Quality and Quantity

In order to achieve victory, you must place yourself in your opponent’s skin. If you don’t understand yourself, you will lose one hundred percent of the time. If you understand yourself, you will win fifty percent of the time. If you understand yourself and your opponent, you will win one hundred percent of the time” -Tsutomu Oshima

How to practice in solo?

Remember, the key to greatness lies in solo training.  This is how you build yourself up to mastery.  Step by step, session by session, day by day.  As we practice social distance, we may not be able to meet our training partners and instructors in person, however, your practice will never be cancelled.

The only way to go from average martial artists to outstanding is to train more. Not only repeating the same sequences, find logic behind the techniques. Not only doing your best each time, aim to do better. Focus on yourself during the practice, empty your mind, feel the silence and absorb your mind as is. It’s a moving meditation, as well.

WingChun Forms: Siu Nim Tao and Tsum Kiu

Forms are one of the great ways to practice for stronger foundations of WingChun. The first form of WingChun is called Siu Nim Tao (小念頭) -translated as “Small Intention”. In this form, we focus on one technique at a time, while standing still in Jing San Ma (正身馬). We may learn to generate power through bio-mechanics of arm movements associated with engaging many other parts of the body.

Tsum Kiu (尋橋) is the second form of WingChun -translated as “Seeking Bridge”. It consists of a variety of techniques and movements designed to coordinate your entire body in stance, footwork, and steps.

For each technique in a form sequence, there are meaning, name, action, and function. Every technique has a name, although please don’t be too obsessed about the exact pronunciation or spelling. Knowing the translation gives you a clue to its use. Find their definitions: by a start, spring, and finish lines and transitions to the next sequences -in other words, clarifying the process of preparation, execution, and completion.

Finally, we need to understand how each technique applies to self-defense.

1) What part of the body you are protecting?

2) What is your striking surface?

3) Where is the opponent and what is your target?

If it’s your first time practicing the form, this is absolutely ok to forget about some of the above criteria. Eventually, it will all come to you. Start from synchronizing or mirroring your instructors, senior students, fellow students. Repeat many times to acquire the motions into your muscle memory. Remember to enjoy the motions, appreciate and respect your time and health for being able to practice WingChun, it’s a privilege.

WingChun Form Practice Supplements

For the time being, in order to overcome the difficult time, we generated simple video clips of forms -both Siu Nim Tao and Tsum Kiu for your training aids. It is more appropriate for all of us to practice together in the studio with proper feedback and energy. Although, we considered that it’s more important for everyone to keep up with practice and moving forward. We hope it helps. Please find the links below.

Siu Nim Tao

Tsum Kiu

In addition, we are currently streaming the WingChun Zoom Classes at the same schedule as the regular classes. We already sent the invitations to all the members of WingChun Berkeley. If you missed invitations or find somebody who might be interested in joining us, please feel free to send me a message at info@iawberkeley.com.

Many Gratitude

I sincerely appreciate many of you who are reaching out to me for supports, offering helps, participating in the lessons at Zoom class, past few days. It’s truly heartwarming and encouraging for me, and remind me of the goodness in human nature, and how awesome our WingChun Berkeley groups is.

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.

With a lot of Love,

Sije Yuka Yoshioka

Will be back open April 7th.

Due to the Bay Area mandated quarantine, WingChun Berkeley is closing its doors until April 7th or until the shelter-in-place is lifted. Monday’s announcement leads us working on bringing you online contents, home training gigs, solo practices, etc. Just like you, we are still figuring out how to best navigate through all of this new situations. If you have any requests, suggestions, feedback, questions, or concerns, please message us through info@iawberkeley.com.

We know that WingChun is not only for self-defense against the physical danger, also for the health benefits, core strength buildings, and stress reliefs. We want to stay connected with you and be the support to our WingChun community during this time of retreat. Please keep eyes on our website, newsletter, for updates coming soon.

If you are able to support us during this challenging time, it would mean a great deal to us if you can keep your membership active. We are very local small business, and we need your help in staying flourish. In order to compensate the class closures, all March-April 2020 regular members gets 1 credit of Private Lesson (1 hour) with me and we can schedule it individually when we re-open. Please remember to claim it.

We also understand that some of you are financially impacted by the quarantine. If you’d like to pause your membership, please feel free to email me at info@iawberkeley.com and I’ll take care of it for you.

If you would like to extend the support WingChun Berkeley during the closure, we invite you to purchase drop-in class credits and/or private lesson credits for use starting in April. They never expire, and are a great way to upgrade your training after the veil of the COVID-19. We will be eternally grateful for your support.

We wish you all health, peace of mind, and wellness and look forward to training with you again soon.

Don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace.” Epicetus

With a Lot of Love.

Sije Yuka Yoshioka

WingChun: Praising Spring

Happy New Year of 2019!

I wish you are all well and enjoying the wonderful new year.  Do you know what?  As entering 2019, the Academy of WingChun Berkeley at the University Avenue location is engaging into 10th year anniversary.

Many things changed since then, many people comes and goes, as life happens as expected, and often unexpected ways, as always. Changes and renewals are themes in life.  No matter what happens, we keep eyes wide open and growing throughout life.

As a part of the anniversary celebration, and yes, we could say that it’s been overdue, we initiated the academy renovation project in early January 2019. Did you already have a chance to step onto the beautiful cork floor we installed recently?  Isn’t it awesome?  More improvements are on the way.  Let’s build more of wonderful memories together on this new floor, keep training with passion and love, and tough up ourselves inside and outside.

WingChun Berkeley

WingChun Lineage

While passing the lineage to next generation, adapting and surviving through generation after generation, each of us here is the bridge. We train together, meet as strangers and become a family.  Every experience: excitements, learning, adrenaline, uplifting, mistakes, and sometimes overwhelming pains, they are all parts of us, let’s embrace them, accept our emotions, either positive or negative, and move forward.

WingChun詠春”  literary means “Praising Spring“.  Like you feel whistling, with full of sweet days and roses and a treasure box where awesome techniques and flows compacted in.  WingChun is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense, originally developed in southern China approximately 300 years ago.

According to legend, the martial art style that came to be known as Wing Chun (詠春) was originated by the Buddhist nun Ng Mui in a period of civil war that marked the transition between Ming () and Qing () Dynasties. The rebellious monks of Shaolin were haunted down and killed as the temples burned to the ground.  The escaped rebels trained underground, synthesized a compact form of Kung Fu (功夫) to exploit weaknesses inherent in the other combat styles of their time and give an advantage to smaller fighters, who did not have the advantage of size and strength.  It was one of the very direct and short-range fighting systems.

This new system was well-guarded and passed on to only a few, very dedicated students, then evolving as it was adopted into various groups.  Gained popularity when Ip Man (葉問) began to teach openly in China and Hong Kong.  Some of his students, (i.e. Bruce LeeJeet Kune Do (截拳道), Leung Ting – WingTsun (詠春), to mention a few) continued the development, and spread Wing Chun all over the world.  It was further refined into our WingChun (詠春) of the present day.  Let’s express gratitude to all ancestors and instructors, who were passionate and patiently passed WingChun to us here.

WingChun Art Starts from Heart

One of the signs at our academy, written as “拳由心發” (Kuen Yau Sum Fut) can be translated as “Art Starts from Heart”. The framework of physical, psychological, and philosophical scales of Self-Defense was presented as primarily practical. (*quoted from sifupaulwang.com)

As we get trained more, we gain more experience and power.  Along with the martial art system, techniques, and skills, the lineage is also the descendant of our characters, which matter a lot to many of us. Integrity, honestly, kindness, generosity, compassion, moral courage, like, and love.  More than anything else, it is about how we treat each other; instructors, students, alumni, and prospects (of course your friends and families included!).  Never underestimate the influence you have on others.  Dare to be the one to let others believe that good things are possible.

“The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education” -Plutarch

Sije Yuka Yoshioka

WingChun Physics 101: Punch Energy and Momentum

Energy exists in many forms. Your energy comes from what you eat, because your body turns the food into chemical energy.  It is turned into mechanical energy in your muscles, which is used to punch an opponent.  Depending on the factors at the point of impact, the energy of your strike can turn into sound energy, thermal energy, kinetic energy to move the opponent and/or to locally change in its structure, such as bruises and pains.  When energy changes forms, energy is conserved. No energy is lost.

In WingChun, how can I punch harder?

There are two type of punches:

  1. Momentum Punch: heavy punch to move your opponent, i.e. knock one back/out
  2. Energy Punch: fast and painful that causes more pains and bruises

WingChun Momentum Punch

Momentum is the force gained by a series of motions with magnitude and directions in 3D space. Do you remember the Newton’s Second Law of Motion? What happens to a body when an external force is applied to it?  In momentum, the amount of changes to the body is equal to the net force acting on it.

This is written in mathematical form as P = mvP is momentum, m is mass, and v is the velocity. It has a specific direction assigned to it.

High momentum strike is a powerful tool to have in fight. It can push your opponent back, knock him off balance, knock him out if the strike leads to one’s head rotate.

Mass and velocity are multiplied together to increase the momentum of the punch. More momentum means finding the way to put more weight behind your punches.  Your knuckle is less than 1 percent of your body weight. Consider dealing with 200-pound man approaching or least his head to spin-around. Average person can throw punch at 10-15 mph (miles per hour), or even more trained practitioner can through it in maybe twice faster, like 20-25 mph.  You need to find the way to use more mass than just a fist. Right?

Train to put more mass behind the punch. Coordinate your body parts, arms, shoulders, spines, rib cage, hip, feet, gravity, and timing of air exhalation, from preparation of the punch to the impact.  Even if you are to put 5-10 percent of your body weight behind the punches, you can improve the momentum of the punch for 10 to 20 times, while combining other factors, which are a lot more involved.

WingChun High Energy Punch

Kinetic energy is the energy of motion.  The equation is KE= 1/2mv m is mass, and v is the velocity. It means that the kinetic energy of an object is directly proportional to the square of its speed. If speed increases in twofold, the kinetic energy will increase by a factor of four. It has the strong favoritism to the speed. So, if you want to get the most energy from your punch, increasing the speed is your primary goal.

Collisions: Energy Transfer and Impulse

Upon collision, intensity of energy is transferred per unit area.  So, if there are smaller surface used as a contact for the punch (bone parts of the knuckle versus palm strike), the localized damage is more severe. In addition, the impulse (J), which is the integral of the the resultant impact force (F) is J = ∫ F dt = m Δv =F t. m is mass, and Δv is the changes in velocity, t is the time during the collision.  It means in order to achieve high Fincreasing the Δv and decreasing the t will do the job.

What does it means in WingChun punch?  We can also improve our punch by decreasing the collision time, and increasing the punching speed (toward opponent and “quick pull” of your fist at the moment of impact). If you are wearing a traditional WingChun uniform, you can hear the sound of your sleeve snap with your fist.

Energy Transfer and Efficiency in Interactions

This fundamental physics is also applicable to kicks, palm strikes, and pak sao, etc.  For example, we always emphasize not to holding onto the opponent’s arm after the pak sao. It’s one of the many reasons.  When you grab and attempt to control the opponent, it increases the time during the collision and half of Δv (the change in velocity), and your momentum ends there.  It lowers the efficiency of the energy transfer in combat.  Same in life, sometime, to lose control is the best possible thing that can happen to us.  It releases us from the pain that comes from expectations, and teaches us to be calm and be ready for the next things.  Pak sao then punch the opponent at the best you can do, once completed the task, go back to the wu sao position and get ready for the next.

It can take years of training to reach to the point where you feel coordination of the body, enable to put significant mass behind your punches, and improve the details of the basic techniques.  It will take a lifetime to reach the perfection, because once you get advanced, your sense of awareness advances,  you will always start finding more room to improve yourself. And small advancement, feeling of small success in a daily life, get yourself inspired, and inspire others.  By training yourself hard, you are making the world slightly better.  Isn’t it fascinating?

If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum.Holly Near

Sije Yuka Yoshioka

WingChun Movements and Mindsets

If the life extracts one thing, it’s movement.

To live is to keep moving. It takes a lot of courage to liberate yourself from the familiar and seemingly secure environment, to embrace the unknown.  On the other hand, there is truly more security in the adventurous and exciting mindsets and actions.  For in movement, there is life, and in change, there is power.

In WingChun, how to improve the movement?

If the mastering the technique itself is immature, whatever the muscle is greatly trained, it becomes an unused treasure. On the contrary, if you acquire the skills of maneuvering your body freely, you can generate more power and speed efficiently. For example, compare to the punch with merely the arm muscle movement,  you can throw significantly heavier punches; if you know how to transfer the force created by your footwork and bodywork, through the feet, legs, hip, spines, chest, shoulders, arms, to the fists.

For the start, we can introduce you to those 3 basic movements and exercise ideas:

1) Stretch and Shrink:

Stretch the ribs and pelvis apart and simultaneously shrink the opposite side.  Remain the center of gravity to the stretched side, that way, you can recognize the power, which you transfer from pelvis to legs. The muscles on trunk can move much wider and more elastic. It can improve the movement of hands and arms, and create physical agility.

2) Roll and Warp:

From the pelvis to the backbone, round and warp the torso, repeatedly. During the movement, be conscious of each spine clearly. It can increase overall leg movement efficiency and enhance overall suppleness, flow and flexibility of the body actions.

3) Twist:

Twisting the spine one by one, it’s the movement of distinguishing the torso and leg from the joint, which leads to create the maximum power of human being (Punches, Kicks, etc.). Be careful not to move your legs while hanging on this exercise.

Train to the Mastery for life.

Just to mention a few, you can imagine that there are infinite numbers of combinations and details in practice. Of course, it will not be acquired overnight but we can start realizing that there are more prosperity to be found on the way to the mastery of WingChun along with the mastery of your body. It could take a lifetime and persistence there, but you can improve yourself as far as you train.  In each stage, you always encounter the pleasure of discovering more about WingChun, yourself and others, which leads to the passion to do more, and eventually share more with others.  The martial artists in the ancient time says, “Aim to train to achieve the peak performance of your body in your 60s.”

Stay in Action and Be Conscious.

Movement is the prescription for creating change in your physical, emotional, and mental states. In a daily life, you can also practice how to manage yourself by yourself. It is like one of your grooming routines: you to be always being “yourself” with no matter the circumstances or who you are with. Observe and take care of the trivial details well, which most people don’t even notice. Think about how to maintain the good distance to other people?  Don’t be too close or sticky, but don’t be too unfriendly or unfavorable.  Fulfill your role so as not to differentiate and obstruct others.  It also leads to raising the quality of movement for itself.

Therefore, you can achieve the status of “No Unguarded Moment“, as a consciousness of martial arts in a glimpse.  In other words, you become the one who is always ready, reliable and accountable.

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.  -Deepak Chopra

Sije Yuka Yoshioka