Recently, I taught an Advanced Class at the United States Headquarters of the International Academy of WingChun (IAW) in Berkeley, California. My theme was combination applications of the IAW WingChun Wu Sao (Protecting Arm). I had students practice 3 concepts demonstrated here in less than 5 seconds with Sihing Brandon Solano.
Below is a brief technical analysis of the three Wu Sao (Protecting Arm) combination options against a right straight punch:
Sunday was the official annual IAW Event for all members. Despite the nationally significant World Cup game with Germany versus England playing that afternoon, it was a good showing. Although from the cacophony that ensued after victory, perhaps even WingChun couldn’t drag hardcore soccer fans away from one of the many public screens. Black, red and gold streamed everywhere.
This was a gathering of WingChun people from throughout the whole organization. There were practitioners of all grades, from the First Student Level to the Master Degree, each excited to share a day of intensive practice together. Seven tough hours later, and seven long hours better, they were still going strong. Even one of the WingChun Tigers contingent, stayed until the end. Not bad for a six-year old.
I was happy to witness everyone engaged in continuous training, without making excuses about the heat or time. This kind of dedicated effort is the respected norm in the IAW. It was great to spend most of the day with Sije Nina, Sihing Marc and Sihing Tobias. We covered various Section, Lat Sao and Application ideas. Specifically, Section 1, 3, 4, 8 and 13, Lat Sao 1, 2, 3 and 5, and Application of Section 2, 3, 8, 13.
Warriors of all sorts, safe and sound after a bout of Combat training.
After an informative and inspiring first weekend, we continued with a Combat Class in Santa Cruz. Sihing Carl did a great job planning and hosting this event with Sifu. Although it may be somewhat apparent from the photo, nothing can fully depict the actual experience of the intensive evening. The hour and a half went by in a flash as we strove, striked, threw, and flew through the series of Combat exercises. As always, the format was fun, fast, and free. The result was that everyone gained a newfound appreciation and assurance in emergency situations.
Our first and great Special Event in San Francisco with Sifu Brand.
Friday found us at another location. We were in San Francisco for an Application Class to support Sihing Gerald’s Academy. There were a range of attendees, from those with a few classes to others with many years under their belt. All enthusiastically absorbed Sifu’s display of practical essentials. Even though the material was drawn from just the first two Student Levels, everyone understood the value of basics including footwork and arm coordination. WingChun is one whole system. Thus, its dynamic patterns and functional logic applies regardless of who is doing it.
Happy to help one another evolve our practical knowledge.
Sifu used the Special Class to transmit a flexible methodology to train Guo Sao (Passing Arms). Usually it is done as a set part of the First Section flows. Instead we pulled it out this context to launch various Lat Sao (Casting Arms) feeds. This particular framework allowed everyone to more deeply understand the singular elements contained within the prescribed sequences of Student Levels 6, 7, and 8. Clean technique was honed by the dual forces of power and speed. Thus, we all stepped away with both increased clarity of and solidity in the Middle Level programs.
Hard-working Technicians with Sifu after their specialized session.
The commencing event of the Fall Event Series 2009 was the Technician Seminar on the first Friday. We covered Entrances and Endings of the 3rd and 5th Section, as well as several of their most important Applications. The eager Technicians thoroughly enjoyed hearing Sifu’s theoretical explanations and witnessing his powerful actions as much as the genuine camaderie of meeting altogether at the Headquarters. Everyone felt stronger and smarter after our seemingly short 2.5 hours of training, and left satisfied but also wanting more.
A few dedicated Escrimadors and their trustworthy weapons.
Escrima is weapons Self-Defense. Sifu shared inspiring patterns from the Student, Serrada, Dos Manos, and Espada y Daga Levels. The exercises he imparted focused on footwork to optimize body positioning and weapon distancing. We also saw how flexible the range of Escrima movements are to rapidly change and cover a wide area. Combinations and coordinations for one and two sticks were dynamically demanding but then flowed with some practice of embodied concentration. If you weren’t able to attend, don’t miss our monthly classes to access this simple and perfect complement to WingChun.
Selected scenes of the day for examining 2009 Degree aspirants.
We finished the weekend with an information-packed Instructor Seminar to culminate this year’s Assistant Degree (AD) and Instructor Degree I (ID-I) Program. Four hours flew by as Sifu explained and inquired about the didatic methodology of WingChun. Each Degree Aspirant was put on the spot to articulate concepts and demonstrate applications from various Student Levels in order to express individual understanding of the teaching Programs. Having to thus defend their ideas was both a challenge and pleasure. The focused effort and sustained poise with which all performed attested to their hard work preparing the last six months. Now we can proudly congratulate eleven newly qualified Degree Graduates:
Brian Watson, AD Deidre Zafar, AD Ben Campbell, AD Manish Bhatt, AD Norm Waleedej, AD Brandon Solano, AD Megan Hemmerle, AD Chris Bobek, ID-I Michael Murhpy, ID-I Matt Hawkinson, ID-I
Four great hours and eleven new Degree Graduates later.