A note on Cantonese

I mostly use the ‘Jyut Ping’ (粵拼) Cantonese writing system as I have found it to be the most accurate.

For an excellent way to learn Jyut Ping, see Fluent Forever. For a dictionary see CantoDict or use the Hanping Cantonese App for Android.

Intro

There are 2 ways to make an object more stable:

  1. Lower the Centre of Gravity (close to your belly button if standing upright)
  2. Widen the Base (outwards evenly from the centre of gravity)

Some styles don’t have the centre of gravity midway between the feet (i.e. the base), however they are often optimising for other factors than just stability (e.g. more frontal protection for the groin).

The 3 Practical Wing Chun Stances are:

  1. Natural Stance (Related to standing naturally)
  2. Training Stance (So that you train both arms equally)
  3. Fighting Stance (So that you exert more pressure forwards)

1 – natural stance (馬步/maa bou/ma bo/stance step)

Natural Stance in Practical Wing Chun - London
Natural Stance

Angles:

  • Toes in only enough to create 2 straight lines forward from the outsides of your feet.
  • Outsides of the feet roughly in line with the sides of your pelvis.
  • Naturally straight arms and knees.

Applications:

  • If you turn 1 foot outwards 45°, this is a common way for people to naturally stand.
  • You can then launch directly into your fighting stance from either foot, as the distance between your heels is the same as your fighting stance (see below).

2 – training stance (平馬/peng maa/peng ma/level stance)

Level Stance - Practical Wing Chun London
Training Stance

Angles:

  • Toes in only enough to create 2 straight lines forward from the outsides of your feet.
  • Insides of your feet roughly in line with the sides of your pelvis.
  • Knee angle at 135°.
  • We don’t call it ‘the character 2 step’ (Yi Jee Kim Yeung Ma) as our toes are not turned in enough to mimic the character ‘二’ when seen from above.

Applications:

  • Used to keep your shoulders square with your opponent when training which means you can better attack and defend simultaneously.
  • Means you don’t train to favour one foot forward over the other since you’ll likely be swapping your feet anyway during a fight.

3 – fighting stance (前後馬/cin hau maa/chin hao ma/forward backward stance)

Practical Wing Chun fighting stance
Fighting Stance (Front)
Fighting Stance - Practical Wing Chun London
Fighting Stance (Side)

Angles:

  • Same as the ‘Training Stance’ but your 1st centreline and 1 foot are turned outwards 45°.
  • As with the other 2 stances, keep your 5th centreline (see article) at the midpoint between your heels.
  • To make sure your back knee doesn’t collapse inwards, push it out slightly over your toe.
  • Keep your shoulders square with your opponent, even if they tend to turn in the direction of your back leg.
  • From the front your heels are the same width as the ‘Natural Stance’.
  • From the side your heels are the same width as in the ‘Training Stance’.

Applications:

  • The 2 reasons we want one foot in front of the other are:
  1. More ability to deliver pressure forwards and receive pressure backwards.
  2. More power from the back leg punch (e.g. right rear leg, right ‘elbow in’ punch).