Power Or Not To Power, ‘Is’ That The Question
Last week I found myself in Hong Kong for the ‘God Knows’ time visiting (possibly around forty I imagine), where I went to train alongside my Sifu and my Kung Fu brothers and sisters.
The highlight of the trip for me personally, was having the chance to link and roll with my Sifu,
Grandmaster Ip Chun.
Now it is a strange thing that often occurs when I share these videos after my return, and that is ridicule of the
lack of aggressive attack on my part.
Now as I write this is must admit to having a huge grin on my face at the thought of some keyboard warrior suggesting that I should be trying to kick the crap out of a man who is 95 years old!
Certainly when we consider that most people at the age of 95 (with the greatest respect) would be laid up in bed, drinking their meals through a straw and rolling around in their own s**t, and if there was to be any chance of walking, it would be very slowly and most likely with the use of a frame.
NOT likely to be getting the tube across Hong Kong to class daily and a teaching martial arts session!
How many martial artists does it take to change a light bulb?
One to change it and ninety-nine to say how the technique used to change the bulb was completely wrong and done this way!
Anyway, looking at this in a more serious light;
Anyone can use muscle, not everyone can use energy
Anyone can use speed, not everyone can use timing
Anyone can use forced aggression, not everyone can use skilled refinement
And it is these factors that make GM Ip Chun stand out from the crowd for me.
Allowing yourself to play the soft game, the gentle game, allowing yourself to feel and better understand the slightest imperfection in your partners arms and take advantage of it, this is what you feel when you roll with my Sifu.
Of course you could just power through, just in the same way you may consider winning a game of snooker by simply smashing the cue stick across the back of your opponents head.
Yes you’ve prevented your opponent building a winning break, but you’ve hardly played a skilled game have you?
I have said many times in these blogs, “Just because you can, does not mean to say you should”.
There are many different ways of playing Chi Sau, and not all will suite everyone, but at least try it first to see if there’s anything in that way of thinking for you.
While visiting the Hong Kong City University to meet with students, play Chi Sau and to share experiences with them I was happy to meet with an old friend Sifu Gary McKenzie, a guy I had not seen for more than twenty years.
After the session we were both asked to say a few words and give a demonstration.
It was nice to see that we were very close to being on the same page regarding ranges and outcomes within our Wing Chun, but there was one thing he said that I found quite nice:
“There is no right way to do Wing Chun, but there is a wrong way”
Now what he meant by this is that it is not fair for a teacher to just tell you:
‘This is the right way’ if it does not suite your ability, but there is a wrong way.
If you are not well built then do not try to use 100% power but if you are a muscle bound Mr. Universe, then sensitivity is maybe not best for you.
Never rule the other option out until you have tried it, because although YOU may not be able to do it,
but perhaps YOUR STUDENTS will.