October 12, 2013 / in Techniques and Styles / by Sifu Justin Och
One of the most well-known and misinterpreted martial arts, Ving tsun kuen (more commonly written as Wing Chun) has baffled many as a style that involves simple and direct footwork. For many Kung Fu systems, complex footwork has always been a normal thing, but Wing Chun breaks that mold—believing in simple and direct movements for attack and evasion. Relying on quick footwork without large movements, one of the most important components of Wing Chun Leg fighting is Chi Gerk. When the standards and principles of Chi Gerk Wing Chun leg fighting are mastered by the fighter, it becomes automatic in his conscience. Chi Gerk training involves approximately 5 stages:
Stage 1: ROOTING
It is necessary to understand the significance of a strong stance (rooting) to begin any formal training on Chi Gerk Wing Chun leg fighting. The power of the stance is essential for chi sao as well i.e, the fight to have control over your body’s central line, sticking your hands and using it for defense and retaliating in a series of successive attacks.
STAGE 2: ONE –LEG STANCE
The primary stage commences with the practice of siu nim tau on one leg. At least for an hour, the fighter alternates his legs until he tires himself out. This ensures his balance, flexibility and power. When siu nim tau becomes natural for the fighter, the next step is to practice many alternating front and side kicks to balance your central line and the journey of your leg.
STAGE 3: SENSITIVITY
The third stage in Chi Gerk Wing Chun leg fighting involves the understanding of the art of sensitivity. Adopting single leg stances, two men are driven to grasp each other’s forearms. This is followed by a kick initiated by one of them to which an immediate defense strategy should be employed by the defender. This strategy should be quick and can involve either blocking or trapping. When the active leg loses balance, the other leg must take over and position itself to get into attack mode. This change must be detected by the partner and he must control the change by crashing down on the leg and pinning it down. As the fighter gains proficiency, he must learn to free himself from the grasp of the forearm.
STAGE 4: CHI SAO AND CHI GERK
In this stage, both Chi Sao and Chi Gerk are deployed in unison. While tying up the fighter’s hands, leg style and techniques or when a fighter identifies a weak stance of his opponent.
STAGE 5: ADVANCED STAGE
This stage makes the fighter take out one big factor (and what drives most of their techniques to this point): eyesight. The techniques that the fighter has learned so far would be administered under blindfold. This allows his senses to take over and lets him see through his sense of touch and hearing. This becomes a benefit for the fighter during unfortunate circumstances such as home invasions or a dark parking lot in low lit areas. At later stages, the fighter uses the gerk jong (the kicking dummy) to streamline his positions and techniques. This makes the fighter more sensitive and prepared to meet the brute strength of his opponent.
One should always remember that, in addition to having strength and discipline, a true Chi Gerk Wing Chun leg fighter should never utilize his knowledge to showcase his superiority. The process of gaining vast knowledge of Wing Chun always begins with humility.