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Front and Center An Introduction to Wing Chun Kung Fu Part 3

by Daniel on September 20th, 2011

Chi Sao

Chi Sao, or “sticking hands”, is a training exercise which develops the fighter’s sensitivity and reflexes. Like many traditional kung fu styles, Wing Chun fighters don’t go straight from practicing forms to free fighting. Such a drastic jump would allow a practitioner’s his kung fu to degrade into a tit-for-tat game of tag. Chi Sao is the link from two man fighting drills into free fighting.

Proper kung fu requires sensitivity to your opponent’s movements, and Wing Chun takes full advantage of the sense of touch. Chi Sao allows the practitioner to practice reaction and sensitivity to martial stimuli using good technique. Through the application of fighting application during this exercise, the practitioner can develop the fine motor skills necessary to react in a relaxed and appropriate manner during combat.

Wooden Dummy (Mok Jong)

Ideally constructed to the dimensions of the practitioner, the wooden dummy is useful for developing proper positioning when there are no training partners available. Representing an opponent’s body, the “arms” of the dummy are shaped so that the Wing Chun practitioner is able to practice the system’s various methods of contacting, deflecting, filing, and attacking. A formal regimen of wooden dummy exercises is usually taught to the practitioner, based on his or her skill level. Wing Chun stylists can use the dummy to encourage proper stances, body conditioning, bridging, arm positioning, and power generation. Sand bags are also used for external body conditioning.

Over 1 Million Served

There is something about the relaxed, rhythmic and explosive fighting of Wing Chun that makes it a truly fascinating art. Its millions of practitioners find it an enjoyable activity that imparts not only superb fighting skills, but also a mindset of efficiency and logical pragmatism. Sure, you can say that about many fighting arts. But there is something about Wing Chun that sets it apart from others. It has its own flavor. While many traditional Chinese arts are dying, Wing Chun practitioners are proliferating (not all in the same direction mind you). But the art has become extremely popular, and its popularity just seems to keep growing.

Its efficient fighting theory seems to draw a consistently intelligent and healthy practitioner, making students of the art inherently progressive. And its ability to bring a practitioner of average ability to a functionally competent level in a very short period of time (generally, around six years of diligent training under a qualified instructor) makes it additionally appealing.

The Future of Wing Chun

Many have different ideas of where the art should go – some aggressively attempting to keep the art in its “purest” or most traditional form, others using the core concepts for non-traditional applications, such as complementing a mixed martial arts (martial “sport”) curriculum. Like many arts, the growth of varying interpretations gives added insight into its depth. The current “cross training” trend in the US tends to promote exploration of other arts as an answer for facing opponents of varying fighting styles.

Critics of the system say the Wing Chun is “too stiff”, “too slow” or “lacks certain realistic abilities”. Many want to study other arts to complement their Wing Chun skills. However, Wing Chun is a good example of an art that is willing to take the practitioner as far as he or she would like to go with their fighting applications. Chances are, the answers you are looking for are in the system – you only need to take the time and effort required to explore the system (under a qualified teacher) in order to find them.

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