Wing Chun Turning stance
The turning stance in Wing Chun is a tricky thing to master, but it’s really important for generating power – especially when you’re close to an opponent. The turning stance isn’t the only way to generate punching power, but it is a key part of traditional Wing Chun.
Wing Chun is all about fighting up close and personal – something you will become very familiar with as you work through your grades! You will soon realise that when there’s very little room to generate power, the turning stance really comes into it’s own.
When I first started Wing Chun, the Wing Chun turning stance didn’t feel natural at all, in fact it felt quite an awkward movement. When teaching this skill in later years, I found that a good way to explain it was to ”move your feet like windscreen wipers” – not such a memorable saying as ”Wax the Car” or “Paint the Fence” (and I am pretty sure ”Move your Feet like Windscreen Wipers” won’t be featured in the next Ip Man film), but it’s a pretty accurate description of what’s required!
So let me elaborate … your heels become the base of the wiper (pivot point) and the rest of your foot, the wipers themselves, turn from left to right. A good tip when starting out with the turning stance is to point your toes skyward to encourage you to rotate on just the heels, and not pivot on the balls of your feet. Once you are turning correctly you can ground your toes again, and start to concentrate on getting them to grip the ground as you turn.
A common mistake when practising the turning stance is to turn one foot on the heel and the other on the ball of the foot. If you find yourself doing this don’t worry – it’s very common :-). With a bit of practise you can get your feet in sync and moving together. The main thing is to be aware of your movements and to aim to get it right, even as a beginner.
Weight distribution is a big part of turning properly in Wing Chun, and we will teach that in more detail in class. With lots of practise your Wing Chun turning stance will become perfect and you’ll soon be able to use it to generate power.
Why not turn on the balls of your feet?
This is a great question and the answer is all about being balanced and grounded. Wing Chun practitioners turn in this stance for many reasons – to punch, to defend, to dodge, and like all fighting styles Wing Chun needs a good solid base (stance) to work from.
Turning on your heels keeps your weight in contact with the ground on two pivot points (the heels) and keeps your movements short and tight. Turning on the balls of your feet on the other hand, disconnects your heels as pivot points, puts stress on your ankles and makes turning a longer and slower process. It also makes your body unbalanced and makes you vulnerable to falling or being pushed over.
One final thing – always remember to sit back in your stance. If your head isn’t moving from side to side as you turn, you are not turning properly!