The stance, Gee Kim Yeung Ma

Xue Sheng

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I can't do it.

After discussions with the person I will be training with (and I will be asking him this too), ad repeated looks in the mirror, I realized there is absolutely no way I will ever be able to get into anything close to a proper Gee Kim Yeung Ma

Really, I cannot physically get into this stance. Arthritis in the hips, knees, and prior knee surgeries make is physically impossible for me to get into this stance. It was hard years ago, due to my hips being angled further back than they should be. But now, it is impossible.

How much of an obstacle is this, if you want to pursue Wing Chun



wing-chun-stance.jpg
 

wckf92

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I can't do it.

After discussions with the person I will be training with (and I will be asking him this too), ad repeated looks in the mirror, I realized there is absolutely no way I will ever be able to get into anything close to a proper Gee Kim Yeung Ma

Really, I cannot physically get into this stance. Arthritis in the hips, knees, and prior knee surgeries make is physically impossible for me to get into this stance. It was hard years ago, due to my hips being angled further back than they should be. But now, it is impossible.

How much of an obstacle is this, if you want to pursue Wing Chun



wing-chun-stance.jpg

"Proper" is subjective. For example, the stance pic you posted is NOT a proper horse IME. My horse is much more "anatomically correct", and easier on my knees and hips. So my reply to your question is...it is no obstacle at all. My suggestion FWIW is make minor tweaks to the level, angle, etc etc of your horse until you are able to train in it for a bit.
Good post!
 

hunschuld

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None,because the stance you are showing is incorrect. Ouch! I know most others will disagree! I am not trying to be difficult.

You do not squeeze your thighs together .You do not push your knees close as if holding a tennis ball.

This is a mis interpenetration of the original stance work.

Leung Jan was a practitioner of Chinese medicine. This type of stance chokes the meridians in the leg. Logic alone says it is not what a person knowledgeable in medicine would do.

No squeezing just let the legs fall into natural position. Knees don't squeeze they will naturally get closer as your energy intent forms the third leg.

Don't lock the hips. they remain loose to transfer energy up and out or down and in. You need loose hips to properly receive and maintain your position. Some have adopted a wider stance to accomplish this but that also has limitations.
 

Danny T

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I'm with wckf92. Your stance should be natural to your body.
The knees follow the toes for the most part. Having the feet turned inward slightly and bending the knees naturally the legs naturally move inward. Can you stand with the outside of your feet pointed straight forward? This will have the inside of the feet pointed at an angle that is more natural and when bending the knee naturally they will move forward and inward. Just as they should. There is no need to 'pull' the thighs inward. It happens naturally. Pulling the thighs inward causes unnatural pressure and stress on the sides of the knees and is just plain wrong.
Take the curve out of the lower spine that is all. Thrusting the hips forward is not correct but a slight rolling of the pelvis under the body if possible to straighten the spine. If you are unable to do that then assure your hips are such that your weight is such that there is the same amount of pressure on your big toe as on your heel. As you sink into this stance note which leg muscles are being utilized. Now without changing anything as to tension in your legs or feet try to come up out of your stance. Don't release any natural tension in the legs or pelvic area or your feet. If done properly you will find your structure wants to remain.
 

geezer

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Whether or not your physical limitations prevent you from being able to practice effective Wing Chun has as much to do with your teacher, his concept of WC, and his teaching style as with the limitations imposed by your arthritic hips.

Some instructors have a far more debilitating condition than your hips. I call it mental arthritis. And it prevents them from helping atypical students who may not be able to execute the classical "ideal" of the art from adapting and succeeding with what abilities they have.

Talk to your instructor, and hopefully he is not like that ...and please let us know how this unfolds.
 

wckf92

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Something else to ponder on Xue... a lot of WC folks call it the "goat riding stance"; and yet, one rides a horse, not a goat.
Funny story: many moons ago, and many years before I even knew what WC was...as a farm kid one of my jobs was to burn down the horns on the goats every now and then. So, I'm probably one of the few who has ever actually "pinched a goat" between my legs. hahaha. Years later, as a WC'er...I remembered that experience of restraining the goat and then compared it to my actual horse and they are nothing alike.
 

APL76

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It is unsurprising (to a degree) that people with a Yip Man wing chun background would tell you that the stance you pictured is wrong however its the classical wing chun stance, more or less.

And as for anyone with an understanding of Chinese medicine not recommending it, I am positive Sum Nung would disagree with that were he alive to hear it. He was more widely known as a Dr of Chinese medicine than he was for wing chun back in the day; and, as I have heard him explain with my own ears, if done correctly, it doesnt close off any meridians or chi flow but opens them up. But, then Im not a Dr in Chinese medicine. My sifu is (and he has never said anything about it closing off meridians either) but Im not.

In terms of how you might achieve it.. with knee injuries it is doable, with arthritis? I dont know.

To do the stance in something like the way its represented in the picture is a fairly long-term prospect. In Sum Nung wing chun Id say for most men, even without carrying injuries, one could anticipate something to the order of 5 years of training to get it, thats about what it took me as a youngster, working with two knee injuries. One knee was twisted, the not so bad injury, the other was kicked sideways to almost 90 degrees. I used to train 5 or 6 days a week so I did train quite a bit. Women tend to get the stance quicker and easier in my experience.

The way I teach the stance is that of course most people wont be able to get even close to the correct structure at first; and it will feel very awkward and unnatural for a good while. It is something that takes time. A first you cant sink down, you cant get your knees in, you cant get your hips forwards. Chances are youll tilt backwards, or alternatively youll slouch, perhaps even both, and you will have next to no stamina. So, it will be all wacky and out of shape and balance. But, provided you are taught by someone who knows not only how to do it correctly, but also how to teach it properly (two very different things in my opinion) they will keep you heading in the right direction. And thats something to remember- its better to think of heading in the right direction or not, rather than thinking of it as doing it correctly or incorrectly.

What I teach is that a person should try to sink into it but constantly listen to what their joints are telling them. If there is any discomfort, much less pain, in any joints, particularly the knees and ankles, you should come up out of the stance. One should start off doing short but good quality (in terms of structure) sessions, and gradually increase the lengths of time one holds the stance. Keep in mind listening to the joints but try to push the time frame. Within this, keep in mind also that the muscles will develop strength and endurance faster than the joints develop to hold it. It is at this stage that your risk of overloading the joints can go up if you are determined to force through the discomfort to train harder. This is a mistake I made. I didnt listen to my sifu when he kept reminding me to protect the joints (I was young and stupid, typical young guy thinking I could muscle my way through discomfort and pain- I couldnt). Once I learned my lesson the hard way, I went almost back to square one and re-built it, this time actually listening to my sifu, and my joints.

After about 5 years I could sink down, knees in, toes in, hips forward and hold it for 2 hours easily. And whats more, my knee injuries, one of which was so severe I could grab my ankle and wiggle my lower leg back and forth left to right to gross people out, seemed to recover. My knees hardly even ache any more after all these years. I certainly cant wiggle my leg around like I used to, so it has definitely stabilised and strengthened. So, with knee injuries, my suspicion is that you would be able to do it. It might take longer, but provided you are careful, and you would have to be more careful than most people, and know what you are doing (learning from someone who knows what they are doing) its achievable. With the arthritis I dont know however and cant, therefore, comment on that.


As far as doing wing chun without being able to do the stance. Well thats relative. Compared to someone who has an awesome stance, certainly then you would be at a disadvantage and have to find a strength you could cover deficiencies in your stance with. But if you can do it and get a fair bit of stability then why not? My sifu used to teach a guy who lost a leg (he had it run over by a tank) he was in his 50s when he started learning and he was great at wing chun; not so mobile, but he was rock solid on the one leg he had and his prosthetic.

Go for it.
 

geezer

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It is unsurprising (to a degree) that people with a Yip Man wing chun background would tell you that the stance you pictured is wrong however its the classical wing chun stance, more or less.

Nah. You got this part mixed up. Hunter or "Hunschuld" was the guy that said the stance pictured was wrong. And, if I'm correct his primary lineage... the one he trains most deeply, in not in the Yip Man lineage ...although he previously trained Yip Man WC.

Other than that, the drawing above, though imperfect, is pretty much representative of what I've seen in a lot of Yip Man Wing Chun, including my own lineage. The feet are a little wide ...or perhaps the figure's shoulders are too narrow? Oh, and tilting your head back to stick out your chin and expose your throat is kinda dumb... but now I'm just nit-picking. It's just a diagram after all.

As for the rest of what you said, ...yeah, I agree! :)
 

wckf92

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I think everything is a matter of degrees. I know of only one of Yip Man's 1st gen students who advocated for the "knock knee'd" stance and if I'm not mistaken it was Leung Sheung. Fist-width apart at the knees. OUCH!!!
 

hunschuld

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I apologize for saying" incorrect". There are versions of wing chun that don't have ties to Leung Jan and they may do things differently. When I learned the Sum Nung Hei Gung it was explained to me that it was added training to help balance the negative effects of the stance he used. No clue if this is true or not just what one of his students told me.

For me wing chun is an internal art. That means that you focus on the proper use of the skeleton structure and use of tendons versus focusing on the use of the muscles. When aligned properly the skeleton and tendons provide outstanding strength ,power balance and mobility. The body should always be used in a very natural way, meaning movement should never be in a direction opposed by the joints or forced in any way. You never want to choke the flow of energy along your meridians etc.

I trained with many students of Yip man and many of their students also had exposure to many non Yip Man versions. Not everything of equal depth.

All I can say is that when Chao Ng Kwai 'fixed my wing chun" the changes were immediately noticeable. Friends and fellow students that had been my same skill level could not touch me literately the day after I learned how to use my body. The change was that profound. My golf handicap dropped from 14 to 8 once I started using the wing chun stance I was taught. My dead lift,military press ,clean and jerk and snatch max weight all took a very noticeable jump up. All once I started to apply the proper wing chun body usage to these actions.

This makes sense because at the core these athletic activities are the same. Power comes up from the lower body is transmitted through the hips to the upper body along the spine and then your arms are whips or wire and the power is transmitted out through the hands. If you look at it from muscles. Your largest and most powerful muscles are in your lower body and again your hips and waist are the method of conducting this power up and out through your arms. In boxing knockouts usually comes not from arm power but from good use of the lower body

Again if you understand football offensive line technique the use of the hips is paramount. The difference between a pro and a college player that doesn't make it is usually traceable to footwork<stance> and hip usage. As a human there is a best way to maximize your body and you can see it because the usage crosses all athletic endeavors.

This doesn't mean you cant make something else work but usually the people that use different stances or different power methods successfully are great natural athletes and the methods and effectiveness do not translate to the average person.At least that has been my experience.
 

geezer

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I think everything is a matter of degrees. I know of only one of Yip Man's 1st gen students who advocated for the "knock knee'd" stance and if I'm not mistaken it was Leung Sheung. Fist-width apart at the knees. OUCH!!!

I learned something similar, if a little less severe in my brief exposure to the Augusting Fong branch in the late 70s, coming from Yip Man via Ho Kam Ming to Fong Sifu.

Then I studied Leung Ting's WT, and although his stance has some unique attributes, it is also "pidgeon toed" at 60 degrees and characterized by strong adduction or squeezing of the thighs which bring the knees close together. Of course Leung Ting's tutelage under Yip Man was short and late, and early on his first Sifu was Leung Sheung ....so there's the connection.

The problem for me is that I have a bone deformity in my ankles that prevents lateral movement and also causes them to point outward like a duck. So when my knees are adducted to the traditional 60 degree angle, my feet are still almost parallel as in a "square- stance" or narrow horse. But as the condition cannot be corrected, I have just learned to adapt. It is what it is, as they say.
 
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Xue Sheng

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I think everything is a matter of degrees. I know of only one of Yip Man's 1st gen students who advocated for the "knock knee'd" stance and if I'm not mistaken it was Leung Sheung. Fist-width apart at the knees. OUCH!!!

Well that's discouraging The teacher I am dealing with is in the
Leung Sheung lineage. Could be why he recommended being able to hold a softball between your knees....which I can tell you, with my knees and hips, it ain't gonna happen

I learned something similar, if a little less severe in my brief exposure to the Augusting Fong branch in the late 70s, coming from Yip Man via Ho Kam Ming to Fong Sifu.

Then I studied Leung Ting's WT, and although his stance has some unique attributes, it is also "pidgeon toed" at 60 degrees and characterized by strong adduction or squeezing of the thighs which bring the knees close together. Of course Leung Ting's tutelage under Yip Man was short and late, and early on his first Sifu was Leung Sheung ....so there's the connection.

The problem for me is that I have a bone deformity in my ankles that prevents lateral movement and also causes them to point outward like a duck. So when my knees are adducted to the traditional 60 degree angle, my feet are still almost parallel as in a "square- stance" or narrow horse. But as the condition cannot be corrected, I have just learned to adapt. It is what it is, as they say.

interesting connection, the teacher I am dealing with, currently from a distance, started with Augustine Fong but is now in the Leung Sheung lineage.....
 
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Xue Sheng

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Yup...the one I met briefly once...asked me to hold a small block of wood. Wasn't happenin!

Just had a conversation with he teacher, and without physically being there I don't think it is clear as to the issue. I did get great advice as to how to relax into the stance, but it is not a relaxation issue, it is, and I hate to say this, a physical limitation issue. My hips can't rotate that far, and too compensate I end up twisting my knees and that is bad, very bad, especially after the knee surgeries.
 

geezer

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Softball ain't happenin'? Get a basketball. And if that don't work, go full beach-ball! ;)


..What's the purpose of any stance or structure? To optimize your performance.

So ...If the usual approach ain't optimal, you're gonna have to try "unusual". WC is supposed to be about effectiveness, not conformity. Heck, originally coming from Kempo, the first time I saw WC .....unusual was the first thought that came to mind.:confused:
 

geezer

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wckf92 ...Now for something completely random: Take the following image and photoshop baat cham dao in for the pistols.....
Vv2z0EBj.jpg
 
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