Training the arms in WingTsun is not the same as weight training. We will explain the training methods in a minute but first, some explanations:
The ultimate purpose of arm training in WingTsun is to deliver a serious and disabling strike to a vital area of a serious attacker as a self-defense method. To do this, the aim is to develop flexibility, reactivity, control, explosive power and sticky energy. The benefits are fast hand speed, ability to intercept oncoming attacks to the face or body, develop spacial relationships, precision hand movements, reaction time increased behind the wheel of a car, catch falling objects out of the air, react quickly to all manner of unpredictable emergencies, hands stay flexible into old age as long as the practice continues.
The training methods are:
Siu Nim Tau
The first form is called Siu Nim Tau. Do it once per day. It starts out with some brisk action but settles down into very slow movements which are designed to stretch and strengthen the wrists, elbows, shoulders and rib cage in a way similar to yoga.
Character Sun Thrusting Punch
Do twenty-five punches per day per hand. Fifty per hand per day is a better number to kick start one’s arm training. Lock out the punch and then finish each punch with a wrist circle at the end. Single punches stretch and strengthen the arm. You will want to keep this up, even after you have been introduced to chain punches.
These are Character Sun Thrusting punches strung together like a machine gun firing. At least 250 per day will allow a student to progress quickly, developing a very effective defense in an emergency.
Wall bag hitting (starting at 2nd SG)
Once a student has practiced the air punches, both the Character Sun Thrusting Punches with wrist circle and chain punches, the student may begin practice of the wall bag. The bag is a flat bag with pockets, either a one, two or three section wall-bag filled with rice. It can be mounted to a block wall or mounted on a set of two 4 X 4 wooden posts sunken into the ground and cemented in place. The bag is used to learn how to use your force. WingTsun hitting is considered an internal skill. That is, the external muscles and concept are not used but rather a force that “is not visible but can be felt.” After some trial and error, the correct timing can be discovered so that the force is expelled at the correct moment upon the fist hitting the bag. Some incidental skin toughening is experienced but this is not really the purpose of the hitting. The striking of the wall bag should build bone hardness and tendon and ligament toughness, particularly if one uses a good quality Chinese liniment designed to protect the hand against bruising and an “iron palm” ingredient to help with the conditioning. No external callusing of hand injury should occur, done correctly. Power is emitted as an internal force: F = C2 X M.
Dan Chi Sau (starting at 3rd SG)
This is the single arm version of sticky hands. Get a training partner for this one! Develop the forward energy and feeling in the arm, one arm at a time. The forward springy energy uses your attacker’s energy to help thrust your hand forward and yet maintain the sense of touch vital in real self-defense. Three times per week is suggested.
Chi Sau (starting at 4th SG)
The double arm sticky hands are sets of two-person drills based on each WingTsun form in Leung Ting WingTsun® that become a fighting game like a video game without the box!
Do you want to develop close-up hand skills at a high level beyond other martial arts? The above training methods are how it is done.
– Sifu Keith Sonnenberg