A Soft Approach
We focus on developing the correct body structure as a foundation for all movements in Wing Chun. A soft and relaxed approach prevents our structure from being easily disturbed, and helps us maintain sensitivity to our opponents’ reactions. We avoid training with brute force at all times. Instead our training emphasises the correct position of each body part for each individual move, while observing the 5 principles of bodily alignment in Wing Chun.
5 Principles of Bodily Alignment
- 鉗膝 (kim sat) squeeze the knees towards each other
落馬 (lok maa) drop into the horse and sink down into the knees
挺腰 (ting yiu) tilt the pelvis under slightly to connect the spine with the stance
登頭 (dang tau) straighten the head and neck upwards while relaxing the shoulders downwards
埋肘 (maai zaang) squeeze the elbows downward and inward
Sensitivity is defined as the ability to feel and determine the amount, type, and direction of the opponent’s energy. The more sensitive you become, the more information you can gain from your opponent, thus allowing you to coordinate your strengths to their weaknesses. With this ability, you can sense if the amount of energy is subtle or excessive, determine whether the type of energy is relaxed or tense, and anticipate whether the direction of energy is on your centerline, another crucial contact point, or in a direction that poses no threat.
One of the keys to obtaining sensitivity is having the ability to relax and remove tension from your body and mind while maintaining the correct positions. There are many Wing Chun exercises and drills that train practitioners to develop proper relaxation and sensitivity, such as don chi and chi sao.
Based on our sensitivity training, we develop our timing relative to the energy we receive. Good timing allows you to use more of your opponent’s energy against him and less of your energy to accomplish your goals.