Newton’s law addresses countering energies, essentially saying that they provide an upward and forward counteracting force versus the opposing forces of gravity and rooting (the inertia caused by planting your feet correctly). Because of the principles in Wing Chun countering, we always train students to always press forward and downward—even when traveling backwards. Tension and compression are all acting forces that either push or pull objects at rest together or apart. These countering acting energies become even stronger as they work together and off of one another.
Wing Chun Countering Energies Increased with Two
Two partners working together can also generate increased strength and stability that they may have not been able to reach alone. The point of balance between the two objects is called the center of mass, and this is the center of structural stability within this created dynamic. As the strength of one Wing Chun practitioner pushes through the lines of strength of the other, these Wing Chun countering energies and supporting forces create a balance point. Wing Chun works off of triangles found throughout the entire structure. This creates stability because at least one of the connective parts of a triangle is always pointing in the opposite direction of any force being applied. If this triangle or position is broken by leaning, over-committing, or otherwise losing your balance or power, then the triangle will dissolve into another shape and no longer have the structural integrity it once did.
This is why, in Wing Chun, having proper form is everything.
Countering Energies Through Practicing Continuous Flows
Depending on your lineage line, you may have attacks and drills that involve continuous flowing chains of offensive and defensive attacks and counters (like ours). Wing Chun is unique in these types of stand up reactive drills and even a third form that trains techniques for surviving and escaping a multiple attacker situation. This type of practical, repetitive training is exclusive to Wing Chun. No other martial art has these types of reaction drills.
A similar energy flow and sensitivity to balance and structure exists within Tai Chi push hands, and this is seen within Chi Sau. Wing Chun adds aggressive attack reactions into the mix. Wrist versus wrist doesn’t follow predetermined movements but is rather a constant barrage of attacks and reactions at extreme close-quarters. Wing Chun has kept this wrist against wrist tactic in order to keep both practitioners within striking range. Without this constraint, it’s easy for a student to start to run away or create huge distance between them and the assailant. This is a more realistic practice for dealing with a car assault, home invasion, bar or restaurant attack as the space, chairs, tables, and individuals surrounding you don’t allow for large, flowing movements. You must deal with what comes and survive or fail based on your training.
Car Assault Example
In the example of a car assault scenario, you are parked next to another vehicle, and you place your child in their seat. By opening the door you have cut off your only means of escape, and the assailant is upon you (plus you potentially have a child to protect). You have no space and no time—only room for a quick reaction. If we move this scenario to nighttime in your home or office, the lights are dim and the attack is on. Wing Chun asks “what if” questions and trains practitioners blindfolded so the only thing you can rely on are the skills instilled in you by your instructor and training. By having even one hand on your assailant in a low light you can “feel” where they are likely to attack (Ex. If the shoulder on one side moves in and down then the other is likely lifting and pulling back to hook punch.)
Precise Fighting applications with Wing Chun
Most people chamber the center torso when attacking with kicks or punches and so, by touching one side of the body, you can determine what the other person is likely to do. This reactive force of pulling back to strike forward can be sensed by the practitioner versus their opponent and can give them a pre-indication of the assailant’s next intentions. Nothing is foolproof, but if advanced drilling and training in this improves your effectiveness in low light fighting scenarios even a little bit, you can only gain.
Wing Chun’s small movements and properly timed attacks are used to defeat much larger and stronger attackers. Through proper power, speed, balance, and body structure, a small amount of force can be precisely applied. You not only deflect powerful attacks but expose the opponent’s vitals momentarily to a devastating counter-attack. Instead of blocking and then attacking as two separate movements, a Wing Chun practitioner will block and attack high and low at the same time. Techniques such as the Intercepting Fist “Cutting Arm” otherwise known as “Turning Punch” can cut into and disrupt the structure and attack of an opponent while allowing the Wing Chun practitioner to overtake and re-root any resistance. Through proven positions of power, the Wing Chun practitioner opens a pathway to the core vitals of their opponent both inside and outside of the assailant. These techniques automatically deflect while a countering attack, punch, and/or kick is delivered.