WT lineage stance/steps to enhance rooting and power generation?

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by geezer, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Warning, The Geezer has some ideas to debate about "WT" stances and steps. Here's Chapter 1:

    Some you here have had experience in the WT or WingTsun branch of the Ip Man lineage of Leung Ting. This was the lineage that I trained, and one of it's most distinguishing traits is its peculiar, ....perhaps even extreme take on the WC stance.

    Many branches of WC favor a somewhat back-weighted stance when posing one foot forward (as compared to the square-on Yee Gee Kim Ma or "Character Two" / "IRAS" stance). Typically that would be wighting the rear leg 60-70%. In the WT branch, the stance is said to be back weighted 100%. All the bodies "dead" weight is placed on the rear foot and only a light "pressure" is put on the front foot.

    The best descriptive analogy heard was that of a man sitting on the edge of a bar stool with one leg extended onto the floor. His dead weight is carried 100% by the stool yet he can put pressure on the floor. Since the stool carries all his weight, he can move or lift his extended leg up off the floor at will, or set it back down with pressure to scoot or adjust the position of his stool. Like this old guy:

    upload_2020-6-29_15-15-57.jpeg

    Now the real challenge comes when you are told to maintain this weighting when advancing. You are told to extend your front foot, grip the ground and literally drag your whole body forward without unweighting or lifting up the rear, weight-bearing leg at all.

    At first this seems an impossible task. Later, making some weighting adjustments most students actually do develop a certain degree of ability to move like this. Some remain clumsy and slow. Others integrate what I call "compensatory techniques" and ultimately come up with something that, while not quite totally back-weighted, is very close to this model yet also functional. In some cases, more than functional. Even explosive. Watch this guy at 2:28-2:30, slow it down to 50% and watch how his rear foot stays on the ground.



    So here are a few questions, especially for anybody who spent any time training this in WT.

    1. Were you able to make this stance work for you at all?

    2. If so, what do you feel were it's advantages and disadvantages.

    3. Do you still use this approach, and if so have you made any personal modifications?
     
  2. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Thought I'd backtrack and include this short video for anybody with no idea of what si taught in the "WT" lineage:

     
  3. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    Guangzhou wing chun has 100% of the weight on the back leg. It works fine, just takes a lot of stance, and then jun ma, training to make it functional. I wouldn't think of it as back weighted though, to me that suggests a slight backward tilt, something that you see a lot of in wing chun generally, and something we avoid. Its more just weight centred over one leg rather than two.
     
  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Had to laugh; when I saw WT I immediately thought World TKD.:confused:
     
  5. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    ...And what do you suppose people outside TKD think every time someone uses the letters "WTF"? ;)

    And you know, people say that Ip Man's choice of romanization, "Ving Tsun" or "VT" ...as well as Leung Ting's later use of the spelling "Wing Tsun" or "WT" both stemmed, in part, from a desire not to call the art "WC" ....meaning the toilet in the Hong Kong/British English vernacular. :oops:
     
  6. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    When I trained WT with Leung Ting, some members of our group were already very experienced in another branch of Ip Man lineage "WC", including the sifu of the school I previously trained at. Yet he made us all start over beginning with the stance.

    He insisted that we work on our basic weighting, turning, and stepping for hours and hours, day after day (of our very limited training time) until he was certain that it was just so. He impressed upon us that this was what made his WT "different", and it was much more important than how many forms or techniques we "knew".

    Years of training these methods, equally the seung ma and dap bo (the back weighted stance and "pursuing step" discussed above) and the WT version of chuen ma (turning stance) has led me to believe that the greatest benefit of the knee adduction and weight shifting is not limited to what is initially taught at all. There is another, more important reason. That's why I'm asking others to weigh in on this. I'd like to see what's the rationale they've been taught or come up with. And, that's why I posted the questions above. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  7. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    OK, if I get the question we see a number of advantages to it.

    Foremost the way Guangzhou footwork works is that the stance is alive, we don't dig the stuck "rooted" stance and the redirection of force to the ground thing...…….generally speaking. We have that idea too, but under most circumstances the stance is a combination of aliveness, so light on the feet, and solidly grounded at the moment of impact. So we try to combine grounding, or "rooting" if one prefers (always gets a snicker or two among Australians), and fluidity and motion. What we usually end up with in application is that you will be on one leg and have your light, non-weighted leg closest to the opponent. That's under most circumstances anyway.

    So for us the main(ish) reason to have 100% of the weight in the back leg is to make it harder for an opponent to upend you by sweeping out the front leg. And sweeping out a weighted front leg is a thing we would try to do.

    Probably the next reason for it would be to keep the front (and so closest) leg open for faster ability to launch kicks and to defend against kicks. Essentially, so you can deploy that leg without first having to shift weight off of it.

    Having said all of that though we would also not generally step straight ahead like the guy in the video, however we can and do do that if required, and it looks more or less the way he did it as far as I could see. But, what we would try to do more often is to flank to the sides and in that instance you swap front legs. So if I were to step to the left, my left foot would lead and I would follow with the heun bo from bui ji so that my right foot would end up closest to the opponent and my left leg (started as my front foot) would end up being the rear supporting leg. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Now. Where the rear weighting in jun ma practice counts in the flanking step is that if you shift from 100% of weight from one to the other leg your body moves quite a lot through the jun ma from one side to the other. That distance that you move through the jun ma is in a straight line, from one side to another, when you do it as part of the flanking step it causes your body to arch slightly through the step which provides clearance for you to avoid an oncoming strike and to position you so that when you deliver your technique (say a tan sao) the force you deliver in the tan sao does not excessively cross the oncoming force of the attack. So not only giving clearance through the step, but it ensures that you don't deliver your force in a way that can be evaded and exploited.

    Hopefully that makes sense. It could be a bit difficult to visualise.
     
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  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Haha. The first time I heard/saw WTF back in 1986 I laughed out loud during a meeting. Got some hard looks and a tongue lashing with that one. It was never explicitly acknowledged but it is a big reason for the name change.
     
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  9. yak sao

    yak sao Senior Master

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    I find the 100 percent weighted back leg to be very practical and easy to maneuver. While it is extremely awkward and robotic as a beginner, with diligent practice it becomes natural and very fluid.

    It is the very mechanism that allows everything else to fall into place and be utilized...thing like staying behind your structure, fighting behind your elbows, being relaxed and springy...if you take the 100 percent stance away these things become very difficult to pull off if not downright impossible.
     
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  10. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    I agree with all that you said, although in practice, my true weight distribution is closer to ...maybe 90% rear - 10% front. With my crappy, bone-fused ankles that gives me (personally) the best trade-off between back-weighting and overall stability if pressed or jolted. Any more weight on the front, and it's hard to maintain that "aliveness" that APL76 talked about as well as the ability to recover from a sweep (or other attack) to the front leg.
     
  11. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I like weight distribution:

    - 3-7 stance (30%-70%) for striking, and
    - 4-6 stance (40%-60%) for wrestling.

    The back weight empty stance (10%, 90%) has PRO and CON.

    PRO: Read to kick, safe from opponent's sweep.
    CON: Easy to be run down, don't have enough reach, difficult for weight shifting (bad mobility).

    If you want to move to the side, before you can lift your back foot off the ground, from a

    - 3-7 stance, you only have to shift 70% weight to your leading foot,
    - empty (1-9) stance, you have to shift 90% weight to your leading foot,

    That extra 20% weight shifting can slowdown your side step footwork. But if you don't like to move around, the empty stance is a safe defense stance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  12. APL76

    APL76 Green Belt

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    ant THAT is one of the primary reasons we train the turning stance to death and then some. As Yak Sao said, its awkward and robotic at first but with propper training the cons are far far outweighed by the pros. If you have explosive jun ma with the power generated from the hips it takes care of all those issues.
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think stance and steps is a bit of a misconception. The guys who are like running in to a wall make movements counter to your movements.

    That is kind of why they feel solid.

    If they did a stance then as soon as you change direction they will topple.

     
  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    The wider stance (such as 4-6 stance) is much safer. If your opponent's leg (or hand) can reach to your back leg, you will be in trouble.

    To allow your opponent to reach to your

    - leading leg, you can still counter it.
    - back leg, you will lose chance to counter it.

    Both empty stance and inward narrow horse stance all have the same issue. That is your opponent can reach to your back leg.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  15. Oily Dragon

    Oily Dragon Orange Belt

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    "Seung Ma" eh? Sure, 上. But to be really seung, or seurng....come on, who's with me??

    If these guys are going to bastardize Cantonese, let's begin with 吊馬步, the source of all of these stances.
     
  16. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Some interesting posts, but so far nobody has really gone in the direction I was hoping, which was relating the 100% back weighted stance in seung ma, or the 100% shift to the side in chuen ma to power generation.

    When training these stances and steps in WT, we were shown how the rear-weighting in seung ma made our front foot very alive to quickly evade and counter an attack to our legs, we were shown how it made possible "shadowless" (non-telegraphic) front kick, and how this stance allowed quick, light movement in any direction. All good. But there is another aspect that I feel in insufficiently emphasized. That is how the back-weighted advancing step contributes to power generation, putting the full body-weight into a punch without the commitment of throwing your body-weight onto your front leg.

    Traditionally in many Chinese martial arts you hear the phrase, fou, chum, tun, tou or float, sink, swallow, spit. This can often be related to power generation, such as when you sink and drop your body into a punch. This old Chinese mottto is deep and is worth pondering. But in practice I prefer a very simple "non-denominational" way to consider four main methods of power generation in all martial arts: Sink, rise, rotate, press forward.

    All four of the above come into play when you punch and step using the back-weighted dap bo, but especially the sink as you extend your front leg and then the rise and press as you pull up the rear, carrying your whole body weight with it. As you extend or "reach forward" with your front leg, your body also launches forward and must sink as well for the font leg to grip the ground. If you co-ordinate the timing of your straight "sun punch or yat chi chung kuen with your lead leg, your impact will be augmented by your forward burst and subtle weight drop.

    To see this demonstrated, watch the following video at 15:45-15:48, set the speed on the slowest setting and notice how Emin synchronizes his punch with his lead leg to send Michael Casey flying off screen!


    Or again, with a "shoulder punch" in the following clip at 2:20-2:23


    Note: the WT shoulder-punch always works best with sinking force - the shoulder drops into the target. So many people try to do it rising and it ends up being more of a "push".

    Now I don't have as clear a clip of timing of the punch being synchronized with the rear foot to use rising energy. In the following video Leung Ting demonstrates this energy at 5:11-5:14 but his feet are not in the frame. Still, if you watch it on a slow setting and watch how his body moves, I think it illustrates the point well enough:




     
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  17. Oily Dragon

    Oily Dragon Orange Belt

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    The only time your stance is "100% back weighted" is when you are standing on your rear leg and nothing else.

    There's a chicken joke here, but I'm keeping that in my pocket for now.
     
  18. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    We Americans are all bastards anyway. Look at our ancestry. And we are the world's worst linguists, hands down. Sure there are exceptions, like my neighbor when I was growing up. She speaks English, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian and French. That I know of. And her son has been living in China for years, is married to a wealthy Chinese woman and speaks very good Mandarin. But that's astonishingly rare in the US.

    Besides as my old Chinese sifu used to say, "I'm not teaching you Chinese, I'm teaching you my gung-fu". He was quite content to use English terms for most techniques. I think all the Gwai-lo students (myself included) just felt like people expected us to throw in a little bit of pigeon Cantonese, like so much MSG, to spice up the recipe. But, truth be told, that just gives it a bad taste! ;)

    On the other hand, my sifu also once said something like, "So very many people in the world speak Chinese, but almost none know real gung-fu ...so don't worry so much!" :)
     
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  19. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    If you have a chicken in your pocket, i'd rather not know about it... :p
     
  20. Oily Dragon

    Oily Dragon Orange Belt

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    Diu, ma bo. 吊.

    You either get it, or you don't.

    Such is the way of all Shaolin styles.123
     

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