edited by Corey & Melissa Slade
Welcome to our Spring edition.
Only a month away from Conference and the program, presenters and location look fantastic.
I'd like to take this opportunity on behalf of all our Members to thank all the hard work in organising this conference by the AWCF committee & Adelaide Uni Club (sub-committee) this years hosts!
Yours in Wing Chun,
Melissa and Corey Slade
Conference Program Download
Click the image to download a PDF containing the entire program plus a special 'meet the presenters'.
by Seth Piszczuk
Often reference is made to turning or spinning the centre of mass, particularly within the Biu Jee form and its applications. What does this mean?
How can the centre of mass rotate without there being a manifestation externally?
The idea of turning circles or balls is used throughout Wing Chun in many ways. A recognisable shape is easy to build analogies around as its relatable to pretty much everyone, not relying on any specific experience. We all know what a circle or ball looks like. The effect of an analogy is it produces a desirable outcome that would be otherwise hard to explain. The idea of relaxing your joints and muscles whilst sounding simple enough, is difficult to perform (otherwise we’d all be masters right?).
Turning your centre of mass is a little beyond a basic analogy, as the point we’re referring to is not visible and therefore requires good imagination and body awareness to create thought/idea at this point. A simpler starting point is to get a feeling of rotation at the waist. Think of using a Hoola-Hoop (probably been a while for most of us….). The feeling I’m looking for is the moment just before we start the hoop turning. At that moment we aren’t physically moving the body, however all the joints around the waist will be fully open and relaxed with the POTENTIAL for movement. The action of the Hoola-Hoop requires a full freedom of movement in all directions, which is why it is so powerful as an analogy.
So, what that analogy gave us is a method to simultaneously open and relax all the joints/muscles around the waist area. The analogy itself is not important, if what I’ve described doesn’t resonate with you you’ll have to find an alternative way to gain this feeling. If we practice this with a partner, when resistance is applied to the chest as per standard stance activation the partner applying resistance will feel the stance becoming more ‘alive’, difficult to apply resistance into as it has stopped bracing the thighs. When the practitioner thinks of the Hoola-Hoop beginning to spin, the partner applying resistance may feel some feedback as a rotational force. The practitioner’s body is creating the thought of pivoting with waist, without actually pivoting.
This can then be applied on other planes to aid in getting body force into more difficult angles.
Take the vertical whisking arms of the Biu Jee form (the movements after the elbow sets and preceding the Garn Sau set). This is one of the most difficult actions to practice with resistance, as we are at the most extreme leverage disadvantage and cannot draw upon physical pivoting to assist (although most people end up doing it this way, kind of cheating I think?). Taking the feeling gained from the Hoola-Hoop analogy and simply rotating the thought of the hoop from the horizontal to the vertical plane, we can use this thought to support the arms. What was a difficult arm movement is now a whole body action with the arm simply being the point of contact. Did we actually rotate internally or was it just the thought of rotation?
The Biu Jee and subsequent forms push the body to further and further extremes, where the concept of rotating and directing our centre becomes a spherical thought, potentially rotating in multiple directions at once. In my eyes this is just another anology. We don’t turn inside, we allow our joints and muscles to relax and focus our mass. Turning inside is really just another way of saying, 'relax', allow your mind to initiate the movement. Like all analogies it is a necessary step to gain a feeling, which can then be discarded once the feeling can be consciously controlled.
The Sword and the Brush
by David Lovegrove
“It is said the Warrior’s Way is the twofold path of sword and brush,
and he should have a taste for both Way’s”
Miyamoto Musashi 1584 – 1645
A ‘Way’ is a path to be followed by a practitioner of an art form, starting with copying and emulating the tradition of the art as passed on from the masters of the past and then to following one’s own creative Way, finding new expressions of that art.
The Way of the Brush and the Way of the Sword share an approach to bringing into harmony the body with the mind. The big difference is of course that one art is concerned with drawing inspired artworks and the other is concerned with preparing one to meet fighting and potentially life and death situations.
As a practitioner of both Wing Chun and of Visual Arts for approx. 20 years each I have made some interesting connections that I would like to share with you. Firstly I have found that if I practice the Forms as if I were drawing with a brush a number of powerful things happen – I become relaxed and graceful and natural (you don’t tense up drawing with a brush, there is no opponent putting force on you is there!) and my mind naturally is in the tip of the brush. My body is light and empty of tension and my intention is strong as I draw the lines and shapes I wish. This is exactly what we aim for in our Wing Chun – effortless softness and focus of mind.
Mind in elbow ( Chum Kiu), Mind in finger tips ( Biu Jee), Mind in Dummy ( Muk Yan Chong), Mind in Butterfly Swords ( Bart Jarm Do), Mind in Six and a half point Pole ( Luk Dim Boon Quan), Mind in Ink Brush – all the same!
Secondly, as an artist I went through a stage, after a lot of very determined traditional art training (emulating the Masters) and constant (8hrs a day 7 days a week) drawing that I hit a wall – my work was technically good but uninspired, dry, and (to me), boring.
After a while I realized that I was too ‘conscious’, trying too hard to be a good drawer. Eventually I had a major breakthrough in which I literally let go, stopped trying, started playing with the pencil and brush.
My work improved quickly and I became aware of the working and power of my unconscious mind. I came to trust the unconscious, what I believe is the Mind of the whole body rather than just the brain.
In fact I started to experience what my Masters called ‘ letting the artwork talk to you’. A dreamy sort of mind space wherein the unconscious is allowed free reign and starts producing strong images in the mind that you can somehow ‘feel’. I noticed also that this sense of imaging and feeling in the brain also caused relaxation and indeed a euphoric feeling.
For a long time I didn’t see any connection with this experience in Visual Art and with my Wing Chun. As ideas and principles flowed in from practitioners training under Sigung Chu I started to realise that this connection with the unconscious mind experienced in art seemed to be the same experience spoken of by Sigung when he talked of and demonstrated the Mind Force ( Nim Lik) produced by emptying the body (Fong Sung) and engaging the Nim Tau. This Nim Tau is of course what is referred to in the name of our first form Siu Nim Tau (Little or Tiny Nim Tau). Interestingly this name Siu Nim Tau is often translated as Little Imagination! As I began to experience the existence of Nim Lik (mind force) I realised that it felt exactly the same as the feeling I got when I let go, relaxed and ‘ let the artwork talk to me’.
How is this practically applied?
The imagination is what we use when we ‘imagine’ that the opponent is not there, that force is not being applied to us so that we move naturally and easily ignoring the realness of the force. We cut down or punch or kick etc like placing a bottle on a table, like reaching for an apple, like going for a relaxing walk. On a higher level we learn to trust the unconscious mind to guide our arms to both negate and deflect force and to ‘hit through’ ( I don’t hit, it hits all by itself!). This is a major point to Chi Sau practice – to train our arms to deal with force and our selves to trust that we can do it without (or with little) conscious interference. Fighting happens too fast to be consciously thinking it through. It needs to be a creative and mostly unconscious act, the well trained harmony of mind and body seamlessly working together to protect you and repel or vanquish the bad guy!
I have heard that Sigung spoke of Nim Lik as being this – that Nim Lik knew what to do and would do what had to be done without him having to think about it.
This is a big challenge for us in our training. How to trust this Mind Force, this Nim Lik. For me a big key is to stop trying to be good, trying to be skillful or cunning or fast. Don’t fight back or try to defend in Chi Sau – relax and keep your centerline covered certainly but don’t resist – let the unconscious mind work it’s wonders.
It is said that Master Yip Man told Sigung in his early training – “ Let them hit you if they must, don’t try to fight back, just relax and use your mind and eventually they won’t be able to hit you”.
Sigung trusted his teacher’s advice and this is exactly what happened!
Have a go at drawing if you don’t do it. There are other ways to approach these ideas in Wing Chun but if you do some drawing, freely and big and having relaxed fun with it, not judging your finished result but rather observing how your body moves and how your mind works, I think that you will start to see what good old Miyamoto was getting at!
Cheers and see you at the Conference guys and girls!
My Facebook pages – Wing Chun Mind Force and David Lovegrove Art
Zen in the Art of Archery
by Eugen Herrigel
For those that have not read this little book here is a small snippet. I think it's wonderful and has so many comparisons with learning Wing Chun.
Regards, Gary King (Wing Chun Path, Perth WA)
Excerpt from book;
Nothing more is required of the pupil, at first, than that he should conscientiously copy what the teacher shows him. Shunning long−winded instructions and explanations, the latter contents himself with perfunctory commands and does not reckon on any questions from the pupil. Impassively he looks on at the blundering efforts, not even hoping for independence or initiative, and waits patiently for growth and ripeness.
Both have time: the teacher does not harass, and the pupil does not over tax himself.Far from wishing to waken the artist in the pupil prematurely, the teacher considers it his first task to make him a skilled artisan with sovereign control of his craft.
The pupil follows out this intention with untiring industry. As though he had no higher aspirations he bows under his burden with a kind of obtuse devotion, only to discover in the course of years that forms which he perfectly masters no longer oppress but liberate. He grows daily more capable of following any inspiration without technical effort, and also of letting inspiration come to him through meticulous observation.
The hand that guides the brush has already caught and executed what floated before the mind at the same moment as the mind began to form it, and in the end the pupil no longer knows which of the two mind or hand was responsible for the work.
Mental Health Mastery
my Kung Fu thoughts by Chip Natt (Adelaide Uni WC)
preface by Seth Piszczuk
Chip Natt begain training Wing Chun around 1998 at the Adelaide Branch of the International Wing Chun Academy. Training sporadically throughout subsequent years. Since 2007 he’s trained with me in various locations and very regularly over the past few years at the Adelaide University club. I asked Chip to consider putting some of his thoughts on paper for a few reasons. One, he has a great depth of experience and skill, far beyond what his modesty would let him tell you. Two, he suffers from a mental illness Hypomania, and training in Wing Chun has been a part of his ongoing management of this ailment which he’s more than happy to talk about.
We hoped that Chip being so open about how Kung Fu helps him deal with mental illness might possibly help someone else to explore how Wing Chun can really help to gain balance.
He doesn’t seek advancement or ask anything except for the fellowship and skills to be gained through Wing Chun.
Balls!!! Plain and Simple!!
Eat. Sleep. Excrete.
Fight, Flight or Flow.
Breathe in and out, expand and contract.
Don’t think. Feel.
Close eyes. Open ears. Open mind.
Health. Time. Money.
Work. Rest. Play.
Everything is Kung Fu!!
Everything is Awesome!!
Kung Fu. Be like Bamboo.
Kung Fu is anything and everything.
Balance is key.
I do not lead. I follow.
I do not teach. I learn. If you learn from me, good luck to you.
Hang Loose! Ski-Doosh! Excelsior!
Research question: What are the health effects of Wing Chun Kung Fu practise?
Part II by Vincent Brown (Adelaide University Wing Chun)
Last issue I submitted the results of a qualitative research study I conducted for an assignment at uni on the health effects of Wing Chun kung fu practice. This issue I’ve included the discussion and conclusion section from my article. It’s worth noting that this was by no means a proper scientific study, with a small sample size, no ethics approval and no peer-review, but I feel it still served to highlight some interesting points and will hopefully promote open discussion and inspire others to conduct research into the art. I’m also obliged to state that this article has no affiliation with Flinders University. Enjoy.
A recurring theme that permeated all participants’ responses was the shift of focus from their initial motivations for learning Wing Chun. All participants mentioned self-defence as their primary reason for starting training, but felt that the benefits they had received went far beyond their initial expectations in terms of mental and physical health. Two participants had not experienced a situation in which they had needed to utilise their self-defence skills in the five years they had been training. If self-defence is the sole motivation for training this may lead some martial arts practitioners to lose interest in continuing. In accordance with the health belief model the perception of threat to one’s health (being assaulted/injured in a fight) and belief that a behaviour will reduce that threat (training in martial arts) are the driving forces that result in an individual engaging in a health behaviour (ed Barkway 2009).
This may serve to explain why some individuals begin training after a violent altercation but stop after several months, as the memory of the incident is initially easily recalled and a direct threat to health is perceived but this perception is not reinforced as time goes on.
A similarity to the Sinclair et al. (2013) study can be drawn, as participants reported several incidents where they felt simply having confidence and awareness of their surroundings and situation had avoided or deescalated a violent altercation. From a practical standpoint, prevention of a fight may lead to more positive health, legal and ethical outcomes. Senn et al. (2015) found greater prevention of sexual assault in a program designed to teach additional skills such as recognition of risk and escalation of resistance in response to a perpetrator’s perseverance in addition to self-defence techniques. Participants in this study mentioned similar benefits from Wing Chun training but it is unclear how much this is emphasised in classes.
While every sport carries a degree of risk in terms of potential injuries, the risk in the instance of martial arts may come in direct opposition to a participant’s intended goal of self-protection. Once again, the health belief model may serve to explain why Wing Chun practitioners continue to train despite sustaining injuries, as the health and self-protection benefits are perceived to outweigh the inherent risks. This raises an important ethical consideration in terms of providing martial artists with accurate information about all expected risks and benefits before they commit a great portion of time and money into enrolling in a training course. Future studies may investigate the amount and severity of injuries sustained in training as compared to the injuries prevented in violent confrontations.
The techniques that Wing Chun utilises to develop mental health benefits that were described by participants are similar to those described in studies of mindfulness meditation. Participants in this study described greater amounts of focus, mental awareness and reduced stress. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression over short and long-term practice (Gallego et al. 2014). This suggests that Wing Chun practice may potentially reduce levels of mental illness and potentially provide preventative long-term mental health benefits. The mental health benefits were described by participants as a great source of motivation. This may be explained using the theory of planned behaviour, which seeks to explain participation in a health behaviour as an interaction between the attitudes about the behaviour, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control (ed Barkway 2009). In particular, the development of greater mental and cognitive awareness in Wing Chun may lead to an increase in self-efficacy, reinforcing training habits.
Limitations of this study include the small sample size and lack of diversity of participants. All participants in this study were male and from the same Wing Chun school. A larger cross-school sample would allow the ability to gain a wider perspective of Wing Chun training habits and health benefits. It is also important to note that this study reflects one particular lineage of Wing Chun, and major differences may occur in training habits, goals and attitudes between lineages. The findings of this study also relate solely to one area in Australia, and cultural difference may be significant in different areas.
Self-protection is a common initial motivation for many participants when beginning training in Wing Chun Kung Fu. While improving the outcomes of violent altercations may not be an inaccurate assumption, evidence to support this reasoning is lacking, and violent altercations may be quite rare. Rather, mental and physical benefits such as focus, stress-reduction, relaxation and posture are a greater source of long-term motivation for many practitioners. This should be recognised by Wing Chun schools as an advertising point and as a means to encourage participation and sustain students’ interest in training. While injuries are an unavoidable part of Wing Chun training, proper precautions should be taken to minimise risk to participants while still encouraging an active training environment. Statistical analysis of the rate and severity of injuries in future studies may serve to highlight the risk involved with training and how training affects injuries sustained in violent altercations. The findings of this study suggest that Wing Chun is effective in improving physical and mental health and reducing the frequency of and injuries associated with violent confrontations.
Barkway, P. (Ed.) (2009). Psychology for Health Professionals. Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier.
Gallego, J., Aguilar-Parra, J. M., Cangas, A. J., Langer, Á. I., & Mañas, I. (2014). Effect of a Mindfulness Program on Stress, Anxiety and Depression in University Students. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17, null-null. doi: doi:10.1017/sjp.2014.102
Senn, C. Y., Eliasziw, M., Barata, P. C., Thurston, W. E., Newby-Clark, I. R., Radtke, H. L., & Hobden, K. L. (2015). Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(24), 2326-2335. doi: doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1411131
Sinclair, J., Sinclair, L., Otieno, E., Mulinge, M., Kapphahn, C., & Golden, N. H. (2013). A Self-Defense Program Reduces the Incidence of Sexual Assault in Kenyan Adolescent Girls. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(3), 374-380. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.04.008
Xiong Mao WC Academy update
by Dave Somers (Xiong Mao/Panda Wing Chun Academy)
Here I present an excerpt from "The Panda Press", our seasonal publication designed to open the communication pathways for students of the Xiong Mao (Panda) Wing Chun Academy in Brisbane, Caboolture and Sunshine Coast.
This edition sees the end of Winter departing and the welcoming of Spring, with lots of events and items happening.
In June 2015 our Sehings Jake Landesmann and Sam Johnston, my wife Ying Ling and I travelled to Hong Kong to participate in the first CST Allumini gathering since the sudden loss of our Grand Master Chu Shong Tin.
The event was held in Mong Kok, Kowloon with a brief display from various seniors of our lineage and speeches from Horace Chu, Nima King and our beloved Sipo.
Tony Chu was a delightful M.C. and translator for the event that finished with some historical group photos and a light Chi Sau exchange afterwards.
A charter bus was organised to transport all the participants to the Metropark Hotel where the evening was enjoyed sharing a Banquet and drinks and interaction from all of the families from far and wide and also locally to enjoy each others company and memories of Sigung's teachings and inspirations.
Upon returning to Australia, the Academy has been a buzz with 4 new students embarking on their "Sehing Program" including their certificate III in Sports Coaching studies as well as their continuous training and development with the grading criteria to become qualified coaches and Assistant Instructors within the Academy.
We are also going to be fortunate enough to be hosting Tony Psaila for 2 days of workshops when he visits QLD next week, as well as our Sibak Fredrick Mo in October, directly after returning form Adelaide for the AWCF Annual Conference.
The Xiong Mao Wing Chun Academy was only established in the greater Brisbane area after
relocating from Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast) in April last year! Since then we have been blessed with a healthy growth of committed and diligent students who have all grown very passionate about Wing Chun and its diverse applications to every aspect of life. As we say, its so much more than just punching and kicking!
Looking forward to catching up with the Adelaide crew for conference. Till then keep on the good path and maintain focus through everything we do.
AWCF AGM invitation to all full members
Gary King, AWCF Secretary
We wish to advise that the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Wing Chun Federation will be held on Saturday, 10th October 2015 at the Australasian Wing Chun Conference.
Conference news - RE: Weapons on campus:
- Greetings, apologies and attendances
- Election of Officers
- Confirmation of Minutes of previous AGM
- Matters Arising from previous minutes
- Financial Report
- Appointment of Sub Committees
- New Business
- - clarification of committee members roles
- financial position interim updates
- - possible finances for flights for overseas presenters for conferences
- - revenue raising
- - next year's conference
- - more succinct roles for conferences
- program organisation
- venue, food, T-shirts and accommodation
- promotion - maybe more communication.
- - feedback on the Newsletter
- - ideas on what it means to be part of the Federation in terms of Chu's way
So the bylaws at our university, the venue for
AWCFC4, don't actually allow us (or you) to bring metal swords onto campus (yes we've tried asking, don't get me started). So, it's really important that when you rock up at the conference, you must not carry metal swords on you (or any offensive/prohibited weapon. Long pole is OK) or you might get them confiscated or even be fined!
To counter this mild discomfort, our members have been
developing a really solid and well weighted plastic bart jam do that can be used for training purposes safely and legally on campus.. and it just so happens that we can manufacture a whole bunch so we can all train at the conference.
Please don't bring any metal weaponry onto campus! Please do
feel free to bring safe plastic or wooden BJD, but don't walk around waving them about... We will bring as many pairs of these awesome 1/2 inch thick plastic BJDs as we can make! (and our resident armourer, Tony Loi
, is open to the idea of selling a few too).
- Adelaide University Wing Chun Club Jackets now available -
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