Our Wing Tsun training is truly one of the traditional, non-traditional martial arts. Inside Wing Tsun’s traditional training, lies the applications for common attacks. Most martial arts are learned by training with other students in the same martial art. However Wing Tsun instructors long ago realized that Wing Tsun, were it to be applied for real, would be applied against non-Wing Tsun attackers of every shape, size and stripe.
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:Read more
Once a layperson who has an interest in martial arts also becomes acquainted with Wing Tsun (or wing chun) techniques, the fascination often begins. Due partly to online videos, tons of chatter, posts, blogs, and YouTube stars, many “wing chun fans” become obsessed. All the internet surfer wants to do is be like the guy in the videos or the star of the movie about Yip Man. It is a shame that the obsession doesn’t include an obsession with the ‘secret’ of Wing Tsun.
The Siu Nim Tau is the first set of movements of Wing Tsun kungfu. The literal translation is the “Little Idea Form.” The first section of the form is done slowly. We are told by our instructors that doing it daily is important and the slower the better. The form has multiple benefits including a deep breathing subset which has a de-stressing benefit.
After you perform the Siu Nim Tau, is that the end of it? Are there not lessons we can gain from this form, this practice?
Have you ever dropped something and failed to catch it? Probably everybody has at one time or another. However, if you are a student of Wing Tsun for long enough, you might notice yourself catching those fallen items a bit more often.
The primary training that increases your reaction time is sticky hands, known in Wing Tsun circles as “chi sau.” Chi sau is pretty much confined to the art founded by Yim Wing Tsun. However, we do not know if sticky hands were a part of her repertoire. There are other Chinese martial arts that have similar drills, but it is most highly developed in the later years of the art.
Wing Tsun is completely different in its approach to getting power. For those immersed in another discipline, this statement is met with a lot of skepticism. It just seems easier to develop power using a person’s native power to hit or kick. Internal power has a mysterious ring to it.
To clarify the reason for Wing Tsun’s internal power, we must explain why this approach is the one we take in Wing Tsun. Often, power, when in actual use in self-defense, is a relative term.
Training in effective self-defense can be extremely important especially in the face of today’s extreme situations. Training on defending oneself should be as basic as health and obtaining food and water. You never know when you could be a victim of random violence today. It can happen in the best of neighborhoods.
Self-defense training is rather different than training for fighting competitions. It can take many forms because we cannot know in advance what type of an attack will occur. An art like Wing Tsun kung fu takes this into account.
Many people wonder how to make movements automatic and reactive in developing their martial arts skills. I can understand disappointment if you practice all your basics regularly on your own and see little if any results. Besides increasing the repetitions, how are martial arts skills built?
I will speak for Wing Tsun Kungfu since it is the martial art that I have spent the most time with. However, I believe it is the same with other arts as I spent years in Korean karate and Filipino Escrima. One should think about the intent of the movements.
Building skill is quite often the result of hundreds of hours or repetitious training in basic movements. We hear stories of famous athletes who train hours every day. This will make nearly anybody into a skilled practitioner who can truly focus in this way.
Anybody who starts this way is bound to suffer disappointment because few people have the stamina to do this instantly. One’s training should begin gradually. A habit must be created. To be realistic, one could use a timer to keep the time spent realistic. If you tell a partner that you are going to spend 15 minutes practicing, set the timer for 15 minutes and have a bell or buzzer go off at the end. This is your signal and everybody else that your training this morning is finished. Everybody has a schedule and you can do another 15 minutes later or not.
One overlooked benefit of Wing Tsun training is the physical dexterity you can develop with regular training. In the process of learning kicks, punches and footwork, the drills that Wing Tsun is famous for work the joints in flexibility and strength. Wrist circles and stance circles are numerous in the training. They are designed to work around an attacker’s limbs in an economical way. In other words, the distance is short around an attacker’s limbs. We do not take the longer path.
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