Buick Yip: Stories of Wing Chun #01, Biu Jee Footwork

Buick Yip: Stories of Wing Chun #01, Biu Jee Footwork

The following took place many years ago, I think it is about time to share.

Me and my American Akita, Chat Chin, used to walk to the fountain in Tsimshatsui East in Kowloon at nights where it is spacious to run, that night, we chased each other, dogs run faster than human, when I am losing him, I whistled and turned back, he took over the chase. In no time he is just right behind me, all at a sudden my adrenaline buildup and I simulated desperation, I must turn back and get him. The chain of movements below is never rehearsed and just came in natural sequence as if having been trained for the situation.

I am a left sided person. Running in full speed, I suddenly break on my left foot. In usual situation, the right foot should naturally take the next pace forward, instead, I diversified my right foot drawing a circle to the side, with the tip of my sneaker rubbing hard on the concrete ground to assure the movement (like carving with a penknife on a wooden desk, you have to press down while pushing forward), the momentum was throwing my body forward while i build up immense pressure on my left knee as I have to fight to suspend my weight on the left foot to keep from falling, while struggling between the two forces, the right foot has gained distance, this created two distant points, a momentary balance, this short moment is the chance for me to shift the left foot to catch up and align with the right foot, Once I managed to start the shift the momentum was guided onto the right foot circle which was continuing it’s course. Until this moment the momentum still persist.

The forward leaning of the body pressured on the right foot which kept feeding the strength into the circle.

Some where towards the end of semicircle, roughly passing through about 130deg the momentum diminished, by now the circle which had came all these way has created a torque on it’s own, so the right leg continued with the circle, the left foot which is now freed from fighting the momentum, with the allowance of the hip, continues to synchronize with the right foot circle by continuing the shift just like in Chum Kiu, (in Chum Kiu the maximum shift is 180 degrees), the body is balanced vertically and the hip is free, and the 180 degree turn is completed. I roughly recall it is about a couple of seconds for the whole turn.

These sequels happened so quick there’s no time to think except instinct, the top of the body keep falling and keep feeding the force down the circle, and the circle in turn created the torque. Also at the latter part of the turn the top of the body has gained control and sat vertically on the left foot, needing lesser effort to follow the torque to completion, like drawing with a compass on the sketch board. The friction on concrete ground had made the movement difficult, would it been back in ancient China with sandy or muddy roads this would be much easier. The founder is ingenious.

Assume you are running on full speed and the foot kicked a rock that sticks out from the ground, your whole body will be thrown forward, this is the kind of momentum I am talking about, and you have to deal with it real quick.

In ice skating, if the athlete don’t keep spinning he will topple.

I stress the whole sequence of the movement is very energy intense on both legs, the transition is a chain of continuous movements, it never seems to work at all until completion, pretty much like shipwreck at sea and you can’t swim you see a board and cling on it but the board sinks you still cling on it cause that’s the only option, after a moment, the board floats again.

When the movement was completed I found myself 180 degrees backwards. I don’t remember if I surprised my dog, but then I looked up and realized that has got some thing to do with Biu Jee foot work. After time I tried to repeat the movement it never worked again, I cannot simulate the same desperation, I unless I run and kick on a rock deliberately.

There are 8 foot work on Biu Jee and each followed with the elbow strike, then the finger strike.

Assume when you’re out beaten, you turn to run, and being outran, the guy came with even a sword in his hand, he will be caught by surprise at your sudden turn back, he either run right onto your elbow or try to break the most , either way he will still be in striking distance, when a man run with a sword it is always swinging in the air at the breaking he has no chance to chop down, try to hold a sword and run into a door and you will find out.

This is Alamo, the last resort and do it at your own risk, remember the Wing Chun forefathers had told us many movements in Biu Jee are life saving techniques it takes precision and risk.

Buick Yip
Student of Chu Shong Tin, 1964


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