When do I use different techniques?
In Pai Lum, we learn many different techniques. Practice will give competence, but most students will have favourites which suit their style of fighting. The good student strives to increase her or his repertoire, and to become good with more than just a few techniques. Of course, this takes time and effort, and the student should also remember that fighting styles evolve with time, and change with the opponent.
Part of the learning process is trying new techniques out, but it is vital to remember that competence does take time and practice. Practice with many other students - every person is different, and every situation is different. Mastery of a technique means the ability to use it in different situations. Mastery of a form means not only understanding of the spirit of that form so that it is part of you, but also the ability to perform it on different surfaces, ignoring distractions. And the forms of Pai Lum are the source of our techniques!
When a technique has been learned, many students seek to use it inappropriately. It is wise to remember that in a real life situation - be it tournament or street, the simple techniques are often the correct ones. Jumping spinning kicks, chin na, low sweeps, can be very pretty to watch - if successful! But there may be only a few times when they are appropriate, and we practice for those times.
Mastery of a technique means understanding it so it is part of you, and using it without thought - whether the technique is simple or complex. Fight from your Ch'i point, and you will understand when is the right time - after it has worked!