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“Be humble to request your teacher for guidance.”


Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

When I used to ask my Sifu for help, I approached him with honest requests, with my insecurities, my uncertainties, and with a yearning to eliminate my inadequecies. I believe that Sifu saw this in my requests for knowledge and whole heartedly offered what ever information he felt I needed at the time. His comments were usually to just slow down and pay close attention. He knew that I would discover the causes of my own ignorance, in time, and through patient training.
I am a thankful person, and I understood that this method was the best method of acquire knowledge from any one person. Ask politely, and be humble. Sounds easy enough, almost common sense right? I've seen students request knowledge from Sifu as if it were owed to them. He would simply ignore their requests, and leave them with out instruction. Sadly some of those students left, some never got the point. I've seen students request knowledge because they did not believe in what he was saying or doing. He would oblige their request with punches.
Those students either left in disgrace, became humbled, the hard way. My approach was one of kindness and of willingness to listen and learn. In my own self, I knew that there were many more questions than answers. If Sifu had answers, then I wanted to hear them.


“Loy Lau Hoi Sung,
Lut Sau Jik Chung.”

Translation: Force Comes you redirect, Force retreats you follow, Force detaches you strike.

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

This is quite possibly the most important fighting song of the wing chun style. It seeks to express the "way" we should move our bodies. The way we should be. It hints toward a readiness, a constant state of listening. Example: Someone punches you with force behind their punch, you steal their movement and redirect it off course. You connect to it like pushing a heavy object once it is already in motion.
Even a small person can steer the heavy force as they need. After a punch there is often a chambering of the hand, a retreat. We follow the retreat and discover the punch sleeping in its chambered position, an ideal time to trap it and capitalize on its vulnerable nature. If at any point, during a time when you are listening to your opponents limbs, they disengage, you should strike at once. There is often, only a very small window to enter safely. The skill of listening is a prerequisite if you hope to succeed.

“There is no difference in who started to study first; the one who achieves accomplishment is first.”
Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

When we join a Kung Fu school, we join a Kung Fu Family. Often, students who have studied for a long time, become dellusioned by their tenure and neglect to train diligently. An eager and hard working junior student could possibly surpass the skill of their seniors, if their training is more dedicated.
This leads us nicely into the quote from above. My advice is always this; do not be concerned with when you started, or when other people started. That makes no difference. Train hard, and you will accomplish what ever it is that you set your heart out to accomplish. Time and focus is all that is required to excel. If a senior student becomes complacent in their approach to training, they will quickly be surpassed.
“The eyes and the mind travel together, paying attention to leading edge of attack.”

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

What this proverb is suggesting is the idea of Focus. The where the eyes go, the mind follows. If both are focused to the leading edge of attack then you will have brought your attention to the very front of the battlefield. The opponent's openings will be revealed at the leading edge. The greater you focus your attention to this point, the stronger your attack will be. The stronger your attack is, the more defensive the opponent must remain. The more defensive they remain, the harder it will be for them to win. Ultimately, success is won through attack. By taking that which you want and applying direct focus toward its achievement. This mind, eye, lead line focus is what we should all be searching for 100% of the time. This awareness is what is meant when we say "going into the zone"


“Train diligently - Maintain your skills.”

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

Firstly we should define the word diligence. It means: Careful and persistent work or effort. If we want something in this life, we must be diligent. If you wish to have skill in something, train, and train, and train some more! I find myself repeating to my students these words; "there is no secret, just keep doing it, again and again until it is automatic".
Once you reach thoughtlessness of skill, like typing, or writing, or driving. You are then brought to a level where you have mastery over it, you command the skill and from that command, you may then create as you wish. However, if we let laziness set in, allow the ego of mastery to get the better of us, and neglect diligent training, then over time, our skills will diminish. A blade will rust if left unused, and will lose its razor edge if it is not sharpened often. Train diligently, never ever stop training this way, that is the way to true mastery.

“Hold the head and neck straight and keep the spirit alert.”

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

The spine flows from the base of the neck to the tip of the tail bone. In study of the Wing Chun posture, as we use it most often, we seek an alignment of the spine. By stacking the bones one on top of the other, in a straight vertical line, you change something drastic with the way the body works, and sense. You find an equalibrium with gravity, and encourage maximum electric conductivity with the nerves and meridians that run through your spinal bones.
Any one that has needed to go to a chiropractor can attest, that if a bone is out, you feel pain, stiffness, and possibly nerve pain, which is usually a tingling, or numbing pain caused by incorrect flow of electricity Our thoughts are electricity, our muslces move by electricity and our body functions because of the currents and channels that run that energy. We call it electricity, but that does not mean we fully understand it. Regardless, when training to build and grow our inner strength, we should start with the spine.
A kinked hose does not spray water. Just as a break in a cable does not send current. Straighten the spine, hold the head straight and upright, as if a string were holding the crown of your head, dangling the rest of your body below it. With this posture, the spirit will be high, and you will have an alertness to your senses.


“Short arm bridges and fast steps requires practicing the stance first.”

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

To make short moves with your hands is ideal, less is always more. If we reach or lunge, you leave your body and posture open for attack or immediate defeat. The feet should always move together with the hands, pacing together. This describes, in a round about way, the end result of using "body unity".
The weight of the body, the momentum of its movement via stepping. And finally the short shock power from the arms that are well supported on the base. The first and absolute foremost training should be your Stance! After all, it is gravity we are learning to master, so study the legs first, and then you will have power to the hands.

“Have confidence and your calmness will dominate the situation.”

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

Confidence is what it is really all about. A true inner sense that you are powerful, and capable. An inner calm that assures you that you are in total control. Calmness is maintained by normal breathing, the same way we are when we are calm. It is a lack of emotion, a clear mind, a clear essence that sees things for what they are. True confidence will dominate any situation and any negotiation, even one that is hostile.

“Kuen Yau Sum Faat” Translation: The punch starts from the heart. Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

The heart center of the body is right in front of the sternum down the body's centerline. This is also where we begin our most common punches, the simple yet effective "straight punches" (Chun Choi) There is a second meaning of punching that starts from the heart. To have heart in a fight is simply to have determination. Which I would define as "The will and power to succeed." The one with the most heart will usually overcome hardship.

“Wing Chun Chuen Jing Tung”

Translation: Wing Chun Authentically Passing Down, this means passing on the true system of Wing Chun, “Unchanged by your own ideas”.


Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

This is a powerful proverb that is traditionally displayed in most schools of Wing Chun. Wing Chun is a system based in science and human fighting physics. If taught properly, the style can be performed by any body type, at any size, by any gender. I have a pride in the way I pass on my system of Wing Chun, which is deeply rooted in this proverb. I did not invent Wing Chun, nor would I ever make claim to have invented any of its methods. I am simply a student of the style, forever studying to unlock it's secrets. It was shared to me by my Sifu, in the most authentic way. Wing Chun does evolve with the times, dealing with various martial art styles the same way it has always dealt.
First you must define oneself, and by doing so, you are able to define another. A punch is just a punch, the centerline is the centerline, and the human body has not changed. The system of Wing Chun is based in truths, there is no need for personal additions or removals to the system itself. It is however, up to the individual to use what works for them, once they have an understanding of the way.

“Ying Da Juck Da, But Ying Da, But Ho Da”
Translation: Strike when you should, Do not strike when you should not.

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

I love this proverb. It is the essence of Wing Chun. It perfectly defines patience, timing, calmness, balance, and confidence. I see all too often, those that are too eager to strike and by doing so, they either waste their effort or even worse leave an opening for a counter strike. Patience is needed along with an observation of the opponent. Your opponent will tell you how to make your next move. The opponent is unpredictable. And so, once they have announced or telegraphed what their intentions are, you can then apply your technique at a time when it will succeed.
“A weak body must start with strength improvement.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

This proverb here is really the fundamental basis of Kung Fu. The Translation of "Kung Fu" into English, means "any skill achieved through hard work" Kung Fu begins with the development of strength, and is meant to encourage the improvement of the individual on physical, mental, and spiritual levels through hard training. We should all seek to build strength, as prerequisite to any fight training. Very simply, you would be best prepared for a physical attack if you firstly had a body filled with powerful, functional muscle.
“Do not be too eager to strike. Do not be afraid to strike. One who is afraid of getting hit will finally be hit.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

One that is eager to strike is not applying patience. Strike when the time is right, not sooner. One that is afraid to strike must find their inner animal aggression. We all have it, animal instinct. One who is afraid of getting hit, should learn to trust themselves and to have faith in their training.
“Be steady with your breathing and strength.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

We should strive for a balancing of the breath to strength ratio. Breath work (Hei Gung) is more important to maintaining strength than the average practitioner realizes. With some attention and careful study of "how to steady the breath" the bodies own natural strength and endurance will be on your side.
You can test this theory by holding your breath often as you move or spar and then by breathing continuously. When holding the breath, one will notice a sharp loss of power and endurance almost immediately. The advice here in this proverb is to always maintain a steady pace of breathing and a steady use of strength. If we allow the balance to shift, our fighting skill will be fundamentally weak.
“Fancy techniques should not be used in sticky hand practice.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

Fancy technique refers to any technique that is flowery, elaborate or overly intricate. Excess gesture, and wasted time only openings for attack. In sticky hands practice, we are seeking to simplify our fighting strategy, to use only what will work, and to attack a quickly, simply and as often as possible. Our focus is on maintaining the attack. Fancy moves are for the movies, in fact a common saying amongst many Wing Chun masters, is that "good fighting is not pretty".
“Do not take risks and you will always connect to the target.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

If you take risks in life, you will sometimes be rewarded, and sometimes meet ill consequence. 50/50 chances just that, a gamble. I like when the odds are in my favor. To take risks in a fighting situation leaves you vulnerable to immediate consequences. One mistake, and you could be hit just right, and the situation would be over, with your enemy as the victor.
With that said, Take small calculated motions, plan your attacks in the dojo, study, practice, and when the time comes, don't guess what to do, follow your plan, avoid risks and you will succeed in connecting with your intended target. Too often I see people lunge for a shot, and leave them selves completely open for a counter attack. The greater the risk, the greater the potential loss.
"A strong attitude and posture gives an advantage over your opponent."

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

If you stand upright, (posture) and if you bring a confident (strong) attitude, you will always have an advantage over any opponent. If life and in fighting. confidence, and strength of poise will dominate. Think of some on you know that tends to be down hearted, or depressed. Look at their posture, look at how they carry their body. I would bet that the depressed, or down trodden individual is slumped and holds their head down, with eyes down.
Often allowing more dominant persons to get the better of them, physically, mentally, and emotionally. You should then ask; why is it that courageous and confident people always hold their head upright, stand tall, and act as though they already have won the fight.

“Once your opponent moves, his center of gravity changes.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

Gravity is the force that connects us to this earth. Maintaining a balance in response to gravity is the most important factor in martial arts. When the opponent moves, his gravity moves with him. Sense the subtle changes in gravity, and you will react appropriately. If you are unaware of gravity, then you are just blindly using techniques. We must be consciously aware of the greatest force we are exposed to in this reality. You must feel your weight, and notice the weight of your opponent, center of gravity is everything! With out center, our movements will be clumsy,forced, and unnatural. With gravity, with center, we will move with grace, speed, and ultimately control real power.
“Learning the techniques without developing the skills will never bring any accomplishment.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

The techniques of a style are often presented in a very upfront manner. They are revealed as an end result to a sequence of actions. In Wing Chun, this sequence is often packaged into a repeating, unending drilling method. Through the repeated drill, our limbs are programmed. After thousands of repetitions, you will see the reality of the programming you've done. Your limbs will act automatically as a result of developing "skill". We study several forms which contain hundreds of techniques, however we must continue to build the "skill" with which to deploy our techniques from. Any one can see a technique in a video, or in a book, or even a few times in person, but until you've given careful attention and time to develop a skill at it. You will not see any worthy accomplishment.
“Do not collide with a strong opponent;
with a weak opponent use a direct frontal assault.”

Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

This proverb is a bit more direct than most. It quite simply states a best practice when choosing your strategy. We must make a choice at the moment a fight ensues. If the opponent is strong, and uses this strength as apart of his fighting strategy, it can be a challenge to fight against. Especially if your strength is no match for theirs.
In this instance we must choose to utilize skill and technique over pure brawn. Brawn will fade with age and can not be maintained indefinitely. Instead, train and seek a functional muscle that allows us to change and adapt, with speed and precision.
So with a strong opponent in your midst, do not attempt to fully collide with them, instead, connect, redirect, and stay off the firing line. Use leakage attacks and fight in the empty space around them. The dummy training teaches you this. Use the power of listening to determine the source of their strength and move in sync with it. You will need to slip and vanish altogether against their might.
Wing Chun uses a different method against some one who puts up little or no resistance to your techniques. Against some one who brings a weak over all structure; We sink their bridges, crush their structures, and then fill their face full of chain punches.

“To maintain good balance of strength, grip the ground with the toes.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

This proverb is very straight forward. It mentions a grasping of the ground with the toes. The position and angle of the feet are quite possibly one of the biggest keys to stand up fighting. Your foot angle affects your knee angle, knee angle affects possible hip angle, and hip angle affects your ability to throw power into your moves. Gripping the ground with the feet will offer an extra sense of the earth below and the gripping will serve as a sort of suction power underneath you. It will offer extra skill in balance and added strength in the legs. Try standing with flat feet in a neutral position. Bend your knees slightly, and then grab the ground with your toes. There is a central point of the foot, in the arch behind the toes, that holds an acupuncture point that should be the focus of earth chi power. Feel the ground below you, and connect with its power. Gravity is the largest force we deal with in our physical form. The power of the feet will help point you in a direction toward harnessing it.
“Sink the elbows, the shoulders, and the waist.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

The qualities that this stance teaches us are carried through out the rest of our training in Wing Chun. The idea of 'Sinking' points to the principle of what we call in Chinese martial arts as "Rooting" Much like a tree that grasps the ground for stability. The wind and movement of the upper branches are stabalized by the heavy roots below. To sink the elbows, shoulders and waist are to let gravity do its work. We should not be fighting against gravity in our study of our human vessel. Instead we should look for a communion with it, and a harmony with its force. Each of the three mentioned energy centers should be sunk with the potential power of gravity. They should also be very relaxed, so they may store this potential energy. Relaxation will provide the best channels for eventual power to travel through. A relaxed body, will result in a relaxed mind. Try lowering your center when standing in this stance, with a focus on the three mentioned body locations, elbows, shoulders and waist. Build this into your habits, and you will feel the earth connection and the power it holds.
“Sink your inner Ch'i.” Written by: Wing Chun Sifu Andy DiGuiseppi

In the very beginning of Wing Chun, one of the very first ideas and strategies is to become more well grounded. Meaning that you gather your strength from your superior control of gravity. To 'Sink our inner Chi' is to lower our inner Dan Tien. The Dan Tien is the middle energy center of the human form. It's true location is inside of you, 2 inches below your belly button, and directly in the middle of you. Your hips serve as a cradle and can be used to add tremendous power into every move you make. Its important that we lower our posture, not allowing it tilt over while you sink your inner Chi. Lower your height through a bending of the legs, and lower spine. Through this full body chamber against gravity, you'll have a great deal of potential uplifting power.

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