The Basic Drills Of Wing Chun

Tan Chi-Sao

 

The syllabus of the Wing Chun system starts with the Siu Lim Tao form which is the most important form of the entire system. When the student becomes comfortable with his first form then they are introduced to Tan Chi-Sao (a single hand exercise).

The Tan Chi-Sao exercise helps maintain and reprogram the body's composure, the low horse stance, the body central line and encourages awareness of both hands even though only one hand is visibly active. It helps to develop correct body structure and elbow/hand position by showing you how to execute a move from your central with forward and spring-loading energy using the forearms and wrist rather than the shoulders. Tan Chi-Sao improves the sensitivity of the forearms for faster reaction and reprograms the body to feel and react according to the stimulus received, deleting any preconceived movements. Finally, it is an exercise that encourages the hand to counter-attack without hurting anyone.

Tan Chi-Sao must be practised only with a partner.

It is wrong to think about fighting, how to hurt your partner, or to view him as an opponent when you practise tanchi2Tan Chi-Sao. In order to progress you need to delete from your mind any preconceived ideas or self defence. Just focus forward, without looking at your own hands. During the exercise adjust your body structure if necessary.

tanchi1
 Loukas Kastrounis demonstrates with
his sifu Nino Bernardo in 1999 single
hand exercise, observed by young
David Munro, todays High Wycombe's
Wing Chun instructor.

In this drill, you have to feel your partner's move before you act on it. The principle is to wait, feel, and counter. Be just late! But not too late! Command the hand to take the shortest straight line from your central at chest level, without recharging, hammering, lifting, pushing or leaning and without using any force. It is advisable for the student to pay attention mostly to the body structure and the low stance rather than just the hands when practising Tan Chi-Sao. Keep the flow in order to understand physically and mentally the sticky hands principle, the concept of the counter-attack, and the Chi Sao exercise. The theory of maintaining the central line is also very important when practising Tan Chi-Sao.

Tan Chi-Sao is the first chi sao partner drill and it is a constant reprograming of the body/mind and the hands.

It's also a good warm up exercise and it should be practised for a minimum of 3 minutes on each side.

 

Luc-Sao

 

When the student becomes comfortable with Tan Chi-Sao (single hand exercise) the Luc-Sao (or rolling double hands) exercise will be introduced. This is a double handed exercise to increase sensitivity, awareness of the other hand, and the coordination of both hands. It is through Luc-Sao training that the practitioner develops his sense of touch and to feel the flow of energy simultaneously. Luc-Sao must only be practised with a partner and without hurting anyone.luk1

It is very common when you walk into a Wing Chun kwoon (school) to see practitioners practising Luc-Sao for hours. Luc Sao is the essence of Wing Chun. It is a primary tool to develop an instantaneous response for which Wing Chun Kuen Kung Fu is so famous. It is wrong to think about fighting, how to hurt your partner, or to view him as an opponent when you practise Luc-Sao. The theory of maintaining the central line with both hands is also very important when practising Luc-Sao.

During the exercise adjust your body structure if necessary. The feet must be in the horse stance position, toes must be turned inwards, keep the forearms as close to your central line as possible but without crossing the hands, and ensure that the elbows are in a straight line with your hips. The elbows must be supported from the hips, the hips must be rotated forwards, and the weight of the body transmitted down into the ground through the heels of the feet. When two students roll hands the energy should flow only forward to each other and both should feel their hands supported through their feet from the ground.

An upright posture and stable centre-of-gravity positioned over the heels should be maintained constantly.

The first form Siu Lim Tao, Tan Chi-Sao and Luc-Sao are the primary tools of the Wing Chun system for every beginner and advanced student and it must be practiced passionately and regularly in order to maintain the shapes and ensure that the hands travel along straight lines at chest level without recharging, hammering, lifting, pushing, leaning, or using force. It is advisable for the student to pay attention again mostly to the body structure and the low stance rather than just the hands when practising Luc-Sao.

Keep the flow in order to understand physically and mentally the Luc-Sao principle for the Chi-Sao exercise. Additionally, the skin-to-skin contact that occurs during Luc-Sao provides several health benefits.

 

Fan-Sao

 

Fan-Sao is an advanced exercise that is introduced once a student's Luc-Sao (double rolling hands) has improved to the point where they have gained the ability to co-ordinate hands with timing, structure, awareness, and to keep both arms forward without over-shooting, or in other words, to command your arms to do what you want them to do instead of allowing the arms to do whatever they want.

Fan-Sao is a double handed exercise that encourages the hands to do two different things simultaneously. One hand reacts to and counters the forward energy of your partner while the other hand monitors your partner's other hand.fan1

Wing chun is a scientific system of fighting. From the scientific point of view the right side of the brain commands the left side of the body; so as you monitor your partner's left head and simultaneously counter with your right hand the brain and body are working simultaneously and in harmony. It is like when you seen a pianist playing one tune with one hand whilst keeping the rhythm or playing another tune with the other hand. Both hands have harmony and rhythm.

The Fan-Sao exercise also teaches you the use of the Tan-Sao (laying arm) in order to counter/react to a straight punch from the outside of your arm.

Fan-Sao must be practised only with a partner & without hurting anyone.

It is a must during the exercise to adjust your body structure if necessary. The feet must be firmly planted on the ground in the horse stance position with the toes turned inwards, the hips must be tilted forwards and supporting the elbows, the elbows must be aligned with the hips, and the forearms kept as close to your central line as possible (without crossing the hands). The whole stance should be in line with your heels. When two students are practising Fan-Sao they should also look for any even minor twitching of their other hand and the energy should flow only forward to each other.

An upright posture and stable centre-of-gravity positioned over the heels should be maintained constantly.

All the primary drills such as Tan Chi-Sao, Luc-Sao, and Fan-Sao are tools to help you to improve total body awareness and the ability to react when the hands are engaged - what Wing Chun refers to as "sticky hands" - and improve the ability to offer a rapid and spontaneous forward counter/reaction that is not preconceived.

The above drills should be practiced regularly with devotion and require constant attention from the individuals involved. Once a student has been allowed to develop through these exercises they are introduced to Chi Sao (sticky hands), the most fun part of the Wing Chun system. More advanced drills and improvisations within Chi-Sao will be shown in order to condition the body to be able to react comfortably during times of stress, fear, or physical assaults.

Wing Chun is wonderful system but it must be treated with respect and with the aim of having fun. When a young child is first given a new toy they will often play with the box first! They see possibilities for enjoyment and play with objects that adults view as mundane and purely functional. The child-like ability to examine new toys (or their packaging!) and develop creative ways in which they can be used is a valuable way of thinking when studying the Wing Chun system. But make no mistake, in order to be good at Wing Chun, as with any other physical game or sport, training and practice are the most important things and not only the theory.