Herewith is a reprint of a write-up by Marie-Elizabeth Finamore about Wing Tsun movements.  Marie Elizabeth Finamore can also be reached via Facebook:

What the West has to say about

Wing Tsun Kung Fu

By Marie Elizabeth Finamore, MS, ATC, CSCS, LMT

with WingTsun technical assistance by Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

Wing Tsun challenges the physical body in many ways, and exercises and improves concentration, visual acuity, balance, core stability, and breath control, as well as a full body muscular exertion.  Speed, agility, power are developed, and keys to the technique.  Really the only movements NOT challenged in this system are those involved in overhead reaching. 

Core stability is challenged in the basic stance, which a semi-squat with all lower extremity joints rotated inward achieved after alternately rotating the joints externally and internally.  Isometrically this also challenges balance and all lower extremity muscles, as this is a very unusual position to most Westerners.  Of course, and movement of the arms or legs away from the core challenges your stability, especially at the speeds demanded in Wing Tsun.  In actual combat, of course, any blow landed or blocked also challenges the core.

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Good posture with Wing Tsun™ Kung Fu

Wing Tsun kung fu training promotes good posture as a function of self-defense but, possibly due to its heritage in southern Shaolin kung-fu, also for health reasons.  This article at the Mayo clinic web site depicts in a slide show, some good tips to keep posture correct day to day:  Prevent back pain with good posture.

Another good link: The harm of what looking down at your cellphone does to your spine

The legs are the first to go

The saying goes that “the legs are the first to go.”  How true this is depends on many factors of course.  If you eventually get arthritis, knee problems, hip problems, ankle problems, or diabetes and you have to have surgeries on your legs well before you retire, your primary means of transportation is now out of commission or severely curtailed.  It is important to get up and move!  Doctors always recommend exercise.  Martial arts are a great way to get leg exercise.

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Like the crack of a whip…

The WingTsun™ Character Sun Thrusting Punch generates power because of the skill of the person using this weapon and not because of the great physical power of the user.  The repetitive practice of the single punch (as opposed to the chain punch) will slowly build the necessary mental-physical skills. 

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Wrist circling

An observer may note that WingTsun™ practitioners repeat the circling of the wrist numerous times during the course of practicing a WingTsun form (kuen). Is this just an obsession? No it is not. The founder must have thought that this was an important practice and it is. In fact it is has been referred to as part of the “chi kung” of WingTsun. It is a strength-building and beneficial exercise to be sure. However like all WingTsun movements, wrist circling has a very practical and extensive number of applications.

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WingTsun™ builds on your present abilities. Students have the opportunity to balance themselves inside and out with WingTsun training. In today’s world, we have numerous opportunities to lift weights, run the treadmill, jog and so on. WingTsun offers something different. WingTsun builds the physical core, teaches the student to use both hands and both feet at the same time (walk and chew gum), kick, punch, strike, throw, and use unique geometry and forces to defeat an attacker.  WingTsun is the specialist in self-defense but it does not ignore form. Form (kuen) is defined differently in WingTsun than in other martial arts. In the form Siu Nim Tau, a simple idea is taught together with simple breathing. Practice the breathing and be energized.

Getting Over the Hump

The most difficult time is the beginning.  This is true in every athletic endeavor whether or not you are an athlete.

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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.

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Training at Home:

  1. First, state to your friends (and yourself) out loud that your WingTsun™ training is important to you and “please do not interrupt my training unless the house is on fire.” Read more