History Of Wing Chun
History Of Wing Chun
What should you considered before coming to the aid of someone being attacked?
So you’re a good Samaritan and confident enough to step in and defend a person under attack — but can you do it and be able to claim that you acted in self-defence?
Coming to the aid of another can get messy, so be prepared
The answer is yes, but, as always, conditions apply. In the eyes of the law, acting as a good Samaritan and coming to the aid of another can be classed as self-defence and so the same tests will be used in court.
In New South Wales, Section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900 states that you are not criminally liable if you carry out your actions in self-defence, which includes the defence of others, described as follows:
“A person carries out conduct in self-defence if and only if the person believes the conduct is necessary:
• to defend himself or herself or another person, or
• to prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of his or her liberty or the liberty of another person, or
• to protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference, or
• to prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass.”
The Victorian Crime Act, Queensland Criminal Code and Western Australian Criminal Code all have similar provisions and, of course, some protection is also provided by precedents in case of law such as those discussed in previous issues (the leading case on self-defence is Zecevic v DPP (1987) 162 CLR 645).
As with any claim of self-defence, the following questions will be asked:
Was your behaviour or response to the attack necessary? In other words, did you believe that the person you were coming to assist or save was in real danger of being hurt, injured or worse? This belief must be grounded in reality — you can’t use force against a person just because you think they might attack someone else.
Secondly, were your actions reasonable in the circumstances as you perceived them? Would the level of force you applied be considered ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances, as judged by a reasonable person?
If you step in before the other person is attacked, you will have to argue that they were in imminent danger of attack and that your actions were the only way of stopping it — thus being reasonable under the circumstances.
In New South Wales, the Civil Liability Act also provides good Samaritans protection from being sued (check your state for similar protections). It states that “a good Samaritan is a person who, in good faith and without expectation of payment or other reward, comes to the assistance of a person who is apparently injured or at risk of being injured”.
Section 52 of the Civil Liability Act, which refers to self-defence, also protects a good Samaritan from being sued but only if:
“the conduct to which the person was responding:
(a) was unlawful, or
(b) would have been unlawful if the other person carrying out the conduct to which the person responds had not been suffering from a mental illness at the time of the conduct.
And again, this legislation reiterates that, “A person carries out conduct in self-defence if and only if the person believes the conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another person.”
So, the key elements of the good Samaritan defence are:
• You ‘acted in good faith’,
• Your actions were necessary
• Your actions and any force you used were reasonable under the circumstances.
A note of caution, though: If it was your friend who started the fight and then found themselves in a losing position, your good Samaritan defence could be compromised, as your actions could be considered as being part of the initial attack and you could find yourself charged with affray.
In these circumstances, your best option as a good Samaritan would be to remove your friend from the fight as soon as possible without actually engaging the other person.
Remember, almost everyone has a camera phone and almost everything is recorded. It will be hard to argue that you acted in the defence of another person if the video shows otherwise. This is where some knowledge of restraining and unbalancing techniques, rather than striking alone, will come to the fore.
And, as with any incident involving self-defence, please heed the advice of previous articles. If and/or when you are dealing with the police or anyone else that wants you to provide your side of the story, say nothing until you have received competent legal advice.
Disclaimer: This is general information only; it does not replace advice from a qualified solicitor. Should you require legal advice, seek it from a suitably qualified and experienced legal practitioner in your state or territory.
Read more self-defence articles here.
What can you do when you defend someone under attack?
Mon, 10 Aug 2015 06:29:56 GMT
I met Bruce Lee for the first time during the filming of the TV show The Green Hornet, on which he played a butler. He was a nice fellow. The stunt coordinator hired me, and I worked on quite a few episodes. During that time, I was able to get to know Bruce a little bit, and we even worked out together. He was the best martial artist of his time.
Bruce and I had a bond with the martial arts, and we would get together frequently. We worked out about 10 to 12 times at his place in Los Angeles’ Chinatown and at my place.
Gene LeBell with shootfighting standout Bart Vale.
When I went to his place, he showed me what he did, and I showed him what I did. Although he seemed to love the finishing holds of grappling, it just wasn’t commercially attractive at the time. Actually, it was because of my grappling and tumbling background that I was hired to do the television show — because I could take falls for Bruce.
Bruce Lee was an entertaining fellow who was very knowledgeable and very good at what he did. People may wonder just how good a martial artist he was. Well, as I said earlier, he was the best of his time. Also, many of his former students are doing very well today. That’s a sign that he was a good martial artist and that he was able to make his students into good martial artists.
Bruce developed and performed his own style of kung fu, and a lot of the traditional guys didn’t like it because it broke from Chinese tradition. I know what that is like because I had the same trouble when I tried to improve different martial arts by changing things for the better. I believe that anytime you can have an open mind and learn something new, then add it to your repertoire, it’s a good thing. It will only make you and your students more knowledgeable.
Black Belt honors the 75th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s birth in its August/September 2015 issue, on sale now.
At first, Bruce Lee was not particularly receptive to the grappling art that I practiced, but he eventually warmed up to it somewhat. I thought that was great. I’ve always been a big believer in cross-training, and I’ve practiced most of the major martial arts, as well as boxing and wrestling. I believe that a person who is involved with the martial arts should know as much as he can about all styles. The martial artists that I disagree with are the ones who know only their art; they don’t know anything about other styles and they don’t like anything else.
As I said, Bruce started out with sort of a negative opinion of grappling, but after we worked out, he demonstrated that he had an open mind when he acknowledged how practical it was for certain things in certain situations. Some of the techniques I shared with him were leg locks, arm locks, hold downs and judo throws.
Review your martial arts history! Go here to read “Judo Gene LeBell vs. Boxer Milo Savage: America’s First MMA Fight.”
Bruce Lee and I didn’t agree on everything. For example, I’ve always been a believer in bobbing and weaving to avoid an opponent’s punches — instead of blocking with your hands. Bruce’s theory was to block a punch and then strike back with your open hand or fist. My point of view was that if you can avoid absorbing blows in a match or a fight, and then come in with offensive moves, you’ll live a lot longer.
Although no one in the martial arts community today seems to have the same charisma that Bruce had, there are many great martial artists out there teaching and competing. This statement is not intended to take anything away from Bruce Lee. He was a leader and trendsetter. I wish he were still with us today.
(“Bruce Lee” is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC.)
Gene LeBell photos by Rick Hustead.
Judo Gene LeBell: Bruce Lee Was the Best Martial Artist of His Time
Robert W. Young
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 20:00:53 GMT
On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee passed away at age 32. After so many years, there’s very little anyone who didn’t know him on an intimate level can add to any conversation about his legacy. Yet on a personal level, everyone has a story to share about the “Little Dragon.” Mine is the subject of this blog.
I actually have two Bruce Lee stories to share. One you may know, and the other you probably don’t.
When I was 16, I was forced to down 30 pills a day and required to report to the hospital every three months. My doctor said I’d be dead in five years due to cystic fibrosis, a progressive, incurable disease. Death by malnutrition, suffocation, dehydration and lung infection was what I had to look forward to. Two weeks later, I watched Bruce Lee kick butt in Fists of Fury (aka The Big Boss). It was 1973, and all of a sudden I was no longer depressed and waiting to die. All I could think about was learning what Lee was doing.
As I immersed myself in the martial arts, I found that their real purpose is not to convey ways of fighting but to spread the art of healing. And I needed to heal myself. I discovered one chance for survival: an ancient Chinese healing skill that was seldom taught to outsiders.
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With that in mind, I moved to Taiwan in 1979 in search of a cryptic cure that most doctors claimed didn’t exist. At the airport, I was arrested and wrongly charged with smuggling illegal weapons and trafficking drugs. I was even threatened with the death penalty. It was definitely a bad time to be an American in Taiwan.
After straightening things out, I became a stuntman in kung fu soap operas and eventually won the trust of the man who would teach me his interpretation of chi kung (also spelled qi gong). Five months later, I was off all the meds and no longer needed therapy — as has been the case for the past 35 years.
Later, my teacher introduced me to chi healing, and my wife and I have been practicing it for more than 28 years now. We’ve done everything from working with Olympic athletes to helping veterans returning from war.
Some of you may know this Bruce Lee story — I’ve written about it in the past. Here’s one you don’t know.
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One day while serving as an apprentice to a Hong Kong fight director who was working on CBS’s Martial Law TV series (Sammo Hung and Arsenio Hall), I arrived on set only to discover that my mentor was experiencing a severe headache. When the TV crew members offered him their heavy-duty painkillers, he looked at me and said, “That’s how Bruce Lee died, blindly taking a prescription drug that wasn’t his.”
True enough. Lee did die from an allergic reaction to the prescription drug Equagesic. Because the fight director was familiar with my background, he asked if I knew how to get rid of a splitting headache. I did my thing, and a minute later, his headache had disappeared. It recently hit me: Why didn’t Bruce Lee know how to do this?
In olde martial arts schools, a sifu was often a healer who would pass his knowledge down to his students, Huang Fei-hung being a famous example. Yip Man (also spelled Ip Man), the man who taught Bruce Lee wing chun kung fu, wasn’t a healer. Based on the literature, we know that Lee didn’t buy into the esoteric aspects of kung fu or chi kung. Maybe that was because he just never met the right sifu.
Lee accepted Western medicine, which is not a bad thing, but I wonder if his lack of interest in traditional Chinese medicine was related to his rejection of traditional martial arts. Lee was enthusiastic about using herbs, juices and teas as a means to create energy for training and optimize overall health, but when he found himself suffering a headache on that fateful day, he turned to Western medicine.
This brings us to modern-day martial artists. We respect and admire Bruce Lee for his jeet kune do, his physical abilities, his dedication to self-development and his deep-seated philosophical beliefs. Yet how many of us know how to heal our opponent if we, God forbid, happen to injure him or her in the dojo or on the street? If you’re a teacher, are you prepared to take care of your students as they inevitably experience the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual ups and downs that are inherent in martial arts training? Are you teaching them how to heal in addition to how to hurt?
Curious about the Little Dragon’s exercise program? Check out “The Fighting Man’s Exercise: Bruce Lee’s Training Regimen.”
The first take-away here on the anniversary of Bruce Lee’s death probably doesn’t need to be reiterated, but I will do so nevertheless: No one should ever take another person’s prescription medication. The second is if we understand how our health and emotional choices are tied in to our chi, we’re more likely to invest some time in learning a few simple healing skills that could avert a tragedy like the one that took Lee’s life in 1973.
My own take-away is this: I will always be grateful that I’m alive because of Bruce Lee — hell, I walked 3,000 miles to pay my respects at his gravesite in Seattle! — and I will continue to spread the word regarding his work. I hope that on this occasion when the martial arts world reflects on Lee’s life, we can look behind the Oz curtain and see the potential of the art of healing. After all, Bruce Lee is the martial artist who taught us to have no limitation as limitation.
(“Bruce Lee” is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC.)
In Memory of Bruce Lee: What Many of Us Haven’t Learned From His Death
Robert W. Young
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:03:42 GMT
Before he took up muay Thai in 1993, Black Belt Hall of Famer Alex Gong trained in tai chi chuan, aikido, taekwondo, bare-knuckle karate and judo. While he was being exposed to the hundreds of traditional techniques that those arts teach, an idea germinated in his mind:
Why not seek out a style that’s composed of a few proven strikes that can be used in a wide variety of situations?
“When I was finally introduced to muay Thai, I realized that this is what I’d been working toward, and I knew I had found the right style,” said Gong, who trained in Thailand with Apideh Sit Hirum, the man who was named Muay Thai Fighter of the Century by the king of Thailand.
“Fighting is about evolution, and in muay Thai, you’re constantly fighting and testing,” Gong continued. “It’s the only true, constantly battle-tested style out there.”
Muay Thai is a simple art, one that doesn’t have a lot of techniques, Gong said. Once you’ve mastered the basic kicks and punches, it’s time to focus on what’s really important: moving, power, timing and defense.
Gong knows the truth of that statement not only from the time he’s put in as president and head coach of the Fairtex USA Muay Thai Team, but also from the time he’s spent on the road visiting camps and watching bouts. “I go to amateur and professional fights all over the country, and I know that if more fighters just had a better foundation of the basics, they’d be much more successful,” he said.
The basic weapon of muay Thai is the roundhouse kick to the head or body. “It is one of the easiest strikes to land, and you kick with your shin, so it’s very powerful and effective,” said Gong, who trains in San Francisco with Phicheat Arunleung Ganyao. “You have so much power because you put your whole body into it. Behind your leg, your hip and your shoulder are driving forward into the target. You don’t just kick the target; you kick through the target.
“Too often martial artists kick forward but let their body move backward, especially with the side kick and roundhouse kick,” Gong said. “If you do that, where are your power and inertia going? They’re not going into the target where they should be.”
If you perform the roundhouse kick properly and turn into the target, your shoulder will be positioned between your chin and your opponent’s line of fire, Gong said, and that will afford you some protection from a punch.
“If you step forward to do a roundhouse to your opponent’s body, you have to be careful not to step straight into the centerline of fire,” he said. “That’s why, when you step over to kick, your footwork is so important. If you step out at a 45-degree angle to throw a right kick to his body, your right shoulder will be to the outside of his right shoulder. Then his right punch will go right over your shoulder, not right into your nose.”
Another reason Thai boxers favor the roundhouse kick is it forces their opponent to react with more defensive movement, Gong said. “He’s got to work harder to stop it. He’s got to raise his leg higher and adjust his body more so than with any other attack you can deliver.”
Because the kick makes contact with the lower part of the shin, you can hit your opponent while maintaining a relatively safe distance from his hands, he said. “When you’re kicking at full-body length, it’s very difficult for him to land a shot to your face.”
Practicing body kicks helps you develop better footwork, and in muay Thai, footwork is everything. “If you become better on your feet and have that primary weapon, everything else will follow,” Gong said.
The straight knee thrust is another mainstay of muay Thai. It’s usually executed when your opponent is rushing toward you. “It’s not necessarily you hitting him or him hitting you, but the two of you hitting each other with your knee smashing into him,” Gong explained.
Although the straight knee has the potential to knock out an opponent, it’s more often used to tire him out and set him up for a knockout technique, Gong said. Because it may not finish him off, you have to think about protecting your face during and after the action — and fortunately, that’s relatively easy to do.
“You can use your knees to attack without giving up too much vulnerability,” Gong said. “When you punch somebody, he can punch you, too; but with knee shots, you can keep your head protected.”
The knee thrust derives its phenomenal power from physics. You use an unprotected part of your body to strike an unprotected part of his body — usually his gut or solar plexus — in a straight line, Gong said. “And a lot of times, you apply this technique when people are not backing up but are coming forward. So their forward momentum meets your attacking momentum — I call this ‘offensive-defense.’”
Editor’s note: In 2003 the martial arts world was saddened when Alex Gong was shot and killed at age 32. Obviously, the interview that led to this article was conducted before his death.
How to Get Good at Muay Thai: Roundhouse Kick and Knee Thrust
Robert W. Young
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:11:05 GMT
Some legends are so wonderful you want them to be true. The legend of bo specialist Muso Gonnosuke’s two meetings with Miyamoto Musashi is a good example. As a young man, Muso wandered around Japan, challenging other martial artists to duels — both to make a name for himself and to perfect his art. Despite the risk of serious injury or worse, he bested a number of skilled warriors with his staff.
While visiting the capital city of Edo (Tokyo), Muso found Musashi, a renowned swordsman whose reputation was rapidly growing. Musashi was an unconventional fighter whose training in a formal ryu was rudimentary, but he used cunning, strategy and bravado to overcome his opponents. Indeed, in his duel with Muso, Musashi didn’t use a steel sword or even a wooden training weapon. Instead, he employed a tree limb to thoroughly and convincingly defeat his opponent — but he spared Muso’s life.
Muso retreated to a mountaintop in Kyushu, where he trained furiously and meditated on his art and his loss. He was eventually rewarded with what he took to be a divine vision that compelled him to shorten his 6-foot-long staff. The modification enabled him to manipulate the weapon like a sword and a spear while retaining its use as a pole arm.
Once again, he sought out Musashi and requested a rematch. Musashi obliged. This time, however, Muso was able to defeat his opponent. But just as Musashi had spared his life in their initial encounter, Muso let Musashi live, handing him — if the story is true — his only defeat.
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More than four centuries later, Muso’s descendants still practice the stick techniques he devised, which constitute part of the curriculum of shindo muso ryu, or jojutsu (art of the stick). Within the kata of the school are a range of lethal methods, as well as a good example of hodoku, or compassion, as shown by the founder of the ryu.
Whenever I hear people’s petty arguments that Japanese terminology in the dojo should be replaced with English or another language, I think of terms like hodoku. I wonder what non-Japanese equivalent they would use because the concept and its application would require pages of explanation to describe adequately.
Classical martial arts kata — nearly always an exchange between two participants and not the solo sequences with which most karateka are familiar — teach a variety of combative strategies. Some are long and complex, while others involve only a single attack and counter. No matter their length, once the forms are finished, both participants are left in potentially mortal situations. For example, your weapon is pointed directly at my throat, and mine is set to break your wrist. How do we resolve the standoff? We turn to an unlikely source: the terminology of Buddhism.
In Buddhism, the word ko is defined as being one moment longer than the longest stretch of time any human can comprehend. Perhaps our standoff wouldn’t last that long; but in our positions and our attitude, we must be in a technical state of ko. I’m willing to try to keep my advantage, just as you’re willing to try to keep yours.
In the dojo, the combative ko is broken when one participant voluntarily moves his weapon into a nonthreatening posture. Even though he may still be in position to continue fighting, he shows a willingness to promote charity to his partner. (Of course, he would not do this if the situation were real. In that case, ko is broken when one participant stops breathing.) This attitude of compassion is hodoku.
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In shindo muso ryu, one trainee is armed with a stick, and the other wields a bokken, or wooden practice sword. At the conclusion of the kata, the swordsman slowly moves his weapon slightly off to his side, lowering it. This posture is called hodoku kamae. Slowly and carefully and without losing his concentration, the person with the stick slides his weapon back to his side, responding in an equally humane way to the swordsman’s charity. Both partners then retreat to take up positions to begin practicing the next kata.
On one level, the process of hodoku is purely mechanical. The swordsman’s lowering of his blade is a way to bring the kata to a technically safe conclusion. Even though the forms are precisely ritualized, they expose both practitioners to extreme danger. Weapons are swung with full force and stopped only at the last second, a fraction of an inch from a vulnerable target. Kata cannot be perfected without entering a mental state polished under the stresses of danger. Anything less and you’re merely doing a dance.
Given these concerns, a safe method for finishing a kata is important. But on a higher level, hodoku is a central precept that elevates classical kata beyond the medium of simple physical exercise or mental training. As much as it instills combative skills, it imbues the form and its practice with humanity.
The sole purpose of kata in a traditional martial art is to teach and perfect skills and attitudes necessary to destroy life efficiently. Nobody in one of these schools is trying to look beautiful or find inner peace. The kata are designed to teach killing or crippling, and anything else that may arise is purely secondary. Nevertheless, within the structure of the kata is built, in hodoku and other aspects of practice, the potential for great insight into human nature and the real meaning of what it is to fight.
It’s all well and good to talk about the spiritual rewards of the martial ways and to teach their wonderful philosophical attributes. It’s another thing entirely to include physical examples of these teachings in your daily practice. Shindo muso ryu does just that — as do, in one way or another, all the classical Japanese combative disciplines.
So the question you should ask yourself and your teacher is, Does my budo have hodoku within the kata or anywhere else in my training? An even more crucial question is, Do I have the spirit of hodoku within myself?
(Photos by Rick Hustead)
Dave Lowry is a freelance writer who has trained extensively in the Japanese and Okinawan arts. He started writing Black Belt magazine’s Karate Way column in 1986. Go here to order his classic book Bokken: Art of the Japanese Sword.
Learn the Lesson of Compassion From Japanese Swordsman Miyamoto Musashi
Robert W. Young
Fri, 17 Jul 2015 21:42:08 GMT