The day was Saturday 28th October and it was time for the Sifu Cliff 2016 to start. Many were in attendance and we were all keen to get stuck in. If you have never been to one of Sifu Cliffs Workshops in the UK then you are really missing out on some serious VT knowledge. I have known Sibak Cliff for around 7 years now and have brought him to the UK every year since 2015 and 2018 will be no different (see details at bottom of this post).
Anyway onto the review……
At the start of the 2016 Workshop Sifu Cliff introduced the participants to a the words “Gau Baai Ga”. This may not be a term that you use in your own VT study but the concept is key to making your structure work. Simply put, “Gau Baai Ga” works like a shelf, bracket and a truss like mechanism – see photo below:
Sifu Cliff informed us that Master Wong Shun Leung said the top of the shelf bracket is the shoulder and the corner of the bracket is likened to the elbow, which is linked to the body. The ideal position to feel this connection is a fists distance from the hip, but this is just for beginners understanding as the concept of Gau Baai Ga works at other distances too. Gau Baai Ga should be our first instinct when contact is made, allowing information to be read at the waist.
So next up we all practised a simple force flow drill using Taan sau and Fook sau to exchange the forces. In this drill we aimed to have a horizontal link between ourselves and our partner. This is jto create a good habit of always striving to get the optimal position.
Daan Chi Sau – Single Sticky Hands
Now I know that we all do the Daan Chi Sau drill a little differently but understanding why you are doing the drill and what you are learning from the movements is very important. Sifu Cliff explained that in his method we see the Daan Chi Sau drill as a way to make the forearms more relaxed and therefore create a sticky feeling between contact points. This in turn cultivates sensitivity. You should always return to Daan Chi sau to feel the development of your body force and hand skills. You can use this drill to check your positioning and the basics and hone the details in your body.
Check out this video of Sifu Asiatic and Sifu Cliff demonstrating the Daan Chi Sau drill:
After drilling the Daan Chi Sau for a while, with Sifu Cliff and Sisook Asiatic on hand to correct everyone’s form we moved onto another drill which you may or may not be familiar with.
Fan Sau Drill
I have seen many different lineages do this drill in many ways but for me it was the understanding of why and when to begin this drill that made sense to me when Sifu Cliff explained its meaning. Sifu Cliff explained that Fan in Cantonese means individual as in one side at a time. This gives us the skill of having each side doing something different.
In the Wong Shun Leung system we would introduce the Fan Sau drill once you have a good understanding of Daan Chi sau and have the positioning and sticky feeling correct. But Sifu Cliff reminded us that Fan Sau is not a fundamental drill and it would depend on the student. The idea is that it is a transitional drill from single sticky hands to double sticky hands, for people who are finding it hard to coordinate both sides.
Here is a short video where I’m sure you will recognise the Fan Sau drill:
Next up was a masterclass on the correct way to Poon Sau and I won’t go into details here as it would take too much time, but we spent a long time listening to Sifu Cliffs knowledge then stopping to practice with a partner to improve our rolling. The purpose of the Poon sau drill is the same as Daan Chi sau, but it now presumes that each person has managed to get into range to fight using their Wing Chun skills. Once in this range they have found that they have become blocked.
There was one interesting anecdote that we heard from Sifu Cliff and it concerned people who say that they have watched Master Wong Shun Leung perform Siu Nim Tau and that his elbow and forearm are on the centreline. Sifu Cliff assumes that this is to understand that if a massive force comes into your centre from outside you can move your elbow to centre to generate enough force to give back to your partner. But to pull this off you must be very relaxed and have perfect links between your waist and elbow so that they can work together.
Inner Tube Flexibility Exercises
Another highlight for me was when Sifu Cliff showed us some flexibility exercises using simple bike inner tubes. You must take it slow and relax aiming open up the muscles of the spine from top to bottom, like a spring pulling apart. These exercises are very good for people who do not use their lower back very much and we at Havant Wing Chun have incorporated them into our class stretching routine
Check the video below:
This blog has barely touched the surface of what Sifu Cliff covered on the first day and I have only highlighted my own favourite subjects. Please check the details below on how you can be at the Sifu Cliff UK Workshop 2018.
Next time on the HVT Blog……. Sifu Cliff Workshop 2016 – Day 2 – Mobility
Havant Wing Chun in association with The Wing Chun Federation will be hosting Sifu Cliff Au Yeung for a two day workshop on the Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun Training Method.
10% DISCOUNT FOR NUS STUDENTS
(payment via Paypal, bank transfer or cash – message or email for details)
Places ARE LIMITED and will only be secured by full payment and are on a first come first served basis.
27th and 28Th October 2018. Arrive early from 9:30am for signing in as there will be a prompt start at 10am.
If you know someone who may like to attend you will need to email me (Jim Woodcock) at firstname.lastname@example.org – 07758 117905 – or contact me via Facebook.