How to progess in Wing Chun?


How many times have returned from class dejected and down and thinking ‘I am not progressing in wing chun’. You have been practicing, you have thought about the forms, practiced on the dummy but you feel you are just not making any progress.

There are a few fundamental things you need to ask, Is it your Instructor?, Is it your fellow Students?, you don’t like the club setup you are training in? Whilst you may ask those questions and they may have a bearing on them, your progression in Wing Chun is down to one thing and one thing alone. YOU

There is a simple Formula for progression in any Martial Art let alone Wing Chun and that is:

Attend          – Turn up for Class

Attention     – Listen and Pay Attention..

Activity        – Train the techniques, principles and drills

Ask               – Ask Questions if needed.

Achieve

So basically Turn up, Train and Listen and if you need, ask questions. Each one of these elements are down to you and you alone. The most important element is to turn up! If you don’t turn up the rest of the process cannot take place, if there is a breakdown in any of this practice the learning process will not take place and you will not progress.

The Learning Process and the Stages of Learning

A famous Author of the self-improvement classic ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics – The Original Science of Self-Improvement’,  Maxwell Maltz, said there is an explanation of what he calls the four stages of learning.

Unconscious Incompetence
Conscious Incompetence
Conscious Competence
Unconscious Competence

As you look at these stages you can see the mental progression the student goes through. One progresses from struggling to execute or understand a technique right through being able to execute and understand without giving it much thought. The last level of “Unconscious Competence” could be described as a “conditioned reflex” to incoming threats and your counter just happens without you giving much thought.

In order to build this reflex it takes time, patience and effort and this is where the saying ‘Hard Work Beats Talent’ comes into play.

Progression

In Wing Chun there is a definite systematic approach to progression, Firstly the ‘Seeds’ of the art are sewn in Siu Lim Tao 小念头 (Meaning: Little Idea) built on in Chum Kiu 寻桥(Meaning: Seeking Bridge) and then finally polished and sharpened in Biu Gee 镖指 (Meaning: Darting Fingers). Each form adding different elements to your WIng Chun and each pushing your further to a goal.

After progression from the first three Empty Hand forms we then have three forms involving apparatus and\or weapons and they are Muk Yan Jong 木人桩 (Meaning: Wooden Man Dummy), Luk Deem Boon Kwan 六点半棍 (Meaning: Six and Half point Pole) and Baat Cham Dao 八斬刀 (Meaning: 8 Slashing Knives).

The Wooden Dummy Form can be introduced earlier but only if a solid foundation and understanding of Siu Lim Tao and Chun Kiu is gained.

Conclusion

We must not rush this process and to expect progression outside of it would be unrealistic and make your wing chun ‘Incomplete’. The one huge conclusion we must draw is that ultimately your progression through the Wing Chun is down to you and if you don’t attend class there is no point. you can only gain so much learning online but ultimately you need a live partner for full progression. If your training is not allowing progression then change it, whatever element you think is lacking, change it! But it is only YOU that can change it.

 

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Sifu – 師父


Definition: Sifu – 師父

The word has a long history and comes from Cantonese (Sifu 師父 ). Basically the two symbols have a dual meaning of “master” and “father”. Therefore Shifu is always a person of trust and for the student a part of the family. The second meanings of the traditional symbols are “skilled person” and “tutor”. Addressing someone as Shifu shows the same respect like a child shows respect to his father.

Academics, highly skillful or educated people are never addressed as Sifu, for them the term “Lao si” 老師 (teacher or professor) would be more fitting. Addressing them as Sifu can be considered as disrespectful.

The Role of a Master and Father

Westerners often mistake this role and balance out their own life with commanding students around. The Sifu is not an army commander or someone who can boss around. Many people are weak to the feeling of having power over other people. The Sifu must never lose his paternal role and never put his own ego between the students.

The Sifu is not only educating his students but keeps in mind their individual development. The methods of a Sifu can be very different but most believe that a student must learn himself to become proficient in learning. There are times when a Sifu will be harder and more strict on a student, like throwing a bird out of its nest to learn flying. Handling the border between a caring father and a strict tutor is very important.

The role of a Sifu is definitely not to show off his developed skills. Instead the Sifu feels always responsible for his students and ensures their safety and growing. Traditionally a Sifu has always an open ear for personal problems or questions for the student.

For the role as a master it is important for the Sifu to strengthen his lineage and ensure his teachings for future generations.

What a Sifu has to teach.

Primarily a Sifu does not teach smart moves or clever things. Sifu is always teaching from real life experience. Only this is considered as true wisdom and worth respecting. Like a father teaching his child all kind of things that he managed to overcome in his own life.

Sometimes setting the right path behind the scenes to make students encounter this teachings is also considered as teaching. Therefore a Shifu does not have to appeal as tutor. He might not even talk much to students at all.

Learning with a Sifu

The students should always take to heart what a Sifu tells them to do. You might not realize it but every Sifu who takes his role seriously will closely observe you and your progress.

Never go into a direct discussion with a Sifu during his teachings, this is considered as very disrespectful. If you truly doubt the teachings you may ask him alone and directly in person when the training ended. But you should be careful with this and may think a bit longer, there is a possibility that the meaning is for you to discover.

Stay Safe – Firearms and Weapons Attack – Government Guidelines


Stay Safe Firearms and Weapons Attack

‘Stay Safe’ principles (Run Hide Tell) give some simple actions to consider at an incident and the information that armed officers may need in the event of a firearms and weapons attack. Full guidance is contained on the NaCTSO website

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recognising-the-terrorist-threat

Run

  • Escape if you can.
  • Consider the safest options.
  • Is there a safe route? RUN if not HIDE.
  • Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
  • Insist others leave with you.
  • Leave belongings behind.

Hide

  • If you can’t RUN, HIDE.
  •  Find cover from gunfire.
  • If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you.
  • Cover from view does not mean you are safe, bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal.
  • Find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork / heavy reinforced walls.
  • Be aware of your exits.
  • Try not to get trapped.
  • Be quiet, silence your phone.
  • Lock / barricade yourself in.
  • Move away from the door.

Tell

  • Call 999 – What do the police need to know?
  • Location – Where are the suspects?
  • Direction – Where did you last see the suspects?
  • Descriptions – Describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc.
  • Further information – Casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc.
  • Stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so.

For further advice and guidance please visit the NaCTSO website: http://www.nactso.gov.uk

When Police are present in these situations, We must also Bear in mind the following points:

Armed Police Response

  • Follow officers’ instructions.
  • Remain calm.
  • Can you move to a safer area?
  • Avoid sudden movements that may be considered a threat.
  • Keep your hands in view.

Officers may

  • Point guns at you.
  • Treat you firmly.
  • Question you.
  • Be unable to distinguish you from the attacker.
  • Officers will evacuate you when it is safe to do so.

You must STAY SAFE

  • What are your plans if there were an incident?
  • What are the local plans? e.g. personal emergency evacuation plan