Up until now the class schedule has consisted of time spent equally between sil lim tao form and exercises based on the form, with a little bit of chi sau for those who have previous experience. Now that we have a stable core group of about 10 students who have been with us for 5 months+, we will start spending more time working on the core of our practice, which is dan chi sau (single sticking hands).
When Mark, Jon and myself train together during the last 5 years we have almost exclusively worked on dan chi sau. Our view is that when most people use two hands they tend to cheat themselves by leaning, pushing, using speed, tricks etc. Basically if you try to use predetermined movement or move quicker than your sensory ability can assimilate, you are not training the awareness needed to reach a higher level of ability.
The dan chi sau we will now teach is not going to be the same as you have learned elsewhere. It will start as a co - operative exercise but as it develops there is no limitation in how you allow your joints to rotate and if you choose to hit or defend. Dan chi sau allows you to a chance to refine the structure and awareness you have developed in form practice whilst under pressure. It is hard to explain in writing the processes involved, but the key is finding a way to balance your partner's force without using tension, so you are free to rotate your limbs and affect their structure/balance. Ultimately you want to be able to strike your partner, but in a manner in which they are not free to strike back. The difficulty lies in the fact they are attempting the same thing.
None of this means that I do not believe using two hands is not fundamental to wing chun practice. It is just that two hand practice should be viewed as single hand done with both arm simultaneously. The objective should not be to roll your arms around in a dead movement, it is about obtaining the connection, finding the partners balance and releasing into it. I do not like the idea of training in order to build stamina to roll for hours, although it is enjoyable and addictive it misses the point of wing chun. You need to be able to deliver your mass into your partner quickly, brutally with minimum risk to yourself. That is the crystallisation of all you have been practicing.
So for the next six months those who have been attending regularly will work with one of us 3 during each class so we can pass on the key principles. Once you get it right two hands is a lot easier and that will allow you to work on what is the proper focus of the chum kui form; rotating your mass into your opponent.
Keeping you up to date with what is happening in class