Category Archives: Conditioning

Explosive Wing Chun Training

For the past two months I’ve been working with the Bulgarian Bag twice a week for more explosive Wing Chun.

Over the years I’ve always focused on intense cardio conditioning.  Trying to make sure I was always in the best physical condition to outlast my opponents.  When I started doing BJJ a couple of years ago my sparring partners picked up on my conditioning.  I was the one who never gave up.

But what has always been missing (… and deep down I knew this) was a strength aspect.

Reluctant to give up on my intense conditioning I’ve been using the Bulgarian Bag for the past two months.

This isn’t the routine I’ve been doing but it’s a nice short clip demonstrating the bag in action.

With the bag I’ve been doing a lot more single leg strength.  And now I’m starting to reap the benefits.

When you stop and think… so much of what we do relies on single leg strength.

Off the top of your head you think ‘kicking’ but what about the power coming from the support leg?

What about the power coming from your support leg as you knee?

What about the power coming from your rear leg as you push forward and drive through your opponent?

Single leg strength is important.  But it’s more than just single leg strength.  It’s being explosive with it.

Flying forward with commitment, speed and control.

Now that I’ve been doing my Bulgarian Bag work for two months, I fully intend to keep it up and make it a regular feature of my training.

Now I need to add some explosive training to my upper body work too.

Last month I picked up a copy of Scott Sonnon’s Tacfit 26 and I’ve only just had time to start going through it.

While I was checking out the videos the other night I noticed his single arm medicine ball slams and they’re really cool.  I’ve just been looking on YouTube to see if I could find an example but they were all very different.

His version of single arm, medicine ball slams (… a slam ball that doesn’t bounce would be better) as wicked.  They’re a really good way to add explosive power to your punches while keeping the movements very, very Wing Chun specific.

In a nutshell you assume your stance…

Then you bend forward somewhere between 45 and 90 at the hips…

Then (with your back hand) you fire the medicine ball into the floor just by your front foot…

It’s almost identical to punching, the arm mechanics, the foot positioning and the hip movements.

But with the resistance of a weighted medicine ball.  I started with a 5 kg ball to get the technique right and try to get into the flow of it all.  Ideally you want to be able to bang these bad boys out in repetition without too much break in between slams.

Probably the best, most specific exercises I’ve seen for training your Wing Chun punch explosively (other than just punching) I’ve seen.

If you got the time and the motivation you can pick up a copy of Tacfit 26 HERE

That’s pretty much it.  For the next month I’m going to be keep my Bulgarian Bag once or twice a week and add Tacfit 26 on my other days.  I think it’s going to be particularly good for building up my upper body strength while maintaining my physical conditioning because it is an intense program.

Train hard,

Alex Chuen

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The Best Way to Get Fit to Fight…

Nearly 17 years ago I remember chatting to my Si-Hing, my older Kung Fu brother and telling him I wanted to get fitter.

That I was going to start running.

He replied “Why?  So you can run away?!”

So I started running and 17 years later I still run, turns out he was right and wrong.

Why He Was Wrong

He was wrong because when there are SO many lazy fookers in the Wing Chun world who like the idea of learning a martial art, bragging about their possession of all-mighty fighting skills and spending their time commenting on YouTube…

… they definitely needed a kick up the ass in the training department!

So with a little bit of running to my training repertoire I quickly had the stamina and fitness to out punch, out spar and out train many of my class mates.

Why He Was Right

Looking back now, he was also right.

Because at the time I was going out for long, slow runs which is the complete opposite of a fight.  Sure it helped me grind through longer training sessions but when it comes to short bursts and being explosive — with hindsight — long, slow runs weren’t the best use of my time.

In recent years I’ve replaced longer, slower paced runs with fast bursts and sprint training.

Mixing my running with interval training — running fast for a short distance and adding press-ups, burpees, tuck jumps and other explosive exercises on the end.

And from time to time, I run a 5 mile route but make sure it’s an all out effort and make it as fast as possible.

You Fight How You Train, So Train How You Fight

Of course it all comes back to what are you training for.

If you’re training to fight, if you want to be more explosive then that’s how you have to train.  You fight how you train so you must train how you fight.  Mix technical work (where you focus on good form) with higher intensity, more realistic training and you’ll be a whole lot better equipped to deal with a fight scenario or evening sparring your partners in class.

Final thoughts, an even better is to get fit by doing.

The ultimate specific kind of training is punching, is kicking and doing all your combat orientated training at full power and speed.  On the bags, on the pads, on the dummy, in the air and — where safety permits — on a partner.

The supplement it with your sprints, your weights and your high intensity training.

It’s time to ramp up the training and start training SMART!

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Wing Chun Training Exercises – Functional Training for Fighters

Let’s be honest…

There’s ZERO money in Wing Chun to warrant the investment of time and energy into functional training for Kung Fu.  Specifically Wing Chun.

Compared with the millions invested in Olympic sports, athletics, football, basketball etc.

There’s zero money and a lot of the “so-called” scientific work allegedly backed up by physics is wooly to say the least.

Let’s talk about how the force of your punch is equal to mass x acceleration.  Trust me, there’s a lot more going on in a punch that just mass x acceleration.  And if you’ve seen a Tai Chi Master send someone across the room with fa-jing then you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Of course I’m not saying physics don’t apply… that’d be stupid.  But I am saying, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

So what are we supposed to do?

Wing Chun Training - Functional TrainingUnfortunately we have to piggy back the big-money sports and follow the coaches paid thousands to attend, train and help main-stream sports athletes hit it into the big time.  Score their sponsorship deals, sell tickets and win trophies.

I’ve recently discovered Mike Boyle who is in the “who’s who” of coaching, conditioning and (my interest) — Functional Training for Sports (the title of his book).

On the outside, it’s pretty nondescript, it’s not particularly sexy looking but on the inside it’s a really nice mix of training for the entire body.  And — of course — all built around functionality.

Or what the cheesy folk call “Go muscle, not show muscle“.  Or training with a purpose which, for us, is to improve our Wing Chun.

At a glance, it’s a collection of exercises.  When you start to read it, there’s a whole lot more to it.  From assessing your functional strength (you need to know where you are NOW if you want to make and monitor improvements) through to designing your own program.

This is the kind of book we (Wing Chun students) need to be reading, absorbing and applying.  No gimmicks, no silly terminology.  Mike Boyle has testimonials coming out of his ears from pro-hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer and wrestling competitors.

Combining exercises that show you what to do, with a decent amount of text so you understand why you’re doing the exercise — I can see this becoming my new favorite training resource.

>> Click to check out Functional Training for Sports

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