Teaching and Progression

There are no basics in VTK.. it’s all basics.

The model of the system we have in mind helps us understand how the system is put together and how we progress students.. in fact it determines how we do this.

A good model for Ving Tsun is that of a spherical puzzle. Each part of the system is a piece of the puzzle. The basic training stance is a piece, chum kiu a piece, fook sau a piece, etc, etc.

We outsource the template for the pieces, but we must make them ourselves.

Once begun, and the piece is in the puzzle, the further shaping and refinement process takes on a life of it’s own. The pieces link up and communicate with each other, feeding information into every other piece. They begin to fit in nicely and form an elegant, coherent whole. It’s a smart puzzle, that improves it’s internal linking and cross-referencing of it’s own accord.

Understanding VT this way, it serves the student best to give them the templates for all the pieces in the initial stages of their training, so that the process can really begin. Hence we teach all the forms in the early stages of the training.

During this time of learning the forms the student is introduced to all the relevant practices such as dan chi, double, stepping, etc and relevant drills and exercises.

By the time the knife form has been learned, the student has all of the system linking up together, making sense and improving very quickly.

This can be done in the first year or two of the training, even with training only twice a week, and the standard of all of the material by then is very high.

From the perspective of this spherical model, it doesn’t make sense to drill certain stages of the system ad infinitum until they are perfect. This approach is based on the model of the system as a building, with the need for firm foundations, working the basics to get them perfect before adding anything on, or the building will crumble. For one thing, buildings are not built this way, and for another, we are always working all of the system, it is always improving and adjusting as our understanding deepens, whereas the foundations of a building are for all intents and purposes set in stone. Perfection cannot be achieved without having all the system, with every part of it feeding information into every other part. This is especially pertinent with regard to chi sau being taught before chum kiu or the rest of the empty hand forms, which would mean we are being asked to solve problems without being given the tools. It is like being examined on an entire course material when we have only been allowed to read the first chapter. When students are given all of the material first, they begin problem solving very early on in chi sau practice and reach a high standard very quickly.

Perfection is when the system is humming as a whole, learning is happening as and of itself from many sources and the student is immersed in the process. As with mastery, perfection does not imply that learning has stopped, but that it has just begun for real.

So, our initial project is to teach the students all of the forms and related material, introducing them to the chi sau material as soon as the tools have been shown them in the relevant forms. After the knife form has been introduced, the student is ready to get into the chi sau material in earnest, and testing their understanding in applications training. From here on the student is working on the entire system, feeling it all link up and learning how to make it work for them. This as I understand it is the best way to teach VTK, giving results of a high standard, and is the traditional way to teach a student in a relatively short time a system of fighting that will work for them and work very well.

Dave Jardine

For anyone further interested in this aspect of our VTK, I will send via email a complete outline of the system as we train it. Simply email a request to me at davejardingvingtsun@gmail.com

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