Real Fighting is About the Opponent
In Note 5 we talked about practising on our own and imagining that our opponent is in front of us. We do this so that we can train to understand the skills and follow the principles of Wing Chun. The more we practise with the right principle, particularly in Chi Sau, then the skill will become part of us so that if we are ever in a fighting situation, then we will not have to think to use the skill. It will just come naturally.
However, when we train Chi Sau with a partner, we do not go all the way as we do not want to injure our training partner if possible. My Sifu, Grandmaster Ip Chun, always says that we should train together like brothers and sisters because if we always hurt our training partner, no one will want to Chi Sau with us and then our skill will not develop.
But when we have to fight, it is different. Wing Chun skill can disable and really hurt an opponent. So if we are attacked or if someone is attacking our family, then we need to protect ourselves. So when we fight, we go all the way to stop the attacker.
We should not think of anything just do whatever our body tells us. A fight is so quick that we will not have time to think of anything. This is where all our practise and training experience will carry us through. The skill becomes instinctive.
If we have to stop and think about what to do next, then we can be hit or knocked down or worse, we could be killed.
Many years ago, my Sifu was teaching the Laap Sau 擸手 technique in a seminar. He explained that we should pull down sharply and then let go very quickly when we use Laap Sau. In this way the opponent will not be able to use our Laap Sau to pull us back off balance. He then showed how we can use Pai Zaang 批踭 in a fighting situation to inflict damage to an opponent’s face. Normally, we do not use Pai Zaang when we train Chi Sau as it can break someone’s nose or worse. But we still should know HOW to use it so that if we ever have to use it in a real fight, we are familiar with it. That is why we also need the forms, as they will make us familiar with the techniques and we can practise it over and over. When we practise the techniques, we need to think. When we fight, we need to react and do, not think.
However, when we fight, we might not always follow the exact principle of the skill. We need to think about the opponent and situation and how to win the fight.
For instance, when we train punching, we punch out from our centreline. But in a fight, no matter where our hand is, we punch in a straight line from that point to the target. If the hand is at the side but low, then we punch in a straight line up to where we want to be because that is the fastest, most direct way to connect with the opponent.
Another example, when someone throws a punch at us, we can use Taan Sau 攤手 to block the punch and at the same time punch back to the opponent’s centre, usually the face where it can cause the most damage. However, when we use Taan Sau 攤手 in this situation, it will not be at the centreline of the opponent as its purpose will be for blocking their punch so that we can get into their centre.
Of course, we do not always need to hurt our opponent. If we can control them and make sure that they can no longer hurt us, then this is the best. However, we should still know how to use all of the Wing Chun skills for going to the end. If we cannot control an opponent or cannot get away safely, then we need to stop them and this means we may have to hurt them to prevent them from attacking us.