What is the Wing Chun Punch?

Wing Chun Punch

Guest Contribiutor

Have you ever dreamt of being in an IP MAN movie like I have? For those that don’t know, IP MAN was Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun sifu (teacher). That’s what recently drew me to learn how to do Wing Chun. One of the coolest moves IP MAN does is the vertical Wing Chun punch. Despite watching it over and over, I STILL didn’t know how to punch like IP MAN. So I searched the web for “How do you punch like IP MAN” and “what is the Wing Chun punch?” I found some outstanding Wing Chun lessons online, from an outstanding Wing Chun Sifu (Adam Williss) whom I now study under. Many of these lessons I have learned from him. I learned not only what the Wing Chun punch was but also how to do the Wing Chun punch. I also learned what chain punching was and how to do it too!

So in this article I’ll share what I learned on what and how to do the Wing Chun Punch. I’ll go through the different types of Wing Chun punches (like chain punching), how to punch in Wing Chun with internal power and the advantages the Wing Chun punch has.

What is the Wing Chun Punch?

The Wing Chun punch is an internal vertical strike with the pinky side of the knuckles on your fist. It is driven with the elbow through the ulna line of the forearm. Meant for close-range, the Wing Chun punch features short internal power which can be delivered from an inch away from the target. As an internal type punch, it uses the ground for solidity upon impact entering through a concetrated point through the surface of an opponent’s body to pierce deep inside of them.

Here is a beginner’s lesson on how to do the Wing Chun punch…

The Wing Chun Punch: A Beginner’s Lesson

Here are points from Sifu Adam Williss to help you do the Wing Chun punch…

  • Start with your elbows down and ensure your fist is vertical.
  • Focus on close-quarters combat with a Wing Chun punch.
  • Keep your shoulders back and down.
  • Ensure your elbow faces down and the elbow crease faces up.
  • Avoid punching with a bent wrist.
  • Target the specific spot between the pinky knuckle and the ring knuckle.
  • Drive the punch directly from the elbow for a straight trajectory.
  • The Wing Chun punch starts from the center and goes to the center.
  • Maintain a straight line along the central plane from your center to the opponent’s center.
  • Keep your elbow down, shoulder back and down, and your fist vertical.
  • Drive the punch through the targeted point using your elbow.

Wing Chun Punch: How to Build Internal Piercing Power!

In this Wing Chun punching lesson, you’ll learn how to punch in Wing Chun with internal power that penetrates deep into your opponent! First, you’ll learn the difference between external and internal Wing Chun punching. Then you learn exactly how to punch in Wing Chun with internal power. This means a type of punch that pierces deep inside someone. And lastly, you’ll learn how you can develop this internal punching power!

Wing Chun Punch: Palm Striking and Bareknuckle Punches

The Wing Chun punch is a bareknuckle strike. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to the Wing Chun bareknuckle punch and palm strike without hurting your hand! First you’ll learn the natural divisions of the hand. When you understand this you’ll learn to struggle less and align your strikes and deflections along the ulna line (pinky line) of the hand. This holds true for both palm strikes and bare-knuckle punches. The ulna line (pinky line) is the naturally more stable power line. The radial line (point finger line) is for more delicate applications and should be used for precision, not control or stability.

Wing Chun Punch: How to Drive Your Punch With Your Elbow

In Wing Chun, we “punch with the elbow.” This means that in a Wing Chun punch, the fist serves as a mere extension of the elbow, and it is the elbow that is actively driven through the target.

The concept may sound unusual at first, but in this Wing Chun lesson, Sifu Adam Williss demonstrates precisely how to execute this technique. You will learn a clear and effective method of powering your punch with the elbow rather than the fist.

In this punching lesson, you learn…

  • Punching Analogy 1: The Sword Analogy
  • Punching Analogy 2: The Diving Analogy
  • Understanding Internal vs. External Punching
  • Driving the elbow through a single point in the fist
  • The penetrating power of Wing Chun punches
  • Softening the top of your hand (point finger and thumb)
  • Identifying the feeling of a well-executed Wing Chun punch
  • The contrast between the Wing Chun punch vs. external punches


Now for the Wing Chun Chain Punch (chain punching) and the One Inch Punch!

Wing Chun Chain Punch

Wing Chun Chain Punches are rapid fire punches which attack the opponent’s centerline. So how do you chain punch? When chain punching, think of having two guns which take turns quickly striking.  But the Wing Chun chain punch is also more than rapid punches. It is also the act of your hands trading places… as one hand takes the front line to attach the other hand backs it up and gets ready to attack. According to Sifu Adam Williss, “the Wing Chun chain punch is the framework of Wing Chun”.

In his video, How to Chain Punch (Tutorial), he states that chain punching is about chaining your attacks. They are a continuous onslaught of an attack, like a machine gun. 

Here is my Sifu’s Chain Punching tutorial:

Advantages of the Wing Chun Chain Punch

There are many advantages that come with learning the Wing Chun Chain Punch and referred to as the machine gun of punches), but don’t forget that it’s only one part of self defense training. To learn more you can visit this self defense training article.   According to Wing Chun Life there are many benefits to the Wing Chun Chain Punch, such as invisible speed, interruptibility, trapping, accuracy, and power. When this strike is done correctly it is quick enough to look like a blur.. Interruptibility means you can use it to attack, retreat, counter-attack, defend, and block. Trapping is kind of like a machine gun, where you are punching in rapid succession. But it also gives you the opportunity to block or cover your target’s arm as you are attacking. With the techniques of interruptibility and the straightness of the punch causes the strike to be more accurate. If the strike is done right, it is more powerful than any other punches, where your target will be able to feel the punch even hours later after it has happened.  

The One-Inch Punch, made popular by Bruce Lee, involves harnessing the power of larger muscles and linking the joints into one tiny spot. It delivers a tremendous amount of force from only an inch away from the opponent.

Is your Wing Chun punch working?

According to Enter Shaolin, one of the first things you learn in Wing Chun is throwing a proper straight punch.

Seems pretty simple, right?

Well, it is a lot more intimidating than you think. The Wing Chun punch, if done properly, feels like stabbing someone with a sword or a knife. The feeling is very painful and penetrating if you ask anyone that’s been punched by it! Beginners are warned that being too tense and not connecting with the body correctly will have a negative impact on their punch.

Don’t worry, we’ve got this!

We’ll go over some steps to punch properly so our punches can deliver maximum impact.

Speed, Energy, and Strength The One, Two, Punch!

The Wing Chun Punch consist of speed, energy, and hand strength according to the London Wing Chun Academy.This is quite an important move since it is associated with The Six Harmonies.(wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle). The punch is quite faster than other punches because it is in a shorter distance between 2 points. Having acceleration in the strike will be more successful. Through relaxation and structure you’ll be able to build tremendous energy. How your knuckles are structured during the strike is critical for the impact it can cause. Having a vertical fist is important, with a horizontal fist you are more prone to injuries and severe damage in the knuckles. Your hand strength can be developed through striking a Wing Chun wall bag. Here are some steps to help you punch:

  1. Elbow in and down where it is behind the fist to perform a straight line pushing forward.
  2. Have a vertical fist instead of horizontal, as it is stronger.
  3. Shoulders down to make sure you are getting energy from your latissimus dorsi muscle.
  4. Relax.
  5. Imagine your impact point. You don’t want to just hit but want to punch through a couple the target.
  6. Slow down and practice.  

So you have the steps, but does this move really make an impact?

Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch

From only an inch away (or less!), Bruce Lee was able to deliver an explosive blow that could knock an opponent off of the ground. If you’re like me, you have probably wondered how in the world this is possible? Well, it turns out that there is quite a bit of science behind it!

Let’s start with the biomechanics of the punch. Although Lee’s fist travels a very small distance in less than a second, the punch involves complete full-body movement that starts with the legs. Upon closer observation, you can see that his legs straighten with an explosive knee extension. The quick jerk of his legs increases the twisting speed of his hips. This action causes his the shoulder of his thrusting arm forward, thus driving his fist forward. At the final moment of the punch, Lee flicks his wrist to further increase fist velocity. After landing his punch, Lee retreats immediately, compressing the force and making a greater impact.

By the time the one inch punch has made contact, Lee has combined the power of bigger muscles into a tiny area of force. Strength is less of a factor, as coordination and timing are truly vital to making the one inch punch work. Lee must combine his movements so that each period of acceleration follows the last one instantly. So now we know that coordination is key.

How Can I Learn the One-Inch Punch?

The One-Inch punch takes practice and skill developed over time. However, by following the steps below and practicing on a consistent basis, I think we all have a shot at being able to execute this awesome punch!

  • From a natural stance, turn around 30 degrees with the arm used to perform the punch (i.e. if using the right hand, the right leg should be slightly forward)
  • Raise the right hand up to the target which should be around chest height
  • Stand close but not too close to the target, preventing an over-extension of the arm. The upper part of the arm should be only slightly extended from the natural vertical position
  • Extend all four fingers and touch your opponent with your fingertips
  • Keeping the arm relaxed and at the same distance from the target, retract the fingers and form a loose fist. You must keep the arm relaxed and fist loose. A tremendous amount of power generated to perform the punch comes from the sudden tensing and clenching of the fist.
  • Focus all of your attention and energy on a point slightly beyond the center of the target. Punch by simultaneously thrusting and slightly extending the upper part of the arm while tensing the whole arm (forearm especially) and clenching the fist tight.
  • Always have a safe landing area for your opponent