3 WAYS to Practice Wing Chun more Effectively:
Block out an hour in your calendar and protect the time as though it was a meeting.
Film yourself training and review the footage to guide your practice.
Structure your practice time with a mixture of:
Set drills (e.g. forms)
Creative play (e.g. different moves vs 2 punches)
Create a WhatsApp group with some Wing Chun friends of yours in order to stay compliant. Then agree that every Friday you will share a video of yourselves practicing that week.
Why do solo practice?
Engaging in undistracted deliberate practice will help you develop your own mental representations in Wing Chun (see the book ‘Peak’ by Anders Ericsson).
Mental representations are “preexisting patterns of information…that are held in long-term memory and that can be used to respond quickly and effectively in certain types of situations.” (Ericsson).
1 – Block out an hour in your calendar and protect the time as though it was a meeting
Know that it takes about 15 minutes to rid yourself of the attention residue of whatever the last thing was you were engaged in.
Have a plan (“If you fail to plan, you’ll plan to fail”) so that you have an outline of what you’ll be during that hour. For example in blocks of 15 minutes:
Defense vs 2 punches
Chi Sao Openings
Make it easy to stay compliant e.g. train in the clothes you are already wearing/train at home if possible.
2 – Film yourself and review the footage to guide your practice
Film yourself and then review the footage to guide your training.
Re-film yourself to see if you have corrected your movements.
Know that changing how you do a technique may feel strange at first.
Over time however it will feel more comfortable.
3 – Structure your practice time with a mixture of set drills and creative play
Set drills can include:
Set sequences of strikes on a wall bag
Set counters to e.g. a punch
Creative play can include:
Doing different moves with turning only
Countering an imaginary opponent dynamically
Doing chi sao with an imaginary partner
Make sure with both to gradually build up the intensity (speed) so that you push yourself outside your comfort zone
4 – To stay compliant, create a WhatsApp group with some Wing Chun friends of yours. Then agree that every Friday everyone has to share a video of them practicing from that week
Like Benjamin Franklin’s ‘Junto’, there is nothing like having a small group of you that spurs everyone on to practice regularly.
“I mean here is natural instinct and here is control. You are to combine the two in harmony. Not if you have one to the extreme, you’ll be very unscientific. If you have another to the extreme, you become, all of a sudden, a mechanical man No longer a human being. It is a successful combination of both. That way it is a process of continuing growth” – Bruce Lee
Also have look at this video of coach Firas Zahabi, trainer of MMA Champion Georges St-Pierre, talking about creative play. Credit to Sifu Martin Brogaard for originally sending it to me: