Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yes, I Have Been Training!

From Sup Baht Mor Kiu (18 Devils Bridge) from Yau Kung Mun. I've been doing this one a lot lately.

Just to reassure all of you, I have been doing more than reminiscing this month over changes in my workouts and comparing my life in Connecticut, California and Florida.

As I said at the start of the month, there would be some changes to my workouts. The first, and most noticeable was that I'm temporarily eliminating certain forms from my repertoire. Namely, and form with knee drops or duck-walking, which includes most of what I've learned from Yau Kung Mun.

I also decided to return to some strong basics in an effort to strengthen my knee. I'm doing my full-body stretch two to three times a week, instead of my usual one to two times. I'm already seeing a big difference in my leg flexibility. My knee is also taking much less time to fully recover from workouts. I'm sure the glucosamine condroitin and vitamin C are helping that, too.

I'm doing more qigong practice, including a seated hand qigong I learned from Lucjan Shila. I don't know why I'm doing it. Probably since I'm spending less time on forms, I had the time to do this.

I've been very pleasantly surprised. Since doing hand qigong regularly, my hand strength is increasing, my arthritis pain is decreasing, and my hand speed is better than it has been in years. When practicing on the wooden dummy, it almost seems like the rest of my body can't keep up with my hands.

I'm also working on my stances. I've started to return to an old form of stance training which was recommended by one of my old sifus. While Kung Fu is famous for its horse stance, my sifu didn't let it stop there, requiring time spent in the cat stance and bow-and-arrow stances as well.

In concept, it's a simple routine, but it will take a lot out of you in a short time.

Start with a two-minute horse stance. Then two minutes in a cat stance, on both sides. Then, two minutes in the bow-and-arrow stance, on each side.

Close with another two minutes in the horse stance. If you're feeling ambitious, you can include two minutes on each leg in the crane stance as well.

Altogether, you're looking at eight to 12 minutes. Not much, but if you're taking your stances as low as you can in the horse, cat and bow-and-arrow stances, you'll really see some results.

Filling a bag with beebees, throwing it in the air and catching it is a great way to build total body strength and a powerful grip. (See photos above).

Another exercise I've been getting into heavily is catching the bean bag. Of course, this bean bag is filled with 15 pounds of copper beebees. NOTE: DO NOT USE LEAD SHOT FOR THESE BAGS. LEAD IS TOXIC AND WILL BUILD UP IN YOUR BODY OVER TIME.

While 15 pounds may not seem like much, when you've been throwing and catching it in the air for sets of 108 reps, you will feel it.

Of course, I always include my wooden dummy. In addition to doing the classical Wing Chun dummy sets, I find that next to a live partner, there is no better training method around for brushing up on individual techniques or for creating your own combinations.

Face the dummy (or your partner if you have one). Reach out with your lead hand.

As soon as you make contact with the arm, shoot in with a tan sao da (palm up or "wedge" block and punch)

Follow up with a pak sao da (palm block, punch combo)

Close with a right lap sao/backfist. Note: Though you do this combination from a stationary position while on the dummy, in actual use against a partner, you need to keep advancing.


  1. Glad to see you hard at it, Sean! I've enjoyed reading your earlier postings as well. I too have been doing breathing exercises (for about five weeks), and the benefits are indeed tangible!

    Is your son continuing with the Karate ?

  2. Sadly, no. He really misses karate, but he's been misbehaving lately, including breaking things.

    When he has better control over his temper, I will let him go back. For now, he'll have to be content with gymnastics.

  3. Hmmmm, I have to agree with you there. Hope it works out though.

  4. Are you using the "phoenix eye fist" in the first pic? (Index knuckle extended)-

    I have been hooked on it ever since I started Xingyi training.
    I think there is something energeticly involved with that fist shape, but I can't quite identify it yet.

    And man, I want to build a wooden dummy!

  5. Hey DR,

    Yep. Bak Mei and Yau Kung Mun do the Phoenix Eye fist almost to the exclusion of the regular fist.

    I did the PE fist in Lion's Roar and Xingyi as well. I never liked it until I started doing pushups on my Phoenix Eye fist. Now, I have a whole new respect for it.