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! 🙂

“I Have Two Hands”

Today I want to share with you a quick mantra that helps me when I overlook one important concept in Wing Chun.

My mantra is “I have two hands”.

During Chi Sao, I am so focused on defending that I forget I have a free hand for striking. The idea is to defend and also strike at the same time. It was the one concept that I was taught early on but I still forget that I have two hands. I get caught up with all the attacks coming at me that I end up in a defensive mode instead of using both my hands to return my opponent’s pressure.

One thing to keep in mind is to not use two hands to do the same thing. Don’t block with two hands and don’t strike with two hands. One should be focused on the blocking and the other should be focused on the striking. I think separating the two is the best way to remember this and to make it a habit!

I have two hands and so do you 🙂

Spring into Action!

Today we talk about using the spring action to amplify the power behind each technique.

The idea behind the spring action is fully utilizing the whole body to use a technique, whether it’s for striking or defending. This means using the whole body from the ground up.

I’m still experimenting and finding the best way for me to utilize it. At the moment, the best way for me to do it is based on how my friend Marc explained it. He said think of it as retreating inwards then bouncing back out. In and out, essentially. This made it much easier to understand and allowed me to use the spring action more often. Of course, it’s still a work in progress and I’m going to continue testing it out.

Have you heard of this spring action principle before? Have you been putting it to use in your training? Let me know in the comments!

Chi Sao with a Different Lineage

Today I share a video of me doing Chi Sao with another lineage! Let me know if you can spot the difference in our style!

The only thing I was focusing on in the video was trying to land a clean strike on my friend Marc. He made it very difficult because he was constantly applying pressure and not giving me a clear opening to strike. I do land a few strikes but they were not clear or precise compared to the one’s that Marc landed on me. He’s a tank.

Since I couldn’t land good strikes I had to change my strategy to a defensive one and try to keep away from his strike while looking for a way to counter. The problem was I never had a clear strike so all I ended up doing was defending. Just defending is a losing strategy because defenses fail and it doesn’t stop the opponent’s momentum.

I still need to work on a lot of things but I have been more focused on my mobility, being able to move around, and changing the angle.

The weekly Wing Chun meet ups have been really valuable for me and I’ve learned a lot. So if you’re in New York City and want to hang out and do Wing Chun together, let me know! But if you’re not, you should try to see if there’s a meet up in your area because I highly recommend it! Cheers!

Let’s Talk About Tan Sau

Today we continue the week to talk about Tan Sau!

I think Tan Sau is the most used technique in Wing Chun but I feel I haven’t been using it effectively enough when I’m in a pinch. The reason is because when it comes down to it, I try to muscle my Tan Sau against my opponent to see who’s stronger. Whether I’m stronger or not, this method requires way too much energy in the Tan Sau. The better way to solve it is to use the Tan Sau elbow power!

The idea is to relax instead of tense. If I tense, I will rely on my strength. If I relax, I rely on my technique. To use the elbow power, I have to be relaxed. Once relaxed, I simply drop my elbow towards my centerline to get into Tan Sau.

I encourage you to try this out so you can understand the difference between a tensed Tan Sau and a relaxed Tan Sau using elbow power. Then let me know what you think in the comments!

Tan Sau in Chi Sao

Today we talk about learning my Tan Sau’s weakness in Chi Sao.

This past weekend, I learned about my Tan Sau’s weakness from my Wing Chun meet up at Central Park. When I roll from Bong Sau to Tan Sau, I tend to relax my Tan Sau which makes me vulnerable for attacks.

I have never thought about this and no one has brought it to my attention before. My friend Marc was the one who noticed and gave me feedback, after our Chi Sao session, to address it. Marc suggested when I roll, I should maintain the same forward intent I have with my Bong Sau in my Tan Sau.

We’re gonna keep talking about Tan Sau this week, so if you guys have any questions about Tan Sau, please leave them in the comments and I will discuss them in the next episode!

Keeping Your Cool in Chi Sao

Today we talk about keeping your cool and not losing your temper during Chi Sao!

I see Chi Sao as a game. The goal of playing a game is to win. The goals to winning Chi Sao may not always be clear so the most basic of objectives are to:

– Be the first to land the strike on my opponent
– Be the last one capable of striking
– Be the one with the best technique

These are great objectives but if there is no clear end to it, it will just continue to be a game of tag and exchanging strikes. This can continue to escalate to a point where either person can become agitated and start losing their cool. This leads to more aggressive behavior, a lost of technique, and regression to determine who’s stronger.

But I realized that when both persons are clear on their objectives, there is no ego or lost of temper because it is clear what they’re trying to accomplish. I think it’s important to talk to your training partner before each Chi Sao session so that it is clear what both of you are trying to accomplish so that once it’s accomplished, it’s okay to reset positions and start again. I think communication is key to avoiding unnecessary conflict.

Do you ever lose your cool during Chi Sao or any type of training drill? Let me know how you dealt with it in the comments!

Let’s Talk About Kwan Sau

Today we talk about Kwan Sau!

Kwan Sau looks very similar to Double Arm Gan Sau and it can be confusing sometimes but a good way to remember which is which is that Kwan Sau can lead to Lap Sau 🙂

My friend Tony gave me a tip when using Kwan Sau. He said that instead of trying to use it to deflect my opponent to the side, step in and use the forward momentum to deflect, pin, and disrupt my opponent. I think it’s a great tip and worth testing. I think any way to give my opponent less space to maneuver should be worth doing.

Lastly, I mention previously that I don’t like using two arms to defend but in special cases where my opponent is much more aggressive than I’m used to, I think it’s safe to use Kwan Sau to catch both my opponent’s arms to slow down their momentum.

What do you think about Kwan Sau? How have you been using it in your Chi Sao?

The Importance in Maintaining the Wing Chun Stance

Today we’re talking about the Wing Chun stance and why it’s important to maintain it during your training.

The Wing Chun stance I learned ends with the toes pointing inwards and heels about shoulder distance apart. My upper body is slightly leaned back with my hips forward.

My stance may be different than the one you learned so feel free to share how yours look in the comments!

One of the most important things during training is maintaining the stance but there are times when I lose focus of it and end up in a more casual stance where I’m standing straight up. The problem is when I do this, I don’t realize it.

This is a big issue during Chi Sao for me because I like to work on improving my techniques like Tan Sau, Bong Sau, and so on but because I’m not in my stance, my technique feels off and I end up trying to fix it. I can only see what is in front of my and my brain makes me think it’s my Tan Sau that’s wrong without realizing that it’s actually because I’m not in my Wing Chun stance.

My Sifu knows this is a common problem so, every time during drills, he would occasionally say “Check” and everyone in the class would check their stance, technique, form and everything, then readjust accordingly.

My question for you is, do you notice when you’re no longer in your Wing Chun stance? Let me know in the comments!