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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY. STRIKING


All martial arts have a problem keeping students, Wing Chun is the same, 50% of new students do not stay 6 months, a farther 25% do not make 12 months, after 5 years you are lucky if you still have 5% of a particular batch of students, when I reached what in my Sifu’s school was classed as Level 3, Biu Gee level I was told “welcome to the 1% Derek”,  all because of student migration.

While this is just a statistic and of no real value to serious students it does shine a light on why there is such a varied impression of Wing Chun out in the Martial Arts community in general, the majority of people that claim to have knowledge of Wing Chun are forming their opinions on very, very thin information.

Take striking as a point in case, the overwhelming perception is that Wing Chun only uses a straight machine gun punch that goes hey diddle diddle, straight down the middle.

The Sun Punch.

If you have only trained for 6 – 12 months then yes that is all you would of worked on, and for good reason, and that reason has nothing at all to do with the merits of this this particular punch itself.  The reason we work on the Sun Punch so much is that the mechanics for this punch and the theory behind it are consistent through all of our strikes, in truth if you are trying to use the Sun Punch from the typical square position and striking hey diddle diddle on a line from your sternum you are not developing a very good punch at all, it is extremely difficult to create genuine power in the Sun Punch from a square position.

But it is not meant to be used in this way, the training method is to ingrain the theory of all Wing Chun striking, and that theory is …

The hand travels in a straight line from where it is to where it is going, it is not chambered and contact is made inside our shoulder line as close as possible to a target that would be on the end of a line from our centre of mass.  If punching the fist is formed as late as possible and the mechanics use joint extension with no excessive muscular force.

In my experience this explanation is always given to beginners but no one remembers the fine details, there is just too much information in the first few months.

In a fight we will never be square on to the opponent, either our own nervous system will blade us or our opponent will try to move to flank us, because of this Wing Chun striking is designed to be delivered from a bladed position squaring up on contact.

Chum Kiu is the first Form that makes contact with the enemy, delivery is what Chum Kiu teaches. What we teach students at the early stages of training is how the strike lands, not how it is delivered, this is the only important factor in any strike. Unknown to the multitude of past students, or even those that train on their own without decent supervision is that Wing Chun has dozens of strikes, in fact every single move in the Form sets can be used as a defencive posture or a strike.

There is a pattern in the first form known as The Plum Flower Palms, this is a set of 5 Palm Strikes, 1 central just like the sun Punch, 2 from the Shoulder { L& R} and 2 from the Hip, change the Palm to a fist and we have 5 different punches. If we only focus on landing the correct fist, as in lower three knuckles Bong Sau becomes an over hook punch, Tai Sau becomes an upper cut. Then there is the double  arms from “B” section that can be a knife hand, a back hand slap, a forearm or even a punch, a quick note here, one thing to be very aware of, this is not is a side slash, think about it, if we strike out from our own body how can we go sideways?

Exploring the first Form with a view to using everything as an attack can be a real eye opener.

Below is some footage from the Workshop at Bargo, we are a group of guys that think you cannot learn if you are not having fun, it is light hearted but very serious.

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In my school we frequently practice forearm strikes that are in reality just Chum Sau, we slap, forehand and backhand, we use hammer fists, inside and out, we use downward Palm Heel strikes, and each and every one of these actions is found in the first Form if you just spend the time to look for them. Where students get sidetracked is when they do not realise that all delivery is Chum Kiu, all contact is Chum Kiu, we are “Bridging”, the S.L.T. is an introduction to the IDEA, not the IDEA itself.

I often tell my Guys that Wing Chun is not really a Martial; Art and that we do ourselves no favours thinking that it is. It is a Body Method that allows us to make our whole body a weapon that can strike from anywhere to anywhere, once you get what Chum Kiu is about the Sternum line becomes a bicycle wheel that allows you to “Poke with a Spoke”.

 

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