Over the next few weeks I’ll extend the drills we’ve been working on to incorporate a wider variety of the most common types of attacks occurring in the streets of Melbourne. Your training to date has prepared you for what’s to come. Training will still be grouped into three distinct aspects of the WSLVT skill set with an emphasis on speed and power (via relaxation and explosive contractions):
- Chi Sau (core chi sau skills expanded to increase speed and power & include a wider variety of options)
- Striking and mobility (pad, mitt work, 50-50 drills and responses to out of range attacks etc.)
- Regaining squareness (when pushed or grabbed)
Striking and mobility will have a focus on responding to the most common types of round/hooking punches. See the clip below for some tips on executing this skill. Its important to start out slowly, perfecting your timing and angles before raising the intensity. The basis for your response has to be a well grounded counter-attack so there will be plenty of work on striking with power from the legs i.e. ground-power. As well as a lot of reaction drills to decrease your reaction time. 50-50 drills will continue to be a part of training. Make sure you match your partner’s timing so that you are forced to use the most direct response and improve your angles.
Over the next few weeks until the end of June I will continue to extend the variations to chi sau training to cover a wide range of this important skill-set. Some of these variations will take a number of weeks to absorb and even longer to perfect. Be sure to refer back to the earlier clips in the blog on some of the most important chi sau fundamentals. Also take the time to drill each variation with as many different partners as you can to ensure that you develop a higher level of competence.
Everything that we do for the next 6 weeks or so will prepare you for “Pressure Training” commencing in July, more on that later.
Training sessions over the last few weeks have covered three distinct aspects of the WSLVT skill set with an emphasis on speed and power:
- Chi Sau (core chi sau skills)
- Striking and mobility (pad, mitt work, 50-50 drills and responses to out of range attacks etc)
- Regaining squareness (when pushed or grabbed)
The common thread through training has been to build an instinctive response to any attempt to hit or control you. The ‘instinctive response’ I am referring to is to strike your attacker at the very moment they attempt to accost you and to flow to the next best option if your strike does not land immediately. When your actions are instinctive they don’t require thought, you eliminate the delay that occurs when your brain has to process what’s taking place for you to consciously make a decision about what to do. In short you develop very fast responses that interrupt the attempt to hurt you, which is exactly what you need if find yourself a real self-defence situation.
For the next few weeks training will continue to be structured in this way. Each session will commence with Chi Sau, striving to improve and perfect core chi sau skills; ‘rolling’, responding to an attack down the centre & responding to an attack down the outside. As these core skills improve the way we approach chi sau training will progress to focus on alternative responses and adjustments to the attacks, such as the Gaan sau entry featured in this blog entry. See the clip embedded below for an explanation of the Gaan sau entry and a counter to it.
I introduced a fifty-fifty (50-50) drill in March. The first time we worked through this exercise the feedback was loud and clear. It is a valuable training exercise that helps you develop the ability to read an opponent’s movements and see openings as they occur. This type of training also gives you the chance to self-assess your responses and structures, ultimately developing faster reflexes and movements. These types of exercises will continue to be a part of training for some time to come with other variations to be added in future.
Training for 2013 kicked off with a flying start on January 8th. This has been the busiest start to a new year that I can remember. We’ve had an influx of new students along with the return of some familiar faces resulting in training sessions have been packed and pumping.
The training agenda for 2013 is centred on speed and power. Every drill and every session will be geared towards that end. This means the intensity of training will be at the higher end of the scale and you will need to take appropriate breaks during and between drills. The change in mindset required is to think of yourself as a sprinter training to go faster instead an endurance athlete training to go further.
The training approach to develop speed and power can be put into 3 groups:
- Perfecting structures and techniques (form & application)
- Specific drills that improve your ability to use ground-power develop waist power & speed up your Ving Tsun skills, and
- Ancillary training
Training in January continued to build on the foundations that we worked on in the last three months of 2012. The drills focused on perfecting structure (covering ground power and waist power), & relaxation to improve speed and power. Everyone who has been able to make it to training regularly has made significant progress. February will be about taking the gains you’ve made this month and applying them to other aspects of Ving Tsun.
See the clip below for another installment of the series on Chi Sau entries and counters. Laap Sau (ii) commonly referred to as ‘under laap’. You can use this entry when your opponent over commits with their ‘fook sau’ but you need to be very careful in your usage of this entry as it is very easy to counter if you misapply it.
I conducted the first assessment at VTCS on the last day of July. Those of you who participated had your ability to execute Wing Chun (Ving Tsun) skills put to the test. Which skills were assessed and the level of pressure was determined by your level of experience.
There was a great deal of excitement and anticipation leading up to the event and on the night. Everyone did very well and should be proud of their progress to date.
Classes are now packed solid with important information that improves your understanding of VT concepts and drills to develop your ability to apply them.
Each class has three elements; fine tuning forms, Pressure Training and Chi Sau.
I have devoted a portion of each class to honing aspects of each form; at the moment the focus is on each of the Bong Sau actions in Chum Kiu. It is important that you use the time available during “free training” to work on the drills that bring the concepts in the forms to life. This will ensure your forms are as accurate as possible, which in turn gives you the best foundation for developing your Ving Tsun skills. I will continue to work on one aspect of each form per week over the next few weeks.
Additional aspects of Pressure training will be introduced over the next few weeks and the level of pressure will be incrementally increased. At the moment your focus should be on improving your execution of the core Paak Sau drill. If you have a mouth-guard be sure to bring it to every class.
Key points for the core Paak Sau drill are:
- Your stance supports your arms; make sure your stance is active and your hands light;
- Your stance should be driving you forwards;
- The punches should be fast, relaxed and springy with penetrating power;
- The paak sau should be the same as the punch.
See the clip below for a compressed summary of how to do one of the core Paak Sau drills and how it sets your intention for countering straight punches.
Key points for Chi Sau:
- Commence chi sau by focusing on perfecting the elements of your rolling, light hands with constant forward intention;
- Increase the speed and intensity at which you do the drill in the Chi Sau (ii) blog entry below;
- Improve your timing and focus on dissipating your partner’s energy; and
- Continue to reduce the time it takes to respond to entries and counter-attack.
The transition to Pressure Training (PT) began in July with “composite classes” covering as many aspects of the Ving Tsun skill set as I could cram into each training session. Later in the month training focussed on the key components of PT and core chi sau skills. I broke down one approach to Paak sau drills; a short clip will be embedded soon. This approach to Paak sau is a key element of PT that will be used to build skills for countering straight punches.
The introductory level pressure training was a shock to the system for quite a few class members. It was great to see everyone rise to the challenge. There’s much more in store as I gradually increase the intensity of training and the levels of pressure over the next few months.
During this phase of training classes will continue to have a section devoted to core Chi sau skills and specific entries, with each entry (and all the possibilities it presents; both strengths and weaknesses) being featured for weeks at a time. Below is a clip on an important chi sau drill that will continue to be a mainstay of training over the next few weeks.
Key points for Pressure Training:
- Your power comes from your entire body so structure is the key;
- Footwork has to be fast without compromising your structure’
- Focus on relaxed, smooth-flowing punches that come from the elbow and penetrate through the target; and
- In all drills chase the core of your training partner taking the shortest line to hit their core.
Key points for Chi Sau:
- Start by focusing on perfecting the elements of your rolling, light hands with constant forward intention;
- Drill the core drills with accuracy then progress to doing them as fast as you can and with intent that connects them to gwoh sau and real exchanges;
- Make use of the clips in the posts on Chi Sau and Dan Chi Sau for review of the fundamentals when you are away from training;
- Above all else: keep the energy light and “springy”; and
- Base your choice of attack on what you feel
June was another month of intense focus on chi sau skills. Everyone who trained regularly was able to work on these skills for up to 10 hours each week. Early in the month I increased the intensity of the class, it was great to see just how much improvement everyone has made over the last few months. The fundamentals are really starting to take shape, building a solid foundation for further training and the challenges to come.
I work-shopped the links between all the aspects of chi sau we have been honing so far and proceeded to dissect each of the most practical and useful entries in chi sau including:
- Honing your ability to execute the entries;
- The most appropriate time to use each entry;
- How you might use each of the actions outside of chi sau;
- The counter to each entry; and
- How to flow when your entry is countered.
Key points for Chi Sau:
- Rolling from lower fook sau to upper fook sau should have the same feel and intention as the punch in Dan chi sau, see the clip in post 2012-5;
- Bong sau to taan sau is the same action as in Siu Nim Tau;
- Constant forward intention “lat sau jik chun” and even pressure throughout the roll;
- Rolling properly makes it harder for your partner to attack you and easier for you to feel holes in their technique;
- Above all else: keep the energy light and “springy”.
It has been fantastic to see so much improvement and enthusiasm at training; keep up the good work. Soon I will transition the training to pressure training. This year pressure training will have new elements that raise the pressure and levels of conditioning to new heights, get ready to sweat and excel!
At the beginning of the month I deconstructed single hand Chi Sau (Dan Chi Sau). I broke the drill down into fundamental elements in order to improve everyone’s understanding of what they are doing and their execution of this fundamental drill. I have worked on the connection between Chi Sau and the Siu Nim Tau form (SNT is Dan Chi Sau without a partner) and development of “forward energy”.
Key things to remember when practising Dan Chi Sau:
- Keep your spine straight and your neck long (don’t shrug your shoulders);
- Attack with relaxed power and speed using strikes that you would use in a real fight;
- Do not use force; redirect your training partner’s attack;
- Always have a trickle of forward intention, don’t switch it off at any stage;
- Focus on what you feel and train using a broken rhythm; ensuring you develop your reflexes
Towards the end of the month I got you working on two handed chi sau; emphasising the importance of the roll and honing your ability to roll properly. It is essential to make sure that every time you initiate the roll you generate two simultaneous attacks that force your partner to deflect them and when on the receiving end the manner in which you deflect your partner’s attacks ensures you constantly have forward energy.
In April Peter and Mark ran the classes whilst I was forced to take a break to have a couple of operations. Peter introduced power bands into the sessions he ran to aid in developing speed and power. I received very positive feedback on his sessions and innovative approach; well done Peter! Congratulations to Mark who stretched everyone with the addition of open drills such as “monkey line”.
The training sessions continued to focus on key Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) fundamentals
- Body unity,
- development of relaxed power & power over a long bridge, and
- “springy energy”.
When I made a surprise visit to a class I could see that everyone had continued to improve key Ving Tsun attributes. There was a very noticeable increase in the sharpness of the skill execution.
Phase 1 of training for 2012 is now complete. The first four months of training have laid a solid foundation for the training that I will roll out over the remainder of the year, including “Pressure Training” to commence after June.
In May training will focus on Chi Sau, commencing with all the elements of single hand chi sau and building from there. Every aspect of Chi Sau will be drilled in detail until I start pressure Training”. By the end of this year’s “Chi Sau Odyssey” everyone who consistently attends training will have improved their skill level in this aspect of Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) training well beyond where it is now. Make sure you attend training as regularly as you can over the next couple of months in order to take your chi sau to the next level.
This month I continued to emphasise structure, hip/elbow connection and timing. I also included training drills that develop striking power and striking power when your arms are extended (i.e. long-bridge power). In addition, I covered the fundamentals of Chi Sau with the emphasis on relaxed, fast reflexes, “springy-energy” and getting the most out of your stance and footwork during Chi Sau.
This month’s workshop was on the first half of the Wooden Dummy (Muk Yan Jong) form. Once again I included a lot of drills and partner exercises and allowed plenty of time to experiment with application of what I covered. I also covered how the movements apply in the real world. This meant that the workshop ended up taking two full training sessions to cover the first half of the form. During the second session I spent a lot of time explaining how to capture someone’s timing and destroy their structure, including various uses of the po pai jeung action. There were a lot of “light-bulb” moments where things clicked and a new understanding of how to apply Ving Tsun concepts took root during these workshops. I have received a lot of very positive feedback from everyone who attended and requests for more workshops on the forms.
Now I’ve covered all the concepts and forms to take everyone up to the intermediate stage of training. The rest of the year will involve training the concepts covered so far, further deepening your understanding and increasing your ability to apply them.
During February the structures I focussed on in January were worked on under higher levels of pressure and in more varied sets of circumstances. There was a greater emphasis on timing when applying a structure (or concept) and less on developing the integrity of any particular structure.
“Springy energy” was also a focus during this month with more emphasis on it being a natural by-product of how you approach your forms and training drills as opposed to something brought about by a forceful effort (this is a good definition of relaxed energy to keep in mind when working on being relaxed yet having the intention to hit).
As promised, this month I ran a workshop on Cham Kiu. I included a lot of drills and partner exercises and allowed plenty of time to experiment with the application of what was covered. I also covered how the actions in the form applied to the chi sau environment and how they could be applied in the “real world” outside of the training environment.
This meant that the workshop ended up taking two full training sessions to cover the entire form. The workshop covered various aspects of Cham Kiu:
- Body unity with an emphasis on developing a hip/elbow connection;
- How to use each of the different bong sau actions in the form;
- The form not being applied in a rigid, inflexible manner such as;
- The bong sau action can be applied in a manner that includes a combination of the yi bong and paau bong actions; and
- Pai Jaang (hacking elbow) can be applied in more than one plane i.e. vertical as well as horizontal.
- Long bridge power;
- Developing power from a position where you don’t have a stance; and
- All kicking actions in the form; including an introduction of how to perform the side kick (waang geuk) in the Wooden Dummy form and how to apply it against a person.
Everyone improved their understanding of the form and the connections between the first two empty hand forms. It was great to see the improvements that regular class participants were able to make in their ability to use WSLVT structures and concepts. Next month I will bring together everything I have covered so far this year and go through the wooden dummy form in detail up to the end of the fourth section.