Hi there fellow Wing Chun fanatic —
It’s Rob here at WingChunLife.com. I was a bit upset when I learned improving your fight conditioning, combat conditioning, or general stamina isn’t a realistic advantage in a life or death street fight…
I thought: “What?! That can’t be right! You mean I’ve been working on my cardio for nothing? This must be total B.S.!”
But, I kept my mind open, just a little, because the research came from a reputable group.
The details come from the Force Science Research Center. They develop and improve law enforcement methods by researching and studying officers involved in deadly force confrontations; many of them have been shot, or have shot and killed offenders. Talk about getting in a street fight to the death!
Stick with me because I’ll let you in on what to do instead of spending countless hours sweating on your cardio workout, or weightlifting, or jogging endless miles…
Exhaustion Study Puts Law Enforcement Officers Through a Series of Tests
“Researchers recruited 52 officer volunteers (42 males, 10 females), ranging in age from 23 to 51, with an average of 8 years on the job. All were ‘familiar with officer safety training involving high aerobic physical engagement,’” according to their report.
The “exerters” were hooked up to heart rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, and VO2 masks to measure oxygen consumption and gas exchange. The participants also gave blood samples to measure lactic acid levels, plus time-coded video recorded everything.
In the experiment, the exerters launched a full-force physical attack on a 300-lbs hanging water bag. They could use any move or attack they wanted: punches, kicks, palm strikes, elbows, and knees.
The catch was they had “to sustain assailing the bag until they no longer had strength to keep going, or until they were visibly maxed out (“breathless and struggling to continue”) and were told to stop.”
The Result? Fast Physical Breakdown…
“The heart monitors, face masks, and blood tests all confirmed that exerters reached an intense level of energy output during the bag blitz. Heart rates, for example, leaped from an average resting rate of 73-bpm to an average maximum of 179… blood lactate levels, reflecting the amount of exertion and affecting muscle function, skyrocketed up to 13 times…”
The officers averaged only 56 seconds against the bag. On the low end however, some quit or were told to stop because they were visually exhausted and their cadence was ineffective, in as little as 25 seconds!
As you may have guessed, the majority of strikes were fist punches, which is probably not the best option (I’ll explain a bit more down below).
What’s worse, with the time-coded video, researchers could count second by second the number of blows each officer struck the bag. “The average officer peaked at 15 seconds. After that, the frequency of strikes fell in a sharp and steady decline.” They punched themselves out!
This is bad news in a fight to the death… and how about if you’re dealing with multiple attackers?
To add insult to injury, the fitter officers started out hitting faster and harder, but by putting out more effort per strike, they burnt through their physical reserves in about the same time as the less physically fit officers.
Shocker! Fight Conditioning is a Myth —
To be fair, staying fit and getting well conditioned is not a total waste of time. It is important for your overall health and well being. In competitive fighting sports, a well conditioned body is better than a less conditioned body.
But, in a street fight to the death, where you’re amped up and fighting a psychopath, it’s not the primary determining factor of survival.
Recently, I found a resource that gives you a survival advantage, no matter what kind of shape you’re in — TFT
It blends in perfectly with your martial arts or Wing Chun principles, probably even enhances them, and improves your practical training and effectiveness — especially in a life and death situation.
”If you can only count on having 15 good seconds, you’d better train to be effective inside of that time limit” — Chris Ranck-Buhr, TFT Master Instructor
In fact, the TFT system trains you to be effective inside of five seconds — they assume only three to five seconds of chaos that is resolved with the first real injury (physically debilitating, pathologic injury).
In other words, the threat starts, and then you nail him in the eye, and then strike the side of the neck to knock him out.
… Less than 3 seconds.
As they say, “no wasted time, no wasted movement, no wasted effort. Everything is directed straight through a target, to smash it.” They are very Wing Chun, without even knowing it!
One of the things (among many) this program does to enhance your Wing Chun and survival fighting skills is, “stress the use of body-weighted strikes over the simple extension of the limbs.”
Consider this: your arms and legs don’t weigh much, even if you throw them fast. They are also very useless weapons when you’re tired and your muscles are locked down with too much lactic acid (which research tells us happens in a few seconds).
On the other hand, body-weight strikes have the advantage over traditional punching and kicking because when your muscles grow tired and you can’t punch as hard (like what happened in the experiments above)… you weigh the same and can still smash things with your mass, even if you are exhausted.
I’ve been working on these concepts on my own for a few months and see the results. Also, I’ve been working this out with small children (7 and 8 years olds). They are more dangerous, especially to an adult-sized predator, by understanding and training with TFT principles.
These are simple and easy to do by anyone, in any physical condition or skill level. Even a 7 year old can do them effectively. Plus, instead of flashy moves, or spending months developing Iron Man stamina, TFT is based on street-cold reality.
I hate to say it, and I also love to say it… but you really don’t have to perfect the Sil Lum Tao or any other complex martial art forms to finish a predator in less than 5 seconds!
The best way to understand what it means to cause a physically debilitating, pathologic injury using your entire ‘body weight in motion’ (even when you’re bone tired) is by seeing it demonstrated in their TFT Striking DVD Series. Take a look
Rob @ Wing Chun Life
P.S. Using violence when it counts, to cause pathologic injuries and take out a psychopath fast, is a topic I will revisit frequently from now on. These methods are possibly more direct and efficient than Wing Chun or any other martial arts training you’ve ever experienced. But it does not replace it. Instead, combining it to your training gives you more – more realistic – options. Check it out yourself