How Long Are Your Punches?
I see lots of people in Wing Chun punching with a fully locked arm, and only with a fully locked arm, now this is a bad thing for lots of reasons.
The first problem we see happening with these students (not mine of course) is that when they go to punch from a close distance, they still try to achieve this same final long range, which in turn means that although they made contact close, the continuing extension of the punching arm simply ‘pushes’ their partner away, meaning they lose any power and more importantly, to lose the contact.
I see them setting the punch off in a reasonable range but then find themselves having to lean back in order to not move the opponent away and still keep the full range of the punch?
Even worse still, redirecting the punch and missing, in order not to hurt their partner.
Now if you have so little control of your range that you have to miss the target, then you have a real problem my friend.
In short, the range of the punch is wherever your opponent is, with the explosive energy being used on contact.
Not stopping the punch on contact and only driving through the target, will only result in a glorified fast push, with no power, and every chance of over commitment by you.
If you want to train to stop a punch before the arm is locked (completely straight), then try training close up to a wall, put power in your punches but do not touch the wall.
Vary this distance while punching, by constantly punching (and stopping fractionally short each time) while walking forward and backwards, toward and away from the wall.
Many students believe that hitting a wall bag is just for conditioning and power, NO IT IS NOT, hitting the wall bag teaches you to develop punching skill. To know when to stop.
Yes you need power and conditioning, but you also need skill.
If you do not have skill you will not have a chance to use your power and conditioning in the first place.
Never sacrifice technique for speed and power, you need all three, develop the skill (technique), and then reintroduce the speed and the power, and as for the conditioning, this will just be an added bonus.
Now I am not saying that technique will beat speed and power, IT WILL NOT.
What I am saying is that you need all three.
Not having good technique and only working on speed & power, will simply result in a faster bad punch probably telegraphed and probably uncontrolled.
I have an opinion when it comes to Chi Sau;
‘Do whatever you like providing two things. One, you get away with it, and two, it was your choice’.
And the same should be said for punches, if you choose to punch at a full range (because that is what’s needed) then fine, BUT, if you are unaware of this constant and it is not by choice, then you have a problem to sort out.
And while we’re talking of ranges do remember that a turning stance is for avoidance only, and NOT for making up distance.
‘If you have to turn in order to reach with a punch, then you are NOT in a punching range to start with!’