Hi all. It's been a while since the last edition unfortunately. I've personally been up to my neck building a brand new studio and moving my business operations over into the new venue. We were still a little short of material for this edition of the newsletter so I've taken some extra time to pull some stuff together. Hope you enjoy.
Check out this link below for some thought provoking Tai Chi theory that I found very recently on face-book and count helpful.
Click here to check out Tai Chi Theory
by Tamar Sales, AWCF
Happy New Year!!
Phew! Has the year taken an accelerator booster? It seems this year is travelling so fast. We share an amazing busy year in the event’s department!
First up in 2016 we saw a special visit to Sydney from Sifu Nima King. This photo is of the previous workshop attendees in 2015.
Following in our events calendar this very week we have our Sigung’s memorable event coming up in Sydney Saturday and Sunday 18-19th June 2016 at 1pm in Burwood.
Come along and be part of Sigung’s 83rd
Birthday Party Celebration organized by Chu Shong Tin Alumni, a very, very special event to commemorate the life of our dear Sigung Chu in Sydney!
For all details and ticket purchase please head now on to:
Master CST's 83rd Birthday Party
Here's a schedule of events for the weekend. It will be hands-on learning, please come in your action gear and bring your pole/swords if you wish to work on that.
Press now the fast forward button to 7-9th October 2016 and our
5th Annual Australasian Wing Chun Conference 2016
Welcome - this year's conference will be held in the sunny and lovely State of Queensland at Xiong Mao Wing Chun Academy with Dave Somers. An event not to be missed!!
Following from last year's success guests can expect a celebrated list of presenters covering all 6 forms through out the weekend with comprehensive workshops, plenty of Chi Sao and our exclusive once a year chance for catching up with old friends and making new ones too.
Please read Guests Notes:
Interstate guests have the convenience of arriving via train directly at our front door from the airport. Public transport and Uber facilities are abundant and affordable.
There are plenty of accommodation options for all guests wishing to spend the entire weekend at this year's conference! Whether you are travelling from interstate and wish to book your hotel for the entire weekend or you live locally and wish to stay close to our training facility then TripAdvisor covers an extensive list of accommodation options for you.
Please view accommodation options:
All catering has been arranged for every participant making sure that with our intense training everyone is looked after, all catering is included in the ticket price, covering breakfast, lunch, dinner from arrival on Friday evening through to Sunday early afternoon for each guest.
Final conference program will be published this coming July, including special guests, so please add this event to your list to stay up to date as the details progress!
We can tell you now that we have awesome early bird specials going from as little as $167 so why not get some groups involved. We look forward to seeing you and hosting an awesome weekend for everyone at Xiong Mao Wing Chun Academy.
Grab your ticket today to experience the 5th annual Australasian Wing Chun Conference!
We look forward to putting together an event that will again serve to strengthen our community of members with always an open and equal opportunity for everyone to participate and feel part of our one big family J
Will we see you at this year’s conference event?
Would you like to be part of this year’s AGM coming up in October? Or Have an event coming up you would like to share with the world? feel free to write to us @ email@example.com
and we look forward to assisting you with your member inquiries and your publicity needs. J
That is all from me for now, have a great year everyone and we look forward to seeing you at one or all of our family events during the year.
Keep the teaching of forms
by Seth Piszczuk
Maintaining perspective in teaching and training.
It’s no secret to anyone training in Wing Chun that the forms are the fundamental on which everything else is based. And within our lineage particularly we place the utmost emphasis on the lessons of the first form, Tiny Idea or Siu Nim Tao.
As you progress in training and begin to take on concepts of the further forms, this alters the way you practice the first form. The forms are not really separate ideas, but expansions upon the one idea and broadening of its scope.
As such the way I currently practice Siu Nim Tao is affected by the ideas I’ve integrated from the other five forms.
This makes it particularly hard to teach sometimes….
To a new student who does not have the benefit of perspective of Wing Chun as a whole, the Siu Nim Tao really needs to be introduced as its own entity. A beginner student should be practicing Siu Nim Tao. Not Chum Kiu and Biu Jee infused Siu Nim Tao.
It’s tempting to want to try to show and teach my latest understanding and personal breakthroughs, however for most people these ideas don’t make sense. There isn’t the perspective to frame it against.
So really as a reminder to myself: Teach people what is required for them to progress. Showing off a higher skill may help in inspiring people to train, but the forms are there as steps of a sequence for a reason.
Keep it in perspective.
O'Week at Adelaide Uni
by Amy Wooldridge
During O’Week earlier this year, the Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu Club has been busy running a stall to encourage first-years to try out university sport. On Monday 22nd February, we were one of two university sporting clubs to give a short demonstration of who we are and what we do.
This included practicing various forms and some sparring to demonstrate taking direct approaches to combat situations. It also included some drills, power punching and kicking, a short display of blindfolded chi sau to emphasise the ability to predict and control an opponent’s movements based on a moment of contact, plus Seth demonstrating the one-inch punch.
As we are always keen to perform demonstrations, we were also asked to fill in and to do a similar demonstration last-minute on Tuesday 23rd February, which was very much unplanned due to a different demo team presence, less choreography and less demo equipment to use. Despite this, we executed our impromptu demo fantastically! We have distributed many flyers, spoken to many keen students and we hope that many will take up our opportunity for some free trial classes to understand more about how Wing Chun works.
We hope you are all having a happy, prosperous new year.
- Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu Club
One plus One = Three?
by Paul Cardle
I have recently been reading a book by Christopher McDougal called Born to run (2009). This book follows the author, McDougal, on a quest of sorts, aiming to track down a native Mexican tribe of ultra-marathon running super-athletes called the Turrahumara, in order to, among other things, learn their secrets of effortless running.
Along the way, he meets an American man they call Caballo that has spent several years learning from the Turrahumara and living their canyon running lifestyle.
McDougal received his first Turrahumara style running lesson from Caballo and has detailed this lesson as follows:
Lesson one: “Don’t fight the trail. Take what it gives you”.
Lesson two: “Think Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast. You start with easy because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooth
. You won’t have to worry about the last -you get those three, and you will be fast.”
There is so much in this lesson that I think parallels training in Wing Chun and it points out a few stumbling blocks that I often see in the way beginners approach their training (myself as a beginner included).
Firstly, of course, if we can make our Wing Chun easy, we are already doing pretty well, and this is essentially what we are trying to do at the outset isn’t it? Fighting is hard enough, let’s try making it a little easier. Add to this the goal of being light and smooth and you should be really starting to get something good.
I often see new students trying to strive for excellence in force and speed at the outset and thus, to a certain extent shoot themselves in the foot. The striving for these elements without understanding the importance of effortless movement can make it much harder to let go, not just of your muscles but also of your mind.
This brings me to the next point, which is that speed and power largely come about due to the effortlessness of your movements, and your skill in coordinating them, not necessarily through striving for speed and power in and of themselves. Think of Usain Bolt, Cathy Freeman, or Sigung Chu. When they move with speed and with power, it is first effortless, like it doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you or me. Great power comes as a by-product of great skill and the level of effortlessness you have achieved through that skill.
This by-product idea is something I have been focusing on in my own training for the past couple of years and I have come to the conclusion that force is a by-product of effortless skill and that mental focus comes as a by-product of a quiet mind, not as a result of training yourself to ignore your messy mind.
This idea in training doesn’t stop at the effortless way you perform the forms, but is also present in the way many of the movements in the forms are organised. For example, the Garn Sao movement from Biu Jee comprises three basic movements; lower Garn sau in which the lower hand moves downwards along the centreline. Upper Garn sau which moves in an upward direction along the centre, and the pivot. You can add more to this movement but let’s keep it simple for the sake of this article.
What I have found through practicing the Garn Sau movement in this way, by not confusing the purposes or directions of these individual parts, is that they naturally accumulate and coordinate to form the elements of force and speed without needing to try to achieve them. This is opposed to the way I myself and I’m sure several other people performed this movement when they first tried it. By confusing the movements and using the pivot partly as a way to send force forward, making it unbalanced. Also using the arms as a way to send force to the side, which turns out is much more difficult.
By simplifying the individual movements while at the same time, aiming primarily for ‘easy, light and smooth’, you can find an effortlessness which makes it much easier to let go which naturally creates a more integrated movement with force and connection as a natural outcome with less need to focus on your ability to generate these things deliberately.
So train hard but start with effortlessness, trust that sometimes one plus one may equal three and then you may discover that force and speed are inherent to this way of movement and that you do not have to strive to generate them.
And so, adapting the words of Caballo:
Don’t fight your opponent, take what they give to you.
Think Easy, light and smooth and effortlessness will come.
With effortlessness comes force and connection.
Mindful movement the key for a special student
By Corey Slade (Pictured here with youngest daughter Claire)
I want to share a special coaching experience with you. 5 year old Claudette was and still is a very special student. I was originally referred by some of my other clients to her Mother. Claudette presented with two brain issues from birth along with considerable developmental delays due to these issues. The most challenging of which is a condition whereby she automatically mirrors movements from one side of her body to the other! There are only 2 other known families in the world that have a member with the condition. Claudette's Father and younger sister also have the condition making the work her allied health support team do all the more important.
On beginning our sessions I discovered a child that met the expectations created after reading her case notes and talking with parents. A child who really struggled on all levels from co-ordination of basic movement patterns, mobility, stability to mentally with language, communication and cognition. I really braced myself for what I thought was going to be a coaches worst nightmare...a beautiful little child that wouldn't respond or develop over time. The massive uncertainty was palpable especially from her Mother as you can imagine - not knowing what if any progress could be expected.
At the time I'd spent a couple years researching and experimenting with an emerging new direction in the fitness industry. The idea of prescribing primal (or child like) movement patterns as correctional exercise for movement dysfunction. Given Claudette's general in-efficiency in locomotion and basic co-ordination of any sort along with a very poor strength/stability base I commenced our work together with this idea at the core of everything rather than focusing on the mirroring issue specifically.
I knew that other therapists were struggling with tangible results working with Claudette. I knew the school teachers and SSO's (special school learning supports and specialists) were struggling with her learning and her uncooperative behavior. The school was trying to integrate Claudette into PE sessions but that was absolutely fruitless.
At best the traditional school education approach was presently an inefficient learning vehicle for Claudette. I knew she couldn't walk, talk, learn, jump, converse or perform more complex tasks without first creating workarounds in her brain (re-wiring) giving her a base to build upon.
Fact: Claudette's brain was wired in a fundamentally different way (proven by medical tests and scans). Having two dyslexic children myself and understanding that their brain's are wired very differently and as a result their thinking and required learning styles are different than the norm was helpful.
The possibility in terms of changing the brain and it's connections through mindful movement was empowering only to a point, as I'd only realised said success through adult clients with 'normally' (dislike this word now!) wired brains who had over the course of their lives simply albeit gradually forgotten how to move well.
I was both very scared of failure - 'letting this little girl down'. Conversely I was very excited about testing these practises with a very young child whom evidently came into this world both without the 'software' loaded ie. a natural instinctual movement skill set most children have, nor the 'hardware' brain wiring capable of operating the software (or instructions)!
Our training usually comprised of warming up with primal or as the kids like to call it 'animal movement' patterns. These are always plenty of fun and are typically furnished using friendly exploratory styles of movement and later races up and down the mats (to challenge and keep the kids engaged). I'd award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and 'Pop Corn' awards for encouragement each race.
Claudette struggled a lot initially here which of course was unusual for a child normally. I would get down on the mats and just pour out the encouragement continuously and would basically play with her using a lot of humour and trickery to get some patterns firing. When she couldn't do something properly, I would either modify, breakdown, discard or just focus on the component she was partly achieving. Eventually we had her 'baby crawling' properly and then 'backward baby crawling' which initially she hated. Boot-scooting and frog jumping were early favourites that caught her imagination. Then we progressed to bear crawl, jumping hurdles, combat crawling on the belly, back shimmy, rocket ship, back rolling, break-falling and more recently shoulder and forward rolling which literally caused her to cry in utter fear initially.
She quickly learned to take ownership of movements and started creating her own both in nature and in name like the 'Majestic Horse'. We are now combining movements to create more complex movement patterns such as the 'Frogadile' to provide more challenge. Most of this work is ground based giving Claudette more security and stability whilst building strength from the floor up and not re-enforcing her failures with tenuous balance whilst standing.
Additionally I also heavily relied on low-medium height balance beam traversing skills (standing only at this stage) forwards, backwards, sideways, bending down, catching/throwing and obstacle course work. Claudette became so invested and confident in what she was doing that I started getting reports of her playing at school on the monkey bars etc. taking risks and importantly failing which had never previously happened. She had voluntarily begun self exploration again at school by herself and in PE class.
Here is a video link of Claudette performing a depth jump and controlled landing from quite a height.
There was another problem however. It seemed Claudette was not really present during our communication as most children are (at least initially...lol!). She was either lagging behind, somewhere else mentally or just foggy. Add to this her considerably slurred and jumbled speech which I had to frequently get interpreted by Amy (her newly appointed best friend whom basically assisted Claudette wherever possible each day whether be it at school or with therapists and even on short home stays).
It was obvious this was creating frustration and tension not only for me as a coach but more sadly for Claudette. Witnessing this 1st hand 1 on 1 made me shudder as I imagined how hard it was for her in a standard school setting trying to learn the basics of life we take for granted whilst competing with 30 other young souls for the teachers attention!
I realised that the odds for her catching up let alone learning much at all were small. Our work here just became so much more important. So I decided to dedicate the first section of each training session to mindfulness and tranquility in an attempt to give her some peace, certainty and grounded-ness with no expectations.
Initially just simple sitting meditation for up to 5min's was employed. This worked up to 5min's but required continual improvisation in the form of a copycat style game we played with a ball each, in silence. Claudette needed a continual change of stimulus to maintain engagement like most children. We then progressed to practice the Sil Lim Tao Form section by section for a year up until her 1st grading. We played memory games having her recite the movements in sequence and progressing one at a time each week using the ramp coaching method.
What really created a breakthrough for Claudette in terms of her concentration and mindfulness though was accepting that coaching with picture thinking and humour rather than just visually with prompts was the answer. eg 'hug, yawn, hug' when describing the 2nd section closing and opening actions of arms.
Interestingly her focus, attention and mastery of language was so complete during this phase of training that it dawned upon me that comparatively she had become the most consistently correct child form practitioner within the club. I did not dismiss this fact lightly. She was my youngest student at the time with much less mat time than most not to mention the obvious points of issue in respect to her apparent mental disability and delayed learning that put mental maturity somewhere around the age of 3-4 years.
I was now coaching form work differently not only to Claudette but to all my students with better results and more engagement. She forced me to find a more effective coaching style! (what do they say... the teacher learning as much if not more from the student)
My other observation of Claudette during this period was the peace it brought her mentally. She seemed to soak it up and really be in the moment, to be feeding on it (unlike some students who do in order to get praise, a stripe, award or belt) as if it were a nutrient or food her body needed but previously didn't know existed. The fringe but crucial benefit was I no longer had to do battle with the pre-mature, impatient, frustrated mind or pride like the teachers at school were experiencing.
Her willingness to repeat form work continually every session and at home voluntarily was nothing short of amazing. She was never bored until about the one year mark at which time we incorporated the same form under duress. This involved me applying light or changing resistance to her body structure in order that she develop a better internal understanding of correct mind/body use built upon theoretical understanding.
Here is a link of her performing her form under light duress after about 3mths of hands on training. Sil Lim Tao form by Claudette.
To say Claudette finally started to improve with efficiency of movement, hand-eye co-ordination, strength, balance, proprioception, muscular endurance and timing is a huge understatement. For a girl who could barely lift her foot a few centimetres off the ground to kick out without falling, to now kicking at will with complete balance in 6mths (thigh height) was rewarding.
Though I will not be so naive or arrogant to believe mindful movement is responsible for all the abrupt positive growth witnessed this past 18mths I do wholeheartedly believe it was the necessary catalyst for change in the brain that allowed the other areas like speech and the speech therapist's work to come into their own amazing success as part of Claudette's progress.
I think effectively what has happened here is that her brain has been forced to rewire (not to re-connect conventionally as this is not possible). It may not be the most efficient hardware wiring plan built inside a brain but it indeed works and doesn't show any signs of being limited to date.
My summary observation is that Claudette is so much brighter now and is definitely present. Her positivity oozes, her personality is unique and always prevails usually through humour and her cute cheekiness. She is way more intelligent than I think any of us could have imagined. She is so perceptive picking up on little subtleties that most children would simply miss whether they be verbal, tonal or visually via body language. Were these attributes simply hidden beneath the fog and rarely communicated due to speech delays...we will never know.
Has her mirroring issue disappeared...NO. But we have all witnessed it become less of a feature of Claudette's functional movement. By not focusing or competing with what ever it is we have allowed her to rally within her strengths to build confidence for the first time. By focusing firstly on gross motor movements and DMC's (dominant movement patterns required for life) we have effectively diminished much of the 'disability' attached to the mirroring component of movement within her mind/body. Aside from the importance of all that...YES it does seem as if the mirror movements are not as prevalent or 'big' as at the beginning of our training journey.
Where to next.... I will continue Claudette's movement progression to more complex obstacle course scenarios using some ground based movement patterns in the semi and standing postures and on the beam. More demanding static motor control movements from gymnastics are on the cards also. Her spatial mind-mapping/memory is not ready for the moving forms yet and won't be for some time so partner Chi Sau and beyond to really working her kin-aesthetic senses and hand/eye co-ordination!
If you're a coach and interested in working with people experiencing extra challenges then look up the NDIS web directory of allied health providers in your local area. See if you can develop a relationship with them and have them sponsor you (at no cost to either party) under their Provider Registration to create another valuable referral stream in your business. You won't regret the experience!
seminar and workshops at your club
(anywhere in Aus)
with Corey Slade
If your club has female members or maybe you want to increase the female to male ratio within your club then why not have me to run a one off 2hr seminar or a 16hr course to boost your Women's Self Defense credibility within the local community.
Within the seminar a discussion will ensue to highlight the problem of female victimisation based on actual statistics including the Who, When, Where, Why and college concerns for your daughter.
The Solution will touch on the subject of street smarts, the triangle of victimisation, stranger and non-stranger strategies, verbal self defence and an outline of our course.
DON'T BE A VICTIM
Become EMPOWERED via our 16hr course (can be split) and earn your pink belt!
The course includes specific physical and psychological techniques and concepts based statistically on the most common situations. This training emphasis's strategies and techniques to prevent going to ground but also addresses the reality of what to do once there from a Woman's perspective.
This training is not Wing Chun technique based (although not ignorant of it either) and involves low strength high yield chokes and submissions that Women typically feel comfortable with.
No prior training or fitness level required.
Happy to provide a bonus FREE Kids Martial Arts Class Event to wow your members kids and hopefully convert non-members to join your kids classes!
Seminar and course can be run cost neutral or even earn your club a %
CALL 0429 000095 to register your club for the seminar
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My background is Wing Chun (Coach), Krav Maga (Coach), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Coach), Kids MA Coach, Master Personal Trainer, FMS L2 Coach