Last Thursday, I finally took my Si-Hing (Junior Instructor) grading, and passed!
Category: Wing Chun
Step in and strike at the first sign of movement of your combatant. Do not wait for their strike. Do no over-extend your body. Especially if they are bigger than you, ensure you are close enough to be in your optimal range. Maintain structure. Strike and continue to control, keep them off balance and cramped as you follow up. Your attack is your best defense and gives you the advantage.
When rolling, imagine your arms are around a witches hat – wide bit at your body, small end is your hands. Imagine your arm and hands are drilling into your partner’s chest. Also, when you come down from bong sau to pierce, this should be going forwards too. It is a strike and your partner will need to be defending against it with the arm doing the fook sau.
The “party” counter arm grab using elbow over (left hand grabbed by right, or right hand grabbed by left) ends with drawing the opponent’s hand towards your body. Imagine bringing your elbow to your ribs (this avoids bending or leaving stance).
The “party” counter arm grab using wrist and fingers pointing down (left hand grabbed by left or right hand grabbed by right) starts by moving around the force the opponent is placing on you (circular move, often around and up) and ends pointing your wrist and fingers towards the ground (where you want your opponent to be forced to go).
- 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).
Today my class was visited a very talented high level instructor. Although he only spent a few minutes looking at my bong sau, he gave two invaluable tips:
- When bringing your hand and arm up into bong sau, you need to be moving both upwards, forwards and inwards towards the centre simultaneously. A good way to do this is to imagine your elbow tracing an arc through the air from start to end point.
- When moving from bong sau to tan sau when rolling, move into fook sau first, and then roll your wrist over. This will stop your hand from dropping and will leave your hand on the centre line.
Doing Chark Jong (breaking of the guard) today, my instructor pointed out that I was tensing up too much, and comitting myself to a big forward rush, when I should have been simply walking forward in my correct stance. After this and some more demonstation, I had an ephinany and things suddenly clicked. Here is my summary of how to do the technique more correctly:
- Put on a correct stance.
- Imagine yourself being sucked up towards the ceiling head first, or that your body is suspended from a thread going from the top of your head to the ceiling. This will straighten your back and neck and relax your spine.
- Mirror your oponent’s guard with your guard.
- Imagine your arms are very heavy, and relax all the muscles in your arms and shoulders. Your arms should be rotated up and forward by your shoulder ball joint, holding the ultimate angle, but otherwise completely relaxed. Your elbows should feel as though they are pointing towards the floor.
- Step forward naturally from your waist.
- As you close with your opponent’s guard (preferably a bit above it), allow your arms to drop down under their own weight, while focusing strongly on a point (eg, on the centre of your oponent’s chest). Don’t stop walking as your do this. The combined forward movement of your body and downward fall of your arms will mean that you collapse your oponents guard and hit through to their chest.
- Pull back both hands with a circular movement driven from your elbow, like in the form. This will catch the remains of your oponent’s guard and further disrupt their stance. If this move isn’t working for you, don’t overdo it – be careful not to come out of your stance.
- Finish by stepping foward from the waist (imagine your belly button is leading the way) and drive your arms forward in a double palm strike.
When it clicks, it feels like the calmness in the eye of a storm. You are relaxed, in control and uncomitted, with time respond to any counters your oponent may choose to do.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Wing Chun is a type of Kung Fu which was developed by a nun in China, a couple of hundred years ago. It focuses on technique rather than strength and, as such, is designed so that a smaller person can successfully fight a much larger person, and not get too tired out in the process. There’s no messing around in Wing Chun, it’s not like the movies where fights go on for ages. The aim is to take out your opponent rapidly and effectively.
Here are the principles of Wing Chun, according to the masters:
- Economy of movement
As a Wing Chun student of about 3 years (ie, by no means an expert), I think this means:
- Carefully angling legs and arms (the ultimate angle) at which point they are very strong and take very little energy to resist force applied by an adversary.
- Applying full body weight in every movement (eg, force going from shoulder, to elbow, to wrist in each movement).
- Relaxation of muscles to increase speed, decrease energy use and make it very difficult for your adversary to grab you.
- Redirection of strikes rather than blocking.
- Increasing force of your strikes through pivoting and stepping forward.
- Simplicity. Movements are simple with no adornments.
- Ruthlessness. Nowhere is off bounds to a strike when you’re fighting for your life.
- Keeping your pelvic floor muscles lightly tensed so that your body works as a single unit.
- Every defence is also an attack.
- Stance is very important. From a strong stance, your blows have much more force as you do not move backwards when you strike. All your force goes into your opponent, rather than rocking you backwards.
- Upsetting the stance and breaking the guard of your opponent is a major goal. Once that’s done, they are at your mercy, you can keep them off balance by constantly moving forward.
I really enjoy Wing Chun. Also, it keeps me fit, and I think I’m much better equipped to deal with any sort of physical aggression as a result of my training. I haven’t tried any other school, but I’m happy with my current one, the International Wing Chun Academy.