Breathing and Roll Punching--

I have a question: what about the breathing? When I throw the roll punch, I notice that my breathing seems choppy and my head jumps slightly, any tips?
That's a great question. I'm still working on my breathing, I have the bad habit of holding my breath!

I usually exhale while throwing the roll punch (a combo of three punches). If you do a longer roll punch in the air, or in a drill or practice, that's fine for conditioning, but not realistic.

If you miss your strikes, or they don't have the effect you want, you'll know by the third punch. If you do knock down the guy, then you'll know by the third punch, and if (most likely to happen) your opponent evades your attack, you'll know by the third punch. So I practice my roll punch and breathing (exhale) for a three-punch combo.

Not bobbing your head up and down when striking.

That wastes energy. Shadow boxing and using a mirror will help give you real time feedback. My first suggestion would be to slow down.

Maybe slow down to the point where you are 'effectively' moving, BUT not bobbing your head. Keep drilling this and speed up a little at time.

I will guess you bob you head because you want more power? I know a few other people who do something similar.

If so, focus on your stance. You'll have more power with a better stance.

Many people say holding the horse/goat stance for hours at a time will strengthen you stance. Doing the sil lum tao slowly, also works.

But my favorite drill to strengthen the legs and the stance is a 'modern' one called squats.

Learn how to do a proper squat - knees out, back straight, feet forward about shoulder (or a bit wider) apart, and squat deep. Look online for tutorials.

You can do air squats (a lot of them, but probably not 2 or 4 hours straight), and as soon as you're able, do squats with weight (use proper form to avoid injury and get the maximum results).

If you're bobbing your head because you want to move at lightening speed and you're trying to snap your punches even faster... remember that smooth and efficient moves equals speed. Good timing equals speed. Good footwork equals speed.

So slowing down and making each move count, getting into the proper striking distance, improving your timing, and matching all that up with good balance and penetration so your mass is behind your strikes... will in effect speed you up and give you more power, without forcing erratic speed.

Although not Wing Chun-centric this is a good resource that has changed how I view striking (and kicking). Just note, this is great for finishing moves, roll punching is great for getting in closer.

I hope this helps.


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Dec 27, 2013
Natural Breathing.
by: Christopher


It's really good that you have an awareness of your breathing/not breathing when doing continuous punches.

I find a good way to train for this is to punch for long periods - say up to 30 minutes continuously.

You may need to build up to this gradually, start at 5 min and gradually increase.

Make sure you are in your stance as you are training this as well. You will find that you will also need to manage your breathing just a little as well.

Whenever I asked my Sifu (the late Jim Fung) about breathing he would always respond "just breath naturally".

I am yet to see someone punch as fast as he could in short bursts. The other main key to keeping it all relaxed and natural is to practice Relaxing throughout all your movements regardless of which form you are practicing.

This is probably the hardest part of all wing chun training as we all think we are relaxed enough but there is always another level.

Relax, focus and just breathe

Hope this is helpful

From Rob: Christopher, thanks for your input and sharing some of your lessons from your late sifu, Jim Fung. Happy New Year!

Jul 24, 2015
Breathing : Should it be 'abdominal' ?
by: Adam

Should be breathing in Wing Chun be 'abdominal' ? i.e. Should the stomach be expanded when breathing in, and contracted when breathing out.

I've heard different things about that, and getting confused.
Comment from Rob: I have the same questions. Breathing right is not my strong suit. I tend to hold my breath, which is BAD!

Aug 07, 2015
by: Adam

Funnily enough I do the same ! But I'm trying to breathe properly ... trouble is working out what 'properly' should be ... diaphragmatic or not ?

Aug 10, 2015
Re: Adam
by: robert

Ha. I'm not the only one.

Diaphramic breathing is natural and should be used. Timing your breathing and making it rhythmic and under control (not hyper ventilate, etc.) and recover when your opponent messes with your breathing is all part of training. -- Rob

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