August 4, 2016 / in Techniques and Styles, Wing Chun Theory / by Tim Kittelstad
Doing anything with two hands is always better than one! Ever tried opening a jar? How about moving some furniture? Want to talk about safety? Everyone is taught to drive with two hands! Of course these tasks can be completed with some degree of success with one hand. But utilizing two hands doubles the effectiveness of that task. It’s the same with fighting, and yet many popular striking styles seem to shy away from simultaneous hand techniques. Believe me when I say, two hands are better than one in self defense.
Why Two Hands are Better Than One
Let’s take a look at two of the most popular and widespread styles of striking in America: Boxing and karate. Boxing (also called pugilism, meaning “fist fight”) was a sport dating as far back as 4,000 B.C. in ancient Africa. Karate is a self defense system that originated in Okinawa, Japan. Karate has become increasingly adapted for sport use as well. Both systems, for the most part, strike with one hand at a time. Karate has a few exceptions, but we’ll stay with general concepts here. Boxing uses the non-striking hand to keep the body covered while Karate’s chambering hand is prepping for power maximization. Karate does have other uses for the chambering hand (one being to pull the opponents hand down to clear for easy striking). Primarily, however, striking occurs with only one hand. In karate, the goal is to have as much power as possible focused into those strikes and to end the fight quickly.
The Wing Chun Two Hands Option
To achieve this maximum power, both systems start on their toes, connect to their hips, and rotate through the striking arm. However, if one could block and attack at the same time—and have enough power to knock someone out—would that not be more advantageous? As Master Sifu Och puts it, “Why pull away half your army when you can utilize all of it?”. Wing Chun seeks to demonstrate why two hands are better than one in martial arts. Wing Chun uses both hands (and sometimes a foot) as a single unit. This is achieved by driving the power from the heels and propelling the entire body forward as one cohesive unit. Instead of rotating the hips away, as in boxing, Wing Chun keeps both hips facing forward. With both hips engaged, both hands can now be activated simultaneously. With two hands going forward, opponents can now be blocked and attacked at the same with every strike.
Here is a video of Sifu Justin Och demonstrating the use of two hands in a practical self defense scenario:
In the video you can see how two hands allows the practitioner to double the effectiveness of his striking. When this happens, you have doubled your chances for effectively dissolving or resolving the situation. In an altercation every advantage is needed. If you’re facing one opponent—or two or six—every second is precious. By utilizing two hands, you gain valuable seconds by cutting out the time needed to alternate between strikes.
Two hands are truly better than one.