The martial arts having fortunately undergone a more reality-based development in recent decades (cage-fights, MMA etc.), we are now witnessing – as was to be expected – an extreme countermovement by directionless dreamers.
These would like to (have us) believe that it is possible to put a totally determined attacker out of action even without touching him at all.*
Numerous videos along these lines try to fool people into thinking that this can be learned – contrary to all practical experience.
Now that “illusionists” such as these have gained a foothold in various Budo organisations, as they promise a welcome increase in membership numbers that is not just based on children taking part, they are also beginning to tout themselves to Wing Tsun in its various forms and spellings.
Some years ago an illusionist from overseas attempted to give one of my national instructors (in Spain) physical proof of the effectiveness of his wondrous method by delivering kicks and blows to various areas while the latter was not allowed to move. He failed dismally.
Nonetheless this same fellow had the nerve to email me personally to convince me of his supposed powers.
As everybody knows, I am always interested in anything that might optimise the combat effectiveness of my members, so I told him that I would attend one of his events with a number of my seasoned fighters, and that he could count me in if it actually worked.
“No, no,” he protested by return, it was not at all about fighting, but about making money. Or more precisely, it was about his and my old-age pension if I could sell his training courses to my members.
He was well aware that he did not possess what he was trying to sell.
Why am I writing about this?
1.Because I do not want our WT ever to go in this perverse direction.
2.Because I do not want the unsuspecting public to think that we too subscribe to this bullsh*t.
Because for outsiders, the power generated in our WT is already nothing short of wondrous:
A heavy opponent is thrust backwards almost effortlessly by a lightweight WT-fighter.
The opponent is unable to disengage himself from our arms etc.
We are able to influence the opponent’s psyche, so that his psyche in turn influences his
body to our advantage.
But all this is far removed from the effects of some mysterious and wondrous “inner” power.
Let me tell you this right from the start:
In more than 55 years in the martial arts, I have seen almost all the most important masters in action. But like all the real masters with whom I have ever come into contact, I have never experienced any real “inner” power or force with combat relevance.
In e.g. YouTube videos, it is however relatively easy to pretend an effect and a level of skill that one does not possess.
For example by giving a demonstration with physically or mentally weak individuals, or with obedient students who are sycophantic to an embarrassing degree.
You can also be a “defrauded fraudster” yourself if you believe your own propaganda, as can the student who allows himself to conform and “plays along” because he has the feeling that his teacher and the spectators expect him to.
The same applies to those “human wonders” on YouTube, who purport to be “unpushable” and have people, usually their own students, try to push them over, though the latter clearly have no idea how to do this.
As David Hume (1711 – 1776) already showed, humans are unable to recognise inter-relationships, only sequential, parallel or consequential relationships. It is therefore easy to deceive them where cause and effect are concerned.
However, those who have experience in pushing and being pushed, and have learned to observe others from both an inner and outer point of view, are helped by e.g. their “mirror neurons” to clearly distinguish real effects from pretended effects.
I am easily able to identify with the movements and feelings of an individual whose way of moving I can see, and compare them with the “muscular perceptions” that then arise within me.
Clearly this capability is not even theoretically known to many a comedian, otherwise how could someone be stupid enough to send me a video of his pathetic attempted fraud together with the injunction: “I absolutely assure you, this is real inner power!”
What the name “Inner WingTsun” means to me
In giving it this name I on no account wish to create the illusion that we work with some kind of superhuman “inner” power.
Even though the effects we cause are hard to understand for most people, they are based on the intelligent use of power and do not contradict the “laws” of physics.
When I refer to my WT as “Inner” WingTsun, I only do this to show that we teach our WT from “inside to outside”, just as was probably originally intended in Chan-Buddhist WingTsun.
We start our teaching with movement of our attentiveness, not with movements of the body.
When we practice the SiuNimTau form, we are primarily concerned with self-observation, and only then with the movements contained in the form.
In short, our Inner WingTsun is “inner” precisely because we first practice attentiveness and take an inner view of movement.
An inner WingTsun follows the Chan-Buddhism of the Shaolin monastery, puts attentiveness i.e. self-motivated attention in the forefront, and first calls on the student to observe the facts, i.e. “look” carefully at what is actually happening.
Our functional, physical movement is then the next learning stage, namely responding as the situation requires to the opponent’s question as correctly understood by our attentiveness.
Please help me to prevent the public from placing us in the same category as these unrealistic charlatans.
It is only with respect to the “form of instruction” that we call our WT an inner style.
Keith R. Kernspecht
To avoid any misunderstanding, “Kong Jin” (internal force) training is a controversial training method used by many inner styles, where two “partners” train together for years and become attuned to each other like a “transmitter and receiver”, so that they can already “perceive” the partner’s “attack” before or without any physical contact. As over-willing participants they behave as if they had already been st
ruck, or preempt the effect and e.g. fall to the floor. The usefulness of such “conditioning” is certainly debatable.
Whether it is efffective in a serious encounter, without a “partner” to whom one has become attuned in years of practice, is open to doubt.
* See “Coursebook Inner WingTsun” p. 42:Also possible without physical contact,careful, there are charlatans about