by Robert Chu
Trapping is a core training method of Wing Chun Kuen, but it has been complicated to teach.
Over the years, I’ve searched for ways to teach the skills to my students. I would explain, “After striking with the Tan Da, the right fist changes into aLop Sao and traps the opponent, where you strike him with a Lop Da, then you can continue on to Jut Da!”
I’d get puzzled looks – then the opportunity was lost…and it became a mess and a jammed up tangle and struggle for the students.
Recently, I’ve turned to core objectives when teaching and every training method has its skill set, tools and theme.
Perhaps its my having to read aloud to my two young ones, but a few pirate stories have inspired me. In a good pirate story, theres always a map, then a big “X” on it to denote where the treasure is!
I simply tell the my students now, “X marks the spot! Cross the arms, and when it looks like an “X” diagonally, horizontally, or vertically, left, right, or center, or high, middle, and low, simply strike them!”
Its worked out so beautifully, that even I am surprised.
Since martial arts skills are largely physical, we should learn them physically, rather than just intellectually or with words ad nauseum. Words are representations of what is. If you develop a skill set, you bypass words, which don’t have to get translated, then cause a time lag due to thought. Thought is one of the factors for slow reaction time. Many instructors get too technical with certain students. Some students are more kinesthetically gifted, others auditory or visual. That is why some students eyes glaze over when an instructor begins a long winded dissertation of their system’s superiority and terms and jargon…if you show the visually gifted, and make the kinesthetic ones feel, you’re doing your job properly as an instructor! Of course, you have to tell the audtory gifted ones…
Some suggested I should use the WCK terms in English, rather than the Cantonese mother tongue. I have no problem with that, since I am bilingual, however, English is multisyllballic, whereas Cantonese monosylliballic. It just makes things longer.
If I were to teach the WCK terms in English, it would sound like this, “After striking with the combined strike and spreading hand, the right fist changes into a Grabbing Hand and traps the opponent, where you strike him with aGrab and simultaneous strike, then you can continue on to Choking bridge and strike!”