Welcome to another edition to Sifu’s Corner, where we answer your questions and then some. If there are any questions you would like Sifu Phu Ngo to address to you via video, leave us your question in the comments section below.
In this Sifu’s Corner, brother Markos wanted to know two things.
- How can we tense yet be relaxed to make our strike more effective?
- How to properly turn in a cat stance without losing your balance in the Bil Gee form?
Sifu Phu explains we do not tense the muscles, we tense the tendons instead. When you snap your punch it is in the last second, while this is happening your body should be and feel relaxed. Also you shouldn’t make a fist, as when people do this they tend to tense their muscles and squeeze too tightly. Instead simply form a fist lightly.
Try making a fist the way you would normally, then imagine it empty and relaxed. It takes some practice, however eventually it will just become natural as you build the muscle memory and get used to being relaxed.
Don’t have angry fists, have cool, calm and collected fists. 😉
Another tip Sifu Phu gives is to not move from your shoulders or throw your body. There are many reasons these are not good practice but the main point for this episode is, if you are doing either of these, then you are disconnecting your body and causing your muscles to tense. Instead move from your waist and remember to drive from the shoulder to the elbow to the wrist and have the wrist torque and turn to the point of contact.
When you use the waist along with your wrist this is called the ‘wraist’.
The key is not to be too tense, but rather to be intense. The key is to snap our punches, not thrust our punches. Think of injecting your punch instead of what most people do, which is pushing their punch into the opponent.
Sifu Phu also points out if your structure is bad, you are going to automatically use your muscle to compensate. To work on structure and strengthening your tendons, check out our videos inside the member’s area under the Ngo Dac Na and C.O.R.E. Training sections. There are plenty of exercises for you to practice and work on your strikes and wrist control.
You have to learn to relax and in general be in a relaxed state. Personally, Sifu Phu’s Qigong and Tai Chi have helped me be less stressed and more relaxed. If you haven’t incorporated these into your weekly routine, do yourself a favor and start now. First practice the Qigong 10 exercises and once you memorize them, you can start working on your Tai Chi memorization.
I cannot stress enough how much these two things have helped me leaps in bounds not just in my Kung Fu but also my life as a whole. And the benefits do not stop, they just keep growing and growing!
Now on to the next question about how to keep your balance while turning in a cat stance in the Bil Gee form…
The biggest thing to remember is your body structure and alignment. When you are turning, do not slouch, because if you do you will automatically be off balance. Think high as Heaven, low as Earth.
Next… Do not worry about your feet. Your feet do not matter, what matters is you should turn your hip first. When your waist moves, your feet will follow after.
To create proper pivoting you do not step first and then bring your body over, if you do, then you are going to be off balance in your cat stance. Instead we move our hips while keeping our structure (high as Heaven, low as Earth) and let our feet follow.
So keep your structure right and turn with your hips and let the feet follow in turn.
Watch this video to see the rest of Sifu Phu’s tips on this Sifu’s Corner:
Let us know if you have tried Sifu Phu Ngo’s tips he shared today and how it has helped you in the comments section below.
If you have a burning question you would like Sifu to address on the next Sifu’s Corner, please comment below too!
Blessings & Happy Training,
& The Enter Shaolin Family