Physical Fitness in the CRCA System
A critical element in the CRCA system of Wing Chun is the need for physical fitness. It is an essential part of how we train in all schools of CRCA worldwide. From flexibility, to developing strength, the need for the student to remain physically fit within the art of Wing Chun is an important part in developing one’s power and technique.
Physical Fitness Improves Execution of Technique
As I mentioned in last month’s article, establishing one’s root is the foundation of Wing Chun. Not only is it the keystone in mastering the system of Wing Chun, but it is also a critical part of mastering your body’s response to any self-defense situation. Likewise, physical fitness should be a part of the student’s training in order to master the system of Wing Chun.
Augmenting one’s martial arts training with cardio, strength, and flexibility training only serves to benefit the student through knowledge of one’s own body mechanics and limitations. All three forms of fitness mentioned above improve upon the techniques learned in CRCA and help the student develop and improve their power in performing techniques.
Cardio training, for example, helps a student improve their ability to endure long periods of increased physical stress as a result sparring. Flexibility improves the student’s ability to perform techniques safely and properly by increasing the student’s bio-mechanical range of motion while also lowering the risk of injury to joints during technique execution. Strength training increases one’s raw power and can further improve one’s ability to root. Thus, physical fitness is not something a student should neglect if he or she is considering martial arts training – especially if within the CRCA family.
Physical Fitness Balances the Body with the Mind
Martial art is more than just theory and mental discipline. There must be practical application alongside it to flourish into something usable within any given combat situation. As such, a student’s body must be as strong as their mind. That is why physical fitness is important in CRCA Wing Chun.
When encountering a self-defense situation, the body undergoes a series of stress responses as a result of the mind’s increased alertness to the potential threat. Having the physical capability to dispatch an assailant helps in the mind’s ability to cope with the stress presented in such a situation. In fact, this is why soldiers in militaries all over the globe train in several forms of physical fitness alongside their technical abilities as warriors. It helps the body respond quickly, effectively, and instinctively to threats.
Furthermore, studies have shown that physical fitness enhances one’s cognitive function, and this can bring balance to one’s martial art discipline. Thus, physical fitness and mental fitness function within a yin and yang relationship that must be developed by the student.
Arms of Iron, Body of Cotton, Head of Glass
While not every Wing Chun School supports the need for a physical fitness program in the training of students, CRCA considers the physical conditioning of a student as just as important as the need for mental discipline. This is why things such as Iron Palm, kettlebell training, flexibility, and cardio are an important piece of what we teach in our lineage of Wing Chun. Indeed, it is considered an essential element in the Wing Chun proverb: Arms of Iron, Body of Cotton, Head of Glass.
Author: Barry Adamson II Creative Writer/Editor
In all forms of martial art there is a single principle that unites them: rooting. No matter what martial art you train in, the very first lesson a student learns is the art of rooting. It comes in the form of a basic stance. The body is sunk low, with legs spread to create a wide base, and the feet are heavy on the floor. The stance is trained to help a student develop his or her raw power from the ground up. Thus, rooting is the foundation from which all forms of martial art training flows.
Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma: The Root of Wing Chun
In Wing Chun, the stance that provides us with the root of power is known as Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma. This stance is referred to as our mother stance, for all things Wing Chun are born from this structure. It provides us with the foundation necessary for simultaneous attack and defense, and gives us a base from which to build our Chi, or power.
That is why Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma is described as the basic, or rooting, stance of the art. It creates the most stable position from which to perform all techniques, including the more advanced footwork of the martial art.
Rooting from the Heels
Unlike many other forms of martial art, CRCA Wing Chun develops its rooting power from the heel of the foot. This may be foreign to many students, especially those trained in other arts, as many sink to the ground through the ball of the foot. However, CRCA Wing Chun anchors the body to the floor through the heel, creating an effective framework for proper development of the body’s bone joint alignment.
How Rooting Creates Unity
When the student first learns Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma, body unity is very much in its infancy. The student will shift in position, and will not be able to remain stable in any of Wing Chun’s dynamic footwork. However, constant training in this position – sinking the body downward with the pelvis tilted forward over the knees and the spine straight – will center one’s gravity, driving the heels into the ground and establishing a root that stabilizes the body in its entirety.
Thus, Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma forms a unified structure from which a student’s strength, speed, and timing are enhanced while never forsaking safety.
Training the Root
Training one’s root will take time and patience. For a student to become skilled in Wing Chun, it is not enough that he or she jump from one technique to the next without proper structure. Doing so will only create slop; everything has to be perfect, and perfection begins with one’s root. Taking the necessary time to develop the root by constant, intentional practice will lead to a stable foundation and the potential for maximum mastery of the art.
Establishing a Root Through CRCA Wing Chun
All in all, rooting is an essential part of all martial art. Without it, the body remains disconnected and unable to generate the forces necessary to develop its maximum potential. CRCA Wing Chun creates unity through Yee Jee Keem Yeung Ma – a stance that develops a student’s strength, speed, and timing, while promoting the safety of a stable structure.
If you are interested in learning more about CRCA Wing Chun, please contact one of our instructors in your local area. We have instructors available throughout the globe who are willing to help you build a solid foundation for martial art training, no matter if you are a beginner, a novice, or a skilled expert.
Author: Barry Adamson II Creative Writer/Editor