Sifu Andreas Hoffmann and Sifu Benny Meng outside the VTM
"Every year the VTM hosts one or two official workshops. The VTM was very pleased to welcome Sifu Andreas Hoffmann from Germany, the successor of Chi Sim Ving Tsun. This was truly an historic weekend. Even ten years ago, when people thought about or discussed Wing Chun they would talk about Bruce Lee and Yip Man. However, there are many other families outside the Yip Man line. Many lineages trace their origins back to a time before Yip Man, to the Red Boat, even to time before the Red Boat. This lineage traced beyond the Red Boat, all the way back to the Southern Shaolin. Through VTM research, we think this is perhaps the earliest version of Wing Chun. Many families of martial arts exist that claim a relationship to the Southern Shaolin Temple such as Hung Kuen (Hung Ga), Dragon, Ng Jou, and Wing Chun to name a few. All of these styles share similar motions and training methods, pointing to a common origin."
With these words, Curator Sifu Benny Meng introduced and welcomed Sifu Andreas Hoffmann from Bamberg, Germany. Sifu Hoffmann came to the VTM for a three day workshop to share his art - Chi Sim Weng Chun. (*note - the Chinese character for "Wing" used by the Chi Sim lineage means "eternal/everlasting" rather than the Chinese character used by the Yip Man lineage and others that means "praise")
The first night, Sifu Hoffmann discussed the foundation of his lineage and shared a little of his personal history.
"First of all, if you don't understand my German-English, please let me know. I am honored to present my family in this place. I want to establish a high standard for my line, that is my mission in this life as the successor. I learned in Hong Kong and China and I hope to bring my lineage to an International level. We are strong in Germany but unknown in the US. I am happy to share my art. Like Buddha holding up the flower and the student understanding, this is the foundation of Wing Chun and Shaolin. Your Sifu can only show you the flower. I can only show you the flower with my body, my love, and my care. Through experience you will come to understand through direct mind-to-mind contact."
According to Sifu Hoffmann, the best Sifu is to be effortless. If you are frightened, something is wrong. If you don´t use the whole body there is no power, you must feel something is wrong. Weng Chun is soft, the internal power of shaolin. It is sometimes referred to as Southern Tai Chi. This art came from the Southern Shaolin temple through the Weng Chun Tong. In Chi Sim oral legends, Chi Sim was a monk in the last generation in the Southern Shaolin. He was the monk who brought the art to the Red Boat. Fung Siu-Ching was the last master to be a member of the Red Boat.
There are three main families in the Chi Sim lineage - the Lo, the Tang, and the Dung. Sifu Hoffmann initially learned through the Lo family. The last time he was in Hong Kong, one other successor shared with him all the material they had to unify the different lines.
Sifu Hoffmann discussing the history of Chi Sim Weng Chun
Chi Sim has two weapons, the long pole and the double knife. But these are not the only two weapons - they are a set of concepts that can be used with any weapon. The first two sets in Chi Sim teach weaponless fighting through the weapon concepts. The Sahp Yat Kuen (eleven fist) teaches with the concepts of the pole and Fa Kuen teaches with the concepts of the knives.
All the movements are Yin/Yang ( for example up/down, forward/back, contraction/relaxation ). This training is also good for developing whole body movement.
Sifu Hoffmann then demonstrated the Fa Kuen both with and without weapons.
The Sahp Yat Kuen set has 11 sections, each one giving you one thing (idea).
Sifu Hoffmann then demonstrated the Sahp Yat Kuen both with and without a weapon.
In the Chi Sim system, the weapons are taught at the same time as the empty hand because of the reality of the time when this art originated. In the late 1600's, the most common method of fighting was with weapons. Therefore, you had to learn weapons to protect yourself. Sifu Hoffmann stated, "Just like the Buddha holding up the flower to understand what is real -you can understand with a word, a movement."
Fa Kyuhn teaches the knife concepts. The beginner learns both. In Chi Sim, the pole is called the teacher, the double knives are the father and mother. All the movements are Yin/Yan (up/down, forward/back). This training is also good for power. He then showed an exercise that puts power from the body into the tip of the knife. He went on to say that a soft style needs faat ging (explosive power) rather than the muscles of the arm (lik). The length of the weapon does not matter. For training a long pole is good while in fighting you must use whatever is available such as an antenna or a shoe.
The progression in training for Chi Sim Weng Chun is from weapon to weaponless. One of the main concepts of Chi Sim is to control the other person - to subdue them. When you subdue a person, you want to do so definitely. This is easy with a weapon. Without a weapon, it's not so easy. That is the reason for the next level of sets - the Saam Baai Fuht (three bows to Buddha) and the Jong Kuen (structure fist).
In the Saam Baai Fuht, the first bow is for the dharma (true teachings), the second bow is for the community (brothers and sisters), and the third bow is to the Buddha inside yourself. The Buddha inside you is your full potential. You should use your full potential to suffer less mentally, emotionally, and philosophically. On the technical side, you learn to use your whole body in every motion through the bow. Most people tend to think in terms of turning and moving forward and backward. After training the Saam Baai Fuht you learn to think vertically as well; you learn to "sink into the dimensions".
The Jong Kuen is considered by the old chinese weng chun masters as the "secret" set of Chi Sim Weng Chun. It combines together all the previous sets with footwork that moves in all directions. The focus of the workshop was on teaching the Saam Baai Fuht set as well as its applications to fighting. Training the Saam Baai Fuht teaches you to use your whole body for power when locking, throwing, kicking or striking.
In overview, the Sahp Yat Kuen teaches you to understand structure within your own body. The Fa Kuen teaches you to use your body and hands together. The Saam Baai Fuht is an advanced form that teaches you how to fight weaponless, giving you a supercharge in self-defense. The Jong Kuen teaches you how to move to maintain room for all ranges. Additionally, the Chi Sim Weng Chun lineage employs training in three Muk Yahn Jong - a Heaven Dummy, a Human Dummy and an Earth Dummy. The three dummies teach all ranges of combat. When you have to fight, you cannot say what you prefer to do. You need all ranges. By understanding how to protect each of the three heights, you can choose where you what to fight. If you have no understanding of the three heights, you can't choose where to fight. If you look at the old styles, they fight all ranges. The newer styles say it is too hard and try to make things easier. When you do that (make it easier by removing ranges/tools) you make it harder. Sifu Hoffmann asked, "Which is better, the straight or the circle?" He then answered, "Both. A circle can defeat a straight line and a straight line can defeat a circle." The Chan way not to say others are wrong. It is better to say I prefer straight but circle is not wrong. When you really look at it, inside every straight line is a small circle such as a circle in the hip or joints. And you must also learn to move circular in a straight way. Chi Sim Weng Chun uses both the circle and the straight line. While it is easier to teach by separating the circle from the straight, is it bad for your life as you are separating things. Chan (Zen) is about integrating all aspects. When you start, you learn to do "this" and avoid "that" but later you must integrate all aspects into yourself. The Mahayana school deals with integrating everything together.
As a combat system, the dummy can be taught first as there is no set order for training progression. The Dummy is used to train for soft power. When training with a partner, an exercise called Da Saam Sing (hit three star) is used to develop soft power rather than hitting with hard power. The same techniques are used on the dummy to develop force.
A question was asked about reference points used to align structure. Sifu Hoffmann answered by stating that it depends on the opponent. "You would begin with a small circle and punch. From there you would feel the distance and start using more circles. Proper timing together with position equals power. Using the circle helps to pull the opponent into you. Using a straight line helps to push the opponent away from you. When there is no space for a circle use the straight; when there is no room for the straight use the circle. Don't try to be stronger or faster - find the weakness and attack there. When you train at a long distance you don't have contact. You must find a way to gain contact. If you are in balance with your opponent, you must lead them to create an opening within themselves. There are different responses to heaven, human, or earth attacks. To learn the proper timing you must practice - there is no other way. In the long distance, you must use fast footwork. If the opponent is ready, you must do something to distract him and give you an opening to him. After the entry you have chi sau, throwing, and kuhm na (grappling) techniques to use. The transition from long to short is a change than can be your death. You have to learn the feeling just like a flower opening to the sun - it is not just the techniques."
In Sifu Hoffmann's words, Chi Sim Weng Chun is a good system to use for fighting, but its not too easy a system to train. A student must learn to fight in all ranges and learn to move through them all. There is even Chi Geuk training on the floor.
Chi Sim Weng Chun uses three lines on the body to determine range. The three lines are the shoulder, the elbow and the wrist. The shoulder is the same as the thigh, the elbow is the same as the knee, and the wrist is the same as the ankle. These lines are used to determine the technique and tactics that should be used. In Sifu Hoffmann's estimation, "training with Tai Chi players is good because they understand striking, throwing and locking while training with other Wing Chun styles is good because they understand striking and using the hands."
Chi Sim Weng Chun does not make use of the more familiar Chi Sau as seen in the Yip Man lineage. Chi Sim makes use of an exercise called Kiuh Sau (bridge hand). In this exercise, one hand is inside while the other hand is outside. If one person feels an opening, he/she will attack the weakness right away. To continue to roll when there is an opening is to train the wrong reflexes. Sifu Hoffmann explained, "What you do today will determine what you are tomorrow. You are today what you did in the past. When you touch your partner, there are no circles for training; all is fighting. When touching hands with no openings, you open your partner with a circle." Training Kiuh Sau also involves all three lines. This blends all the ranges for locking, throwing, hitting, and striking. The entire body can be used in Kiuh Sau - the head, shoulders, elbows, fist, hip, knee, and feet. Kiuh Sau means to find a bridge using the whole body rather than just an arm. Students are trained to flow from one techniques to another. There is also a different exercise that focuses on subduing; this training having different stages and goals from Kiuh Sau. To quote Sifu Hoffmann, "If you do not have the teeth of a tiger you are not a tiger. When you fight, you must find an opening and attack with the whole body using all tools."
A stance is a position of power and transition. In Chi Sim Weng Chun there are two levels of stances. One stance is sei ping ma (four corner horse) with the legs wide. This stance is used in close range fighting. The other stance is kei luhng ma (ride dragon horse) with the legs narrow. This stance is used for long range fighting. All other stances are variations of these two. For a soft style, footwork must guide every motion in attack or defense.
When looking for weaknesses in an opponent, it can be in terms of emotion, position, timing, movements, or even attack. The Chi Sim practitioner must always be alert for weaknesses.
The key to stance training lies in the hip. It must always be in balance. Just like riding a horse involves change, when fighting the hip must also be ready to change. If a position goes to an extreme it must change. To use circles, a practitioner must know when to circle and where the next circle starts. In striking, the practitioner must change or the force stops. The goal in Chi Sim Weng Chun is to subdue the opponent rather than hit the opponent.
Following the previous discussions, Sifu Hoffmann has the workshop participants train on soft power using the da saam sing exercise. After 10 minutes he brought the group together to review each pair's understanding. He stated that "Watching mistakes is a help for us." He then pointed out ways to improve the training for each pair. The group separated again for more time training. After another 15 minutes he reassembled the group for a recap and to discuss hei gung.
"I think Weng Chun is the best way to learn about body structure" he continued. Through movement you learn to open the energy channels of the body. This is started through the circling of the arms and wrists. The Big Circle travels from your chest along the inside of your arm to your finger. From your finger it moves to the fingertips and then along the outside of your arm to your head. The path them moves from the head down along the back to the feet. From the feet, the energy moves along the front of your body to your chest. The Small Circle moves along your spine in the opposite direction and acts to balance the Big Circle. When you drop your body in the Saam Baai Fuht, you are moving the Big Circle. The spine stays vertical to train the small circle. By doing the proper movement you open up your energy channels. Your hei can be used to support your structure. To do this you must concentrate on the Daan Tien. When you open all your energy channels you get enlightened."
This was the end of the first day's lecture. Sifu Hoffmann commented that as the successor to the style he had a duty to show that there is a lot of knowledge in the system.
Qi gong: Qi (energy) – Yi (intent) – Li (muscle) – Shen (spirit/will)
1) chest finger inside yin
2) finger head outside yang
3) head feet outside yang
4) feet chest inside yin
Day two began with a discussion on Hei Gung (qi gong). Sifu Hoffmann felt it was necessary to go over the foundation of hei gung training and how it is practiced in the Saam Baai Fuht set. Kung Fu is based on understanding energy circles. The Big Circle starts from the chest in the Lung Channel. The energy then flows along the three yin channels of the arms, down the inside of the arm to the fingertips. When moving energy, the chest should be opened first as in the first movement of the Fa Kyuhn set. After reaching the fingers, the energy then moves up the arm towards the head, along the outside of the arm on the three Yang Channels. From the head, the energy flows down the back to the feet along the three Yang Channels. From the feet, the energy moves up the legs on the three Yin Channels to the chest. You can think of the yin and yang channels by squatting down onto your feet and hugging your knees with the sun above you. Everywhere the sunlight touches your body is yang; the places it does not are yin.
When training the hei, you learn to move and balance the hei with the yih, or intent, with the lik, or muscles, and the movements of the body. In Chi Sim Kung Fu, training to know how to activate the muscle meridians is necessary. Hei gung training for spritiual reasons focuses more on the yih and spinal movements.
Sifu Hoffmann said, "In Chi Sim training, you can become enlightened through training the combination of yi, hei, and lik. With a foundational understanding of hei gung you will be able to use your martial skills all your life. In the Shaolin temples they knew this knowledge and were able to use their skills all their life."" Training in hei gung consists of more than just the Big Circle. To develop the hei through what is known as the Eight Secret Meridians. There is a series of training called the Small Circle (Du Mai / Ren Mai) that serves to activate and connect two of the Eight Secret Meridians. The Small Circle serves to complement and balance the Big Circle. The Small Circle travels in the opposite direction of the Big Circle along the spine. As the Big Circle moves down, the Small Circle moves up. To use this training, the spine must be erect and straight inside the Big Circle.
Hei gung is useful to activate and balance the inner organs. In the Saam Baai Fuht set of Chi Sim Weng Chun, all the circles are connected through the chest. The hands start along the belt meridian and return to it throughout the set. Of the three daan tin (energy fields), the lower one is the most important for martial arts. The idea of a flower is useful to explain the training of the lower daan tien as a flower can be open or closed. Imagine a flower is just below your navel facing up towards your heart. When you begin the Saam Baai Fuht set, the flower in the lower daan tien begins to open, meaning the heart of the flower faces up. Only when the flower is open do you begin Saam Baai Fuht. The yih must also be involved. Sifu Hoffmann explained, "With your first breath, you must let go all your wishes, thoughts, fantasies, desires, and etc. Your breath helps to concentrate and balance the energy. You must feel your breath and your movement through the head and the connection of your feet to the Earth. When you let it all go, when you feel the life energy around you, when you are connected, you are life energy. The monks of Shaolin were people strong in spirit because they trained like this. Be like a dimand, clear and bright."
The first movement of Saam Baai Fuht puts the hei gung training discussed above together. When you start, pay attention to your breathing. If you feel tight or pain, your hei is blocked somewhere in your body. The first level of training uses the Big Circle. You must breathe naturally; once you find the energy, you can expand the circle inside yourself. When breathing, Shaolin makes more use of movement of the chest while Taoist practices make more use of the movement of the belly. This first movement of Saam Baai Fuht, this breathing and feeling of connection, is the foundation of everything. In this motion are in / out and up / down.
The first motion of Saam Baai Fuht is a greeting and it is also hei gung training. Shaolin begins training with hei, with internal development. All greeting in the Shaolin sets are the same. To begin, feel the opening of the flower. In the first movement, the step/turn, feel the energy in the organs. As the hands come out, feel the energy in the legs and arms. When the hands move up into the double fist, move the energy from the hands to the head. As the hands come down, move the energy from the head, down the back, to the feet. As you stand up, the energy moves from the feet to the chest. As you settle the weight, the energy moves from your chest to your lower daan tien.
As you play these opening motions, you must feel the hei. Don't think it, you must feel it just like chi sau. In the back stance, the weight is light on the front foot, concentrating the energy to the kidneys. When someone is extremely exhausted, he will natually bend over to recover himself.
Sifu Hoffmann explained, “When you are training, you must connect with the feeling of hei; don't be separated. The first step to feel you are connected is to feel the circles. Once you feel the circles, you begin to feel the connections. Space is not a separation; it is connection and information. This is the knowledge for fighting, from the inside. With the Shaolin greeting you learn kicking, striking, locking, throwing and rooting together with the seven striking tools of the body: foot, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand, and head. If you ever forget all your training, forget your sets and exercises you still have the greeting. In the greeting is all ranges and all tools. For me, this greeting is something special. In this greeting is training for the inside and outside, training for fighting and hei gung.”
Sifu Hoffmann then had the workshop participants spend 10 minutes practicing the opening of the Saam Baai Fuht set.
The next session of the workshop focused on the principles of locking using a straight arm-bar as an example. As Sifu Hoffmann began this portion of the workshop, he cautioned the participants saying, "When you come to understand locking, you become more dangerous. In the old days, the teacher did not always want to teach everything because it might make the student more dangerous. When this happens, the level of the gung fu drops. When the student is dangerous, the teacher has to be more dangerous. This constant challenge raises the level of the gung fu."
Sifu Hoffmann asked several workshop participants to demonstrate their understanding of locking on him. Offering his arm, several participants attempted and were unsuccessful. Sifu Hoffmann then explained the key points in locking. The first point is not to attempt to lock immediately. You must first attack, push or pull the person and then lock. In Chi Sim Weng Chun there is no faat sau (expelling hand). Instead this lineage focuses on using circles. As an exercise to understand the circling nature of close range combat, Sifu Hoffmann had the workshop participants partner up with one partner punching at the other. The second partner was instructed to pull or push the punch and then step into a lock.
After spending a few minutes practicing this, Sifu Hoffmann explained how to counter a lock. Using the Chi Sim concept of Heaven, Human, and Earth, he explained that when the Human is under attack, you must go to the Earth and attack there. In Chi Sim Weng Chun, the body is classified into three levels: Heaven, Human, and Earth. Each of these levels utilizes a unique set of tactics and techniques to protect it. Heaven corresponds to the upper Gate (the area of the head with the reference point of high Dan Tin), Human corresponds to the Middle Gate (the area of the torso with the reference point of middle Dan Tin) and Earth corresponds to the Lower Gate (area of the pelvis and the legs with the reference point lower of Dan Tin). In Kahm Mah (chin na) there are always circles. By changing the height of the counter you are completing the circle. The second exercise followed the same cycle as the first, only now with the punching partner acting to counter the lock by going low and affecting the locking partner's balance. Throughout these exercises, Sifu Hoffmann reminded everyone to be soft, using only enough energy to keep structure.
When countering a lock, it is never too late. The key is to go with the force fo theopponent and free yourself. You might have to use a little more power or use the hip to gain leverage. Every lock has a special foundation, a special stance and posture that supports the lock. When pushing, use the push to circle the other person. When circling, don’t circle in front of the opponent; this takes more muscle and the stronger person usually wins. The foundational footwork for throwing is the Hyuhn Bo (encircling step). The last key to locking is being close the other person's body.
The workshop then broke for lunch and the conversations about martial arts and Chi Sim Weng Chun continued.
Over lunch, Sifu Meng and Sifu Hoffmann discussed training students over long distances. Sifu Hoffmann has three training programs set up for students - coach, instructor, and master. The coach program takes two years to complete. At the end of this course, the student is qualified to teach a small group of personal students. After completion of a 4 year Instructor course, the student is qualified to teach the system of Chi Sim Weng Chun. It takes a full 7 years to complete the Master program, learning all levels of the system. 3 additional years are required to master the skills through direct training with Sifu Hoffmann. While there is no number of required days to train, Sifu Hoffmann prefers that they attend classes 3 to 4 days per week. If this is not feasible, Sifu Hoffmann also offers special training seminars on the weekend as some students live far away and can only come to training once to twice a month.
Students need constant guidance as it is very easy to get caught up in the wrong ideas and illusions the student might build up. It is a natural trait for humans make things complicated.
Sifu Hoffmann also has students that are already masters in other styles that wish to learn Chi Sim Weng Chun. These students go through a different program as the training is easier for them to understand. While they understand the new material, these students also bring other issues to the table. Their natural reflexes are trained by their old style and it takes time to change these habits. These students also compare Chi Sim Weng Chun to their old style, sometime causing a lot of confusion. On the other side, by learning a new style, these students have a great opportunity to learn to let go. They also get a great change to learn to feel what is right rather than think what is right.
Over the years, some students feel they have learned enough to create their own style and leave the training - often after only two years. Some people can let go of themselves and get farther into the system. This requires more mental and spiritual learning. Everything is always in a state of change. Living this way is very hard for some people, but it is normal. Your mind wants to say that I am coming or I am going. When you learn deeper, it challenges this. In all suffering, with every loss, is a big change to learn. Living this way is very hard. It is the opposite of normal society. This is the way of a Shaolin Monk. Sifu Hoffmann explained, “We can eat meat, drink beer, even have a wife. You are allowed to build up an existence and to identify with that existence. This is from the Tantric tradition. You can live a normal life yet also maintain a Shaolin identity. You must live like this to be a warrior in life.”
He continued, “There have been changes since the birth of my son. With a child there, it’s a great chance to feel life. Kimo has taught me much about the nature of energy. I also feel his innocence and remember. In your regular life you have no time to connect with your inner life. My son helps me to stay connected.”
After lunch, the workshop continued with the discussion on Saam Baai Fuht and hei gung training.
When you train to understand heigung you are training to protect yourself in the same way that chi sau training is to protect yourself. When you are attacked unexpectedly, you feel scared, you loose hei.
As I said before lunch, in the Saam Baai Fuht, the 1st bow with the hyuhn bo, the raise, sink and bow, this is all the foundation of throwing. To throw, you must first get the opponent off balance. You must control the balance so the opponent cannot recover. When you lean onto the opponent to shut off attacks to your body, you create the opening for the throw. Power in throwing comes from your body rather than your arms. Also remember that when you throw, you are throwing the opponent as a striker. Don't get pulled down with the opponent. So, when you throw you must get the balance, throw, and then separate. To separate you lift your head to avoid the ground game.
When fighting, Chi Sim Weng Chun makes use of a movement called Tiger (or cat) Washing Face. The hands circle from inside to outside or outside to inside. In the Chi Sim Weng Chun fighting posture, the hands are not held back or forward. The hands continue to change in a middle distance. The hands have to be free to go to the weakness of the opponent's attack, the place of power for oneself. When an opponent punches, the other side is open. Facing in Chi Sim is learned from the weapons. Don't do anything to give away your own intention or give your opponent control of one of your tools. When facing in the long range you don't want to leave a bridge for your opponent to use for his/her advantage. The horse is the kei luhng mah (riding dragon horse), allowing for mobile footwork, using the body and stepping to off-balance the opponent. When contacting the opponent's bridge, using the forearm brings the opponent into close contact. The motions to remember are to wash the face from inside to outside or outside to inside. Concentrate on finding the weakness of the opponent. Use your opponent's power rather than pushing the opponent away. Find the right angle to enter into the enemy; the enemy is your friend and you want to hug him. Going deeper, your opponent is you so you must use his power. For entering into an opponent, you need a good position not a half position. When you contact from a good position, you can break the opponent's attack while allows you to do anything. You want to take the opponent's balance off the legs by attack the centerline. This kind of attack is hard to counter. One last thing - when you push the opponent away (out of reach), you don't need to learn chi sau or training on the 3rd line. The opponent is too far away to lock or throw.
After a break, the workshop participants went through the first section of Saam Baai Faht. When you are fighting, don't try to touch the opponent. If you touch, the opponent can sense you. You give him information.
In Chi Sim Weng Chun, many strikes can have a yin shape and a yang shape. Biu Sau for an example, in the yang biu sau your hand curves down to open the yang meridians. This hand is used to attack the throat. In the yin biu sau, the fingers extend upward, like flicking your fingers to open the yin channels. This hand is used to strike to the eyes.
In the Shaolin styles, the fighting posture almost always puts the right side forward. This serves to protect your heart and your hei. It is dangerous to over stimulate the heart. Also in the traditions of Chi Sim, the greeting of the fist and hand is the symbol of sun and moon, representing yin and yang, and also the Ming Dynasty.
The fighting posture maintains harmony with qigong and also shows the political struggle of the times when the art had its beginnings.
Many of the hand positions in the Saam Baai Fuht set are mudras, positions of meditation in Buddhist traditions.
A question was asked about how high to place the hands during the Tiger Wash Face movements. The answer was not too high, you must use the Heaven reference point of the upper Dan Tin. Through practice and effort, you will learn how high is proper. Sifu Hoffmann continued his lecture by discussing how to take away an opponent's balance. When you want to disrupt an opponent's balance you must bend with the motion to control their body.
The use of the double hands in the Saam Baai Fuht set serve to protect the third line. When someone gets in close to you, such as a front cinch, you can't easily recover the centerline. This is when you must employ the idea of iron head training or change position. Your hands move to cover the opponent's elbow while supporting with the head and body. As you raise your arms, without the body, you open yourself to an armlock.
Sifu Hoffmann had workshop participants drill to learn how to grab and counter-grab. One partner would go for a hug when the other partner would go for the leg. The focus of the drill was to combine the use of the first line and the third line while having one leg in front. The goal of the exercise was to learn to think like a wrestler and with this information you can defend more easily against wrestling attacks. When you are still in training, you are trying to survive rather than playing a game. Be relaxed and young, playing like tiger cubs.
Once you learn a technique, you must learn the counter, and then experience both. Grand Master Wai Yan said that advanced Weng Chun is to understand the third line. If you don't understand the third line, you are always missing a link to understanding all about combat.
To Sifu Hoffmann's eyes, the workshop participants were all innocent on the third line. When fighting between the second and third lines, it is a good time to strike. When fighting using the third, it is good to use throwing, elbows, hooks, knees, and the head. When using the third line on the floor, the second line on the leg is good for striking. One caution: when fighting, don't roll down to the ground with the opponent. You don't know if he has a knife or some friends waiting out of sight. When you throw, you must separate yourself from your opponent.
Weng Chun training is hard-core training. Advanced students fight one to two hours each day. When training, you must go to the limit, even to the limit of your hei. By going to the limit, you learn more. Even in the fear of death you must have the ability to relax and recover. Students must train all the times. This goes for the Sifu as well. A Sifu who doesn't touch the students can say everything, explain everything with beautiful words but the student does not have the flower, the understanding. Many times the advanced students are happy to play the forms in class; this means there will be no hard training that day.
To review the Saturday's material, Sifu Hoffmann has workshop participants go through the 4 standing sections of the Saam Baai Fuht that he had covered so far. In total, there are five standing sections and six moving sections in the Saam Baai Fuht set. While watching workshop participants practice the set, Sifu Hoffmann warned that the bowing motions should come from the using the hip rather than bending the spine.
As a cool down after training the set, Sifu Hoffmann had the workshop participants do some ground fighting fundamental exercises from the Jong Kyuhn set. These movements included rolling onto the back, rolling over the shoulder, rolling over each side, rolling over while switching sides on the back, rolling and switching sides with the front kick and rolling and switching sides with the side kick.
Sifu Hoffmann finished the second day of the workshop saying, "As a teacher, I want to give my students space and support to change them into their full botential (Master / Buddha) - 100% - to let them change and imporve their thoughts, body, their hei level, their organs - all!"
Sifu Andreas Hoffmann and Sifu Benny Meng outside the VTM
Sifu Hoffmann discussing the history of Chi Sim Weng Chun
Sifu Hoffmann demonstrating a movement from the Saam Baai Fuht set (Three Bows to Buddha)
A movement from one of the Chi Sim Weng Chun sets
Another movement, this time defending the Human and Earth levels
An example of defending on the Earth level
An example of defending on the Human level
A throw from the Chi Sim Weng Chun dummy
Workshop group photo