Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ancient Chinese Secret For Deadly Elbow Strikes

What a horrible title… probably ripped off an issue of Inside Kung Fu circa 1992.

Lately, I’ve really been focusing on forms training. It’s funny how certain aspects of training seem more ‘fun’ than others..and what is fun now, isn’t fun 3 months from now and vice versa.

Like the seasons that come and go, so does our attention span for certain training patterns, drills, etc. And, for now, it seems a lot of my attention and discovery is in forms training, more specifically the biu tze form. 

Why all the focus on this form?

First of all - With the unpredictable nature of my work, training classes have been fewer and far between.. Forms training allows me to get in some training in the convenience of my apartment, and on my schedule. 

Second – I miss the beauty and flow of forms training from my kung fu/karate days. Sure wing chun has the SNT and Chum Kiu but I found them to be quite the snooze fest. The biu tze feels more fun in that it has more movement involved and is more reminiscent of my kung fu forms and katas.

Third – conditioning. Although not really cardiovascular conditioning (unless purposely trained with that intent), there’s coordination and functional conditioning as well as muscle memory conditioning that forms training ingrains into the body. The moves become second nature when under the stress of partner drills and sparring.

And to that point, I’m discovering the appreciation of that stretch you get and need to deliver elbow strikes with WT-specific flavour and intention. Similar to how we’re taught to stretch our arms to punch the WT way, a similar type of conditioning and flexibility is required to throw elbow strikes.

Furthermore, is the need to deliver such strikes on the ‘funny’ stance found within the WT curriculum… It’s easy to get off kilter when throwing a forceful elbow strike, while seated in the 100/0 weight distribution stance as seen in the WT lineage of wing chun.

And I’m finding it ‘fun’ to discover what is too much force, what isn’t enough and how to improve on this..all through forms training. Getting that stretch is also important. The stretch extends from the tip of the shoulder, all the way through the lats and even hips for me. I like that stretch feeling and I notice how much more work I need to do. I also find benefit to such flexibility.

Flexibility just lets you throw the strikes with more ease…resulting in a faster, harder strike.

Which is why I also try to maintain flexibility in my legs too. Stretching them out so that you can kick high means that kicking low will only be that much easier!

All in all, I’m enjoying the biu tze form at the moment. What are you training?

Until then…

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