Wing Chun and fat sifus!

geezer

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I recently had a conversation with an old wing chun acquaintance. At one time, back about twenty years ago, he had some pretty decent skills, but then he drifted away from the art. So I asked him if he ever thought about getting back into WC. He said "no", because now as he was getting older he was far more interested in overall physical fitness than self defense or "the chess-game of chi-sau", as he put it. Then, to prove his point, he commented that there are a lot of "fei-jai sifu" (sifu "fatties") out there. He went on to say that working with a good personal trainer does so much more for you in terms of health, fitness, and appearance than Wing Chun... especially when taught traditionally (as I teach it), that is to say focusing on building good technique and not spending a lot of class time on general conditioning, stretching and so forth. Any thoughts?

BTW, I don't consider myself a "fatty Sifu". When I had this conversation, I had just finished three sets of 20 full length pull-ups, two sets of 35 full dips followed by a set of 90 fast push-ups.... and I'm 55 years old. I just don't think that this kind of workout belongs in a regular WC class. Especially when I know a couple of WC "fatties" who can kick my behind!
 

Svemocn1vidar

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If your Wing Chun is good,looks matter not. Some masters are fat yet still - fast and powerful.
Wing Chun is not about "looking good". It is an art of fighting. If your respected friend walked away from it,he walked away from fighting. Ofcourse,desire to look good (taking an inteligent fitness program) combined with Kung Fu means hiting a Jackpot to me. So if you see many fat masters (fatties as you kindly labeled them and i like it) whose skills are breath taking,it means they dont really care about their looks,only about their Kung Fu.
It's all good.
 

mograph

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A tennis pro once recommended that I improve my "conditioning". It sounded so old-school, saying "conditioning" instead of "cardio", for example ... but it was the best term to use. How can you argue with the idea of improving your conditioning? Burning fat not to look good, but to improve your health and general performance? That's gotta help the martial arts.

Geezer, I agree that to use martial arts class time most efficiently, conditioning should be done on the student's own time. It's too bad that a lot of us use the class to get in shape, rather than get in shape for the class.

As for "fatties", I'd say that a martial arts "fattie" doesn't care about his health, never mind his looks. I just don't think that a body in good condition doesn't contain a lot of fat, because anything beyond the required amount for cushioning, cell membranes, digestion, energy metabolism and so on can just cause trouble. But that's another thread. :)
 

yak sao

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Old age has a way of sneaking up on us. I've seen a lot of MAists whose belts have gotten shorter over the years.
I think athletes (including MAists) have a way of deluding themselves that they still have it even though they haven't trained for conditioning in years.
It does bother me to see someone let themselves go. But especially so in MAs. No you don't have to be super fit to be a good fighter, but I'll take every edge I can get.
 
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yak sao

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[1BTW, I don't consider myself a "fatty Sifu". When I had this conversation, I had just finished three sets of 20 full length pull-ups, two sets of 35 full dips followed by a set of 90 fast push-ups.... and I'm 55 years old. I just don't think that this kind of workout belongs in a regular WC class. Especially when I know a couple of WC "fatties" who can kick my behind!


Sidebar : I'm having trouble with dips due to an old shoulder injury. I'd really like to get back to where I can do them again. Any suggestions out there?
 

mograph

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Sidebar : I'm having trouble with dips due to an old shoulder injury. I'd really like to get back to where I can do them again. Any suggestions out there?
My only experience with shoulder injury is this: I injured my shoulder doing one-arm front shoulder raises. The injury was such that i couldn't raise my left arm without pain. I then recalled that my ex-trainer said that you can raise your arms by pulling them down from the back, like a cantilever, but in a relaxed way. It took some head-scratching, but I was able to do lift the arm that way, with no pain. (This kind of paradigm shift has applications in MA, I think.)
Anyway, Yak Sao, there may be a way for you to do the dips by distributing the force into other muscles in the neighborhood of the injury, sort of like the cantilever raise i mentioned. Just a thought.
 

mook jong man

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I think we've all known Wing Chun fatties that could kick our behinds because the techniques are based on skill and efficiency rather than strength and conditioning.
I remember my Master saying to people "You have to start doing some vigorous chi sau you are getting fat".

Vigorous chi sau sparring does get the heart rate up thats for sure.
Power training on the pads for 20 reps each side is good cardio too , alternating between upper and lower body techniques.

A guy that I teach seems to be just as interested in getting fit as he in the self defence aspect so with him I designed a circuit where we will do power training on the pads , a bit of reflex training all mixed in with sets of jump burpees.
It only goes for about 10 minutes but we are both pretty much destroyed at the end of it.

Hey Yak Sao you need this .

BS-FCD-STK-2T.jpg


No...... not the girl you prevert , this contraption is an assisted dip machine.
You put your knees on the pads and the weights help lift you up as you do your dips .



A cheaper option might be to use those rubber fitness bands and loop them under your knees to assist in making dips easier on your shoulder.

An even cheaper option is to use bicycle tubes , they're cheap and work just as good as your brand name fitness bands , I used them to assist me in doing pull ups.
Just be careful and watch out they don't spring back and hit you in the face...ouch.

Band_Assisted_Dip.jpg
 

yak sao

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I had made something similar to that years ago to help my sons do pullups.
I took an old handle from a ski rope and attached several elastic bands to it.
 

chain punch

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For sore shoulders, check out Scott Sonnon's warrior wellness. I use it as a warm up. It is all about increasing the range of motion in the joints.

Regarding fat teachers. Why would I want to learn a martial art or self defense from a man who can't control his addiction to food? Is training in martial arts and self defence about preservation and improvement of self? For me it is. One of these is illness, disease and degradation of our body. The physical others go without saying.

In intense sparring, how long can a fat sifu last without choking for air? He does not deserve your hard earned wages to be ultimately spent on feeding such addictions.

He maybe be physically skilled, but really, if you can't control yourself, how can you expect to control others?

Paul
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

Remember that fat people can carry guns too! ;) And I know a lot of fat bouncers that have more experience than most martial artists and can throw them out of anywhere easily.

Drilling continuously and intensely can get you fit fast. Yet life happens and it is hard to judge on a general basis.

So they might have something to teach.

About the shoulder injury, it depends on the injury . Elastic bands are good for rehab, so you can do the dip movement pushing down on the bands.

Also, massage and different therapies should be applied to help heal the shoulder and direct it to mend and conform to the movement. I've had shoulder troubles... and knee troubles... hip troubles, wrist troubles... back troubles... dam, now that I remember, I've healed a lot of injuries to many of my joints and such.

Fortunately, I work hard on my healing stuff and alternative/complementary and preventive physical therapy. Help when you got connections in a physical therapy center. :)

Anyway, hope that helps.
 

fangjian

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Mickey Goldmill would probably lose to Rocky Balboa in a boxing match. But one of them is the teacher, and with good reason.

Regarding obesity and addiction to food. I have met a few martial arts teachers that have problems with other things as well. Alcohol, gambling, etc.

They can still teach you their craft.
 

Boozmork

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I agree, I know a few teachers who have addictions to things but still have amazing skills. It's the old adage of never judge a book by its cover I guess. Perhaps what you see has obesity is just a highly developed form of urban camoflauge ;).

This is going to sound a bit rambly but I was talking to a guy the other day at work, he has lots of tattoos and a very close cut haircut. He was saying that whenever he goes out to the pub or wherever that he always has tough guys glancing over at him or squaring up to him etc. When I go out, Im fairly skinny, long hair, no tattoos I dont get any problems from people.
The art of fighting without fighting.
 

mograph

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Knowledge is knowledge.
It depends on what is being taught. Sure, a fat sifu could teach you more than a fit one, but I think that a fit sifu just has a body that is functioning at a higher level. If we're talking about martial knowledge and techniques only, then a fat one could do the job quite well, but if we're talking about training for optimum functioning of the body, I think a fit one could teach at a higher level, and provide a higher level of inspiration.

So it depends.

(By "fit" I mean functioning at a high level of performance. Obesity tends to decrease performance.)
 

Domino

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Thats a bit of a general statement.
A sifu can still explain principle and theory, some fat people were once fit. lol
Knowledge is knowledge.
 

wingchun100

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I recently had a conversation with an old wing chun acquaintance. At one time, back about twenty years ago, he had some pretty decent skills, but then he drifted away from the art. So I asked him if he ever thought about getting back into WC. He said "no", because now as he was getting older he was far more interested in overall physical fitness than self defense or "the chess-game of chi-sau", as he put it. Then, to prove his point, he commented that there are a lot of "fei-jai sifu" (sifu "fatties") out there. He went on to say that working with a good personal trainer does so much more for you in terms of health, fitness, and appearance than Wing Chun... especially when taught traditionally (as I teach it), that is to say focusing on building good technique and not spending a lot of class time on general conditioning, stretching and so forth. Any thoughts?

BTW, I don't consider myself a "fatty Sifu". When I had this conversation, I had just finished three sets of 20 full length pull-ups, two sets of 35 full dips followed by a set of 90 fast push-ups.... and I'm 55 years old. I just don't think that this kind of workout belongs in a regular WC class. Especially when I know a couple of WC "fatties" who can kick my behind!

Jesse Glover was a pretty heavy guy, but I have seen footage of him, and I would not mess with him. Same goes for Sammo Hung. When your friend says physical fitness does "more for you," I wonder if he really meant in terms of self-confidence. He couldn't have meant in terms of self-defense because having a lot of muscle doesn't mean you can fight. Granted, it might get you OUT of fights because people see those muscles and think twice before they swing at you!
 

cwk

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Bodyfat has got more to do with your diet than exercise. I know a few blokes who aren't exactly ripped to say the least but still train and play rugby a few times a week. Both of my muay thai trainers are fat ( as are most thai trainers lol) but they're still fit blokes compared to the average Joe. Saying that though, I've seen videos of them in their fighting days, they were in amazing shape and they would be the first to admit that to be a top fighter, you've got to be in shape.
For the part time hobbyist, not so much. I guess it depends on your goals. I'm a not so young anymore fighter so conditioning for me is paramount.

By the way guys,I've got my first pro fight coming up very soon and I'll try to get it filmed and post it for you to watch.
 

drop bear

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The hardest lift is your bum off the couch.

So where there defiantly could be more efficient exercise. The exersice you do is more beneficial than the exercise you don't.

Otherwise I am pretty sure that being leaner is better for your health.
 

Transk53

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Probably down to genetics as well. Yeah the average person whom is overweight will struggle with fitness, but with dedication to the art may compensate. Just look at Sammo.
 
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geezer

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I see this old thread I started has been resurrected. Just a bit of a personal update. in the last three or so years (I'm now going on 59) I've injured my back (100% herneated disk), my knee (had surgery last June and it's still weak), my right shoulder (rotator cuff?), and my old injuries to my legs and anikles from skiing are really hurting a lot more. I had to drop my regular fitness routine and lost momentum. Now I'm about 25 pounds heavier. Yep, I'm now a fat sifu. However, I do hope to recover. As you get older it really does get harder, though.
 

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