The Three Steps to Learning (Martial) Movement

When learning anything new, be it martial or any movement art, there is a great model for progressive skill development.  My first wing chun instructor Sifu Johann Sasynuik taught me this when I was a teenager learning non-classical gung fu at his school.  I have adopted these three steps to learning in my school because I find they best represent the methodology that I appreciate and wish to instill in my students.  I figured I would share them all with you. They are (in important order):

  1. UNDERSTAND what you are trying to do
  2. PRACTICE slowly and correctly
  3. TRAIN for speed and/or power or intensity

Too often students rush to get to number three without the the proper understanding or mechanics to do so.  Learning is not a race!  With a little patience to grind out some proper mechanics first, the result of competent movement will actually come faster then if one has to spend time correcting mistakes later.  Training for speed and power without proper mechanics is recipe for physical compensations, injuries and just plain sloppiness.  With haste comes mistakes, and this is reinforced by the old military sharp-shooting adage of "slow is smooth, smooth is fast".

Fixing hastily trained patterns is a time waster for both you and your instructor.  If there is a shortcut to learning martial arts, these steps are it.


First long pole class was a lot of fun!

They are looking pretty good after only two hours of training!  Looking forward to doing more this Friday.


Long Pole series starts again!

 Early this year I finished teaching my first batch of long pole students.  I am very excited about this as now the long pole system has a chance to thrive and survive.  While many who have "learned" it don't practice it at all or worse they opt to keep it secret, I'm of the opinion that this skill is like all others - it needs practice!  No one can practice what they don't learn and so I've opened the learning of the WT pole to Primary Level Technicians and above.

I'm also convinced many so-called masters here don't teach it or practice it because they themselves don't own the skills yet.  Well that and the fact that their associations forbid them to teach it. 

As seems to be tradition in WT, I teach the long pole in four, 4-hour modules.  Starting tomorrow (Friday) the next batch of students will begin learning Long Pole 1.  A number of those who completed the series of four will also be rejoining to brush up on the basics.

I've had the tremendous fortune to learn the long pole from a number of highly qualified instructors.  I have had intensive instruction from Grandmaster Leung Ting, Sifu Carson Lau, Sifu Elmond Leung and many others.  While I haven't done much long pole training with my Si-bak Sifu Lee yet (due to my hernia surgery recovery) we did go over his version of the form and the variations between instructors.  In any case I have had the chance to practice long pole with many instructors and it has enriched my understanding of this elegant weapon.  Rather than keep that all to myself, I intend to share.



CWT is coming to Hong Kong!

For the second time ever, City Wing Tsun is going to Hong Kong!  Back in 2009 I brought a handful of students with me to Hong Kong to practice Wing Tsun there and to experience what it's like at the source.  This time we are planning a much more epic trip for our students which will include a number of special events and activities.  The trip will be for about 10-12 days and we will be going in March of 2014.

On the plan for the trip so far is the following:

  • Daily Wing Tsun class in the morning taught by myself
  • Students get to train with some of my instructors
  • Trip to Grandmaster Yip Man's grave
  • A visit to the Ving Tsun Athletic Association
  • Visiting masters of other martial arts (Hung Kuen, Thai-boxing etc.)
  • Shopping, site-seeing and lots of great food
  • Visit famous locales where movies were shot
  • A visit to the new Bruce Lee exhibit in Shatin
  • A trip to the Big Buddha and Lantau island
  • and much, much more!

I have a few surprises in planning for the students too that I'm not at liberty to discuss!  Super excited, stay tuned for more info.

Any City Wing Tsun students who are interested in this trip, let us know ASAP.  Email the head office at



From my Howcast series, "bong lap da"