“We’re talking about using this for fighting, not for a game or sport, and as a result it’s designed for the street environment, for self preservation….It’s about hitting your person and shutting them down before the fight can build up…You want to hit in one action.”
Sifu John Smith
John Smith studied with Wong Shun Leung in the 90s and brought what he learned back to Australia, where he founded the Illawarra Ving Tsun School. Here he teaches what he terms ‘the “Wong Way.”
I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar with Sisok Smith (I call him Sisok because it represents my relationship to him – he, like my teacher’s teacher, Gary Lam, was a student of Sifu Wong Shun Leung). His teaching style, as exemplified in the clips below, was clear and to the point. His goal is to present Wong Sifu’s teachings without adornment or complexification.
What I recall from the seminar was a lot of drilling and a lot of useful tips for making the drills functional to developing the attributes of the system. He put a lot of emphasis on what he called “the waist.” Stabilizing yourself with the waist. Integrating your elbow to your waist, in both Chi Sao and in doing work on the wall bag. Finding that link to the ground through the waist to the elbow.
He has an interesting vocabulary which lends his teaching a unique flavor, from a combination of his Australian phrases and his strong knowledge of Wong Sifu’s approach to the system, including a lot of the Chinese words for everything (not my strong suit!).
I remember he also spoke quite a bit about distance fighting, about how you get from the outside (out of contact) into Chi Sau range. He said that distance could w”wreak a lot of havoc” on a Wing Chun fighter if they didn’t learn how to manage it, something I talk about on this site a lot! Too many Wing Chun people only train Chi Sao and somehow think they will be able to just walk up and get a couple of bridges without getting hit on the way in. You need to train bridging that distance and train it a lot!
Sisok Smith has a lot of interesting turns of phrase for Wing Chun ideas. He talks about “taking the line” of your opponent. Untangling your hands from your opponent’s with Chi Sao concepts.
I’ve emdedded some of his videos below the fold (which are, like his teaching in general, to the point) – see more videos at Sifu Smith’s Youtube channel: Illawarra Ving Tsun School