Sunday, September 25, 2011

Boxing: Initial Thoughts From A Wing Tsun Perspective

Signed up with a boxing gym about 4 weeks ago as my primary means to stay in shape. Before then, I've been doing your typical workout routine - weights, resistance training, supersets, etc. My intention for joining the boxing gym is simply to change up my workout routine.

My current routine consists of going to the boxing gym 3 to 4 times per week, with one day focused on weight/resistance training. Before, my workout would be 3 to 4 times per week and consisted primarily of resistance training and cardiovascular training.

Over the weeks, I've met some great people. Majority of them are like me - just looking for a fun way to stay fit. There are a few who are looking for real boxing training and then you have some who seem to have a martial arts/kick boxing/karate/taekwondo background and then you got a few who are MMA guys. Everyone's really nice and there are no egos. We all respect each other's space and commitment to their workouts but always friendly and help each other when needed.

Now coming from a WT perspective, I have noticed some interesting things - i will probably go into detail with them in future posts, but for now, I would like to just note what I've seen:

  • As much as WT/WC /VT claims they can punch 5 punches a second (which they can), it's just not the same as a boxer who can punch 5 punches a second or even 3 punches a second. While the principles of a constant barrage of attacks are the same, throwing 4 punches in a second as a boxer is FREAKING EXHAUSTING. It's not like that with the wing chun chain punch at all.
  • Wing chun brags about how it's a direct style of fighting - shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I've said it before, and i'll say it again - who cares? If the other guys punch is faster than yours, it doesn't matter whether they attack along the centre line or not.
  • The boxer uses the body more when delivering punches. This is not normally the case with wing chun. I would say i've been blessed with my Wing Tsun Si-Fu as he's one of the few that has recognized this and encourages all his students to really use the entire body to deliver hits (once the proper foundation and principles are taught). I've seen too many experienced WC guys just chain punch with a dead stance, locked shoulders and just flicking their punches at the other guy (you can see what i mean here) - but there's no body behind the hits whatsoever..unlike here. WT structure, sticking and foot work should open the way for you so that you can throw hits safely with your entire body, with movement of the shoulders, and bending of the knees, and weight on the front leg (YEA I SAID IT) etc.
  • While in wing chun, the idea is the pummel the enemy with constant attacks (chain punches), the training (with the exception of chain punch drills) doesn't really focus on this too much. Usually it's only one response to one attack..and then chain punches follow. One response to one attack...then chain punches follow. it almost creates this mentality (and builds into your muscles) a one shot one kill approach to wing chun (for example, tan sao punch, chain punch, reset. or pak sao, punch, chain punch, reset). In boxing, there is a lot of emphasis on combination hitting, always looking to knock out that opponent.
  • Although probably not fair to say this, but do you think you can tan sao or even chain punch through this (in particular 1:26 into the clip)? Btw, do you think big muscles slow you down?
On the flip side...

  • There is very little emphasis on teaching proper body structure - it's just a matter of finding it on your own I suppose. I see a lot of people who have been to the gym for much longer with very bad body structure when they throw punches at the heavy bag..even in the air for that matter.
  • Lack of rootedness - some of the guys or girls punch too hard for their own body to keep up and they get pushed back by the impact/shock of the own punch.
  • Not used to hitting moving objects - I really enjoy the double ended speed bag. I find that majority of the guys there avoid it as it's weird. The thing hits you back and at the same time, their eyes shut when the bag comes at them. Luckily for me, the chi-sao and lat sao and whatever else we do has trained my eyes to stay relatively open and the bag is not moving as "fast" as others see it.
  • Big muscular guys with tattoos don't necessarily mean they can throw bad ass, powerful punches. i have small hands, wrists, ankles and I'm quite boney actually..but when i punch, the bag moves (yay!). When they punch, however, they move or they just don't hit that hard.
  • There's no follow through in their punch - they just hit the bag and the arm comes back. You can really tell how the punch is more focused on pulling back than hitting. When I punch, at least for WT, there's a lot of emphasis on hitting BEHIND the target and have good follow through. i noticed this transfers well over to boxing, although I've had to recalibrate and focus on pulling back to some degree for the context of boxing.
  • There are some guys, typically the larger frame guys, who sure can hit FREAKING HARD..you can really hear the impact. But it takes a lot of wind up, in a sense, and distance. Coming from a WT background, it's easier to throw the punch from where ever the hand is (this is how it's taught in boxing by the way..just not as emphasized compared to WT). I can see that it's important to really RUSH INTO THE ATTACKER to really shut him down. Any hesitation means all that power from his punch is coming your way.
  • In boxing you have the safety of gloves - big 16 oz gloves that are nicely padded to help you defend yourself and protect your hands. You don't have that in WT or self-defense scenario and it's easy to be dependent on the gloves and think you can punch just as hard without gloves....yea..and break your hand at the same time.
  • There are no variables such as dealing with kicks, take downs, elbows, grabs, knees, etc. Thai boxers keep their shoulders square and their head up high. The western boxer bobs and weaves. The thaiboxer doesn't weave or bob because they know a knee is coming their way.
  • Boxing trainers..at least the ones in this gym who are more focused on satisfying your goals, really make you feel awesome. When they work the pads or heavy bag with you, they are encouraging you and saying things like "NICE PUNCH! GOOD POWER! KEEP GOING! DOING GREAT!" Makes you feel like you're Ali himself! Big mistake. The saying goes, the heavy bag doesn't hit back... it's not unreasonable to think that people who join this gym think they can actually defend themselves... very scary.

These are just some of the observations that have come to mind in the last few weeks. I look forward to more sessions at the gym and to WT now - both provide perspective for each other. It's an interesting lens to analyze the two activities. More to come for sure.

Until then.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Wing Chun Man! Shawn Obazi

Remember this guy? He's Shawn Obazi - the wing chun man! And if you don't remember him, check out my other post here.

And guess what? He's fighting and using his wing chun..or is he?

I'm sure the comment threads are all over this - about how crappy his wing chun is or what not, but guess what? he's getting in the ring and fighting other styles - already doing more than the wing chun guys out there..

here's one of his fights:

here's a sneak peek at his wing chun skill.

You be the judge. what are your thoughts?

Until then.


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