Most of us quickly find out that to become good at Wing Chun, we need a lot of practice. That is true, but the quality of the practice matters just as much as the quantity of the practice. Perhaps even more.
We easily fall into the trap of practicing the same routine over and over again, sometimes even zone-out during drills or forms. However, the key to getting the best out of your practice is this: deliberately practice, coupled with some practice strategies.
Here are some tips to improve your practice:
1. Know What You’re Practicing
The first thing you should figure out is what you are practicing. You should know the key points of your structure, movements, and concepts that goes with the technique that you are practicing. Every punch and block that comes out of your hand becomes much better when you have those things in mind.
You should always be conscious of your elbow positioning, your stance, your opponent’s movements, your own movements, and the weaknesses you are working on.
2. Seek Out Your Weaknesses
Especially when starting out, it is important to have the ability to root out your own weaknesses and mistakes. This then allows you to work on these mistakes and get rid of bad habits by deliberately practicing good ones (point #1).
It is important to be able to spot your mistakes because it can lead to bad habits. Bad habits then lead to bad structure, bad sensitivity, slower speed, less power, you name it.
An alternative to spotting your own mistake is to having your classmate or your instructor look at your structure or movement while you practice. It also helps to learn how to spot others’ mistakes.
3. Restrictive Practice
You can improve a certain area of your Wing Chun by restricting a certain part of training to improve the others. This allows you to really focus on tackling your weaknesses and improving a certain skill you want. For example, you may ask your partner to limit kicking during bridging practice so that you can practice hand bridging techniques.
Doing this greatly increase your practice efficiency especially if you have no idea what you are practicing. Limiting some part of your Wing Chun arsenal will allow other parts to flourish.
4. Free Practice
Although restrictive practice is important, free practice is important as well. Free practice allows you to add to your versatility, explore new techniques, and improving situational reactions.
During free Chi Sau or sparring, you will end up in a lot of different situations where each one of them will have the best course of action to take. Ending up in those positions allows you to practice taking the right moves at the right time.
Being able to react to different situations is especially important in Wing Chun. This allows you to execute proper technique and apply what you have learned in the classroom setting.
5. Watch How Others Practice
It is always important to keep our minds open and empty our cup. However, new ideas or training methods must be tested and the result must be measured for you to be able to find the best strategy to stick to.
It can also be beneficial to look at great martial artists’ training regimen. For example, at times Bruce Lee breaks up his training to upper body and lower body techniques (#3 Restrictive Practice) to focus on each part individually.
Same with learning forms, techniques, and concepts, learning from others is not a harmful thing as long as you thoroughly test it, stay objective, and come to a conclusion.
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