The Mistakes I Make with Fook Sau

Today I reveal the mistakes I make when I use Fook Sau and I need your help to improve it!

Fook Sau is a really great technique for protecting the centerline but I have a lot of trouble maintaining a good Fook Sau. Here are three ways my Fook Sau fall apart.

1) I think my Fook Sau is in good position so when it moves out of place, I don’t notice that my elbow is no longer protecting my centerline making it easy for my opponent to go through my Fook Sau.

2) I use my Fook Sau’s point of contact (my wrist) to keep my opponent out of my center without realizing that this brings my elbow out and away from my centerline. Most times I even apply pressure from my wrist and that makes it even easier to take advantage of my unprotected centerline.

3) I focus so hard on keeping my elbow in the center I forget to keep contact with my wrist on my opponent. Once my opponent knows I’m not keeping contact, they can take advantage of it.

This is where I need your help. What are your tips for improving Fook Sau? Leave them in the comments! I appreciate your feedback. I’ll definitely put your suggestions to use and let you know how it goes!

Practice Wing Chun While You’re on Vacation

Today we answer Giuseppe’s questions about practicing Wing Chun while on vacation!

Below are Giuseppe​’s current training methods while on vacation. I have edited his messages for clarity and included my comments.

1) I’m using heavy rocks to do my form and other drills.

My reply: I would separate my forms from general exercises. If you want to lift weights, you should but separately from the forms. I personally believe adding weights to the form creates bad habits such as using strength when you should be relaxed.

2) I’m using a volleyball to do drills to practice maintaining contact and working on keeping my elbows in the centerline.

My reply: If you’re holding the ball in your hands doing the drills, I think a volleyball/football is too big. I was taught that we should visualize a tennis ball in our hands and keep that distance between our hands.

3) I’m experimenting with the Chi Sao ring.

My reply: I have no experience using the ring, and I think what you can do with the ball is just as good as doing it with the ring.

4) I’m using a tree to substitute a dummy.

My reply: If you’re using the tree to visualize an opponent, that is great. It’s good practice for stepping and determining your striking distance between you and an opponent.

Giuseppe, I hope my answers here and in the video makes sense! Feel free to message me for further clarification if you need it!

If you have your own Wing Chun training related questions you would like me to answer, please ask them in the comments!

Defend & Advance

Today I discuss a little idea about how to defend and advance in Wing Chun!

I commonly move forward to strike and backward to defend. Sometimes I don’t realize I’m stuck in this forward/backward mentality loop. In my mind I feel like I’m making progress but I’m just essentially taking one step forward but two steps back. To change this, I had to change my mentality.

I was introduced to the idea of retreating at an angle. The slightest shift in angle can change everything. If I were defending, I just disrupted my opponent’s momentum and created an opportunity. I can use this opportunity in many ways: I can strike, close the distance, or switch my role with my opponent to become the one on the offense.

A lot of opportunities can come from this little idea. What’s your take on it? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk About Speed

Today we talk about speed and moving before our opponent can react!

When I think of speed, I think about being faster than my opponent and whether I can move faster, defend faster, strike faster, or just react faster. The thing is, I can be faster than my current opponent but this will not always be true for everyone else. There will always be someone faster than me, stronger than me, and so on.

The speed I want to discuss today involves moving and striking before my opponent can react. I’ve been trained to be sensitive to intentions and I believe my reaction is very high and usually accurate. When I feel pressure or a strike coming, my body immediately lets me know something is on its way and I should get ready. The problem is, what if my opponent doesn’t give any intention or pressure? My mind isn’t used to it so I don’t react. I don’t guard up nor do I prepare myself because I don’t feel danger.

So this had me thinking. If I can get into my opponent’s space, without raising any alarms, and my opponent doesn’t react, then it’s an open invitation to strike. If my opponent doesn’t feel me coming, they won’t have time to react when I strike. In this instance, I am moving faster than my opponent’s reaction without actually being physically faster than them.

What do you think about speed? What are your ideas and how do you practice improving your speed? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk About Sensitivity

Today, we talk about sensitivity and having control over your intentions.

In Wing Chun, I think we’re trained for sensitivity so we know when to react. I feel like this is a double edged sword because we’re trained to react when we feel our opponent’s intent but what if the person doesn’t show intent? It makes it harder to react.

The idea of intent is focusing on a particular point. The idea of controlling my intent is trying to achieve the same results but without intent. I know, this sounds confusing so let’s use an example. I want to block a strike coming towards me with a Jum Sau. My intent is laser focused on the point of contact where my Jum Sau stops the strike. Instead of blocking with intent, I can choose to simply occupy the space where the strike needs to go through. So the ultimate goal isn’t to block the strike but to prevent it from reaching me.

What’s the point of controlling my intentions? Well if you give intent, I can react to it by preparing myself and keeping my guard up. If I don’t feel intent, however, I’m less likely to defend because I’m not expecting anything. Does that make sense?

Let me know what you think about this idea! I would love to start a discussion about it!

This is How I Lop Sau

Today we talk about how I grab with my Lop Sau so if you’re doing it differently, I hope I can introduce a new idea you can try out!

I’ve been told the best point to grab is at someone’s wrist level but going into Lop Sau doesn’t always guarantee that. The wrist is a harder target to grab but I can grab higher and slide my hand down to my opponent’s wrist.

I’ve been taught to grab with my thumb closed but I never use full strength when I grab. The reason why is that it makes it very vulnerable for me to get locked and a simple Tan Sau from my opponent can essentially control my arm that I grabbed them with. So when I grab, I always only use enough to contain the opponent and this allows me to quickly let go if my opponent does try to lock me.

So this is how I go about grabbing when I Lop Sau. How about you?

Let’s Talk About The Different Types of Lop Sau

Today we talk about all the various types of Lop Sau, the pulling hand!

Lap Sau is one of my favorite techniques because it’s one of the best ways I can disrupt an opponent.

I know 3 variations of Lop Sau.

1) Inside-Out Lop Sau – This was the first Lop Sau I learned. I start from the inside of an opponent’s space and then drive my arms outside to Lop them towards the same side my arm pulled them with but away from my body. For example, if I grab with my left arm, I pull them towards my left hip and away from me.

2) Inside Lop Sau – This version is more stealthy and pulls the opponent’s opposite arm I use to Lop. For example, my right pulls my opponent’s left when they’re both on the same side.

3) Elbow Pinning Lop Sau – This one is a mix between an elbow and a grab. It’s done by grabbing the same side arm I’m using then bringing my elbow over to pin my opponent’s chest while pulling my opponent towards me but away from my body. For example, my right grabs my opponent’s right, then I simultaneously bring my elbow up and over to pin my opponent as I am pulling my opponent towards me and away from my body.

These are the 3 versions of Lop Sau I know. How many do you know and which is your favorite? And lastly, if you can name these better, please leave all your suggestions in the comments! Cheers!

Practice With or Without a Wing Chun Dummy

Today we talk about using the Wing Chun dummy for practice!

A Wing Chun dummy is great to have…but it’s not necessary for Wing Chun training. Since I do have one, I use it to practice.

Most of my practice that I do on the dummy is theoretical, meaning I have an idea of how I want to strike or block an opponent but since I’m only practicing on a dummy, I am only preparing myself to practice on a real person the next time I go to class or meet up with my Wing Chun friends.

The great thing about this type of preparation is that everything I want to theorize on the dummy can also be done without one by doing it in the air on my own. Practicing solo using my imagination is just as good as practicing on a Wing Chun dummy. It also doesn’t require much space, I just need enough space to move backwards, forwards, and side to side and have enough space for my arms to be full extended sideways.

How do you practice on a Wing Chun dummy or in the air? Let me know!

Keep Your Arms Close and Your Opponents Closer

Today we talk about keeping your arms close and your opponents closer.

A fully extended arm makes it easier to be grabbed and pulled. This was something my Sifu mentioned after he watched the video of me doing Chi Sao with my friend Marc (episode #069). He noticed that my arms were almost fully extended. From my perspective, I thought I was keeping Marc out but from my Sifu’s perspective, I was giving Marc my arm to be grabbed. I should have kept my arms at 135 angle, so that my arms were closer to me, which makes it more difficult for my opponent to grab and pull it.

Also, when I lose contact with my opponent, especially during Chi Sao, I need to quickly reestablish the connection. Even if I keep my guard hands up, I need to close the distance and maintain connection with my opponent. Without the connection, I’m not in range to do anything.

I think Wing Chun is only effective within a certain distance between an opponent. Once I’m out of range, it makes anything I do ineffective.

So as a reminder, keep your arms close and your opponents closer! 🙂