WING CHUN KUNG FU TRAINING

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WING CHUN PUNCH

A Wing Chun punch is about speed generating explosive power. The faster the punch the more likely it is to arrive on target. Wing Chun punches are thrown with the elbow down and from in front of the body. The fist is held vertical and the bottom three knuckles are the ones with which you strike.

Your arms and hand are relaxed until the moment of impact when they tense to create an explosive force through the target. Think of it as grabbing the air jsut before you hit your target, your hand is open whilst it travels to the target then you grab your fist closed and smash through the target.

There are three main reasons for using a vertical punch:

  • Speed. Do not pull the punch back (loading the punch) as this will slow down your punch. The waist may or may not be twisted to add power to the punch, it is dependant upon the commitment of the strike among other factors for example you may want to twist your hips as you block with one hand and strike simultaneously with the other as this will aid your block by taking you away from the opponents strike and also increase the power to your punch. The power developed with a Wing Chun punch can be significant, as demonstrated by Bruce Lee's "one inch punch".
  • Protection. Keeping the elbows low and forward protects the front midsection of the body whereas pulling the elbows back if you were loading your punches would expose this area and the speed of a Wing Chun punch could easily strike this opening.
  • Alignment & Structure. The vertical punch allows a the person who is throwing the punch to absorb the impact of the punch by directing it through the elbows and into the rooted stance. A horizontal punch creates torque in the puncher's body upon impact and will not dissipate the force like a vertical punch does through the stance.

The last item above can be easily tested. Hold your fist vertically, in front of you, your elbow pointing down, one foot behind the other. Ask a friend to push into your fist while you attempt to resist. You will feel the push pressuring your legs and stance. Repeat with a horizontal fist, elbow at shoulder height and to the side. You will feel the incoming push twisting you sideways.

The vertical punch is the basis for Wing Chun chain punching or the "straight blast" as it has become commonly known since Bruce Lee made it famous in his art, Jeet Kune Do. It is a fast flurry of alternating left and right vertical punches down the centre line where one punch pistons out the other one retreats with the elbow covering the midsection and again "chamber" ready for the punch. Wing Chun students are often taught that when in doubt as to which technique to use, they should opt for the chain punch however it is important not to lose balance as you move forward with this technique as you will then lose the structure of the form which protects you and makes this technique so effective as well as leaving yourself vulnerable to side movement, low kicks and circular attacks.

by Glenn Hodgkinson

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