Avoid the dreaded "Wing Chun Slouch"!!!!

KPM

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I know you all have seen it. The Wing Chun guy that stands there in Chi Sau or other drills hunched over with his or her shoulders rolled forward and chin stuck out. This is a common hazard in our modern world where we spend so much time sitting in front of a computer or at a desk. It is made worse in Wing Chun when someone is worrying about keeping their elbows in tight close to the centerline. This is bad posture and bad for your health. Southern Fist styles like Mantis, Bak Mei, and Dragon teach this hollowed out/hunched over posture as part of their power generation method. Wing Chun typically does not. This can lead to chronic mid-back, upper trap, or neck pain and degenerative changes in the thoracic spine. Take my advice, avoid it! Keep your chin and shoulders back. The elbows should be angled inward so that they point towards the opposite knee, but they don't have to hug the centerline.

As you go through-out your day don't "hunch over" at your desk. As you type at your desk scoot in closer to your keyboard. If your elbows stay back near your torso, your shoulders will stay back as well. Keep your chin tucked back. As you walk around, don't think of holding your shoulders back because this will lead to excessive tension in your upper traps and eventually cause pain. Instead, think of keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and your palms rotated slightly towards the front. This will naturally fire your rhomboids which will help keep your shoulders back.

Someone that habitually has this posture will develop some shortening of their pec muscles. Stretch out the pecs by standing in a doorway with your arms against the doorjab and then step through the doorway. Do this in 3 positions: arms down at 45 degrees, arms straight out, and arms up at 45 degrees. This will stretch out the pecs and also help the shoulders stay back.

One of the Pin Sun sets is an excellent conditioning drill to counter the "Wing Chun Slouch." In the Dai Bong set we start with double Low Bong Sau's just as in the third part of the Chum Kiu form. Then pivot and do double upward backhand strikes to shoulder height with both in a straight line through the shoulders. Then swing at the elbow and do double downward backhand strikes to shoulder height, then swing at the elbow again and do double upward backhand strikes once again. Now pivot 180 degrees and back to the double low Bong Sau position and repeat. Stand up nice and straight with the chin tucked back and keep pivoting back and forth doing the "swinging 3 count" as much as you want. This works the muscles of the shoulder girdle to help keep the shoulders back.

Another drill, though not actual "set" is the Pin Sun Da. Stand face forward and pivot 90 degrees while you do an extended straight punch while pulling your other fist back to your chest. In the ending position your punching arm should be in a straight line with your shoulders and your opposite elbow should be at a 90 degree angle with the punching arm. Then pivot 180 degrees so you are fully facing the opposite direction and punch with the other arm. Again, stand up nice and straight with the chin tucked in and repeat as many times as you want. This also works the msucles of the shoulder girdle and will counter the dreaded "Wing Chun Slouch"!!! ;)
 

Argus

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I have this habit from sitting at my computer desk for long hours. I've been working on correcting my posture while doing so.

However, I've broken it in Wing Chun. A few good lop-sau will break you of this habit quickly. If your chin is forward and you get pulled suddenly, it will throw your head back and is quite painful in the neck. I'm sure it could even result in injury in extreme cases.
 

mook jong man

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I think just being in your stance with both hands pulled back into loose fists in line with your chest will go a long way to giving you the perfect posture.

Once the arms move from there things can tend to fall apart.
As you said with the slouching and forcing the elbow inwards.

Trying to force your elbow in too far is counterproductive , all it does is tense up the pectorals and shoulder.

People think they are producing a stronger structure this way and protecting their centerline , but they are actually weakening their position by allowing the opponents force to settle in the areas where they are carrying the tension.

You are better served by relaxing and allowing the elbow to hang down from the shoulders and paying more attention to your wrist position.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I haven't seen my elder sister for many years. Last month I saw her in a wedding party in LA, she had finally developed her "hollowed chest and forward shoulder", she can now guard her centerline with both arms effortless.

When I was young, I like to used my back muscle to hold a pencil. Now when I walk, I like to put my hands behind my back. "Open/stretch" is always better for our health than "close/shrink". The best way to guard your center may not be the best way for your health. If you can shrink your body like a turtle, you will have the best defense posture. But how long will you be able to live with that kind of body posture?
 
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KPM

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Another factor that contributes to the "Wing Chun Slouch" is locking the pelvis/hips. Some lineages teach to open the stance by swiveling the feet and then to rock the hips forward and lock them in place to flatten the lower back. This is said to unify the upper and lower body so they move as one unit when pivoting. But purposefully flattening the lower back and tucking the pelvis forwards naturally causes you to lean backwards a bit. This can lead to compensating by flexing the mid-back to bring the upper body forward and hence producing the dreaded "Wing Chun Slouch." This becomes accentuated when the Wing Chun student gets a bit lazy and relaxes into this position. It soon takes less effort to "slouch" than it does to stand up straight and so it becomes the standard posture when training.

Pin Sun teaches a "floating Kwa." We don't tuck the pelvis forward or "lock" things in. The pelvis is allowed to sit naturally and move freely. This way the upper body stays directly over the lower body. The hips can be used for power generation and the stance can sink and root better.

So if you find yourself "slouching", work on keeping the shoulders back, but also the torso straight up and the pelvis positioned naturally with no "tuck."
 
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KPM

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I think just being in your stance with both hands pulled back into loose fists in line with your chest will go a long way to giving you the perfect posture.


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Not really. You would have to keep your elbows pointed straight down and your fists up almost like curling a barbell for your shoulders to stay back. When you pull your fists back by the chest and keep your forearms parallel to the ground this naturally rolls your shoulder girdle forward. Just stand in your YGKYM stance with fists back at the sides and then slowly extend your arms into a Bai Jong ready position. You should feel your shoulders roll back as your arms go forward. I think the repeated use of the fists chambered at the chest is one of the things that contributes to the "Wing Chun Slouch." Pin Sun doesn't do this.

Guys, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say..."hey look Pin Sun is better than everyone else!" I just keep using Pin Sun as an example because it is what made me realize these biomechanical differences. I spent many years doing Ip Man Wing Chun as well and felt and saw what I am talking about pretty regularly. Even now I have to keep reminding myself to fight the "Wing Chun Slouch."
 

mook jong man

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Another factor that contributes to the "Wing Chun Slouch" is locking the pelvis/hips. Some lineages teach to open the stance by swiveling the feet and then to rock the hips forward and lock them in place to flatten the lower back. This is said to unify the upper and lower body so they move as one unit when pivoting. But purposefully flattening the lower back and tucking the pelvis forwards naturally causes you to lean backwards a bit. This can lead to compensating by flexing the mid-back to bring the upper body forward and hence producing the dreaded "Wing Chun Slouch." This becomes accentuated when the Wing Chun student gets a bit lazy and relaxes into this position. It soon takes less effort to "slouch" than it does to stand up straight and so it becomes the standard posture when training.

Pin Sun teaches a "floating Kwa." We don't tuck the pelvis forward or "lock" things in. The pelvis is allowed to sit naturally and move freely. This way the upper body stays directly over the lower body. The hips can be used for power generation and the stance can sink and root better.

So if you find yourself "slouching", work on keeping the shoulders back, but also the torso straight up and the pelvis positioned naturally with no "tuck."

It depends on how far you are tilting your pelvis forward , do it too much and your hips and quads will tense up hampering your mobility.
You just tilt it up and forward and then back it off till it is relaxed , as long as the back of the shoulders stay in line with the heels there shouldn't be an issue with leaning back.

In our lineage having no tuck would lead to hips unlocking and loss of power when kicking or striking.
 

Marnetmar

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Interesting stuff. I actually haven't seen all that much Pin Sun, so it does interest me. Do you have any videos by chance?
 

mook jong man

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Not really. You would have to keep your elbows pointed straight down and your fists up almost like curling a barbell for your shoulders to stay back. When you pull your fists back by the chest and keep your forearms parallel to the ground this naturally rolls your shoulder girdle forward. Just stand in your YGKYM stance with fists back at the sides and then slowly extend your arms into a Bai Jong ready position. You should feel your shoulders roll back as your arms go forward. I think the repeated use of the fists chambered at the chest is one of the things that contributes to the "Wing Chun Slouch." Pin Sun doesn't do this.

Guys, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say..."hey look Pin Sun is better than everyone else!" I just keep using Pin Sun as an example because it is what made me realize these biomechanical differences. I spent many years doing Ip Man Wing Chun as well and felt and saw what I am talking about pretty regularly. Even now I have to keep reminding myself to fight the "Wing Chun Slouch."

I really don't know what you are talking about with this slouching thing , I don't remember ever seeing it in my lineage.
Maybe with new students , that's about it , but they do a lot of things wrong.

That sort of thing should be ironed out by the instructor anyway while the students are doing the form or doing chi sau , it was pretty much burned into our brain from day one to keep your back straight and sink your weight.
All you have to do , to not slouch is to visualise a straight line going from your coccyx to the crown of your head .
 

mook jong man

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Not really. You would have to keep your elbows pointed straight down and your fists up almost like curling a barbell for your shoulders to stay back. When you pull your fists back by the chest and keep your forearms parallel to the ground this naturally rolls your shoulder girdle forward. Just stand in your YGKYM stance with fists back at the sides and then slowly extend your arms into a Bai Jong ready position. You should feel your shoulders roll back as your arms go forward. I think the repeated use of the fists chambered at the chest is one of the things that contributes to the "Wing Chun Slouch." Pin Sun doesn't do this.

Guys, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say..."hey look Pin Sun is better than everyone else!" I just keep using Pin Sun as an example because it is what made me realize these biomechanical differences. I spent many years doing Ip Man Wing Chun as well and felt and saw what I am talking about pretty regularly. Even now I have to keep reminding myself to fight the "Wing Chun Slouch."

I don't know about you , but when I pull my fists back it also pulls my shoulders back and opens up my chest.
Probably the opposite of slouching actually.
 
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KPM

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It depends on how far you are tilting your pelvis forward , do it too much and your hips and quads will tense up hampering your mobility.
You just tilt it up and forward and then back it off till it is relaxed , as long as the back of the shoulders stay in line with the heels there shouldn't be an issue with leaning back.

In our lineage having no tuck would lead to hips unlocking and loss of power when kicking or striking.

I absolutely agree! But not everyone does it that way. That "relaxed" part is the important thing! ;-) Please let me make clear I am not trying to criticize any Ip Man lineage. Plenty of Ip Man Wing Chun people have no problem at all with the "Wing Chun Slouch." But some do. I'm just pointing out what to look for and avoid, regardless of lineage.
 
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Interesting stuff. I actually haven't seen all that much Pin Sun, so it does interest me. Do you have any videos by chance?

Jim Roselando has some videos up. I find them and post the link later today.
 
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KPM

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I don't know about you , but when I pull my fists back it also pulls my shoulders back and opens up my chest.
Probably the opposite of slouching actually.

No. Just try my little experiment described above. Pulling the elbows back far enough that the fists are next to the chest naturally rolls the whole shoulder girdle forward. You open the chest because you are taking a deep breath. But at the same time you are contracting the pecs, which over time and frequent repetition can cause them to shorten to accommodate. This is easily counter-acted with the doorway stretch I described.
 

Kwan Sau

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the dreaded wc slouch eh? LoL
Hmmm... This thread should have been labeled "Avoid the dreaded WC slouch if you are a Pin Sun guy"...
I've been a dreaded slouching guy for many years...no issues with my WC, horse, structure, power generation, etc.
Not being rude or typing this with any intonation KPM...just playing "devils advocate" for all us slouchers out there. :)
As with most things in life...there are varying degrees to everything from upper body slouch, to pelvic tilt to spine curvature etc.
Most important is can your horse (from your feet to your head) support what your body/legs/arms are trying to accomplish when you need to open a can o' whoop ****
Peace ya'll!
 
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KPM

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the dreaded wc slouch eh? LoL
Hmmm... This thread should have been labeled "Avoid the dreaded WC slouch if you are a Pin Sun guy"...
I've been a dreaded slouching guy for many years...no issues with my WC, horse, structure, power generation, etc.
Not being rude or typing this with any intonation KPM...just playing "devils advocate" for all us slouchers out there. :)
As with most things in life...there are varying degrees to everything from upper body slouch, to pelvic tilt to spine curvature etc.
Most important is can your horse (from your feet to your head) support what your body/legs/arms are trying to accomplish when you need to open a can o' whoop ****
Peace ya'll!

It's all a matter of degrees. Like I said above, plenty of Wing Chun people have no problem with this. But some do. And its independent of lineage.

And to quote John Wang on this thread:
"Open/stretch" is always better for our health than "close/shrink". The best way to guard your center may not be the best way for your health. If you can shrink your body like a turtle, you will have the best defense posture. But how long will you be able to live with that kind of body posture?


 
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KPM

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Ok.This is from Wong Shun Leung’s classic “Science of In-Fighting” video.When I think of the “Wing Chun Slouch” I always see his training partner in my head.I’m not sure who he is, but he must have obviously been one of WSL’s personal students or he wouldn’t have been in the video.He has a very classic case of the “Wing Chun Slouch.”Yet WSL does not.There are even worse examples of his slouch than in this particular clip.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh9uQm_A9X0

Samuel Kwok is another classic example of the “Wing Chun Slouch.”He is a tall man, and so is quite often training with shorter people.So he naturally has to bend over a bit, which just accentuates the slouch.I don’t know if he is doing anything to counteract the effect.But just check out this video starting at about 1:15.He is leaning back at the waist and then hunching forward to keep his balance. But his student Tony Massengil has no problem at all and good posture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGcrfmQqcHc

Another example.I don’t know who these guys are, but they are both slouching.They are leaning back at the waist and then hunching forward.They also provide a perfect example of why this is a bad idea structurally.Watch how the student’s stance collapses when force is applied to it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJboSaGrXXM

One more example.Look at how the instructor is leaning back at the waist and hunching forward.Not quite as pronounced as Samuel Kwok, but still there.Again, a tall guy working with a short student but I’ve seen him “slouching” in other videos as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqPeEZ1-0eM

Rocking or “locking” the hips/pelvis forward is a factor in the backward lean at the waist seen in these videos.

Let me just point out again, that not only is this independent of lineage, it is also sometimes independent of the particular school itself.WSL doesn’t slouch, but his student does.Samuel Kwok has the slouch but his student does not.It’s an individual thing which is why I explaining what to watch out for in this thread.
 

geezer

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No. Just try my little experiment described above. Pulling the elbows back far enough that the fists are next to the chest naturally rolls the whole shoulder girdle forward. You open the chest because you are taking a deep breath. But at the same time you are contracting the pecs, which over time and frequent repetition can cause them to shorten to accommodate. This is easily counter-acted with the doorway stretch I described.

Mook
is right. You are wrong. Wrong, wrong wrong! ...unless I bother to read what you say carefully, in which case you may have a point. Like that part about pulling back the elbows in a way that causes the shoulder girdle to roll forward. I can see how that could happen. But the way I pull my elbows straight back while relaxing and sinking the shoulders does not contract the pecks. Instead it works very much like the door stretch you advocate. In fact I believe this movement is frequently repeated in the SNT form in every lineage precisely for this reason, namely to open the chest and offset the pectoral contraction found in so many other movements such as tan and fook sau.

BTW years back I ran into some back and shoulder problems that were aggravated by my poor WC posture and exaggerated attempts to keep my elbows on centerline. A great physical therapist got me doing the door stretch routine you described. It's now a regular part of my warm up regimen. Good stuff KPM.

Finally, as my granmother used to insist never slouch. It looks terrible, is poor for your health and indicates a weakness of character! Now, with all due respect to the legacy of the mighty Bruce, this has to be one of the worst WC slouches you are likely to find:

http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/26700000/Bruce-with-Ip-man-bruce-lee-26727480-1008-613.jpg
 

Tong Chuang

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I think KPM has a valid point here.
I always thought there were some postural problems apparent in certain practitioners from some lineages. I had put it down to a tendency to gain an advantage in reach that comes from years of chi sao practice, the shoulders slowly creeping forward, the forward energy constantly straining.
I heard a story of one European 'Grandmaster' that supposedly slept with a pillow between his shoulders to try and compensate the slouch.
 

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