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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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Wing Chun Workout: Minute Drills for Combat Conditioning

I’m a big fan of ALL martial arts so today when it came to my Wing Chun Workout I decided I’d emulate rounds practiced by Muay Thai Boxers.

Without doubt, Muay Thai Fighters are up there when it comes to conditioning and they typically fight for 5 x 3 minute rounds with a 2 minute break between rounds.

Today my workout wasn’t focused on specific techniques (eg. like a pad workout) but on replicating the duration of a Muay Thai bout.  Why do this?  Well it’s always nice to get a feel for what Muay Thai boxers train for and also to earn respect from fellow martial artists when it comes to training HARD.

Wing Chun Workout: Minute Drills

Minute drills involve working flat out for one minute using just one exercise.  You give it everything you’ve got, push as hard as you can and a useful tip is to count your score.  For example if you did 20 reps during that minute — remember it and try to match or beat it next time.  Keeping score helps keep then intensity up and gives you a ‘goal’ to aim for — this helps a lot when you’re getting tired!

To train specific to a Muay Thai boxer I choose to pick 3 exercises and perform each for 1 minute with no rest between.  Then take a 1 minute rest and start round 2 and so forth until I’d finished 5 rounds.

You may have noticed I choose a 1 minute break instead of 2 minutes used in Muay Thai fights but that was simply to make it as hard as possible – and save myself some time!

Today’s Minute Drill Workout

The round would look something like this:

  1. Non-stop chain punching on the heavy bag for 1 minute
  2. Burpees (with a push-up) for 1 minute
  3. Kettlebell swings for 1 minute
  4. Rest 1 minute

That’s the first round over… now repeat it for another four (and perform five rounds in total).

Why I Choose These Exercises

First, I wanted to keep my Wing Chun workout specific yet not purely based around technique.  When you start to combine technique and conditioning – in my opinion – it can have a negative effect on your technique.

Plus Wing Chun training is typically for short bursts and minute drills like this keep your training specific to fighting (street and ring fighting).

While I didn’t work on my technique today — normally I’d do an 1 – 1.5 hours of Wing Chun first — then finish with a tough workout like this one.

Second I wanted three exercises I knew could push me to my maximum.

Third I wanted to work my upper and lower body, have a pushing motion and a pulling motion.

Both the burpees and the kettlebell swings worked my legs and the jump during the burpee increases the range of motion and gives it an explosive twist.  The push-up during the burpee is obviously a pushing motion, while the kettlebell swing is more of a pulling motion.

All in all a very simple, semi-specific Wing Chun Workout that pushes your entire body.

Finishing the Workout

At the end of the workout I felt like I’d worked hard!  But wanted a little more to go above and beyond so picked up a skipping rope and skipped as fast as I could for one Tabata.

A Tabata is where you work flat-out, full-bore and give everything for 20 seconds, then take 10 seconds rest — and repeat for a full 8 rounds.  It’s only 4 minutes in total but boy does it finish you.

Occasionally I perform 4-6 Tabata’s as my Wing Chun Workout (eg. in place of the minute drills) but today it was just to finish off with something FAST!

Then it was time for stretching using a few Yoga based exercises.  I’m into Scott Sonnon at the moment and really liking his approach to mobility, flexibility and hard work.

If you’re into Body Weight Training then I strongly recommend you check out his Tacfit Commando Course

After Thoughts on the Workout

The punches on the heavy bag were harder than I expected largely because I picked a HEAVY bag.  While I didn’t enjoy those last few seconds of punching that bag, with hindsight it was a good choice!

The burpees always tax me.  I’ve never been great with push-ups and I’m fighting hard to keep my core solid and my technique strict – after the punching this was tough and my heart rate really goes through the roof.  Sometimes my legs give in on the jump but that will improve with time.

I’ve been using a 16kg kettlebell for these kind of workouts and this was arguably the hardest part of the workout.  Not because of the physical stress (the punching and the burpees were harder) but because I really had to focus on my form to prevent injury.  Unless you’re prepared to be very strict (or are experienced) with the Kettlebell I’d recommend starting with an exercise that’s technically easier for the last exercise of the round.  Alternatively you could do the kettlebell swings for the first exercise — it’s up to you.

How to Do a Burpee?

How to Do KettleBell Swings?

Tacfit Commando Review I Found

Read more about Tacfit Commando HERE

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