Sifu of Wing Tsun Kung Fu - Student of Sifu Ralph Hänel's WingTsun-CoreConcepts

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Soft pliable effective power, 4 years later

Sifu Ralph Haenel recently asked me whether or not I had any new ideas about this previous blog entry:

What are my new thoughts about getting to this point?

When strong to start
When we are strong, during Wing Tsun training, we are still confident, because we are successful in gaining entry through brute strength.  As most of our partners are weaker than us, we can be falsely successful.  If neither of us is aware that the "success" was obtained through direct force rather than economy of motion, then our Wing Tsun training becomes stagnant.

The problems occur when our training partner happens to be stronger than us.  Problems can also occur, if the partner is simply better in Wing Tsun, and diffuses our strength by letting us pass, or using our stiff strength against us.

When we finally realize this, we then train to become softer, and then we are surprised when we can enter the partner's space effortlessly.  And now we apply our usual strength, which again works against most partners.  But, as before, our Wing Tsun training is at risk of becoming stagnant, if we don't realize that this usual strength doesn't work on everyone.  We might be relying upon strength that is not as powerful as we originally convinced ourselves to believe.

This combination of (somewhat) softness and strength works until we encounter someone who:  a) is more powerful who can take the punch, or b) evades the entry because they are effectively softer in a Wing Tsun way.

Our next goal then becomes:  soft, pliable, effective power

When weak to start
When we are weak, during Wing Tsun training, we can fail and lose confidence earlier.  We can't gain entry by brute strength.  We try to be soft, and we collapse and lose balance altogether.  But, through more training, if we apply some of the Wing Tsun strength and force principles, we are surprised when we can enter effortlessly.  Now, when we do finally gain access past the partner's arms, we have no power behind the strike, and are merely playing tag, brushing some lint.

The problems are there from the beginning, as most partners happen to be stronger than us.  As we slowly improve through, we can enter their space.  However, the problems worsen, because we can't affect the opponent's balance nor move them, as we have not trained the appropriate strength/power.  Consequently, we train our strength by basic weight-lifting.  Upon returning to Wing Tsun, we gain entry, we can hit, it feels stronger than before, but yet... it is not powerful.

Our next goal then becomes:  soft, pliable, effective power

I now think that there is no ideal starting point, in terms of being strong or weak to start.  But, if we don't have a good attitude and strive to improve upon our faults, it doesn't matter where we begin.  I believe that we need to train softness and power at the same time.

"Your attitude determines your altitude." - Zig Ziglar

We are all good in some ways, and have deficits in other areas.  What we should do is to maintain or improve upon our strong points, and simultaneously push ourselves to work further on our weaker areas.

There will always be someone who is better than us.  Our limits are set by ourselves.

"having no limitation as limitation" - Bruce Lee

Happy training!

P.S.  4 years later, I have not yet achieved the soft pliable effective power.  The journey continues...

No comments: