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)
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)
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)
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!
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!
Elbow Strike Your Opponent
Today we talk about using elbow strikes effectively in Wing Chun!
An elbow strike can devastate your opponent but it does have a few weaknesses:
– You need to be extremely close ranged to land an elbow
– Your centerline is no longer facing your opponent
That being said, I never lead an attack with my elbows. I think the best way to use an elbow strike is when you follow it up from another strike. For example, I use Lop Sau to pull my opponent towards me, while disrupting their centerline, then I drive my elbow into them as I am pulling. I show two examples in this episode, let me know if they make sense.
Question for you: How do you train your elbow strikes? Do you need to learn Biu Tze first? Let me know in the comments!
Biu Tze is the third open hand Wing Chun form I learned.
Today we’re going to do Biu Tze together!
Before we do, I want to tell you why I share my forms.
It’s a way to…
– Review my form – It’s a good way to spot any mistakes I make. It also lets me see the things I can work on to improve my form.
– Get feedback – Getting feedback, from viewers like you, helps a lot because you guys can spot things I don’t notice. Plus, it’s always nice to receive constructive feedback!
– Help others – When I first started Wing Chun and learning the forms, I had a lot of trouble memorizing the movements and I often mix up parts of the form. I think having a visual reference helps a lot! For me, I found a book called Wing Chun Kung Fu that had photos of all the open hand forms. But I believe, watching a video is much more useful. So I hope this can help you when you’re forgetting sections of the form.
Let’s get into the Biu Tze form! If you know the form, feel free to follow along!
Please leave any feedback for my form in the comments!
Elbow Strikes in Biu Tze
Today we’re gonna talk about how the 3 Elbow Strikes are 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!
Biu Tze can be used to block and strike simultaneously as it is the straightest path to inflict a lot of damage while defending.
Add a torque to every movement even when grabbing.
The fingertips when Jum Sao begins and ends should be on the same line and be at the same height as the fingertips with Tan Sau.
Any chop in the form is to the opponent’s neck. When striking, the arms should be visible to yourself and not past your back.
The first elbow in the form is over and down on the opponent’s center line.
The second strikes, from the top to bottom, diagonally across the opponent.
The third elbow cuts right across.
Elbow drills (Chi Sao)
While rolling, resting hand grabs and the rolling hand strikes with elbow over the opponent’s rolling hand.
The elbow behaves as a pin to the opponent but should be used as a close quarter strike in a live situation.
Lead the opening of the form with the toes.
The movement is used to sweep opponent’s leading leg.
Practice elbow strike + grabbing
The ending swinging arms are 3 forward and on the 4th, go all the way down
Biu Tze starts from elbow not the armpit
Grab + elbow happens at the same time in one motion
Fist to chest is pulled all the way back, even in Chi Sao counters
The final position of an elbow strike should end with wrist lower than the elbow
The biggest takeaway from this month is applying the three type of elbows and sweeps. I don’t see either being used often in Wing Chun and would like to incorporate it more into my training.
Today we talk about how Wing Chun gives us an extra arm!
In Wing Chun, we are taught to defend against two arms using only one of ours.
Let me explain:
– We can essentially use one arm to block side to side
– We can block then strike
– We can block with a strike
In my examples, notice that we are essentially using one arm to do the job of two. Giving my free arm free reign to strike.
Sometimes though, I get caught up in defending and forget I have another arm. A trick for me is to always pair my blocks with a strike. If one of my arms is defending, my other one better be striking.
The best way to practice this is going back to the fundamentals and reviewing the Tan Da drill. This is one of the first drills I learned, where I had to Tan Sau, Da, and Shift. Essentially doing three things at once. I use this as my template to mix other techniques together to focus on doing multiple things at once. By pairing things together, it makes it easy for my body to remember, adding it to my muscle memory.
By having a three arm mentality, it really gives us a chance to be creative in how we can go about using our techniques. If we focus on using one arm to do two things, it cuts down on redundancies and focuses on efficiencies. Just something to think about 🙂
My question for you is: What are some ways you use your three arms? Let me know!
“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 🙂
Lastly, surprise announcement. You can now get your very own Practice Wing Chun t-shirt! Check them out here!
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.
Modifying Our Wing Chun Forms
Today we talk about modifying our Wing Chun forms!
My Sifu says that the Wing Chun forms were created after the techniques were established as a way to memorize the techniques.
This year I’ve been working on adapting my Wing Chun to me.
Since I want to adapt Wing Chun to my personal capabilities, I’ve decided to modified some of my forms. These aren’t big modifications, just small things. Right now, it’s currently just adding forward steps, to close the distance, with each striking movement. I’m planning to share my modified forms so you can compare it to the traditional forms I learned.
But for the moment, the reason for this modification is based on several things.
I believe staying on our toes instead of being static is super beneficial and I learned this when I was doing Chi Sao in Central Park every weekend this past summer. It opened my eyes to how important footwork is. I don’t mean just Shifting but moving in, moving out, and retreating at different angles. For me, the best way I could think of to emphasize these things was by incorporating them into my current forms. By adding more footwork and stepping in to my forms, I also add it to my muscle memory.
I won’t be making big modifications to my forms because the movements I add need to make sense. But I’m keeping an open mind and I am thinking about the little details that I haven’t noticed before that you guys have. I also believe this wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t share my form, so I’m glad I did. Thank you for your feedback.
Keep in mind that these modifications are only for myself. I’m only starting with one little idea at a time. They focus on things that I need to work on. If you’re thinking about modifying your form, ask yourself, what do you want to improve in your Wing Chun?
Leave your answer in the comments below!
Rules of Wing Chun
Today we talk about the most important rule of Wing Chun!
Before I share that with you, I want to talk about differences.
When I look at my Sifu, I can see our differences right away. We are different in height, size, shape, and more. This makes his style of Wing Chun uniquely his own so when I learn it, I am essentially learning his style of Wing Chun. Whatever I learn from him, I know that based on our physical difference, it will look different than the way he does it. The only thing we will share in common is the knowledge of the technique and how to use it.
This means, regardless of who our teachers are or what lineage or Wing Chun style we’re doing, it will always be different than the way we learn it because our mind and body processes it differently. We all create our own style of Wing Chun when we learn and train. And that’s a good thing because through our differences we create new perspective that adds to the style.
So…what is the most important rule of Wing Chun? It is understanding yourself and using what works for you by adapting Wing Chun to you and not conforming to other people’s style or standards. Embrace the difference.
Create Your Own Wing Chun Form
Today we talk about creating your own Wing Chun form!
What do I mean by creating your own form? It means gathering all the techniques you know and making an actionable form out of them. This is a memorization technique so that once your body is used to doing the form, it becomes natural for you.
In this video I use Chi Sao as an example and talk about creating my own Chi Sao Form which goes through my Chi Sao techniques. The importance of this is so when I go through the techniques, by relying on muscle memory, I have an advantage over my opponent because my body already knows what to do. Instead of spending time on remembering my technique, I spend that time thinking of the next move.
What do you think about this idea? Do you think you can create your own form with the techniques you’ve learned? Let me know in the comments.
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!
Today we talk about Jut Sau and how I use it as a combo starter.
Jut Sau is present in the Dummy Form and Sil Lim Tao Form. To do Jut Sau, I use the ball of my palm to stick and pull my opponent. Jut Sau is a small motion and can be used to quickly transition into a strike.
I believe Jut Sau is a good combo starter because it creates a lot of options. For example, I can Jut Sau then strike with the same hand. I can also use it, like in the Dummy Form, to pull my opponent and strike with my other arm simultaneously.
I’m guilty of not using it as often but I want to know how you use it (outside of the forms it’s used in). Tell me about it in the comments!
After pulling in with Jut Sau, make sure my elbow is resting on my body. Block with elbow in the Centerline first
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!
Wing Chun Moves – Taking a Step Forward
In boxing, a straight punch can cause a knockout especially if you’re Manny Pacquiao. The reason is because Manny is so fast with his attacks and the fact that when he throws a punch, two or three more follows. His style of punching resembles the chain punches in Wing Chun because the punches doesn’t stop.
Let’s go back to Wing Chun. Imagine getting chain punched and stepping backwards. What happens? You keep getting punched! By backing up from the oncoming attacks, it gives the attacker more room and space to continue their chain punching. But by simply taking a step forward into the chain punches can increase the chances of finding an opening in the attacker because they now have a limited amount of space to move in.
The movement of stepping forward is a very important concept in Wing Chun because by stepping forward into an opponent’s space, you close the distance. The problem with this concept is that many people, including me, naturally back up when being attacked to avoid being hit. Using the example of chain punching, this can be a problem, so by stepping into the opponent, it will change the momentum and rhythm of their attack. There’s still a possibility of receiving a few punches before successfully countering but that’s normal, everybody gets hit.
My friend Dave, who has a lot of experience competing and training in Muay Thai (Kickboxing), also mentions how moving forward works well in the ring since the opponent backs up creating space to be attacked. It’s funny because Dave says the reason he moves forward is because the gym he trains in is small so there’s no room to back up.
I found a Youtube clip of Manny Pacquiao. Watch closely, you’ll notice he usually steps in with his barrage of punches even when his opponent throws jabs to try to keep him out. He keeps pressure on them without backing off and then unloads his punches.
Top 10 Manny Pacquiao Knockouts
In theory, it seems very simple but psychologically it takes a lot of mental training. No one wants to get hit but acknowledging the fact that getting hit is part of learning can make it easier to accept. This doesn’t mean jumping into an opponent’s attack, be smart about it and start to understand when it’s the right time to step in.
Some attacks only do damage when the arm can fully extend, such as a punch or a chop to the throat, but by cutting the distance, they lose the power of a full strike because their distance is cut in half, so to create space…they actually need to step back to strike which gives you an opening to attack.
I haven’t always been active on my feet during Wing Chun class. For the first few years, I stayed mostly stationary and occasionally shifted or stepped back during drills or Chi Sao. Only in the past two years I started moving more on my feet by stepping in.
Today we talk about an intermediate technique: stepping in.
One of the main weaknesses of my step is that I would put a lot of emphasis on my forward stepping leg. All my weight would go there which made me lunge forward. It’s been a very hard habit to correct…until this past weekend during class when I noticed my Sifu stepping differently than I did. I stepped with the balls of the foot (the front part of the foot) but my Sifu stepped with the heels of the foot (back part of the foot). This changed how I approached stepping because once I tried it, it felt completely different from what I was originally doing.
This was an eye opener for me. One change in placement changed my entire movement and technique. One little change! I go into more details in this week’s episode but has this ever happen to you before? Where one little change improved your technique drastically? Tell me about it in the comments!
Keeping the Distance & Push/Pull Technique
Today I share some class notes about keeping the distance and the push/pull technique!
Keeping the distance is a fundamental of movement in Wing Chun. When an opponent steps into you, you keep the distance by taking the same distance stepping back. The idea is if the distance between you and you opponent remain the same, neither person will be able to strike the other. According to my Sifu, he says that Grandmaster Ip Chun is a master at keeping the distance and when he does close the distance, it’s to attack.
This leads to the next topic, pushing and pulling. If your opponent commits to their strike to attack and charges forward, you can take advantage of their momentum by controlling where they go with a pull. The same is applied when they try to pull you. Instead of resisting, use the energy they’re using for pulling and step into them knocking them with their own energy.
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.
Close the Distance
Today we talk about closing the distance, stepping in, and what it means to land a full strike on your opponent.
What’s the difference between a strike that lands with a fully extended arm versus a strike that lands before the arm is full extended?
The immediate difference is in power. If my striking arm is already fully extended, I am at the limit of my range and power. The only way I can think of to correct this is by closing the distance which gives my striking arm more range to strike with more power, making my attack more effective.
The way I practice closing the distance is by stepping in. I go over the drill I do to practice. The basic steps are:
1) Start from Wing Chun stance
2) Step forward with one leg while keeping the weight on the back leg
3) Return to Wing Chun stance
4) Lead with alternate leg then repeat
Once you get used to the movement, you want to practice this with a strike. Now, my Sifu says that our striking hand should be the same side as our back leg when we do this stepping drill.
Let me know if you’re already stepping in, how you go about it, and if you find it effective in the comments below!
Also, I go over my current progress of my 30 Day Practice Wing Chun Challenge at the end of the video. If you’re interested in participating in my challenge, learn more about it here!
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!
Hold Your Ground
Today we talk about holding your ground and I share a drill you can use with your partner to practice!
In class we went over a drill that was really fun that works your fight or flight response. This was the first time I’ve done this drill in class so it took a while to get used. It was hard to not back up or step to the side but once I got used to it, it became very interesting.
When I was defending and holding my ground, I realized my opponent could only throw the same type of strikes and this made it easier and easier to block and deflect.
When I was on the offensive, I also realized how quickly my attacks were limited to just a few strikes. At such a close distance, without space to step in on, there was not enough momentum to generate any power in my strikes. So even at such a close range, my strikes were essentially useless. This was definitely a very interesting insight.
If you want to practice this drill, grab a partner! There are two roles, one defender and one attacker.
1) Defender: Defend without stepping back but you can shift. Also, don’t try to push your attacker back, keep the distance close.
2) Attacker: Attack and close the distance. Do not step back when there’s no more room to generate power for your strikes.
Switch roles after two minutes.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Don’t step into your opponent’s fist
This week we talk about stepping in, lunging forward, and closing the distance.
A bad habit of mine is leading with my upper body (usually my head) as I close the distance and step forward. If my opponent throws a strike towards my face, I’m in trouble. Since I’m already in motion, there’s no way for me to stop once I’m committed.
So what’s the best way to deal with this bad habit? Let’s go back to our Wing Chun stance. In my Wing Chun stance I lean back slightly and this is also the proper structure I should maintain while I step into my opponent’s space.
To train this, I have to drill myself to step in and out towards a target while maintaining my structure without leaning in. Once I get that down, I include the arms.
It’s definitely a work in progress for me but I think it’s definitely worth working on.
P.S. Here’s the fight I was referring to in this week’s video:
Side Stepping in Wing Chun
Today we talk about side stepping in Wing Chun and in the Dummy Form.
Yesterday in class I focused on the applications of section 6 of the Wing Chun Dummy Form. I focused on stepping to the side. In my original step, I place all my weight on the front leg and lead with my head first. That’s a bad habit and my Sifu helped me realize that. He demonstrated how he does it by keeping the weight on the back leg and NOT leading with the head leaning in, haha. Since it’s a bad habit of mine, it will take time for me to adjust and correct it. I hope you can learn from my mistake and correct your bad habits early.
These Class Notes episodes will be more for my own review but if you find it useful, please let me know. But if you don’t find it useful, please let me know how it can be better. Feedback is always appreciated and I read everyone of them!
Lastly, did you find this episode helpful for you? Do you have the same bad habit I had? Let me know!