Chasing Tail

Do you know how to chase your own tail?

That’s right, by running around in a circle.

I have a theory that the more people know about a topic, the less people actually know about the said topic. In the field of engineering that I work in this has by and large proved to be true in that everybody seems to have an opinion on what they think it is and what they want. However, most of the time what they think it is turns out to be not what they think it is.

Confusing, right?

I just saw a video explaining what the wrist circling is about at the end of every movement in a Ip Man style Wing Chun form. This explanation is similar to one that I read a long time ago in a US magazine.

At that time I thought it was a refreshing piece of information and continued to think it was true for a long time. Until one day when I heard an alternate, better explanation.

So maybe both explanations are correct, right?

Well, yes and no.

One explanation, the one I read about, discussed the use of the wrist circling as a sort of isometric exercise to strengthen the wrist and forearm. The explanation I saw today talked about doing the circling slowly and stretching the tendons.

This is what I think – on its own the explanation sounds good. But taken as a whole in the context of the form it kinda sticks out.

Let’s explore this a bit. I am not going to give any answers here though its something I have written about in my eBook 2-Dots –  Six Learning Steps for Mastering Wing Chun’s Kicking Model. Most people aren’t really interested to hear an explanation that is different from what they know or what they can wrap their mind around.

First, is the wrist circling the best way to strengthen the wrist and forearm? It might be a handy way to do it if you don’t have any apparatus but I don’t think that its the best or fastest way to get results.

Secondly, why circle the wrist slowly? Why not a bit faster? Would turning slower actually promote tension in the forearm? If so, how does this help us to relax which is a prerequisite of soft and internal styles. Or we claim that Wing Chun is soft and internal but we don’t really practice it that way……..

Thirdly, is circling a good way to stretch the arm’s tendon?

Fourthly, every other movement in the forms is basically a technique. So suddenly the circling movement is not a technique but a stretching or maybe a strength exercise? Kinda odd I would think.

Lastly, the circling movement is found in the three forms. Why the need to constantly stretch or build strength if you have already done so in the first form? Would your arm actually grow softer or grow thicker and bigger as you go on over the years? Or you become softer by learning to relax more and use lesser strength. Also, would thicker and bigger arms work against your objective to become softer or it does not?

Everyone has an answer or opinion to this so there is no point to try to answer it beyond putting out some thoughts and see if it makes sense. For example, if your Wing Chun skills are still hard have you ever consider that it may be partly influenced by the slow, stretchy, isometric-like way you are doing the wrist circling?

OK, time to wrap up for Tai Chi lesson.



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