Everything (1) has its opposite (2). So things come in pairs. But there’s a third variable. Let’s count:
1 = The thing itself
2 = Its complement
3 = Their relationship
For instance, white (1) is contrasted by black (2) and relate along a grayscale (3) gradient. Or, you as a WingChun trainee (1) have a training partner (2) with whom you share an interaction (3), perhaps in Lat Sao (Casting Arms). Also, you (the student) and your Sihing (the teacher) receive and transmit, respectively (and respectfully), WingChun (the teaching). We can call this a “qualitative” triad, the pieces of which exist simultaneously. In other words, it’s three in one, all at once.
In Self-Defense, you aren’t not alone. You need to be aware of yourself (1), your alignment, balance and coordination. But that’s not enough. Success is sporadic without reading your opponent’s (2) direction and distance (3). Actually, these factors arise only with two engaged counterparts. Direction is definable only if you know where your opponent is; distance, if you see how far.
When learning, it’s a useful strategy to flip ideas around. To understand why something is true, you can examine why its opposite is false. This dual, U-turn thinking allows you to play thoughts off each other. Watch carefully and you will catch a third product emerge. Call it reaching a higher level of insight.
Try this whenever you’re struggling with a new technique or theory. Why should you straighten your arm? Why should you keep it bent? When should you slow down? When should you speed up? What should you relax? What should you tense? Consider what makes one side unique in comparison to the other extreme, then find a balance between.
Doing this sort of independent reasoning increases your confidence and improves your creativity as applied to WingChun and otherwise.
(Continue to Part II)