Friday 30 July 2010

Week 16

Pak / lop drill:

Further detail and practise form last week. One detail was to ensure good range. I assumed this meant appropriate distance between you and your partner, but Martin meant range or length of the technique. Get it to his hips and not creeping across his centre. This will ensure he is on his heels and rocking back. A second detail was making stronger grabs and snatches of his wrist. This was most apparent for me when Stable Joe worked his own special ninja death grip. I then tried on him but as his forearms are the size of my upper arms, snatching was a real challenge. I lost a little bit of my elbow discipline.
We spent more time this week on changing on the lop and hit, keeping the rhythm smooth and also the inside gate lop and change. When working the inside gate lop, start nice and slow to develop correct precision and feel. Off the pak, turn the hand over and pull in and to your hip (this will get him coming forward), follow immediately with a lop with the opposite hand. Give it good range and he will be back on his heels, for extra nicety, chamber the elbow back on non lopping hand and punch to the chin. Continue the roll.
When working with Rooney I found that for me, it is best to feed the punches with my eyes closed and to go with the energy he was giving. With my eyes open I was too busy watching his technique and almost struggling to alternate punches. Special needs I know.

Snatch Attack: This was a longer range and applied version of the technique we had just been learning. It is fast, deceptive and disruptive to receive as your arms are being manipulated quickly and punches are coming in. Too much info to process. So if your partner holds a standard guard, use your leading hand (LEFT for sake of argument) to lop his lead hand, right lop his right hand then punch to chin with left. Initial lop is path clearing, second lop must have strong snatch and long range.


Headlock defence: push the head (palm out) so his head turns away then pull hand back so thumbs rests politely on the eyes. Visually for me it looks like a long and languid changing of the cars gears from first to second. Need to be hip aware, if he gets them close, push and post off them. If he steps inside and looks to throw, go with the motion, put your head towards his knees and pull on his opposite hip (reach around him), pull him around and over you onto the floor. You will (should) end up in side control with him lying on his side. Post hands on the floor and land sky knees to his back. When posting the hands on the floor ensure placement that puts a negative curve in his spine.

Double underhook defence: If he comes in low and grabs with his head not on your shoulder, but under your arm pit, get the hips away, insert head side arm between his neck and head and reach under his armpit, with the other hand place across his shoulders and clasp hands. Underarm should be palm up. Pull in tight to your chest and wheel him over. It is vital for the control of him that you pull him in first.

Pad training:

Focussed on correct body mechanics not power, keeping the movements compact. Connecting the hips and the shoulders in the movement and the arms are a manifestation of this.

Friday 23 July 2010

Week 15

Anti grappling: Double underhooks

This material is from the level 3 program and level/stage 3 deals with all matters anti-grappling. This evening we started off by focussing on the double underhooks position. Initially we practised working the body lock on another. Keys are pulling their hips towards yours, maintain a strong palm to palm grip and keeping your own centre of gravity lower than theirs. IN part, this ensures you are harder to take down. To complete the takedown from double underhooks, level the elbows at the same time down and up. They become off balanced very quickly and the takedown is a matter of keeping control as you dump them down. When feeling the position, it was most uncomfortable and unpleasant. When studying BJJ this was a position we rarely played with. We tended to focus on single and double leg shots, throws and sweeps for takedown.

This was a very new experience for me tonight. So from this position, Martin talked about this being the worst case scenario as if someone knows this position, then they know where to go next and it is clearly not a good place for you. The next stage was defending the position as the go for the underhooks, arms are around but hands not yet clasped. There are several key movements to remember. Firstly, you need to drop the hips (arse) back then down . This double movement will ensure you have both space from his hips and your centre of gravity is lower and thus harder to manipulate. As the hips drop back and down, you need to insert the outside of your hands towards his hips, keep the arms straight. This will now create vital space and make him attempting to get the grip very, very hard. It is also important to maintain a good structural alignment, keep the back straight but angled. Of course we can’t stay in this stalemate forever so we need to work an escape. As we are not a sport we can look to manipulate the eyes to get him moving away. Bring the hands up to his face, thumbs down, so the fingers fall into the soft tissues of the face. Protective reflexes will start to kick in and he will look to move away and you push his head back over his spine and centre of gravity. To make it easier, the elbows should not stay out as you push the head as you are not using the correct muscle groups, try to get the elbows closer together, engage the lats.

The second escape involved same initial anti grapple, try to squeeze his elbows together, take an elbow with your opposite hand, use the same side hand to take it off and away then pass it across your centre which puts him in a sort of arm triangle. Stand up and push his face on the jaw then strike with the elbow where you just pushed. If he does pull out an arm, great, you can still give him more good news with little strike threat to yourself.

Finally we looked at throwing punches at our partner, they crescent under and go for double underhooks, we then looked to practise the above escapes. Interestingly the attacker threw 2 types of punches. We started with tight and centred wing chun punches which felt really hard to shoot under for double underhooks. I wanted to drop right under and go for the double leg. I felt the punches were going to prohibit my double underhook attempt. We then had to throw higher elbowed boxer style. This felt much easier to come under. The lesson is therefore, our style of punches are better.

Pak lop drill:

Continued from the last session I attended. Again working the basic lop and punch with the change (leaver the fist there), then pak and punch. The change for each is simply doing 2 of each technique, so if you want to change on the lop, follow it with a lop with the other hand. The inside gate lop is off the pak and the key is to turn the hand over and pull them in. The pak and lop get them going backwards, the inside lop lobs a spanner in the works as it brings them forward. I was training with Martin and we had a good system during this drill, when one makes a mistake, then the other take his turn. A good tip I picked up on the lop technique was keeping the elbow low and the hands almost looks like it is moving laterally as the wrist stays under the fingers. When you start to look for or reach for lop sau and pak sau in this drill, the elbow will come up and the lats are not engaged, it just felt more efficient.

We then looked to apply these techniques as entry techniques against a boxer pikey style guard.

Regular guard = lop (L) pak (R) hit (L)

Symmetrical guard = pak (R) pak (L) hit (R)

We also looked the using the inside gate lop but I have forgotten how to apply it.


Really enjoyed it tonight, I changed my approach by trying to stay with the system as we were both attacking at the same time. For those training partners i had the absolute pleasure and privilege to spar with, thank you for your time, patience and pain. I left last night with battered arms, a bloody nose, a bruised chin but a stronger spirit. I need to ensure that if i am holding with one hand, the other is pistoning or hitting. I was also trying to spend time and an awful lots of energy going for the Thai clinch and taking the back.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Week 14

The arm drag series.

In this series the feeder is holding the pads as after the arm drag we are looking to strike the pads. The focus was not on power delivery but timing, accuracy and quality reps of the techniques. Also added to the below during the feeding was the feeder simply holding the pads in number combos to add variety to the training.
Feeder puts pad on;

1. same side shoulder; arm drag across and hot to the pads. 2 options are to maintain hold of the elbow and hit with piston repeaters or leg go and chain punch, driving the feeder back with forward driving punches.

2. As above initially but reverse the motion and drag his arm across his centre, this is a very disorientating move, will work great if he is holding tension in his shoulder as the whipping effect will be dramatically greater, hot the pads.

3. opposite side shoulder; head and arm trap, secure face tight into his arm and then knee to the pads (which is being held at chest height).

4. same side hip; kau sau and hit to the pads driving forward with each one.

Pak/lop drill: Developed by Martin this drill aims to enhance co-ordination and timing as the hands are doing separate movements in different directions. Therefore independent movement in each arm and thus of each other, is being worked on. The feeder simply holds a low guard and whenever a hand is pak’d or lop’d he must replace with the other

Stage 1: For the sake of argument, start with the right hand. Simply lop and pak each of his arms with your right hand as he replaces his solar plexus height centreline guard. Ensure your elbow stays relatively fixed in position for each lop and pak, keep the elbow down and this will secure the lat muscle being used. Start to raise the elbow and the deltoids come into use and you will tire quickly, in addition to being poor technique. The energy for the pa/lop needs to go towards his hips and he should feel as if being pressured on to his heel and turned. My error was that I was stopping at the end of each pak an lop, instead of, what felt like when Martin did it to me, the pak/lop almost flowed to the hips and did not have a definite ending. Perhaps I was fixed on doing hard and secure techniques by pulling down more than across. IN terms of grabbing on each technique, this session was very hot and arms were sweaty and greasy. It can be done with and without the thumb. With the thumb ensure a tighter grip but harder to hit off more efficiently, conversely, the no thumb grip is not as powerful and controlling but allows easier release when hitting off.
Stage 2: Changes. This can be done on either a lop or pak but in order for a change, you do 2 of the same technique. For example, I lop his right arm, then lop his right arm with my left and continue the roll of pak/lop. It is quite a small movement, should not be hunted for as it is there right in front of you, keep that elbow low. Practise the change on both techniques.
Stage 3: Inserting punches. Practise with lop first, as you lop, hit forward to his chin with the other hand, land a soft fist on his chin with a bent arm. In reality this becomes a fully extended arm so we are in the habit of practising the correct range for our punches. They should not be extend by the time your hand hits the chin, the bent arms ensures the elbow can still drive forward and lift to its full extension and range of motion. The lop and hit should be simultaneous. Development: Insert changes, then practise pak and hit with changes, then practise hitting on every lop/pak, then with changes. It is vital hat the feeder can keep on replacing the hands. In addition, we must be mindful of the quality of the pak and lop when inserting the punches. Our feeder can keep us alive to how we are doing.
Stage 4: Inside gate lop. This is used as a change, but the key is turning the hand over and circling for the inside gate lop. Keep your elbow and wrist controlled, don’t allow them to weaken by loosing structure.
Stage 5: All of the above from stage 3 and 4 in a continuous flow.


One side attack and one side defend. I was trying to use a variety of defensive styles and tactic so my partner is not facing a wing chun style all of the time. I used the following methods. long range wing chun guard, soft short range guard, classic stand up guard, covered head in positive posture, grabbing. Perhps next time I will ask if they want me to do this or regular wing chun guard.
Pyramid set to 7. Keep those shoulders down, the neck loose, don’t allow the tension to lift the shoulders and sink the chin. Breath and embrace. The pain will be over soon. Don’t give up as you will growth immensely from working with and through the hardship.

The grading Syllabus: Development, intro and Grade 1

What follows below are taken directly from Martin's grading syllabus.

The Grades Explained

Let me start by saying that I believe in this grading system. It is what is necessary to get from beginner to expert. It is delivered in what I believe to be the order of importance. It is your short term training goals. It is not however an easy system. Anyone looking to grade should realise that you’re going to need to train hard to earn them. Too often in martial arts schools it seems that as long as you pay your money, you will get your grade. Not here. If you pass, you will know you deserve to. Please don’t let this concern you all however. It’s up to me to make sure you are ready and I’ll always be honest if I think you are ready or not.
The information within may seem complex but it will all make sense once you start training the specifics for the grade. You will notice as the grades get higher that the details for each movement are reduced. This is in fact because the applications are so much more complex and would require a book to explain them here so the necessary concepts or movements become a list rather than a detailed breakdown. In some cases such as the emergency attacks, the information is totally removed due to the danger of using these attacks.

Remember. The grading syllabus is here to make you concentrate on specifics and even force you to train some of the things that perhaps you don’t enjoy doing yet will ultimately make you a better martial artist. Some of the material within the grades may well change over the years as I teach an organic system that I constantly evolve with new training ideas. I believe that you never stop learning and I still love finding new and exciting ways to express my system.

It should also be noted that as you progress through your grades and attain the necessary standard, you shouldn’t just forget what you have learnt and move on. With this in mind it will be expected that a student going for a grade will have to join in with the testing for all the previous grades. For example a student who is hoping to pass grade 6 must first re – pass grades 1 – 5!

The final grade (the black sash) should be everyones aim. The standard for attaining your black sash will be high and the material will not be disclosed before hand. Of course it will be hard and it’s designed to test your mental strength as well as physical ability. The purpose of the black sash is a final affirmation of the journey through the system and I can promise you that on the day of the test, you will be in a place where you will feel you could conquer anything.

Grade 1 – Balance, Footwork, Posture and Punching

‘No matter how big the attacker is, he has a chin and therefore can be knocked out. If your punch is hard enough and quick enough so that it lands without warning then you maximise your chance of knocking your attacker out without them even throwing a punch. But balance should never be compromised. As long as you have balance then you have the potential for power. As long as you remain balanced even after punching, then you can continue to attack and capitalise on your initial advantage or make good your escape. Our style is aggressive. The best form of defence is attack. Be first with your punch and be ready to follow up. This is where it all begins………’


The fist must be formed correctly. This means the fist must be as tight as possible without tension in the forearm or bicep. The punch should be driven from the elbow and along the centre line. Elbow power must be maintained at all times whilst the forearm remains relaxed and pointing at the target. Shoulders must be back and the elbows down. Single and chain punches will be used to analyze technique and ‘rate of fire’. Endurance, accuracy and power will be tested on the focus pads.

Balance, Footwork and Body Structure

The feet should be at a 45 degree angle. The width of the foot at grade 1 should be as narrow as possible without losing balance, punch power and the ability to keep the hips and shoulders square. The legs must be bent, the rear knee pulled in and the hips square. Core muscles and lower abs should be engaged and the spine upright. The lats should also be engaged. Shoulders must be square and never further back than the hips. The neck should not be bent. The weight should be 75 % on the back leg but the student must have his weight on the balls of the feet.
When moving, the drive should come from the back leg. With the rear leg bent the muscle is already engaged. The rear leg pushes and the front leg lengthens the stance. Pressure should be felt on the inside of the ball of the rear foot. The front foot lands and then snaps the rear foot under the body weight again. Weight must not increase beyond 25% to the front leg at any point! The student must demonstrate all of this on their own, with a partner, with their guard up and whilst chain punching.

Mastery of pre fight, pre emptive striking, hunting down and basic takedown.

The fight ready position (FRP) must be applied. Hands must be up, in a non threatening manner with the strong arm back and the front arm forward. The arch between thumb and finger should be directly under the attackers chin. Legs must be bent with muscles already engaged and ready to push forward. Eyes should be on the chin. ‘Trigger touch’ punching and ‘meet and hit’ punching will be tested. Punches must be delivered without drawing back, legs loading (bending – they should already be bent) or any other movement that may warn the opponent. The purpose of the FRP means that everything is ready to go. The very next movement must be the step and punch. Once connected the student must demonstrate their ability to remain in balance and hunt down the opponent whilst throwing more shots or escape.
In addition the student must understand the theory of pre fight awareness and how to project a confident manner.

Focus pads

Left and right punches on the pads while moving around. When moving into range, this must be done with footwork rather than leaning or distributing more weight onto the front leg. Accurate, solid punches delivered without drawing back are essential.
Pyramid set to 5.

3 Drill

All attacks should be towards the partners face, not the arms. Lap’s should be in the correct direction and strong. The defences with the exception of the pak sau must be moving forwards and the arm that is lap’d must be relaxed.
The required standard for grade 1 is to show the ability to change from one side to the other, remain relaxed and maintain form.

Lat Sau

Punches must be towards the opponents face and not become specific blocks. The arms stay relaxed throughout but the shoulders remain square even if they are getting hit!
The required standard for grade 1 is to show the ability to change from one side to the other, remain relaxed and maintain form.


Explain and demonstrate the three basic theories of Wing Chun.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Week 13

Against the fully covered head:

The opponent is standing and holds a classic protective head posture (you have already thrown a left right combo to encourage the cover up). Take a lazy lap and use this to turn him as you step around and hammerfist to the back of the head. Use repeaters and following footwork to complete the motion. If they stay in posture but do not fight back, give them a double palm push to move them away and escape.

If they take a very low defensive posture, step deep into the armpit and heel palm to the back of the head. Ensure the fingers are facing down the head to secure more of the hand landing. In addition, the elbow can strike the spine. All of these 3 moves work most effectively with sinking the weight as the hits goes in. Another attack when opponent in low posture is to kau sau the elbow and uppercut. Martin labelled this as the ripping uppercut move. It felt crisp and nasty.

We then looked at 2 methods when the opponent has the same guard but is standing up tall after the initiating punches. Firstly was using the lifting elbow after the 2 hits, this opens his guard and will startle, follow up with lop and hit to head. Secondly we looked at doing first 2 punches then following up with a right left hooking heel palm to ear/jaw area. As a loosener, worked this combo on the pads.

3 drill: cheeky hits of the backfist:

Sinking and dropping the weight to hammerfist the groin. This can be done in 2 subtly different ways. The first sinks down and hits through the guard, the second involves lifting the arm and coming under for the hit to the groin.

Thirdly is circling the hand down and to the solar plexus.

Fourthly, rotating the fist back and up to hit to the chin.

Finally, lifting the arm held and hitting to the ribs.


Worked in several incremental ways.

1: one defend and other attack
2: both attack and defend freely
3: one attacks as the other aims to spoil.

Really enjoyed sparring. Felt relaxed and looking to work consistent energy. Was a bit naughty in spoiling Giant Nathan's sparring by closing the distance and tying up and head clinch range. Enjoyed the close range grapple and the brief chess match that ensued.

Ended with a pyramid session to 7