Welcome back to this brrrrr...Winter edition.
Best way to stay warm this Winter of course is to practise your Wing Chun every morning. How much better & warmer you feel without necessarily getting too sweaty. Traditional Wing Chun practise is mindful & is a great way to balance our often stressful existence by activating our para-sympathetic nervous system. This in stark contrast to stress created in our body & mind by impossible daily career/study schedules & family responsibilities etc. not to mention those crazy high intensity fitness workouts we 'apparently' all should be doing!
Details of the up & coming AWCF Annual Conference planned for
September/October are not yet available however the location will be South Australia. So stay tuned to the AWCF facebook or web page for updates.
I'd also like to thank Mark Spence, Des, Chris, Scott & other members of the Chi Sau Club in Sydney for supporting & encouraging my own Wing Chun journey as always in such a relaxed, personal & professional way. (Chi Sau club pic above)
Yours in Wing Chun,
Melissa and Corey Slade
The support keeps flowing at the federation with this year seeing so many wonderful news items across the board from teachers flying in and out of their cities visiting schools all over the country as well as from abroad and into Australia.
Featured event for this month in Hong Kong is “A gathering to celebrate Sigung’s 82nd Birthday” https://www.facebook.com/events/1596010840622408/
Wishing all the best for everyone attending this very special occasion over in Hong Kong.
Our YouTube Channel is seeing more views since we launched in our last edition and would love more subscribers! Log on to our Official YouTube Channel as more exciting interviews are coming up in the next few weeks, fresh new interviews from Sifu Nima King’s visit and Sifu Beau Bouzaid, snippets from last year’s conference, as well as 2015 conference details in our next newsletter edition in Spring.
That’s all from me. See you soon on social media!
Publicist, Australian Wing Chun Federation.
Find your balance & open your spine & joints in respect to gravity.
|Grand Master Chu Shong Tin: 1933-2014
Submitted by Anthony Vallario (Simple Self Defense WC Kung Fu) Published by Blitz Magazine
Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin, one of Yip Man's original closed-door students, sadly passed away on 28 July, 2014.
GM Chu Shung Tin (left) with the late Sifu Jim Fung
GM Chu Shong Tin was beloved by many worldwide and was a frequent visitor to Australia. He is best known to the Australian Wing Chun community as the master of the late Jim Fung.
Continuing to certify instructors at Sydney's International Wing Chun Academy following Sifu Fung's passing in 2007, one of the Grandmaster's students Anthony Vallario wrote a heart-felt eulogy in honour of the great man:
"A sad day for the martial arts world as my Wing Chun Kung Fu Grandmaster, Chu Shong Tin, passed away on the 28th July. Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege of training with him, filming him, learning from him, laughing with him and being inspired by him.
When I first met Sigung, he came to visit our school in Sydney – the International Wing Chun Academy – to conduct seminars with Master Sifu Jim Fung. He had this aura around him that I was aware of immediately. I was a junior back then and I was very keen to meet him as he was one of the four closed-door students of the famous Yip Man, and he was also his senior instructor.
He spoke about stance, structure, relaxation amongst other things, and his use of internal force. His ability to focus and strike with absolutely no effort was astonishing. He was throwing around people the size of football players with no effort. This was so inspiring to me to see a humble gentleman effecting someone twice his size.
This gave me the inspiration to study Wing Chun. It was not about brute force, it was simple, direct and practical. The older I got , the better I became at it – I began to internalise it. On several occasions, I travelled to Hong Kong to train with Sigung – this was by invitation only. While there, it was all about stance, structure and Sil Lim Tao (the first form of Wing Chun). This is the foundation Wing Chun and Chu Shong Tin was known as the "the King of Sil Lim Tao". He would walk by me, place his hands and adjust my body in the correct position, all the while speaking Chinese (which I couldn't understand but knew exactly what he was trying to say). He would place me in the correct stance and structure and then, as he applied immense pressure, he showed me how I wasn't affected by his weight. Once he saw the look of disbelief in my face, he started to smile and then we would both laugh and I would say "show me again". He always would.
Wing chun has become part of my DNA. I will try to pass the knowledge and inspiration he
has taught me onto my students. This world will certainly miss a great man, a Master, a teacher and a legend."
Rest In Peace, Grandmaster.
Nima - Sydney Workshop
April 2014 (Mindful WC)
by Corey Slade (personal notes)
I'd just like to take a moment to thank Nima & his wife for taking time out to organise & run this wonderful workshop in Sydney whilst visiting briefly from Hong Kong.
Find the most efficient way to move all the time.
If there is resistance upon your structure then impose the idea of your structure remaining efficient rather than resisting or fighting the point of contact or opponents force.
Again in this respect focus on global relaxation & Tai gong rather than localising your efforts to relax in one place or joint. Tai gong draw up around an inch or two only very lightly from the anus. For beginners this is a light but physical action however later it should be no more than a thought really. Any contraction of muscles means you are performing incorrectly. If executed well it should produce an openness & letting go around the sacrum & lower back and legs and you feel a sense of lightness and connectedness between the upper and lower body.
Imagine a straw travelling from tail to top back of head as spine line. Imagine being able to see through this straw. You can imagine water etc. but better to think empty. The sacrum in time will naturally curl under a little, but again just think it as forcing it will only encourage a false pelvic tilt.
When absorbing force stepping & especially pivoting, imagine this line to be super thin like a thread rather than like a stick or thick cylinder. This means in terms of a pivot that it's a lot more precise requiring greater concentration.
Improving stance by trying to balance on one leg with leg low then progress up to extending leg to hip height. Initially for a few minutes up to 15 mins. This will teach you true centre when in doubt & give you automatic correct alignment through pelvic/lumbar region in respect to gravity. Also practise Chi Sau with leg slightly raised & or chambering knee or using short leg strikes.
Do not think of producing flow in arms etc. This can easily cause tension and & possible injury. Flow, Chi or Qi etc. will come about naturally once total emptiness of tension is achieved & not using any physical force.
You raise your arms up to the sides of your rib cage at the commencement of each form & maintain one hand throughout at various point during the form whilst the other arm performs movement. Make sure then you keep hands fisted nicely and held back and up at all times & don't get lazy and hold it in a floppy way. Its very easy to allow them to slowly drop! Ensure you continually refine your internal posture to accommodate this difficult position.
In 2 adduction stance focus on pointing knees etc. toward apex of triangle whilst partner pulls on your upper thigh on one side. Again don't fight the point of contact or try & empty localised tension in the hips or pelvis for instance. Instead focus on your spine & adding relaxation & mass globally. Work from the base of your spine & create space between each vertebrae by imagining floating discs one upon another. Focus your intent forward especially at the height of the disturbance toward the apex of the triangle ie. Knee level initially if that's where the disturbance is being felt.
The point of chi sau is not to improve sensitivity of the contact point with your arms or body but to improve sensitivity of our spine & theirs. Whether the force is soft, floppy, hard or prideful look at each as a blessing or opportunity to remain sensitive under the hardest of circumstances.
Punch - have partner brace your tricep & front of fist or forearm with two grasping hands (as per picture above).
Do not expand forward, brace, align your force or whatever. Simply lift the elbow up! This will have the effect of your energy finding the most direct path to the focal point by leveraging the lower arm forward in the most efficient way. The shoulder however must remain stable in respect to the socket & supporting core of your body so energy does not bounce back or 'leak'.
Technology is so great - simply click on the links below to experience some of Nima's recent workshop & if you were there click to review some great points.
Accepting force within a structure -1 (click here)
Accepting force from an open structure -2 (click here)
Knowing the path of every movement - straight lines (click here)
Mechanics of the Wing Chun Punch (click here)
A great turn out to Nima's recent Workshop in Sydney - April 2015
Stillness in motion
By David Lee (Adelaide Uni Wing Chun Club)
The information below is the author’s own opinion and should not be taken as fact.
In the Siu Nim Tao form, there exists a balance between structure and motion. In the legs, there is stillness, as one tries to maintain structural integrity when performing the actions of the upper body. However where does that structural stillness end? Where does the motion begin? We know for certain both exist at the same time, as even with the opening centreline punch there is stillness in the legs yet movement in the hands. Some would say it is to do with having the concept of an immovable elbow, but that (in my humble opinion) is more with regards to the centrality of force as opposed to the necessity of stillness.
Why is it necessary to distinguish between movement and stillness? The answer is simple. If an individual is completely still, nothing can be accomplished, nor can one defend adequately should the attacker decide to move around. If one is completely in motion then power, balance and sensitivity may be compromised. Furthermore, during a technique, it is necessary to understand what should stay still, and what should be in motion, as failure results in in-coordination. Therefore it is necessary to understand why and how both can exist concurrently.
Regarding stillness, the simplest definition is the absence of motion. But even in complete stillness such as when one stands in the stance, there is still motion of muscles contracting to keep the upper body in place. Much more so when one is performing the form, as the muscles make minute adjustments that are unconscious to the individual. Such is the impure nature of stillness.
Regarding motion, it is the absence of stillness. In complete motion, such as perhaps a freeze frame of a midline punch, there is still stillness required in the structure, for if there is not, then how does the power get delivered? This is the nature of motion.
In wing chun, movement and stillness must be combined in the correct way to produce the power, retain the balance, and most importantly, preserve the structure. Given this, a fundamental understanding of motion and stillness is necessary to ensure a technique is performed correctly. Take the action of a tan sau for example. There is movement of the hand and arm, but there is stillness in the elbow. Such is what allows the tan sau to deflect. If the elbow gives way, then the tan sau is no longer a tan sau and loses its purpose. Such is the way all motions should be analysed for a greater understanding. However, there is never truly a state of motion or a state of stillness. For example, the elbow may have a little give if the incoming force is great, or the rotation of the forearm may not be as complete given circumstances. Therefore, weaknesses in both structure and motion should also be taken into consideration, as they are just as important as the action itself.
Ultimately, stillness represents discreteness, a fixed structure. Stillness is the absence of change. Motion is continuity, a flowing structure. Motion can be broken down into an infinite number of discrete snapshots, each will be different from the other. Motion is change. It is the interplay of discrete and continuous that gives rise to the nature of any technique. Such understanding is what is sought after and found by many without knowing it. Therefore, keep in mind what moves and what is still when performing the form, or in chi sau, not only in yourself, but also in your opponent.
Lessons learned from the Mook Yan Jong - Excerpt
by Seth Piszczuk (Full Circle Wing Chun)
It has been some time since I’ve contributed an article for the newsletter, as I’ve been working on a larger essay detailing my thoughts about the Wooden Dummy form. I hope to be able to put this together into something substantial, possibly by the end of this year… As it’s still a while away I thought I’d share a small part of what I’ve written as a teaser for what is to come!
To assist in describing movements, I’ve included some page references to Sigung Chu Shong Tin’s Book of Wing Chun Volume 2, if you have difficulty visualising what I’m referring to without pictures, hopefully you’ll a have copy of Sigung’s book on hand to refer to.
When a movement in any form is done more than once, it is a good indication that it is very worthwhile and important to explore. Notable example within the empty hand forms is Huen Sau, which because of its commonality many people simply gloss over a simplistic flick of the wrist. However without the attention focused on the fullness of rotation, the practitioner cannot develop the awareness and inherent power of the wrist, essential for later applications.
Within the dummy form are several repeated sequences:
Usually referred to as ‘closing’ movements for each section with variations of the same action, beginning with a Huen Sau and Tan Sau on the outside of both upper limbs (p46 f1). This simple action from either side is a simple solution to being on the outside of an attacker, where they hold the centre. Through using the body power learned through Chum Kiu and Biu Jee, it is possible to generate a huge amount of power in this simple action to uproot and remove the opponent from the line. The Cyclic force is demonstrated clearly through the Tan Sau action applying itself forward along the attacking line to the dummy centre whilst the Huen Sau seeks to drag the other arm away. The body moves with this circular path providing a powerful whipping force. The result of the action should be to drag a limb from the inner gate to the outer whilst creating a pathway to strike.
The dummy then shows two possible variants on following actions. When performing the Tan Sau with the left hand the Tan Sau transitions into a Chum Sau whilst the other hand strikes forward (p47 f1&2) as a palm strike (identical movement to those found within the first section of Chum Kiu). When starting from the right Tan Sau it transitions to a Huen Sau complemented by a low lying palm strike below the arm (p58 f1). The two techniques are simply different options from the same position, individual encounters may find you in a better position to perform one than the other, but both are generally equally useful.
An alternate version existing depending on which side you begin from often sparks the question of ‘Why?’ Why not have it the same on both sides? I can’t answer the original intent behind this, but I can offer a thought as to why I think it’s a good idea. Simply having a different approach depending on where you are forces you to sometimes stop and think about what you are doing. It creates a little mental pause which I think is useful as it stops you running through the form on autopilot without applying your mind. This is even more true as the form is inconsistent through the sequence as to which side you close from first.
After completing this closing sequence with the two variations, the form gives us a double Chum Sau technique followed by a double Tok Sau (p48 f1&2) to finish off this closing sequence each time. I think this is an especially important little set of movements. These actions effectively test your stance. When applying the double Chum Sau it is testing your stability against a pulling force, as if someone was pulling on your guard or pushing you in the back. Double Tok Sau tests the opposite, stability against inward force, as if someone was pushing into your hands. By testing your stance constantly through the form it is creating moments to re-set. This ensures that each successive section of the form is dealt with from the same mental and physical starting position.
Another movement which is dealt with repeatedly through the form is Bong Sau. Bong Sau is one of the most recognizable Wing Chun actions but generally one of the most misunderstood. Within this lineage Bong Sau is a highly aggressive action that is able to uproot an opponent’s balance whilst simultaneously finding a pathway to strike, not a simple block as many seem to think. In application we very rarely use the final position of the Bong Sau shape, however in the Mook Yan Jong form there are several techniques that commence from this point and I’m frequently asked how to relate that to application. Bong Sau should be seen as a complete pathway of an attacking circle, not as a static shape. Bong Sau effectively teaches how to present a strong structure against any force pressing on the outside of your guard. By starting with Bong Sau, the form is telling how to apply a range of techniques from any point of contact on the outside of your arm, the final position of Bong Sau is the most extreme exaggeration of this idea, therefore applying the same concepts against an earlier point of the rotation (eg the centre-line guard can be seen as part of the Bong Sau) will be easier to execute. Commencing at the final position and rotating around towards Tan Sau also serves as a constant reminder of the circular nature of the actions which enhances the delivery of force.
Research question: What are the health effects of Wing Chun Kung Fu practise?
by Vincent Brown (Adelaide University Wing Chun)
As part of my Paramedic Science degree I’m currently writing a small qualitative research article exploring the health effects of Wing Chun Kung Fu practice. While only a very small project with a sample size of 4 participants, I feel that it will provoke discussion and hopefully even motivate others to conduct research into our beloved art. Many people like to throw around the word ‘scientific’ when describing Wing Chun, but realistically there is a very minimal amount of scientific research regarding Wing Chun and martial arts in general. Scientific evidence can help to further legitimise Wing Chun, providing credible sources to refer to and creating a platform for critique and analysis of our training practices. I present for this issue a quick summary of the results I have obtained through interviews and will submit the rest of my article next issue. Enjoy!
The findings were divided into three themes that occurred throughout all participants interviews. These themes cover the major health-related areas that can be expected in martial arts practice: self-defense, mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing.
All participants interviewed began training with the initial goal being to learn skills for self-defense. Chuck commented that “…a few [violent altercations] happened on the street… and I really started thinking seriously about [learning martial arts]”. Personal safety was the primary concern when beginning Wing Chun training, as participants sought to learn a set of skills that would aid them if they were ever faced with a violent confrontation. After training for a short time, however, the participants’ realised more personally rewarding outcomes in terms of mental benefits. As Jackie stated “After about 6 months I started to realise… there was a much deeper side to it. What people traditionally call the ‘internal side’”. A common theme resounding in all participants’ interviews was the confidence and awareness that developed throughout their training resulting in a sensible avoidance of violent situations. The two participants that had been training for a comparatively shorter amount of time (5 years) had been involved in no violent altercations in the time they had been training, while the two participants that had been training longer (17 and 34 years) each described several situations in which they believed their Wing Chun training contributed positively toward the outcome of the situation.
All participants interviewed stated that they had developed useful cognitive skills through their Wing Chun training that exceeded their original expectations in that regard. Participants attributed qualities such as the ability to remain calm, reduced stress and increased focus as particular benefits that they have developed. This was in contrast to their original expectations of physical fitness benefits, which were not absent but seen to not be as significant as the mental and cognitive benefits. Chuck commented that “I probably only expected a bit of fitness. All of the other [benefits] were quite unexpected and quite a blessing”. This “internal” aspect of training was referred to by all participants as a key driving force in their motivation to continue training. Participants mentioned other positive ways that their training has affected their lives, such as with Bruce, who is also an actor:
“last year when I was doing a show, there was a lot more awareness of how I was holding myself, I mean sort of holding tension in particular. On stage that can be problematic; you want to be very relaxed so you can go anywhere you need to, vocally and physically. So I think it, um, yeah it’s certainly helped a lot with acting.”
Jet explained that Wing Chun had presented him with many opportunities, including employment and travel, and was instrumental in introducing him to yoga and other forms of meditation.
All participants began training with the expectation of attaining physical health benefits such as fitness, strength, flexibility, balance and body awareness. All participants felt that these goals were attained through their training, albeit sometimes in a slightly different way than expected. All of the participants interviewed had sustained moderate to significant injuries as a direct result of training, including sprains, strains and nasal bone fractures. Jet had required multiple surgeries for a torn anterior cruciate ligament that had significantly reduced his quality of life:
“I’ve torn ligaments in both of my forearms… tore the ligaments off the ankle, snapped the ACL in the knee on the same leg. Had surgeries on both of those, but the ACL in the knee hasn’t worked; it’s failed so I’ve got to go back and have it taken out. Got to have a hip bone placed in there, grafted, and got to have it redone… tore my finger, busted fingers, broken nose.”
Regardless, participants were positive that their training had served to prevent or reduce the severity of other injuries by developing strength, body awareness and posture. Jackie reported that he had “broken his back” at the age of 16, and stated that Wing Chun had helped him to compensate for this, aiding in his rehabilitation and correcting his posture.
The magic of chaos
and the pure mind
(musing's from 2013)
by Tony Blencowe (Adelaide WC Kuen)
(one of the great thinkers, philosophers & scientists - think quantum theory & CERN).
On hanging a horseshoe for good luck over your door.
-Of course not...but I am told it works even if you don't believe
Opposites are complimentary. Bohr's motto!
My partner & I started Wing Chun in 1983. I remember by the third year of practising that I felt like I was getting nowhere (which was true). 1st level felt like a dead end.
Then in 1986 Sigung Chu came to visit Australia for the first time. His Wing Chun was a revelation - a different art almost. Fresh, creative, liberating, passionate & full of seemingly boundless possibilities.
In 1988 we travelled on our own to visit Sigung in Hong Kong (with the gracious permission from Sifu Jim, our master) two of the few westerners at that time. We found that instead of regimented training the students all seemed to be on their own journey guided by their Sifu. Training with Sigung was exciting; he was endlessly passionate & inquisitive. The environment he created was fun, stimulating & intense. We have never forgotten that first experience.
Of course there are still the frustrations that every student feels along the way. But one of the great things from that time that has kept me interested in Wing Chun is to collect ideas from everywhere & evaluate these thoughts against the Wing Chun ideas. Sigung was fascinated by the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, especially the weight lifting, & he would watch it on the telly while we were training. To be good at Wing Chun your mind must be open, perceptive, flexible & inquisitive.
Spontaneity, being in the moment, I feel is one of the keys to success. Sigung never seemed to answer questions with a set answer.
Welcome experimentation & unfamiliarity - what is new feels strange but exciting. Then does it work? Try it. Wing Chun still seems like superpowers or magic (when I do it right that is).
Now some more quotes for inspiration (note the similarities to eastern philosophy)
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used that created them.
Insanity - doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results. (I call it 'the endless dark night')
Everyone should be treated as an individual but no one idolised.
Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art & science.
I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.
It's not that I'm so smart. It's just that I stay with problems longer.
To raise new questions - new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination & marks real advance in science. (& martial arts)
Don't think, feel! It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory. Bruce Lee
I just love dancing. Usain Bolt
Limits like fear is often an illusion. Michael Jordan
More from Neils Bohr
No, no you're not thinking you're just being logical.
How wonderful we have come to a paradox now we are making progress.
Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.
Every great & deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.
Einstein again - It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression & knowledge.
Respect & honour Sigung Chu's legacy by treating his teaching as an inspiration not as a prescribed doctrine.
Wing Chun training now online!!
testimonial by Tamara Salas
(Prism WC Martial Arts for Health)
I wanted to share one big thing that has happened in the last few months, it is something that I’m very proud of, Sifu Richard Antonini has launched and I believe we can say for the first time in the history of our lineage, (please correct me if I’m wrong) a comprehensive supplementary training tool available to be accessed from any part of the world at any time! Wing Chun’s For Life New online supplementary training program has been a fantastic training and also teaching tool for myself over the past 6 or 7 months since its initial birth. What I am most proud of course is that it is part of our lineage, it is priceless to have such great online back up for training, for students if you are training on holidays away from your school and training buddies this is great, for teachers this is amazing also at every level helping us promote our lineage not only here as a family in Australia but also now around the world. We can be proud Aussies! J
This is a big step as a family for the federation and for Sifu Richard’s school and their launch of the new supplementary online program. I’m so very excited to see every member school doing the best they can to keep the flame of Sigung alive for generations now to come.
Click on the link to head straight to Sifu Richard’s new program and see what is available:
- Adelaide University Wing Chun Club Jackets now available -