To some, Wing Chun's sticking hands is a power game. The stronger beats the weaker, and the faster beats the slower. People with a strong build tend to use excessive force during the sticking hands training especially when practicing against smaller opponents. Students who do not know their technique tend to use speed to cope or cover up. They forget that the skill they are developing in this way will fail against those who are even stronger, faster or more skillful. Once proper skill is developed, it is simple to add speed and force. As master Wong Kiu puts it: "sticking hands training is like learning how to drive a car, first you familiarize yourself with the control of the car, then you can always step on the gas."
Drills and sets sharpen your techniques. However, trying out what you have learned is required to take your art to higher levels. It is under stressful conditions that you find out how well you can really perform your techniques. Once a month, put on FULL facial protection (e.g. fencing mask) and practice at a higher speed, but watch the force of hits and make sure your nails are cut. Have two people supervise, and stop the action if it is out of control. Match up with someone of similar skill level. Don't be afraid to tell your partner if his force is excessive. Control your temper and emotions. In the single sticking hands, put on some chest protection and really try to hit the center. In this way you will find out if your Chum sau or sinking hand is good enough to stop a real force.
When you perform sticking hands, try to control the opponent. Have an idea in your mind of what you are trying to do. A skillful practitioner is very good at controlling the center. Once you have this skill, you can defeat lesser opponents without the reliance on speed or strength. Center control is learned by practicing slowly to get a proper feeling. Practice with a partner that you are compatible with. Nothing much can be learned by practicing with an opponent who is out to prove that he is superior to you.
The sets teach you correct limb positioning. They are the ideal angles for dealing with force, for obtaining maximum stickiness, stability and suppleness. The closer you come to keeping this form in actual combat, the better your skill will become. Sloppiness often results in structural defects which skillful opponents can take advantage of. Sloppiness is often laziness. Learning Wing Chun as an art does not make it less effective.
One of the most dramatic ways to improve the sticking hands training is by keeping a proper stance. When you are in a proper sunken stance with the pelvis tilted forward, your base will be very solid, and your upper body will be very supple. If you have to adjust your stance constantly while fighting, your actions will be too slow. As soon as you stand up, your top becomes stiff. A good Wing Chun opponent can easily topple your stance by rushing into your center as soon as your stance starts to wobble.
The Wing Chun Kung Fu Digital Library