Wing Chun Fist Training

Wing Chun Fist training is recognized throughout the Martial Arts World and is often expressed as the simplest direct attack, utilizing the imaginary straight lines between two points thrown from the centre of the heart. From the dawn of time, the Martial Arts have been developed and refined to contain simplified formats and sets for the devoted students’ personal growth in Mind, Body and Spirit. Before the mind is concentrated on the attack, one must first understand the underlining principles of defence, so when a practitioner first encounters a Wing Chun Fist lesson one begins to understand the importance of gentle extended therapy, continuous fluidity and speed, prior to the execution of any power and contact.

If the arms are joined in such a way that their combined fluidity of extension and circular motion is generated, then they can be seen as spinning wheels and pistons of a train. Straight lines and circles, this is the idea to keep in mind when training in the Wing Chun Fist. It is also the entire body that propels one forward, so to keep the intention of the mind on the fists alone will only deter the objective and may even throw your own centre of gravity off line. The defending or retreating fist is just as important as the extended attacking fist. They work in relation to each other and need to be balanced, ultimately so as the hands are revolved at lightning speed. It is common for a beginner to be able to punch at least three times in one second, and one should aim for seven.

Before any other technique is drilled, the Wing Chun Fist is perfected. A fist can travel in many ways, but the most direct route will always be a straight line and this is what makes the Wing Chun Fist a most difficult attack to counter. Within my own program one would practice with three fist extensions at a fundamental level to maximize the students understanding of how our three signature ‘seed’ methods are used to create many fist combinations. It is common practice for students to continually punch for a long duration of time. A foundation level student is capable of repeating one thousand strikes without getting tired or fatigued.

In basic training, the shoulders and hips tend to remain square with each other throughout this punching exercise, though some bobbing, or natural swaying may occur if you’re generating some types of power. We brace ourselves to the ground with our upright gripping goat stance principles. When attempting a light fluidity, be sure that you concentrate on the elbow positioning and do not over extend, or lock the joints. Use the stance to sink and rise with the extension of each fist, paying attention to the back of the neck to avoid shaking the head. When sufficient speed is developed, the Wing Chun Fist can create a substantial amount of wind in two directions. One will be traveling upwards and under ones chin and the other will travel forwards toward the target area. Be careful not to allow the two fists to clash at any time and always hold the fists lightly until the point of contact. At no time will the wrist bend against itself, or flick in any direction, as this can cause severe joint pain and damage upon contact. Always try to imagine that the Fist being thrown forwards is like an iron bar, and the joints need to be aligned in such a way that causes no give, and have no weakness at any time.

The Wing Chun Fist also plays a vital role in the development of other techniques and theories. With continuous practice, a skilled practitioner is able to move around a beginners fist work, as if it isn’t really there. And the beginner learns how to adjust and move their own attack and defence lines along with various body alignments too, leaving the parallel square shoulders behind and moving onto angled, slanted and side body fist drills. This type of training is designed to increase the beginner’s stamina and accuracy, while the advanced practitioner develops skill in mobility using any given technique. This interaction is what makes the Wing Chun style unique in comparison to many other Martial Arts.

You can only begin to appreciate the true meaning of a Shaolin ‘Wooden Man’ Hall when you can visualize the destructive capabilities of large numbers of Wing Chun Fist students surrounding their target and moving in at will, without remorse. If you can survive this, you can leave the training Temple! The basic movements involved here are not all that difficult to learn, but to train and drill continuously requires intense concentration and unique ability. If you are unlucky enough to be the surrounded target of 108 men, then you’d better have some pretty special abilities of your own. To survive being surrounded by such a legendary formation using such a simple method of punching alone is a feat greater than any one-to-one sparring experience. It is real practicality, and what every teacher and instructor should aspire to and be able to achieve.


About the Author:
Photo by Christian Plach
Spencer Devine started his Martial Arts training at 9 years old. Growing up in North London he has always enjoyed old school Kung Fu movies and when he was 19 he met his first, and only Wing Chun Sifu who took him on as a formal ‘Tou Dai’ Disciple in 1995. He has no formal students of his own and built his personal training space in his back garden which he later named ‘Flystudio – Wing Chun Tong’.
While learning to teach with his Sifu and kung fu family, Spencer often wrote and published articles on behalf of the ‘Jun Mo Gwoon’ and when he settled down and started his own family he continued to coach and train a small Wing Chun Troupe with his kung fu Brother, taking on the name The Yum Yeurng Academy. He has a traditional approach to training Martial Arts, covering more wider cultural practises and is known for his performance abilities and detailed understanding of the Lee Shing family and Wing Chun system.
He is a regular Facebooker, and has recently started to promote his approach to training Wing Chun through his Video Blog.

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