Sticking Hands:
Five Ways to Improve Sticking Hands

One - Many

1. When you are doing sticking hands fighting, perform one clean action at a time.

2. When you perform sticking hands fighting, you must use continuous hand actions.

When fighting, use continuous hand actions in order to prevent an easy opportunity for counter-attack. When a beginner fights he often does use continuous hand actions, but they are sloppy, ineffective, do not tie together and do not relate to the opponent's actions. Therefore, the beginner should slow down and observe what is happening. Do not just rely on speed. Use techniques properly, and be clear and precise. The technique should be chosen according to what the opponent is doing. Only when all the elements are correct, do you apply continuous hand action.

Light - Heavy

1. When you perform the sticking hands, you should be very light with your force.

2. When you perform the sticking hands, you should be very heavy with your force.

When you cross hands with an advanced Wing Chun practitioner, he may sometimes have a very heavy but rubbery force, while at other times it may be very soft and light. In either case, there is never any stiffness. A beginner often feels that he should use a lot of strength. The force experienced from the advanced practitioner, however, is not a stiff kind of pushing force, but one that comes from total relaxation of the forearms combined with pressure from the elbows, shoulders, and knees. The beginner should use no muscles in the early part of sticking hand training. He should just rely on feeling and softness.

Slow - Fast

1. When you perform the sticking hands, you should perform it very slowly. Don't be like a sewing ma- chine.

2. When you perform the sticking hands, you should roll quickly to develop good reaction time.

There are two kinds of sticking hands training. One is called the Long Force sticking hands; the other is called the Short Force sticking hands. In the Long Force sticking hands, you roll quite slowly, paying great attention to the feeling, the forces, the stickiness, the pushes and the pulls. The force is kept very consistent, with an even forward pressure. In the Short Force sticking hands, the rolling action is quite rapid with quick disengagements. This is useful for developing a sense of alertness and quick timing. The order in which these types are learned varies from school to school. If one kind makes you stiff then try the other.

Strategy - No Strategy

l. Your strategy in Wing Chun is to have NO strategy. Defend aggressively by doing nothing.

Wing Chun sticking hands teaches you to flow with the opponent's movements. Don't try to think of a great plan, just let things happen. By having no strategy, it is difficult for an opponent to figure out your technique as there is nothing to work from. Let the opponent's actions guide your actions and be like water against a dam waiting to get in. As soon as a hole appears in the dam, the water gets in. So when a hole appears in the opponent's defense, your forward force will automatically move into the opponent. The opponent is said to defeat himself. This is called defense by doing nothing. In essence; defend by using a minimum of energy and let the opponent guide you to his defeat.

Force - No Force

1. Don't apply force against force.

2. When the opponent's force comes, meet the force. When you are pushed, push back. When you are pulled, pull back.

When two strong forces collide, the stronger force will dominate over the weaker force. Therefore the saying, "Don't use force against force" applies. However, the saying should not be taken literally, to mean you should collapse right away. In Wing Chun, a lot of techniques are applied following a condition of maximal pressure. For example, if an opponent pushes on your arm, push back until the force between you and the opponent is at a maximum. At this instant, the force should be suddenly reversed, and a pulling technique applied. When you mirror the opponent's force, do so only for an instant. Then change to a soft attacking action (Yin), followed by a hard one (Yang).

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