Student: Can you
mention some of the responses you go that were negative?
Ed Cruz: The age-old
debate for some, how to properly do a tan sau?
Student: So you donít believe there
is a debate on whether tan should be flat or not?
Cruz: On paper you
can debate all day, whether tan is flat or not. But, if you physically
test the structure of a flat Vs straight tan, thereís no question,
which is more sensitive and structurally sound.
Student: Any other
comments you get about the article?
Sifu Ed Cruz: The other debate came
about the placement of the elbow. In our line we donít force
it in the center.
Student: Whatís the
purpose of having the elbow in the center?
Sifu Ed Cruz: This is believed to cover
or protect oneís centerline?
Student: And doesnít
it protect the centerline?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes, it does protect
the centerline but at the same time it collapses the triangle that
protects your sides.
Student: Can you explain
Sifu Ed Cruz:
If you can picture both your hands extended in front of
you, what you have is a triangle. This triangle guards the
center as well as the left and right side. If you force the elbow
into the centerline, what you end up doing is exposing the left or
right side for attacks.
In addition to that, for many forcing the elbow into the
center is unnatural.
Student: Would you then say that
Wing Chun is based on natural movements?
Sifu Ed Cruz: In the
end yes, in the beginning no. When you first start doing
Wing Chun, things like the punch, YGKYM, footwork, etc, etc. may
seem awkward at first, but eventually you learn that the motions
and positioning of how things are done are actually quite
footwork in Wing Chun, its done in our line 50/50. The benefit of 50/50 is to
allow for mobility in fighting. If you look deeper into
mechanics of the footwork, itís based on how we walk in everyday
Student: So are you saying the
different stances like 100/0 or 70/30, etc are wrong?
Cruz: I understand
the principle of why these stances exist, as well as the
advantages in choosing these stances. But, if we base our Wing
Chun on the zero point concepts, all the other stances go against
this idea. If you
think for a second and ask yourself this simple question, how
would I charge into a person? When you run or walk you
have a 50/50 stance.
The day I see people run or walk at 100/0 or 70/30 etc is
the day Iíll change my 50/50 stance.
Student: Whatís the zero point
Sifu Ed Cruz: I define zero point as the natural
way. Thus zero point
is natural motion that requires the least amount of muscle to
generate the maximum amount of force. Everything we do has a
Student: You never answered my
previous question, is 100/0 or 70/30 wrong then?
Cruz: As a gung fu
man, youíll come to understand that there really is no such thing
as right and wrong.
In the end, right and wrong is all based on a certain point
Student: A certain
point of view?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Many of the truths that we
cling to depend greatly from our point of view. Regardless of what I say
about 50/50 there are those who swear by 100/0 or other
stances. Think about
it for a second, everyone always thinks there way is better,
everyone always believes there Sifu is more capable. In the end, it comes down
to us making choices. Hopefully for many, they chose the right
Student: Do you have plans to have
more articles get published?
Sifu Ed Cruz: I have 3 that are almost
ready to go, but just
need to be finalized before we send it out.
Student: Any tips that you have to
help beginners get off to a fast start?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Donít focus so much on
what you havenít learned but on what you have learned. Also, be consistent in
your practice, if you follow these 2 simple advices from me, your
Wing Chun will improve exponentially.
Student: Would you like to expand
on what you just said?
Sifu Ed Cruz: In other words, learn the
alphabets before you start creating words. Iíve seen people whoíve
been in the art 15+ years and canít even hold their YGKYM
stance. The last
thing you want to do is create an inverted triangle as the
foundation of your Wing Chun. In addition to that, be
practicing everyday, even it if itís only for 10 minutes a
day. Thatís a lot
better than practicing once a week for 4 hours. If youíre consistent you
can build on your progress, but if you only practice in mass
quantities once a week, you start from scratch each
Student: So what your
saying is anytime you want to get good in something, concentrate
on the basics?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Exactly, you have to go back to
the mother motion and perfect that. Say for example your
footwork isnít so good, first make sure you got YGKYM down, and
then turning, practicing these mother motions will eventually
improve your footwork dramatically. If you want your form to
look good, then work on the punch. If you want to have good
blocks and attacks while chi saoing, get the chi sao roll down
Student: Whatís the
most difficult thing for a student to understand in the
Sifu Ed Cruz:
The importance of patience. Yes, chi sao is the bread
and butter of Wing Chun, but working on YGKYM, SLT and punch play
a more important role in the beginning. Thus, the student needs to
understand that he has his entire lifetime to get better in Wing
Student: In your classes, punch
still remains your main focus in the beginning, why?
represents the mother motion for all the hand movement in Wing
Chun, since its lead by the elbow. The sharp motions you
develop for SLT as well as the roll, all stem from how good you
can deliver the punch.
In addition to that, the punch is the 2nd best
weapon you have in self-defense, next to common sense. Within the first year,
most students can deliver a punch that can in fact be lethal,
however the main problem is the consistency of things. Can you deliver the punch
when the time counts?
Student: Any last
words of advice for beginners?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes, donít eat Steak with
Ed Cruz: In other
words, stick to Wing Chun only. Donít mix it with anything
else. You cannot combine Wing
Chun with any other arts, the philosophy, strategies, and
principles are quite different. If you do youíll slow down your
Student: Isnít an art like Tai chi
similar enough to mix with Wing Chun?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If you look at an apple
and an orange, yes they both are fruit. But if you were to compare
them with one another, then thereís definitely a difference
between the taste of an apple to that of an orange. Many beginners think that
Wing Chun and Tai chi have similar concepts, that sticky hands and
push hands take different paths with the same end results. However, if you look
deeper at how sticky hands is done, it goes beyond just simple
Student: So, why do you think so
many beginners end up wanting to cross train?
Cruz: People cross
train when either their art or their teacher cannot satisfy their
question with the proper answer. Picture for a second, you
have a full course meal.
Imagine having an appetizer, soup, salad, main course, and
dessert. Now instead
of eating it separately, what if I asked you to mix it all
together, what would you get?
Student: Youíd get a mess
after itís all mixed in, what if I asked you just to pull dessert
part out. Could you
do it? Of course
Student: In UFC
fights donít they mix grappling with striking?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If
you watch those fights, they still end up playing their main
game. Sure they may
have studied some striking art like Thai boxing or added some
grappling into their game plan, but when it boils down to playing
their game, the striker still strikes and the grappler still
Student: So you donít
believe in any kind of cross training?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Actually
if youíve got a solid understanding of Wing Chun, all the other
arts are pretty easy to grasp. But, at the same time if
you understand Wing Chun, you wonít need to study any of the other
arts. It can do
anything the other arts can do, and more efficiently at
Student: Any new
insights now that youíve been teaching for a while?
Cruz: Thereís such a
fine line between teacher and student. In many ways I learn
almost as much from my student as they do from me. The only difference is
that they donít charge me when I learn from them.
What is it that you pickup from the students?
Cruz: By teaching you
can see into the art deeper.
This is one of many examples, when I first started
teaching, I had 3 simple rules to follow for Wing Chun footwork:
no bouncing, 50/50, and stay square. Now, over the years and
through teaching Iíve added 2 more rules to help explain it
further to the student:
Feet shoulder width apart and heels are in place like G.I.
Joe dolls. This only
came about because I taught it.
Student: What are
some of the traps that happen when you become a teacher?
Ed Cruz: The most common stems back to ones ego. Just because youíre a
teacher doesnít mean you should stop learning. All to often, people think
that they learned all that they can from their Sifu. For example, I could go up
to Sifu Fong and say explain to me the punch and then Sifu will
explain the details of the punch. Now you go home and
practice and believe, ďwow Iíve mastered the punch.Ē In some ways you may have
digested what your teacher has taught you, but Wing Chun must be
looked upon in chapters.
Yes, your Sifu taught you details of the punch, but that
could merely be chapter 1 only.
Student: Isnít that being sorta
secretive of the teacher?
Sifu Ed Cruz: The way I see it, I would
say no. Students can
only digest a certain amount of information as well as a certain
level. If youíre a
newborn baby and I try to feed you an pizza, you wonít be able
to eat or digest it.
You can only handle at that time milk. Thus, as a teacher I
have to feed you just the right amount which you can handle as
well as the proper level for you to digest.
Student: Can you
share some of the differences on how men and women learn?
Ed Cruz: I can only
base this from my own students, thus Iím not sure if all men and
women fall under the same mold. Men can grasp things such
as drills that much quicker than women, but they stumble on their
own ego when it comes to learning how to relax in order to
generate the power.
The women that Iíve taught seem to have a hard time
remembering the drills, but when it comes down to learning motions
and mechanics of Wing Chun they grasp the concept within
seconds. Also women
in general need to learn the aggressiveness in the art, and thatís
something that doesnít come as natural to them as it does to
Student: In what
other ways have you changed since youíve been teaching?
Cruz: Iíve definitely
improved on my own patience, but itís still a work in
progress. When you
understand the main principle behind the art, everything that you
do seems so easy.
And, now that I can break down in cliff note form how to do
things for my students, at first I was like, hereís the secret, do
this, this, and this, and you should be able to master it just
like that. Thatís ego
talking for you. In
addition to that you donít fight the force in the art, as well as
Student: Can you
explain what you mean about donítí fight the force in
Sifu Ed Cruz:
Certain things comes to my mind when I say this. First of all students come
and go, and with all my students I still keep in contact with them
even if they havenít been to class for a long time. But not once have I ever
said, hey how come your not coming to class. The way I see it, if the
student wants to learn he/she knows where I am. If heís in class that
means he wants to learn, if heís not in class then for whatever
reason heís not ready yet.
Thereís definitely no resentment on my part even if they
decide to stop learning Wing Chun all together. But thatís one example of
not fighting the force in teaching.
Student: When I was looking for a
Martial Arts school, I recall the hard sells I would get from the
different places I would visit, I notice when you talk to
potential students you almost donít put any effort behind selling
them Windy City?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If people show an interest in
our Wing Chun, I answer the questions they may have. I'm not
here to sell them a used car or reveal the secrets to the Wudan
manual. The fact is I know the product that we offer.
If I were selling a used car that had problems I'd have to put
more effort, but pretty much if you have a Porsche for sale, it
pretty much sells itself.
Student: Do you ever plan on teaching
Sifu Ed Cruz:
The day I plan on running a baby sitting service is the day
Iíll start teaching kids?
Student: Why donít
you want to teach kids?
Sifu Ed Cruz: On the outside Wing Chun are
simple concepts that involve common sense. But, looking
deeper into the art, the theories and principles are beyond
anything a kid can comprehend. Also if I ever start
marketing classes called Powerpuff girls to bring in kids, Iíll
Student: So you don't
believe in teaching kids martial arts?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If
it teaches kids to have confidence and more discipline, than it
served its purpose. Beyond, that I think Martial Arts does
more harm then good.
Student: Can you
Sifu Ed Cruz: If your going to teach kids
martial arts, you have to make it clear to them that its for fun
and exercise, and not for self defense. Let's face it, that
kid in Jurassic Park 3 would've been toast by himself on the
island. Thus, kids trying to use what they learned in
Martial Arts class will end up losing their milk money to the
Student: Whatís your
thoughts on the term Grand master
Sifu Ed Cruz: If my ego ever gets so big, maybe
one day I'll refer to myself as grandmaster. But, for the
most part grandmaster is just a title people give
Student: Why do you think so much
politics exist between Wing Chun lines?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If you
have to point a finger on how the politics all started I would
have to say it starts from ones Sifu. Take for example kids,
they aren't born racist but they are taught it. That's why I
have the utmost respect for Sifu Fong. When I first met him
and till this day, he still says never talk bad about
Student: How come you
don't spend so much time with the history of Wing Chun?
Cruz: If you've got time to kill while sitting in the
bathroom, then go ahead and catch up on reading. But the
fact is, what Yipman did 30 years ago, or what Ng Mui may or may
not have done in the past, isn't going to effect my Wing Chun one
way or another. The way I see it is history is being created
by what we do today.
Student: So the talks
about Ng Mui not really being a women doesn't concern you?
Ed Cruz: Whether NG Mui was man, woman, or even alien doesn't
matter. Even if Ng Mui was a guy who liked to wear women's
clothes doesn't deny the fact that Wing Chun regardless of who
created it, is an incredible art. Thus, the time you spend
debating about these nonsense, is time you could've spent
Student: What's the strangest question
you've ever been asked?
Sifu Ed Cruz: It wasn't towards me, but
at a seminar someone asked can you do chi sao without any
Student: What was the reaction after that
Sifu Ed Cruz: This was the reaction
and this is what I was thinking.
Student: Can you tell
us the main purpose behind Chum Kiu
Sifu Ed Cruz: Once you can
maintain your center in SLT, the next step is to be able to do
that while in motion.
Student: Is that the
reason we have the turning in Chum Kiu?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes,
turning is the easiest way for us to lose balance. Thus, in Wing Chun we
practice turning in order to help us develop maintaining our
center.. If we can
then turn and still maintain our center weíve achieved our
Student: When we turn
do we do that with the ball of the foot or the heel?
Cruz: The whole purpose of turning is to maintain the center. If you turn with the heels
in place you maintain that center. Once you shift with the
ball of the foot, you lose it.
Student: What's the
purpose of the double lan sau with the shift?
Cruz: Besides, "turning" your learning pai jong. Which
happens to be listed as the #6 elbow out of 8.
Student: How can you
Sifu Ed Cruz: You can apply this anyway you
want. Once you understand the principle behind the
motion. Remember every motion in Wing Chun can be applied as
an attack, block, shi-na, and takedown. Its up to the
student to be able to digest it and not be a slave to the
Student: What's the
purpose for the double bong sau?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Its to
block double huen sau. Bwahahaa. Seriously, that's not its
purpose at all. It helps with the extension of the motion as
well as teaches you to kick your elbow out when doing the low bong
structure in the low bong sau is different?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes,
unlike regular bong sau, when performing low bong sau the
wrist is not out but behind the elbow. This is done
this way to stop motions you block low from sliding up and hitting
Student: In the 2nd section you step with bong sau and
then adjust, why is that?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If you step into
someone and the bong sau isn't formed yet, your going to eat that
punch. That's why when you do it in the form, by the time
you step your bong is up. As for the adjustment at the end,
your doing step slide, you need to adjust to make sure you end up
50/50 still. Thus, this is the last thing done when doing this
motion in the form.
Student: What does
Chum Kiu mean?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Chum Kiu means searching the
bridge, however the technique involve means sinking the
Student: Do the forms
in Wing Chun represent different ranges in fighting?
Cruz: Yes, SLT
represents punching distance. Thus, you can apply
motions in a simple straight line. While Chum Kiu is closer since its elbow
range. Because your
closer, you canít simply follow the straight line, you need to
make a more circular motions in order to generate power. And of course Bue Gee is
body to body range.
Since your literally touching your opponent, its impossible
to go centerline because of the range, Bue gee involves huge
circular motions either for emergency technique or to regain ones
Student: Can we talk
about chi sao?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Don't we always
you think most people understand what chi sao is all
Sifu Ed Cruz: From my experience I would say no.
Just coz your hands touch, doesn't make it chi sao. If that
were the case, than you could classify patty cake as a form of chi
Student: How come
when I roll at times, especially with my bong sau it feels like my
shoulders are burning?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Improper
structure. This could be caused by several things, the
shoulder isn't relaxed and the drilling motion could be
wrong. If that were the case, when the force comes in
against your bong, it shots back up into your shoulder, instead of
Student: It seems like when I chi sao,
there's so many things to keep in mind, what should I be thinking
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes, in the beginning its natural to be
overwhelmed with your posture, positioning, staying relaxed, etc,
etc... But, for the most part concentrate one how you feel, not
what you feel from your opponent.
thought it was more important to know what he's doing?
Cruz: If you practice on the feeling of others you'll constantly
need a different partner to improve, since everyone feels
different. Thus, once you touch with your opponent you
create a feeling. Once this feeling changes, that's your
signal to attack.
Student: Can you talk
more on how one should attack?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Attacking means
the line should be controlled by you and the attack hand has
nothing to hinder its motion. Thus, the ideal situation is
to control both the opponent's hand with one of yours while the
attack hand is clear. Worst case scenario is don't drag your
Student: Don't drag
Sifu Ed Cruz: By that I mean, when you block you
should stick. But when you attack, you don't want to be
sticking to your opponent. Think of how you naturally
walk. Do you walk dragging your feet?
should your eyes be when you chi sao?
Sifu Ed Cruz: You should
be looking into his eyes as well. When you do that you can
see the entire picture. Believe me, this is harder than you
Student: Is it better
to roll with people that are on the same level, lower, or higher
Sifu Ed Cruz: Its good to roll with
everyone. But if you want to get better, you roll with
beginners. You can see things more clearly when you roll
with beginners. Higher level individuals will always control
you and the lines of attack as well as blocking aren't so
Student: Can you name
some mistakes that you see when people roll?
Cruz: Besides the normal structure of the roll which is
common. The idea of don't fight the force. Simple
things, such as when someone lop sau's you, many want to muscle
from the motion instead of going with it. Mentally, they
know not to do it, but they still fight it when it
Student: I do
that allot, any way to fix that problem besides you just saying
Sifu Ed Cruz: I really thought about why this
happens even though we know in our minds not to fight the
force. And, it has to do with ego. If you look at it
from this perspective, ego in the sense that you don't want to get
hit. Also, no one wants to be told what to do. When
your parents say one thing, you normally do the opposite.
Thus, if someone lop sau's you forcing you into a motion, by
nature you still want to fight against it.
Student: Any last
tips on chi sao?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Concentrate on having a good
solid roll. Make sure your comfortable on both sides, doing
inside gate, outside gate, and the regular chi sao.
Everything stems from being able to do the proper drill motion
from the roll. Once you can do that, everything from your
attacks to blocks will improve.
Whatís the state of Martial Arts right now?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If you look at it right
now, I believe itís in a state of confusion. Martial Arts is trying to
figure out a way to balance teaching and running a
Whatís the problem that exist between the two?
Cruz: The business
side is winning. The
way I see it Martial Arts teacher hold a greater responsibility
than other teachers.
The majority of people take martial arts for self-defense,
now a days you can get a black belt in a year and a half. The selling of false
confidence in order to retain business is somewhat
Can you explain further?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If I go to a cooking class
and learn a bad recipe, the worst thing that happens is my cakes
taste awful. If I go
to a Martial Arts school and they tell me this stuff should work
on the street, the ramifications are totally different, especially
in Wing Chun.
Why more so in Wing Chun?
Sifu Ed Cruz: If you learn Wing Chun,
the improper way, you end up hurting your body. Wing Chun is based on the
natural way. If your
stomach is grumbling, that means its time to eat. If you start to yawn, its
time to take a nap. If your body hurts when your doing Wing Chun,
your doing it wrong.
So whatís the complaint, do you believe what they are teaching
Sifu Ed Cruz: The best sell in martial
arts today is still, use your opponents force against them. Size does not matter.
Sifu Ed Cruz:
While that maybe the spoken rule, where today does martial
arts prove this to be true?
In the Olympics, martial art tournaments, UFC everything
has weight categories to it The last time I saw a little guy hold
his own verses a big guy was when Yoda fought Count Dooko.
Have you seen the movie ďEnoughĒ?
Sifu Ed Cruz: First of all, if Jennifer
Lopez is into Krav maga, Iím completely changing the school to
Windy City Krav Maga, ASAP..hehehe Letís be realistic for a
second, in the movies it works really well. In reality, watch
Celebrity boxing 2 as Joey Buttafuko pummels the crap out of
Chyna. Keep in mind
Chyna isnít as big as she use to be, but for a 170lb women, who
goes muscle Vs. muscle against a guy, reality sets in.
heard she trained in Krav Maga to prepare for the movie, do you
know anything about that?
Sifu Ed Cruz: First of all Iím not
here to badmouth any martial art. If a martial art makes you
a better person, then there must be something to it. As far as what I know
about Krav Maga its definitely the latest craze in martial
arts. Its an Israeli
fighting system designed for quick results in a short period of
time. They have no
forms, no meditation, anything goes, and lots of techniques on how
to deal with situations.
If Krav Maga brings you a sense of awareness to avoid
fights, then it does a good job. However, from what Iíve
seen Krav Maga was designed for soldiers, for men, with some beef
on them to back up their moves. However, I still donít see
how it answers the age old question of martial arts of giving the
smaller person the advantage.
Student: So do
you feel itís a good form of self defense?
Sifu Ed Cruz: My judgment may not seem
so fair since Iíve never taken a class on it, but just simply
watch videos of it.
But much of what they do seems technique based. In other words, if
situations A happens then you have option B, C, or D. The problem with technique
based teaching is, that in the gym this works real well. In real life situation,
things donít go so smoothly.
When you deal with techniques your dealing with preset
rules and motions, in real word situations, you have to detach
from these ideas and just go with the flow.
It seems like they go by the no pain no gain, and let them
experience some pounding to see how things really happen?
Ed Cruz: Just coz your
dripping in a ball of sweat doesn't mean your doing good Martial
Arts. Iím not a believer of no pain, no gain. I believe in the
universal balance of things and that of common sense. You beat up your body
today, and it will beat you up later. That fact that you
experience semi hard punch to your gut doesnít make you anymore
prepared in the future if you get hit by a real punch. In my opinion Martial Arts
is about training, if you injure yourself were you canít train,
then youíve achieved nothing
you still struggling with the debate on whether a little knowledge
is better than no knowledge at all, when it comes to
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes. Letís say you take a 2
month course on self-defense, you learn awareness and handful of
techniques. What do
you get for what you paid? Awareness is nothing more than common
sense. For example,
donít jog late at night, donít have the headphones or talk on the
cell phone at night, donít walk down a dark alley. DUH! As for the techniques
they show you, to me they seem questionable as well. Self defense isnít like
riding a bike. You
donít learn a handful of techniques for 1 or 2 months and then
expect to apply it in a danger situation without any
practice. To me, if a
little knowledge gives you a false sense of security that can be
do you feel the techniques are questionable?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Some of the things Iíve
seen for these self defense courses, is some guy dresses up from
head to toe with all this protective gear, the women punch, elbow,
kick and scream. The
guy goes down and everyone is happy. When I see them throw any
kind of strikes, its still a case of muscle Vs. muscle. The problem is if youíre a
girl, you throw a punch, and you donít take out the guy. The term ďbitched slapped
into the next centuryĒ comes into mind.
So size does matter?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Yes it does. Thus, if a guy has a 25,
50, 75, or 100lb edge on a girl, throwing random kicks and punches
wonít do the job. You
canít fight the force.
Youíve got to have both the mental and physical readiness
to finish the job.
What do you mean?
Sifu Ed Cruz: Letís say for example,
someone tries to mug you.
At that moment in time, youíve got to decide then and
there, yes or no, do I fight. If you decide to fight,
then keep in mind once that decision is made you unleash hell on
the SOB, no mercy.
This decision process is extremely important, there is no
half way when doing so.
The last thing you want to do is second guess yourself in a
At the same time, keep in mind this guy is attacking you,
so already you know he doesnít play by the rules. So, anything
coming out of his mouth, assume it to be a lie. Thus, you donít
know if his intentions are for money, rape, or even to kill
you. If your lucky
its only for money, but do you want to leave that decision up to
him. Thus, a quote from the movie Untouchables, ďhe pulls out a
knife, you take out a gun.
He sends your guy to the hospital, you send his to the
morgue.Ē Thatís my
But, aren't the punches and kicks they learn, isn't it from
boxing, karate or some other martial arts?
Sifu Ed Cruz: I'm sure it is. Boxing is
great. Karate is great. But once again size does
matter. 110lb girl may have a sweet right hook, but will it
take out a 200lb guy? That's why structure Vs
muscle works. Muscle Vs. muscle doesn't.
So you believe Wing Chun to be the best self-defense for men and
Sifu Ed Cruz: Especially for women and smaller
individuals. Simple concepts like centerline and structure
makes the playing field even against bigger opponents.
Do you feel Wing Chun goes further than fighting?
Sifu Ed Cruz:
If you look at Wing Chun as only self defense you miss the entire
beauty of the art.
While it is extremely effective self defense, thatís
only a small part of
what the art is about.