Don’t Do This, Don’t Do That


Do… don’t?


When training in Wing Chun there are many things we need to do when training (think forward and feel for gaps) and many things we need to NOT do (such as trying to keep relaxed), but how do we handle these issues?


Siu Lim Tau teaches us the art of distraction through focus, and by this I mean, if there is a long list of things we should NOT be thinking of, in order to do this it is easier to actually think of one thing only.


Our bodies are always trying to maintain internal health and well being but face constant daily resistance through stress, strain, nerves and tension, and this is the same when we sleep, tossing and turning, struggling with our dreams and affecting our rest patterns; but during the slow peaceful moves of the first of our hand forms, we train ourselves to focus on just one thing – developing elbow energy.


By focussing on just one thing, we take our minds off of the problems of the day and allow the bodies blood cells to do what they do best, rushing around the body helping to kill off disease and to help promote the internal health we desire.



In Chi Sau I will tell my students to relax their hands, keep good positions, be ready to fire forward if a gap is presented and so on… but the easiest thing I find in order to set these following areas in motion, is to think of just one thing, rotating while focusing one the elbow positions rolling from their highest to lowest position, if this is correct everything else has a chance of dropping in place, if they are not, nothing will work.


Sometimes it seems that the more a student is trying to relax the more tense they become, and this is something called ‘Negative suggestion’, this is why in order to do something well, it can sometimes be the best thing to forget about it.

How do we forget about it?

By thinking of something else.

Get the idea?


This was first presented to me more than 25 years ago in Hong Kong when I asked Sifu Ip Chun,

“What do you do when a student is struggling with something, what is the best way to teach them?”

To which he answered,

“Leave them. Just walk away”


I was shocked at this, wondering, ‘How could he be so despondent to a student and their needs?’


Then I realized, if a student is struggling with something, the last thing they need is a teacher standing over them adding more pressure!


When I opened my school 30 years ago I had the idea that I wanted a place where people could learn Wing Chun, but I did not want to just teach Wing Chun.


The reason for this is because Wing Chun is a personal journey and a style that molds to the individual, in the same way that we may learn to drive a car in the same way yes, but how we drive after that is up to you.


Hear is a great little piece from Derren Brown, brilliantly illustrating this very principle, enjoy the video and then come straight back to training.




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