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VING TSUN KICKING METHODS

by
Clive Potter
In my time I have seen many different ideas of how the Ving Tsun kick should be executed. Here
is the explanation as per the Wong Shun Leung method.

Angle of Attack

In some styles of Ving Tsun, I have


seen the kick practised as in Fig. 1.
They lift the leg and then kick
forward nearly if not parallel to the
floor. (“A” to centre and then centre
to “B”). This method is not direct as
the path of the foot does not go
straight to the target, but goes up
and then forward. This method also
creates another problem in the
stability of the kick. According to
Newton’s Third Law of Motion, for
every force there is an equal and
opposite force otherwise known as
recoil. When executing any strike,
be it with the foot or hand, it is
important to understand what
direction the equal and opposite
force is travelling. Dos it give us
more stability or create less
stability. With the Ving Tsun punch
is rises as it goes forward, creating
an equal and opposite force that
drives down and roots our stance
more into the floor. Quite a few
styles of Kung Fu employ this
method of structure like Tai Chi,
Southern Dragon, Five Animal
Style to name a few I have in
contact with. Five Animal Style call
it the ground force. However,
executing the Ving Tsun kick as in
the method shown in Fig. 1 created
an equal and opposite force that
travels backward into the air in the
direction of “C” therefore applying a
force on the kicker that would make
them travel backward from the
target. The result of this is the
kicker becomes unstable in the
stance and some of the force they
wish to apply to the power of the
kick is absorbed into the recoil as
the kicker is pushed away from the
target.
In Fig. 2 the kick is executed with the leg kept at the same length (r1, r2, r3 in Fig. 2) – the knee
does not bend at all. This method I have also seen in some methods of Ving Tsun. Though this
creates a more stable stance as the equal and opposite force travels more into the ground than in
the Fig. 1 method, the actual strike does not penetrate the target with the force it could do, as the
direction of the kick on impact is more upwards and therefore has the effect of “stroking” the
target.

Fig. 3 is the method used in the Wong Shun Leung method of Ving Tsun. The foot travels in a
straight line from the floor to the target. This is the most direct, most efficient and therefore fastest
method. The path of the foot describes what in trigonomical terms is the “chord” of a circle.
Whereas a tangent is a straight line that touches the circumference of a circle just once, a chord
of a circle is a line that cuts a circle in two places. The difference therefore between Fig. 2 and
Fig. 3 is that the kicking leg, being the radius of the circle, has to bend in Fig. 3 so the radius is
shortened and then lengthened again as impact with the target is about to occur (r1, r2, r3 in Fig.
3). This causes the foot to travel in a straight line from where it is on the floor to the target. With
this method, physics helps ground the stance as the equal and opposite force is now being
directed into the floor in the direction of “C” in Fig. 3. The harder the kicker kicks the target, the
more the equal and opposite force drives his stance into the floor creating a stronger and more
stable stance on impact.

Wong Shun Leung always demonstrated these various methods of kicking at any of his seminars
that involved him explain Ving Tsun kicking methods. He would kick a wall as in the method
shown in Fig. 1 which would drive him back from the wall as he kicked. He would then kick using
the method shown in Fig. 3 striking the wall very hard, but his stance could be seen to remain
stable and strong as impact occurred. The photo shown above of Wong Shun Leung is that of
him demonstrating the various kicking methods at his seminar in the UK in St. Albans at my
school in 1990.
Feet Position
We also need to study the angle of
the foot and leg as it moves and
kicks from its position on the floor
directly to the target.

Fig. A shows the stance in the


position for moving forward and
looks at the kick foot angles from
this position. The body is facing
forward and the feet are turned in a
little and parallel.

When kicking many people,


especially if they feel too close to
the target, they tend to twist the
foot much too early to the position it
should be when it is in contact with
the target. In fact, they do this right
at the beginning of the kick as in
Fig. B2. This immediately opens up
the groin and makes it vulnerable to
any incoming force such as an
opponent’s kick.
Fig. B1 shows the correct method.
Like in punching where the elbow
covers the centreline, in kicking the
foot and knee first cover the
centreline as they travel forward
towards the target.

Knee Position
What is very important as we kick,
is the stance. If we kick without our
hips up and forward as in the
correct Ving Tsun stance and have
the shoulders leading instead of the
hips, we will find we are then
leaning forward slightly as in Fig.
A1. In such a stance it is the knee
that rises and leads first, making
the shin more venerable for
intercepting any incoming kick as in
Fig A2.

With the stance in the correct


attitude with the hips up and
forward as in Fig. B2, it is the foot
that leads and any incoming kick
can be stopped with the foot as in
Fig. B2.

In kick boxing, they block with their


shins and to do this, they spend
much time conditioning the shins to
be able to withstand blocking kicks.
In the street where people may be
wearing boots, the shins would take
a lot of punishment if they blocked
a kick with a heavy boot on the
foot! The Ving Tsun method of
stopping an incoming kick with the
foot leading is a safer method and
circumvents the need for shin
conditioning.

Fig. C shows the end position of


the kick. When executing the kick it
is like moving forward in the stance
but with a kick being added to this
action. The moving forward is
driven from the back leg. The hips
and waist are thrown forward
adding power to the kick.
Feet Positions
Figures 1 and 2 show kicking from
two popular positions of stance, the
stance when stationary and the
stance when moving. Both Figure 1
and 2 are based on the scenario
that the opponent is in range or is
coming forward with a kick so
stepping first to bridge is not
necessary. Figure 1 shows two
alternatives of standing stationary
with the feet positioned as R1 and
L1 where R1 is pointing at the
target and would be the kicking leg
or as R2 and L2 where L2 points at
the target and would be the kicking
leg. (In all these three diagrams, R
is for the right foot and L is for the
left foot.) In Figure 1 R1 is the
kicking leg and is driven by L1
pushing forward to generate the
force and therefore negates the
need for shifting the body weight to
L1 before kicking as the forward
force then compensates for gravity
trying to upset the stance on the
side that the foot has left the
ground. This means that if the
attacker is initially standing outside
kicking range, he needs to make
two actions. (1. to step forward to
bridge the gap and 2. to then kick.)
As we drive forward with L1, we
only need one action to kick
therefore we are able to stop the
attacker’s step rather than his kick.
If we shift our weight before we
kick, then we are also creating two
moves and will consequently be
kicking the attackers kick instead of
his step. Of course, if the attacker
is within range then driving forward
with L1 to kick with R1 is the
quickest way to kick as shifting our
weight tells the opponent what we
are going to do before we do it as
they are able to see our shoulders
move to the side a little. When the
kick is completed and the foot
placed on the floor L1 must move
to L3 to re-configure the stance’s
stability.

In Figure 2 the concepts are just


the same, but we are already in a
stance moving forward and we kick
with R1 by driving forward with L1.
Again, when R1 has reached R2
and is placed on the floor, L1
moves to L2 to re-configure the
stance.
In Figure 3 the situation is that of one where we are doing the attacking from a distance more
than one step away from the opponent. Of course, if we just step forward in a straight line and
kick, we would be clashing with the opponent’s force coming towards us. Thus we have to find a
clear line in my creating an angle using dummy footwork. Many years ago I used to try and attack
with a kick straight down the centre from a distance of more than one step by reaching a long
way with the kick. Of course, this over reaching made my stance very unstable. I remember
Wong Shun Leung talking to me and Anthony Kan in Anthony’s back garden explaining to us that
we should not kick until we are first in range to kick. He then showed us the footwork as in Figure
3 which creates an angle for entry than does not clash with the centreline. His favourite technique
when doing this was to attack with a kick and a man sau all at once. If the opponent tried to block
the kick, the man sau would strike. If they tried to block the man sau, then the kick would strike. If
the angle of moving from L1 to L2 is as narrow as possible, hopefully it will trick the opponent
(especially if they are a karate, Tae Kwon Do or from another style works more in straight lines)
into thinking we are moving in, in a straight line. By the time they realise we are not, it is too late
for them.

Attack Angles
Of course if we attack as in the last
paragraph, the opponent is not
always going to stand there and let
us kick them! Here illustrated is one
example of a scenario and how we
might deal with it using Ving Tsun
dummy footwork. If we attempt to
move into kicking range via use of
an angle as described in the above
paragraph and therefore move from
1 to 2 in the “Attacking Angles”
illustration, the opponent may move
or kick from A to B to intercept us.
As he does this we immediately
change our direction onto 2 to 3
and move in again driving off from
the back leg in direction of 3 to 4
attacking perhaps with our hands
as we have shut down the kicking
distance.

Naturally, there are many, many


more scenarios of kicking and kicks
from different angles and positions.
Mostly I treat kicks with the same
philosophy and approach as I do
the hand actions, for example like
punching, I will kick from wherever
my foot is to the target. I have used
the footwork of the “Attacking
Angles” illustration to find a clear
way in to attack with the hands.
Another way for entry is to attack
directly up the centreline until we
obtain contact with the opponent
and to then deal with changing
angles to attack depending on the
feel of direction of the opponent’s
forces. Like everything in Ving Tsun
we must choose the method that
works best for us and develop that
for efficiency.