Does Your Footwork Work

Still standing strong.

WingChun footwork is equally important and misunderstood. So I decided to begin another four-part series to shed light on this intriguing topic.

The following are some ideas I’ve heard over the years. Do you believe:

  • The feet have to be parallel.
  • The feet should stand in one line.
  • The front leg pulls the back leg forwards.
  • The knees must press inwards.
  • The pelvis has to be tucked under.

I don’t. Strictly adhering to the above doesn’t feel comfortable, let alone compatible with Self-Defense, to me.

Any arbitrary mental concept that restricts natural physical function must be reexamined and, if found to be detrimental, eliminated. I’d like to quote the poet Bob Marley:

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”

Step Up

I emphasize a sense of aliveness in WingChun footwork. Rather, than a dead, rigid, cerebral, constricting, awkward fixation. Again, this is often due to the incarceration of faulty thinking.

In the IAW, we removed or revised anything that hindered freedom of movement. Even if it was deemed heretical to a classical rule — such as always having all your weight on the back leg — of traditional lineages. With all due respect, though risking excommunication, we make no apologies for standing proudly on our front leg as needed.

What is better? Adapting our bodies to a system or adapting a system to our bodies.

I have greater faith in aligning with the innate intelligence of evolution (or creation, if you prefer) then the dictates of convention or invention. It’s simply because the hominid form has been refined longer than any fighting form!

How do animals learn to stand, walk, run? Not by reading my articles. But by experiencing their instinct of how to move. Not by endless talking. But by just playing a lot. Yes, we humans have additional, perhaps more advanced, verbal, literary and intellectual means.

However, these are both blessing and bane, and can tend towards sophistication or sophistry.

Footwork Framework

I teach three modes of footwork. The term we use is Gerk Fat, which we chose to translate as “Leg Methods”. You can use your legs to do a stance, step or strike. These we call Ma, Bo and Gerk, respectively. Here is an example of each:

Method Movement Meaning
Ma Jing San Ma Frontal Body Stance
Bo Dap Bo Striding Step
Gerk Yap Gerk Entering Leg

Check back as I point out key instructions on stances next time. Better yet, don’t miss out by subscribing to my blog for direct updates.

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2 thoughts on “Does Your Footwork Work

  1. Very interesting, it’s easy when training dat bo to stay rigid and only think of stepping. But when the stomach is tucked in and foward pressure is applied on the front leg, and downward pressure on the rear, it gives alot more intention for the person who is training it. The footwork framework section is brilliant, after all the leg movements in Wingchun for example su bo are vital in creating the angles for attack.

    Many thanks,


    • Thanks for sharing, Adam. Based on the points you brought up, it appears you’re on the right track with your understanding of WingChun footwork. I look forward to revealing more about this, and hearing everyone’s responses, in upcoming articles.

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