The Reason

Contextually speaking,

I wrote the article in Kung-Fu Tai Chi Magazine for a few reasons.

Firstly, when I write, it’s about getting my process out of me.  I am in constant self-research and the article was appropriately titled because a written piece reflects a moment in time in my training.  Talk to me in a few years and what I had written about in the past will be ingrained into my psyche and, as Jay-Z said, I’m on to the next one.

Second, after years and years in the martial arts and more than half of those in Wing Chun I have seen the conversations between the beginners and the senior practitioners.  Time and time again, beginners ask the seniors how to engage with someone who doesn’t want to.  The seniors, somehow idiotically, respond with a question asking the beginners why they would fight with such a person.

It’s not a matter of fighting someone who doesn’t want to fight!  It’s a beginner who is used to a type of feedback energy coming from their opponent in the Chi Sau and then they get together with someone who spars.  When this happens, the Wing Chun practitioner gets their ass handed to them because most of the time, the boxer, Muay Thai fighter, etc is used to keeping the distance and poking at their opponent.

This type of dialogue that happens between beginners and seniors perturbed me and I felt like I had to do something about it.  I’m all about the starters.  When I was teaching for the local acupuncture college, I really made sure the new graduates had a clear vision about what was ahead of them, the mind-games they would play with themselves and the predatory nature of the industry.

Lastly, I wanted to free the minds of practitioners, beginner and otherwise.  I don’t have all the answers.  I’m caught up somewhere between ‘not good’ and ‘really good.’  But it doesn’t bug me either way.  It’s YOUR Wing Chun.  It’s a system/idea/style being expressed through what?  A human being.

Make it yours,


4 Responses to “The Reason”

  1. I didn’t know I was communicating with a famous author! I guess now for my question:

    As for the questions for beginners that ask “how to engage with someone who doesn’t want to”, I frame it as “Why would I fight someone who doesn’t want to fight?” From my perspective, that’s where the miscommunication lies. Why would you fight someone who doesn’t want to fight you?

    Now of course if someone doesn’t want to fight me using the style that I was trained in, I’d probably be thinking: “Who cares? Just fight and adapt” (as best you can, if not – run!)

  2. ctkwingchun Says:

    Not famous. (Yet.)

    Exactly. When the question gets posed, it’s because the Chunner is sparring with a boxer, MT, Karateka, etc. That’s why they ask the question.

    And you’re right – just fight with your prescribed style. But because Chunners rarely, if ever, spar (let alone spar with folks outside their circle) they only can use the ‘Chi Sao’ mentality. And when they ask for help the myopic senior Chunners answer, again, looking through their Chi Sao microscope.

  3. I agree Drew. Often the student will ask the wrong question. I believe I see where Not Famous (Yet) 🙂 is coming from. (No, haven’t read the article Brother Kenton).

    IMO a good teacher should draw the question out, explore the options – sense from the body language or expression of the questioner whether they have the answer they are seeking. Often I end with a question – “Does that make sense?” “Does that answer your question?” Would you like to rephrase your question?”. I may find it beneficial to include others – make it a discussion – (others may have the same question) – as that can help flesh out the question and the answers. Sometimes the answer they seek comes not from me but from another student.

    Then again, sometimes I just send them away with a “Go home and think about that, and come back and tell me what you think”.

  4. Good advice Kevin Earle.

    Isn’t fighting a “human” thing? I know of several people who have never had any martial arts training yet can give any seasoned “fighter” (Karateka, Muay Thai, Boxing, etc.) a run for their money. If you take the forms out, would you simply be a human throwing punches and stuff at an assailant(s)?

    Especially in a high pressure situation (a fight, etc.) wouldn’t one forget everything and just “go with it”? Kicking, punching, and fraying at will and with no direction? For me I like to run my ass out of the situation!

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