Training Exercises V. Practice Application

by Philip Holder PhD.
Medical Coordinator – BodySmart Wellness
Grandmaster – North American Wing Chun Association
From copyrighted material. Copyright Philip Holder 2017
Grandmaster, North American Wing Chun Association


Training EXERCISES are designed to develop a particular skill and to make that skill more automatic, Very often; students look at an exercise as if it were the skill itself. The exercise and the practical skill are 2 entirely different things. The 2 video clips below demonstrate the difference between an exercise and practical use of the skill developed through the exercise. I am using Chi Sao as the example but this principal is universal.

Video Clip 1: The Chi Sao Exercise

Video Clip 2: Applying The Skill Developed Through Practicing The Chi Sao Exercise
(Take notice that each time the applied skill is being used the words “Applied Chi Sao Skill” will appear on the screen.)

Chi Sao, the exercise, develops the skill of interpreting movement through touch. It develops the skill of sensing the simplest and easiest way of using an opponent’s energy and movement to your advantage thereby providing the skilled practitioner with a means of redirecting an opponent’s movement as well as recognizing openings for attack without the need to see them.

As you can plainly see from the two videos, the exercise and the practical application of the skill acquired through the exercise have little resemblance (at least at first glance). Once, however, you understand the intent of the exercise, the relationship becomes clear.

It is important that a student never confuse an exercise with the skill the exercise is designed to develop. Learn a skill through the exercise designed to cultivate that skill. Never attempt to fight using an exercise. Actual application requires the skill.

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