Compared to other martial arts, Wing Chun and Lung Ying possess a unique approach to generating power. Often referred to as sister styles, their common method relates to how the hip and stance work together.
Both styles utilize a hips-forward (or tucked) position that builds upon muscular tightness through the legs and hips. This creates a high degree of stance strength and stability that allows power from the base to be more efficiently transferred into the hands. The hands can remain loose, pliable and fast.
Similarities and differences
Wing Chun 詠春 trains the tucked-in stance through long and painful sessions of Sil Lum Tao 小念頭, in which the hips are pushed forward, the stance lowered and the legs in tension. This is building Wing Chun’s classic back stance position, but allows you to train both ‘back’ legs at once. When applied to striking, this hip position is maintained throughout forward-stepping attacks, where the power is multiplied. Chi Sao under load (from real forward pressure from a partner) is a good test of this strength. If it can be absorbed into the stance and the hands remain relaxed, this is a good sign.
Lung Ying 龙形 takes it further with its forward stance position. The emphasis on tucked-in hips and strength through the largest muscle groups in the body is built up and strengthened through all the forms and partner exercise routines. In particular the Na Ma (or “pressing horse”) training regime is foundational, helping to build strength and gradually coordinate power output through the hands, in multiple directions. Lung Ying also adopts a powerful forward stance, used at ultra-close range to transmit maximum power through the target. This stance is strong but not “rooted”. It offers mobility to attack, retreat and sidestep with speed.
If you practice either or both of these styles, it is worth assessing the extent to which “hip power” is emphasized in the training, because whilst practice and positioning of limbs can look similar, the strength can only be felt. In the video above, Scott Peterson who is 86kg (195lbs) is lifted off the ground by Barry’s strike, which was altered to push him rather than cause damage. When Anne Pang demonstrates Pak Sao on Scott, he is also jolted backward, despite his strong forward stance. The demonstrations defy Scott’s large size and age advantages. See also our part 2 comparison of these styles, which looks at defensive rotation.
- Defensive rotation in Wing Chun & Lung Ying
- Building better stances
- Sil Lum Tao form explained
- Lung Ying Na Ma training
Article: Written by R Zandbergs. Created from Barry Pang’s seminars.
Video: Filmed and edited by R Zandbergs
Main photo: Barry Pang demonstrating a Lung Ying strike (2022)