What is "good" WC/WT

geezer

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A while back I went to an open practice session with some guys from other styles. Watching one of these guys demonstrate how he would approach various situations, I was struck by how differently he defined what was a "good technique". Even at the same close range that we favor, what he used was very unlike WC/WT. He used indirect, complex sequences that often crashed force against force. When it was my turn to share, I would try to achieve the same objective in the simplest, most direct manner I could, borrowing my opponent's force as much as possible. The other guy did not appreciate this approach at all. To him, the WC/WT looked too basic. He felt that his complicated approach was way cooler and more sophisticated... or in short, "better". It would not have been possible to change his mind and still keep the practice session "friendly"... if you get my drift.

On the other hand, these concepts of simplicity, efficiency and borrowing the force are pretty much shared by all the WC/WT practitioners I've met. So while there was no common theoretical base to discuss what was a "good technique" with the guy I described above, it should be possible to have meaningful exchanges with other WC/WT guys.

Now some of what we feel is "best" is largely a matter of lineage, instructor and personal preference, like how your lineage chooses to do the forms. Or, perhaps, how you adapt your stance. Each method has its own rationale, and we could debate "until the cows come home". And get nowhere. Especially since I don't have any cows.

On the other hand we should be able to compare the efficiency and effectiveness of our techniques, based on our common concepts. So whether I do WC, WT, VT, or some other lineage, we should be able to break down what we do and see if we are doing the simplest, most efficient and effective move or not. If you can show me how to get from "A to B" more efficiently, I'll take your technique... because that's also my definition of good Wing Chun (however you spell it). Now I'll get down off my soapbox and ask you guys, "What is your definition of good Wing Chun/Tsun?
 

yak sao

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I don't have any cows either, but I do have a few horses if that helps.

In my workout room I have a quote by Leomardo Da Vinci :
"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication"

I was talking about this to one of my si-dais last night. In some ways it's like WT doesn't even really exist, it's simply a physical manifestation of the principles
 
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geezer

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In my workout room I have a quote by Leonardo Da Vinci :
"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication"

That is a very cool quote. I'm definitely going to use it.

I was talking about this to one of my si-dais last night. In some ways it's like WT doesn't even really exist, it's simply a physical manifestation of the principles

Well put. That is the ideal objective of WT/WC as I understand it. "WT" specifically, is also a system of training designed to lead us toward that objective. Other lineages train somewhat differently. IMO, whether they are "good" or "bad" can only be determined by how effectively they lead toward that same objective.
 
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geezer

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Another core concept by which we measure the quality of our techniques, at least in the WT lineages, is that we should make our whole body elastic, or "springy". This is in accord with the well known motto, "Spring forward, stay with what comes, follow the retreat, and thrust forward when the way is free". This saying, although translated and paraphrased in many ways, encapsulates in a few words the essence of how we strive to make our bodies move in WT/WC.

Now I don't know if all, or even most, lineages fully share this emphasis on developing springy, forward energy in their technique, but it is at the core of the WT definition of what is "good" and effective, and is essential to how we borrow energy from our opponent. An example would be how we use our bong sau. It is never thrown out as a block. In fact, we don't "make" a bong sau by ourselves at all. Instead, our opponent makes our bong sau for us. You see, bong sau only happens when our opponent strikes or presses across our bridge with heavy force, bending and rolling our arm into a bong-sau deflection. Then, when their strike slips off, our bong sau is released and snaps forward like a bent spring, striking our opponent! Just like the motto quoted above.

Ultimately, this same springy quality should be applied not only to the arms, but to the shoulders, the torso, the stance, and even the steps... until you pursue your opponent with your whole body moving forward like an uncoiling spring: Surging forward, bending and "staying" with what is thrown at you, springing back to "follow the retreat" (or withdrawn technique), and snapping forward when "the way is free".

From what I've read of Mook's posts, this concept seems to be equally important in the Tsui Sheung Tin/ Jim Fung lineage too. How about in your WC?
 
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yak sao

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That would be a great T shirt : "Bong sao happens".

As for the springiness, when i really started to feel it "whole body" was when I trained the Biu Tze form.
What about anyone else? when did you start to "get it"? Is there one piece to the puzzle that causes it to happen? In my case I attribute it to the Biu Tse form. Was it just coincidental and I would have gotten the same springiness regardless by working the first two forms and training chi sao and adhering to the principles?
That said, is it then attainable without having all the pieces of the puzzle?
 
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geezer

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That would be a great T shirt : "Bong sao happens".

As for the springiness, when i really started to feel it "whole body" was when I trained the Biu Tze form.

In the WT system, at least, I agree that Biu Tze is a real turning point. If SNT builds spring in the wrists and arms, Chum Kiu works the spring/pivot in stance turning, and Biu Tze builds it into the shoulders and torso... the hardest part to learn. Watch Leung Ting's shoulders in the old videos and you can really see the total elasticity there.

BTW, I personally am exceptionally stiff jointed and really struggle with building this higher level flexibility and spring. But even when I can't pull it off myself, I've got training partners who enjoy using it on me! Sometimes I feel like the human substitute for a wooden dummy.
 

mook jong man

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It has to be simple and direct in my opinion , ultimately our aim is to hit the opponent in the head really hard.
We should be using practical and efficient techniques that allow us to reach that goal in the least amount of moves possible.

Anything else is just playing around with peoples arms and wasting precious time , a luxury that you won't have if you are facing the free flowing combinations of a boxer for example.

I can't pinpoint when I developed springy energy , because I consider it a work in progress. But I think I started to develop it when I finally started listening to people about not using strength , and when I put in a concerted effort to practice S.L.T form every day .

Chum Kiu and Bil Jee probably helped later on , but I feel it was mostly my overall power that improved from the practice of the latter two forms.
 

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Greetings.

The purpose of training and practice, or better yet, of a high Level Martial Method should be to achieve Sophisticated Simplicity.

This is performing in seemingly simple fashion something which is actually highly complex. Good Wing Chun is the performance which we can witness this simplicity in action. Using the accordion principle we can break things down to the details that make up the "simple" movement, ingrain them and then get the simple movement at will.

Enjoy!

Juan M. Mercado
 

zepedawingchun

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I can't pinpoint when I developed springy energy , because I consider it a work in progress. But I think I started to develop it when I finally started listening to people about not using strength , and when I put in a concerted effort to practice S.L.T form every day .

Same here as mook jong man, still a work in progress. I also can't pinpoint when the springy energy developed, it came from hours of training chi sau with sihings and students (and of course with sifu).

As stated, IMO, good WC should be simple and direct. If your opponent is giving you a strong attack, you should yield, redirect, and then attack. if they are giving you a weak attack, you should overpower them with your attack. But good structure and position is the key. And do your forms everyday.
 

Tensei85

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As for the springy energy, generally in our lineage of Wing Chun we start the training platform based on the "Ng Long Ying Jong Faat" 5 reactional energies methods.

Namely Ying (Shape), Cheung (Crash), Lau (Flow), Saat (Kill) & Fa (Neutralize).

These create the platform for reactionary energies that are trained throughout the SNT (SLT) form as well as our "Saam Sing Jong Chi Sau" modules. So from this point we start training the springy energy that we associate with "Lau".

As for the other Wing Chun system that I studied the Hokkien Eng Chun if I'm not mistaken start there's based on the Saam Jin Bou form which is coupled by there training of the SLT.

In Chi Sim Weng Chun it was generally started as best I can remember in the "Fa Kuen" form level & coupled with method drilling.

So after it was trained in Chi Sau then we would start drilling in more of a San Da format.
 

chisauking

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Good wing chun is when the practitioner has maximised the potential of one's self.

Then we come to the next question. What is wing chun?

1 clue as to when a practitioner is applying wing chun: it looks like wing chun.

Some may laugh at the above, but one would be astonish to find how many people do 'kick boxing' but thinking it's wing chun.

All in all, a good question, but one which is difficult to answer & comprehend until one is good at wing chun (back to square one: what's good wing chun?)
 
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geezer

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Good wing chun is when the practitioner has maximised the potential of one's self.

Boy, that also sounds like JKD... no surprise there, eh!

Then we come to the next question. What is wing chun?

1 clue as to when a practitioner is applying wing chun: it looks like wing chun.

Three things actually:
--it's gotta look like WC/WT,
--it's gotta feel like WC/WT (think chi-sau), and above all...
--it's gotta work like WC/WT!

Like you said, some guys don't even get the first one right. Others never get the feel or functionality. I saw a videoclip over on another forum in which two guys in black karate gis (first red flag) were demonstrating "Wing Chun Chi-Sau". They were snapping their hands out very fast, using a lot of WC-like techniques. They definitely had the "look" down, but they were not sticking and they were not pressing forward with their attacks. They would snap out techniques then break stick and withdraw the technique to launch another. The result may have looked impressively fast and WC-like to some, but to most of the viewers with any background, it looked like ineffectual "slap-boxing". It's stuff like that that gives us all a bad rep.

For me, "good" WC/WT doesn't even have to be all that fast... just efficient and effective. But then again, if you're fast, that's nice too!
 

chisauking

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Without an actual point of reference or 'yard stick' to gauge against, it is meaningless to say what's good wing chun.

You talk about practitioners contravining wing chun principles.....but at a very high level, one doesn't need to comply to principles all the time. So, breaking wing chun rules doesn't mean it isn't good wing chun -- it just depends on the context.

For example, lat-sau chik chung. Some practitioners don't hit when one of the hands lose contact, because they are setting their opponent up for 1 hand cover 2.
 

Flying Crane

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Three things actually:
--it's gotta look like WC/WT,

perhaps during practice. But if used for real, not necessarily. Whatever happens, happens.

--it's gotta feel like WC/WT (think chi-sau), and above all...
--it's gotta work like WC/WT!

can these even be defined? How it feels, and how it works, will probably depend quite a bit on what the opponent is doing.
 
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geezer

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perhaps during practice. But if used for real, not necessarily. Whatever happens, happens. ...can these even be defined? How it feels, and how it works, will probably depend quite a bit on what the opponent is doing.

Good point. I've seen several good martial artists involved in real fights. Deepending on the situation, what they did and how they looked was not at all like practice in the kwoon or dojo.
I think a lot of people have a very unrealistic expectation that is you are 'good' that you should look like Jet Li in the movies!

On the other hand, when you see technique being demonstrated in a clip on youtube, I think it's fair to judge it against the standards of whatever style it is supposed to be representing.

Finally, I really didn't expect us all to agree 100% on what makes up a good technique... boy, how boring would that be!
 

matsu

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funny i read this post yesterday and then was sorting my computer out and when thru all my saved favorites/websites and youtube stuff and re filed it.
i actually binned over half of what i had originally saved due its crap content.!
i hope this means i,m better able to see what is good wing chun now compared to what i thought it was last year!
i had a real break thru in my combination drill on weds. just one thing a different sifu said that just made sense and i had joy for the whole of the remaining session.
"looking " like good wing chun..... isnt that just pure economy of motion in action?
and i think the only way to know its good wing chun is to feel it or have it feel you in my case!
just my tuppence as a unexperienced enthusiast
matsu
 

Si-Je

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I'd have to venture that "good" wing chun" would be techique that works for everyone. Regardless of what size and shape the opponent is or how hard or soft they come at you.
It's an intention that manifests into true action. Action based on what you feel from the opponent, how close they are and what's open for attack.

When I first started taking WC I felt so dumb. I took so many other different arts where I really thought that if you had a good guard up you were covered for attack. First learning pak sau I realized that the guard up in front of my opponent doesn't keep them from being hit easilly by me. At least one good pop!

I'd learned so many neat, cool looking fun ways to "block" or throw a guard up thinking that helped. I'd sparred alot of other folks in these other styles and enjoyed it all very much. And this had worked out for me pretty well. I was great at blocking and jumping around! lol!

When I started to really learn WC, it started to strip away alot of pre-concieved notions that were drilled in my head by other styles teaching. It was so simple that the first 5 concepts seemed vague and well.,,,.. TOO simple.
In the business world they actually hire business "troubleshooters" to come in and make the business run more effeciently. Simple is not simple. Our minds by nature, want to immediately analyze and artificially "reproduce" techniques in a sequence, that happen simply. But it rarely works out that way. lol! Yes, it was so simple that I kept trying to "complicate" it by trying to "figure it out." (and I guess I still am.)

Good wing chun is like a philosophy that evolves and incompases the 10,000 things. You know it when you see it because you didn't see it too well. lol!
 

zepedawingchun

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. . . . Good wing chun is like a philosophy that evolves and incompases the 10,000 things. You know it when you see it because you didn't see it too well. lol!

My sifu has said many times that true Wing Chun (the art once mastered and made a part of you) doesn't look like a martial art or anything at all. You don't see the tan sau, or the pak, or whatever. It doesn't look like you're doing a martial art, or anything regimented or purposely formed (like a hand position performing a parry to counterattack) that people recognize as a block or attack. That it good Wing Chun. Much like Bruce Lee stated 'be formless, shapeless, be like water. Pour the water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Pour the water into a teapot, it become the teapot. Water can flow or crash. . . . . be like water . . . . .'.
 

mook jong man

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My sifu has said many times that true Wing Chun (the art once mastered and made a part of you) doesn't look like a martial art or anything at all. You don't see the tan sau, or the pak, or whatever. It doesn't look like you're doing a martial art, or anything regimented or purposely formed (like a hand position performing a parry to counterattack) that people recognize as a block or attack.

Thats very true , It reminds me of a story I heard about Tsui Seung Tin.
One day a Karate master from Japan walked into Sigung Tsui's school in Hong Kong and wanted to test him out .

The guy charged in with a reverse punch to Sigung's head and Sigung just calmly raised his arm. The Karate guy almost got redirected into the wall .
The Karate guy said " What was that block you just did ? , I have never seen it before.
Sigung replied " It wasn't a block , all I did was raise my arm " .

I remember seeing the same thing with my own Sifu , the movements had become so minimal and economical that you really had to concentrate hard to see what the move was that he was actually doing.
 

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