Monday, 20 May 2013

The ideal job

I recently visited a website which promised to tell me what I should do as a career.  I figured this out long ago, but was still interested in what the result would be.  I'll leave it to the reader's imagination as to whether the result is accurate...

This description is a generalisation. If it rings true, you've found your career type.

You would be very happy in a career that utilised your level-headedness, and allowed you to work mainly on your own. You want a career that allows you to be creative, without having to be involved with lots of people. Some careers that would be perfect for you are:

    University Professor
    Graphic Designer
    Online Content Developer
    Managing Director

You like working and being alone. You like to avoid attention at all costs. You tend to keep to yourself, and not interact much with the people around you. You enjoy spending time with a few a close friends. You like to listen to others, but don't like sharing much about yourself. You are very quiet and private.

You are very practical, and only act after thinking things through. You don't like being forced to answer quickly. You have to evaluate the situation completely. You make decisions based on what you can verify with your senses.

You like to be deeply involved in one or two special projects. You like to be behind the scenes. You are very logical and fair. You feel you should be honest with others and protect their feelings.

You trust your gut instincts. You are easily inspired and trust that inspiration. You are very innovative.  You analyse things by looking at the big picture. You are concerned about how what you do affects others. You worry about your actions and the future. You tend to use a lot of metaphors and are very descriptive and colourful in your choice of language.

You are very creative, and get bored easily if you don't get to express yourself. You like to learn new things. You don't like the same old routine. You like to leave your options open.

Finding a career that is right for you isn't always an easy thing. However, if you secure a job that is suited to your personality type you will enjoy going to work, feel great about yourself, feel appreciated and look forward to what's ahead.

This test was adapted from C. G. Jung's famous personality types.

Read more: What career will suit your personality? | iVillage UK
Parenting: Information & advice

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A punch to the stomach, a palm to the head

Two things stood out from tonight's Wing Chun class:

1. Forget all notion of a martial art if you need to fight.
2. It is better to use an open palm to the head of an opponent than a punch.

Both concepts were things that I had already assumed, so it was quite satisfying to have them confirmed by someone with many more years of experience in martial arts.  Through uneven numbers, I had the chance to train with the instructor (Sifu in Chinese, but we never use that term).  Being told that he trusted my level of control enough for me to target his centre was high praise indeed.

The principle of forgetting knowledge of a martial art was something I overheard.  One of the relatively new members was discussing sparring, to which the instructor replied that the movements of Wing Chun must be practised as often as possible, so they are an automatic response to a threat, but concentrating on correct form and rigidly sticking to Wing Chun will cause momentary brain freeze.  It is true.  It's one thing I have always believed.  Worrying about correct technique will probably cost someone a fight, and the potential consequences of that are permanent injury or death.  Anything which removes the threat is good.

It wasn't until the end of the class that I got to ask a question about the Wing Chun forms.  I noticed that I have a tendency to strike with my palm if I am striking anything above the height of my own shoulder, and that particular idiosyncrasy seems to be unique in the class.  My training regime, as far as Wing Chun is concerned, concentrates on the first two empty hand forms, and I had noticed that the forms tend to follow my tendency to hit low with the fist and high with an open hand.  Apparently, my impression that all high strikes are open handed is correct, and that is by design.  I will leave it to the reader to form their own opinion on why the forms are designed in such a way.

If you practise any other martial art, I hope this has been useful to you too.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I know nothing

I tend not to comment on YouTube or any martial arts sites now.  In the past, when I have, a reply has come from someone who casts doubt on my experience in Wing Chun, though they helpfully go on to show that it is they who know nothing of Wing Chun.

It's something I have been contemplating recently.  Using the principle that the most effective weapon is that which remains concealed until needed, I'm actually happy when my Wing Chun experience is doubted.  Furthermore, those who feel free to comment on Wing Chun, having only read briefly about the art or watched videos online, are doing the art a service indirectly: those who are foolish enough to take their word will never understand Wing Chun.  Here is a good example of what I am talking about...

"Chi Sau is one of the very few ways to beat an opponent that is faster than you besides blind luck. Just because you dont know how to slow your opponents down using it doesnt mean its wrong. Someone who doesnt believe in touch sensitivity (which is much faster and accurate than eye) reaction probably doesn't know what it is even if they claim to be a student."

First of all, it contains the loaded "just because you don't know" and "claim to be a student", which hint at the work of an internet troll trying to provoke a reaction - an evaluation given further credence by the fact that I said nothing about "touch sensitivity" in the comment which prompted the reaction.  What he is referring to is the contact reflex, a term with which he would be familiar, if he were a student of Wing Chun.

It starts badly and continues from there, really.  Chi Sau is not a way to beat an opponent that is faster than you.  Actually, you will never directly use Chi Sau in a combat situation: it is simply a way of training responses which have been developed using the aforementioned contact reflex.  Reaction times amongst humans also vary little so, if you are truly faced with someone who is faster than you are, they are superhuman and you should have run away while you had the chance.

I don't know how to slow down an opponent using Chi Sau?  I hold my hands up on this one.  If anyone can show me a clip of someone being slowed down by Chi Sau, I will say that some supernatural power is at work.  Again, Chi Sau is not fighting: it trains responses through the use of developing a contact reflex.  The only sure way to slow down an opponent, apart from compliant training partners in a martial arts class, is to hit them repeatedly in order to effect functional impairment.  My own take on this is that a responsible human being will use only the force that is necessary.

"Someone who doesn't believe in touch sensitivity"?  It's the wrong terminology.  If I didn't believe in the sensitivity of my touch, I would constantly be knocking things over or dropping them.  What he means is the contact reflex, which is so fundamental to Wing Chun that it would be lunacy to train Wing Chun if I really did not believe in it.  It is faster and more accurate than the eye?  No, it isn't.  We react more slowly to what we see.  If our hand was on fire, it would take us a while to connect the sight of our hand on fire to the concept of our hand being on fire, whereas our brain is wired to recognise pain instantly.  The eye is not slower, but our reaction to what we see is slower than our reaction to what we feel.

As for me "claiming" to be a student of Wing Chun, there is no effective way to prove my experience as a student over the internet.  Given all the problems with my accuser's comment, however, I would venture that he has never taken part in a genuine Wing Chun class or, if he has, clearly it has not been understood by him or explained in a way he understands.  To think that I am wrong about his lack of experience, even for one moment, is truly horrifying.  The reply came a year after my original comment, so was rendered unnecessary by the passing of time, and also shows a lack of respect that is truly unwelcome within the martial arts community (but is disappointingly common on YouTube).

The best comment I ever saw on a YouTube video stated that some people on YouTube believe themselves to be an expert in every martial art on the planet.  I can't remember who originally made that comment, but full credit to them.  The teenage boys, hyped up from watching UFC in their bedrooms or on their phones, usually lack the courage to actually attend a martial arts class, so insulting genuine martial artists from a safe distance passes for courage in their minds.

So, if I am being judged against the Wing Chun that these people know, I am happy to say that I know nothing of it.