No this has nothing to do with the Ashlee simpson song (and don’t ask me why I know that song), but you can tell when I'm starting to heavily write about a subject, that I'm piecing stuff together.  With about a week of analyzing and studying the recent private I had with Sifu I'm gonna give a run down on how this newer way of processing the information from chi sao comes about.  So, far my CSI investigation has lead me to the following 4 things, I know last week I said 3, but this time the glove does fit on O.J.  Here's what I've gathered so far
1) As I stated last week you have to have a superior YGKYM.  Now superior is all relative, obviously.. but I can honestly say on a good day, if the planets are aligned and I'm feeling good, I can muster a good C+ to a B -, stance in YGKYM.   I'm getting this in comparison to how Sifu does his stance, but as you learned the basics in day 1 of YGKYM, the search to master ones center is a must.  Looking back on memory lane, when Sifu first showed me the stance detail back in 2000 of May in Arizona, while the brain can comprehend what's being said, one just doesn't digest the information that quickly.  Its sorta like Han and Luke being tossed in the sarlac pit, there they will be digested within the stomach for over 1000 years.  Well, learning wing chun isn't that long, but from day 1 till about 2005/6 is when I finally digested it.  I hate to say finally coz that sorta means mastery, but you can't have mastery if the assessment of your own stance on a perfect day is about a C+/B-.  But, work is still in progress, but the stance for now is solid enough to get me to do what I need when I'm doing my wing chun.   As a wing chunner the source of all our strength really, really, really, lies within the stance.  The more center you can control the less muscle you'll have to use to make up for improper alignment.  The difficulty really isn't so much feeling one's center. I think on day 1 your teacher can help you to feel what that means.  The journey then begins in first trying to find it on your own.  Allot of times when 1 first holds their YGKYM and then someone presses against their chest, most people continue to feel the finger tips on their chest and press upon it.  This stage takes awhile to over come, coz as the old saying goes when push comes to shove, well you want to push back.  The reality is, as i've stated many times before... its always about you, control yourself, control your stance, and simple learn how to hold the stance in stillness.  The reality is if you can hold your stance in stillness, then when the fingers come to push you against the chest, your sorta oblivious to that pressure at all.  Its sorta like a building being hit by the wind, the building is just a structure that stands their, and has no idea that wind is pressing upon it.   Often times when training in wing chun, you learn stuff, you practice stuff, and the goal is to get it to feel natural.  Sometimes you maybe able to do things properly, but if I asked you, do you know what you did, and you can't answer... well, that means you don't have the awareness necessary to complete that final stage of doing things.  Its not that I couldn't do the stance of YGKYM prior to 05/06, but I needed that awareness of how and what exactly does it feel like and how can i do what I do.  Remember doing it and knowing how you did it are 2 different things.  Finally, the slt form especially the 1st section holds so much value in learning how to use the hand structure in conjunction with the stance.  Especially when the teacher is there to either put pressure for the tan and fok and pull pressure for the wu sau, at the stage when you can finally push and pull without being offset in your YGKYM is a good day.
2) Piece 2 of the puzzle comes right after the stance.  You can't have one exist without the other.  The ability to lockout.  I know sifu doesn't really like the term lockout, since it gives those who don't understand the meaning a wrong sense of how to do things.  Often times sifu simply says maintain the structure or the correct balloon structure, do you know what it takes to hold a bong, tan, or fok, or whatever hand structure is necessary to do the job at the time.  Well, let's start at the very beginning.  It predates even being sifu's official student.. If memory serves me correctly I'm pretty sure it was back in 1998 or 1999.  There was a seminar held at Southport area by Ken harnish where he hosted both master ho and sifu to do a seminar there.  Anyway, in this seminar, was the first time that I ever rolled with master ho.  He had never meet me before so he didn't know me from adam or eve.  Well, I touched hands with him in single stick and i wanted to start the motion, and it was like.... your not moving anywhere ..... Mentally I was thinking what the hell is this black magic.. I looked up at sifu at the time and he just smiled, but it was like a freaking wall that you couldn't move and at the same time I really felt like i couldn't move my own hands... now this may have involved freezing power, but at the same time this was also my first experience with lockout as well.  At the time freezing was pretty cool, but the real key was the lockout ability.  When sifu first came to chicago for windy city, he finally explained that process in 2000.  There like all noobs, i started playing with that idea, failing, and I'm sure anyone who has first attempted this process, mainly only locked out themselves more then doing it properly.  I can honestly say thinking of the entire memory lane process.... I knew I could do it somewhere after my stance was in the C+/B- stage, but if you notice in emails recently about me pressing to use the body to support the hands.. that I didn't get that it or awareness till about 2008. Let's define lockout and what exactly is going on with this entire process when doing it.  Imagine I'm doing tan sau, and all of a sudden a force presses upon it, now for the sake of demonstration let's say that force stays constant and doesn't change angles. Well, when this occurs, lockout kicks is... in other words if the maximum pressure your tan sau can with stand, is say 12.. and right now the pressure you feel is about 5, then you have literally from 5 - 11 to play around with the force and do whatever you want. In other words you can instantly switch the position that you want to another hand structure within that range, or hold it in place till about 12 before you definitely have to switch it and prevent yourself from using muscle.  Lockout means exactly that you just simply hold the structure, and allow the hand and body to do its job but at the same time work with one another.  So, what's the sensation, it feels like this, even though the pressure is coming from the wrist, the stance or near your heart area, is where the signal will come into play.  If by chance the pressure is being felt on the wrist, that means your not locking out that structure but simply pressing upon the force.   Hmmm, after writing this email, literally hand structure lockout is no different from you holding your YGKYM... Strength from this continues to grow on how well you can hold your stance, as well as how well you can utilize that stance with your hands.  Now here's the thing about locking out the structure if the force comes in directly, or pulls you out, or pushes from one side to another, well guess what, that lockout feeling will constantly be felt within the center.  Telling you do everything from moving forward, backward and side to side.  Literally you are at lockout stage all the freaking time.  Have you guys noticed the sometimes when I roll with you, and all of a sudden i put more pressure on one of your blocks and it instantly collapses into your chest, well your definitely not locking out, or using the stance to help your hands.    Lockout really really requires you to make sure the body is doing everything with the major adjustments.  In other words, if you make a positional change with your hands, you need to make sure that the body is in fact supporting that change instantly.
3) maintenance of power -  Okay, another thing one needs to work on specifically is the maintenance of power. The moment that you touch, whether that becomes 2, 5, 10 or more lbs one needs to consistently neutralize that power at all time without affecting the structural integrity of your hand technique and at the same time, obviously making sure that the body is backing that technique.  Consistently maintaining that takes quite a bit of skill since in the blink of an eye that pressure can change from light to hard, and if you don't maintain that you're basically giving your opening to your opponent.  This has to be done constantly, and i mean constantly if you wan to make your basic attacks and defenses to workout.  Take for example, basic palm strike attack, i cannot tell you to the naked eye, this looks to be the simplest of all the 6 basic attacks, but this is one of the most difficult to pull of perfect.  As I meet up with sifu for privates last week, I dug deeper in how to perform just this one attack, and i was literally exhausted in getting this to come out right.  Once again, i don't care about the hit, I care how i got the hit.  With the simple palm strike, your high fok sau must maintain the same pressure without, without offsetting the individuals center too much otherwise you'll give off the signal of your attack, really, really difficult stuff to get.  At the same time, with the tan sau, you must use body control to angle of  the attack as well as body control to slide of that individuals arm to palm strike, really, really difficult stuff to manipulate.  Ugggh, its some massive juggling that you have to do, of maintaining power at the point, and maintain power just off the point to do the attack......
4) Feel from the heart - Technically one isn't feeling from the heart, but in fact feeling from one's center.  But the sensation feels more like its coming from there that its easier to relate in description if i mention it that way.  This is where the major rewiring is gonna have to take place, and literally where i need to control the ego and allow stuff to happen once again, and make sure that the block or attack occurred not from how i was doing it before but to make sure i know that feel.  I made sure that i did not leave the private with sifu without knowing how it should and shouldn't feel.  That is now the key, if you can remember that feeling, you don't really need video anymore, since you know what its suppose to be like.  Now keep this in mind, often times you need to go through steps  in order to get to certain stages of development.  In other words, step 1, before step 2... so what i'm saying is that while i've been processing the information in the past through whatever i could feel through the touch of my hands, that may all have been necessary and
cannot be bypassed in order to get to the next stage of feeling everything through the heart.  Its sorta like how bruce lee thought that forms are useless, once you have that skill sometimes you forget how exactly did you get to point b from a and think, well, this might not be necessary to develop, in order to get this ability.  But in fact, it might be.  So, like with all things, how to rewire the system... and as i've stated with you, you go back to the abyss, back to the basics of both attacks and defense to rewire it, until the body now figures out, this is the feel your looking for... 
Written by Sifu Ed Cruz
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