By Steven Wang, August 2015
This is a new instalment in our series about Wing Chun Boxing: Wing Chun boxing basics part 3, in part 1&2 we introduced the foundational training, the eight energy punches. In case you missed the previous episodes, click here
In part 3&4 we will discuss HOW to practice the Chinese boxing basics. In this post we look at shadow boxing and pad works.
The various stages of practice.
There are three stages of practice and mastery of a new technique
- Absorb – at this stage the student focusses on learning the new technique. It is a conscious effort. What is the position of my limb, what is the exact movement etc.? The practice is static the main focus is to learn and understand the technique at hand.
- Integrate – the student can perform the technique reasonably well, can do it correctly most of the times. Here the student needs to integrate the technique with other movements and techniques. Other components come in play and the learning and practice process becomes more dynamic. How does the new technique affect what I already know? At this stage it is part a conscious and subconscious effort.
- Establish – This is mastery level. The student is able to integrate the technique with other parts of his training. He can perform the technique correctly all the time and his effort is at subconscious level. He can perform the technique effortlessly and is able to create his own variations.
In any learning process feedback is very important, it provides the student a direct response about his progress and performance.
Visual feedback: ask your senior or shifu to look at your performance and comment whether your limbs are positioned correctly or your movement was done correctly.
Dynamic, pressure training and testing: two men drills, low or high intensity sparring, joining competitions etc. gives you feedback on your performance.
Invest in your losses, learn from your mistakes and fix them!.
Practicing the eight energy punches.
Here we discuss pad work and shadow boxing. Both are commonly not part of a traditional Wing Chun curriculum and that is a shame because they both are very useful.
- Shadow boxing. I consider it a form like Siu Nim Tao but then free flow without prearranged sequences. When a student is new to shadow boxing, start off slow with simple techniques. Do 2-3 minute rounds of footwork, then just add one punch to your footwork, do your favourite combination etc. It is very good practice to learn to relax and move.
- Pad work. Again excellent training to practice your power, distance, reflexes, conditioning etc. We don’t call out the punches because each energy punch has a different pad position. This will train the student’s reflexes. Pad work is excellent training I think every stand up martial artist should train with pads.
When you are new to this training, go slow, relax and have fun. Focus on proper technique, body structure and flow.
Summary and conclusion.
In this part 3 of our series about Chinese boxing basics. We discussed the practice methods shadow boxing and pad work as a way of training the eight energy punches.
If you are new to this training start slow and have a good understanding of your level of practice (absorb, integrate and establish).
Above all, relax, have fun and focus on proper technique and structure.
Thanks and feel free to comment or contact me if you have any questions.
Robert Chu is the Founder and Grand Master of Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun.
Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun has its roots in Yip Man Wing Chun as taught by Hawkins Cheung.
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