Wing Chun Kicking : No chambering required.

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by mook jong man, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    When teaching people in the past who have come from other martial arts I have had a very hard time in trying to eliminate the habit of them chambering their leg before they kick.

    One guy I've been teaching for about two years previously did TKD for quite a long time and he still does a noticeable chamber with some of his kicks , it is getting better but it is still there.

    One misconception that people have is because you can kick high , you can kick low this maybe the case for a practitioner staying within their own style , but it is not the case for Wing Chun .
    Low kicking using the Wing Chun method is a totally different beast , and as with my student previous habits have to be erased.

    In Wing Chun kicking , the foot must travel in a straight line from the ground to the target.
    This is so the kick can reach maximum velocity , chambering the kick is like trying to accelerate in a racing car then having to slow down for a corner and then trying to accelerate again.

    Chambering the kick requires two actions raising the knee , and then thrusting the leg out , in Wing Chun the kick travels directly to the target and is executed in one motion.
    This type of kicking is less likely to be detected and countered , in short it is less telegraphic.

    In Wing Chun defence and attack are inseparable , using a straight line as the trajectory for my kick means that my leg will still roughly be in the optimum angle for jamming any incoming kicks or alternatively using my shin to hook and deflect them off my centreline.

    Some would argue that chambering the leg will generate a more powerful kick , and with a novice Wing Chun student this will certainly be the case , same as if they drew their arm back to strike.
    That is because at their stage they are still using a lot of muscular force to generate power , but Wing Chun striking and kicking does not rely on muscular force to generate power , so drawing back the arm to strike or chambering the leg is not necessary.

    In Wing Chun the kicking as with the hand striking , is done in a very relaxed fashion , no great muscular effort is required because the body mass is automatically transfered from the correct Wing Chun stance into the striking limb , as long as it is relaxed.

    With every rule there are exceptions , in the case of a close range thrust kick to the solar plexus where I have control of both my opponents arms , due to the very close range I will bring my knee up high and into my own chest and then slam it back out again this is so my leg will clear the opponents body on the way up.

    Also with a stamp kick to the back of the leg , again due to the proximity of the opponent and the fact I might be striking with my hand at the same time , the knee is brought up in a vertical line and then slammed down again.

    Apart from these , all kicks should travel in a straight line from the ground to the target in accordance with the principal of directness

    The best way to teach this to beginners is to make them maintain the same angle in their leg from their stance until their heel impacts with the target , this is a learning stage and as they gradually become more skilled and faster their leg will naturally take a more direct route to the target.
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's very interesting. I'd love to see a demonstration of the kicks you describe, particularly a low kick. As an Isshin-Ryu student, of course I do practice a chambered kick, and yes, we do it (we are told) to generate power. And you attracted my attention when you compared it to the punch; we do NOT draw back our arms to punch but instead generate power primarily from the hips, so the arms do not 'chamber' in that sense.

    If you could illustrate what you mean, I'd be most appreciative. Thanks for the info!
     
  3. yak sao

    yak sao Senior Master

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    I think kicking from the floor is stronger than a chambered kick. There is more room to accelerate the leg.
    Also, by chambering the leg, your force is parallel to the floor and perpendicular to your body, so someone coming in to jam your kick can push you back off balance.
    By kicking straight up from the floor, your force is wedging upward. Now if someone tries to jam your kick, he is forcing your base leg to the floor. Think of a long board being placed at an angle where the wall and floor meet and push that board for all it's worth from the other end. It's not going anywhere.
     
  4. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I am having trouble visualizing your kick. Do you have any video clip that shows this type of kick? I'm mentally picturing a straight kick with an unbended knee, and I have to think that's not what you mean? I mean, I'm picturing something like a Rockette's kick in a chorus line; that can't be what you mean?
     
  5. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    I think both ways have benefits and flaws. Both work - I personally like to move the Kick Straight in if Im aiming for the Ankle or Shin, possibly the Knee as well. I chamber if I want to hit the Knee or Thigh. And so forth.
     
  6. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Is this a WC 'no chamber' kick? If so, I think it is a chambered kick; it's just a shallow chamber. However, please correct me if I'm wrong.

     
  7. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    No Bill that is not correct Wing Chun kicking , the execution is wrong on quite a few levels in fact it took me a minute to work out if the guy was supposed to be doing Wing Chun .
    Whats with the indian music and the high kicks to the head , bloke must like getting his nut sack kicked in.

    If the person is in their Wing Chun stance the centre of gravity is lowered and the legs are already bent , so in effect the legs are already pre chambered and ready for action.
    Heres a clip here with a pretty good example , unfortunately it's part of a demo and doesn't start till around the 4:47 mark.

     
  8. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    Interesting you mention that , because I've got an old videotape lying around here somewhere of a seminar that the late great Wong Shun Leung gave at our Adelaide school many years ago.

    He draws a diagram on a blackboard explaining why you should kick in one motion directly to the target , according to him doing it in a one-two motion with a chamber causes the force to come back into you and destabilises your stance.
     
  9. Eric_H

    Eric_H Black Belt

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    I find that the non chambered kicks work best against the shins and ankles, however in Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun when we do our Buhn Yuet Ma footwork the knee raises to hip height on the centerline - similar to a chambered position - and it is possible that kicks can be launched from there as well.

    So I guess the answer is, I do both :) It's all situation dependent anyways.
     
  10. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Good thread. :)
     
  11. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank you for that video. He's fast, it was hard for me to see what he was doing with his legs. Still looks like a "kind of' chamber to me; it just looks like what we would call a 'late chamber' or 'lazy chamber' (no disrespect intended). His legs are already bent as you said (by the way, we keep our legs bent too) and the main difference that I saw was that his knee came up without chambering first, but as the knee reached 90 degrees, the shin was pointing straight down; when he kicks, he's pivoting from there. His shin is essentially at a 45 degree angle to his thigh; if this is what you mean when you say 'pre-chambered' then I would agree. About all I can see that we would do differently is we chamber the kick a bit more tightly and a bit sooner. While some in my style advocate trying to hit yourself in the butt with the heel of your foot as a tight chamber, my body dimensions don't permit that; it's not physically possible for me. So my 'chamber' is about half-way between a 'full' chamber and yours. I would say I chamber about 2 to 3 inches more than the fellow in this video, and a bit sooner. I'm not sure what different it makes in the execution of the kick.

    Thanks for posting the video!
     
  12. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    When I say pre chambered I mean when in the stance the leg is already in the optimum angle for kicking, all that has to be done is the foot delivered to the target along the most direct path , and the heel thrust from the knee joint upon reaching the target.

    This is an analog to the hands when held in the Wing Chun guard position , the front hand is already in a position to generate power and can be launched from that position without any pre movement.

    I think what you might be seeing as a lazy chamber could be just the relaxation of the leg , in Wing Chun all striking is relaxed so as to get maximum speed and power without telegraphic movement.

    It's a dead weight kind of feeling that we are trying to achieve , so naturally with the leg being relaxed there will be some automatic contraction in the angle of the leg as it is raised , a bit like the shock wave that rolls along a whip before it strikes.
    But this is not the same as deliberately raising the knee first and then kicking , it is just a consequence of being relaxed as the hip flexor activates and starts to raise the leg.

    But if the person is standing in front of you doing the kick , to all intents and purposes it will appear as if the kick has been done in one motion , straight from floor to target in one movement.

    You must understand that our kicks are used as a defence against other styles kicks and punches , so exactly as with the hands , even if the other person initiates the attack and launches a kick , our kick will still get there first as long as we use the most direct path through the centreline and from the ground straight to the target.

    Any extraneous movement like raising the knee and chambering will waste time and result in the attackers kick or punch reaching you first whilst your kick is still in mid phase.

    It's a bit like the old westerns with the two gun fighters , one initiates the attack and draws his gun from the holster first .
    But the other gun fighter has a faster and more economical action and still manages to shoot the other guy even though the other gun fighter started his attack first.

    I am not telling people from other styles the way they should kick , what I am saying is this method works in the context of Wing Chun because it is integrated into the Wing Chun stance and it is the correct Wing Chun stance that provides the proper platform in generating speed and power in the kicks without a lot of muscular effort expended on behalf of the practitioner.
     
  13. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thanks, that's really fascinating! I'd like to work out with you sometime or with someone who has this skill and can show it to me. If there is something I can take from your art and add to my own, I'm happy to do so. Really appreciate the info!
     
  14. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    Any time Bill , bit hard to train with me though I'm in Australia lol. You might be able to use some concepts from Wing Chun Bill , but to be honest these concepts work because of the Wing Chun stance , for you to make them work optimally you would have to adopt the Wing Chun stance , it's a bit like trying to run an operating system on a computer that is not compatible.
     
  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's why I'll have to train with someone who works in your art, I guess. Hey, we take from everywhere; whatever works, works. And I'd love to go back to Australia. I was in Perth in '82. Great place, wonderful people.
     
  16. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Mook--this is a great topic. The degree to which you chamber your kick seems to depend a lot on which branch of Wing Chun you practice, even within the groups coming down from Grandmaster Yip Man. My old sifu, Leung Ting, insisted that we lift the kick upwards and then thrust forward "as though kicking over a low box". Then the kick would drop straight downward to the ground with no return to chamber as with the motto "every kick a step..." You can see this chambering in the following clip of the Chum Kiu form as taught by Leung Ting in the early 1980s (there have been some minor changes his version of the form since then). Notice the way the front-thrust kick is performed in the third section at around 1:20 and again around 1:30.



    I have also seen a video of Wong Shun Leung describing his direct floor-to-target method of kicking, and I can see the logic and efficiency of that method in certain circumstances. I don't, however, agree that just because you lift the kick first and then thrust it horizontally forward that you will de-stabilize your stance. That really depends on the angle at which you release your energy on impact. Done properly, you will direct the rebounding force downward through your stance rather than horizontally out through your butt! And this can be done with either kind of delivery. Sifu Leung demonstrated this often with very powerful kicks.

    Finally, although I learned the "lift then thrust" method, I can see benefits to both approaches depending on the target and context. And, I'm coming to view the two approaches as both a part of WC, just as the different ways in which the front punch is chambered in Siu Nim Tau and Biu Tze are both inherent to WC/VT/WT. In SNT the punch is first brought to center, then thrust straight out along the centerline. In Biu Tze it travels in a straight line from it's chamber alongside the body directly to it's target-point on centerline. Each punching method is useful, but we begin training with the slower, chambered-then-thrust-forward method of SNT. Later we expand to the direct, point A to B method of Biu Tze. The same logic is applied to teaching kicks in the "WT" branches of art... including the NVTO group I'm currently associated with.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  17. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    It does depend on the lineage but I think the overall governing factor in Wing Chun kicking is the proximity of the opponent and the target you are going for.

    The angle that your leg is going to be in as you execute the kick is largely going to be dictated by how close or far away the opponent is at the time.

    With the WSL thing I'm talking about I don't exactly know what he was going on about either , it could have even been a mistranslation about the force coming back into the body.
    Because he didn't speak any English and my master was doing the translating , and he wasn't the best translator lol , about ten minutes of Cantonese would get condensed down into he said "Make sure you really relax!" lol.

    Anyways in our lineage we have a very close range thrust kick into the solar plexus that is done from chi sau, you probably have the same thing in yours , I remember my seniors had no trouble in generating power from this range and their stance was solid , one second you would be doing chi sau and the next second you would have a heel thumping into your chest.
    Due to the close range in chi sau you are forced to raise your knee up high in order to have the space to perform the kick , it maybe possible that in the WSL system they don't do that kick , I don't know.


    So I think maybe as long as you are sufficiently relaxed when kicking and you have a decent foundation ie a good stance, then you should be able to use either method and not get rocked out of your stance by it , because you may have to use either type depending on the range and the target.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  18. Vajramusti

    Vajramusti Master Black Belt

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    --------------------------------------------------------

    I would not call that a wing chun kick.


    joy chaudhuri
     
  19. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Interesting!?

    As to lifting the knee, Range and target dependent. In my training the kicks in Chum Kiu and Bil Jee are different kicks due to different situations.
     
  20. zepedawingchun

    zepedawingchun Black Belt

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    Just like the Wing Chun punch being driven by the elbow and shoulder, the kick is driven by the knee and hip. People mistake the movement of the knee as chambered when in fact the kick is lifted by the motion of the knee (slightly bent but relaxed) to drive the kicking foot forward. Just like the punch, you don't use the hand but the speed and movement of the elbow (the hand is attached so you focus on the elbow, the hand will go forward since the elbow is behind it). Same idea with a Wing Chun kick, the foot goes forward because the knee is behind it, with the force driving it.123
     

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