Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting your wing chun to flow - an overview

Right now, most of my students are working on what I like to think of as the first stage of wing chun. Over the next few articles, I want to try to lay out what I see as being necessary to get past this stage or at least to make interactive wing chun start to click and flow. Keep in mind that this is the way I personally see it. I make no claims that this is the only way to do wing chun or that it is the perfect way. I would say that it is the only way I see that it can work, but I am open to any ideas. In this entry, I will just lay out the main points and I will get more into specifics in follow-up entries.

The difficult thing about putting all these parts together is that it really doesn't work properly without all the parts working together. Missing one part causes the other parts to get corrupted.

1. Anchoring. You need to be relaxed and inhabiting your body. Who is it that is going to be having this interaction. Is anyone home? Intent should be focused outwardly in all directions. Physical, mental and emotional tension should be released and there should be no feeling of "preparing" to do something. Really let all the breath out and continue to breath fully and deeply. Be aware of gravity. Your attention should always be outward in a way that encompasses the opponent (or partner). Keep in mind that being anchored doesn't have anything to do with being hard to move. Don't look down or off to the side. Look forward and out.

2. The elbows and shoulders must be unlocked. Ideally this is done when "anchoring." I list it as a separate point because it is extremely difficult for most people to do. One thing that helps is to make sure the shoulders are down and let the elbows pull away from the body constantly. We want to avoid using the arms to lever out which will change the direction of the interaction and will not transfer power ideally.

3. Let the pressure that your opponent puts on you affect your core and or your position. If they push you hard it should move your body as a unit. If someone puts a lot of pressure on your arm, it will might turn your body. Don't rush to move the arms so that the other person cannot affect your core. Be affected. If they can't reach your core, you can't use  your core to attack them. Slow down and interact rather than quickly react on your own.

4. Pressure in the arms goes outward with power originating from the elbow. Mostly following the trajectory of the forearms. Don't drag, pull back or wipe the arms. Let them flow outward from your anchored center. Don't let the conception of self go along with the arms which will result in leaning and levering. They must be leaving your core center at a constant angle.

5. The body moves forward as an anchored whole to "attack" the opponent. This, in combination with the outward nature of the arms results in constant attack on the opponent. Move forward at a steady pace. The important part is the amount of pressure, not the distance moved. You can't control how far you walk into your opponent. Only the amount of pressure. Whether light or heavy keep it steady.

6. The places where you are touching your opponent should always allow you to feel their bodies down to the ground. Don't try to control them. Just feel the system you have created from the ground under your feet to the ground under their feet.

7. Ideally, the connecting pressure and the relaxation of your body should allow the interaction to move. That means you don't absolutely control which moves are done. You set the conditions with your outward intent and movement forward. The arms only go outward but can move anywhere within certain conditions so allow it to happen more than try to control it.

8. Don't hurry or lock or try to speed up in the beginning. The important part is to relax and observe yourself, your opponent and what is around  you.

9. Don't pay to much attention to the interaction itself. The chisao happens too fast to be interpreted. Put the proper conditions in place and see what happens. Trust your body more than your eyes.

10. It's easy to "find"  your opponent. Just go into their attacks. Don't trust your eys about where they "are". Trust what is revealed in their attack. Meet the attack and continue to meet it and go deeper.

11. When you want to improve an interaction. Make decisions about how you would go about it before the interaction starts. After it has started you need to be fully absorbed in what is going on. It is extremely difficult to make changes at that point. Change your decisions frequently.


  1. Hello ! I read your blog, please keep writing things.

  2. Thanks...I will certainly try to keep it going.