The Lore of Wing Chun
Ch. 2:  The Second Year
By John F. DiVirgilio

Develop the skill and courage to dash forward with full commitment.

Spend time to harden the forearms through contact training.

Free-form teachers develop a few good fighters quickly.  The majority of the other students become punching bags for the better students and the teacher.  Progressive teachers, who make use of traditional methods and modern training principles, develop good fighters at a slightly slower pace but allow the greater majority of the students to reach their own potentials in skill.  Self-serving teachers keep many secrets about their methods and techniques and only develop weak, worshipful or resentful followers.  Choose the correct type of teacher before you train in the Martial Arts.

The Bong Sau and the Lan Sau are sister techniques.  Both can redirect an opponent's force.  These techniques are partners in horizontal shifting.  Both techniques can turn an opponent's corner and cause imbalance.

Experience the many levels of confidence-building found through discovery during the numerous countering drills against random leg and hand attacks.  Know the inner meaning of being reborn.

Periodic times of frustration ("Sticking Points") during periods of training are to be expected.  Frustration comes from the inability to meet inner and outer expectations.  There is a great chance that you need to return to the basics and to simplify your practice.  Learn to slow down your desires and refine what you have already achieved.  Regain your training momentum by returning to the basics.

The feel of contact against a bag or mitt will fortify the realities of contact against the body.  If you punch in the air at every practice, you are wasting your time.

Wing Chun prefers medium- to short-range bridging techniques and is inherently a counter fighting system, not an attacking system.

Marry the bridging and shifting in the Chum Kiu set with the trapping and dexterity of Chi Sau.

Everybody experiences "Sticking Points" in Wing Chun training.  These are natural plateaus in which your skill progression seems to stop.  Do not fear these empty periods.  Take the time in these periods to step back and practice your root reflex drills and foundational moves.  Be glad that you have these off periods to revisit your basics.

Wing Chun makes use of the forearm in hand-to-hand combat.  The fist is only part of the forearm.

Chi Sau and the Chum Kiu set are like a lock and key.  Each is useless without the other.

Chi Sau is rooted in the close and very-close ranges of fighting.  Do not forget the longer-range bridging and kicking techniques.  Distance sparring and in-close Chi Sau must complement each other.  Chi Sau is nothing without the distance sparring, and distance sparring is incomplete without Chi Sau.  For every hour of Chi Sau, spend 20 minutes on open-range sparring.

Rolling your arms correctly is the most important Chi Sau technique.

Remember while rolling your arms in Chi Sau or in distance sparring:

  1. If your opponent does not attack, you do not move to counter.
  2. If your opponent strikes at you, move quickly and more efficiently to make the first strike.
  3. If your opponent slips off your arm, strike immediately.

In sparring, timing is the most important factor.  Be able to wait, meet, and occasionally attack during sparring.

Develop the art of recovery and escape tactics found in the Biu Jee set.

Find elasticity in your moves by using less tension, and become softer.

The Gum Sau pins the arm against body while the Lop Sau jerks the body by pulling away the arm.  Investigate this pair of disrupting techniques well and be feared by your opponents.

Blocks against a fist or leg attack are worthless unless you can disrupt the attacker's body posture.  Countering is complete only when the attacker's shape (posture) is pushed off balance or destroyed.

Beginning students mistakenly believe they have scored a hit during sparring practice because they were able to touch their opponents.  Their infantile experience has yet to teach them that even solid contact can be deflected with little or minor damage to the opponent's body.

Beware the false confidence gained by fast combinations and punching at air targets.

Combination techniques are of no use if they only block fist and leg attacks.  You must defeat the human body behind the fist or leg attack.  Destroy the attacker's foundation and body if you want to survive.

To fight when viable options exist is foolhardy.  To fight when no viable options exist is to fight for survival.

Timing is everything.  Three types of distance fighting include the skill to wait for incoming attack, meeting (intercepting) the attack, and trapping before attacking.

Learn to turn your opponents' corners in battle.  The corners of the human body are found at the elbows or at the knees.

Weight training can improve body strength.  Beware of fast muscle contractions but slow limb movements.  It is very important to practice speed drills after any overload training.

Movement in water (water training) should be followed by speed drills.

Develop jamming and sticking ability with your shins.  This will enable you to defeat the body shape and balance of an attacker.

You will find all the sudden-change techniques for escape and for the regaining of momentum in the Biu Jee set.

Use the Lan Sau to turn your opponent's corner.

Use the Tok Sau to turn a taller opponent's corner.

Understand the principles of half-body fighting.

Copyright 1996, John F. DiVirgilio

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