Monday, September 28, 2009
Ok, you are paying attention, but to where?
One thing that comes up again and again or at least it should in wing chun, fighting, dancing, music, and most any skill is the question of where your attention is.
When you drive, you have to watch the road. Even when you look away for a second, you have to keep your attention forward while your eyes quickly look somewhere else. Doesn't matter if you have driven for 10 years or it's your first time, you have to do it to drive or you will crash.
If you dance, you have to feel the music. (Well, you don't have to but then I hope I don't have to watch you dance if you don't). If you are feeling the music, you can't really dance incorrectly. If you do some complicated move that you pay attention to doing rather than the music, it won't "work" or be "right".
When you play music with other people, as long as you are focused primarily on listening to the rhythm and the other members, I promise you will improve. God help your shitty band if you put your attention on that shitty lick you downloaded off Ultimate Guitar rather than the rhythm and your bandmates.
I often encounter the problem of misdirected attention or intent with beginners in wing chun. Your attention should be on what is around you which includes the opponent (I will get into why I don't just say your opponent in another entry). Whatever else you do, be it be punch, walk forward, move your arms, or make a funny face, you have to keep your attention directed outward, which primarily means your opponent and surroundings and not on you and what you are doing. You can't try to "do" all of this complicated bullshit like kuansao, and lapsao and whatever-sao if you have to put your attention on the act of doing it.
You may want to put your attention on a certain move in order to pull it off and try to convince yourself that you will learn to do it "correctly" in the moment later. Bullshit. YOU WILL NEVER GET IT THAT WAY. All the myriad of techniques only have any meaning if done based on your feeling while your attention is on the opponent. The attention can NEVER goes anywhere else. The whole point of chisao is to have your focus on the opponent while you interact with him. Focus on the move while you are alone.
Boxers are usually much better at getting this idea because if they start thinking about a combination, their hands drop and they get punched in the nose. During chisao, your opponent may punch you or take your balance or "win" in some way, but often the person believes it happened because they did the wrong technique. No, you stopped watching and attacking your opponent.
I also have to add, this problem is directly connected with not moving forward. If you are moving forward, you will look forward, like when you move forward in a car. Hit the brakes and your intent is focused inward. Move forward, attention outward.