Foundation First, Strike Later

Today we talk about establishing our foundation before going into action.

I’ve been trying to drill this over and over in my head.

Establish my foundation, or my footing, first before striking.

Here are 3 reasons why it’s important to me:

1) It’s easy to get caught up using my arms first because it’s my instinct to clear what’s in front of me. I think that’s one of the disadvantages of such a close range martial arts because my brain is constantly screaming at me to step back and get away from all these close range strikes my opponent throws at me. So to counter my instincts, I would occasionally, sometimes, strike impulsively. And when I do, I lead with my arms and I end up putting my weight on the front of my leg which makes me lean my head in. This is bad because it makes me much more vulnerable to being hit in the head.

2) To follow up on leading with my arms first, if my legs aren’t rooted, I can’t put my entire body behind my strikes. So then the power of my strike is limited to the strength of my arms. But if my legs are ready and in position, it lets me generate more power.

3) Like striking, having a good foundation improves my defense as well. If i’m just using my arms to defend, chances are I’m relying on my muscles. So that Bong Sau I’m doing, is taxing my shoulder. That’s not a good thing. I want to make sure both my feet are planted so I can Shift with my Bong Sau.

Anyway, this is what I’m currently focusing on. This is my current mantra and it’s only 4 syllables: Feet First, Hands Second.

Question: What are you currently focused on in your Wing Chun training? Let me know in the comments.

Adapt Wing Chun to Your Height

Today we talk about how our height affects our Wing Chun.

Closing the distance is important in Wing Chun because that’s where we’re most comfortable and able to be effective. However, the amount of distance required to be closed varies from person to person because of our height and reach.

I realized this when my Sifu demonstrated a technique that involved stepping in. When I tried to do it, my version didn’t have the same impact that my Sifu’s did. I followed his movement, move for move, including how and where he stepped. That’s when I noticed that our stepping, even though our foot placement was the same, was different because he is taller than me. He can place his foot in front of the opponent’s feet to complete the move. But for me, I need to place my foot past and between my opponent’s feet to complete the move with the same effect as my Sifu’s.

As a shorter person, I have to really close the distance.

This means a lot more than just stepping in, it means stepping innNn to not only be able to reach my opponent with my strikes but also be able to generate power using the distance I have.

I also have to work harder to make sure my technique is solid because I have to fully commit when stepping in because I’m entering my opponent’s space. If my technique is bad, and my defense fails, I’m essentially going in to my opponent’s space unprepared and ready to fail. Does that make sense?

So, if you have trouble understanding why some of your strikes or techniques aren’t as effective, it may be solved by finding the perfect range between you and your opponent. Think about your distance the next time you’re training with your partner.

Question: Are you tall or short? And do you notice the range difference between your’s and your opponent’s? Let me know in the comments.

Thinking Outside the Box to Create New Wing Chun Techniques

Today we talk about thinking outside the box and creating new Wing Chun techniques.

My friend, Michael (MJBarry on Youtube), introduced a new idea to me. He introduced the idea that each technique can have more than one purpose and can be done on multiple planes.

This is what I mean by multiple planes:

You have the Center Plane, Upper Plane, and Lower Plane.

– Center Plane are techniques done at the body level – Examples: Bong Sau, Tan Sau, Man Sau
– Upper Plane are techniques done high, mostly strikes – Examples: Biu Sau, Throat Chop, Blade Strike
– Lower Plane are techniques done low – Examples: Gan Sau, Gum Sau

The idea is to take the normal use case of each technique then using them outside their normal plane.

For example, let’s use Bong Sau 🙂

Bong Sau is normally done at the Center Plane but in Chum Kiu, you can see it done in Lower Plane. But I haven’t really seen it done on the Upper Plane. This new idea that Michael introduced made me think of a way to use it in the Upper Plane.

Upper Plane Bong Sau – Deflecting upwards and forward to expand my opponent’s opening.

I haven’t tested the Upper Plane Bong Sau yet but as you can see from the Bong Sau example. We have essentially increased the amount of techniques we have at our disposal. In my mind now, each technique that I know are essentially three techniques because it may be possible to do them all on a different plane.

When it comes to new ideas with techniques I always welcome them because I want to take in as much as I can so I can test them out in my Wing Chun class to see what works. Now, if I introduce an idea that’s new to you, please try it out in your class, with your training partner, and let me know how it works for you. It’s also okay for the idea to fail because it’s better to know that something doesn’t work so we can move on.

My question for you is, have you thought outside the box about Wing Chun? If so, what did you do? Let me know in the comments.

Wing Chun vs The World

Today we talk about using Wing Chun against other fighting styles!

This is definitely a topic I want to hear your opinion on so I’m going to share my opinion first.

I think all fighting styles are good because if they weren’t, they would no longer exist.

If we were to focus on two specific styles, for example: Wing Chun vs Muay Thai. Depending if the fight follows Muay Thai rules or Wing Chun rules, that style will have an advantage over the other but having an advantage doesn’t always guarantee winning a fight.

However, without rules, I believe every style, or no style, has the same odds with a 50% chance to defeat their opponent and 50% chance to be defeated by their opponent.

That being said, this brings up another question. What is the purpose of putting two fighting styles against each other? To determine which is better? I think this is an open ended question because there will always be someone that is stronger, faster, and better, regardless of fighting style or experience.

Now, I want to hear your opinion about Wing Chun vs other fighting styles. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Keeping Contact and Control

Today we talk about using this part of our hands to keep contact and control of our opponent!

I stick to my opponent to maintain contact but making contact doesn’t always mean sticking, and sticking doesn’t always mean control.

If my point of contact with my opponent is my wrist or my fingertips, there’s nothing I can do to follow my opponent because the area of contact from my wrist or fingers limits what I can control.

The palm, however, is a good part of the hand to use for sticking and following the opponent without being aggressive. It also offers enough surface to easily adapt to my opponent’s movements whether they want to move up, down, or side to side.

What do you think about sticking with your palm? Let me know in the comments and tell me how you go about sticking. Cheers!

Drilling Forward and Rooting

Today I share a drill with you that helped me focus on rooting myself and driving my energy forward!

This drill requires a partner! So grab your training partner if you want to try it out.

Now decide who will be defending and who will be attacking.

The person defending will need to create a box on the ground. That box is where they need to stay in. The goal of the defender is to hold their ground and stay in the box. If they move outside the box, they lose! Here are a few exceptions:
– You can step forward but only to strike
– You can only take, at most, one step back or else you lose

The goal of the person attacking is to move the defender out of their box. This can include grabbing, pushing, baiting, or any other method that can lure or move the defender out.

One tip for this game is to avoid pushing because it ends up turning into a battle of who’s stronger. The goal of the game is to work on both persons’ techniques!

This is a very fun drill so give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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!