Learning to control one’s muscles is one of the most important benefits of WingTsun™ training. Through consistent and repetitive training, both with and without a partner, success in learning techniques can be achieved. Through repetition, the mind and body can unify.
There is no real substitute for repetition. Your mind and body develops the neural pathways after consistent use. If the body is called upon to use a particular area of the body consistently, the body will develop that particular area, both in muscle tone, bone and nervous tissue. The learning takes place in the Cerebellum, a part of the brain located at its lower back portion. This is a clever adaptation of the body, since it takes less time for the body part to react if the center for this processing is closer to the area that is involved, i.e., the arm or leg.
Feedback is important. You can obtain feedback from your own knowledge of the technique, from referencing the form from which the movement comes, from your training partner, from a mirror and from your instructor. In addition, you can get feedback each time you perform a technique by concentrating on performing the technique according to what you know and then making self-corrections. It is not enough to get the positions correct. One must also have the muscle tension correct. Too much or too little tension will not do. Your instructor or your training partner can assist in attaining this skill.
Similar to a house with a good foundation, skill in technique cannot happen without its proper foundation. If a house has a slab poured over loose sand, no matter how well constructed or sturdy the walls are, they will not remain in the same shape for long without a sturdy base. In the big picture, WingTsun’s foundation can mean the Siu Nim Tau form. As you have noticed, the stance remains the same throughout the form and does not move so that the basic stance becomes second nature.
The foundation in terms of structure is the stance and then the footwork. Like the walls of the house, the trunk, arms and head cannot maintain the same shape for long without a sturdy base. The WingTsun techniques can function as they should when the stance and body posture are correct. One hundred percent of the weight must be on the back leg. A feeling of adduction (pulling toward each other) should exist between the knees. If the weight is on the front (wrong) leg, then chances are the chest is also positioned too far forward. If the chest were positioned too far forward, then the hands would be too close to the chest. If the chest and therefore the trunk are too far forward, then the head is also too far forward. WingTsun thinking dictates that one’s posture must be straight. Leaning forward or backward or otherwise not maintaining balance is a waste of energy and will cause an ultimate loss of efficiency.
The body can perform as you want it to if the mind so commands it, if not today, then eventually. If it is truly your intention that you can gain skill in a particular area, the body must follow. Each and every time you practice, your mind is the general and your body is the soldier. Mindlessly floating through the practice will lead nowhere. The mind must always be in charge.
The condition of your mind is of paramount importance. The lack of sleep, improper nourishment, the influence of mind-altering drugs or alcohol all remove the ability of the mind to control the muscles and must be avoided during or just before training. Attitude is of paramount importance since this is a function of the mind. The multi-purpose Siu Nim Tau form should be used to put your mind into the proper frame. In performing the Siu Nim Tau, combine regular breathing, concentrating on the lightness and softness of the techniques, and have minimal distractions. The skills of WingTsun are noted for effectiveness in fighting off an attacker. At the same time, the mental skills gained in the training will be helpful in your day-to-day life.