In Part 1, I introduced a simple model of how to appropriately train WingChun Applications. There were three elements, which I call Feed, Read and Deed. Now let’s further examine the first of these.
What is a Feed
By Feed I mean the action of the partner who plays the initiating attacker. In the IAW methodology we perform two kinds of Feeds: WingChun and non-WingChun.
The former we primarily train in the context of Chi Sao (黐手 Adhering Arms), Guo Sao (過手 Passing Arms) and Puen Sao (盤手 Coiling Arms), where both partners apply WingChun attacks. Secondly, when we do Applications, the Feeds are non-WingChun. Finally, Lat Sao (甩手 Casting Arms) is a hybrid of both Feed types. I will focus on Application Feeds below:
How to Feed
A good feed has three requirements, the last two of which are conditional. First, it must be accurate. Two, it should be powerful. Three, it could be fast. These are in order of priority: accuracy, power and speed.
Accuracy refers to correctly striking the target. Most students have no problem finding the right width and height; that is, the placement of a target along the left (-x) to right (+x) horizontal and high (+y) to low (-y) vertical axes.
However, the depth (z axis) is usually wrong. Specifically, the attack is too shallow (-z). In other words, it does not penetrate through (+z) the target but rather falls short in front of it. This does not give the defender a true sense of a viable attack, which does not just touch, but breaks, the target plane (xy).
The direction can be accurate, but the distance can be inaccurate. If an attack is not accurate, its power and speed are less effective variables. Power and speed are straightforward. They are how much muscular force and velocity you express in an attack. Their increase intensifies the potential damage of an attack.
The accuracy, but not necessarily the power and speed, is high in a proper Feed. Especially with beginners, power and speed can be decreased without sacrificing accuracy. Intermediate and advanced students should train to handle Feeds with maximum accuracy, power and speed.
A Feed Example
Imagine that you attack your partner’s liver using your right punch. What do you need to pay attention to so you Feed this well? Look at the target, which is on the low (-y) right (-x) region of you partner’s torso, about halfway between his shoulder and hip level.
This is not enough. You must also visualize the target in a third dimension — not just upon but — inside (+z) his ribcage. An easy mnemonic to create the right intention and outcome is to think about hitting all the way to his back: Not to, but through!
A final tip. You have probably observed a very common mistake during low strikes. As often as not, the Feed is too far to be of genuine danger to the target. Since you lose range by attacking a low, versus a shoulder level, target, you have to step in closer.
What’s the key reminder here? Your feet move your arms. In fact, relative to your upper limbs, your lower limbs are equally, if not more, crucial when giving realistic Feeds.
There’s more about Feeds, such as considerations with kicks and biomechanical reactions, which I talk about in my classes. But we’ll stop here. I hope you’ll integrate the essential information above. Please check back for Part 3, where you will learn to Read. Meanwhile, I’d love to see your comments below.
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Thanks for this great article! If you don’t train against attacks that will actually hit you, what are you training for? It’s a very easy mistake to make.
Thanks, Mike. Sometimes we forget the very basics! Writing these articles are reminders. Glad others find them useful too. Look forward to posting Part 3 about the Read.
Hi Paul, both parts contain great info and is very useful. As you say accuracy is key for begineers and reminds higher level students of how important it is. It is a shame there is not more theory to read. I am very much looking forward to the 3rd installment.
Much appreciated, Greg. Happy to help us all do our best! You’re right, theory and practice must go hand in hand. Literally!
Hi Paul. Two very interesting articles. Very much looking forward to the next. We are very fortunate in the IAW to have teachers with so much depth of knowledge and probably more importantly, an ability to impart that knowledge. Thank you.
Steve that means a lot. Let’s strive to be worthy of your description! Passion becomes action becomes transmission. The cycle of communication continues!
This article made me understand more how crucial distance is as well as the importance of giving a good feed during training. Hopefully, I can improve myself and training partners from reading this. “Not TO, but THROUGH!” This might seem childish, but those words reminded me of this cartoon clip.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyG00fuY7ws Thank you, Sihing!
You’re welcome, James. Glad this article helped your understanding. Distance can make or break, literally, a WingChun application. It’s a simple, but crucial, variable in training. This is especially the case in reading high versus low strikes, which require a closer approach to penetrate a given target plane. Thanks for commenting!