Happiest Holiday Wishes too all our Friends and Wing Chun Brothers. I am Blessed to have some of the most dedicated Wing Chun, Sifu’s & Practitioner’s whom have helped to make Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association what it is today. I would like to acknowledge the deepest gratitude to my Sifu Alan ‘Bak Fu” Vasquez for the gift of this art, and to Co-Sifu Eugene Tagawa for your Years of Dedication and always thoughtful generosity! Me Ke Aloha all!
“You have just learned the two most important things about Wing Chun Kung Fu, Respect and Breathing!” is what my Sifu said on day one.
This was taught in metaphorical fashion. I was told to stand in a modified attention stance and then it was called out;
“Knees bent, right foot out 45 degrees, left hand up Wu Sao breath in, Right hand punch the left palm breath out SSSSST, Left foot out Du Ma breath in, Shoot both hands out Biu Sao breath out sharply SSSSST, both hands back breath in, double back-fist breath out sharply SSSSST, right foot back front breath in, press down with both hands and stand straight up and breath out. You have just learned the two most important things about Wing Chun Kung Fu, Respect and Breathing!”
Now lets look at this portion of the statement, “Respect and Breathing”, we all know what happens if we all stop breathing. Basically we die.
If we put two trained martial artists with the exact same skill set in a ring, the outcome would depend on will power and a little luck. Now lets add something to one of the fighters skill set; solid relaxed breath training, or training to breath appropriately for the circumstance. Breathing has a lot to do with how well your body does under pressure. If your blood is well oxygenated and the body is constantly being refreshed by breath and the fighter can achieve this well under pressure, this fighter has an skill that may well be the edge he needs to overcome his opponent whom may be gassed, or weak and fatigued.
Common training knowledge directly correlates breathing with well developed cardio fitness, and as we all know good cardio equals stamina and longevity in case of a fight. There are professional athletes in Hawaii training under water with no breath as a means to develop a stronger resistance to fatigue in the body under duress. The idea here is to train the body to work with less oxygen or utilize the remaining oxygen in the body efficiently or economically. This is a common training method for the new guard of big wave surfers here in Hawaii and free-divers around the world.
There are also hundreds of breathing apparatus on the market, being used in MMA and most pro sports training camps today. From old gas masks to high tech re-breathers and breath restrictors they all have a similar concept in mind. Train the body to breath efficiently, or utilize oxygen better.
The idea of training breath or breathing to be second nature under duress or in a conflict is key. Along with all technique taught within the Wing Chun System breath and breathing is paramount.
One idea on how it is instilled within the system itself would point to the breathing done and practiced during hand forms. If a student actually practices, he will get this training as part of his twice daily ritual of preforming Sil Nim Tao and it will become second nature or a memory reflex.
Another way this can be incorporated into training method, is through forced instinctual breathing. As a student or practitioner works on technique, if coordinated strong sharp out breaths are used during the exercises, the body automatically re-breaths due to the natural instinct to breath in as the body is stressed and out of breath.
As part of San Sik a timed continuous chain punch can be utilized with breath changes added for effect. Try this technique with natural breath, continuous out breath until stressed, and also with no breath until stressed.
“You have just learned the two most important things about Wing Chun Kung Fu, Respect and Breathing, Because if you dont Breath you Die, and if you don’t show Respect you may also Die!”
On Day One! “Respect and Breathing” is what he said.
by Lawrence Ramirez Sifu lrs
As a sign of great respect to his Sifus and Wing Chun Family, Pacific Wing Chun Association Awards Scott Cannam with Honorary Black Shirt/Sash which represents his dedication in studying Wing Chun Kung Fu, and to the great skill of the Sifus whom trained him. Scott Cannam founded the Red Deer Wing Chun group (Ving Tsun), in Alberta Canada. Scott Cannam is from the Greco Wong Kwoon in Alberta Canada. His Kwoons lineage is Yip Man / Moy Yat-Greco Wong / Kam Wong / Red Deer Wing Chun Calgary. Scott has great technique and very knowledgeable of the system and History of Wing Chun Kung Fu in general.
Thank you for sharing your skill and knowledge with us Scott. You truly are a Black Sash Kung Fu Fighter!
Theory of Balance by Lawrence Ramirez
Whether attacking postures presented, redirecting incoming forces and attacking from outside angles, or defending a full frontal attack directly at your centerline from an opponent, there must be balance in your approach within each of these scenarios.
Balance is said by many to be the most important factor to your defenses in a fight. It is also said to be the key to a successful attack. The fact is that Balance encompasses many ideas and has many applications within any fighting art.
There are theory of balance within form training that apply to attacking stationary and mobile defense postures, defense of both soft angular attacking and attacks with solid forward momentum, and also to each of these ideas in combination.
Within all the Wing Chun systems these ideas of balance are encompassed and addressed within the Hand Forms, San Sik, the Mook Yan Jong, and Weapons sets. Keep in mind that theory of actual application and training methods may differ due to lineage and family interpretation.
Balance is important to every empty hand and leg technique applied within the Wing Chun system. We change angles of attack or defense when we feel pressures or changes in our opponent’s posture in order to gain advantage upon and absolute control of them. But if there is no balance in the application of our technique we may become victims to our own movement. For every strike thrown at us we have several options with which to change that strikes energy into one which we can use to our advantage. If we do not use a balanced response, we may overextend an arm or cross center just enough for a trained opponent to take advantage of it.
Being over-committed is a common mistake that can have serious consequence if taken advantage of by an opponent trained to recognize this. “Strike when you should, do not strike when you should not”, or “Do not chase hands” apply in this scenario as forcing a strike can lead you into a bad situation if your opponent seizes the opportunity of a badly timed or an overzealous strike.
Balance in application of technique and in structure and stance upon entry or upon reception of external forces no matter of angle or strength is paramount. “Accept what comes, follow what retreats” is a theory of balance and teaches us to use balance in our defense and attacking as well. Using a balanced pivot, or joon ma to redirect, or diffuse an oncoming force helps us to keep balanced structure in a clash, where energies would otherwise topple an unsuspecting fighter. This theory also enables us to take advantage of overzealous over-committed attackers whom have our destruction in mind and are using force and brute strength to try an overcome a trained rooted Wing Chun fighting structure.
Balance in mind body and spirit is a popular way to describe the way a martial warrior should approach every aspect of life. Within the Wing Chun System this Ideal rings especially true.
Keep the Traditions!
Tea for Sifu by Lawrence Ramirez Sifu
My Sifu is no different than a great many Sifu I would imagine, whom love a hot cup of tea intermittently throughout the day.
Well throughout the six years I had trained with my Sifu, every session would include a cup of tea at some point, either upon arrival, during a break or maybe after the session with a tale of our Sihing or Sigung from years gone by.
You could imagine at Holiday time or upon a birthday celebration, there would no doubt be a gift for Sifu of a rare or exotic tea in a fancy tin given at some point right. Well yes that did happen, and more often than just at a holiday. So a great many years go by and a very impressive collection of teas from around the world had passed through the Kwoon’s door, with Sifu always graciously thankful and welcoming the giftor with a cup of delicious hot tea.
It had been many years that I had been through the Kwoon’s doors after moving out of state and during a particular family visit I was blessed with the time to see my Sifu, I looked forward to talking story with him and sharing a cup of tea, and yes I did bring a fancy tin of exotic tea as a gift for my Sifu.
As we sat down to begin our visit with two cups of fresh hot tea, my Sifu began to tell me how much he appreciated everyone whom would bring so many fancy teas from all over the world as a gift all these years.
Sifu told me how the gift teas were always greatly appreciated because as you can imagine a great many students over a few years could sip down quite a bit of tea, and that after all these years he still prefers to drink only plain old Lipton…
As my Sifu Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez says “The Tao of Wing Chun is a long path… Orange County Wing Chun Association (OCWingChun), Est. 1979 http://www.wingchunassoc.com
A Cultivation of Wing Chun Kung Fu by Lawrence Ramirez Sifu
The path I took in developing my Kung Fu was indeed a long path. I was a product of the permissive society of the seventies, and found great delight in evening TV shows with the family. As the TV dramas unfolded, my friends and I as children acted out our favorite shows as was our duty. It also might have been due to the fact that cell phones, internet and video games would not be invented for another few decades. At any rate one of our earliest of heroes in the streets had to be of course James Tiberius Kirk from Star Trek.Because of all his fight scenes he was the obvious first choice, and it was a great honor to get the role of Kirk among your friends. But like the saying goes change is inevitable. Summers pass and heroes fade, well some heroes fade. In the same year there was another series airing which starred a relatively unknown Actor martial artist from Hong Kong by the name of Lee Jun Fan, or to you and me Sigung Bruce Lee.
Enter, “the Dragon”- influence- that is. Martial Arts had come out of the shadows and were on the Big Screen with Sigung Lee Jun Fan shining bright in the spotlight. And if that were not enough we could always get the reruns of Green Hornet airing. Martial Arts had broken out of the shadows and Dojos were popping up in every City in the US. Now that was good and feeding my interest, but it wasnt until February 22, 1972 then again in August of 1973 that I sipped of the cup from which I would forevermore thirst.
In February of 1972, ABC released a Movie of the Week Miniseries called “Kung Fu” that starred David and Keith Carridine as “Kwai Chang Caine” a Shaolin Monk traveling through the untamed West searching for his half-brother Daniel Caine. This for me was a game changer. Kung Fu, the fluid movement and powerful attacks Caine threw at those cowboys were amazing! I couldn’t miss an episode.
Then in less than a year three powerful events struck and shook the martial arts world to its core. In December of 1972 Bruce Lee lost his Sifu (martial arts teacher), Grandmaster Yip Man, a Master of Wing Chun Kung Fu. At this time in American only a few people had known of this tragic loss and how it had to of no doubt troubled Lee Jun Fan deeply. At this same time he was in Hong Kong filming a movie that would skyrocket him to fame, but this film would be released six days after the Star of Film and Master of the Martial Arts would die. Lee Jun Fan, aka Bruce Lee died on July 20th 1973, his Hallmark Epic film Enter The Dragon was released in Hong Kong on July 26th 1973.
Chinese Martial Arts had gripped American Cinema, and the imaginations of millions within a year of Lee’s passing, and it would build and grow exponentially, by previously unseen proportions. The American theaters didn’t get the film till one year after its release but those in the know, had seen it and were already spreading the word of its supreme Martial Arts action and its “Extraordinary” lead actor.
Within this world of cinematic martial action it was hard not to follow its enticing lead. In almost every city around the US Chinese Martial Arts Schools or Kwoons started opening, and the Master, Sifus already here in the United State started sharing the Way, America and I were following.
For most Middle, High school aged kids of Native American, Latino, also people of African and Chinese descent growing up in Orange County provided challenges. Racism still existed. The fact that Bruce Lee changed his name as he tried to break in to Hollywood, solidified this. But this great film started something wonderful, it took down a barrier that shadowed Chinese Martial Arts and its culture for many years. Karate, Judo and Taekwondo held its place here in the States for nearly a decade but as Enter The Dragon made its Big Screen debut, this “closed-door” had been blown off its proverbial hinges.
It was during this same period in time that my Sigung Robert ‘Yeung Biu” Yeung, after getting blessings from Ip Man to teach and open a kwoon moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to do just that. He established the Hawaii Wing Chun Kung Fu Association in 1972. Robert ‘Yeung Biu” Yeung had been taugh specificly from Master Wong Long Ching and Late Masters, Wong Shun Leung, and Wong Tsok. During the years that follow there were changes in location and growth of the Wing Chun Association in Hawaii. Notable Sifu’s from this kwoon are too numerous to mention but listed here are, Bob Tome, Bobby Cheng, Donald Li, George Asato, Richard Wong, Lawrence Miyashiro, Rodney Lam, Art Kodani, John Divirgillio, Jame Sweet, Randy Sanches, James Tanaka, Wayde Ching, Marco Rivera, Embrey Williams, Thomas Perry, Gary Yokoyama, Mike Koenig, Ed Dumancas, and one other notable Sifu, Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez.
My Sifu, Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez, Captain US Army (Retired), Branched Infantry, and Military Intelligence; Viet Nam Combat Veteran, with Recon Ranger, and Special Forces duty, started studies with Yeung Biu’s Hawaii Wing Chun Association in 1977. After serving his country and being injured in paratroop exercise that would ended his military career and almost took his life, “Bak Fu Sifu” Started teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu in 1979. The Orange County Wing Chun Association was founded in 1979 and is still located in Lake Forest, Orange County, California. I myself had met Sifu Bak Fu in 1994, 95 during a time where our daughters attended the same grade school. I had no idea this meeting “Bak Fu” was such an auspicious occasion, and again a game changer for me.
At the time I had grand design to move to Hawaii and take a break from the hustle and, well mostly hustle of Orange County life. Keeping up with the OC is taxing to your mental health and pocketbook. To make it you need to be on a freeway at 5am to make it to a destination five miles away at 7am. I still have family and friends that make the daily pilgrimage, and I still feel for them. And I did just that in 1995 I moved to Kailua Kona, Hawaii where I took up concrete construction as a trade, and surfed and read Buddhist Text as a hobby. Growing two young girls is a hard job for a family let alone a single man so after several years of living Island style I packed it up and moved back to the OC. It was a change of local for my family, but little did I know how much that move would change me.
It was early September 2001 and I had just finished a move for my family that included two trips back to Hawaii. I had my daughters renrolled at the same school they attended some five years before and I was lying on the living room couch watching the news when it happened. 9/11/2001 US Attacked. I was in disbelief, total denial. I count fathom what was happening before my eyes, I watched the news for the next hour changing every channel making calls and worrying about my girls at school. Well after it was established that the East Coast was targeted and the rest of America was spared the terror of warfare, I picked up my children from school and continued on with life as we all did.
It was during these seemingly mundane days after I returned to Orange County that Bak Fu’s daughter Lisa had again struck up friendship with my girls at school, and days of pool party PTA meetings and sleepovers ensued with Alan picking up all the girls and taking them to his house or I picking them up and them dropping off, but there was another element that was inherent in these days of fun and childhood play. Sifu Bak Fu held Wing Chun Kung Fu class daily at his home kwoon, so the girls would not only get pooltime playtime, but also kid class Kung Fu time. I Alan suggest I come a to a session when I can and after a time I took in his offer and showed up to a session. My Daughters and I attended Orange County Wing Chun Association for the next 6 years as time allowed and we all progressed through the ranks. As we changed and grew in spirit and as our Kung Fu was cultivated and manifested within. I am proud of my daughters Iliana, Rachel Ramirez, and Lisa Vasquez. They are all responsible adults attending college in California and Hawaii. At current Rachel Ramirez holds a Blue Shirt Advanced Student position, Iliana and Lisa are both Black Shirt Certified Instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu.
At present Pacific Wing Chun Association has classes in Kailua Kona, and Waikoloa on the Big Island weekly, holds seminars and has welcomed several guest Sifu and Master Martial Artists from Around the World. Some honorific guests include: Sifu John Di Virgillio of Hawaii Wing Chun Association, Alan “Bak Fu” Vasquez Sifu of Orange County Wing Chun Association, Screenwriter of Forbidden Kingdom, Actor, Martial Artist, John Fusco. Master Kung Fu, Martial Artist Lucky Shaffer. Greco Wong Wing Chun Association Member Scott Cannam, and Cameron Ameri association member of Wing Chun Kali Systems of Houston Texas. The list keeps growing as does our Association.
Pacific Wing Chun Association welcomes back Scott Cannam from Red Deer Wing Chun (Ving Tsun), Alberta Canada. Scott Cannam is from the Greco Wong Kwoon in Alberta Canada. His Kwoons lineage is Yip Man / Moy Yat-Greco Wong / Kam Wong / Red Deer Wing Chun Calgary. Scott has great technique and very knowledgeable of the system. Excellent Kung Fu Scott! Welcome Back to Kailua Kona, Hawaii and Aloha!
Be well and keep the traditions all!
Much respect lrs
Tactics, Technique and Application of Theory
Within the Wing Chun Kung Fu system there are three distinct ideas, characteristics or catagories which may be used to describe, and help further define the system. Most motion within the system can be catagorized either as tactics, may contain characteristics of a certain technique or can be understood as ideas of application of a theory.
These three ideas or catagories encompass all motion within the system and all motion can be described as, and contain two or more of these ideas simultaneously.
Technique is taught and drilled into every Wing Chun Practitioner as they learn the Sil Nim Tao Form and basic San Sik from day one. Jik Chung Choi, Fook Sao, Tan Sau/Tan Dar, Gong Sau/Gong Dar, Bong Sao and every technique within the first hand form and the most basic of San Sik are all techniques of this system.
As they progress into and attain a certain level of understanding of Sil Nim Tao, the practitioner will begin to understand theory to correctly apply technique within the hand form and this is where at least two of the three ideas within the system begin to blend.
While learning Chum Kiu and more agressive San Sik, the practitioner will at this point have a certain level of mastery of most hand movement stricking, blocking, kicking techniques, and will be utilizing footwork such as pivots and directional stepping also utilizing or applying certain theory such as Economy of Motion and technique, example Lin Siu Dai Dar, they have been learning in combination to complete the form or San Sik technique.
After being introduced to Chi Sao, and having an good understanding of forms and San Sik, the practiitoner will be able to now utilize hand and stepping techniques such as agressive diagonal stepping and difierent circle stepping techniques such as Huen Bo, Chor Ma or Jau ma together, to change direction upon their opponents.
As mastery or understanding of movement in all areas continues to flourish so does the pratitioners ability to withstand more agressive or complex attacks with little force or effort. Simply by changing his stance by pivoting or a simple diagonal step he may gain an advantageous line of attack diretly at his opponents centerline, our main objective and goal.
These Tactics and Techniques along with Application of Theory now serve as the giudelines for the Practitioner as they cultivate Wing Chun Kung Fu and develop in their appreciation of the art and the ones whom came before us.
Keep the Traditions!
Lawrence Ramirez Sifu
World Wide Wing Chun Kung Fu is a discussion group developed as a forum for all martial artists to ask questions about, and voice their opinion, or ideas pertaining to Wing Chun Kung Fu. Now in its 12th year WW_WC_KF has members from different martial art styles and all corners of the Globe. If you are interested in, study martial arts or have ever wanted, to you will enjoy viewing the photos, have links from all styles of martial arts at your fingertips, and learn valuble tips from the masters of many different martial arts styles. Be enlightened, stay well!
Sifu Lawrence Ramirez
Founder Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Assocaition