I hear the following question fairly often. Perhaps it’s one that you have as well!
This issue comes up when a student is going away for some time. Also, training partners aren’t always available. Or, there’s curiosity about how to employ all means of advancement, which is four-fold.
One of these layers is Personal Practice. It addresses the problem of:
How can I train by myself?
This is what I do and tell my students to try. I invite you to join us too:
Benefits: Stronger foundation and higher refinement
Choose one of the WingChun Forms you know:
- Siu Nim Tau (Small Intention)
- Tsum Kiu (Seeking Bridge)
- Biu Jee (Darting Fingers)
- Mok Yan Jang (Wooden Person Pile)
- Gerk Fat (Leg Methods) I
- Gerk Fat (Leg Methods) II
Commit to doing it three times:
- First, train at normal speed to warm up. Just be natural.
- Second, train at slow speed for best technique. Calibrate everything.
- Third, train at fast speed and stress yourself. Keep it clean!
Benefits: Clearer visualization and deeper coordination
Remix your Forms by creating new sequences, such as starting from:
- Right Man Sao (Inquiring Arm)
- Left Wu Sao (Protecting Arm)
- Jing San Ma (Frontal Body Stance)
Then proceeding to:
- Right Gan Sao (Dividing Arm)
- Left Wu Sao
- Right Juen Ma (Revolving Stance)
And finishing with:
- Right Wu Sao
- Left Tsong Kuen (Thrusting Punch)
- Right Jin Bo (Arrowing Step)
That’s a simple example. The permutations are endless. Here’s a tip! Think about an attack or combination and how you would resolve it.
Benefits: Greater fluency and fewer gaps
Draw from Lat Sao (Casting Arms) or Puen Sao (Coiling Arms) and play the initiator A:
- Lat Sao 3A begins with Bong Sao (Winging Arm), Lap Sao (Pulling Hand) and Gwan Kuen (Rotating Punch)…
- Puen Sao 1A, 8th Student Level (8 SL) begins with Pak Sao (Slapping Hand), Tsong Kuen, Gwat Sao (Scraping Arm)…
Then switch and do the other role B in response:
- Lat Sao 3B responds with Pak Sao, Bong Sao, Wu Sao…
- Puen Sao 1B, 8 SL responds with Wu Sao, Bong Sao, Bong Sao…
Don’t forget footwork! But you get the idea. Can you smoothly run through each side to completion without interruption?
Do not attempt all of the above at once! Invest 5 minutes daily. If you have the time or motivation, add more. Avoid overwhelming yourself to sacrifice quantity for quality. For longevity, overzealousness is as detrimental as indolence!
Positive and negative are always concurrent. The con of solo training is that you don’t have dynamic impact or mutual feedback. The pro is that you develop keen self-reliance and discover your own connections.
Action does not replace, but vastly improves, interaction. Like a dance duo, your movements are half of the pair. It’s valuable when you trust yourself to perform both roles equally well.
Working alone is doing your homework! It allows you to get more out of class. It makes you a better study partner. It helps you ask effective questions.
Hope this outline helps. Let me know about your Personal Practice! How do you train yourself?
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Sihing Paul, thank you for this article on solo practice. This is very helpful, especially for those who do not have a community with which to practice.
Dear Dan, you’re so welcome. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have! We miss you here 😦
Sihing, good article. One of the things I love about WingChun is that I feel like I own my practice. Where ever I am and I have a few extra minutes I can practice my forms or footwork. I’ve gained alot from practicing my linking punches at home. Thank you for the article
You’re welcome. Thanks for posting your experience. I love that students develop a sense of sovereignty. Owning our actions is a valuable asset and powerful effect of WingChun practice.
Thank you, si-fu, for your article. May be you could write something more, some other combination or some method, how to improwe chain punch without partner. Thanks a lot. Jan
You’re welcome, Jan. Thanks for your comment and request to write about punching power. I’ll take it into account for a future article. Keep in touch!