Wing chun kung fu is a close contact dynamic fighting style, what that means is that to be most effect most of the time you are in close and fists are flying everywhere.. This can be a pretty daunting for the beginner as they learn their craft and develop a feel for the system.. The problem is. When you are learning you are with a static pattern. One of the first kung fu techniques you learn is to defines a punch. Where the opponents jabs at you and hold their hand out very slowly. You react using the technique that was taught with the opponent standing there statically taking a virtual beating.- Which for a beginner is a very valid technique and crucial to build confidence.
Most of the different levels of fighting you have the contact range and the exchange range these are the two levels of fighting..contact stage is where you can make the initial contact where you can me your opponent wrist on wrist..that is went you are leading with a punch or looking to defend.. the importance of this is critical…when you enter close to your opponent you are in range where you can get you head knocked off, if you enter too far out of this distance you are ineffective.
That is why entires to initiate first contact with your opponent is very difficult and takes some skill.
That is where your training comes in..if you have a good Sifu they will hammer you relentlessly with drills to the point where you are doing them in your sleep (ala Uma Thurman bride in Kill Bill 2) You have no time to think .”.hmm what should i do here?” In any case the drilling and training should be very intense and constant to the point where it should not only be stored in your subconscious memory, so you can act on it immediately. It should be honed into your muscle memory as well. The sequence is still drummed into me even 10 years after learning it.
So when you make an entry or initial contact range attack you do so confidently and with purpose and intent ..a half hearted approach will get you into trouble..executed properly you will triumph with an impactful assault.
So what the what’s the important point to remember?….keep you form…
In a real life ..keep in mind time and space… the wing chun training system, amongst other things teaches timing and space-being mindful of your distance … that is the essence of knowing what range you are from your opponent. Your opponents weapons are their fists, for punching an feet/legs for kicking–assuming there are no foreign objects.The key here is finding an opening to engage your opponent. This is where the Wing chun Dummy comes into play where these techniques are applied into your kung fu training.
Lets take someone who is in a boxing stance leading with the left hand. Your immediate threat is the left jab and/or front kick. Even though in a dynamic situation you should be able to gauge the distance you can engage in to deal with the initial threat of the punch. This lead punch is the first threat and weapon you will be confronted with. It makes sense , because the right hand is cocked further away and has a longer way to travel to be an immediate threat.
So if you adapt, you should see that punch coming –same as the front foot. If the boxer punches and you can block …say with a bill sao or Pak sao (learned in Sil Lim Tao & Chum Kil) as you are i contact range. The next levels of stage in combat is the exchange range where you fully agnate your opponents in close range fighting an look to overwhelm them.You are in exchange range when you are able to use both hands to both strike and defend against your opponents without twisting your body or reaching.
This sounds all so very complicated and technical- you may be thinking how ca i do this.its not all bad news. The wing chun system has given you a great advantage and it s to do with your focus.
In your Wing Chun training you are taught not to be focussing on your opponents hands or feet, if you do you will find you will get a little too close a look at what may be the last things you see for a while–..as an oncoming fist heads your way.
The beauty of this Kung Fu Training is that early on you are instructed to watch the opponents elbows. Wing chun is based on the dynamics of human movement. ..Take note of the when someone makes any movement with their hands. Whether its to punch or pick up a spoon, the first initial movement comes from their elbows. It is the first calling card for you, telling you what is going on…….If you have kept up with your training, especially the Shil Lim Tao form..your guard should be positioned to stop any oncoming attack.
Also note when your opponent kicks with a front kick ,they need to make a move to generate the power ..what’s the first thing to move? The elbow.. as they make that slight move backwards to adjust their balance. Practise this in the mirror and you will see.. alway focus on the the elbows…even if they want to strike with their back leg or right hook ..assuming they are in a boxing stance leading with their left….these parts of the body have a longer way to ravel and the elbow “tell” is even more exaggerated so they telegraph the movement..
Now this may sound all to easy and is just one of the reasons why wing chun kung fu is such an effective martial art. , as well as teach you to be the best martial artist you can be. But, and this is a big but…it takes training and time to develop this skill… this is he story behind it …the practice is way harder than the learning ..but well worth it. So what is the answer to the question- What is more important than technique? Its your commitment and your intention.
If you are serious about your wing chun training you have decided to take the path of the martial artist…a lifelong path of learning and hard work.Remember it is not the system that will make you a great martial artist it is your application and execution of the system. One of the key assumptions and philosophies of wing chun is to respect your opponent. Always assume they are bigger , stronger and a better fighter than you. But above all believe in yourself and your abilities …the confidence you gain in your wing chun training will not only make you a better fight and martial artist ..this impact will affect other areas of your life.
You know, remember that thing you always want to do but thought you never could..hey you thought probably you could never learn Kung Fu or any new technique.. the ability to defend yourself and the discipline to learn a new art will further prove self evident that you are able to achieve alot more than you realise.
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