Five Ways To Improve Sticking Hands

1. Keep to the Center

The Sticking hands training teaches you what to do once you are in contact with an opponent.

When in hand contact with the opponent, try to occupy the center. Never allow your hands to cross the center line, because this creates a weakness in your defense.

With a lot of sticking hands practice, your arms become very supple and sensitive. When you are relaxed, it is easier to detect by sense of touch when the opponent is off center.

Once the opponent crosses the center, you can successfully attack.

Hundreds of years of thought have gone into the sticking hands exercise. It is therefore the most interesting and refined aspect of Wing Chun training.

2. Be Sticky

The concept of stickiness is fundamental to the proper application of Wing Chun. It forms the basis of your defensive system. An opponent who sticks to your every move is difficult to attack, because you cannot disengage from the opponent's arms. They are like glue. Neither can a sticky opponent by pushed, pulled or jerked, because there is no stiffness to make use of. In trying to shake off a sticky opponent, you often go off center which allows your opponent to attack the center.

To develop the feeling of stickiness, you must maintain the same pressure between your arms and the opponent's arms, no matter what the opponent does. The simple rolling exercise of Wing Chun is the best way to develop this concept.

Use relaxed forearms, and sense with the wrists what your opponent is doing. Mirror the opponent's actions. Don't rely on speed.

3. Master a Few Techniques

Sticking hands training is a sophisticated method of combat which relies on skill with little chance for winning by luck, speed or strength. The theory behind sticking hands is that once you are in contact with an opponent, then it is possible to maintain a perfect defense by closing up the center and by sticking with the opponent. As soon as the opponent deviates from the center line, then you can attack with such timing that recovery by the opponent is impossible. Sticking hands is learned in a step-by-step manner. It is a laboratory where every possible reaction and counter-reaction is analyzed. It is a laboratory where every kind of force is experienced. The more failures you learn to overcome, the harder it will be for an opponent to win in the future. The first step to learning sticking hands is to learn the basic vocabulary of techniques which come from the sets. Every technique has a specific function which depends on the opponent's reactions. Try to master a few techniques rather than learning many in a mediocre way.

4. Emphasize Proper Feeling

As in other activities in one's life, there are often many ways of performing sticking hands incorrectly. Poor sticking hand techniques are characterized by sloppiness, stiffness, lack of techniques, being off-center, wobbly stances, no concentration, reliance on only speed and strength, uncontrolled hits, moves which are independent of the opponent's, inconsistent forces, and numerous others. The beginner student often relies on a few favorite techniques which are applied with great speed.

5. Keep calm

There is a saying that the hand is quicker than the eye. Good card dealers and coin magicians testify to this fact. A concert pianist is able to play 20 to 30 notes per second. Wing Chun punches can be performed at a rate of nine per second. Through a lot of practice, the brain is able to group sets of actions together in such a manner that they can be performed at high speeds without any conscious awareness of what is happening. A beginner often uses more muscle than he needs to perform an action. This appears as a form of stiffness. Through practice, unnecessary movements are eliminated. Eventually a Wing Chun practitioner is able to attack and defend almost unconsciously. The arms often defend and counter before the brain is even aware of what has happened. So long as conscious control is required, attack and defense occur too slowly. It has been found that very rapid actions go hand in hand with deep states of relaxation. Therefore, keep calm and relaxed and practice often.

Safety Tips

  1. Always practice in a calm, relaxed fashion.
  2. Avoid random sparring with a person you do not know. Injuries often result from pride and heated tempers.
  3. Protection must be worn for eyes and mouth when quick action sparring.
  4. Keep your nails short.
  5. If you get upset at a partner, do not continue the practice. Calm down first.
  6. Treat the art seriously. Don't fool around. Don't practice unknown techniques.
  7. Don't talk during sparring. A cut tongue often results. Concentrate.
  8. Be cautious when poking fingers to the face, kicks to the knees, elbows to the head.

Return to: Wing Chun Viewpoint

seal.gif The Wing Chun Kung Fu Digital Library