Land of Confusion 4

Shall we look a bit more into some other problem areas?

One key problem is the same problem we have in Tai Chi. This is that many Wing Chun practitioners do not practice in full compliance to the principles. If they do they would not have to look outside their style, to people such as this lone wolf for information on how to correct their problems. The problem is if you do not know what is right via the principles then even if you receive some information that improves what you currently have it does not mean that what you have is optimal or are compliant to the principles.

Sure, it is better that what you have previously. But is it in compliance to the principles? If not, why not? Are the principles wrong? Or for some reason there is no need to comply to the principles. In that case why call your art Wing Chun. Like selling dog meat and calling it beef. How do you tell both meat apart?

Sometimes the new stuff you picked up leads to an obvious improvement so you embrace it happily. But did you know it could also lead to other problems areas? Do you know what they are? Probably not, right?

For example, let’s go back to the clamping goat stance I touched on in the previous post. Initially, I didn’t see anything wrong with the stance I learned within an authentic, traditional school until I was confronted with a structure test of the stance.

So I failed the test. I learned how to do the stance the new way. Passed the structure test and thought that’s it.

Then one day I encountered the goat clamping stance again within another authentic Ip lineage. I was presumptious to assume that the stance I was looking at would fail the structure test and therefore it was wrong.

In retrospect, yes the stance would probably fail the structure test but not for the reason you would think. If it failed the structure test it was because the test was configured to pass the stance performed in a certain manner. In other words, the structure test is a biased test.

However, most practitioners who follow this approach would probably not see it this way. I mean, why would they, especially if they are only interested in immediate results. Besides the stance to pass the structure test is made to be learned quickly and who wouldn’t like quick results. Once the results are there it is too easy to not want to look further and dig ourselves into this new trench.

So yes, the goat clamping stance I saw in another Ip lineage would probably fail the structure test but it did not mean that the stance could be collapsed easily. In fact, it couldn’t because it followed a different approach to handling pressure. It was almost the stance as what I had learned previously except for the missing major component. For those who are interested to know more this missing link is mentioned in Picture (vii) in the topic on First Learning Step (Body Structure) 3. Lower Structure on page 28, 2 Dots : Six Learning Steps for Mastering Wing Chun’s Kicking Model.

At this point a student wanting to improve may ask which approach to follow. I would say it depends on what you want. Do you want quick result? Easy to pick up, easy to test? If so, learned the stance of the structure test.

However, if you are seeking the authentic Ip lineage approach I would say that the last method I mentioned is the way to go and its not because I say so. The reason I follow this approach is because this is the only method I have seen so far that leads to the development of a lively footwork. Most of the other methods lead to what I would characterize as a plodding footwork.

Mind you, its not to say that plodding footwork is impractical and as long as you are dealing with emptyhands combat it would not matter much. Its only when you do the knives combat and you start to encounter problems do you then see the flaw in the design of the stance of the structure test. Don’t believe what I write. Go out and do your own research if you are interested. Don’t write and ask me for information. Do your own legwork instead if you want to have a better picture.

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