The Lore of Wing Chun
Ch. 7:  The Seventh Year
By John F. DiVirgilio

 
Self defense requires maximum commitment.

When you become elder brother/sister to younger students, always share knowledge close to their level of experiences.  Only rarely share something beyond their range of new experiences.  Beware not to poison your younger Kung Fu brothers and sisters by giving knowledge too advanced for them.  Let your younger classmates enjoy their journey through the Wing Chun experiences.  If you give too much knowledge away too fast, you will rob the younger students of their experiences and adventures found through self-actualized discovery.

A skilled martial artist must understand the following statement:  "I am able to beat anybody with my skill; however, if I lose to an opponent, the opponent will realize how lucky he or she was to win."

A good teacher has a skilled eye and mind to see errors in physical movements and incorrect attitudes.

Watch carefully the advanced students under your supervision.  Some of the students will learn faster and flow more quickly.  Many will take longer and benefit from the longer processes.  Other students will become disheartened and fade away.  Still others will self destruct because they gauge themselves against the best and wrongly poison themselves as under-achievers.  This last group tend to have egos and expectations beyond their real abilities.  They will no doubt find greater fulfillment at the movies.

The most dangerous types of people are young men looking for a name (fame) and women looking for security (looks can kill).  A successful teacher must be able to weed out hidden agendas, destructive egos, and seductive acts.

Know the appropriate weapon to use when fighting for your life.  The long pole techniques are best against horse mounted bandits and in one-to-one combat situations.  The double broadswords are best used against multiple attackers or in places where space is restricted.

Always allow for a path or act of redemption for students and classmates who have fallen from your trust.

Beware of things that are too heavily emphasized in your teaching.  Over-emphasized techniques and methods may steal from the student's ability and opportunity to experience the realities found in diverse combat situations.

Always help a student on the wrong path, but never prevent a student who is determined (despite your teaching) to do something short-sighted.  The resulting crash and burn from short-sightedness is a form of education needed to be learned by the youth.  After initially trying to help a wayward student, never intervene to prevent the student from learning the hard way, for he/she will not appreciate your actions, nor will he/she learn the full lessons.  Teachers who repeatedly rescue their students from their short-sighted acts have stolen the needed realities from their students.  These teachers will suffer with their students the anguish of failure.

Your best students will be the graduates who leave your Wing Chun school, only to return years later, made wiser and more mature by Father Time.

One of the most important rules in Wing Chun is to inform your graduating students that they must differentiate between the whole art and their personal fighting combinations.  In fighting for your life, there are no rules to restrict your personal fighting methods.  Use whatever techniques that work for you.  However, there are working guidelines, proper progressions, and rules for teaching new students.

It is important to encourage students with five or more years of experience to strike out on their own and to explore another art.  This will prevent tunnel vision by the students and broaden their experiences.

Knowledge itself can be known without the actual experience.  However, a wise martial artist must have enough experience to understand the knowledge.  It is very important not to poison beginning students with too much knowledge when they lack experience.

Experience is incomplete if the gained knowledge is forgotten or unrecorded.  Without historians, past wisdom is lost to future generations.

In clinched combat, remember the following:  You do not need to move first if your opponent does not strike.  If your opponent strikes, move quicker and hit first.  If touching contact is lost or broken, strike!

The most difficult persons to teach are your own children.  Should this become your predicament, send them off to see your Kung Fu brother.

No matter how good you are, there are always better and luckier people.

Never forget that guns and cannons were used in the destruction of the Sil Lum temple in Fukien.  In modern times, one must have a working knowledge of (at minimum) one firearm for personal safety and survival.

"Teaching Momentum":  The progressive acts of motion (movement) in the Wing Chun kung fu system must be understood.  The Sil Lim Tao set contains all the single step ideas for the beginner to use against an attacker.  The Chum Kiu set teaches the student to carry his/her body momentum over several steps.  This set contains all the multiple steps used to engage and redirect the opponent.  The Biu Jee contains all the techniques to suddenly change a losing situation in which you must regain your momentum against an opponent.  The Biu Jee techniques are to be used only in emergencies that require turning a losing situation into a winning one, or to escape a desperate situation.  The wooden man (Mok Yan Jong) techniques train you to keep proper distance from your attacker so that you can ride on or around their attacking momentum.  Both the Biu Jee and the wooden dummy techniques require a high degree of proficiency and lots of experience.  Some teachers stress the Jong techniques before the Biu Jee while others teach the Jong last.  Either method will provide the same outcome.

 
Copyright 1996, John F. DiVirgilio


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