Terminology: The Types of Force

There are various ways to rate martial artists. Beginners can have a variety of defects. The following terminology can be used to rate a Wing Chun practitioner in terms of the ability to be hard or soft.

  1. Hard hardness
    The person is totally stiff and is not capable of changing his actions quickly. There is no sensitivity or feeling. Example: a stiff beginner.

  2. Hard softness
    The person is generally very soft, but cannot change from a soft state to a hard state very quickly. Example: a weak beginner.

  3. Soft hardness
    The person uses tense muscular actions, but is able to change rapidly from technique to technique. Example: advanced hard stylist, such as Bruce Lee.

  4. Soft softness
    The person is generally very soft, but can change quickly to a tense state and just as quickly back to a relaxed state. Example: advanced Tai Chi practitioner such as Tai Chi master Cheng Man Ching, or Wing Chun master Lok Yiu.

A highly skilled martial artist cannot be described as being hard or soft. The master martial artist looks and is relaxed. His movements are difficult to detect. Actions look soft, but the results feel very hard.

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