I’ll end this series by starting with a quick review. Feed, Read, Deed is a model to process an attack and proceed a defense.
The Feed is how an opponent actually assaults you. The Read is how you optically register and mentally recognize it. The Deed is how you actively respond.
In other words, the Deed is a decisive act based on your best Read of a given Feed. It can range from fright to flight to fight. You may freeze up, take off or face down the threat. Of course, screaming, pleading or fainting is also possible!
For our purposes, let’s say this is a dire situation where you have no chance to walk or talk your way out, no choice to avoid or hide. And doing nothing is lethal. Your only option is to protect yourself. That is a nonverbal verb. You must do something and do so soon.
WingChun creates Feed, Read, Deed circuits. Our Programs define, refine and align the visual, cerebral and physical cycle of Self-Defense flow. There are dozens of these developmental sequences in our Lat Sao (Casting Arms), Sections and Applications.
For instance, upon seeing the Feed of a punch, you Read it as a right straight jab towards your face. One Deed we train is Ji Ng Ma (Meridian Stance) with Tan Sao (Spreading Arm). This is followed by a Su Bo (Pivoting Step) then Pak Sao (Slapping Arm). We finish with a Dap Bo (Striding Step) and Tsong Kuen (Thrusting Punch).
However, if you Read it as a low strike to your solar plexus, your Deed is Su Bo (Pivoting Step) and Gan Sao (Dividing Arm) then Tsong Kuen.
The Deed shows how well you Read the Feed.
Simply, the steps are from the eyes, mind and body of your opponent to your eyes, mind and body. The opponent sees your nose, intends to break it and unleashes his fist (Feed). Your task is to observe the motion and identify the attack (Read) then decide which counterattacking technique is best and execute it fully (Deed).
Allow me an analogy. When I was studying the Chinese materia medica, I had a couple hundred samples of herbs in small ziplock bags. At first it was easy to separate broad structural categories of seeds, roots, stems and leaves. But distinguishing among similar shapes, textures and aromas was very difficult.
However, with practice, I could immediately and accurately identify the name, function and indication of each specific species. Just by glancing at it I knew what it was and how to use it. They were like three-dimensional multi-sensorial flashcards. This method worked better for me than poring over flat book pages, texts and photos.
If you recall learning math or language, the same challenge of symbolic pattern recognition unfolded. First we struggle with counting then adding then multiplying. Or we work through vocabulary then grammar then conversation. As novices, we are usually halting, nervous and wrong. In WingChun, correct risk calculation and fluent body language also takes time.
Do the Deed
In some measure, the Deed is both the easiest and the hardest phase. Because you must finally enact theory as practice, perception into reality.
Once you determine what to do (Read), completely commit to its execution (Deed). Employ all that you are to the task. Every single fiber of nerve, thread of muscle and ounce of bone is primed into present.
Imagine dedicating a dozen spartan years of daily training to barely reach to the Olympic finals in the 100 meter dash. Regrettably, you are retiring after this last sprint of your career. The tremendous personal hardship and vast financial sacrifice haunts and drives you. But more than anything, you want to win this race as a searing spiritual desire. Here you are, ablaze in the blocks, milliseconds from doing the deed. Ready, set…
Surviving a Self-Defense encounter is even more vital than that. For nothing else matters if you don’t emerge to die another day. Paralyzing excuses, rationalizations, denials will get you killed now. Your resolve to live needs to bleed brighter than the athlete above — as urgent as a drowning man violently gasps for his final sip of precious air on Earth.
Your whole mind, full emotion and entire soul is rapt. Grit fills each cell, pours from every pore.
No one can teach you how to engage everything despite any fear, doubt and uncertainty, to stop multitasking and unitask for once. Yet such integrity of being is who you must invoke as yourself in this most crucial of moments. So draw upon your deepest resources to the last glimmering drop.
Feel free to relax, regroup and repose post-survival.
You need not always simulate this profound intensity for a class duration! But cultivate the will to unequivocally command its maximum expression at any instant. Then you can call on it like a pet tiger.
A Final Summary
To conclude, the main variables of dynamic interaction in Self-Defense are what I term:
- Feed is the opponent’s intention (approaching) and action (attacking)
- Read is your perception (looking) and recognition (seeing)
- Deed is your decision (thinking) and reaction (doing)
Thus, WingChun optimizes a range of your human capabilities — intention, action, perception, recognition, decision, reaction — for the rigors of combat.Follow @SihingPaul