Most people are aware of the 5 basic senses which guide us through our daily lives, but not many have any appreciation of the 6th Sense. Kinesthetic ability is our sense of our selves, our body in space and the relationship between the parts of our body (our joints). Most are so interested in what they are doing they have no appreciation of how they are doing it or what harm them are causing themselves. A basic example being someone punching a bag endlessly and not noticing the growing tension in their shoulders, the restriction in their mobility and loss of sensitivity in their hands. Kicking is even worse, most people can only kick hard by throwing their balance into it and losing all stability. If they miss the target they virtually fall over.
Experience has told me that most people have very unreliable kinesthetic sense and this includes wing chun practicitioners when they first come to train at Sung. I hAve shown some students a hundred times why their wing chun drilled movement will not work on me, but when faced with the desire to do something the muscle memory kicks in and the sense of the self fades away. People are a victim of bad habits (and bad wing chun).
Wing chun (for me) is about free choice. Do I defend, control or hit? I decide. If the circumstances change ( he lunges at me) I am sufficiently uncommitted that I can adapt accordingly. Without this choice wing chun is just a set of patterns without any life. That is not CST wing chun.
So, how do you learn this? Once you are past the basic stage of learning at that point videos and books are really helpful, but first you need the basic re-education of your senses. There is only one real Rosetta Stone for this and that is hands on transmitting from someone who has walked the path before you. Although it becomes a continual refinement, the first step has to be to spend time with someone who can feel where you are going wrong and let you know why the sensations you are getting is not right. This is true mindfulness and once you get that you can become your own teacher. In fact the majority of the time spent with students is doing just this. The wing chun bit is then relatively easy. I have said to many people when chi sauing that I have not even started doing wing chun with them yet. They cannot deal with the tension my releasing is causing them so adding extra technique is a waste of my effort.
Now when I get emails now from strangers asking how they can improve their wing chun, I have to be honest and say find a good teacher. There are only a few about, but just watching and emulating videos will not work unless you get an idea of what wrong and less wrong are. From there you can keep practicing and improving on the 'less wrong' (which is what all of us are actually doing).
The best investment of your time is working with a teacher (someone who is walking the same path as you but further ahead) and getting the basics right. Build good habits of thought and direction/intention which you can then work on during standing and form practice. Then when you are chi sauing you do not have to think or concentrate on difficult ideas which will distract you. Without the self awareness and these good habits it is too easy to be drawn into doing bad wing chun which makes improvement ever more difficult. It is your choice, do you choose freedom?1
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