The 6 Steps of Practical Wing Chun
Updated: Nov 15, 2022
The 6 Steps are:
‘Zyun Maa’ (Juen Ma)/轉馬/Turning Stance (Turn – 45° or 90°)
‘Daan Bin Maa’ (Dan Bin Ma)/單邊馬/Single Side Step (Front Leg Steps first – Short)
‘Zing Soeng Maa’ (Jing Sung Ma)/正身馬/Upright Body Step (Back Leg Steps first – Long)
‘Zi Zi Maa’ (Ji Ji Ma)/之字馬/[Diagonal] Character Step (Diagonal Side Step)
‘Sap Zi Maa’ (Sap Ji Ma)/十字馬/’10’ Character Step (90° Pivot)
‘Pin San Maa’ (Pin Sun Ma)/扁身馬/Sideward Body Step (Perpendicular Pivot)
The 2 Stances are (also see article):
‘Peng Maa’ (Peng Ma)/平馬/Level Stance (Training Stance)
‘Cin Hau Maa’ (Chin Hao Ma)/前後馬/Front Back Stance (Fighting Stance)
Steps can be done backwards ('teoi'/'toi') or forwards (or left and right for ‘Zyun Maa’).
‘Maa’/馬 (‘stance’ or ‘step’) actually means ‘horse’, which originally meant that you should ‘bend your knees as though riding a horse’. In our style however we say that your knee angle should be 135° – halfway between 180° (straight) and 90°.
Push your knees slightly out over the toes so that you avoid any tendency for them to collapse inwards.
1 – ‘Zyun Maa’ (Turn – 45° or 90°)
From ‘Peng Maa’, turn your body and foot (on your heel) 45° while maintaining a vertical torso in the centre.
If you want to turn 90°, turn the other way from an already turned position.
2 – ‘Daan Bin Maa’ (Front Leg Step – Short)
Step forwards with your front foot and then also with your back foot (2 steps total).
This is to maintain the same distance between your feet that they had before you stepped.
3 – ‘Zing San Maa’ (Back Leg Step – Long)
Step with your back leg and move it past your front leg as far as you can. Then move in your back leg to be back in ‘Cin Hau Maa’ (2 steps total).
If you need to cross an even larger distance then you can instead start with your front leg. Here step with your front leg first and then step with your back leg to perform ‘Zing San Maa’ as normal (3 steps total).
This step is for closing a long distance to your opponent.
4 – ‘Zi Zi Maa’ (Diagonal Side Step)
Step to the side so that your front leg is closer to where your opponent is facing than your back leg.
You can do this 3 ways:
To the side and forwards
To the side and backwards
To the side only
5 – ‘Sap Zi Maa’ (90° Pivot)
Pivot off either your front or back foot (the ball off your foot or heel), so that you spin backwards and are now facing at 90° to where you started.
To go forwards, simply pivot so that you spin the other way.
If you look at the character for ‘Sap’ – 十 (10), you can imagine looking down from above and changing your direction in line with the strokes.
6 – ‘Pin San Maa’ (Perpendicular Pivot)
Whereas in ‘Sap Zi Ma’ you pivot 90°, in Pin San Maa you pivot so that you are perpendicular with your opponent.
However here you will end up with your feet directly in line with each other, as though you’ve just done a ‘Zyun Maa’ (one toe out).
Make sure when you finish this step you are perpendicular to your opponent. Make sure you’re very close to them (controlling their arms or hitting them with a shoulder barge). This is because your back hand will be much further away from them and therefore less able to deal with their furthest hand.