Intro

I have used the acronym SAS to describe the concepts: Softness, Accuracy and Speed.

I have chosen it partly as a tribute to my first Wing Chun teacher Sifu Andrew Sofos and his school SAS Wing Chun, and also because it is easy to remember due to its association with the Special Air Service – a special forces unit of the British Army.

Notes:

  • Focus on Softness and Accuracy first, add Speed later
  • The Chinese phrases below were often used by my second Sifu, Wan Kam Leung, to cue these concepts in his students
  • Since realism and intensity increases with each step, SAS should be applied to the following in order:
    1. Forms
    2. Drills
    3. Chi Sao

1 – softness (放鬆啲/fong3 sung1 di1/ “softer!”)

JM Wing Chun - London

Why?

  • Allows you to better speed up the move later
  • Lessens the chance of injuries while training
  • Increases your sensitivity to what kind of pressure is incoming

How?

  • Slow the move right down and break it up into smaller parts if necessary
  • ‘Think’ soft and don’t worry if you feel weak – a good coach will manipulate your limbs and make sure your movements have the correct quality

2 – accuracy (正確啲/zing3 kok3 di1/ “more accurate!”)

Sifu James teaching - Wing Chun London

Why?

  • Will increase the effectiveness of a move, as it is being executed closer to its original design

How?

  • Again, slow the move right down and break it up into smaller parts if necessary
  • Know the information about the move e.g. how it relates to your rectangle
  • Imitate your coach
  • Use a mirror or camera phone (if allowed in class) to get feedback

3 – speed (快啲/faai3 di1/ “faster!”)

Instructor Tino - Wing Chun London

Why?

  • Along with a good stance and technique, speed is what gives you power
  • You can get in more strikes than your opponent
  • You can change quicker than your opponent to gain an advantage – either by striking and/or destroying their balance

How?

  • Make sure you can first do the technique slowly while constantly flowing (no pauses)
  • After that gradually increase the speed while maintaining softness and accuracy
  • Know that your speed will increase incrementally over weeks and months of training, so have the humility to let it come naturally rather than forcing it prematurely