Sei Ging....the "Four Energies" and Wing Chun

guy b

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Wise words Joy.
Unfortunately those who should heed the lesson above will not for they are thinking it is the others who need it and not them.

It is like pearls before swine. Only special people can see it of course. We are all one, apart from those guys
 

geezer

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That's rich! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Well of course. Poor people don't even have pearls.

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Tony Dismukes

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I am utterly unqualified to offer opinions on the various historical and technical aspects of WC. I just wanted to ask if I'm the only one who finds "swallow" and "spit" to have ... unfortunate connotations in English? If I hear those terms, I don't immediately think of martial arts.
 
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KPM

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I am utterly unqualified to offer opinions on the various historical and technical aspects of WC. I just wanted to ask if I'm the only one who finds "swallow" and "spit" to have ... unfortunate connotations in English? If I hear those terms, I don't immediately think of martial arts.


True! Maybe "absorb" and "expel" would be better English translations! ;)
 

yak sao

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I am utterly unqualified to offer opinions on the various historical and technical aspects of WC. I just wanted to ask if I'm the only one who finds "swallow" and "spit" to have ... unfortunate connotations in English? If I hear those terms, I don't immediately think of martial arts.

Hmmm....I don't know what else you could possibly be referring to. Please elaborate:)
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I just wanted to ask if I'm the only one who finds "swallow" and "spit" to have ... unfortunate connotations in English? If I hear those terms, I don't immediately think of martial arts.
These 2 terms are commonly used in the CMA.

Swallow - When your opponent attack you, you borrow his forward momentum and pull him into you. If he keeps moving in, you keep pull him in until he is down, or punch at him while he is moving toward you.

Spit - When he tries to move back, you borrow his backward movement and push him away. If at the same time you hook his leg back, he will be down.

IMO, the "swallow" makes sense in both the grappling art and the striking art. But the "spit" doesn't make sense in the striking art. In the striking art, you want "head-on collision" and you don't want "rear-end collision".

You

- "punch" when your opponent is moving in toward you.
- "push" when your opponent is moving away from you.

That's the difference between "punch" (used in striking art) and "push" (used in grappling art). To punch someone while his body is moving back is not a good idea. Most of your punching force will be cancelled out by his backward body movement.
 
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KPM

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^^^^ "Spit" or "Expel" can be a strike in Wing Chun. Perfect example is the "Biu Choi" punch in Pin Sun. You can "swallow" or "absorb" with a cutting Bong with a pivot inward followed immediately with a pivot outward while doing a Biu Choi with the Bong arm. It is very sudden and "ballistic".....expel.
 

lsanczyk

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Are not the "gow gup sao", the emergency techniques of Biu Gee, sometimes "bending" the principles? Why not see the got/gat/gwat techniques as tools you will wish to have when your "clash force with force" methods doesn't work?
 

Nobody Important

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People that are familiar with the southern Chinese martial arts often associate the four energies with the Hakka arts.Southern Mantis, Bak Mei (White Eyebrow), and Dragon style. Many people dont seem to realize that the older versions of Wing Chun and Weng Chun contain these elements as well. These four energies are explicitly part of the 18 Kiu Sau Principles of Tang Yik Weng Chun, which are its guiding keywords. They are also part of Ku Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun. They are included in the mental methods of Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun. CSL Wing Chun is a modern system, but its keywords are taken from Sum Nun Wing Chun and Gu Lao Wing Chun. When Ip Man began teaching in Hong Kong he dropped a lot of the more traditional aspects of the system, including the use of keywords. So some branches of the Ip Man system continue to use these four energies to an extent without naming them or putting much emphasis on them. Some branches dont make much use of them at all. But to deny that they are a part of Wing Chun is to take a rather narrow and uninformed view of the different varieties of Wing Chun methods available.

This is not a recent add on to the system. The fact that they are present in both Tang Yik Weng Chun and Ku Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun.both of which are old systems存hould clearly indicate this. Wing Chun and Weng Chun are different systems. One might say they are cousins. But they shared a common root approximately 150 years ago. The fact that the four energies are found in both systems suggests they were there from the beginning.

These four energies are almost always grouped together. They are:

瘚 Fou = Float or Rise. This is usually translated as rise when you are doing it, and float when you are doing it to someone else!

瘝 Chum = sink, lower

Tun = Swallow or sometimes translated as suck as in to suck someone in

Tou = Spit or expel


Sink and rise are pretty self-explanatory. They suggest motion on the vertical plane守p and down. Everyone has Chum/Jum Sau and Jut Sau in their Wing Chun. These employ the concept of sink. Another example is from the movements that close each section of the dummy form in Ip Man Wing Chun. Each section typically closes with a double Jut Sau (sink) followed by a double Tok Sau (rise). Some people do this using only the arms, which doesnt really embody the concept. But some do it use sinking and rising with the body, which is more in line with the keywords.

These concepts are trained explicitly in some of the Pin Sun short sets. One of these is called Saam Gin Choi or Three arrow punch. This is a pivot with a straight punch, then you drop your weight (sink) with a punch that drops straight downward, and then you raise your level up (rise) as you do a rising punch towards the throat地ll with the same arm. One variation of the set even uses a Gwai Ma with the second punch, which involves bending one knee and dropping it towards the ground. This sinking with a Gwai Ma to punch low is also found in the Tang Yik Weng Chun dummy form.

Swallow and Spit suggest motion on the horizontal plane but take a little more explaining for most people. Swallow is to take in or absorb force and energy. Spit is to put out or expel force and energy. Pin Sun Wing Chun even has a technique called Tun Sau or swallowing hand. This is simply a Tan Sau that moves back instead of going forward. Chu Sau Lei WCK does the same thing. But they just call it a Tan Sau whether it goes forward or moves back. It is considered spreading either way! This is simply a manifestation of the idea of Yin and Yang. The Tan shape can go forward to meet and deflect with a Yang energy, or it can move back to absorb and deflect with a Yin energy. In Pin Sun the same is true of the Bong and the Gan. A Bong that collapses so that the elbow goes forward while deflecting and absorbing (swallow) is called a Got Bong or cutting Bong. This is very similar to the elbow motion in most Ip Man Biu Gee forms. A Gan that pulls in while deflecting is called a Got Gan or cutting Gan. Both of these are found in Tang Yik Weng Chun as well, because it seems to be common sense for many techniques to have a Yin and a Yang aspect making use of the concepts of Swallow and Spit. Pin Sun has a short set that embodies the Swallow and Spit concepts as well. The Baat Gwa Lung Na or Eight direction dragon grab set is essentially a Lop Sau with both hands while pivoting. The double Lop goes all the way back to your hip. This is swallow to its fullest expression! This is a Kum Na technique intended to yank an opponent right off of his feet. At the very least it will disrupt his structure and balance and create an opening for your strike. The two-man version of this set involves one person punching, the other intercepting the punch with a Lung Na, and then returning a punch of his own so the partner can do the Lung Na. But more than just being a set up for the partner to do the Lung Na technique, the punch represents the Spit that comes immediately after the Swallow. It real use you would do the Lung Na to disrupt the opponents balance and immediately punch back into the opening you have created.

This speaks to the point that these older versions of Wing Chun include a Kum Na or grappling element to them. It should be obvious that any kind of standing grappling is going to use sink, rise, spit, and swallow.you are going to be pushing, pulling, pressing and lifting in some form or another. The fact that Ip Man Wing Chun does not include a Kum Na component is very likely why people that are only familiar with Ip Man Wing Chun do not believe that the four energies are part of Wing Chun. But while the "four energies" are most clearly seen in a standing grappling context, they are an integral part of the punching and defending methods as well.

I should also mention that these four are seldom used in isolation. They are typically going to be used together. For example, when you do a Tok Sau on the dummy you dont lift straight up.which is what rise would suggest. Rather you lift up with a forward vector. So there is a bit of spit in your rise. Likewise, when you absorb an incoming force you dont just move straight back, there is an aspect of sink used as well.

Some of you are probably thinking that swallow goes against the idea of forward pressure in Wing Chun. It does! But Wing Chun shouldnt be limited to ONLY doing forward pressure! There is a time for going right up the middle with forward pressure and a time to use angling and absorbing. To only do one without knowing how to use the other is a bit one-dimensional. As I already pointed out, if you have a Kum Na element to your Wing Chun, then angling and absorbing are just naturally going to be part of it. This angling and absorbing ability is part of the reason Ku Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun is called what it is. Pin Sun means sidebody and refers to this angling and absorbing ability using the pivot. So the four energies are very important to the body dynamic in Pin Sun Wing Chun and are found in nearly every technique in some form or another. The same is true of Tang Yik Weng Chun. TYWK does not use a pivot in the same way as Pin Sun, and the body dynamic is not exactly the same....but it still employs the four energies in some way in nearly every technique.
This was a good post Keith. You brought up some things that many don't know about in the context of the original terminology found in Wing Chun. These energies are present in my WC as well, in actuality we do all 8. Float, spit, sink, rise, lift, swallow, rebound & burst. Float, sink, spit & swallow are the 4 major energies from which the others are derived. Rarely are they used singularly, but often in conjunction, ex; swallow & rebound or rise & burst. Forward pressure now becomes subjective, especially where Kam Na is concerned.
 

anerlich

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But new to some in the forum I think....at least as coming from a Wing Chun perspective

Not to me, bro.

I only started this thread because in other threads a certain person had said that these things have no place in Wing Chun, and that if any Wing Chun system had them....then they have to have been "grafted on" from another system.

It would be good if this certain person took the bait, lest innocent parties feel you are somehow denigrating their substyle of WC (YM) by making inaccurate generalisations about it and its practitioners.
 

anerlich

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Is there more to it that is not spoken about publicly? If so then would it be possible to talk in generalities about this without revealing the detail?

In my experience I've found that things that "aren't talked about publicly" usually aren't worth talking about anyway. Talking in riddles is for children and charlatans IMO.
 

dudewingchun

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This was a good post Keith. You brought up some things that many don't know about in the context of the original terminology found in Wing Chun. These energies are present in my WC as well, in actuality we do all 8. Float, spit, sink, rise, lift, swallow, rebound & burst. Float, sink, spit & swallow are the 4 major energies from which the others are derived. Rarely are they used singularly, but often in conjunction, ex; swallow & rebound or rise & burst. Forward pressure now becomes subjective, especially where Kam Na is concerned.

What wing chun do you do?
 
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