Your Own Martial Arts Secret

“C’mon man, you do martial arts right? Well, let me see what you got!” “Are you scared? Kung Fu is supposed to be good.” “Dude, a good boxer could beat your Karate any day.” These types of phrases are dangerous. Like a cattle prod used against lion or tiger, they only mean to instigate trouble. Due to other people’s inability to to let go of their ego and understand the nuances of training, it’s best to avoid letting others know your skill. As martial artists we should do everything in our power to promote peace. Your own martial arts secret helps you accomplish this. When forced to protect yourself or someone else, use every means necessary to win.

The other guy

As you travel on your journey there are a couple of reasons you should keep your own arts secret. First, if you’re confronted because you train, you may lose. Why is that first? Because you don’t know what the other guy knows, or you may be a beginner. You may have learned many techniques and practiced how to apply them. However, it takes years to develop full muscle memory and synchronization with the techniques. 10,000 repetitions is the average amount to master a technique and that’s not including learning timing and distance. Combine that with the need to learn reaction training, and it’s best to avoid conflict as much as possible.

Your Own Martial Arts Secret – USE Every Advantage

There’s a second reason to keep your art a secret. Wing Chun is a sensible self defense system. If you divulge your skill you have empowered the opponent. How so, you may ask? If confronted by a wrestler, you might have the mindset prepared to watch for a takedown. Maybe feint to the head with a jab or something similar and then a single leg. Knowing this would allow me to position myself in a way to avoid or stop his attack. So following suit, you should keep every advantage possible. Martial arts is about deception. If you can deceive your opponent into believing you have no skill, he will not set his guard as high. At the minimum it will keep him guessing. That could be just the edge needed to win.

Actions not words

The final reason involves talking to friends. Many times questioning your art comes from a point of disbelief. Even after you have soundly answered a question, more always follow. They will counter it with “but what if this happens, or that” over and over again. Certain types of people don’t really want an answer. They either want to prove they know something or that your art doesn’t work.  I bring this up because of personal experience. Certain techniques use pain to bring a reaction which would be followed up. Techniques such as these cannot merely be explain, they must be experience to fully understand them.

If one shows this to a certain type of person they will be unable to cope with it and will increase the resistance level. The practitioner must either give in or increase the energy level. If someone does not concede, it will typically end in a confrontation. The non-practitioner will not have the discipline to concede so your art may end up looking weak. So the choices are grim. Hurt your friend and risk losing the friendship or concede and allow your art to look weak. Speaking in general terms of course. Therefore, the classroom is the best place for any such teaching.

These three reasons are why I believe you should keep your own martial arts secret. Most people find it difficult to let go of their pride. You don’t know what the other guy knows. And you don’t want to give away your advantage. Keep these things in mind as you walk through life.

Bowing in the Martial Arts: A Necessary Element Misunderstood

Though bowing is not a typical way of displaying respect in American culture, anyone who has trained in just about any martial art will see the practitioners bowing at various times throughout the training session. But why are they bowing? Some people may not understand the meaning of bowing in the martial arts. Is it a sign of subservience? Inferiority? Self-deprecation? NO!

Bowing is anything but a gesture by one person saying that he or she is below the other! If this were the purpose of bowing, then bowing would not be a mutual gesture between two people but rather a one-sided action. It is actually a great insult for one person to bow and then the other person to not acknowledge or return the gesture. Bowing is a sign of mutual respect and humility.

There are many times when a martial artist may bow. When one bows upon entering a Wing Chun kwoon (training area), they are not merely performing a training formality. They are demonstrating through a motion of their body that he or she respects the environment into which they are entering and the people with whom they are going to train. In the Sifu Och Wing Chun kwoon, a student will bow to the pictures of the elders of our Wing Chun lineage (Ip Man, Ip Chun, Ip Ching, Moy Yat, Simon Lau, and Dr. Master Nelson) as a sign of the high regard for their devotion, self-sacrifice and dedication to the training they gave so that we may have the opportunity to continue to learn the art of Wing Chun. The Sifu (teacher, father, master, mentor) of his own school should always be shown the greatest respect by his students because he is the living legacy of the Wing Chun lineage handing down his knowledge first-hand.

Students at Sifu Och Wing Chun will often stand inside the doorway to the kwoon, if they have seen that Sifu is already in the building, and will remain in a Wing Chun hand salute position until Sifu has seen them so they may exchange the traditional salute and bow to each other. The student shows respect to his Sifu, and his Sifu returns the gesture to his student demonstrating the respectful bond between student and teacher. The same bow and salute is done upon leaving the kwoon.

Bowing in the martial arts can also be used as a sign of thanks, as well as of respect. If Sifu or a Sihing (student of a higher rank) is teaching, demonstrating, or correcting you, the student will often initiate the Wing Chun hand salute and bow as a sign of appreciation for the personal time given to the student. Sifu or the Sihing always returns the gesture to the student.

If training partners are going to spar, do reaction drills/wrist against wrist training, or Chi Sao, the Wing Chun students will perform the Wing Chun salute and bow both before and after they have worked with each other. This is also used as a respectful gesture if one student accidentally causes another student a small injury, the offending student will show his regret for his infraction by using the Wing Chun salute and bowing to the partner. The gesture is returned by the other to show that all is forgiven and signal that respect is still shared between the two students.


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