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Monday, May 9, 2011

Wing Chun Kicks and Kicking

So far on Kung Fu Los Angeles we have discussed Wing Chun hand techniques in several posts, but we have not spent much time exploring our devastating kicking techniques.

Before we start, check out Wing Chun Techniques, Concepts and Theory (Focus on Centerline Theory) if you are new to Wing Chun or need a refresher on our centerline theory. This post explains why we do not use some of the more acrobatic kicks in the martial arts world (e.g. spinning back kicks) in the Wing Chun Kung Fu system.

In Wing Chun there are, more or less, four kicks: the front kick, the side kick, the stop kick, and the back kick. (Some might also include the tripping motion as a kick, but for the purposes of this post we will exclude it.) Here's a video by Sifu Todd Shawn Tei explaining:

In 1997 Sifu Tei's article "Join the Chain Gang" was published in Kung Fu magazine. Here are some excerpts describing the key points:

1) WING CHUN KICKS ARE EFFECTIVE: Many falsely assume that Wing Chun is limited in its use of kicks. Not true. Rather, Wing Chun limits which kicks it uses - only using those that are most effective and discarding the rest: "Wing Chun never uses high kicks to the head or big spinning kicks because they will leave you open to attack. The centerline of your body must always be covered so it is never vulnerable."
2) USE HANDS AND FEET SIMULTANEOUSLY: Wing Chun kicks are often used in combination with a hand technique - "When you are striking with a punch high to the face, and low with a kick to the opponent's knee, this makes your attack very difficult to block and overcome."
3) TARGETING YOUR KICKS: "When you use kicks in Wing Chun, focus them to hit certain areas... it is very important to kick the opponent in vital and hard-to-block areas such as the groin, knees, behind the knees, the shins, hip, or stomach."
4) SIMULTANEOUS ATTACK AND DEFENSE: Wing Chun kicks can be used both for attacking and deflecting your opponent's kicks*. For example, the side kick can be used in a downward motion to stop your opponent's kick, or to strike your opponent's knee.

In future posts we will explore each kick's applications more thoroughly. In the meanwhile, thanks for reading and always feel welcome to stop by our school if you are interested in training!

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

(*Author's note: in organized sparring competitions it is common to see fighters exchange kicks, making little effort to block them. In competitions this is acceptable because kicks cannot be aimed toward vital areas such as the knees or the groin. Obviously, this is a convenience not present in street fights.)