How to ask your Wing Chun Sifu better questions
Have you ever asked your Wing Chun Sifu a “What if?” question only to get smacked upside the head with the answer? For example, you ask, “what if he tries to take me down to the ground?” and your Sifu says, “Okay, try to take me to the ground.” He stands there glowering at you in Yee Gee Kim Yeung Ma, and you rethink having asked. You take a leap of faith, and you dive at him throwing your arms around his waist…but wait he’s not there. You are face down on the floor with his hand pushing your head toward the concrete. Crap. You knew that was coming. You just knew. But the “what if” question still popped out of your mouth. Shit.
See, most Wing Chun Sifus hate “what if” questions. I have been around a lot of Sifus and my favorite response is not the one in which the Sifu takes the challenge, but the one that the Sifu plays ignorant. “I don’t know.” Nervous silence. Then the Sifu will say something like, “Wing Chun is a principle based art. We don’t match technique to technique.” The student might reply, “Well, how can I block a jab.” “You can’t.” More silence. Double shit.
It’s not that Wing Chun can’t answer these “What if” questions. It’s that ‘What if” questions limit you. “What if” questions are looking for a definitive answer. Wing Chun isn’t basic arithmetic with a time table full of answers. Every fight is different and dynamic with variables that no one can possibly predict. There are multitudes of effective fighting arts out there, each one varying strategies, strengths and weaknesses. There are people who aren’t trained fighters at all who are completely unpredictable and chaotic in their fight approach. How can your Sifu responsibly answer your “What if” question?
But you still want to know how to deal with a jab or a take down! You could come across it on the street or even in a sparring situation with someone of a different fighting art. What do you do if you can’t ask your Sifu the dreaded, “What if the guy throws a jab?” question? Ask your Sifu the right question! Rather than asking a “What if” question, ask your Sifu something like this, “How can I use my Wing Chun principles or concepts to deal with a jab? or an attempted takedown? or ground fighting?”Your Sifu should be willing to answer this question and should be impressed that you are thinking in terms of principles and concepts, rather than techniques. He will also take it as less of a challenge to what he is teaching you. It shows respect for him and for your art. And I bet, you will get a great answer.
P.S. If you are still wondering how you can block a jab, you are still thinking technique to technique.
P.P.S. If your Sifu is a woman, please replace every he or him with a she or her. Thanks. :>)