Experience is the best teacher. We take the knowledge and practical understanding that we gain in our practice, and then we apply it in a realistic setting. In most martial art schools, this realistic application is given through sparring.
One of my students with about 12 months of part time study is also taking lessons at a Karate school.
Below is his candid thoughts and commentary shared with me, after an experience sparring his fellow classmates.
So I was sparring in my karate class yesterday, I conducted a Wing Chun experiment and I noticed something.
I put up my guard up, kept my arms extremely relaxed, and light. I noticed that as we engaged, it was if they slowed down, and I could see the openings alot more clearer then if I was tight and not relaxed. I took to heart the maxim, greet what arrives, escort what leaves, and rush on contact loss.
I was able to move in very effectively and tie up their hands; the whole time I kept my hands light, and used lots of biu saus since they were head hunting. The more I moved in, and cluttered their hands, the more they kept moving back, and I was able to just back fist them or hit them in the body.
The more I relaxed, the better I was able to see, think and hit the open spots. The take away from this is being relaxed, and being ready to greet what comes, and rush on contact loss after moving their hands was crucial.
Just thought I'd share this with you since it is still fresh on my mind.”
This was a very nice reflection of using a relaxed effort and good Wing Chun strategy to handle opponents of another style.
He is going to get the very best experience, because he is not comparing Wing Chun vs Wing Chun. The reactions and habits of a Karate system are usually much different that the ones we look to build using Wing Chun.
In the end, it’s not the style, but the student who makes an art come alive. And beyond that, it’s not the style, but the student’s ability to figure out what technique and strategy is best applied for each unique situation.
I’m a firm believer in cross training, so that you can compare and contrast systems, styles, teachers, and methods of application.
I welcome other stylists to come and try some Wing Chun, and see if the methods can fit their existing system, and aid in their own advance of skill and martial understanding.