- Lift up through body. Imagine your body is hanging from a thread from the middle of the top of your head
- Shoulders should be relaxed and down
- Knees springy (ie very slightly bent so you can bounce up and down)
- Tie gung on – tensing core muscles and rotating pelvis up slightly (bottom of pelvis goes forward)
- core muscles tensed, rest of body relaxed
- Get into stance
- Move with weight centred between legs, not on one foot or the other
- When you move forward, your core/waist should move forward in time with the leg. Ie, leg should NOT lead and then pull body forward.
- Waist should be driving the leg movement, which means your weight still stays balanced between your legs
- Legs should be light and relaxed, body is being drawn up by the stance
When punching or kicking, you arms and legs should be completely relaxed, although tie gung should be on. If completely relaxed can move faster. Imagine swatting a fly.
When moving in, trust your wing chun. Moving in should be almost like getting pushed from your waist from behind. Legs relaxed, high acceleration, full weight moving forward, taking the space they currently occupy.
Pivot so that both feet finish moving at the same time. Move from the waist.
Guard should be with arms relaxed and fingers pointing forward towards your opponent’s centre line where the neck meets the trunk, to give even time for high and low attacks.
Defending against head punches
Think primarily of hitting the opponent with your punch/strike, as this will cripple the attack. The dai sau is secondary. Dia sau should keep sheering upwards on contact. It should be a rotation in the shoulder joint, your angles should not collapse. Your shoulder should always be down and the ball of the joint rotating at the back of the joint. Dia sau should be inscribing an even circle of your space. Contact should be shearing with the hard side bones of your arm against the inside of their wrist. Wrist should always stay on centre. Your fingers may be pointing towards the opponent’s head near the end of the move, or your hand may be above your head, depending on strength and hookedness of the attack.
You really need to swing your hip into a good hook kick. Your leg should go up quite high as it swings around and then drive down into your opponent’s thigh / leg. In close, you may contact with your knee, with more distance, you should be contacting with the front of your lower leg (above ankle, but below knee).
Hi James, this is really funny, but I met you at a Ruby on Rails meeting in Sydney a few months ago and then subscribed to your blog. Later I interviewed and employed a guy (Damien) who happened to move into your place shortly after (“so I moved in with this guy who does Ruby”). Now I find out that you do Wing Chun too (I’ve been on a break from it for a few months, but have been training for a while). Bizarro. Anyway, we have lots to talk about next time I catch you at a RORO meeting. Cheers, Dave
What I’ve found interesting is the exact opposite recommendation by Yang Cheng-Fu regarding weight centering.
8. Maintain the clear distinction between substantial and insubstantial.
Agility is the result of non-double weighting. This means that one’s weight is never maintained equally over both legs. One leg is always heavy and one leg is light. By only maintaining one point of substantial contact with the ground you gain the ability to move quickly, much like a ball which moves easily across the ground because it only has one point of contact with it.
Thanks for that link, I didn’t know wing chun and tai chi were so closely aligned. Out of the 10 tai chi principles listed, only 8 is in contradiction of my understanding of wing chun, and 9 (breathing) is not a big point (or at least not at my level).
With moving, the idea in wing chun is to have your weight behind every movement, and still be balanced and completely upright (body vertical to the ground). So this means that if you move your leg forward, then your core body (weight) should be moved forward also, so it still ends up centred and you don’t bend or tip. We do an exercise for this – somebody holds your leg and you try and step forward. If you’re moving using your weight with the step, you’ll be able to step foward although the person may be holding your leg quite hard.
Wing Chun stepping reminded me of French-style/Olympic fencing and I suspect the leg not leading is valid advice there as well though I doubt most instructors teach (or know that).
There are movements in Chen-style Tai Chi which apparently use Hsing-I style stepping which is yet again similar to Wing Chun stepping. Chen style is not as strict about avoiding double weighting though.
London Wing Chun Academy
Thanks for this information, it was very well described and a good reflection of Wing Chun indeed.
Re: footwork. The weight distribution of the stance allows the wing chun student to drive forward when being pull, while maintaining balance. But what is key to the process is the angle of the hips, an aspect that is refined in our wooden dummy practice.