The Complete Ving Tsun System
The components that make up the complete ving tsun fighting system are abstract and require equally abstract training methods for the unique conditioning process. Philipp Bayer clearly outlines the ving tsun system’s various stages of training as a progressive process to re-condition normal human combat attributes. Some stages / forms / drills are abstract and redundant to actual fighting. Sadly the majority of VT today does not have his guidance and is lost in the redundant aspects of re-conditioning.
"An untrained person, when he/she fights will tend to swing, punch, grab and kick all over the place in the hope that something connects and has success. This puts us in danger of serious injury and defeat, unless we are lucky of course. The system of Ving Tsun is used to correct and improve these habits so our bodies can become more useful and therefore more effective for combat."
PB explains that there are many redundancies in the process from the abstract training (i.e. chi-sao) drills to actual fighting. The primary goals of Ving Tsun are to have KO punch force with technically prepared hand positions ( wu-sao ) in balanced tactical movement, while seeing opportunities and correcting errors under the extreme mental pressures of combat. To achieve this we need to be able to train to change techniques and positions effortlessly in pursuit of a "moving target" during combat, a skill both Wong Shun Leung and his student, Philipp Bayer, mastered. Ving Tsun Chi-Sao drills address this necessity and have many varying stages.
" A good punch doesn't come from the arm only, you need your complete body... in chi sau for example we create the perfect structure to use the body for punching, when we are able to exchange the force with the partner. The quality of the exchange is the key..."
Chi-Sao drills are probably the most abstract and misunderstood in the system. The drills should be aimed at re-conditioning normal human behavior by creating strong, balanced, mobile structures, with ko punching force using the elbow, along with reflex reactions and ambidextrous elbow-fist coordination. Due to the lack of correct coaching, the drills are also open to many incorrect, subjective interpretations.
" Ving Tsun is a complete Martial Skill. Many can fight effectively without certain components and understanding of these components in Ving Tsun but without the correct knowledge Ving Tsun will always seem somehow lacking in certain areas. This has lead to many many versions of Ving Tsun under many different titles that simply do not conform to the basic principles."
Chi-sao translates simply as "arms in contact" drills, not "stick endlessly to arms" drills. Many students mistakenly choose to "stick endlessly" to arms, because they try to make chi-sao into a 1:1 application, applying pressure in all directions trying to sense the intentions of an arm, or they try to fight and control opponents arms by pressing and chasing hands, leading inevitably to many errors.
"My goal is to eliminate the arms of the opponent out of the way to beat him better and not to stick to his arms. "
Chi-Sao drills are simply an abstract, mutually agreed platform for "partners" to execute high repetitions to develop these ambidextrous reflex actions during combat. And like a boxing coach and a boxing student working pads, Chi-Sao drills should not be a "competition" between coach and student, but rather a give and take opportunity to work mutual ideas in fixed drills to recondition our coordination. The varying stages of Chi-Sao [see below] allow KO force with ambidextrous hand / elbow / body skills to be developed prior to sparring, while being sharpened with a partner in a clean, relaxed manner of a drill. During actual combat, there are no "Chi-Sao drills.” There is just tactical, balanced movement expressed through punches and kicks accented by the skills and reflexes conditioned from countless hours of Chi-Sao training.
"We have a "to-do list" in the development of our skills: Knockout Power - if you don't have it you lose. Secondly, Readiness - Wu Sao, are you ready to strike aka , hands up ? Strategy - don't fight two arms, without it you can't bring down your opponent. Finally you have to optimise your chances. What is the best moment to strike or to retreat? It is all about fighting tactics and skills!"
Philipp Bayer also explains the system in scientific detail, along with the tactics of the knife and pole and their relationship to combat with Ving Tsun empty hands. Regular training and sparring with the weapons greatly enhances a student both physically and mentally for combat. Many have no idea of the weapons’ footwork, tactics and empty hand connections, simply because they never learned them and have invented movements in order to compensate for this lack of knowledge. Philipp Bayer’s detailed directions and insight into the "complete ving tsun system" comes from spending years of intense personal training with Wong Shun Leung, both in Hong Kong and Germany.
"The result of my training and thinking was implanted by Wong Sifu. He kicked my ass many times! The best time with Sifu was not my Hong Kong period -- that period mostly concerned the development of my basics. However, when Wong Sifu came over to Germany to my hometown in Menden during the 1990's, I did a lot of personal training with him. That was the most interesting period for me. Wong Sifu gave me a lot of tips and deeper insight into as to how Ving Tsun works. He made it clear to me that movements and training methods are not to be seen as an application, but to develop behaviour. In particular that has coloured my Ving Tsun. Maybe if I had missed that information, my Ving Tsun would have been very different".
WSL/PB VT Training
Loi Lau Hoi Sung -Lat Sao Jik Chun: Intercept and or stay with incoming attacks and strike when the hands are free.
Lin Sil Di Dar: Simultaneous attack and defense while striking and or parrying/striking, utilizing elbow alignment/striking. Developing 2 functions in the arm.
Chiu ying / facing square on / 朝 形
This concept developed in chi-sao drills ensures either arm/hand can attack or defend simultaneously without overturning.
Jiu ying / chiu ying - chasing - facing - attacking / 追 形
Introduced in the chum kil form with moving and generating force on a vertical axis while facing and or turning reface while issuing force.
Bai ying / not facing - turned away / 敗 形
Bil gee deals with issues where one is " desperate " and has lost facing or has been turned away or needs to turn away from the chiu ying / jiu ying.
"The philosophy behind this solid technique is taking all aspects of fighting into consideration, like balance, simultaneity, timing, feeling for distance and assertiveness. The main aim is to quickly end a fight in the most economic, effective and high dynamic way. Ving Tsun arouses physical and mental potential.
The unique training of Ving Tsun provides methods to improve the reaction and functional fighting power. Ving Tsun is based on reasonable, at any time explainable scientific knowledge."
THE BASICS :
SIU NIM TAO / First form (Chiu ying 朝 形).
The abstract basic arm/elbow punching movements of the system are performed from a fixed standpoint to develop static lower body power and alignment, toes in for stability, arm/elbow independence for ambidextrous use, elbows in and shoulder control for power punching. The stance adopted is for "line of force" dynamics to issue full power to a punch. This form can be seen as the 'alphabet' of Ving Tsun rather than the common error of seeing it as a sequence of fixed self-defense applications or "Kata". Many basic stages of punching movements and elbow principles are abstractly processed in this form with one arm/elbow at a time. Primarily the form teaches alignment of the whole body behind the elbow/fist for a strong KO punch and actions to condition our coordination to use both arms equally while fighting. Leverage principals are introduced, basic lines of force and dynamic iso-tonic movements of the elbow, gate theory, intercepting the centerline, simultaneity of arms, two functions of the arm, wu sao.
CHUM KIU Second form (Jiu ying 追 形).
The purpose of Chum Kiu is to attack and end a fight as quickly as possible. Many mistakenly refer to chum kiu as a "defensive " form due to the many Bong Sao actions being misinterpreted as a "defensive role". In Chum Kiu, one learns to combine the first-form principles and techniques while executing them, stepping vertically and also turning on the vertical line to generate tremendous levels of KO force with balance in motion as we attack. Bong sao/wu sao become part of "attacking actions". The errors of over-turning, "leaning" sideways, forwards, backwards, while moving, is also addressed from quick direction changes in the Chum Kiu form and Wooden Dummy. The Wooden Dummy form is taught concurrently with Chum Kiu to learn timing and the focus of arms and body shifting with precision power release that we cannot issue on partners without chance of injury. Kicks are added to the arsenal and also trained on the dummy/heavy-bags. Also, to use your hips in powerful short turning durations means strong rotation around the axis of the body.
" Train for balance which is necessary to have during changes in direction. Bong Sau and Wu Sao have to become one unit, so that punching during Bong Sau becomes possible (Kwan Sao). Through explosive turning around the axis (Chum Kiu), high accelerating forces will occur. Overshooting with the arms can happen easily. Do not forget about the elbow."
MOK YAN JONG (Wooden Dummy/Man)
Three forms combine to condition us to limit the potential range of movement with full power at the elbows. We cultivate timing to develop kinetic power exchanges " shock force ", by simultaneous body movement and arm positions. The dummy arm positions allow the elbows to issue force with body rotation/facing as the previous three forms develop. The dummy is not a "person" as many assume, but a workout station for elbows and angles along with power training as Chum Kiu, etc... The height of the dummy, the angles and width of the arms are all critical for correct elbow, hip, body, power focus.
" Like Chi Sau and other methods to train your behaviour in fighting, we use the dummy. Most of the dummy sections train your elbow position for the main weapon of Ving Tsun... the straight punch. But it also improves coordination , synchronisation of leg and arm movements and to use ones whole body structure to hit. Proper footwork and timing is also learnt, among other things."
BIU JEE Third form (Bai ying 敗形). This form contains techniques for dealing with bad situations, like being pressed into a corner, against the ropes or a wall. In a desperate situation, without any way to attack or to go back and angle, blocking punches in the "pocket" and evasive footwork actions are required to regain positions. Biu Gee also addresses situations where one is turned or has to turn away from facing the target and would not be able to use direct techniques to attack. It helps to protect vital areas until space is created to escape traps or re-acquire an advantageous position (such as breaking away from grabbed wrists and stance error recovery). The Biu Gee techniques also provide opportunities for arm destruction in defense of attacks (haymakers and wrist grabs).
Wall Bag / Heavy Bag / Double End Bag
This training is very important, because it gives you the opportunity to develop a KO punch on static and moving targets, timing punches with full force. This would be impossible with a training opponent as he/she would otherwise be seriously injured. Wall bags and heavy bags, are also very useful for conditioning the alignment of the knuckles, wrist joints and elbow support. After a fight, you often see that fighters have injuries to the hands, knuckles and wrists. This can be prevented by training the wall bag and shock absorption training. Utilizing the whole body in motion while punching and kicking at various angles is also developed by hitting/kicking heavy bags.
"First of all, people should understand that things are not always an application. You can use applications or exercises to show a person how things work, however, you should never think in terms of applications. The most important thing is that people understand that Wing Chun helps you to create certain behaviour and attributes for fighting."
CHI SAO TRAINING DRILLS / STAGES
"There are no exams, belts or graduations in Ving Tsun. In conclusion it can be detected individually how the skills and competences are improving and developing during the training."
DAN CHI SAO
Exercise where one arm is in contact with a training partner to both develop correct elbow alignment for punching stages from opposite roles. The drill is for the basic "little idea" of the Ving Tsun system,"check-hitting". Dan Chi Sao trains the correct alternating elbow-punching positions in a fixed sequence. It is not intended for feeling and searching for arms, a common misunderstanding. Drilled at a distance that is too far to hit each partner, so full range of striking can be practiced before moving closer into the following stages of "chi-sao drills ".
SEUNG CHI SAO / LOK SAO
In basic Seung Chi Sao, we start to condition 2 arms simultaneously, switching the punching elbow / arm positions and as an introduction of the Dan Chi elbow cycle aka Lok Sao, into the dual arm rotation of Seung chi-sao.
Rotating the arms with punching pressure, which involves the perfection of the elbow positions, and allows training of both attack and defense. Utilization of the whole body to develop KO punches. The 4 stages of Lat sao jik cheun drills and check hitting are developed for powerful punching at short distances further developing the elbow. Developing "Vertical line of force" with balance checks and tests.
SEUNG MA / TOI MA Stepping forwards / stepping backwards
Chi-sao with footwork, tactical angles and patterns equal to the relevant wooden dummy sections. A chi-sao contact drill with various stages that include punching structure with various stepping and angling precisely to specific tactical points and "cutting the way". A conditioning process to react to attacks with spatial awareness, leading to reading body movement while free sparring. Pushing forwards step and being pushed back stepping. Many drill variations are executed to develop the skill of switching positions without thinking, becoming reflex reactions.
How to keep your hands free and avoid having your arms crossed while grabbing and hitting or being grabbed and hit and 20+ other variations of bong/man sao / lap sao drills. Check hitting. Movement drills at various angles and positions to utilize chum kil theory into practice. A gateway to sparring.
Free attack and defense from the situation where there is contact with the chi-sao "partner". Unscripted drill developing intuitive attack and defense responses under mental pressure of fast, sustained techniques.
Utilizing all techniques and tactical movement for free-fighting. recognizing entry attacks without tactile information and using spatial recognition of positions freely as opponent moves.
"...In Philipp Bayer we have found a highly professional, extremly skilled and experienced martial artist who undoubtedly has understood Ving Tsun like only a very few. Moreover he is also able to transmit his knowledge as his teaching method follows a consistent “scientific” approach..."
Georges Weisgerber ( VTKFAE Luxembourg )
LOK DIM BOON KWAN
Long pole form (9ft) and drills developing strong body unity and punching dynamics along with tactical positions and spatial interception points. Long pole training, especially the low stance contributes greatly to increased start speed and faster footwork, recognition of force alignment and timing for utilization of maximum kinetic energy transference to a target in short thrusts. Sparring with pole v pole, knife v pole.
Fa Jin development , explosive punching energy and removing common empty hand punching errors with correct coaching.
BAHT CHAM DAU
Butterfly knives form and drills give tactical directions for both empty hands and facing weapons, footwork for fast movement and angling. Awareness of kill or be killed mentality. Fighting any other weapon except a gun. Sparring with knife v knife, knife v pole.
Chi sao Drills and Tests at real time and speeds to develop the correct behavior for fighting.
The Science Of Fighting
The way of Ving Tsun is very simple…or so it should be. Ving Tsun is recognized all over the world for its simple, direct and efficient approach to unarmed combat. It is a system of fighting that relies solely on concepts and principles rather than named techniques.In a confrontation there is a loser and a winner. Anybody is capable of losing but winning needs a little more effort and thought. The idea of Ving Tsun is how we can best achieve this goal.Ving Tsun is used to correct our mistakes or the bad habits we’ve developed through our normal life. Everyday we do things through habit without thinking that wouldn’t serve us very well within a fighting scenario. It is human nature that when we are involved in confrontation we are erratic and do things without any control. Its either fight or flight.An untrained person when he/she fights will tend to swing, punch, grab and kick all over the place in the hope that something connects and has success. This puts us in danger of serious injury and defeat, unless we are lucky of course. The system of Ving Tsun is used to correct and improve these habits so our bodies can become more useful and therefore more effective for combat.
We all have two arms and two legs and there is only so much we can do with our bodies and more so do wrong. Ving Tsun teaches us to adopt a stance and particular posture for balance and mobility. It teaches to increase the amount of power we can distribute through our limbs and it teaches us to strike with precision and control. Ving Tsun also teaches us strategy for combat and a scientific method of fighting that should help us achieve victory.In the beginning we are taught Siu Lim Tau (Young Idea). This “young idea” relates to the development of how to use elbow. This is needed for punching with power whilst also giving us protection and the ability to find a clear line of which to punch through. Siu Lim Tau also teaches us basic structure. We need a good foundation for support and to deliver the correct force. The training of pointing the feet or toes in, the training of the elbows to come in and forward, keeping our hand and body still when executing our arm movements and our balance and impact force are all introduced to the student. Then Dahn Chi Sau for a basic understanding of how the elbow is used. Once we have developed the idea of the elbow and basic structure we use Chum Kiu and the Muk Yan Jong to develop the idea of the quickest route to the target, the synchronicity of action and the correct use of power and force. Poon Sau and Chi Sau are used to train/improve our correct behavior, thinking habits and reactions as well as our force, balance, distancing and structure. Gor sau and later sparring are used to stress us so we can find our errors and mistakes, which will be revealed under pressure . When we find these mistakes we must then know where to go to correct them so the forms and the drills are used as tools to correct errors and not like other Martial Arts where they use techniques as a one dimensional response to any particular action.….”During training you shouldn’t be concentrating on application and training components that are pointless for actual combat but rather training your body and mind for fighting. We must always be aware of our partner’s mistakes, and ourselves, and correct them accordingly so we can improve. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need to train. Ving Tsun is a complete Martial Skill. Many can fight effectively without certain components and understanding of these components in Ving Tsun but without the correct knowledge Ving Tsun will always seem somehow lacking in certain areas. This has lead to many many versions of Ving Tsun under many different titles that simply do not conform to the basic principles. The aim of Ving Tsun is to attack your opponent in the most direct manner. To achieve this effectively we must strike hard, have swiftness in our movements and also possess a level of power so that when we strike it renders our opponent unable to continue. How we get there is a different path for everyone and can lead to many frustrations. Our Teachers have an important role in our journeys. If the Teachers approach is flawed then so too will be the students unless the student possesses a certain intelligence and is able to see what can work and what cannot. Unfortunately not everybody has this intelligence and they will blindly continue to follow fantastical scenarios that are not effective in real life combat ….”Understanding the genius of Ving Tsun should take no longer than an afternoon. By then everything should be clear”
The beauty of Ving Tsun lies in its simplicity.
So that we can successfully market Ving Tsun for the future we must be able to keep the explanation of it as simple as the system itself. Siu Lim Tau for the basic idea of the punch and the creation of correct structure. Chum Kiu and the Muk Yan Jong to develop simultaneous movement of the upper and lower body and the correct delivery of power. Chi Sau and peripheral drills to create fluidity of action and spontaneous response. The Long pole to develop increased start speed of the feet, the synchronicity of the limbs and preciseness of action and power. The knives to develop intent, strategy and the awareness of danger. Although the practice of Ving Tsun, for many, is a lifetime ambition and can pose many headaches, the concept of simplicity, directness, efficiency of action and explanation should always be present. If you think of Ving Tsun and your thoughts pose many difficulties something is wrong. The difficulty lies in the development of the body and the skill in executing the actions. This should be our daily goal and whilst some may succeed where others fail we should never give up. Hard work and practice are what make people great. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The way of Ving Tsun and in particular WSLPHBVT is a systematic journey of practicing concepts and principles relating to combat. The end result being the possession of a complete fighting unit and also the achievement of something that has been passed down by some very skilful pugilists of recent times. The evolution of fighting may continue to grow and change but how much more is there to come. Nature will always be our enemy and therefore show us our limits. Regardless of what time period you are from or your views on combat, Ving Tsun will always be right up there if executed by the right person. The skilfulness and cleverness of the people that have shaped Ving Tsun have assured of this.
Wong Shun Leung and Philipp Bayer
Menorca '18, K Gledhill Certified by Philipp Bayer.