This is interesting. I came back from teaching a lesson and saw an email from the folks of AWC.
But don’t be too happy yet because they only want to address one point I raised which is about natural expression. To summarize (hope I don’t get it wrong) AWC’s concept of natural expression is the natural movements of the human body when performing sports / martial arts and this is measurable by devices.
But this isn’t exactly something new to me. Do I know human motions can be captured by devices? Certainly. I work in a field where we capture machinery motions. The same thing that is used to do so is also applied to measuring human motions. And anyone who has not been living under a rock and has watched Western martial arts documentaries would know this too by know. I suppose the science of biomechanics can capture many things and turn them into formulas. So by understanding this we think we know Wing Chun better but hold on, in Leung Jan’s times how did he capture human motions? How did he scientifically prove that what he is doing is correct? Mmmm…….. this is food for thought. So should we say that Leung Jan was wrong?
You know come to think of it if its a matter of using natural expression then why have not more people gotten it? The obvious conclusion here is that they have forgotten it. Its not a point I disagree with especially when AWC mentioned about WC practitioners having ailments. I certainly know of a case of a well known master in China who could no longer do WC due to doing a certain movement incorrectly over time. He can only live on in the glory of the past.
AWC mentioned that current WC does not use natural expression. This is a sweeping statement. How many WC styles have they seen, interviewed and actually learned and mastered before reaching this conclusion? I have seen, talked to, learned and been privy to inside knowledge from Ip Man and non-Ip Man styles and I have to say that AWC’s conclusion is wrong.
For example the master whose lineage The Ip Man Questions is based on when I last saw him he was in his mid-70s, drank beer and smoke and he sure like hell could move like a panther and kick like a horse. Didn’t look sick there. Latest I saw him was in a certain HK master’s Youtube video where he threw down a challenge to a certain party claiming to be Ip Man’s indoor disciple. The master must be in his 80s in this video. I wonder if AWC knows of this Ip Man lineage or even anything about what The Ip Man Questions is about.
AWC is very insistent on sports specialists proving that their WC is on the right path and they must know something. But here is what I know – unless the same sports specialist is a high level internal arts master or WC master how is he qualified to be a judge of what WC is or is not? Again, I point back to the master of The Ip Man Questions. When I last had dinner with him after we finished we had to walk up a flight of stairs and dang if he walked with a ramrod straight back and light steps without much effort whilst I was struggling to catch up with him.
AWC asked to check how often WC can beat up someone successfully in real self defence. I can also point to examples of other martial arts that failed in real self defence. Remember the case of that poor girl, a black belt TKD who was attacked, raped and killed in Woodlands years ago? Just because you see a lot of bad examples do not mean there are no good examples. Its just that they are not necessarily captured on Youtube and uploaded because you know what, in those days there weren’t any internet to begin with. Now there is but you would be hard put to get people like my teacher to fight in front of a camera though if you show up at his class and insult his lineage he would be more than happy to show you the error of your ways.
You know one more reason why lab tests can be useless, a case of self delusion? So a person passes the lab tests but get beaten up in a real fight. What happens then? Should we conclude that natural expression is bad. Let’s look at a well known example based on what AWC said about other styles passing the definition of natural expression. Anyone remember UFC 1 – 3? Many styles including WC got their arses handed back that day. BJJ proved that being on the ground is better so why aren’t AWC doing WC on the ground. What is more real than the early UFC where rules were little and better approximations of the conditions of a real fight.
AWC makes a case for data on speed, alignment, power etc. I guess they don’t realize that some things aren’t what it is especially the internal arts. I wrote about some of these tests in the past. I wonder is AWC folks can replicate what I wrote about?
AWC wants to prove that many don’t know the original WC which begs the question – what is the original question? Who determines what is original? They are assuming that I don’t know my WC but if you show what I do years after I stopped practicing versus what they have on their website it would be interesting to know what the more knowledgeable folks think unless like AWC says people don’t know their WC so they are a bad judge of what they see. Kind of neat argument for their case.
As I am writing this I remember something – wasn’t William Cheung tested under lab conditions a long time ago? What was the nature of those tests aside from the measurement of his punching speed of 9 punches per second? I am curious to know if AWC guys can punch as fast as William Cheung. If their claim is true they should have no problem doing it much faster than ole Uncle William.
In ending, I am glad to hear that they are going to release their info on a science platform whatever that means and backed by scientific authority and to use their phrase not just another martial art guru, lineage or franchise from nowhere. I have a little question here – how can a scientific authority be an authority on something unless they are a real expert on it and not a spurious one. As an example I can imagine a biomechanics professor telling the Gracies that he should be the one to validate or invalidate whether what they do is correct. If someone had tried to do this to say my GM Nip he would just extend his bridge and invite the professor to prove that he is a real authority, someone who can actually do and not just talk and postulate a lot of grand theories and in a second can be proven to be good or bad with a quick exchange of techniques. In GM Nip’s time the loser tends to bleed, a lot or less depending on the level of respect and s#@$ the visitor was trying to hoist on the GM.