More Than A Punch Pt. 1

Several of the previous articles were dedicated to sharing the internal mechanisms, roles and functions of the bones and musculature that all coordinate to create a powerful Ving Tsun punch. In this article we will begin to explore the prescriptions for the punch as well as observe the conceptual potentials inherent within it.

One might suggest that the entirety of the system is predicated upon a stable, dynamically adaptive and powerful punch. Throughout the entirety of the first form in the system we are provided examples of these potentials by way of  the structural arrangements and the connections that each technique possesses to the punch itself. Coordinating the punch to the concepts by way of the anatomical adaptations, the punch acts as a platform providing potentials for bridging traits between structures and their corresponding concepts. Simply put, the punch is the origin of all actions that support it.

In keeping with the spirit of the Ving Tsun system, the way that we will initially examine the punch will be by defining two simple categories. A straight line punch, which we will attach to the Taan Sau concept, “Wedging Hand”, and the angled line punch, which will connect to the Fuk Sau concept, “Subduing/Compressing Hand”. These concepts are meant to be experienced during the act of the aforementioned punches as they are connecting (bridging) with the body of an opponent. The angled punch can be imagined as the tangent of an equilateral triangle, while the straight line could be viewed as being the dividing/center line between two halves of a such a triangle. When we think of either of these punches we may infer the consistent application of the Yat Ji Kuen concept, “Sun Center Fist”. The punches, straight or angled, will always be coordinated to strike out from the practitioners center line and center of mass towards the opponent’s. Let’s now take a closer look at the various aspects that build up the punch from outside of the body while coordinating consistently with the internal.

Linear motion as defined in Newtonian physics refers to the one dimensional motion of an object’s trajectory following a straight line. You could imagine a train running on a track from station A to station B without any change or alteration of its course to the destination. This is the typical observation and accepted premise for the Ving Tsun punch and it certainly plays a significant role, however, since we do not reside in one dimension, but rather three, we need to investigate further into the realm of our three dimensional reality. In order to do that, we must first recognize the role of a curve (arc) to get closer to our goal.

The curve (arc) is defined in geometry as any unbroken part of the circumference of a circle or other curved line. The act of this takes place in the largest portion of the body, the core, and so it tends to go unnoticed to the uninitiated.  The curving (arcing) occurs from the shifting of the hips in direct support of the extension of the elbow. This encourages driving the punch from our center of mass and through the center line providing a “weaving” effect during the repetition of strikes from opposite sides of the body. This quality in combination with the directness of the punches, along with their biomechanical properties discussed in previous articles, collates to create the activity of the helix.

A helix can be described as a curve that resides on the surface of a cone or cylinder that cuts the element at a constant angle.  Imagine water spiraling down the drain.  Our limbs are cylindrical not circular and so the punches are doing this. Similarly to the vortex drawing in the water to the drain causing the spiraling effect, so to are the punches drawn to the center of mass of the opponent. We ought to  recall that this principle applies to both limbs. We may then consider that a double helix is ever present in the punches along with all connecting actions.

In part two if this article we will take a considerable look at the core concepts related to each punch mentioned and start to clarify a general guide to their place and purpose in the system.

Until then, keep studying and training!

– Sifu Brandon Schlueter-Cat