I believe two of the most desirable assets for any serious Wing Chun practitioner are to poses lighting speed techniques packed with bone braking power.
In order to achieve this one must work on developing speed and power through explosive drills.
Long gone are the days were people thought weight lifting would make a person slower or if a person was born slow he/she could never become faster.
If you pay close attention to Olympic athletes, you can take a look at their physiques together with the current Olympic records they break you will understand what I’m talking about. Who would have thought that with this type of training people would become stronger, run faster, swim faster, jump higher and hit harder!
Now if you see yourself as an athlete you must train like one, never forgetting the theories and principles that embody our beloved Wing Chun system, but to train our bodies to achieve maximum results through this type of training.
Nowadays explosive drills are often used on athletes from various sports, who need to generate maximum power in a short amount of time and these principle fits perfectly in our field of the martial arts.
The goal of explosive exercise training is to ultimately move heavy weights very quickly. Now if you don’t have access to weights or a gym, you can definitely achieve great results with body weight exercises.
Evidence suggests that in order to achieve maximum power or speed, one must focus on developing maximum strength and build a strong foundation first then spend time on speed training.
I will now explore the different exercises I do in my workouts from four different categories push, pull, speed and isometric.
Shock Ups (Push):
It’s a great upper body workout, a drill designed to build power and strengthen your wrists.
Assume a push up position on your toes and fists with both arms at chest level slightly wider than shoulder width.
Drop your body low keeping your elbows close to your ribs, then push yourself off the floor with full explosive power and make sure to land on your fists while keeping your arms straight locking your elbows. The higher the “drop” the more force is absorbed, developing more power.
Arrow Punch (Push):
With this one your develop speed by using a resistance band or bungee cord. You secure the band at chest height behind you and grab one handle with your hand near your shoulder.
Execute the punch with an explosive action, pushing the handle straight forward until your arm is completed extended and parallel to the floor.
Similar thing can be done to improve speed in your kicks; you can work on this drill with your legs by tying the band around your foot or ankle (but don’t forget to lower the height of where you’ve secured the other end of the band).
Single Leg Squats (Push):
Another great drill to develop power is the single leg squat. Stand on one leg and in a controlled manner squat down as low as possible without dropping your other leg onto the floor.
You may need assistance when you try this exercise for the first time, if you don’t have a training partner you can use a chair to help maintain balance or if your leg is not strong enough you can pull from it in order to stand back up.
Single Arm Row (Pull):
A great way to increase the speed of your Lap Sao (pulling hand) is with this exercise.
Use the same resistance band or bungee cord attached to the same height you had it before when you were working on the arrow punch. This time stand facing the band hold onto the handle with your arm extended in front of your chest (maintaining the resistance band with enough tension), then pull the handle back with your elbow leading the way and twist your body into the same direction keeping your back straight.
Chin Up with a towel (Pull):
For tremendous pulling power you can perform chin ups by grasping with one hand onto a sturdy bar with a firm underhand grip and your other hand pulling from a strong towel, arms separated about shoulder width apart.
Hang with your arms straight although avoid relaxing your muscles and shoulder joints too much in this position it can place major stress on your joints. Then pull yourself up until your chest nearly touches the bar and don’t forget to alternate the hand that is grasping onto the towel when you work out.
“Chain” Punches on the wall bag (Speed):
I think we all know this one, but are you doing it properly? Make sure your punches go in and out straight! Not rolling in a circular motion.
My SiFu always says think of the example of an arrow hitting a target, in order for it to thrust it must be straight not circular.
As you work on your chain punches (aka the Chase) you wish to be faster and connect each punch with power making an effort to do them with the best of your ability.
To keep track time yourself, count how many punches you can land on the wall bag in a 10 second period. Seek to improve your numbers every session.
Stationary Sprints leaning against the wall (Speed):
Now when it comes down to developing speed we need to fire up the nervous system both in starting and stopping motion, building more muscle memory at a faster pace. While doing this each exercise becomes easier with an explosive force behind it.
Stand in front of a wall, lean onto it on a 45 degree angle placing both hands on the wall shoulder width apart. Then for 10 seconds sprint as fast as you can raising your knees while pushing the wall as hard as you can.
The benefit of this is exercise is to develop muscle memory in motion, light footwork, speed of reaction and last but not least burn a lot of calories.
If you combine this sprint exercise together with bunny hops in interval circuit training you will have a great leg workout.
To perform a bunny hop all you need to do is squat down with your feet shoulder width apart and jump as far forward as you can. Land and quickly jump again.
With this exercise you will strengthen your muscles with contractions against resistance with movement.
All you need to do is to sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, feet together then place both fists on the floor by your sides and raise your whole body off the floor maintaining that position for as long as you can.
This was an insight into what I’ve used to take my Wing Chun training to the next level (physically).
I’m sure if you put sufficient effort into it, together with persistence you will achieve great results too.
SiFu Henry Araneda