Wing Chun uses high-speed, flowing punches to overwhelm opponents. This creates the problem of defending against such speed. The solution is found in the second form.
Wing Chun’s second form, Chum Kil 尋橋 (Finding the bridge), teaches stepping, coordination and making contact. The “bridge” is your opponent’s guard and this is where the contact is made. This is done with Chum Kil’s rotational movement where the arms cut across an upright guard.
Contact is important because good hitters give you no time to react or even see their attacks. And good hitters are powerful.
The power of hand techniques is well observed in combat sports. Boxers wear heavy gloves to dampen the impact. Gloves are also worn in Muay Thai, but the feet and elbows remain bare, despite their devastating kneeing, kicking and elbow techniques. Both sports take advantage of “covering up” with the gloves in order to shield head punches before striking back. In self-defence this type of shielding has limited value.
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Benefits of finding the bridge
By making contact you have a chance to slow down and control punches. Without contact the exchange becomes a game of luck in which the first technique landed tends to end the encounter. So make contact and apply pressure, but do not tense the arms.
By intercepting the hands and applying structural pressure, ‘soft’ techniques like Chi Sao can be used. If trained properly, bringing the stance into play, stronger opponents can be outpositioned and unbalanced, whilst the hands automatically respond to their forces.
Chum Kil offers a key technique for making contact or ‘Finding the bridge’. In the form it is practiced as a 180-degree rotation. In application the rotation can be extremely small, just enough to slice across the opponent’s guard. This rotational movement can be used to roll off an opponent’s power, if needed, or simply improve your angle of attack. See the additional articles below for more.
Article: Written by R Zandbergs. Created from Barry Pang’s seminars.
Video: Filmed and edited by R Zandbergs
Main photo: Barry Pang demonstrating