Necessary Skills for Wing Chun
You do not need to be acrobatic, flexible, strong, or even young to do this style. Now I'm going to tell you what you need so you know how to do Wing Chun properly.
Basically, there are two areas of concern: things that are INTERNAL (coming from you) and things that are EXTERNAL.
We don't need to be ripped with bulging muscles. However, there are some physical needs that must be met, as well as mental and emotional ones.
- A DECENT LEVEL OF STAMINA: Wing Chun classes will run at least an hour, if not more. If you can't be on your feet that long, then you will not be able to perform the techniques properly. Also, if the class you join engages in Chi Sao or Sparring for any length of time, then you will need to have the endurance to last.
- THE ABILITY TO RELAX: Wing Chun relies on sensitivity and speed over strength. You cannot have either if you're tense. Tensing up your muscles is like pressing down on the gas and the brake in your car at the same time: you won't be very fast at all. Also, being tense all the time can lead to fatigue.
- HAND/EYE COORDINATION: Wing Chun is incredibly up close and fast. The margin for error is practically zero. Therefore, you need to have good hand/eye coordination, or you will find yourself on the losing end of many exchanges.
***A Word About Stamina Before We Move On***
If you haven't been physically active before you started taking Wing Chun, then you will experience an increase in your stamina.
However, your Wing Chun training will tax you only so much. After a while, your body will adapt to the strain, and your stamina will plateau. If you wish for this to keep increasing, then you will need a supplemental exercise program to push yourself to new levels.
You might think: "Aw, man, I'm already going to be paying a tuition at the Wing Chun school. I won't have money for a gym too! And how will I find the time to work out on top of training???"
I have an answer to that question. It is something that will not only give you better stamina, but stronger muscles as well, and that would be a training protocol known as...
HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING.
PLEASE NOTE - this is not the same as High Intensity INTERVAL Training. That training routine consists of so-called "cardio" exercises with no weightlifting. That is NOT what I mean.
To find out more, read this article:
it what you will, but good Wing Chun is impossible without it. I
mean, if you're the type of person who started going to class because
you had nothing to do on a Wednesday night, then by all means, be as
un-ambitious as you like...but, if you are someone who wants to be so
good at Wing Chun that you put Ip Man to shame, then this is
ESSENTIAL. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe Wing Chun. You need to
practice your forms at least once daily. Practice your punches, your
blocks, your kicks. Hone in on what your problem areas are. Ask your
Sifu what he/she thinks you need to do in order to advance to the
next level. This is the only way to improve.
SENSE OF REALISM:
Wing Chun can theoretically be learned faster than other martial
arts, you need to understand that you will not master it in a week!
You also need to accept the fact that some students may move on
faster than you. I remember a young woman who started only a week
after I did being highly upset because our Sifu was teaching ME Chum
Kiu, but not her and her boyfriend. In any Wing Chun school, the Sifu
is the one who sets the pace. If they think you are not ready to
learn the next step, but the classmate who started a month after you
is, then you have to accept that without getting offended.
showed you how to do a Tan Sao against a straight punch to the head,
but it isn't working for you. Why is that? What are you doing wrong?
How could you change it to make it work? Not only will analyzing
these things make Wing Chun work for you, but it will also make it
- THE ABILITY TO TAKE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM: When your Sifu tells you that you are doing Tan Sao wrong, they aren't doing it to make you look foolish. They do it because you pay them to show you how to do Wing Chun properly. Of course, if they say something like, "You're doing it wrong, moron," THAT would be abusive, and you should find another school.
- THE ABILITY TO ASK QUESTIONS: You'd be surprised how many times I was training with a classmate who wasn't sure how to do a specific technique and, when I would tell them to ask Sifu about it, they'd say, "Nah, I don't want to look stupid." You CANNOT be intimidated to ask questions, or you might develop a habit that will be a ridiculously long time to undo.
- TO ASSESS YOUR SKILLS ON YOUR OWN MERITS, NOT THOSE OF OTHERS: Okay, so Jimmy can punch faster than you. Tina can keep her balance better during a side kick. So what? You are YOU, not them. While there's nothing wrong with looking to classmates with higher skill as something to which you can aspire, you should not consider yourself worthless in comparison to them.
What kind of needs could I mean here? Well, they are pretty straightforward.
- ENOUGH INCOME: Without enough money to afford tuition or private lessons, there will be no way you can pursue your Wing Chun dreams.
- A NEARBY SCHOOL: Aside from one that is a reasonable distance from your house, it also has to have a schedule that allows you to attend.
- WAYS TO PRACTICE: This could mean many things like the ability to train with your classmates outside of class, access to training gear so you can create a solo training routine, and so on.