If you haven’t guessed yet one of our favorite martial arts to practice is Wing Chun. During one of our kung fu Q&A webinar sessions we where asked:
Why do Wing Chun practitioners chase their opponents hands?
In this video is the answer Sifu Phu Ngo gave to that question.
After listening to Sifu Phu’s answer I totally agree. It’s been my experience playing Chis Sao that many inexperienced students chase hands. I think some of the reason for this is bad muscle memory.
What I mean by this is during our lifetimes we create bad habits. It takes time to develop the ability to place your hands where they belong when they belong there.
The problem arises when you are feeling pressured. This is when the majority of mistakes happen. This is why I am against sparring full out until you have developed a decent level of skill.
I know some of you are thinking:
You have to spar against resisting opponents to get better!
Creating Bad Wing Chun Habits
While I agree you do need to spar, but not at the expense of creating bad habits, which is what happens when you start sparring right away.
You will also develop bad habits if your training partner is in it to win it for themselves.
What I mean by this: Is if your training partner isn’t allowing you to learn how to counter his/her attacks they aren’t giving you the time you need to figure out what your body should be doing. Instead they are inadvertently training you to create mistakes that will eventually become your habit.
I should warn you that it takes a lot of repetitive actions to cover up a bad habit in martial arts. So I am of the opinion that it’s better to just not create the bad habit in the first place.
Another thing most of us do is flinch. While flinching is a natural response to certain types of stimulus it can create a bad habit.
For example: When someone fakes a hook punch you might find that your eyes start to shudder real fast and you turn your head.
Flinching is something we can reprogram our response for. Instead of say fluttering your eyes we can instead train ourselves to throw a strike towards our opponent instead. This would be an example of taking a bad habit and turning it into a good habit.
Using A Wing Chun Wooden Dummy To Correct Chasing Hands
I believe that the Muk Jong is one of the most mis understood training tools in Wing Chun. It’s not only good for training your techniques, and conditioning your bones to take impacts.
The wooden dummy is also good for training proper arm placement. If you spend a good amount of time training on the Muk Yan Jong you will by default train your limbs to go to the right spot at the right time.
Over reaching and shooting past your structure is a common problem that occurs when sparring as well as fighting. Some of it has to do with not being able to deal with your adrenaline properly and some of it has to do with having a bad habit. The good news is both can be cured!
Have you found yourself in a situation before where you where chasing hands?