Building a solid Wing Chun foundation reminds me of a biblical parable and the house built on the sand:
“…And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
– Matthew 7:27
Biblical Truths Can Be Applied to Your Training
This parable from the Bible speaks about a man who built his house on the sand. It fell as soon as pressure from the storm and winds came. Before that, the verse speaks of the man who built his house on the rock. It stood firm under the tempest. The same goes for your training! Without good structure, techniques will not have a solid base from which to operate. They will collapse under the weight of an opponent that has developed their structure.
Yee Chi Kimyeung Ma – The First Form
Wing Chun uses Yee Chi Kimyeung Ma with its first form and many drills. This helps develop the student’s structure within the very first steps. Teaching students to root through the heels and keep their hips tucked underneath their spine allows for the lower body to be “rooted” into the ground. This is exactly the same theory as when one is finishing a squat. With the proper structure aligned through the spine, the student can now work on combining the hand techniques with the lower body structure.
With this combination, nearly any attack can be withstood! But this adjustment doesn’t come overnight. Something as integral as structure takes a long time to not only learn, but understand how to tap into that correct structure for power and strength. But why is this so hard? What could be so difficult about tucking in your hips?
The Difference with Wing Chun Foundation
As we grow as humans, from the very first step we learn to lean and press from our toes to walk. As we play sports and go through P.E. We always hear, “be on your toes” from our coaches. So the body is programed to learn to draw power from the toes from very early on. Structurally, however, this isn’t optimal location to withstand weight. With the balls of the toes being the primary source of contact, instead of utilizing the bones for structure, the calf and tibialus anterior is now recruited to stabilize the rest of the body.
The ability to withstand pressure is no longer contingent on the alignment of the bones of the body, but the muscle strength of the individual. Therefore, utilizing the toes as the contact point for structure is not the best option for the smaller fighter. Since it’s been recruited for so long, the body will not understand how to draw power from the heels without constant and consistent training.
Drilling Until It’s Second Nature
When practicing to develop any technique there are two (arguably three, with some) stages to learning and using a new skill: Programming and applying. When programming a new skill, first the user must be made aware of how to make the proper skeletal adjustments and where bad habits are manifesting. Once the awareness has been raised, the student can now practice to make the adjustments automatic. After the new technique has been programmed, it must be refined under pressure in the application portion of training. Just as gold is refined under fire, so will structure manifest itself when real, strong pressure it used against it! Once t’s tested over, and over, and over again, it will settle in with the mind-body connection.
So, you must decide. With your training, when the tempests come, and you are tested, will you have a strong house built on a rock? Or will you settle for one built on the sand? Find a good blueprint, and then work, work, work to make that house impregnable.