недеља, 17. септембар 2017.

Snake Crane Wing Chun in UK

Sifu Wayne Yung spent more than month in UK promoting SCWC and meeting prominent Wing Chun teachers. This is first in a series of stories about his trip .







среда, 06. септембар 2017.

Wing Chun master Yves Vertommen

It is my pleasure to present kung fu enthusiast , humble and quiet man and tru master of Yip Man’s  lineage Wing Chun,  Yves Vertommen . He is opening a new Wing Chun school and in that spirit I would like to say a few words about his knowledge and experience.
He started his martial journey at the age of 7. His first arts were Judo and Taekwondo and he has instructor’s licence in both of these arts. His first encounter with Wing Chun was in 1983 while he was active soldier in Belgium military force.
After finished military service he devoted him self to Wing Chun training and practiced 6 to 8 hours daily. His teacher also sent him occasionally to other prominent Wing Chun masters to expand his knowledge. Master Simon Lau and Wang Kiu  were some of these teachers he visited and learned from. In the early 1990’s his teacher asked him to open his own school.
Over the years hundreds of students passed through master Yves’ school. His students as well as himself actively competed in various categories and won numerous prizes in full contact , semi-contact matches and forms.
His talent, knowledge and training approach were recognized by many. He is a frequent lecturer in many major traditional Chinese martial arts events. He is recognized and accepted as a teacher by Chinese martial community as well.

Over the years master Yves was main subject of various martial magazines stories and was interviewed by national TV  in several occasions. He  also , in a TV  interview , received  an award of gratitude and special service from the French Minister of Sports in Belgium.
Master Yves' school is right place for Wing Chun enthusiasts who seek knowledge,quality of information and  training in a relaxed and positive atmosphere.

website and contact info

https://wingchunshaolin.com


 Master Yves with his first teacher in the early days (left), Master Simon Lau (small photo on the right)
Award from French Ministry of Sport 




 

 


Vraious invitations for martial arts events and competitions .


 Sifu Yanou San
One of the stories about Master Yves published in a martial arts magzine


Another newpaper release





From competition...



субота, 19. август 2017.

Qi Gong - health benefits

Qi gong, an activity practiced by millions of people, very popular in China and more and more popular on the west, often understood as a magic tool that will heal all illness and prolong life.  To promote Qi Gong, “teachers’ and “masters’ often use medical studies to support their claims and attract more customers. But what is the real truth behind these studies, what these researches really show?
Let’s fist see how Qi gong is defined in western medicine:” Qi gong is an umbrella term that subsumes a variety of energy-based healing practices based on Taoist philosophy and principles of Chinese medical theory.”
While Taoist philosophy may be valid for Taoist practitioners (believers) it has no scientific value, same goes with Chinese traditional medicine, it is a practice based on outdated, nonscientific theories rooted in Chinese folk religion and Taoism. In its essence Qi gong is an esoteric practice which ultimate goal is achieving immortality.
In this article several links to several published studies can be found. While the method of the study is valid, some basic facts about nature, practice, history and origin of Qi Gong are wrong. Also, studies were focused only of physical aspect of the practice not including a psychological aspect which is extremely important in Qi Gong.
In order to “work” Qi Gong practitioner must be convinced that the method will work. Most if not all Qi Gong exercises include some kind of visualization, concentration and imagination. All the physical manifestation of Qi Gong that include various sensory sensation in different parts of the body can be produced without any exercise or special breathing technique by simple concentration and deliberate inducing of these effect by conscious mind.
Results of medical studies of health benefits of Qi Gong:
While medical studies shows there are some health benefits from Qi Gong practice it needs to be explained what those benefits actually are.
First and most important fact is that Qi Gong is not main healing method for any medical problem. It is strictly an additional activity with sole purpose to support main medical treatment. In other words, Qi Gong cannot cure anything  and in all published studies there is a warning that Qi Gong practice should not delay real medical diagnostic and treatment methods. Qi Gong is not alternative for the medical treatment nor can replace it in any way.
For a great number of diseases Qi Gong does not show any improvements.
Most studies concentrate on Qi Gong influence on hypertension, chronical pain and improving of quality of life in general in certain population ( elder, cancer patients ). While studies show that there are improvement and positive influence of Qi Gong practice these benefits are no different from common physical exercises usually prescribed for these kind of problems ( aerobic, slow walk, running , swimming , specific exercises for pain ect). Studies do not show any significant difference between Qi Gong and other types of physical exercise. Benefit of Qi Gong does not go beyond its physical aspect. For example, people who suffer from hypertension will have same results whether they practice Qi Gong or simply have 30 minutes slow walk.
Qi Gong does not significantly influence life expectancy. China is the country with the greatest number of Qi Gong practitioners but life expectance in China is not what would anyone think it would be.
We can clearly see that China is on the middle of the list, and if we examine the life expectancy in China through history we can see that China was, until recently, near the bottom of the list. Clear markers for life expectancy are in any given country is the quality of health care and general socio-economical level of development , in other word a quality of life. Richest countries with the best healthcare systems have the longest living citizens.
Population of Qi Gong practitioners does not show any difference in life span or rate of disease from general population in any given country. Even “masters” have same rate of disease and same mortality rate as general population and their life span is no different form general population as well.
Benefits of physical exercises of human health are known for centuries, Qi Gong as any other system of exercise will have positive influence on practitioner’s health and quality of life. On the other hand this influence will not be different from any other systems of exercise. Qi Gong is not magical tool for all health problems, just one of many similar choices available today


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/#R3


четвртак, 17. август 2017.

My view of Wing Chun training

Being involved in Wing Chun since 1989 my understanding of the art changed over time and at this point there are several things I do and understand differently from most of the other practitioners . I know many will disagree with what I am going to say, even my own teachers , but  we all have our own path to walk and develop our self and our skills in a way we find most beneficial. Anyway , here are some of my thought about Wing Chun.
Wing Chun is advertised as a simplest, easy to learn art, yet when the training starts nothing is simple , nothing is easy to learn and require a great amount of time to learn all the stuff . While Wing Chun principles are pointing toward directness and simplicity, training is developing in a totally different direction, seems that art violates its own principles. There are two main reason for this, first – financial reasons, “teachers” develop overcomplicated drills and make large curriculums to keep students occupied for a long time. Second, most of the teachers never fought in their lives and they make “techniques” that resembles on old kung fu movies, complicated, multiple steps techniques which look attractive but have no real combat value.  My understanding of the art is different. I developed my own training approach which is different from the mainstream WCK training approach.
-          Complicated , fixed drills are not part of my training. Most WCK styles practice complicated drills with no combat value and without clear goal of the drill. In my opinion , drill must be simple and must develop some of the physical attributes necessary for fighting  like reflexes , speed , accuracy, timing , power… if drill has more than two steps ( even two is too much) it is the opposite of what drill suppose to do. Besides some of the very basic drills that can be found in almost all styles ( and those I also practice differently) I have no fixed drills ,I develop drills for each of my students individually to fit their needs and physical predispositions. I focus my training on mobility , strength , reflexes , timing , power.

-          Chi Sao, an omnipotent tool that replaces sparring and trains “contact” reflexes.  I have a question , has anyone , ever seen anyone using any techniques from chi sao in real fight? We all know answer to that –no. There is a good reason for that , chi sao is a tool to develop and train body structure , it is a tool to teach how body structure is used to deal with incoming force, nothing more and nothing less. Chi Sao is just a drill made to develop certain physical attributes but it is not replacement for sparring and it is not a fighting reflex drill. Originally, Chi Sao was not a part of Wing Chun system , it was added later , somewhere around the middle of 19th century and it has its origin in long pole sensitivity drills adjusted to empty hands techniques.

-          Internal training –  is a bullshit , what people today call internal is simple concept of body structure which helps to generate force and absorb the force. There is nothing “internal” in that , nothing mystical. Problem is majority of wing chun styles have no concept or have limited concept of body structure. Structure is the basic foundation of the style , without it there is no wing chun . To develop body structure practitioner needs to spend a lot of painful hours of training , yes “external” training . “Internal” without “external” do not exist  internal is just a term which describes a level of efficiency , there is no mystery in that.  What I see in so called “internal” training today are two things, people are mixing stuff from other styles like white crane and tai chi and call it “internal” wing chun and no one doing anything beyond Siu Lim Tao level. I don’t see practical usage of “internal” training in sparring or fights , which would be second form level.  All I see are people doing chi sao, pushing each other around with very little footwork ( btw, completely wrong footwork). My training is different , I focus on using “internal” principles – body structure and power generation in a real fight.

-          While Wing Chun is advertised as easy to learn and fast to master art, for the reasons previously named above, in reality it is required around 20 years to complete the system. To learn all the things , drills ,”techniques” and “applications” require a great amount of time. Sad truth is , all those stuff have nothing to do with fighting , they are purpose to them self, to be learned, perfected to look cool and that is all. I do not teach fixed curriculum, I teach principles and give the students basic foundation which he will later develop in his own way. Everyone must personalize the art , that is the only way to fully master it , to fully understand it . I do not make copies , I try to give people what is necessary for their individual development and growth.

-          If it doesn’t hurt it is not martial arts training. Wing Chun training must be challenge , a way to push one’s limits little bit further every training session. If it is not like that , if it is practiced in relaxed and non challenging manner , it is not martial training , it is a sport or some kind of fitness .

-          Secrets – do not exist, people may hide some things but that is what crippled wing chun and made it a laughing stock for most of the full contact sports practitioners. Every now and then someone appears with “secret’ style or knowledge. Just ask check that person fighting record , if there isn’t any , that person is selling a crap. There are no shortcuts , not easy way to achieve skill , only hard and painful work.

-          Pure, original art – is also a bullshit. Many people sell a story about some kind of original styles. The truth is, no one lived in a vacuum, people met and exchanged knowledge over time, every generation added or discarded something , it is a natural process. There is no one who knows how Wing Chu n looked like at the beginning. That is the only truth.

-          Certification and ranks – they doesn’t mean a shit , either you can fight or not , either you have the skill or not , that is only measurement of the skill level. There are no ranks in boxing , or Thai boxing, or kick boxing or wrestling …they don’t need a piece of paper to tell them what they can do.

-          Politics – I don’t care what others are doing , and how they are doing it. Everyone has the right to choose what he will do. About all the infighting in WCK , the more they talk the less they train, that is it .

-          “Wing Chun cannot be used in a competition fighting because gloves are limiting the amount of techniques” , a usual excuse for not going to competition or even spar. Wing Chun , like any other style , if properly trained can be used in competition fighting .

-          “Wing Chun is deadly art”.  Have you ever heard that anyone in wing chun history killed someone with his bare hands? Ever? Fairytales are one of the things that are killing our art and instead of hard training fuel people with false selfconfidence .


To conclude this article, this is my personal opinion and it is not intended to offend anyone. People have right to choose their own path and enjoy in training. Different people have different goals and desires and their training will be adjusted to them. At the end , we do not have to agree on anything but we can still respect each other and promote our art the best we can.

четвртак, 10. август 2017.

Origin of martial arts

Martial arts are old as human kind its self. From the earliest times man was forced to fight to survive in a harsh environment which he shared with beasts and often he had to fight against other humans. On the other hand, determining the exact time when first fighting systems with defined techniques and system of training appeared is not as easy task.
Eastern martial arts trace their origin to gods and mythical heroes and their history and development is not easy to track. There is even less evidence about origin of western martial styles, especially because empty hand styles were never wildly spread in the west and cold weapons fighting styles were completely lost with introduction of fire arms.
Let’s take a look what history has to say about origin of martial arts .

Spear , as a first weapon human kind used was invented in palaeolithic  period , bow and arrow were invented at the end of this period. Although there are no evidence , it is logical to assume that there was at least some kind of systematization of techniques for these weapons. Unfortunately , we have no evidence so we can only speculate about the way these weapons were used.
 Probably the oldest evidence of martial arts, or martial sport to be accurate was found in France in the Lascaux cave. Paintings on the cave walls show wrestling match ( as well as a race ). It is estimated that paintings are 17 000 years old.
In Mongolia there is a cave painting from Neolithic period ,  dated 7000 B.C that shows two man wrestling , surrounded by spectators
In Libya were found paintings  from Neolithic period , dated 6000 B.C ,that show archery competition.In Japan were found drawings from Neolithic period that shows something that resembles today’s Sumo wrestling. We can conclude that wrestling is the oldest empty hand martial discipline.
 Discovery of metallurgy and agriculture led to formation of first states in old Mesopotamia, 4000 BC. Summer as the first civilization and Assyrian and Akkadian after were the first civilizations with complete organized government and of course professional army. With professional army first training and fighting systems were developed. Training was mostly infantry training and soldiers were practicing with dfferent kind of weapons , mostly spears , swords , axes and maces.

Traces of empty hand fighting we found around 3000 B.C. in ancient Summer. Stone carvings show people wrestling. Oldest bronze figurine that show people in wrestling position are dated 2600 B.C. in old Summer. The oldest written document about wrestling is the Myth of Gilgamesh (which is the oldest recorded myth in human history). We also find evidence of boxing matches in old Summer around 3000 B.C. Summerians organized boxing competitions that resembles modern boxing matches.

In ancient Egypt, on monuments dedicated to pharos in archaeological site Be Hassan were found evidence of sophisticated wrestling system. Specific techniques were presented and it is obvious that techniques were classified in two groups , fighting in the standing position and ground fighting. At the same place we find evidence of boxing matcher similar to those from Summer.

History of ancient Greece started with Minoan civilization 2600.BC. Greece is not only a cradle of European civilization but also an origin point of boxing and wrestling as fully developed and defined disciplines. One of the most popular sports in ancient Greece was Pankration, an art that resembles on modern MMA. The legend says Ulysses was also a master of this martial art. 


In ancient China first trace of fighting in organized groups was found in period of first Chinese dynasty , Xia , around 4000 B.C. First organized system of empty hand fighting , actually wrestling was invented , as the legend goes, by Huang Di , “Yellow Emperor” , who supposedly lived around 2800 B.C. First archeaological evidence of complete weapon figthing systems in China were found in 5th century B.C.


Weapon fighting systems and fighting in organized groups were far older than any empty hand fighting system. Unfortunately these systems were almost completely lost. New technologies that brought new way of warfare , disappearance of people and states that used these systems and finally invention of fire arms which made cold weapon absolute caused the disappearance of these fighting systems. Today we know very little about techniques and training methods of fighting systems before invention of fire arms.

четвртак, 03. август 2017.

Announcement

Snake Crane Wing Chun in UK for the first time 

GM  Wayne Yung, founder of Snake Crane Athletic Association will conduct a seminar on August 24th 2017 in Stoke on Trent in UK. It is a unique opportunity to learn from the first hand about the oldest and rarest Wing Chun style today which stayed unchanged from the time of Ching dynasty.






Seminar starts at 19:30 PM 

Program:

History of Snake Crane Wing Chun
    1. Advantages of close distance combat
    2. Snake Crane Kuen Kuit ( only original and complete kuen kuit from Ching dynasty period)

Four foundation principles (four keys) of Snake Crane Wing Chun
    1. Softness
    2. No Oppsition 
    3. Power Generation
    4. Empty Mind 

Close distance combat 
     1. Introduction to Qi Gong part of Snake Crane Wing Chun Sil Lim Tao
     2. Introduction to Snake Crane Wing Chun basic hands techniques and principles ( Snake Reel, Crane Withstand)

contact :

среда, 12. јул 2017.

Qi gong in Wing Chun training

Qi is in everything, in every breath, every movement, even voice …everything that we do or feel is permeated with energy. That energy, impossible to be detected and defined by modern science, is known as Qi.
There are many theories what Qi is and whether or not even exist. Vast majority of people do not believe in Qi, at least not as traditional Chinese medicine defines it.  Many people are completely unaware of such a thing and many simply do not pay attention. On the other hand there are many who practice cultivation and channeling the Qi and many of them exaggerate the effects and significance of Qi gong often entering the domain of esotery and supernatural.
Qi is a sort of bioelectrical impulse  a signal that travels through the nervous system under the muscle stimulation. It is interesting fact that Qi is completely unreachable for people who do not believe in it. Simply, non believers cannot feel Qi. Autosuggestion plays an important role in Qigong. That is the reason why science in not able to detect Qi, it depends mostly of practitioner’s  “feelings” and suggestion. Different sensations that can be felt in Qi gong training are not unified and every practitioner has different sensations. That is explained differently, while some people believe Qi is nothing more than psychosomatic occurrence and do not really exist others completely believe in traditional explanation of this phenomena. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Whether Qi really exist or it is just an illusion of the mind and there are no solid scientific proof of its health benefits, Qi gong is an important part on Eastern culture and not only Eastern, today millions of people are practicing some form of Qi gong all around the world and they subjectively feel the benefit of that practice and that is the most important.
Qi became part of martial arts somewhere at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, especially during republican period when many Qi gong systems were incorporated in martial systems.
Internal systems appeared sometime earlier, in the second part of the 19th century , but as it was explained Qi gong and “Internal” or Neigong training are not same thing. Some internal systems , like some Wing Chun and White Crane styles are composed in very interesting way. In this systems Neigong and Qi gong training are parallel, same sets are used to develop internal ,today popularly called “engine” , and to develop and channel Qi.
It is commonly believed that first section of Wing Chun’s first form can be practiced as a Qi gong set, mostly because the fashion in which this section is usually performed. That is only partially true. The fact is, not only the complete first form but all three forms are Qi gong sets if taught and  performed correctly.
While Qi gong, contrary to common believe does not influence fighting ability of the practitioner in any way , especially does not increase them in any percent , it has specific role in Wing Chun forms training. Let’s take a second section of second form for example ( I am not talking about Yip Man’s version of the form, the way his Chum Kiu form is preformed prevents any Qi gong practice). In this section the stepping is introduced to the system. But the step is not simply a step. There is a whole sequence of fine movements accompanied with a proper sequence of breathing in order to make a correct step. Pelvic area or “Kwa” plays an important role in this action. Kwa controls the direction of Qi in the body.             Proper sequence of changing the Kwa position during the step the proper flow of Qi is enabled and regulated. Changing the position of Kwa is just one of Qi gong and Neigong elements of this “simple” action.
If Qi does not enhance or influence practitioner’s fighting ability in any way why practice is? It is true that same set of movements can be practice solely like Neigong exercise in order to develop proper body structure and power generation without Qi gong part and it will not influence the quality of the training. Same attributes will be developed with or without Qi gong part.

On the other hand, Qi gong can play an important part in achieving the highest level of skill much faster than usual. There are no special powers or properties of Qi that speed up the training but much simpler thing. Neigong training is very precise, it requires , besides complete relaxation , controlling and integrating a lot of fine micro movements. It is not easy to do that, especially with complete conscious control of the movements. Qi gong part not only that helps practitioner to relax but also moves the control to the deeper parts of  consciousness and make it easier to perform correctly. One more thing is also very important and shows the ingenuity level of Wing Chun creators. Sets are made to be Neigong and Qi gong sets for a specific purpose. When Qi is activated and used to perform the set, in this case a step, it helps practitioner to actually feel whether or not he is doing everything properly. Qi will correct the movement automatically and put everything on its place. This is very important for achieving a high level of Internal skills. At higher levels , practitioner will perform the whole set without any conscious effort, the body will do everything like it has a mind of its own. That way the correct practice is insured and body structure and power generation can be pushed to the highest possible level. 
The step will be performed in a manner that enables complete control of the center of gravity and balance, even is the outside force comes in the middle of the step when the pactitioner's balance and structure are most sensitive to attacks they will be kept intact. Also this movement will enable an additional impuls of power that can be directed to the blocks , punches or kicks.