Seth is the most senior instructor at the long-standing Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu club. Seth has taken some time to give us a preview of what will be covered in his conference workshop and some tidbits of personal training information in the Q&A below.
Seth, what will your workshop for this year be focusing on?
“Baart Jarm Do, using function to define form. Typically within our lineage we focus on the application and direction of force within forms more than the functionality, as the fighting application is quite obvious through basic training. With the Wing Chun weapons the application can feel a little more abstract as fighting with weapons is not something we think about regularly. In this session I aim to break down the Baart Jarm Do form into its applications to help give a little focus and specificity to the movements. Training drills drawing upon the prior forms will aim to enhance applied thought in the actions given.”
Q&A with Seth
How does wing chun integrate with your daily life? What principles or movements of wing chun do you notice permeating your everyday?
Wing Chun is just human movement with some specific application. If you’ve invested much time in moving a certain way or aligning your body to a particular ideal, it’s impossible not to have that permeate anything and everything you do. Still, probably the random element where I find myself actively thinking about Wing Chun in day-to-day life would be driving. I’ve got a nice windy road of around 30km as my daily commute, this gives me a decent chance to feel some feedback on my body. Feeling the impact of shifts in acceleration through tight corners is a nice feedback loop to practice shifting forces through my body.
How has training changed for you over the last 2 years?
Long times on small things. The more time I spend on Wing Chun, the more it is hammered home that it is all one thing. It’s one small thought. So effectively if I’m practicing one thing, I’m practicing everything. So with that thought my training goes through stages of investment in one area of focus. The last two years I’ve been working a lot of Baat Jarm Do, not necessarily the form, but isolated movements and components. Prior to that I was particularly on a Mook Yan Jong bent for five or so years… As I practice ideas with the knives, it is helping me to look at movements on the dummy differently. It’s all the same… I guess another thing is renewed confidence in my own ability to assess and advance my training, not seeking affirmation, just practicing.
Any tips for training alone, or any favourite solo exercises?
Whatever is exciting you at the time. If it feels like a chore, it’s probably not going to spark your imagination to excel… Shadow boxing is good, moving around, thinking about ways to approach a target… Taking pieces of forms and drilling those with a shadow partner. Props for weapons training are fun too, I’ve taken to inserting a long pole through the arm hole of the Mook Yan Jong (wooden dummy). This gives a visual reference for moving around long weapons which I find gives relevance to movements of the knives and pole.
What is one thing a martial arts teacher or fellow student has said that you’ve never forgotten?
“Don’t wait to be shown something.” I think it was Mark Allanson. I’ll blame him anyway.
If you had to recommend a book, an album, or a movie for everyone to check out, what would it be? (Doesn’t have to be martial arts related)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman. It’s a good quick read, that takes you through the concepts of ageing and remembering and forgetting, which is a lot about Wing Chun really.
And ‘Hail to England’ (album) by Manowar. No reason, just listen to it.
Thanks for the insight Seth! Looking forward to your workshop at the conference.