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Technical Note #2

Wing Chun Sticking Hands

Sticking hands practice becomes frustrating when it is viewed as a fight rather than as a practice. When viewed as a fight, the speed and strength factors are such that many of the techniques won't work unless you have mastered them; so you will respond with crude strength-based methods. Each side will hit the other side 50% of the time and both sides will have learned nothing. One or both parties will have sore muscles and possibly get punched in the nose.
  1. What the Master is Like?

    As soft as cotton and as hard as steel.

    If you have been lucky enough to have played with a master of pushing hands or sticking hands you would note that these people use very little strength, they are always one step ahead, they are relaxed, they use ingenious changes to neutralize force and they can certainly hit hard. The beginner on the other hand uses a lot of speed, a lot of strength, has a repertoire of very few movements and often does not have effective hits. If Wing Chun is to work for the smaller, weaker or older person, then the latter method cannot be the correct approach. Therefore we should study how to perform sticking hands using the qualities that a master of the art has.

  2. Study it Slowly and Patiently

    Haste makes waste.

    It takes time to build new reactions into our brain neurons. At least 166 repetitions are required to just remember a movement and thousands are required to refine it to a practical skill. How we learn is to perform an action, then measure it against the correct response, then modify our internal neural parameters until we achieve success. In the absence of personal one-on-one training with a great master who would correct every reaction, we must rely on our reasoning process to determine if we are correct or not. Ask yourself: are you happy with your performance? Are you using the movements from the forms? Are you sticking to the principles of Wing Chun? Can you neutralize in a relaxed way?

  3. Start with Little Things

    First we crawl. Then we walk. Then we run.

    Start by getting the correct rolling mechanics. Get the proper angles. Don't drift off the centerline. Make your stance solid. Don't come up from the stance when you fight. Then get the correct feeling. Don't be stiff. Don't be too limp. Be sticky and supple. Start with some basic attacks. Then learn the proper counters. Use counters that don't depend on strength or speed. Use the idea of a wheel to neutralize force. Slowly build up your repertoire using a building block approach. Movements should relate together and to the form. They should connect in a logical way. If you practice too quickly, you can never discover the secrets that make the masters good.


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