Wing Chun’s Madeleine Moment?


Madeleine Moment


Over the last forty years of training in Wing Chun, I have often referred to this style as, not so much a way of life, but as a parallel to life.


By this I mean, to such degrees as:


Some people may say that you cannot have Wing Chun without Chi Sau as they are one in the same, not completely true but let’s go with that for a moment…

Using that thinking, those same people would state that Wing Chun is Chi Sau and Chi Sau is Wing Chun, and at the same time there are many people who see their Wing Chun as a way of life, therefore, if Wing Chun is life & life is Wing Chun, and, if Wing Chun is Chi Sau, then by the same token, Chi Sau, must be a way of life.


I see this in the most obvious of examples, the ‘Straight line‘ approach being the most obvious.


For instance, when I ask a student:


“How did you get here today?”


“Which road did you take?”


I am always to be given the same answer, whichever was the most direct route.

We would not usually, deliberately decide to take a fifteen mile diversion so why would we do that with our punches, changing straights for hooks etc?

While sitting at your computer you do not usually sit there tensing your whole body and burning yourself out, so why do that in a confrontation before a strike has even proved to needed?

And so on…


Well, this week, I had a new awakening to this idea, when driving the one-hundred and fifty miles to my school (Yes that’s right, 150 miles!), a tune came on the radio that hit me like a ton of bricks.

The tune itself is irrelevant, but what is important was the feeling I got at that very moment.

Not just because of the song, but a whole array of different elements hitting me at that one time, the mood I was in, my mental state (not the same thing), the brightness of the sunshine, the time of day, the temperature in the car, the comfortable clothing I was wearing, and even the comfortable position I was sitting in at that time.

All contributing to this overwhelming sensation.

So much so in fact, that I did not want to move a muscle (now this may sound bad BUT, I was on the motorway at the time and there were no other cars in sight at this point), so I didn’t even turn the steering wheel while approaching a slight bend in the road, allowing myself to drift across lanes.

All because, I did not want to lose that feeling.




Music is a powerful thing and can really play on our moods and emotions, so in the same way, can we learn to control those feelings and emotions for ourselves?

Even at the darkest of times.

This reminded me of the Marcel Proust book, ‘In search of lost time‘, where he refers to the great ‘Madeleine moment‘, a point when, as someone dips a madeleine biscuit into a cup of tea, then brings it up toward their nose, how the smell evokes childhood memories.


The point being that, when we make contact with THAT magical feeling of energy, we will do all we can, and, try for as long as we can, to not let go of it.

THIS is why we play Siu Lim Tau slowly, not because slow is better, but because when we do gain that feeling, there is a strong chance that by rushing, we will lose it.


So do not rush your training, stay in the moment and enjoy every second of it



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