Wing Chun Combinations and techniques

The definition of “Wing Chun Clinch Fighting distance”

I consider is the distance defined by the ability to grab or hit any body part the other person without having to step or further close the distance.

In Wing Chun, at least the way I have learned it, we focus on concepts underlined by combinations that are closely connected to the fighting strategy and tactics.

Wing Chun is a conceptual system and not an application based one. However I have notices that most of the students have a limited understanding on the way we should learn and understand the concepts of the system.

As a short personal story,  I started with martial arts that emphasize combinations and techniques and It was very late in life when I heard about concepts is martial arts. I’ve learned a lot of techniques to counter other techniques. I perfectly understand this approach as it is very suitable for beginners especially. But learning combination x against attack y is by no means conducive to developing  awareness or sensitivity.  However neglecting the practice of combinations might be equally harmful so I feel the need to clarify this issue as it might be confusing.

Combinations are examples of what can happen in a situation and they are used to illustrate the adequate response in accordance with the theory of the system. They are an invaluable tool in training and should never be neglected. They are used to hone the techniques and to make them sharper and decisive and more powerful.  It is impossible to advance without training preset combinations in any martial arts system. As the student advances in learning he will eventually become bored. I have to say that this is a very big trap in practice. These basic combinations should be considered important and practiced at every training. Regarding the way to practice there are useful ways and others that will just waste times and energy without a tangible result.

  1. Practice phase 1Learning – learning the combination should be done with minimum speed and power and with NO resistance from the training partner. The problem that arises here is that usually our training partner is very quick to point out the mistakes and sometimes even the mistrust in the technique. Do not be too fast. It is learning phase so take your time to understand then body alignment and the generation of power. Don’t be quick in becoming fast and generating power. Take your time and be a good partner and let others learn. I call this phase using each other’s body to understand the techniques. Your mindset at this point should be as if you temporary borrow your partner’s body so you can learn. Appreciate this and return the favor. It’s the first phase in building muscle memory.
  2. Practice phase 2Borrowing power – In this phase your partner should give you gradual resistance so that you can feel better the power and how somebody might react to your technique. In this phase the partners should talk about the level of resistance used. It should never exceed more than 20-50 % of the maximum you can take. NOT 20% of the maximum your partner can give. One thing is 20% power generated by someone who weighs 100 kg and another thing is 20% power generated by a 50 kg female practitioner. Remember this is practice and study and you should help each other by resisting. This phase represent consolidating the muscle memory and gaining trust in the technique.
  3. Practice phase 3Understanding and Correcting – now the intensity can go up to 70% but still within the boundaries of the given combination or technique. Various details can be given by the instructor and also the mistakes that inevitably will be evident because of the more demanding environment must be pointed out and corrected. The correction means going again through phases 1-3 for a few repetitions. If the instructor notices the same mistake over and over again it means that phase 3 of practice came too early.
  4. Practice phase 4Using – Various degrees of freedom can be given by starting from a training platform like lap sao cycle or poon sao. The intensity gradually increases from 20 to approximately 70 %
  5. Practice phase 5Integrating the techniques in free chisao with transition to free sparring.

to be continued…