Honor Dedication and Respect

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Honor Dedication and Respect

  The words in the title all intend and hold within a common theme of positivity,  virtue. As a teacher, coach or mentor it is imperative that these values are instilled unto your student especially where the skill being taught holds knowledge that could potentially end or take a life.

  This title or mandala is posted in bold type style on the website I created for my kung fu organization, the Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association. The words hold special meaning and remind me of the many hours spent with my Sifu Alan Bak Fu Vasquez and Kung Fu Brothers working to understand and apply all the technique within the Wing Chun Kung Fu System.

I was blessed to have found a mentor in Sifu Bak Fu he truly cared enough to help us understand and made sure we worked hard at every technique we were taught. I spent a little over four years training at Orange County Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, and I am honored to have met and trained with some of the finest martial artists today.

 I consider it a great Honor to be a part of my Kung Fu family which extends to our mother association in Hawaii via the Hawaii Wing Chun Kung Fu Association headed by Sifu John DiVirgillio.

  The time spent studying a martial art or any skill based activity requires some degree of dedication, but in the case of Wing Chun Kung Fu there is no substitute for the dedication you need to put into studying and practicing this Kung Fu style.

  In ancient times the perseverance one needed to have just to even become a student at many kung fu school was a testament to the prospective student in regards to their resolve or dedication to learn. This helped the Sifu make decisions on who to admit and give this knowledge to and who was not worthy.

  Life in these times were a little more cut and dry in the fact that if you were in a fight or struggle, it could mean one lost life. Respect was paramount where study of the martial arts was concerned. Training was also very serious, students dedicated themselves to study, having and holding respect for the art, their Sifu and for themselves. Respect was demanded in all aspects within the training. If a student didn’t show proper respect or dedication to their training they were removed from the kwoon or worse they died due to the course of their actions.

  Today’s students and practitioners are held to a much lower standard if any standard at all, due to the attractive monetary gains to be had. There are also paid advertisements where they expound anti-hate , or  anti-bully campaigns, wherein a true martial art or kung fu system would hold their students and practitioners to these base ideals.

  As martial arts came to be popular in the late 60’s and into the 70’s these positive ideals were intact and true to these ideals, which produced many of the great martial artists of today.  Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Jim Kelly, Wally Jay, Ed Parker, Mas Oyama, and Morihei Ueshiba to name a few either created their own style of martial art or influenced the world with their mastery and dedication to the martial arts world in general. These true martial artists held themselves and their students to the highest of standards.

  In my training it was instilled that respect was paramount, and being a good student was my job when in stance. It was within the first lesson where we were taught this ideal. Respect for our Sifu, the art, our fellow students and for ourselves.

 For those whom were dedicated in training and whom progressed through the ranks it became clear whom honored these base ideals.

  It is an Honor to have had the opportunity to study under my Sifu whom I respect and hold in the highest regards, and with a few my Kung Fu Brothers whom to this day I consider close family.

  At some point every teacher of martial arts come to an important crossroad, where they are transmitting a skill-set or knowledge which only few are worthy to possess to running a business where these ideals are bypassed for the sake of a dollar.

  Dedication to your art, and students is paramount, uphold our Sifu’s teachings with honor, and respect yourself, your Sifu and your fellow student no matter where your particular art come from. This is the Tao or Way of a true Martial Artist and a true Kwoon or Martial Arts School.

Train Hard, Be Well, and Much Respect!

Lrs

Dit Da Jow available for purchase from Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association

Dit Da Jow available for purchase from Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association.

Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association

New Batch of Bak Fu Pai Dit Da Jow with Hawaiian Olena, and Essential Oils is ready.

A new Batch of Bak Fu Pai Dit Da Jow with Hawaiian Olena, and Essential Oils is ready. I have 2 oz and 4 oz bottles available. Message me for pricing including shipping. Many thanks to the folks at ‪#‎PlumDragon‬ for their fine products.
Peace and much Respect, lrs

The White Tigers Back Fist 白虎背拳

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The White Tigers Back fist 白虎背拳

Early in my martial training I was introduced to what  I now like to call the “Bak Fu Bei Kuen” or ,

The White Tigers Back Fist 白虎背拳. The Sinking Dragon or the sinking elbow back fist is a technique that literally pulls your opponent into the back fist with little recourse once initiated. I have been practicing this unique strike since i was personally introduced to it in early 2001 by 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 Tin Yao, aka Robert “Yeung Biu” Yeung’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, but started formally training under him in 2001. During the many years of training that followed there were countless times I had seen this “Bak Fu Bei Kuen” flying at me from out of nowhere only to stop an inch off my face. “Use the cats whiskers”, “keep changing”, “move like a dragon”, “be soft” or “be like water” would be the phrases that would usually follow the delivery of the famed strike, but it would years before I would come to terms, get my head around these ideas, and fully understand exactly how to “Use the cats whiskers”, “keep changing”, “move like a dragon”, “be soft” or “be like water”. I was told until learn to use the cat whiskers to stop you will never truly learn how to go. How would do you put this into context to actually teach someone to actually do this? In reality you cannot, it is movement your body must feel many countless times until in is ingrained into muscle memory, and movement becomes instinct and natural action, not re-action. I believe it was not until I had begun teaching that I came to realization and understanding of these and many other terms and ideas I had been taught in the years I spent training with my Sifu, my Kung Fu Brothers and Sisters.

There were times when only Sifu and I were in the Kwoon, he would make tea and I would work. As I hit the Mook Yan Jong or practice Baat Chaam Dou he would tell me story of his training days and of his military days. He would always catch my mistakes no matter how in depth his description of adventure had gotten. On one particular day I remember him telling me of his reoccurring dreams of engaging great Gung Fu warriors in battle, I asked how the dreams ended, he said he had always won. I truly believe he was using the “Bak Fu Bei Kuen” in these magnificent battles, and I know these great warriors were looking at them as I had once long ago.

I have graduate students of my own now and I see them training the younger and newer students. They now are asked the same questions and have to explain these theories and principles as I had taught them, just as I was in turn taught by my Sifu. Time is the best teacher, with time that which is cultivated manifests, and if cultivated, Gung Fu only grows with age.

I now have my own dreams of battle, and you know I will be throwing a few “Bak Fu Bei Kuen” in the mix to ensure my victory.

Train well, much respect,

lrs

Quinn Miller has been promoted to Red Shirt at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu

Quinn Miller he has been promoted to Red Shirt Wing Chun Kung Fu Practitioner

Quinn Miller he has been promoted to Red Shirt Wing Chun Kung Fu Practitioner

Quinn Miller he has been promoted to Red Shirt Wing Chun Kung Fu Practitioner

Quinn Miller he has been promoted to Red Shirt Wing Chun Kung Fu Practitioner

Please help us to congratulate Quinn Miller he has been promoted to Red Shirt Wing Chun Kung Fu Practitioner. His skill level has risen quickly with skill he has attained in his studies of Aikido and Karate. I know he will keep the Traditions and his skill level will continue to rise due to his dedication and commitment to the study of Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Be Well All and Keep the Traditions!

lrs

Mike Pollard awarded Black Shirt Instructor Level at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

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Mike Pollard receives his Black Shirt.

Sifu Lawrence Ramirez presents Mike Pollard with his Black Shirt at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Mike Pollard awarded Black Shirt Instructor Level at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, Kailua Kona, Hawaii. I would like to thank Mike for his years of dedication in studying with us here at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association. I know you will keep the Traditions and honor our Wing Chun Family always! Aloha and Much Respect lrs! 20140928_101613

Mike Pollard awarded Black Shirt Instructor Level at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Mike Pollard awarded Black Shirt Instructor Level at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

 

Qi Gong Breathing for Active Recuperation

Qi Gong is an integral part of Wing Chun.  We reap the benefits of it through cultivation of vital energy, and also from the increased effectiveness of our breathing on our physiology.  When we practice Sil Nim Tao, we are training our mind and our bodies, part of which includes the breathing technique.  My Sifu and Sigung both taught me the importance of breathing as one of the two most important things in kung fu, and based on my experiences, they are absolutely correct.  Given two equally matched fighters, the one that can recuperate the fastest through proper breathing technique will likely be the victor.  I share some of my own experiences in the paragraphs below that I feel validate the importance of Qi Gong breathing in your kung fu training.

Part of my own workout at home is to run “suicides” after my Wing Chun practice, which I do two to three times each week, depending on how much class/partner time I’ve had.   “Suicides” are a jogging/sprinting exercise consisting of direction changes at 10, 20 and 30 yards, i.e., up and back to ten yards, up and back to 20 yards, and up and back to 30 yards, followed by a rest interval.  I’ve worked up to doing ten rounds of these, which helps to build both strength and endurance, and to a lesser degree, agility.  During the rest periods, I’ve started to integrate Qi Gong breathing with great results compared to normal breathing.  The clear benefit of Qi Gong breathing based on my experience is decreased recuperation time during the rest periods, to the point where I can actually gage how many breaths it will take to recuperate from a given volume of exercise.

For those that want to know the science behind recovery from an exercise like this, well here it is.  I personally feel that it’s important to understand the science because this knowledge gives you the ability to manipulate it to your own needs.   Your body generates energy for short, intense bursts of exercise like sprinting or fighting anaerobically, or without oxygen. When you stop exercising you still breathe heavily because your body is taking in extra oxygen to repay the oxygen debt that was incurred.  When you stop the exercise and start to recover you will actually need more oxygen to recover, and hence you breath harder than you do during the exercise. This is called Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption.  Here’s why it takes more oxygen to recover:  1) You need to replace the oxygen the body needed but couldn’t get (oxygen deficit), 2) Your breathing and heart rate are elevated to remove CO2, 3) Your body temperature and metabolic rate are increased, and 4) Your Adrenaline and Noradrenaline are increased.

Here’s how Qi Gong works to decrease your recovery time.  First, to simplify the paragraph above: your body didn’t get the oxygen that it needed during the exercise and not only needs to make up for what it didn’t have during the exercise, but also needs deal with the other physiological effects that accompany short, intense bursts of exercise.  You finish the exercise and your breathing is heavy, and if you are not trained in Qi Gong, it is very inefficient. Qi Gong breathing increases the effectiveness of your breathing by doing two things: 1) increases the total volume of air moving into and out of your lungs through proper breathing, and 2) through the accompanying body motions, effectively forcing the oxygen into your circulatory system, kind of like a turbo charger on a car!

If you don’t have experience with Qi Gong breathing, here’s a brief explanation of proper form.  A single breath looks like this: 1) inhale starting at your navel – the tan tien – (newborn babies or young children after vigorous play are a great example as they the diaphragm as the main control point for breathing, ‘belly breathing’); pulling inward toward your spine to help you exhale and pushing outwards to expand your rib cage while breathing in. Actually, if you focus only on the motion and direction of your diaphragm and not directly on breathing, your lungs will fill automatically, 2) next open up your chest cavity and feel the expansion in your lungs. I’m not sure if this is scientifically proven, but in my own humble opinion, I think this increases your overall lung capacity over time and the longer practice, 3) exhale starting with your lung cavity, and press the energy downward to the tan tien. My sigung uses a great analogy to visualize this: imagine a rolling pin rolling your chest from top to bottom, 4) complete the exhale by sucking in your tan tien and pushing every last bit of oxygen out of your lungs.

The accompanying body motions are just as important as the breathing as they facilitate the flow of your vital energy and your circulatory system.  We typically perform three motions in our classes that are derived from portions of the Eight Pieces of Brocade and Shaolin Lohan Hands forms. I’ll explain one of them here.  It starts with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent and relaxed, hands at your sides, palms in front of you and facing up.  As you inhale ‘lift’ your hands up to chin level, and as you exhale, face your palms downward and ‘press’ them toward your navel.  Physically, you are forcing your rib cage to expand and accept more air during the inhale, and conversely, forcing your rib cage closed and effectively pushing the air out of your lungs during the exhale.

As you practice your Qi Gong, the next step is to focus on what’s happening to your body during the exercise and to understand where energy is flowing.  I’m just in the beginning stages of learning this, and hopefully someday I’ll learn enough to shed some light on this for other martial artists that are interested.  In the meantime, I’ve fully integrated Qi breathing into my workouts and even into my daily routines if I’m feeling low on energy.  I’m curious to know if others have the same experience with integrating Qi Gong breathing into their workouts and how their results compare to mine.

Much respect,

Mike Pollard

Pacific Wing Chun under the tutelage of Sifu Lawrence Ramirez and my Sigung Alan Bak Fu Vasquez of Orange County Wing Chun (the original)

Mike Pollard has been awarded a Black Sash at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Mike Pollard has been awarded a Black Sash at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Mike Pollard has been awarded a Black Sash at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Solid day of testing Chi Sao and Intercepting skill. Please congratulate Mike Pollard he has been awarded a Black Sash for his hard work and dedication in study and practice. He has the skill of a warrior and will continue his testing this month for his certification as an Instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Mike Pollard has been awarded a Black Sash at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Mike Pollard awarded Black Shirt Instructor Level at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Mike Pollard awarded Black Shirt Instructor Level at Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Great job Mike see at this weekends session!

Aloha and Much Respect Everybody!

Pacific Wing Chun Association welcomes Sifu Scott Cannam.

www.pacificwingchunassociation.com

Sifu Scott Cannam and Mike Pollard, Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Waikoloa, Hawaii

Pacific Wing Chun Association is honored by another visit from our Kung Brother Sifu Scott Cannam. His knowledge in the history of Wing Chun and the system in general is unmatched, it is always a treat to spend time rolling hands and sharing ideas and theory with him. Todays session was no different, as we began with san sik and then into flow drills Scott gave insight into theory and how to gain advantage over an opponent in structure and with proper technique. We then shared ideas on chi sao and intercepting.And at the end of class the group chased down the training mitts with kicks, and triple punches till everyone had a solid sweat on in the hot Kona sun. I am already looking forward to the next session later this week. Again welcome back and many thanks for sharing your Manao (knowledge in Hawaiian language) LRs Sifu Scott Cannam

Motion and Wing Chun Technique Application

Motion and Wing Chun Technique Application

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The dragons are spirits of the waters. “The dragon is a kind of being whose miraculous changes are inscrutable.” In a sense the dragon is the type of a man, self-controlled, and with powers that verge upon the supernatural. In China the dragon, except as noted below, is not a power for evil, but a beneficent being producing rain and representing the fecundating principle in nature. He is the essence of the yang, or male, principle. “He controls the rain, and so holds in his power prosperity and peace.” Myths of the Waters, The Dragons, Myths and Legends of China, by Edward T.C. Werner, [1922], at sacred-texts.com

Early in my Wing Chun training, “Move like a Dragon” was an analogy my Sifu used to describe the evasive and forward, never retreating way in which a Wing Chun practitioner should forge an attack. This idea of forward motion, and constant pressure upon an opponent was fostered and cultivated in various ways every training session.

Changing direction to defuse an opponents oncoming force is one method to employ in an encounter where the oncoming force is strong and overcommitted. In these types of situations a combination of change of stance, hand technique and forward pressure can be utilized to weaken the attack and incapacitate you opponents ability to recover from his own attack.

Constant motion is inevitable in a real fight situation. There will be no staged or choreographed feed and responses from friendly training partners, there will be an ever changing enemy meaning real harm to you or your loved ones if you do not move, change and have answers to movements presented by your attacker/s. One solution, train to defuse oncoming force with change and movement, train to move and be unpredictable as possible.

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Reading or perceiving signs, movements, gestures, and signals from an opponent, advancing with ferocity to intercept and thwart forward motion then trapping limbs to destroy an opponents structure and ability to attack is the goal. The methods we use and techniques we train within the Wing Chun system show us ways to achieve this.

“The Tao of Wing Chun is a long path…” Alan Bak Fu Vasquez

 

Keep the Traditions!

lrs

 

Dedication, the Key to Understanding Wing Chun Kung Fu

Dedication, the Key to Understanding Wing Chun Kung Fu

The concepts of structured movement, economy of motion and dedication to understanding these concepts is key within the Wing Chun Kung Fu System. Wing Chun is a Martial Arts System that entails the study of body structure,  structured coordinated refined movement, and the understanding of hand and weapon form. The techniques within the system are not easily taught alone without the student having an understanding of structured movement of a body that has been trained to respond to attack with applied concepts and muscle memory trained reflexes. These are movement and concepts that are not easily learned from books or video, nor can one person transmit this knowledge to another by shear explanation alone. The practitioner has to put in the time and dedicate themselves to understanding and practice enough to be able to apply these concept competently.

From day one it usually takes a practitioner three to six months to develop enough reflex and understanding of structure to utilize some technique competently . Progress  will come to those whom are dedicated to practice, and have understanding of how to practically apply particular techniques. Many portions of the system will become second nature to the practitioner as they practice and from this practice comes muscle memory reflex in applying technique when attacked or provoked.

As more of the system is studied, the practitioner advances and is introduced to new  technique and the second and third hand forms they must also also keep in mind and adhere to basic structural and theoretic principles that are inherent to the Wing Chun System.

The Wing Chun System requires one to be dedicated in study and practice to be proficient, those whom are dedicated to practice, study and application of the system will attain a certain level of mastery.

Keep the traditions!

 

 

lrs