "play" his "game."

I agree. It's an interesting exercise to have one person lead off and have the other try to counter by mirroring whenever possible.

On the other hand, one thing that bothers me a bit in some of Futsao's videos is the emphasis on techniques, with accompanying narration saying "You can do this... or you can do this ...or this..." For me WC techniques are and expression of forward inteant along centerline. If your fist is free, it shoots forward. If it encounters another incoming punch, it will either deflect the attack and continue ("punch-to-punch) or it will meet overpowering pressure which may bend your arm into a tan-sau, or into a bong-sau, etc depending on the force received.

There is no "you could deflect ...or you could do tan, or you could do bong, or pak, or gaun...". Depending on the energy you receive, there is only one "right" response for each situation and not an infinite "grab-bag" of tricks. Any other technique will not deal with the energy as efficiently, but will cross force with your opponent. The correct response is the one your opponent's energy creates in your arms. I.e. his attack makes your defense.
 
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futsaowingchun

futsaowingchun

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I agree. It's an interesting exercise to have one person lead off and have the other try to counter by mirroring whenever possible.

On the other hand, one thing that bothers me a bit in some of Futsao's videos is the emphasis on techniques, with accompanying narration saying "You can do this... or you can do this ...or this..." For me WC techniques are and expression of forward inteant along centerline. If your fist is free, it shoots forward. If it encounters another incoming punch, it will either deflect the attack and continue ("punch-to-punch) or it will meet overpowering pressure which may bend your arm into a tan-sau, or into a bong-sau, etc depending on the force received.

There is no "you could deflect ...or you could do tan, or you could do bong, or pak, or gaun...". Depending on the energy you receive, there is only one "right" response for each situation and not an infinite "grab-bag" of tricks. Any other technique will not deal with the energy as efficiently, but will cross force with your opponent. The correct response is the one your opponent's energy creates in your arms. I.e. his attack makes your defense.


I dont totally agree because if it where true you would know every single move your oponent is going to do. people when under stress dont act of move in a logical fashion leaving the movements unpredictable. So in a sence there is no right or wrong move it just depends on what you can get away with.
 

nikthegreek_3

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About excersises and muscle memory, as well as the free expression of wing chun, (as Bruce Lee was doing), there is a great analysis here: Check the video of the page:
 
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geezer

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There is a saying.." the untrained hand can kill the sifu"

You know, I've nearly killed myself that way several times! :confused:

Anyway, don't think I'm nit picking. Sometimes it gets slow on this forum, then you come along and post more videos. Thanks for that. I probably should figure out how to make some videos and join in. Someday. Guess I'm just shy. :p
 

Star Dragon

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Mirroring is a principle also in Taiji and Kenpo fighting.

One thing it does is to improve reaction time by narrowing the options for the response.
 

geezer

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Mirroring is a principle also in Taiji and Kenpo fighting.

One thing it does is to improve reaction time by narrowing the options for the response.

Narrowing options is good...

And, from what I've seen, the movement patterns of Kenpo that are programmed into muscle memory can be very fast. The problem remains however, that you have to visually perceive an attack or opening, and then initiate that programmed response. This makes perception (or recognition) and reaction time the limiting factors. In our parlance, this is a fighting system that still relies on the "subjective response method". It is subjective in that you perceive and then, in an instant, must guess what your opponent is doing and initiate your response.

In my understanding of WC we seek to replace visual cues with tactile cues whenever possible. This reduces both reaction time and vulnerability to visual fakes. The options (and reaction time) are reduced even more by simply letting the opponent's energy make your response.

Ideally it works like this: You thrust out to strike. If your energy is intercepted by your opponent, his energy bends your arm into tan, bong, jum, etc. (defensive positions) while the other arm hits. The bent or defending arm follows the retreat and when released, again it springs forward. This is the essence of the "objective response" method. You don't guess what your opponent is doing, instead you train your arms to stick and flow with constant forward energy, so that he actually moves them for you! The greater the proportion of objective response we can muster in our movements, the less we are limited by reaction time and visual miscues or fakes.

This is expressed in the well known kuit (martial saying) Loi lau hoi sung, lat sau jik chung or in simple English, Stay with what comes, follow the retreat, thrust forward when the hand is freed.

I've tried to make this clear, but words are a flawed medium for things best discussed by crossing bridges. Hopefully at least, most WC folks, especially WT people will understand my terminology here. ;)
 
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Star Dragon

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Well, the cue can indeed be tactile, such as in the technique Triggered Salute, where a felt push "triggers" a palm heel strike ("salute").

But if I happen to misunderstand the attack (i.e. the apparent push turns into an attempted grab), it doesn't really matter, my action will deal with the problem anyway.

Another example for a reaction based on tactile information would be the principle to counter grab when we are being grabbed in Kenpo.
 

geezer

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Another example for a reaction based on tactile information would be the principle to counter grab when we are being grabbed in Kenpo.

This could also be an example of "mirroring" as discussed in the OP.

I have found most of the movements in WC are contained within Kenpo since Kenpo is very broad and inclusive, and since it has strong Chinese roots (I briefly studied some Kenpo back in the 70s before taking up WC). On the other hand there are many complex movements in Kenpo that are not in WC. This actually attracted me to WC. For me, the problem with the Kenpo I studied was that it was just too much to take in. WC by contrast seemed very lean and streamlined, with fewer movements to remember. As I got into it deeper, I found out that WC has it's own complexities that are not initially apparent. Now WC seems almost too much to take in. Or maybe I'm getting old.:(

On the bright side, next weekend I'll be training with a really good WC teacher and friend from Texas who's in his seventies and still improving. :)
 

Star Dragon

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This could also be an example of "mirroring" as discussed in the OP.

I have found most of the movements in WC are contained within Kenpo since Kenpo is very broad and inclusive, and since it has strong Chinese roots (I briefly studied some Kenpo back in the 70s before taking up WC). On the other hand there are many complex movements in Kenpo that are not in WC.

Interesting. I should look into WC again. One teacher who inspired my development is proficient in both arts (and combines them to some degree in his own eclectic system). His name is Joseph Simonet.

This actually attracted me to WC. For me, the problem with the Kenpo I studied was that it was just too much to take in. WC by contrast seemed very lean and streamlined, with fewer movements to remember.

Yes, another style like that is Isshin-ryu Karate. Knowing a few techniques and combinations really well, which includes how to apply them in a multitude of situations, is a comparatively faster way to attain self-defence skills.

As I got into it deeper, I found out that WC has it's own complexities that are not initially apparent. Now WC seems almost too much to take in. Or maybe I'm getting old.:(

On the bright side, next weekend I'll be training with a really good WC teacher and friend from Texas who's in his seventies and still improving. :)

I believe that the way of every true martial art is infinite. Therefore, the way is the goal. :)
 

JPinAZ

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I agree with Geezer's comments regarding the technique-for-technique approach to WC in this clip. This type of drill, while maybe fun to do, is a step in the wrong direction for principle-based WC fighting. IMO, it will cause a 'chasing techniques' mindset which is much slower than principle-based receiving/absorbing and filling/'chasing' space via LLHS,LSJC as geezer also mentioned.

An interesting note - this clip appears to be 180 degrees counter to Fut's other Breaking Structure vid here. I identified with the premise in that clip a lot more. In that clip, @.55-1:00, he talks about as soon as the opponent makes the attack, you want to turn and control/break his structure right away. This is more in-line with principle-based WC fighting strategies where you don't have to worry about what technique they thru - only dominating the opponent's space, facing & structure to where their initial technique is stopped AND he has to recover all of these before he can follow up with another. This is totally opposite to the thinking in this mirroring clip where you are only trying to match technique for technique. The latter will always be slower as you will have to actually think about what technique is being thrown for you to be able to counter with the same vs just occupying the space and taking you're opponent's structure/facing right off the bat. As mentioned in another forum, the mirroring will rely solely on who's stronger, bigger or faster (attributes/technique focus). Again, not exactly WC's goal to fighting.

Even thought I don't agree with the approach, thanks for sharing the clip to open dialog and discussion. I'd be interested in hearing Fut's ideas on how you can teach from both of these ideas, which seem counter to each other in WC engagement & fighting strategies.
 

JPinAZ

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I dont totally agree because if it where true you would know every single move your oponent is going to do. people when under stress dont act of move in a logical fashion leaving the movements unpredictable. So in a sence there is no right or wrong move it just depends on what you can get away with.

Exactly. I think the point you're missing is not having to know what technique or move your opponent is throwing. You occupy space with fwd intent on centerline and via LLHS/LSJC your opponent tells you what to do next. Either you'll deal with the bridge if there is one using various gate or line theories via LLHS or you'll go fwd and hit via LSJC. Of course, it's not that simple, but using this type of fighting strategy and understanding of WC principle vs having to match technique for technique does lead to being able to use the most efficient movement for the given timeframe. And, it's a much more sure way of protecting your space, centerline and gates vs hoping to 'get away' with something :)
 

EddieCyrax

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And, from what I've seen, the movement patterns of Kenpo that are programmed into muscle memory can be very fast. The problem remains however, that you have to visually perceive an attack or opening, and then initiate that programmed response. This makes perception (or recognition) and reaction time the limiting factors. In our parlance, this is a fighting system that still relies on the "subjective response method". It is subjective in that you perceive and then, in an instant, must guess what your opponent is doing and initiate your response.

I agree that the way kenpo techniques are initially taught is as you describe. I would argue that as a practitioner advances, these techniques are/should be in muscle memory and adapted to initiate action rather than dance to someone else's rhythm. As witnessed in the Bruce Lee video above, techniques do not need to be initiated by an attacker, but opened by attacking their initial stance which then leads to multiple techniques given your opponents reactions.

I do not have experience in WC, but found many things here comparable to kenpo.

Very informative thread....thank you everyone for sharing.
 
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