What do you suggest for daily home training? (I’m a 1st grade student)
Answer: Hi Jan, this is definitely a question you should ask your sifu. Each school is different and your sifu may want you to focus learning something that another sifu may not find as important.
So let me answer like this.
If I were to start all over again, knowing what I know now, these would be the 4 things I’d spend more time practicing as a 1st grade student:
1 — Footwork: I would practice my half step, full step, circle step, defensive step, and feminine offenses step. I would spend time becoming more agile on the of my feet (the part of the foot just behind the toes and just before the arch).
Good cross training would be something like playing basketball in the key, tennis, maybe even volleyball. These sports require the player to move quickly in short distances on the balls of the feet.
Besides, you’ll need very good footwork in sparring. People don’t stand still and let you hit them.
2 — Straight punch/roll (chain) punch: The Wing Chun punch takes some getting used to. It took me a while before I felt like I could have any force behind. I would deftly fit against a fixed target and I would learn to use my hips with the punch to make it stronger, as well as placing my entire body mass through my target when I hit him or her.
If you can’t develop the right power with your punches, you may have trouble developing power with any of the Wing Chun strikes.
3 — Sil Lum Tao form: I would practice this extra slow, right from the beginning. Not only is this a great workout, many people say this is one way to develop Chi (Qi) energy. For an even more intense workout (but maybe not for developing Chi energy) practice this form “dynamically”.
What I mean by this is to tense all your muscles while you to the form slowly. I just recently learned this technique and you won’t believe the amount of sweat you have at the end of the form.
4 — Cover punching: This is when one arm is punching while the other one is covering and feeling the opponent. Usually at the elbow of their nearest arm.
To do this well takes a high level of ambidexterity (using both hands at the same time, a great level of coordination), and that only comes from a lot of practice. Once you get competent with this it opens up many other possibilities and improves your overall interruptability (hand/arm, but not necessarily your footwork interruptability, see #1 above for that).
There you have it, just four “little” areas to focus on while you’re a first grade student.
What I found is once I was able to get competent in these areas (note: improvement and perfection never ends), learning new Wing Chun moves and skills came easier and faster.
It’s usually the beginning Wing Chun that takes most people the longest to figure out. But if they stick with it, improvement seems to accelerate (of course, not in a straight line, but steadily upward).
Keep at it!