I BELIEVE TWO OF THE MOST DESIRABLE ASSETS FOR ANY SERIOUS WING CHUN PRACTITIONER ARE TO POSSESS LIGHTNING SPEED TECHNIQUES PACKED WITH BONE-BREAKING POWER.
In order to achieve this; one must work on developing one’s speed and power through explosive drills. Long gone are the days where people thought weight lifting would make a person slower, or if a person was born to be slow that he/she could never become faster.
If you pay close attention to Olympic athletes, you can see that their physiques, together with the current Olympic records they break, and you will further understand what I am talking about. Who would have thought that with this type of training people would become stronger, run faster, swim faster, jump higher and importantly, hit harder?
Now, if you see yourself as an athlete, you must also train like one—never forgetting the theories and principles that embody our beloved Wing Chun system—to achieve maximum results through this type of training.
Nowadays, explosive drills are often used on athletes from various sports who need to generate the maximum amount of power in a short amount of time, and these principles fit perfectly in our field of the martial arts.
The goal of explosive exercise training is to ultimately move heavy weights very quickly and with ease. If you do not have access to weights or even a gym, you can definitely achieve great results solely with body weight exercises.
Evidence suggests that in order to achieve maximum power or speed, one must focus on developing maximum strength and build a strong foundation first, then spend their time on speed training.
I will now explore the different exercises I do during my workouts from four different categories: Push, Pull, Speed and Isometric.
It’s a great upper-body workout, a drill designed to build power and also strengthen your wrists. Assume a push-up position on your toes and fists with both arms at chest level, just slightly wider than shoulder width. Drop your body low, keeping your elbows close to your ribs, then push yourself off the floor with full explosive power and make sure to land back on your fists while keeping your arms straight, locking your elbows. The higher the “drop” the more force is absorbed, subsequently developing more power.
With this one, you develop speed by using a resistance band or a bungee cord. You secure the band at chest height behind you and grab one handle with your hand close to your shoulder. Execute the punch with an explosive action, pushing the handle straight forward until your arm is completely extended and parallel to the floor.
A similar thing that can be done to improve speed in your kicks is to work on this drill with your legs by tying the band around your foot or ankle (but don’t forget to lower the height of where you’ve secured the other end of the band).
Another great drill to develop power is the single leg squat. Stand on one leg and, in a controlled manner, squat down as low as possible without dropping your other leg onto the floor. You may need assistance when you try this exercise for the very first time. If you do not have a training partner available, you can use a chair to help maintain balance, or if your leg is not strong enough you can simply pull from it in order to stand back up.
A great way to increase the speed of your Lap Sao (Pulling Hand) is with this exercise. Use the same resistance band or bungee cord attached to the same height you had it before when you were working on the arrow punch. However, this time stand facing the band, hold onto the handle with your arm extended in front of your chest (maintaining the resistance band with enough tension), then pull the handle back with the elbow that’s leading the way and twist your body into the same direction, ensuring you keep your back straight.
For tremendous pulling power, you can perform chin-ups by grasping onto a sturdy bar (one-handed) with a firm underhand grip and your other hand pulling from a strong towel, ensuring your arms are separated about shoulder-width apart. Hang with your arms straight, although avoid relaxing your muscles and shoulder joints too much in this position as it can place major stress on your joints. Then pull yourself up until your chest nearly touches the bar. Do not forget to alternate the hand that is grasping onto the towel when you work out.
I think we all know this one, but are you doing it properly? Make sure your punches go in and out straight, not rolling in a circular motion in any way. My Sifu always says, think of the example of an arrow hitting a target, in order for it to thrust it must be straight rather than circular.
As you work on your chain punches you must aim to be faster and connect each punch with power, making an effort to do them to the best of your ability. To keep track of your self, count how many punches you can land on the wall bag in a 10 second period. Seek to improve your numbers in every single session.
When it comes down to developing speed, we need to fire up the nervous system both in the starting and stopping motion, building more muscle memory at a faster pace. While doing this, each exercise gradually becomes easier with an explosive force behind it.
Stand in front of a wall, lean onto it at a 45-degree angle, placing both hands on the wall (shoulder width apart). Then for 10 seconds sprint as fast as you can while raising your knees and pushing the wall as hard as you can.
The benefit of this exercise is to develop muscle memory in motion, light footwork, speed of reaction, and last but not least, to burn a lot of calories.
If you combine this sprint exercise together with bunny hops during interval circuit training, you will have a great leg workout. To perform a bunny hop all you need to do is squat down with your feet approximately shoulder width apart and jump as far forward as you can. Land and then quickly jump again.
With this exercise, you will strengthen your muscles with contractions against resistance with movement. All you need to do is to sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you (feet together), then place both fists on the floor, by your sides, and raise your whole body off the floor while maintaining that position for as long as you can.
This was a brief insight into what I have used to take my Wing Chun training to the next level (physically). I am sure if you put a sufficient amount of effort into it, together with persistence, you will achieve great results too.