Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wing chun drills

Here are some drills that will help you learn the basic principles. Do them the way they are written but then play with them. Change them and make up your own. 

Basic Body isolation 
Goal: Learn to move specific parts of the body while maintaining a relaxed sunk position.
Hierarchy of requirements: stay relaxed, move the body part, use as few muscles as possible to do so
Drill 1: Shoulders. Move a shoulder up, down, forward and backward. Move in a circle. Try as many directions as possible. Do it with each shoulder. Move them together. Try going in circles together and then while the shoulders are in opposite positions.
Drill 2: Upper body (at sternum). Move upper body right, left, forward and back.
Drill 3: Hip. Move right, left, forward and back. Also move in a circle.

Rag doll
Goal: To learn to relax, center and sink
Hierarchy of requirements: centered, relaxed, sunk
Drill 1: Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Relax all muscles and find the most centered point in your body.  Pretend that there is a string lightly holding your head up in a centered position. Find the center point where you are in balance and let all your muscles liquefy as much as possible. Become a rag doll that is just hanging on the skeletal structure.  Imagine that there is a heavy weight hanging between your legs and weights attached to every joint (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists). Relax the mind as well as the body. Take three big breaths and let go as much as you can with each breath.
Drill 2: Stand up straight. Fall into the rag doll position. Take a step in a stiff way. Fall into the rag doll position. Lean forward…rag doll. Lean back, to the right, and to the left always returning to the rag doll position. Get into all kind of weird positions with your arms raised or down and then return to rag doll position.
Drill 3: Get into the rag doll position. Move around while never leaving the rag doll position. Move from your waist or center of gravity. Feel yourself being as raggedy or liquid as possible. Stumble like a drunk and observe your body move.
Drill 4: From the rag doll position, turn your waist and let arms flap without controlling them. Do it fast and slow.

Assisted movement
Goal: To learn to DO something with the minimal amount of effort stemming from the relaxed sunk position
Hierarchy of requirements: rag doll position, accomplish the task, relax the moving arm
Drill 1: Have someone pick up your arm and place it somewhere. They should hold you by the finger, hand or arm. Give up control. Feel the weight at each joint. Feel the blood drain out of your arms, your bone marrow drain down your arms down through your body and into your feet.
Drill 2: Do the same thing as in drill 1. When your partner puts your hand at a certain point, he or she will tell you to “hold position”. Hold the position as the partner lets go. Try to move as little as possible.
Drill 3: Move your own hand or arm with the other hand. Make sure you give up control to the opposite hand. Do drill 1 and 2 that way.
Drill 4: Now use only one arm, hand or finger and move it in a direction while maintaining the rag doll position and feeling the weight on your joints and feeling the blood drain down the arm and into the body and into the feet. Stop in a position. Do this in multiple directions with the arm unturned and turned in the air and against a wall.
Drill 5: Put your arm in a position quickly and then go “rag doll”. Let everything drain down yet hold the position. Do it in the air and on a wall. Try putting your body in weird or leaning positions and do it as well. Sink down always.

Various “Wall” drills
Drill 1: This drill is better to do with something you can grab or hold onto. Get into the rag doll position. Push your body back and forth by extending your arm and retracting it. Maintain rag doll position and remember to feel weight on joints and to feel internal energy draining down.
Drill 2: Lean on the wall. Push forward and feel how it feels. Try pushing “outward”. Try single and double hands and all possible positions right, left, up, down and across the body. Try it without leaning.

Hold a distance/Maintain hand at a point
Goal: Learning to move whole body with the hand or independent of the hand
Drill 1: Hold one hand in front of you in at a set distance. Walk around holding that position. Try different positions with one and two hands. This should be pretty easy.
Drill 2: Hold your hand in a set position in the air. Move the body back and forth and in as many ways possible while holding the hand in a fixed position. Try it on a wall. Try it on a hanging rope or something that moves easily. Change the hands. Try revolving around the point.

Goal: Learning to maintain the hand and arm in space under pressure
Hierarchy or requirements: rag doll position, no movement of the arm
Drill 1: Place one hand and/or arm and put it in front of your body. Place a finger from the other hand behind it pointing forward. Have a partner push you (start gently and use increasing amount of force…never TOO much). Try different positions.
Drill 2: Same drill but without the finger.  Try to imagine that the finger is still there.

Goal: Learning to maintain the rag doll position under external force
Drill 1: Get into rag doll position. Have a partner push and pull you around. Start easy and increase amount of force. Start with back and forth and then add all directions.

Dance time
Goal: Learning to move others by moving self
Drill 1: Lock arms with a partner. Start by grabbing each others internal elbow (elbow pit?).  One person is passive or in rag doll position. Take a step forward. Do not move the arms. Visualize yourself moving and not moving the other person or perhaps the two of you moving together. Go back and forth. Try right and left and diagonally. Try it holding the hands or wrists of the person. 

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