I’ve been watching videos online and the Wing Chun chain punch (roll punch) doesn’t really look that effective to me. Is it?
Answer: You’re right. Watching the roll punch online doesn’t look very powerful. Although its speed is impressive, especially on video where it’s usually just a blur.

My sifu admits that out of all the punches available in the world, the Wing Chun punch is one of the weaker ones. (The One Inch punch is another matter.)

You’re not going to knock anyone out with it unless you’re very lucky. But it is very effective in other ways. It is also one of the foundations of Wing Chun.

A textbook roll punch is a three punch combo coming out in rapid succession. i.e. right-left-right or left-right-left.

The Chain Punch Represents a High Form of Interruptability

By training the roll punch you open up a world of possibility.

– Think of it like three quick jabs on a person: At a basic level the chain punch is effective like three quick and alternating jabs;

– The roll punch gives you access to “two arms at the same time”: The cover punch, or trapping, is made possible once you figure out the roll punch. While one hand is punching, the other is either covering or trapping your opponents arm(s);

– The roll punch doesn’t have to be punches: Once you’re comfortable with the cover punch, you can get specific. Perhaps a
palm strike or chop is more effective in the situation, use those instead of fists;

– You don’t have to aim at the same target: In many videos the chain puncher is aiming at the same target, usually the head. This is perfectly fine. However, a more skilled Wing Chun fighter can take advantage of other targets in the same time frame. i.e. one to the head two to the body, head-body-head, or any other effective combo you wish to train;

– The chain punch leads to good defense, too.: As in the example earlier, you don’t have to use fists in your roll punch. Likewise, your “punches” don’t have to be attacks. If your opponent counter attacks during your chain punch you can instantly change it into a defensive moves like pak sao, lap sao, bil sao, or a dozen more until you get your opening for your next attack.

How to Make the Roll Punch More Powerful

Use your hips. Most people just use the arms. By slightly turning your hips behind the punches, more of your body mass gets behind the punches.

Next, train a combo. Roll punch and follow up with a heavy strike. i.e. The L-hook, stomp kick, elbow, or knee strike work really well.

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