There is a wonderful book I often refer to when I am looking at deepening my understanding of the purely physical aspects of my own training,  “Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise” by Peter M. McGinnis, this is an extract from the summary at the end of one of the sections.


1. Develop a theoretical model of the most effective technique.

2. Observe the actual performance.

3. Evaluate the performance by comparing it to the most effective technique.

4. Instruct the performer by providing feedback about discrepancies between the actual performance and the most effective technique.

This approach is of course identical to teaching Wing Chun especially when using the Forms as references and practical examples of how to mechanically perform a movement.

Here is an extract from the summary of another section…


A basic principle of training is specificity, Biomechanics can improve the specificity of training by identifying specific aspects of technique that need to be perfected by identifying drills and exercises that mimic specific aspects of the technique.

Five steps are involved in a qualitative anatomical analysis:

1. Divide the activity into temporal phases.

2. Identify the joints involved and their motions.

3. Determine the type of muscular contraction (concentric, eccentric, or isometric) and the predominant active muscle group at each joint.

4. Identify instances when rapid joint angular accelerations (rapid speeding up or slowing down of joint motions) occur and where impacts occur.

5. Identify any extremes in joint ranges of motion.

Again we can see that Wing Chun training is pretty much in accord with this method, and this is why I personally have no problem ignoring the traditional line of thinking in Wing Chun and progressing everything from the perspective of Modern Sports Science.

It is clear to me that Wing Chun was always heading in this direction until it got negatively influenced by shonky marketing, dogma and pseudo mysticism.

A Sports Science approach would be first and foremost to understand the purpose or goal of the skill we are learning and the desired outcome once this skill has been learned?

For instance when we do Tarn Sau.

What are we learning?

What is the desired outcome?

I have made this point many times before if we do not know why we are doing something how can we ever know if we are doing it correctly?

Let us expand our thinking for a moment from why do we do Tarn Sau to why do we do any of the movements, even why do we do any of the Forms at all?

The desired outcome that we expect individually from doing the Forms could be really and quite remarkably different but the process should remain the same.

1. Develop a theoretical model of the most effective technique.

2. Observe the actual performance.

3. Evaluate the performance by comparing it to the most effective technique.


From the perspective of Sports Science all training is task specific so there is only ever Function.

There is no value in practicing something that has no useable objective, apart from anything else one of the fundamentals at the heart of  Wing Chun’s Fist Logic is PRACTICALITY.

It should be noted that the purpose of some movements is difficult to define, but even in these cases the expected outcome should be clear.

If for instance we look at developing a relaxed manner of moving by doing the S.L.T. Form once we can move in a relaxed manner what do we do now?

What is the purpose and objective of this relaxed manner of movement?

For the sake of this conversation let us stick with Tarn Sau but it could be any shape, any movement or sequence.

What is the outcome we would expect from using Tarn Sau?

Above all else here it is imperative that we are honest and approach this from a personal perspective and not from some default idea that an instructor suggests.

We learn nothing by living someone else story.

For me I would use Tarn Sau to intercept and redirect force from an attacker on either the inside or outside of an incoming arm.

To achieve this I would need to be in a certain place, in a certain shape at a certain time with enough foreknowledge of what is happening to even have the chance to use Tarn Sau to achieve my objective.

Can we develop this ability by practicing Tarn Sau everyday in the S.L.T. Form?

Can we develop this ability by practicing Tarn Sau against static resistance in training?

It becomes very clear very quickly that there is a great deal more to achieving my objective with Tarn Sau that just understanding Tarn Sau.

Many Wing Chun Schools place great importance upon the Forms, especially the First Form and then on Chi Sau which is really only another Form anyway, very little is aimed at genuine Functionality.

All training must be task specific to be useful.



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