Eric oram guide


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Eric oram guide

  1. 1. 1 BLACK BELT Eric Oram Shows You How to Fight Someone Bigger Than You Using Wing Chun Techniques by Eric Oram Photos by Peter Lueders
  2. 2. 2 BLACK BELT By the time I was 13,I’d been studying the martial arts for three years and was feeling increasingly inept.Assembling the techniques into combinations and making them work in random sparring was challenging.Although I’d earned tro- phies for my form and technique, I couldn’t bring it all together as a reflex response, particularly against larger, stronger opponents — namely, the adults I was matched with in sparring. The situation worsened when I watched my seniors fight. They mostly resorted to games of high-speed tag, utiliz- ing only basic techniques, albeit in a very rapid manner. My father, an avid martial artist, caught wind of my frustrations and, while picking me up one night after practice, asked my instructor,“What do you do against a bigger opponent?” Without hesitation, my instructor answered,“Stay away from him and keep to the outside. Don’t get caught by his reach.”The next day, my dad removed me from the school. Less than a year later, my dad arranged for me to begin training under the man who taught and inspired Bruce Lee: William Cheung. This 5-foot-10-inch living legend was the head of a lineage out of Hong Kong known as wing chun kung fu, and he taught a form of close-quarters combat unlike anything my father had seen. The 300-year-old system was engineered to enable a smaller person to defeat a larger one by avoiding the opponent’s strengths and pouring into his weaknesses. For 30 years, wing chun has helped me close the distance and handle larger opponents. It can do the same for you. BRIDGING ON A LEAD JAB: Eric Oram (left) and his opponent square off in the before-contact stage (1). In the contact stage, the opponent jabs, and Oram deflects it with a palm block (2). Oram posi- tions himself on the outside — the man’s blind side — and counterpunches low to illustrate the exchange stage (3).The wing chun expert continues with a reverse palm strike to the head, which the opponent blocks (4). Oram uses the block to cross the man’s arms and trap them (5), then fol- lows up with a high palm strike (6) and an elbow thrust,which generates maximum power at close range (7). 654 321 7
  3. 3. 3 BLACK BELT BRIDGING THE GAP If you must engage an opponent who has a reach advantage, the only way to equalize things is to get in tight so you can reach him. Functioning at close quar- ters will probably be unnerving for him and cause him to pull back into a more comfortable zone. Follow him relentlessly, keeping him on the defensive. Should your adversary want to be close to you — perhaps he’s a grappler or someone who’s been inspired by the Ultimate Fighting Championship — you’ll need to prevent the fight from turning into a grappling match. In essence, you must obtain and then maintain prop- er distance. You need to get close but not too close. Ultimately, the game is about controlling the distance and achieving superior position- ing. In wing chun parlance, that position is called “the blind side.” THE BLIND SIDE What William Cheung refers to as“the blind side”is the position at which your cen- ter is aligned with your opponent’s shoulder line. From there, you’ve stacked his arms and hips, allowing only one limb from his upper body and one from his lower body to reach you at a time. Stay out of the middle toe-to-toe position and stick to the blind side,where his elbow and knees are stacked. The timing of your move to the blind-side position helps you release your oppo- nent’s energy as he misses. When that happens, you must attack the most apparent opening presented by his committed strike. He won’t be able to use that limb to block or attack again because it’s on the other side of his body, stacked away from you. Meanwhile,you control the elbow or knee of the limb that’s closest. —E.O. FIVE STAGES OF COMBAT Stage 1 — Before Contact: At this distance, your opponent cannot reach you with his hands or feet unless one of you moves forward. If you don’t want to engage him, stay here. Or run. Your objective is to make it to the next stage.You need to get in to have a chance at the position you want.By touch- ing — or feeling — your opponent before doing so, you can sense where his movement and energy are headed.When you feel where the pressure is, it’s your cue to move where the pressure is not. Stage 2 — Contact: At this distance, you can touch your opponent’s limbs but not his body or head to effect a counterattack. It’s known as “blocking distance.”You want to connect with his limb (in the form of a block), feel where the pressure of the limb is directed and help it go there. Don’t try to stop the attack; allow it to continue. Just don’t let it hit you as it does. When he releases his energy — and misses — he’s most vulnerable. Use the touch to help him accelerate during his follow-through while you move off the line of fire. Then pour into where he’s not. Now you’re loaded and ready for a near-simultaneous counterattack with your other arm, which is the transition to the next stage. If he backs up during this part of the encounter, be ready to move forward to stay with him. Don’t allow him to ex- pand the distance. Consider using low kicks to the knees and body to help bridge the gap and keep him on the defen- sive. Meanwhile, set him up so you can pounce into the exchange stage and the blind side. If he attempts to drive forward — perhaps for a takedown or a grappling hold — repeat the above-mentioned pro- cess:Feel, move to either side, release the pressure, shift to the blind side and prepare to counterattack. Stage 3 — Exchange: At this distance, you can make contact with your block and counterattack into the opening. That means you can switch the roles of your arms — going back and forth from blocking/checking to striking. You’re
  4. 4. 4 BLACK BELT free to use both arms while he’s forced to use one at a time because of your position on his blind side. (His rear hand cannot reach you to block or strike.) You have a variety of counterstrikes at your disposal. The principle of leverage teaches that the closer the strike is to your body, the greater the power potential — provided you’re using your core and legs properly. From strongest to weakest, those strikes are the elbow thrust, palm strike, punch and finger strike. If you enlist your lower body, you have the option to throw kicks as counterattacks to bridge the gap, then knees and sweeps once you’ve achieved the inside position. Your goal is to establish and then maintain your distance and your position at the blind-side angle while un- leashing a barrage of attacks into the opening your block/check has created. Stage 4 — Pursuit:Because your objective at the exchange distance is to maintain your relative position- ing, you must thwart any attempt by your opponent to get closer or move away. If he tries to close the gap, adjust your footwork. If he attempts to back up to create distance, pursue him. Stage 5 — Retreat: If, for any reason, things get too “hot”while you’re on the inside, get out. Spring back to the before-contact stage and begin again. Or run. Don’t let pride keep you engaged on the in- side if you’re losing the battle. BRIDGING ON A TAKEDOWN ATTEMPT: Author Eric Oram (left) faces his adversary (1).The man knocks away Oram’s lead guard hand to open up the middle zone in preparation for his shoot (2). Oram immediately launches a strike aimed at his eyes, but the opponent blocks it (3). He then pushes under Oram’s block (4) and makes contact for the takedown (5). Oram drives his right leg backward to break the man’s grip and drops his weight to disrupt his balance (6). Oram forces his head to the ground to neutralize him (7). He finishes by executing a series of punches to the back of his head (8). 54 2 3 1 876
  5. 5. 5 BLACK BELT GUIDING PRINCIPLES In addition to using and controlling distance and exploiting the blind-side position, you should know a handful of other concepts to bring everything together: Principle 1: Guard your center. Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and distance equals time,you must protect the shortest path to your vital areas.Force your foe to take a longer path to reach you — it will give your reflexes more time to respond. Principle 2:Watch his elbows.Your opponent’s elbows give away the movement of his arms. His fist cannot reach you without his elbow moving first. Furthermore, his elbow will move two and a half times more slowly than his fist when he executes a straight punch and four times more slowly when he does a round punch. Watching his shoulder won’t give you enough information because it doesn’t move much.Watching his fist will give you too much because it’s so fast and it bridges the distance more quickly than your eye can follow. Watching his elbow enables you to control the elbow,and controlling the elbow enables you to control the arm. Food for thought:The knee is to the leg as the elbow is to the arm. Principle 3: Use two arms. For maximum effect, use both arms at the same time for attack and defense. At close range, everything is sped up. If you’re blocking as a single beat or moment and then BRIDGING ON A JAB-AND-LOW-HOOK COMBINATION: The attacker (right) confronts Eric Oram (1). He jabs, and Oram deflects it with a palm block while setting up his other arm for his next move (2). Oram threads his arm through from underneath to finish the deflection and protect against an attack from the opponent’s other arm (3).The opponent opts to launch a low hook instead, causing Oram to in- tercept it with a low splitting-arm block (4). He releases the hook and positions himself to the outside, where he effects a second block (5).The wing chun mas- ter jams the man’s elbow and counters with a straight punch, which the oppo- nent blocks (6). Oram grabs the block- ing hand and traps his arms (7), then counters with a straight punch to the head (8). 3 1 6 5 8 4 2 7
  6. 6. 6 BLACK BELT trying to counter, you’ll probably miss the opening and have to deal with his follow-up attack. The end of your block should overlap with the beginning of your counter. Don’t give him the breathing room he needs to launch another attack. Once you begin countering, put him on the defensive and keep him there. Principle 4:Don’t fight force with force. In other words, don’t try to stop, oppose or overpower his strike directly. It’s better to redirect (change the trajectory of the attack) or release it (let it follow its intended course). Even if you’re stronger than he is, don’t stop the attack; you’ll have a better opening if you counter while he’s at peak commitment with a missed strike. Principle 5: Use touch reflexes. Again, distance equals time. At short range, there’s less time to detect and respond to his strikes. You cannot see what he’s doing and then respond quickly enough. However, you can develop your touch reflexes so you can feel and respond more quickly than you can see or think. Once you get inside, position yourself near his leading elbow and away from his opposite side, all while keeping in contact with his nearest elbow. That will guard the line against the limb and permit you to feel what it’s doing at all times. If the arm you’re checking is the source of the next attack,you’ll feel it change.If the source is the opposite limb,you’ll feel the change in the elbow you have contact with first.The same is true for kicks and knee thrusts. Note that touch is the primary way to assess pressure. If your opponent is retreating, you’ll feel a pressure reduction at the point of contact,signaling you to attack forward.If he’s compressing distance to get to grappling range,you’ll feel a pressure increase, signaling you to move to the side to avoid his attack. Obviously,touch-reflex training is crucial in wing chun — so much so that an entire aspect of the system is dedicated to it.The exercises are collectively known as chi sao.The goal of chi sao training is to transform your limbs into pres- sure antennas, assessing the degree of the opponent’s pressure while feeling for an opening. * * * This straightforward self-defense system continues to work for me and for followers of William Cheung’s system around the world. I hope it will serve you, as well. Whether you’re moving in on an opponent or preventing one from getting inside, understanding distance and using it to your advantage are the keys to winning. Learn how the Chinese fighting art of wing chun kung fu can enhance your ability to defend yourself in Modern Wing Chun Kung Fu: A Practical Guide to Combat and Self-Defense.Author Eric Oram,martial arts instruc- tor and a senior student of martial arts legend William Cheung, demon- strates the best ways to apply traditional wing chun kung fu techniques in modern self-defense situations. Modern Wing Chun Kung Fu: A Practical Guide to Combat and Self-Defense offers a multilayered view of personal combat that includes strategic prin- ciples, methods for defeating practitioners of other martial arts and tech- niques designed specifically for the street. Click Here to Learn More About This New Book!
  7. 7. 7 BLACK BELT GRANDMASTER CHEUNG’S WING CHUN KUNG FU by William Cheung William Cheung teaches you the intricate details of wing chun kung fu. This deluxe edition includes three empty-hand forms, weapons defense, fighting strategy, chi sao (“sticky hands”), exclusive interviews, iron-palm training and optional commentary by sifu Eric Oram. (Approx. 90 min.) DVD Code 9559—Retail $34.95 HOW TO DEVELOP CHI POWER by William Cheung This book is a blend of the martial and therapeutic aspects of chi power. It includes the theory of yin and yang, the five-element transformations, acupressure, the shil lim tao exercise, and chi sao drills for sensing and applying chi. 192 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-110-1) Book Code 450—Retail $15.95 WING CHUN: Advanced Training and Applications by William Cheung William Cheung — often referred to as the “Master’s Master” — teaches the advanced training theories and practical applications of wing chun kung fu in this book. 175 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-157-6) Book Code 486—Retail $16.95 WING CHUN KUNG FU by William Cheung This five-part series includes three empty-hand forms, reflex training, chi sao, wooden dummy, butterfly-sword and dragon-pole forms, the B.O.E.C. fighting strategy and more. Volume 1 (Approx. 60 min.) DVD Code 7839—Retail $29.95 Volume 2 (Approx. 58 min.) DVD Code 7849—Retail $29.95 Volume 3 (Approx. 59 min.) DVD Code 7859—Retail $29.95 Volume 4 (Approx. 59 min.) DVD Code 7869—Retail $29.95 Volume 5 (Approx. 60 min.) DVD Code 7879—Retail $29.95 ADVANCED WING CHUN by William Cheung This book covers stances and footwork, the chum kil forms, chi sao drills and applications. 256 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-118-7) Book Code 457—Retail $19.95 WING CHUN KUNG-FU: Chinese Art of Self-Defense by James Yimm Lee / Technical Editor: Bruce Lee The first form of wing chun, sil lum tao, is demonstrated with more than 100 photographs. James Yimm Lee studied sil lum and wing chun before training with Bruce Lee in jeet kune do. 224 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-037-1) Book Code 309—Retail $14.95 STREET FIGHTING APPLICATIONS OF WING CHUN by William Cheung William Cheung recalls some of his most dangerous street fights and deconstructs the techniques he used to survive the encounters. Volume 1 (Approx. 90 min.) DVD Code 9629—Retail $34.95 Volume 2 (Approx. 130 min.) DVD Code 9639—Retail $34.95 Volume 3 (Approx. 67 min.) DVD Code 9649—Retail $34.95 WING CHUN BOOKS AND DVDS FROM