Introduction to Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun Kuen - Kim Elman

In this essay I will try to give you a brief introduction to some of the things that our training revolves around that might help you see how our system is structured. I feel that because of this structure, it's easy to understand how to apply it regardless of situation. The information is at your disposal and the possibilities are limitless. Everything fits perfectly together to make the art of Wing Chun Kuen work to full effect.

Sum Fa
Sum Fa or Mental methods are keywords and concepts from which techniques, applications and even tactics can stem.
The genious of teaching this way is that the applications become endless. Furthermore, a student will be able to develop and teach himself as soon as he understands the method. This in turn leads to deeper understanding and freedom in expression.

Presently there are about 20 or so methods that we work with, however, more can be developed if needed, as they are not set in stone, but rather an outline of the methods used in the system. The Sum Fa can be used to describe and communicate everything we do in WCK.

5 Major Components
These five major components are the main attributes one should develop in WCK. They are tools, body structure, timing, positioning and sensitivity. The important thing to remember is that they are all directly related to and connected to the mental methods. I will describe each one briefly.

The tools are your collection of techniques. These are of course necessary to make the methods real and applicable. The tools are controlled by the methods and not the other way around. Each tool should be versatile enough to be used in different contexts, for instance, the same tool could be used as an offence, defense, lock or takedown, depending on circumstances.

Body Structure
This is probably the single most outstanding thing in the CSL system. The use of body mechanics is trained from day one, since your body is what powers all of your tools. Powerful body mechanics gives you dynamic control of your center of gravity, balance and posture, enabling you to use full body power at will. All branches of WCK talk about body structure but none that I've seen or even heard of utilize it in the same manner as in the CSL system. Some important factors of body structure is understanding vector forces, understand and be able to use the natural springs of the body to full effect and have the sensitivity to know when to link and delink our bodies.

Body structure has four components;

1) It is the attacking base,
2) it is the defensive base,
3) it is the method of linking to issue force and,
4) it is the methods of delinking to protect our position.

There are four methods of linking up the body. Sigung describes them like this:

"Hand-hand is when a practitioner links one movement powered by local muscles, followed by another movement also powered by local muscles. The advantage here is speed. The purpose here is to set up the opponent.

Hand-body is when the hands lead the body. In essence, this is when one initiates the attacking movement with the localized muscle, then finally link the body with the limb for additional power. Hand to body is one basic way to transition over from the hands alone, then power your movements with the body.

Body - hand is when you have to change or set up the opponent. Perhaps there is a struggle between you and your opponent and you need to break free. From here, you initiate a de-linkage with your body in order to maneuver quickly to a faster position.

Body - body is when you consistently move from movement to movement with full body linkage. This is the most powerful approach and is the most difficult to do. It also has the danger of trapping or jamming oneself, if one cannot maintain the proper distance."

Developing your own sense of timing and the ability to read the timing of your opponent, is essential to practical application of the art. In entering/closing and intercepting, utilizing the correct timing is cruicial. There are many ways to describe timing and one of the methods used is described in the 5 Methods of Combat in the context of intercepting. Once you've broken the opponents structure you have a timing advantage, since your opponent is trying to recover rather then defend or attack. You can only get this proper timing if you're in control, and you can only be in control if you're in the right distance. Another aspect of the WCK timing is that once you've made contact and stored your opponents force, it will automatically be released as soon as the way is free, since your entire body is being used as a spring. This takes away the time-consuming stimuli - response way of fighting, as any spring will immediately snap back as soon as the force affecting it disappears.

Tactical advantage and control can be gained through proper positioning. The goal is to achieve a position where you are occupying or controlling the centerline, while your opponent is directed away from your center. This is what proper facing is about, your opponent having one hand against two of yours or no hands to one of yours.

In essence, your sensitivity is the means of letting your opponent tell you how to defeat him. No matter what happens you must always be sensitive to change and be able to adapt to circumstances. At contact range tactile sensitivty is most important and at non-contact range eye sensitivty and the ability to read your opponent is most important.

5 Methods of Combat
These methods are a way to describe what stages you go through in a confrontation. All methods are inter-related and interchangeable due to the last component of Adjustment.
The ideal is to end the fight in the same beat as it starts. Your opponent attacks or initiates aggression and you immediately recognize the threat (bai jong) and in the same phase as you are intercepting you are also breaking their structure and knocking them out.

Assuming Structure (Bai Jong)
This is where you ready your body and mind for the situation at hand. If you have good awareness you should be able to read the cues leading up to a confrontation. Should you fail to ready yourself conciously, your training should make you assume the "ready mode" as soon as the altercation starts.

As I wrote earlier, when you choose to intercept depends on the timing involved. The following describe the different timings used in interception.

Entry on preparation - the opponent is about to launch an attack.

Entry on development - the attack is on its way.

Entry on extension - the attack has reached its intended point of impact.

Entry on withdrawal - the attack is on its way back.

Entry on response check - the opponent is assessing the results of his attack.

Breaking structure
This is the key elment to gain the upper hand and control your opponent. Anything that delays the opponents reaction time can be considered breaking structure, either mentally or physically. Just as offsetting your opponents center of gravity is a good way to break his physical structure, scaring, intimidating or ridiculing him can break his mental structure and make him freeze or become tense.

Keeping the opponent off structure, smothering him with attacks and constantly slowing his reaction time is the point of chasing.

If something goes wrong you will need to go back and get into the fight again. This can mean re-assuming your own structure or re-intercept the opponent. Even if nothing has gone wrong the principle of adjustment is always present as your sensitivity guides you in dealing with the opponent.

As you can see now the picture is starting to come together.
We have the Sum Fa or methodology of the system to give us the concepts of application. We have our tools that give us a means to translate these methods into physical application. Our body structure is the engine that drives these tools. We have the principles of the system that tells us how to use these tools most efficiently. By developing timing, good positioning and sensitivity we can use all of the above in an everchanging enviornment and against a resisting opponent, and lastly, the five methods of combat gives us a layout of our tactical goals. What else do you need?



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