Wing Chun for Beginners / Adam Williss
It’s been 27 years since I began practicing Wing Chun. I’ve trained thousands of students over the years through my Wing Chun schools, workshops, private lessons and online Wing Chun training and I’ve seen the same mistakes over and over again… all common mistakes beginning Wing Chun students make!
Over the years, I’ve seen students succeed at and I’ve seen students fail. I’ve come to learn there were certain things Wing Chun beginners must do right in order to progress, but there are also many things they must avoid.
I want to quickly share with you today simple mistakes Wing Chun beginners make to help you progress quicker and more efficiently:
1. NOT FOCUSING ON ONE THING AT A TIME
Wing Chun beginners try to learn too many things from too many sources. They dilute their efforts by distracting themselves from the specific task at hand. Learning Wing Chun (for beginners) should be very specific, one clear thing at a time. Success demands singleness of purpose. You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things. Those students who trust in the process and concentrate on learning one thing at a time are the ones who guarantee progress.
2. NOT PRACTICING AT HOME
If you are a Wing Chun beginners and think this is simply a class you will take, you’re missing the entire point of Wing Chun. You don’t learn Wing Chun, you “become Wing Chun”. Make no mistake, Wing Chun has the power to make you do things others can only dream about (in all areas of your life). You must decide to become obsessed with it. This is how it flows into everything you do (practicing at home is just one of those things). When Wing Chun becomes an obsession, you are then living “The Kung Fu Life”. Whether you’re a beginner training Wing Chun punching or practicing your Siu Nim Tao, practicing is no longer something you have to do, it is something you get to do and because of that, it just helps you feel right.
3. NOT HOLDING YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR COMING TO CLASS
Hold yourself accountable by (1) letting your sifu/coach know when you will be coming to class and keeping them on the same page by texting them when you can’t. If you miss a class do your best to come to a make up class. (2) You also need at least one more person to help you stay accountable. For many, it’s a spouse that helps remind them of how important this journey is to them, or it could also be a friend you see often. Some get a friend to start Wing Chun shortly after them so they can hold each other accountable. Stop trying to do this all by yourself. Do what successful Wing Chun students do and surround yourself with a team that will hold you accountable! Note: For those learning Wing Chun at home or online, this means not holding yourself accountable for training daily.
4. GOING TOO FAST AND HARD
Wing Chun beginners often think going fast and hard will help them apply quicker. But for beginners, Wing Chun is about developing higher levels of awareness. Application is simply a by-product of developing the correct feeling in your mind, body and nervous system of what success means. Whether it’s in sparring, chi sao, drills or beginning the wooden dummy, this means developing the feeling of positions of power, not participating in the struggling force of others and developing the ability to be calm under pressure. Going too fast and hard is just one example of not accepting the fact that true application will never come before true development. Don’t worry or ask “how long will it take to learn Wing Chun“, just work hard, trust in the process and never give up on yourself.
5. BEING MECHANICAL
When you are learning something new it’s not fluid, it’s awkward. It takes training. To get fluid requires repetition. You don’t want to be rigid and robotic. Being good at Wing Chun takes practice, drilling and you need to role play scenarios. Wing Chun beginners must be willing to practice enough in order to free themselves from this rigidity. If it still feels mechanical, it just means you haven’t drilled in enough. You must practice until things become second nature. Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong.
In the end, when you looking for answers on how to get good at Wing Chun, you have to actually become Wing Chun. You can’t just learn forms or Wing Chun terms. The lack of commitment to “becoming Wing Chun” is the biggest missing ingredient in students not getting what they want. Despite what some think, Wing Chun (done well) isn’t an easy art to learn. You must develop true skills through hard work because you just aren’t born with them.