Welcome to Centre to Centre

This is the first edition (Jan 2015) of the newsletter for my website Centre to Centre..It is envisioned to be monthly, with the next one towards the end of Feb 2015. This will also be the basis of the welcoming newsletter and email for new subscribers once I get a few editions out.

It is a bit late because I was unable to work out the mechanics of the whole process, being new to wordpress and blogging, etc. I hope that this will not be the case in future.

Why did we choose the name Centre to Centre? I'm glad you asked.

Firstly, this started as small, hand photocopied handout that was supposed to connect students between the two or three branches that were developing in my local area. Some students didn't attend other classes, some students only managed to get to class occasionally. The newsletter started so that social events, and information in general would be distributed, and keep the feeling of being a single club where members all got along. I proposed a competition for the name, and this name won. I gave a t shirt as the prize. Mikelis Jaunalksnis won with the name "Centre to Centre". We use English spelling in Australia, so it isn't "Center to Center". That just looks plain wrong to me. The meaning is several fold. One is that it was a newsletter that went between branches, and my business name is "the Ving Tsun Centre" and each branch was named "The Ving Tsun Centre" and then the suburb or town name.

Centre to Centre is also one of the most important theories distinguishing VTK from other arts, and encapsulates the fact that this is a newsletter for a VTK style.

It had several sections. An Editorial section like t his where I or one of my senior students would wax lyrically about something that was hopefully relevant and interesting. There would be a short article on social happenings, giving reports on how much fun they were, suggestions to improve it, and upcoming events. There would be a short pithy piece with some kind of hint or suggestions for training, sometimes from the past, sometimes something new. There would be a quote or something that would hopefully be inspiring.There was a short article on something to do with VTK, usually by me.

I would like to continue this format, perhaps on a more global scale, if it is practicable. The social focus is on Barry Lee lineage and closely influenced schools, and the articles and so on are envisaged as being on Barry Lee's methodology (as interpreted by myself, I must admit) but other things of interest to the lineage should not be omitted. Suggestions, offerings, events, and pieces are very welcome. NIfty names for the sections would be interesting.


Social Events

 Since this is just starting not much is going on. Over the year, and each year, I have 3 planned trips. In May from about the 5th to the 26th of May a trip to Hong Kong and China is planned, flying first into HK until about the 11th, then traveling to Nanning for 10 or 11 days of teaching at my school there. The picture here is from Ba Ma a beautiful area near Nanning where reputedly people live over 100 years  old.

Next I have a 5 week Europe trip covering Holland, Germany, and probably the UK, other places are possible. This will be from mid July to late August, or  early September, or thereabouts. Exact times and dates not yet known.

There will be another trip in Nov virtually identical to the China May trip.

I have a trip in the works to Melbourne, probably in March, for a weekend.

People wanting to join in need only get their asses over to where I am and communicate to meet up.


Quote of the Month:

"If you have to stop and think, it's too late!"

This is a quote from Sifu Barry Lee, and the motto of his schools, and thus, also a motto of the Ving Tsun Centre. It's meaning, if it isn't obvious, is that during a fight you have to move by reflex in response to an unexpected event. If you have to work out what you have to do, then the fight is over and you are lying on the floor bleeding. Students need to train until their body will respond for them. Since most martial arts do not do this any longer, they don't actually work in a real fight - although they may work in a situation where both parties agree to fight, which is more like a spar, even if it is full contact. A fight is not mutually agreed upon. It is sudden, completely against your will, up close, and frighteningly personal.


Training Tip 1

One big problem with training for excellence is that people tend to feel that once they have done something right ONCE then that is training done. The problem is that training doesn't work like this. Real training doesn't end at this point at all. While an important step, it is very much an early one. After doing it right once, you have to learn to do it right every time, reflexively, under pressure, until it becomes a habit. But missing out that step, of getting it right first, wastes time and encourages bad habits and bad reflexes.

There are essentially 4 'levels' of training something - arbitrarily structured by me. Actually, a lot of this is done simultaneously, but when you are working on different parts, it is a good idea to know what .you should be working on and how to work on it most efficiently.

The first level is emulation, where you copy the moves. This is best done slowly, and carefully, to engrave the technique in your nervous system. However, most people train hard and fast at this point, due to enthusiasm. This first level has several phases. Phase one, where you observe carefully, and try to learn about it. Study it. Engrave a perfect copy in your mind. This has to come first. Phase two, go through it slowly fixing errors each time until it looks ok.. Phase 3 Now keep going with that until you get it feeling comfortable. Phase 4 Get it corrected. This is essentially going back to Phase 1 and learn more, fix it better, repeat until satisfied. This whole level is mostly done with form work, or with moves taken out of the forms and practiced individually. Basically, this level is about the shape of the technique.

Level 2 is where you start to get the movement correct. It, too, is procedural. Start incrementing the speed up slowly, but pay attention to the manner of movement. Not everything is flat out. Some things are timing, some are acceleration, some are simply fast. Short range power is done with acceleration, not speed, so the way you move is important. Moving quite slowly enables you to see the way the moves are being done. Start the movement slowly, and try to increase the velocity at a constant rate so it reaches maximum at the end, at contact range. This Level is also done with form work, but increasingly with isolated techniques. If anything is wrong, go back a step or two, or even to the beginning, and cover it again until you can do it.

Level 3 is about getting it to work on something - pads, people, etc. Make the structures good under impact. If anything is wrong, go back a step or two, or to the beginning, and go over it again until it works. Drills have function here, both solo and partner drills. This is about as far as it gets for beginners, and

Level 4 is about making it reflexive and putting it into sequences. This is done largely through chi sau, although drills have their place too. Chi sau is a marvelous training tool to enable people to flow into correct techniques spontaneously under pressure.

Somewhere along the lines you also need to practice it full force sometimes, and should practice things until you are exhausted occasionally, but this is best done when you can do the technique well., and not in blind enthusiasm when you barely know the way it works.

Training the above way reduces time wasted, and more importantly, reduces the risk of bad habits becoming embedded.

This is the real kung fu.