One issue that many Wing Chun people struggle with is “how to punch harder.” The truth is there is NO magic bullet or special technique that will allow you to suddenly punch harder and faster. It takes a lot of time, energy and practice. In this post we decided to talk about 7 training tools used to increase punching power that we think you should be aware of.
Tool #1 – Education: Do you know what you are doing?
As painfully as it might be, in Kung Fu you often have to take a moment and swallow your pride. No matter what level you reach, beginner or advanced, you should be constantly reflecting on how you can learn more and improve your technique. Of course, this starts in your classroom and with your Sifu – but don’t overlook what you can learn from Books and DVDs on this subject. A really cool bundle to check out is the Bundle – Tyler Rea – Inch Punch Power Set. Sifu Rea is known for being a “master of the little details.” This bundle includes his book, “Inch Punch Power”, which teaches you these details that will help get your punching power to the next level. It also includes tool #3 a pair of Iron rings, which you can read about below.
Finally, it also comes with a leather wall bag. Everything Wing Chun wall bags can really take a beating. If you punch it and rip/destroy your bag in almost any way they are fully guaranteed for two years. This leather wall bag (tool #2), which we also take more about bellow, is what you need to condition your fists as well as your muscles.
An interesting DVD to pick up is “The Secret of Chinese Chain Punching Kung Fu” by Sifu Sergio. If you are not familiar with Sifu Sergio, he is known for traveling the world and researching different styles of Wing Chun. He brings his knowledge to you and shows you how a number of different styles train Wing Chun punching. After watching this DVD you will walk away with a different perspective on how to train Wing Chun as well as lots of knowledge about how to increase your punching power.
Sifu James Sinclair breaks it all down for you in his second video Master’s Class DVD 2: Wall Bag. According to Wing Chun Illustrated, the only all Wing Chun magazine, “Overall, this DVD is jam-packed with information and will serve as a superb tool for any lineage of Wing Chun.” It includes everything from start up exercises to advanced wall training drills. After watching it you will start to think about the different angles and combinations to apply when training punching power.
If you purchase this DVD, you should also consider getting the James Sinclair’s 3-Section wall bag, a different style of training tool #2. The bag is frequently used in his DVD and would help you grasp his training concepts better.
He redesigned the wall bag to help students of all levels use it more effectively. The unique copyrighted design on the front gives the practitioner a clearer understanding of the many potential strikes available. Not only is it a great training tool, it is also great for bettering your knowledge of Wing Chun strikes, angles, and vectors.
Tool #2 – Wall Bags: Are your fists conditioned for combat?
If you are going to punch someone, can your fists handle it? There is no easy way around this one. Before you jump into combat, or defend yourself on the mean streets of your home town, make sure you aren’t going to hurt yourself. This can be achieved with a fairly low cost solution; wall bags are perfect for two things:
1) Conditioning your fists for combat – This way when you hit someone you will be much less likely to break a knuckle (ouch!)
2) Making contact – when you “punch” something your body and arms will develop to absorb the shock. you will learn to punch “through” the opponent as well as stay rooted when delivering force.
The muscles in your body will grow stronger and fire faster with wing chun wall bag training. It is very important to focus on hitting something, not just air punching all the time.
Another huge benefit with our 3 section wall bags is that you can work combinations, angles, and changing levels. It will keep your training interesting as well as give your hands the extra edge.
Tool #3 – Iron Rings: Ever train Tan Sau with resistance?
Iron rings have been used by Kung Fu masters for decades. The basic idea is that when you punch, the iron rings (worn around your wrists/forearms) act as a weight.
The benefit they have over holding small dumbbells is that they do not interfere with the dynamic of you throwing a punch. For example, you do not want to train your hands to be “slightly open” while punching, or train your punch off the centerline – which is what happens when you train with elastic bands.
Some Kung-fu masters can even tell if you are punching correctly by the sounds that the rings make when you are training. The rings are also used when you are practicing your forms to help develop tendon strength and internal power.
Tool #4 – The Wooden Dummy: Ip Man Hit the Dummy, why shouldn’t you?
Another great way that almost goes without saying is to pick up a wooden dummy. It will teach you proper structural alignment allowing the full power of your punch is felt by your opponent. Without good structure your punch is limited to your arm (triceps) strength only.
Many people over look the footwork and horse that will be strengthened by dummy work. After just a few months of training your root will improve and your opponent will feel the full impact of your force.
Generally speaking there are two types of mounting for your dummy.
1) Free-Standing Dummy: Which does not require any installation and does not slide back and forth. The main advantage to this dummy is that it great for someone without a lot of space.
You may wish to keep in mind many lineages may require this style of dummy. Being that it does not move, it will provide you with a different type of energy. For instance, if you are looking to train with immovable objects to gain striking power, this may be the dummy for you.
These dummies also allow you to move around the trunk more, you are not limited to 180 degrees. This is the way original dummies were intended to be used.
2) Frame Mounted Dummies: This is mounted on a wall or floor frame and typically slides back and fourth. The main advantage to this type of dummy is that it moves and has a “springiness” that the free standing dummy does not have. As you can see in the image below, it has a slats though the head and the lower part of the body. When you hit it, similar to a person, it moves.
Both dummies are great for developing power, although the wall mount does offer a more dynamic reaction when you make contact. That being said, the key to developing punching power with the dummy is to use your ENTIRE body, NOT just hit fast and hard. Be sure to make sure your technique is clean, even if you have to move slowly.
Tool #5: Dummy Pads/Dummy Sand Bag: So you want to punch your dummy?
Ever try punching a wooden dummy? Not a nice feeling. If you are anything like us you do not want to damage your dummy in anyway. A great alternative is to use a piece of gear that was designed by us for our customer Joe, our Dummy Sand Bag and Dummy Armor!
These products are a combination dummy pad and Wing Chun wall bag. It is a bag that attaches to your dummy and can be filled with whatever you want – rice, beans, sand, anything! This will allow you to properly train punches with your dummy. You get all the benefits of a wall bag and all the benefits of a dummy!
Of course, for you traditionalists, you can also use our regular dummy pads – or even manilla rope wrapped around the trunk.
Tool #6 – Butterfly Swords: What do you mean Wing Chun Butterfly Swords can help me punch harder?
Training the swords does not only have one purpose, it actually will completely change your Wing Chun training dynamic. Most sword theory can be done without holding “Butterfly Swords” in your hands. The simple answer is to think of it this way – Your body will adapt to training with two somewhat heavy objects in your hand, when you put them down, you’ll find you will punch much faster and harder. Best of all it is part of the Wing Chun curriculum!
At some point you will have to pick of a pair of swords and when you do, you might find your Wing Chun punching power increases dramatically. There are also a lot of exercises with the swords that will condition your wrists and shoulder a lot, which also translates into more punching power.
Tool #7: Long Pole: Ever Try Wing Chun with a heavy pole?
Many people think that training weapons is an outdated practice replaced by guns. This is simply not true, they now serve a different purpose in your Wing Chun training. The Dragon Pole, aka the long pole, exercises will give your Wing Chun a unique flair unobtainable with other training tools.
For many lineages the pole is the main device used to dramatically increase punching power. It is with the pole exercises that you are real introduced to real Wing Chun power.
Aside the obvious notion that your punches will become stronger from swinging around a fairly heavy object, think about how the pole will change your Wing Chun. Picture yourself hold a long pole, now replace the long pole with a persons arm fully extended. Do you see the damage you will be able to do? Many would argue that this type of training will allow you to throw around your opponent like a rag doll. A VERY interesting skill to acquire.
In conclusion, there are many ways to increase your punching power in Wing Chun that are not obvious at first. Only though a combination of these 7 tools, along with their accompanying exercises, the instruction of a qualified teacher, and many hard hours of training can you develop the legendary punching power Wing Chun is known for.
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