Wing Chun Punch… How Do You Improve Speed?

HELLO! I am trying to build up my Wing Chun punch speed. I lay down and do chain punches with elastic bands and in the air. I turn my hands off and punch from the elbow. Do you have any tips or will it come with time?

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Answer: It will come with time! I remember learning to execute an effective straight punch and roll punch (chain punch) and then the cover punch (trapping)...

For the longest time I felt like my punches were as deadly as hitting the other guy with a pillow ;-(

My sifu at the time was a tough fighter and his straight punches, roll punches, and cover punches rocked my world and hurt like hell, so I never questioned if they worked. I only wondered how long and when it would work for me?

The exercises you’re doing at home are good choices. I know others who use elastic bands. I’ve done and still do use roll punches in the air.

I’d add a couple more exercises to the mix:

  • Do the punches s-l-o-w-l-y in the air: This helps isolate the movement in your head and gives you time to see and feel how all the parts are moving and working together. Remember, you do NOT want to punch down. The punch should be straight like an arrow, into and through the target

  • Use a mirror: You can speed up your learning curve by using “visual” feedback. I’ve found that we often don’t know our mistakes because we don’t see them. But once you actually see (on your own) what you’re doing, you can make adjustments quickly (saving you a lot of time and speed up your training). It’s kind of like brushing your hair in the morning without a mirror - you’re probably going to miss a spot.

  • Hit something: Something soft-ish like a punching bag. Preferably something a bit stationary. This will give you physical feedback, maybe it’s technically called “kinesthetic” feedback. If you’re hitting down, hitting something gives you feedback because you’ll be scraping the skin on your knuckles. Also, getting the straight-like-an-arrow motion is easier to do if you can feel your punch dig into the target.

  • Be careful with too much elastic band workout: I’ve found making my punches faster is matter of BOTH throwing my punch forward AND pulling it backward fast. As you get better you want your punches to snap and explode into your target. You especially want to do this with your chain and cover punching... Each punch explodes in rapid succession - not playing patty-cake and slapping your opponent, but actually making each one count. If they ever invent an automatic rocket propelled grenade launcher, that’s what you want to imagine your roll punches feel like.

  • Bend your knees: An effective punch comes starts from your feet. Bending your knees quickly gets your body in the right position(s) to deliver solid strikes.

  • Use the hips, just enough: When you’re new the focus is all on the arms, elbow, and maybe the shoulders. As you get better you understand you need to put your hips behind the strike, that extra little bit adds a lot of mass behind the fist making it much more powerful. You have to train this because you don’t want to over-commit either. Just enough for extra leverage without losing structure or balance.

  • It takes some time, just like anything else: Some get it faster than others. And once you figure out one part you realize you’re lacking somewhere else. Just last year I started getting the hips thing. It’s a very small distinction but has made a world of difference for me, and others at my kwoon who “got” that part too.

Keep up your training and it will come. One thing that I can say now, after all my personal training perfecting my Wing Chun punch is that it is not really a “punch”. It’s not really about the fist alone. Your whole body works together to get the power and speed and interuptability.


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Comments for Wing Chun Punch… How Do You Improve Speed?

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May 23, 2011
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More exercises to improve Wing Chun Punch
by: D. Cayanes

...do speedball (speed bag) drill....its the best...

...and another is...add some weights to your wrist while doing the chain punch...something like a wrist watch that has a 3kg weight...

May 23, 2011
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Re: More exercises to improve Wing Chun Punch
by: Rob@WingChunLife

Another one of my favorite exercises for roll punching (and all Wing Chun techniques), which I only do in the summer is to do moves in the pool.

I take a deep breath and drop underwater and roll punch against the dense water friction. That's a great exercise.

Plus, the straighter (efficient) you punch the less resistance you feel against your punches!

I'll also stand next to the wall and hold on a bit with one hand and do kicking under the water. Also a great training exercise!

May 24, 2011
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One more key ingredient: relax
by: Gilbert

The most gifted WC practitioners seem as thought they're moving with little or no effort, yet with lightning speed. They key is to let it all go, to release all the tension in your body, to relax.

When drummers learn to beat around the kit faster and faster with all the fury they can muster, they're often told to (counterintuitively) chill out if they want to be quick, accurate and clean. Most beginning drummers tighten up, thinking it will speed things up when all it does it fatigue them more quickly, bringing the music to a crawl, with the added bonus of sounding like crap. Think about the effortless speed of the best jazz drummers. They barely look like they're moving!

In "Bruce Lee's Fighting Method Vol. 2 - Basic Training" chapter 5 is all about speed. In the first part, "Speed in Punching", Bruce hammers home the notions of clarity in thought ("Don't think, FEEL"), relaxation of the of the body, and explosiveness. He also opines on the illusion of speed through sheer efficiency. That is, through his phenomenal mobility, which was fearlessly calm, he found the shortest path to his targets -- but that is a whole other subject for Sihing Rob to discuss in a later post.

If you want to be fast, start with relaxing.

Feb 19, 2012
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Wing Chun Punch
by: Jon

Wow what a great web site! You know I was beating myself up today wondering some speed training. Thanks guys!

Aug 06, 2012
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Boxing Gloves Help Improve Speed
by: Chin

well one thing that i do is...since i used to be a boxer, i have lotsa heavy boxing gloves. wing chun straight punching with those tedious things can be a workout in itsself after a while. after i take off the 10 oz gloves, my hands roll like a speed train. so, i would agree with the other fellas here who suggest using light weights on the fists-also, it is good to practice very very slow to get the form and structure down perfectly. then, you can start going faster and faster for strength. i know not everyone has boxing gloves, but that brings forth another idea-go through the motions of straight punching using dumbells. light enough so you can do the motion, heavy enough to work your muscles. and remember, it is much better to do many repititions with lighter weights, than it is to do only a few with heavier weights. good exercise is repitition. :D

Dec 31, 2012
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good ideas for speed
by: Tony

thanks for the good ideas
Tony

Dec 31, 2012
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Wing Chun Punch and Boxing Gloves...
by: rob @ WingChunLife

We added a sparring class where we use boxing gloves. I got a pair of 16 oz gloves and just doing the roll punch in the air is a workout!

They didn't have 18 oz when I went to the store, so I bought the 16 oz. I'll get the heavier ones later.

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