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.

The southern systems of Chinese kung-fu such as Wing Tsun emphasize stance and lower body training.  Many followers of the martial arts have heard the stories of the Shaolin monks whose new trainees are forced to stand in a low ‘horse’ stance for the first six months of training.  Ostensibly this is to build a strong foundation for the hand techniques that come later.  Then after that, the lower body kicks.  For the northern systems, the high kicks are more common.

Wing Tsun kung-fu is reported to be derived from Shaolin kung-fu.  However the anti-Ching dynasty developers of Wing Tsun needed a system that would be quicker to learn than the 20 or 30 years of Shaolin kung-fu because the Ching government collapse meant that Shaolin kung-fu trained soldiers would be coming after the rebels against the Ching. 

Wing Tsun trains the legs alright.  One of the hall marks of the Leung Ting WingTsun® kung-fu system is its sophisticated but simple footwork.  In order to use an attacker’s force against them, it is important to move well with fast footwork.  Everything from the setting up of the stance to the turning stance, the kicks in the Chum Kiu form and the advancing steps work the ankles, the knees and the hips.  Ever quicker and trickier-to-defend footwork is taught all the way up to the wooden dummy and beyond.

The first form, Siu Nim Tau, requires the trainee to perform the hand movements and utilize the time to breathe correctly and remain in the training stance without moving the feet for the duration.  Beginners can finish in a few minutes.  As a trainee becomes more skilled, the time can and should increase.

In the second form, Chum Kiu, the feet begin to move and several footwork methods are trained.  Three lower body kicks are taught within Chum Kiu.

In the third form, Biu Tze, several instances of stance circling are performed, stressing the need for more practice, even at this advanced level.

In the Muk-Yan Chong (wooden dummy) form, several more footwork methods are taught as well as eight kicking methods.

The incorrect descriptions of wing chun or WingTsun™ as being “mostly hands” or strictly an upper body martial art are put to rest once a student begins training in Leung Ting WingTsun®.

 ©Copyright 2013, Keith Sonnenberg.  All rights reserved, No reproduction without permission.