Complement Your Wing Chun Training

Today we talk about complementing your current Wing Chun training!

When I first started Wing Chun, I had trouble with two things:

1) Understanding how to control my movements
2) How to exert my power

From my experience, learning Wing Chun was the first time I had to use my body to do multiple things at once. I had to Block, Strike, and Shift. It sounds simple to say and even simple to do now but it was a struggle and it hurt my brain trying to figure it all out.

I realized I was trying to do each movement chronologically like Tan Sau, Punch, Shift. I figured out how to batch my movements together instead and I did this by taking a step back to look at the common movements between them all.

What I noticed was the direction I was moving. So I knew that if I was doing a left hand Tan Sau, I would probably be Shifting towards my left. I connected those together and all I had to do now is Punch. So now I knew that whichever way I was Shifting, I was blocking with the arm of that direction and knew that my free arm was for Striking.

After this discovery, I started practicing all my other techniques that required multiple movements the same way by batching the actions together. I would practice the movements on my own at home and just repeating them over and over again until it became muscle memory.

Now, for exerting power, this is something I’m still working on it. When I say power, I don’t mean just the strength of my strikes but also the force when I step in and my stability when rooting.

I used to step in and end up collapsing into my opponent where they don’t budge and when they return the strike and step in to me, I get knocked off balance, whether I Shifted or not.

The best thing that has helped me so far has been strength training. I follow the Stronglifts 5×5 program, you can Google it for more information, and what I think helped me the most are Squats and Deadlifts. Both of these exercises are heavy lifts but they work out my entire body and most importantly, my core.

I believe my core is what helps me generate my power to stay grounded and also add strength behind my strikes. I’m sure that there are other ways to go about it but this is the way that has worked for me.

These were the two things I learned to overcome and I continue to work on them.

That being said, I can’t assume that we learn the same way. For some people, everything may come naturally, and for others, we have to work for it. I’ve shared what has helped me, so tell me about your experience!

Question: Is there anything you do to complement your Wing Chun training? If so, what is it? Let me know in the comments!

Learning Wing Chun – Why I Started Wing Chun

I’m going to be honest. I knew nothing about Wing Chun before I started training in it. The main reason why I started learning Wing Chun was because I saw the Ip Man movie staring Donnie Yen back when it first came out in 2008. I felt so amped and amazed by the power of Wing Chun. I know Ip Man is an exaggerated movie based on the real Grandmaster of Wing Chun, Yip Man but it’s still a bad ass movie! It wasn’t until I started Wing Chun did I learn that he was also Bruce Lee’s first martial arts teacher!

Bruce Lee and Yip ManBruce Lee and Yip Man

After watching the movie with Donnie Yen, I made a public announcement on my Facebook declaring my new found ambition to be able to take on 10 guys at once with Wing Chun like Donnie Yen did in the movie!

I wondered, does Donnie Yen know Wing Chun? I mean I know he’s an martial artist and all but he actually did have to learn Wing Chun and go through Wing Chun training for his role as Ip Man. Don’t believe me? Check out this short clip of Donnie Yen with Ip Chun! Watch it here!

Anyway, only one person on Facebook took me seriously, my friend Tommy. He was already learning Wing Chun for a few months under Yip Pui in NYC. He invited me to come check out the class. It was interesting to watch since Wing Chun is completely different from the Choy Lay Fut wushu I studied before – everything was different: the stance, the way they strike, and so on.

I was intrigued and signed up for classes under Yip Pui. As I started my Wing Chun training, it was very difficult for me at first because it required a different stance. I was used to the traditional horse stance. The Wing Chun stance is much narrower and our toes point inwards. The first class I had to learn to deflect and punch at the same time while shifting on my heels with the new stance. Everything was foreign to me and it was a lot to process! But it didn’t matter because I loved the Wing Chun philosophy of defending and striking at the same time. And I also thought the Wing Chun dummy was one of the coolest things and I had to learn it!!

I did some research and discovered that Wing Chun is the only martial art that was developed by a woman for women. I only applied it logically to think that if an average sized woman was confronted by a 200lb man and still be able to take them down, I can scale that logic to how a full size man can take down someone who is 400lbs. Of course that’s just how I saw it. It definitely made me more enthusiastic about Wing Chun!