A few different philosophies exist for Wing Chun footwork…
Wing Chun Footwork
Stances 50-50 Balance
[0:00 Transcript Begins] Okay, so Wing Chun footwork… some styles like to have more weight on the back leg, less weight on the front leg. The idea is so they can kick more.
But we’re going to talk about the styles that like to have a 50%-50%, more balance footwork approach. The reason is it’s easier for them to move, to be more mobile.
But when you’re in this position. Of course, if you take a very long step, now you’re in a very bad spot because now you can’t step again until you shift your body weight to pick up that foot.
So, one of the secrets is that you don’t want your stance too wide. So actually from this spot I can pick up my foot and step this length, this far, from here to here, without really affecting my balance too much.
The same thing for my back leg. Pick up a little bit, just a tad. That’s basically how long or wide my steps should be. So actually very small [short].
So if you’ve ever played any court sport or watched it on T.V. like tennis or basketball. Typically when they’re in a tight spot, not really moving their legs very long distances, they’re not really stretching them too long. Just enough to move around to be mobile.
So that’s the 50-50 stance, that’s the idea behind it.
[1:18] The Neutral Stance. It’s about shoulder-width apart. That would be what we call a neutral stance. The toes are in line (or pointed slightly in).
The reason you’d stand in this, hopefully it’s not to fight. Some people do. You see that a lot online.
But for other lineages, they just use it as a neutral position so you don’t have to think about the legs. You just focus more on the upper body and your arms and strikes or blocks.
Front Stances and Side Neutral Stances
[1:43] The left front stance would be with the left foot forward. So that will be the front stance with the left foot or vice-versa with the right foot.
So that’s typical front stance, and that’s your fighting stance.
Some Wing Chun styles will have a side-neutral stance. Here’s a neutral stance with toes pointed forward, toes pointed-in just a tad, knees bent.
But a side neutral you just shift. So what it does it puts, you may not be able to see it, it puts one hip, one side of your hip, forward.
And the other way, the same thing happens with the opposite hip is forward.
[2:26] Okay, Neutral Stance. Forward just so you can practice using your hands.
Side Neutral. That’s only in some schools. Not in many. Again in this side-neutral stance, it may be backward on the video, but my right hip is forward. If I use a left side-neutral my left hip is going to be forward.
And technically what it is; forward stance, but whoever is on this side of me, that will be my left side neutral stance.
Umm, So here. Side neutral to you and if I shift my body this way, that’s actually a forward stance (to them).
And the reason being I can still kick, I can still strike. So you have about a 90 degree arc where I have a pretty strong fighting stance. From here to here.
That’s important when you start shifting and moving around fighting or sparring. You have to understand where you have strength and where you don’t have strength in your stance.
So for example this is a front stance, very strong forward and backward. If I get pressure it’s very easy for me to adjust (front and back).
If I get pushed from an almost perpendicular angle I have no more support so it’s easy for me to get pushed off balance. Forward and backward I’m very strong.
For the side neutral I can kick, and I have a little bit more range in order to fight with.
[3:56] So with the footwork, you have basic steps. From a front stance we call half-steps, you can go forward or backward. This is a half-step forward, half-step back.
This is very basic footwork that any new Wing Chun practitioner would learn, especially in the case with the schools where they have a 50-50 (50%-50%) balance in their stance.
It takes a little bit of coordination for some people. Because when you want to move forward, the forward leg moves first, not the back leg.
This one moves first, this one follows. When you moves backwards, then it’s the opposite. This one moves first, this one follows.
It’s a little weird for most people, because when you walk, actually your rear foot moves first, right? Your rear foot moves first. But when you’re fighting you take half-steps forward.
Full-Steps (circle steps)
[4:47] Now if you need to clear longer distances, instead of taking half-steps, because you’d have to take maybe three or four half-steps, what you can do is take what’s called a full-step, which looks similar to a normal step. A normal walking step.
When you do it in a textbook way you want to open up the lead leg, so there’s room for the rear leg to walk through, circle [circle step], and get back into a front stance.
When you take a step backwards, the same thing happens. The rear leg adjusts to give room for the front leg to move back [circle step], and now you’re now back into a front stance.
What’s nice about this method of walking [stepping] is that you can turn it into a kick and move forward.
And the same thing retreating. Kick. And you go back.
[5:35] We have some other footwork to help with the angles. A lot of our defensive moves are not blocks like a lot of people say, but they’re deflections and parries. And it’s not just the arms, it’s a lot of the hips and the footwork.
[5:52] Defensive Step: One of the first ones many people will learn is the Defensive-step. From the neutral position you just step like this, and back around the other way.
As an example, you see this line here in the concrete just pretend that’s the line of attack. If I take a defensive-step, I’ve moved most of my body away from the line of attack.
And back the other way. Again, I’m past the line of attack. That’s how I move my body out of the way.
Feminine Offensive/Masculine Offensive
[6:26] We have one that’s called the feminine offensive. So again, the line is going between my body to represent my centerline, that’s also the line of attack from my opponent.
So my feminine offense looks a little like this, then I go in to their center. From the other direction, the same idea.
[6:56] Masculine Offensive: We’ve talked about Feminine Offensive. But then there’s also a Masculine Offensive. That will be where the rear foot moves forward and gives you room for an attack.
A Feminine Offensive is going to be this; the rear foot goes behind the front foot, and you’re attacking.
The Masculine Offensive is the rear foot moves first and the front leg follows while you’re attacking.
Side-Step/Full Side-Step (T-stance)
[7:24] Another footwork is called the side-step, and that’s really good when you have a lot of pressure coming at you, or even with [against] a kick.
So the side-step is similar to the feminine offensive but first you end up in a T-stance. My feet represent a ‘T’.
And from there I can readjust and come right in.
It’s very similar to the Feminine-Offensive The main difference is the feminine offensive is much more offensive (aggressive). So I’m right here. I’ve already gone in while I’m attacking.
A side-step could be more defensive, letting the energy go through, the attack go through. Represented by the center line, or the line in the concrete, before I come in.
As well with kicks. And from the other side. The same idea, side-step and then. Side-step kick.
[8:22] Full Side-Step: We also have what’s called a ‘Full Side-Step‘. So again if you have more pressure and need to evade even more.
And the same idea as a side-step but you use the rear leg as the pivot point. So you’re opening, move your full body out of the way.
[8:34] So side-step. Boom, boom. Step, step in. The other side, step away, back in.
My front leg pretty much stays in the front and I’m just moving my body and letting the foot (kick, attack) pass me.
So the Full side-step my front leg is moving all the way out of the way. My rear leg is staying in a similar position. So I’m taking a full side-step and coming in.
How’s that different? Here’s a side-step. It’s a much smaller move. Full side-step, all the way around.
The other side. Full side-step, and side-step.
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