WC principals: Discussion 2, re footwork & kicking

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by CFT, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. CFT

    CFT Valued Member

    WC principles: Discussion 2, re footwork & kicking

    I'm just trying to kick off another thread in the same vein as the one started off by wcrevdonner, only in this one we're going to concentrate on footwork and kicking.

    Wing Chun is typically stereotyped as a static hand-only martial art, but this viewpoint could not be further from the truth. Observers from outside the system may see beginners, and others, perform the WC first form: Siu Nim (Lim) Tau (or Little Idea) which is indeed practiced in a static stance. The reason being that it helps to develop 'rooting', i.e. a stable stance.

    From a forms point of view, it is in the 2nd form: Chum Kiu (Searching or Sinking the Bridge) where the practitioner first practices turning, footwork and kicking. That is not to say this may not be practiced before encountering the 2nd form. A good school (IMO) will already drill the practitioner in these aspects of WC.

    The the basic Wing Chun stance (Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma) is a distinctive square-on pigeon-toed stance. However, the fighting stance looks (IMO) like any other fighting stance with a lead leg (rear heel in a line with the front toe).

    The major differences seem to be that you rest your weight on both feet rather than 'bob' up and down on the balls of your feet; and you face square-on to the opponent rather than blading the body, so as to maximize the number of weapons, i.e. hands, you can bear on to the opponent.

    I'm just going to whizz through the rest now since I'm getting a bit tired of typing (I may come back later to add more if required):

    1. WC footwork should be fast, like a western fencer's

    2. You don't just charge in; you can step off the line and attack down another angle (from the outside gate)

    3. Kicks are along the centre-line, usually no higher than the waist, but I've seen it as high as the sternum. I don't think I've seen kicks as high as the head, unless the head in question is been bought down to nearer the ground.

    4. Kicks are delivered through the heel or whole foot rather than the ball of the foot. This makes more sense in the range that WC is operating in, i.e. within arms reach. It is also arguably structurally stronger - but I'm sure there will be dissenters on this point.

    5. There is a lot of joint destruction (knee, ankle) in mind in WC kicking, and if that fails then it should help with upsetting the opponent's balance. If a kick misses, it can be converted into a trip or sweep if the conditions are right (opponent's position and weight distribution).

    6. Kicking is frequently used as a distraction when your hands get into trouble, e.g. trapped in one way or another.

    7. A bit of trivia to round off ... the WC kicks have been called 'no-shadow' kicks or 'under the dress' kicks. You may have seen pictures/films of traditional Chinese scenes where a man is wearing a kind of long robe/gown with slits down the sides.

      The gown is typically about mid-calf in length and hid the WC kicks extremely well. Hence the other terms for the kicks.

    *EDIT* Forgot to add defence against kicks ... WC uses the legs to deal with legs on the whole. There are different points that you can attack in the lifetime of the opponent's kick. I can't remember anywhere near all of them.

    1. Kick the kick as the foot leaves the floor. The best possible scenario - pre-emptive. How to deal with fakes? Dunno, rush in?

    2. Opponent's kicking foot is off the floor, step into the arc of the kick and attack the supporting leg.

    There's quite a lot more to it but I can't remember it all. This is not actually something I've done myself since I am a noob. I'll see if I can dig an article up soon.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2004
  2. Chickenpants

    Chickenpants New Member

    Good show!

    A couple of my comments ,as with the other thread bear in mind that I am a beginner and as such other more experienced people will have a lot more to say than I possibly could, hopfully this can be useful as I am still concentrating on basic things thay you guys take as automatic.

    We are learning the lifting kick at the moment and are told to try and hit with the shin, the reasons being
    a) It means you are less likely to miss the target, as if it is a bit farther away than you expected, or they step back you will still get them with the foot.
    b) As a bone it is structurally stronger than a collection of joints (i.e. the front/top of the foot).
    c) The shape of the front of the shin is quite point and can hurt quite a bit.

    The reasons for us keeping kicks below waist height are.
    a) To allow us to get our feet back on the ground as quickly as possible, if one foot is in the air you can be unbalanced very easily.
    b) We tend to keep top and bottom half seperate i.e. hands cope with anything above the waist, legs with anything below.

    Further to the kicking at the knee bit, we are kicking to just above and to the outside of the knee where a good kick or two (or knee) can give the person a dead leg, but wont ruin their chances of becoming a ballet dancer.

    Just my thoughts,

  3. Gyaku

    Gyaku Valued Member

    Interesting comments, especially regarding closing in along an angle. I think the real value (for me anyway) is in the turning stance. It works very well in confined areas. In what context would you use your kicks? What kind of opponent/situations are WC kicks suited?
  4. CFT

    CFT Valued Member

    In low-intensity sparring when I have felt my arms being jammed or pinned I have sometimes instinctively gone for a low kick to the knee (obviously not with full force). When I say instinctively I really mean it - just didn't think about it at all - I was so surprised :eek: Just goes to show that all the drilling does work.

    In the future I would like to develop the trips and sweep side of things.
  5. Chickenpants

    Chickenpants New Member

    If you have gone in with some chain punches the other person may start to turn away/curl up, bring up their hands to shield there head.

    This would probably leave their lower half more vulnerable. Also as CFT says as a distraction from your hands.

    If you want to prevent the other person being able to run after you when you make your escape.

    A good kick has more power than a punch (I assume so, does it?)

  6. RichieRich

    RichieRich Valued Member

    Kicks are interesting in WC - as you guys have pointed out we only have low (below the waist) and tend to use them at a shorter range.

    I think the absence of these "Hollywood kicks" is smart of a number of reasons.

    More stability, easier, faster recovery
    Harder to trap kicks
    More fluidity between hands and feet and in fighting in general.
  7. CFT

    CFT Valued Member

    Theoretically and probably practically yes. The legs are heavier limbs than the arms, so if you compare limb momentum then there is a lot more force at the end of a kick.

    Also because balance is so intimately connected with the legs, I think that people may be able to instinctively use their body weight better when delivering a kick. Especially in the UK where many kids grow up playing football (soccer).
  8. wcrevdonner

    wcrevdonner Valued Member

    Thats a good point cft.

    To add, the front toe is turned in so its easier to protect the groin. The hips aren't completely turned forward, (unless you're a beginner) because you have no stability if someone pushes you from the front

    Foot work:

    To my mind, the basic footwork we have is arrow step and semi-circling step.

    To arrow step: you move the front leg first, stepping toe-heel, (like your looking for broken glass on the floor) and then drag the back leg. The feet are kept as close to the floor as possible, and your hands are firm. When you arrowstep forward, it is done with intension, ie moving forward to strike or bridge.
    When moving back, you move the back leg first, then drag the front leg back. Again, especially when moving backwards, be aware of your hands, since if you move back, its because you are under pressure.

    Someone else for semi-circling step...
  9. CFT

    CFT Valued Member

    Note that although we practice stepping backwards in a straight line for developmental purposes, almost no-one advocates stepping backwards in a straight line in a real fight. For one thing you'd probably run out of space before long.

    If forced back, I've always (so far) stepped back at 45-degrees to get the outer gate position. Although there is a saying in WC that WC only goes forward and not back, I believe this to be too prescriptive an ideal. A pivot or side-step is probably less energy/effort, but a step back could give you an extra half-second if your defence is sound.

    There are some good examples from sifu Allan Lee's website: http://www.wingchunnyc.com/ (look in Techniques, Articles and Gallery).
  10. wcrevdonner

    wcrevdonner Valued Member

    Agreed. From a natural perspective, stepping out of the way is a natural thing to do anyway, modifying so you're at a correct angle doesn't take much effort.
  11. MartialArtsSnob

    MartialArtsSnob New Member

    Let me start by saying that my experince with Wing Chun is limited, however I have great respect for it. I belive that the reason that Wing Chun has a limited vaiety of kicks is because the entire art is very "distilled". Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't it developed by some of the greatest minds at the time who were commisioned to come up with a system of "Fighting" that could be taught to a large group with limited time be very leathal, and could be used in formation, (troops). I think that this is why the art is so effective, you train exactly how you fight. No frills, nothing fancy, this works great and in short order.

    I think that there are however ways to develop more power. Other "longer study" systems use them. It is demonstratable that the momentum force created by a long hands system will crush the short frame of Wing Chun (all else being equal).

    There are a great many "Hollywood" kicks that are very effective. Due to the fact that you are potentialy more vulverable during the kick you must train much longer to be able to do them without getting yourself killed. The other styles that apply more kicks must teach additional principles. Is this better? I would say only if you are ready to train a very long time and are willing to get whooped by Wing Chun guys for quite some time. In my opinion the best kicks are ones that maintain a lower framework. The whole body move as one (solid) unit. This is not easy. The famework which makes Wing Chun so effective is found is every martial art (that I have seen). I have notice that in messing around with Hsing-I that it looks a whole lot like Wing Chun on a freight train, and the Pa Qua looks a whole lot like Wing Chun in circles ( just turn the upper frame 90 degrees). With these mobile systems though you get to add to the power you can generate with WC. You can add forward motion and centrifical force.

  12. RichieRich

    RichieRich Valued Member

    Wing Chun was allegedly created by a young lady called "Wing chun".. the history of the art is almost a fable and easily googled. I think an over-arching concept in WC is redundancy, which is why we don't have the boom-bang Hollywood kicks. Our punches are probably 80% of maximum power, but each one is followed by 5 more, so there is an inherent tolerance for faliure in any one punch. The military LOVE redundancy - they'll drop 30 bombs from 3 planes just incase some of the bombs don't go off or a plane gets downed on the way. It increases your chance of prevailing and minimizes risk. This concept is clearly incongruent with hollywood kicks, which is why I believe we don't have them. Wing Chun is a very logical / mathematical style (IMHO) .. if you were to create a martial art based on pragmatic economy of effort and minimization of risk, I suspect it would look a lot like wing chun.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2004
  13. MartialArtsSnob

    MartialArtsSnob New Member

    I totaly agree, I just think that for the lifetime study of martial arts. There is a lot more out there. No one style has all the answers and Wing Chun is no exeption. The great thing is that in Wing Chun one of the first things you get is the ability to really fight. Other styles are much more comprehensive but take 3 times as long to "get it".

    I used the term "Hollywood kicks" because I was quoting an earlier post. Wing Chun just kept the easiest, most effective kicks. Other styles with a more dynamic footwork system will allow a greater variety of kicks and some of them are as effective as Wing Chun kicks but as I said I think that is a long road and there are many "hollywood types" that are willing to do stuff that just looks good. When the gloves come off though just watch how small their kicking arsanal becomes.
  14. CFT

    CFT Valued Member

    Unfortunately this is no longer necessarily the case in a lot of schools, hence the poor perception of Wing Chun as an effective infighting art.

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