Using Uppercuts in Wing Chun

Today we talk about uppercuts in Wing Chun!

I’ve been playing around with the uppercut motion in Chi Sao. It resembles a scooping motion.

Most of the strikes I’ve learned in Wing Chun are straight or come from an angle. What’s strange is why there aren’t many uses of upper cuts. If you know why, please let me know in the comments!

For me, the only uppercut I can recall in Wing Chun is in the Biu Tze form.

Wing Chun is for close range and I feel uppercuts can benefit so much in such a close range.

So, I thought of 3 ways I can use the uppercut in Wing Chun.

Please keep in mind that these are just ideas I’m playing with.

1) Below Strike – It is used directly as a strike where it’s below eye level. The strike can attack along my opponent’s centerline, from the stomach to the sternum to the chest to the throat or to the chin.

2) Close & Low Opener – It is not a strike but as an opener to get in my opponent’s space.

3) Open for Business – It is to use the Close & Low Opener then attack with a straight strike. This is more when I’m pinned in and I need to find a way into my opponent’s space to counter attack.

What do you guys think of these ideas? Let me know in the comments!

As always with any new ideas, please try them out to see if they work. If it doesn’t, try to figure out why. Let me know how it works for you.

Question: Do you use the uppercut motion in your Wing Chun?

Look at My Eyes When I Chi Sao With You

Eye contact is hard.

Try making eye contact with strangers on the streets. My initial reaction is to look away.

It’s hard to maintain eye contact because it’s usually for people I’m close with: friends, family, colleagues.

In Wing Chun class though, it’s even more difficult because during drills or Chi Sao, my opponent is literally a feet away. It feels uncomfortable to maintain eye contact at such a close range. So instead, I would stare at my opponent’s hands. I would also stare everywhere else except my opponent’s face and eye area. And I wasn’t the only one, other people in my class would look to the side of me or past me (because they were taller than me).

I think it’s important to work past this because I believe we can see a person’s intent through their eyes. Also by focusing on the face area of my opponent, I have the peripheral view of their body so when they’re about to do something, I can see it coming.

Let me explain. I think that the farther the movement is from the brain, the easier it is to spot it, if you’re looking.

For instance, let’s use a straight punch. If you look at my punch, you can see the movement from my neck first because I start tensing, then my shoulder raises, my biceps flexes, my elbow extends, then finally my fist.

The hands are the last thing that moves when a strike comes.

If I’m spending my time just staring at my opponent’s hands, I am already too late and my opponent has already thrown the punch. All I can do is avoid it by blocking, shifting, or deflecting. I think that’s where the term “chasing hands” comes from.

Let me know if you think eye contact is important for you.

Question: What do you pay attention to when you’re doing Chi Sao?

Name That Wing Chun Move!

Today we talk about the names of our Wing Chun techniques.

I’ve come to understand that techniques can have multiple names but ultimately, the technique is that technique in it’s form.

I think the reason for different names are because of all the different lineages with different spellings. For non native and even native Cantonese speakers, like myself, the sounds and spelling can get lost. The way I write Wing Chun techniques in English is based on how I hear the words and I spell it the way I think it sounds.

I don’t think the spelling is important. I also don’t think having to name a technique correctly is important either. There are often times where I forget a name of a technique BUT I know how to do it. So let’s say one day I forget what a Bong Sau is called, I may just end up calling it “The Obtuse Angle” or “The Left Chicken Wing”.

All that matters is you and how you know it. Focus on what’s important, the technique.

Question: What are some common “misspellings” that you see that are different from the way you’ve learned it?

Chambering the Punch in Wing Chun Forms

Today we’re going to talk about chambering the punch.

My Sifu has explained it to be a part of our training to train our mind to be at two places at once. This is the fundamentals of remembering we have two hands that we can use at the same time.

When we’re going through the forms, we are doing two different things with our arms at the same time.

It may not seem that way but when you pay attention to it, you’ll realize it takes effort to keep one arm chambered while the other moves through the motions of the techniques.

By actively focusing on both the movement of the technique and keeping the other arm in place, we’re splitting our thoughts to focus on two things.

Overtime, through repetition, practice, and training, it becomes a part of us and we can just do it without having to think about it.

What other little details have you noticed in your Wing Chun that has a greater purpose for your training?

Continuous Striking in Wing Chun

Today we talk about continuous striking in Wing Chun.

Starting out as a beginner, I would focus on landing that one strike on my opponent then resetting. Over time, my Sifu told my class to do more than one. The reason is to adapt to the circumstance.

For example, I do one strike and my opponent counters. I should have a second strike ready to follow up my first strike to disrupt my opponent’s counter strike.

By training for continuous strikes, it teaches us to be aware of our options after our initial strike.

If you have trouble getting to the next strike, here are 3 ways that can help you focus on your follow up strike.

1. Can you change your current defending hand into an attack?

2. Can you strike again with the same striking hand?

3. Can you switch your attack from high to low (low to high)?

When you can change your mentality to think about landing multiple strikes on an opponent, this lets you be steps ahead of them. It may take some practice to get used to this idea but I think it’s worth it.

How many clean successful strikes can you land on your opponent?

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Hit When Training

Today we talk about getting hit during training.

When I was a beginner, during Chi Sao, any time I got hit, I would freeze and stop.

I also thought getting hit meant I sucked because if I was getting better, I wouldn’t get hit. I’m supposed to be untouchable. At least that’s what I thought.

Over time I realized that It happens to everyone including other students who are more senior than me. Now, I don’t think getting hit is a bad thing.

Here are 3 things you can focus on when getting hit:

1) Why did I get hit?
– It was probably because I had an opening or gap somewhere.
– I need to figure out where it is and what what was supposed to be there.

2) Am I overreacting?
– When I try to block the strike, am I using both my arms efficiently or am I committing both arms to defend against one strike?
– I need calm down and remember that I have two arms.

3) Should I stop?
– Do I need to block this anymore or is it too late? If it already happened and I was hit, I can’t change that but I can move forward and work on changing the momentum.
– Changing my mentality from ‘getting hit means stop’, to ‘getting hit means keep going until I can no longer land a clean strike’.

When you get hit during training, don’t take it personally. Everyone is there to learn. Understand that getting hit is part of the training and part of the learning process.

What goes through your mind when you get hit during training?

My Favorite Martial Arts Movies That are NOT Ip Man

Today I want to share THREE of my favorite martial arts movie!

Some you may have heard of before and some may be new to you! What I like about these movies is they feature close range fighting and a lot of the fighting isn’t overly exaggerated. What I mean by that is, when someone gets kicked, they won’t fly a mile away.

So here are my THREE favorite martial arts movie. Let’s kick it off with…

Ong Bak (2003)

Ong Bak

This movie is straight bad ass. Every move done in this movie was done by the main actor, Tony Jaa. All those flying knees and crazy elbows? Tony Jaa.

Rating: Two Fists up!

Man of Tai Chi (2013)

Man of Tai Chi

The main actor is Tiger Chen who’s also a stunt choreographer, and like Tony Jaa, he does his own stunts. When you watch him fight, you really feel it and I was getting pumped just watching him go at it. I do have to admit, and I don’t want to spoil it, the “final fight” was very tame compared to every other fight in the movie.

Rating: One and a half fist!

The Man from Nowhere (2010)

The Man From Nowhere

I wasn’t really sure about this movie since it was one of the first Korean movies I’ve ever watched. The movie has a similar premise to Taken with a mix of John Wick. What I really like are all the close range fighting. This movie also has a lot of knife fighting.

Rating: Two Fists up!

These are my THREE favorite martial arts movies that are NOT Ip Man. What are some of your favorite martial arts movies you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Elbow Strikes in Biu Tze

Today we’re gonna talk about how the 3 Elbow Strikes are used in Biu Tze.

In the last episode, we talked about the 3 elbows. In this one, I want to go over how they’re used in Biu Tze.

To understand that, I want to quickly go over the Elbow Strike part of Biu Tze.

In the Biu Tze form, when we complete an Elbow Strike, the hand, of the arm that elbows, grabs the opponent and Lop Saus. The momentum from the Lop Sau brings the opponent towards my opposite Elbow Strike or Biu Tze.

With that said, let’s go through the 3 Elbow Strikes in the Biu Tze form.

Pinning Elbow – Pin the opponent then Lop Sau, use that momentum to Pin from the outside. Then Lop Sau again to Pin from the other side. Then end with a Lop Sau on the inside to Biu Tze.

Striking Elbow – This strike is done from the inside. Right after, I go for the Lop Sau on the inside and Biu Tze.

Blocking Elbow – This is a block from the outside into a Lop Sau on the inside then Biu Tze.

As with any new ideas, I recommend testing them to see if they work for you. If they do, add them to your library of techniques. If not, discard them. Let me know how it works out for you.

Also, my question for you is, how do your elbows strike work in Biu Tze? Let me know in the comments!

The 3 Elbows of Wing Chun

Today we talk about the 3 types of elbow strikes in Wing Chun.

You can see all 3 elbow strikes used in the Biu Tze form.

They may look subtly the same but each elbow does something different.

Keep in mind that elbows should only be used close range and not from a far because elbows have shorter reach than a punch so you lose half the distance.

The 3 elbow strikes in Wing Chun

1. Pinning Elbow – It is used to pin my opponent. It’s done by bringing my elbow up, around and over my opponent, then onto their chest. It’s essentially an elbow strike to the chest. The key thing is to neutralize my opponent’s two arms and strike.

2. Striking Elbow – This starts off similar like the Pinning Elbow but instead of just going around the opponent, my elbow goes straight for the strike. This should be done while inside my opponent’s space.

3. Blocking Elbow – Is done from the outside for blocking strikes or striking behind my opponent’s head in an intimate range.

These are the 3 elbow strikes. I plan to talk about how they’re used in Biu Tze form. So stay tuned for the next episode!

How often do you use elbows in Wing Chun? Let me know in the comments!