Wing Chun Ten Star Footwork Pt 5

Part 5 of the Ten Star Footwork seminars started with an interesting lecture on the main skills to train within Wing Chun, together with some important attitudes and principles for Chi Sau.

Grndmaster Tse first introduced two expressions that encapsulate the spirit of Wing Chun and sets it apart from other martial arts:

The small defeats the big – 以小勝大 – yíh síu sing daaih

The soft controls the hard – 以柔制剛 – yíh yàuh jai gong

This means that with the proper skill – soft controlling hard, someone smaller or weaker can defend against someone bigger and stronger. This reflects how the skill is traced back to two women. These were Ńgh Mùih Sī Taai, a Buddhist warrior nun and her student Yìhm Wihng Chēun who lent her name to the skill.

Why learn a woman’s art? Well, regardless of gender and age there will always be someone bigger or stronger around to beat you if you only rely on strength and size. Wing Chun relies on skill and internal strength – and so we develop and improve throughout our lives and even into old age. Just look at our nearly 100 year old great grandmaster Ip Chun!

Next GM Tse went on to list certain skills that we should train and develop in the following order:

    1. Gong Lik (Internal Strength) – 功力- gūng lihk
    2. Footwork – 步法 – bouh faat
    3. Hand techniques – 手法 – sáu faat
    4. Leg techniques – 腳法 – geuk faat

Then he explained 6 points pertaining to the attitude maintained while doing Chi Sau or fighting:

  1. Relax to contact
  • When contacting the opponent use softness and sensitivity rather than using strength and trying to fight them. Now we can feel their energy better.
  1. Be patient and wait for the opportunity
  • Once we can feel their energy we must wait for the right moment so we can use their energy against them.
  1. Use more footwork
  • With proper footwork we can change the distance and angle to the opponent. With proper distance and angle we can use less energy to defend and attack.
  1. Use hand techniques more often
  • In Chi Sau there are many situations and many hand techniques to match. Use the proper technique instead of strength.
  1. When kicking it should be over
  • Whenever we kick we are exposing ourselves to a counter attack and risk being pushed over. We must be sure and decisive when kicking and so this should end the fight.
  1. Always have a plan B
  • Whichever technique we use might fail. We must be flexible and ready to adapt. If we commit too strongly to one plan we will become hard and insensitive to the opponent’s energy and will lose.

It was a treat to have GM Tse share these core ideas of Wing Chun and get to know more about what that makes the skill so special.

After the lecture there was a recap of the earlier seminars with Yìh Jih Kìhm Yèung Máh 二字鉗羊馬, Yāt Geuk Jòng 一腳樁, Jyún Máh 轉馬 and Wàahng Máh 橫馬.

In conclusion we did not just one but two new types of footwork! These were Jeun Máh 進馬 and Teui Máh 退馬 – forward step and backward step respectively.

For each type of footwork, GM Tse makes sure that there is a clear understanding of the name and its meaning, the proper posture and execution of movement, and the application or reason behind it. Thus he explains both the how and the why.

This was the last seminar of the year – and what a great finale! We look forwards to next year and all the exciting seminars to come.

by Paul Hogg

Student Comments

The fifth part of the Wing Chun Ten Star Footwork series of seminars began with a lecture on attitude and elements of training. Some interesting points for discussion were raised in the breakout rooms as we revised the steps already covered, as well as the new ones today – Jeun Ma and Teui Ma. I’m really enjoying these seminars. Thank you Sigong. Peter Hogg

Thankyou TaiSigong for 10 star footwork part 5. I found the Chi Sau attitudes very interesting, it was good to break it down in that way to think about each part. I also enjoyed the story about the archer who could hit the painted leaf at 100 steps away! Great to go over the other 4 stars in the breakout rooms, each time the proper stepping becomes more clear. There were quite a few points I hadn’t properly understood about Toy Ma, so it was great to go over that. Hope you have a good Christmas and a nice break. Thanks, Rod.

Thank you Sigong for teaching us the fifth and sixth stars! I also want to thank everyone that helped me in the breakout rooms: Mike, Kevin, Kulpreet, and Nick! Now I have additional stars to practice (junn ma and tui ma…not sure about the spelling) I thought that we were going to learn 5 stars but today Sigong gave us a bonus six stars! I am truly looking forward to the next installment! Deborah Hart

It was great to hear Sifu talk about the attitude that we should have while training Wing Chun and what skills we should focus on beyond just the forms. Additionally, the review of the footwork and discussions around it were a great reminder of the details that we should know. It was a great seminar covering all of the “basic” footwork and I am looking forward to starting the next seminar. Andrew O

Great 10 star footwork lecture and seminar, very clear. Thank you Sifu
Peter A

Really enjoyed going deeper into the 10 star footwork in this seminar. The practice is so clear and helps me refine my understanding each time. Great to see sigong and everyone else as always. Thanks sigong. Matt L

It is really good to go over all the footwork in great detail, also understanding more about the ‘why’ of the movements. Looking forward to learning more about the advanced footwork in next seminars. Thank you Sigong. Christine

I am appreciating very much the depth and detail that we go into in the Ten Star Footwork seminar. Having repeated and checked the previous stances and footwork types, now it feels a lot more understandable and it helps to imbue our Chi Sau practice with better positioning and energy. Thank you Sifu!