Wing Chun Drills and Basic Techniques

wing chung drills and basic techniques practice with a partner

Wing Chun Drills

Wing Chun Drills and Exercises for Solo Practice

Many Wing Chun masters “Sifu” recommend practicing Wing Chun drills solo for self-defense before starting training with a partner. But, it can be unclear which training drills to practice alone and which drills to practice with a partner. In this guide, we listed the most effective Wing Chun drills to work on alone and the drills to work with a partner. Also, we described the details of how to perform those solo training drills to benefit the most from them.

Wing Chun Ring Drills

Wing Chun ring drills help learn the positions of the arms in a limited space at home. Using these training drills, students learn to keep their elbows on the center line. That develops extra power to the martial arts attack and defense. These drills help keep shoulders relaxed and develop muscle memory. This is the key point of every Wing Chung movement. The drills help improve arm coordination and Wing Chun hand forms. That helps develop the power by maximizing waist rotation. The rings are lightweight and can be easily taken anywhere. They fit into a medium-sized bag or in a backpack.

How to use Wing Chun rings

What should the Wing Chun ring be made of?

It’s really up to your individual preference but the Wing Chun ring can be made of tan or other types of wood, metal, or plastic.

What size should a ring be?

A ring can be anywhere from half the size of your forearm to the full size of your forearm or somewhere in between. For our students, we recommend a ring between 8 to 9 inches.

How to perform Whing Chun ring drills alone.

You should hold your elbows together. Some students may not be able to touch their elbows and it is totally fine. You may take your funny bone and put your elbows together. Then you will have your hand up and your other hand down but not close to your body. It’s going to be away from your body as your elbows are together.

Then from that position, come around to the other side. As you do this, you should do your best to maintain those elbows together and keep them on your center line. Keep the elbows together as you go forward and around as well.

If you can not touch your elbows then you can take something (e.g. a foam roller) and hold it in between and then come across. The benefit of training with Wing Chun rings is that it teaches to maintain elbows and shoulders stability while performing attacks and defenses. It is important to keep elbows and shoulders stable.

Please refer to the video below to get a better understanding of these exercises.

Wing Chun Beginner Drills

This is one of the basic exercises of Wing Chun training that will develop your awareness of body positioning and weight distribution. You can practice at home comfortably and effectively. Start with your hands and feet together. Then you need to come out with your feet and bring your hands back with your fists up. While you are in this position you will need to drop your knees down and move them up slowly. This is important legwork that will make your legs stronger when you do this exercise. Try to do it every morning.

The below videos will help get a better understanding of this drill.

In this exercise, you will learn how to turn and twist your body. Put your feet together and then spread them out. Then twist your body while keeping your weight on one leg. The weight distribution should be about 70 to 30 percent. This move teaches you how to walk from this position. It’s important to have the weight on one leg. Try to practice this footwork exercise every morning.

In this exercise, you will learn how to do steps according to Wing Chun’s martial art style. Stand in the position and lift your hands up. You will be tracking your body forward keeping the weight of your body on the rear leg. When you make a few steps turn your body and walk in the opposite direction paying attention to your weight distribution.

Wing Chun Blocking Drills Tan Sao

Tan Sao (Sometimes spelled as Tan Sau) is one of the basic, foundational Wing Chun techniques for self-defense and you will learn the proper way of doing it. Also, you will get an idea of the wrong way of doing it to avoid mistakes. Tan Sao (Tan Sau) is very important because it’s used to defend the hook punch or the sucker punch, which is one of the most common attacks in North America. Please be careful, If you do it wrong, the punch will slip through.

With the Wing Chun Tan Sao (Tan Sau), the proper way would be the Wing Chun stance. It’s very important that you focus on the elbows and keep them in the center line. An amateur Wing Chun practitioner focuses on the hand, but you should always focus on the elbow. Hands should not be loose but just relaxed. They should always protect your centerline. You should start your movement from the center line and be aware of your body positioning.

When practicing Tan Sao (Tan Sau), another thing you want to look for is your fingers. You do not want to have lazy fingers. Imagine you are holding a plate, your thumb needs to be in. If your thumb is out and you miss, you can break your thumb. But if it’s tucked in, you are going to be okay. The arms angle is also very crucial, it should be 45 degrees. You have to adhere to all these details and go slowly. Using this drill practice movement mechanics and keep your shoulders relaxed but firm like bamboo.

Wing Chun Chi Sao Drills

Wing Chun Chi Sao exercises are conducted with the ball and with the ring. They help develop internal power while keeping hands loose and relaxed. Wing Chun Chi Sao solo training drills are going to maximize your hand sensitivity. Eventually, they will let you feel your hands tense, like little swords.

That skill of internal power is going to help you perform the other Wing Chun training drills flawlessly. This is an easy way to start learning what it feels like doing this exercise with a partner.

Usually, the best results are achieved when you perform this drill during four rounds of two or three minutes each. It is completely ok if you feel a burn in your hand muscles at the end of each round as you will train your muscle memory while doing this exercise.

Please refer to the video below to get an idea of how to perform the Chi Sao exercise correctly.

Drills and Exercises To Strengthen Your Core At Home For Wing Chun.

Leg Stability Exercise

Wing Chun requires a good amount of stability in the legs in order to make hands fast and effective. Stand with your back close to the wall and put your heels close to the wall. Bend your knees as low as you possibly can while keeping your back straight, keeping heels on the ground. You will be developing your posture and strengthening your legs at the same time. Put your head against the wall and hold for one minute. Hold this stance for up to 5 minutes.

The Plank Exercise

You will also need to strengthen your lats (latissimus dorsi muscles. They help hold your shoulders down while you are doing the exercises. The plank exercise is recommended to strengthen the lats. You can start on your knees if the plank is too hard at the beginning. Start with a minute and then work your way up.

Lat Pull Exercise

It can be done with a band. Get into your stance, keep your shoulders down and pull your elbows back as much as possible, hold your posture for 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Goblet Squat

Go squat down as slowly as you can. Keep your lower back straight. As you come up, push through your heels, and tuck your pelvis up. Repeat 10-25 times.

One-Leg Goblet Squat

Extend one leg and slowly squat down on your other leg. Don’t rest on the other leg when it touches the ground. Switch your legs. Repeat 15-20 times. You can add more weight if you want more resistance.

In addition to strengthening our bodies, we also need to stretch. Repeat the exercises in the video below daily to improve arm flexibility. They are an integral part of self-defense training.

Wing Chun Dummy Drills

There are 108 forms of this exercise In traditional Wing Chun. Though keep in mind that the wooden dummy is not a punching bag. The wooden dummy drill’s goal is to help condition forearms. It is a very helpful tool to prepare for practice with a partner. It is critical to focus on maintaining good form in these drills.

Pak Sao Drill

One of the most popular beginner techniques for self-defense is Pak Sao. You will need to maintain a good stance throughout the exercise focusing on your center line. You should perform this exercise paying close attention to the form of the drill, focusing on the wooden dummy. The key is to develop the forward pressure when you block and when you attack.

Lap Sao Drill

With Lap Sao you pull one arm and then punch with the other. once you master this drill individually, you can practice Pak Sao and Lap Sao together with a partner. The key is to focus on your form, direct your energy forward, and go slow in the beginning.
While doing the above solo training drills on the Wooden dummy, It is very important to keep the gap between you and the dummy closed. Imagine that you are performing these drills with a real person.
This video will give you a clear understanding of how to correctly perform these exercises.

Other Wing Chun Dummy Techniques And Drills

The video below will show you nine moves that you can start with and also how you can apply them in a real fight. All the moves in this video are a combination of blocks to deflect opponents’ attacks and punches.
In Wing Chun, most of the blocks are done with the forearm. The punches are done with the open palm or the fist. When practicing the techniques you can punch high, in the chin, or low, in the center of the body. Most of the kicks are done low to deflect the opponent’s kicks. You can also grab your opponents behind the neck and pull on their arms to get them out of balance and clear way for your next move or attack.
You can combine the movements, blocks, and attacks.

While practicing the techniques you should always pay attention to your stance and your core.
By following the video’s instructions, you will be able to do the exercises correctly and achieve the desired results.

Wing Chun Drills and Exercises in Pairs With a Partner

  • Cheh Kuen/Lien Wan Kuen – Fundamental Punching Drill
    • The focus of this Wing Chun offensive technique is to punch rapidly and overwhelm an opponent with multiple attacks. It is known as the chain punch technique.
  • Pak Sau – Slap Block Drill
    • An opponent’s attack is deflected by this type of palm block. It is known as a slapping block.
  • Pak Da – Slap Block and Punch Drill
    • The purpose of the drill is to teach you to move directly. This is a great way to train yourself on what to do when your punch or arm is obstructed. This concept allows you to clear a path to strike the face (or body) of your attacker while managing the interference that another person may attempt in defense.
  • Lap Sau – Grasp and Punch Drill
    • The Grabbing Hand (or Pulling Hand) technique. The technique of grabbing an opponent’s arm allows a Wing Chun student to deflect a potential attack or to pull him offline and/or disrupt his balance.
  • Dan Chi Sau – Single Sticking Hands
    • This technique teaches that it is often better to rely on one’s intuition or feelings in a fight, rather than trying to see what the opponent is doing. This is because the opponent’s moves can often be deceptive, and it is often difficult to tell what is really happening in a fight.
  • Poon Sau – Four Position Rolling Hands
    • With both arms working at the same time, the three seeds are now incorporated, but still independently of each other. Forward energy creates closer range techniques.
  • Luk Sau – Rolling Hands with Forward Energy
    • Teaches basic techniques and helps students develop reactions to fast movement and partial awareness in terms of the gates.
  • Jow Sau Jip Sau – Running and Catching Hands
  • Tsui Ma – Pushing Horse Drill
  • Chi Sau – Double Sticking Hands
  • Doc Sau – Discussion Hands (Cooperative Sticking Hands Drills)
  • Gor Sau – Fighting Hands (High Energy Sticking Hands)
  • Cheung Kiu Chi Sau – Long Bridge Sticking Hands
  • Biu Jee Chi Sau – Short Bridge Sticking Hands
  • Luk Gerk – Rolling Legs Drill
  • Chi Gerk – Sticking Legs
  • Gwoh Sau – Sparring from Bridge Contact
  • Maai Saan Jong – Off-Hand Sparring, Full Fight Simulation

Wing Chun utilizes very specialized training equipment to enhance and optimize a student’s skill. In some cases, the equipment allows students to express significantly more force than they could with a partner, physically conditioning the student’s body and providing the experience of hitting with power. In other cases, equipment fine-tunes and focuses techniques for the precise application of movement.

The Wing Chun Concepts course will primarily utilize the Wing Chun Battle Post or Da Jong, which combines the most important features of both the Wooden Dummy and the wall bag. The Concepts course includes detailed lessons on how to construct your own Battle Post easily and inexpensively. Other equipment is optional but will be illustrated in the course for completeness.

Wing Chun Training Steps

The Wing Chun Concepts curriculum consists of three primary elements, Structural Development Forms, or simply Forms, Reflex Development Drills, or Drills, and Tactical Development Drills, or Tactics. There are also two supplementary elements, Weapon Training and Equipment Training.

All of the Wing Chun techniques are first learned from the Forms and Drills. These sequences provide a safe and effective way to practice and polish the skills. It is important to note that the intent, focus, content, and sequence of movements for both Forms and Drills can change from lineage to lineage, or even from school to school. The most common curriculum framework includes three empty hand forms, one wooden dummy form, and two weapons forms. The Drill progression generally moves from basic blocks, strikes, and trapping to various forms of sticking-hands and sticking-legs (chi sau and chi gerk) training drills, and finally to pre-arranged and then free-form sparring.

Wing Chun Tactics

Tactics are a modern evolution of traditional (gwoh sau and maai saan jong) combat sparring. Tactical drills pair the Wing Chun technique with Real World self-defense situations to create a laboratory for problem-solving. Tactics are used to incrementally prepare students for sparring and to test the legitimacy of the Wing Chun technique. Tactics may be trained against one or more attackers, with or without weapons present, and you may be defending from a standing position, pinned against a wall, seated, or flat on the ground. Tactical training drills often use modern training equipment such as focus mitts, Muay Thai pads, and kicking shields.

Wing Chun Syllabus

Below is an overview of the entire Wing Chun Concepts curriculum. It follows a strictly linear progression where every completed step in the syllabus builds a foundation for the next. This allows the body to learn, adapt and integrate the techniques until they can be expressed reflexively without conscious thought. The progression also takes into account the changes and transformations in both body and mind. Command and Mastery of each step create an ever-growing comprehension of the principles and concepts.

Wing Chun Concepts does not use belts or formal, military-style ranking. Instead, it uses simple levels of study, much like the progression through college: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. Since no one wears kimonos anymore, there is no practical need for belts or sashes. Instead, we use T-shirts, marked and color-coded to note the current level of training. There are eight levels in all, including two preparation levels, three core levels, and three optional levels of sharpening, polishing, and refining.

Wing Chun Levels

Wing Chung LEVEL ONE: Initiate

This is the introductory level with a focus on orientation. This is like the time spent in high school figuring out your major and the university you want to attend. You learn the requirements for studying Wing Chun Kung Fu, the specific focus of the Zen-based martial arts of Shaolin, and the unique character and objective of the science of Wing Chun’s self-defense system. The lessons in this course definitively answer the question, “Is Wing Chun right for me?” Upon completion, if you decide to continue the training, you become an Initiate of the Wing Chun Way.

Wing Chung LEVEL TWO: Origin

This is the foundation level with a focus on building strong basics. This is like summer school prior to the first year of college where you remediate or fine-tune your academics. If you are new to martial arts training, you will want to spend some time at this level to acclimate to the mental and physical demands of training. Building a strong foundation of skill, fitness, and mental endurance at this level assures success in future levels and helps prevent injury. Experienced martial artists should briefly review this level, paying special attention to anything that might be new or significantly different from their previous training. You will learn how to hit without breaking your hand. You will learn about movement and about stillness. You will learn about power, focus, and intent

Wing Chun LEVEL THREE: Forge

If Wing Chun were a legendary sword, this would be the level where the metal was forged, shaped, and tempered. It is also the level where you are given the Keys to the entire system. You will learn the first of three empty-hand forms, learn the shapes and the uses of twenty different Wing Chun “Hands,” and master all of the foundation-level drills of Wing Chun. You will strengthen your structure and connection with the Earth, develop intrinsic strength in your posture, learn to physically connect with an attacker, cultivate energy through breath, and learn to relax and quiet both body and mind on demand.

LEVEL FOUR: Integration

In the equivalent of your sophomore year in Wing Chun, you will learn full-body integration, moving instinctively and intuitively as one continuous whole. You will learn the second empty-hand form, learn to flow through all of the Wing Chun “Hands,” and master all of the intermediate-level drills. You will begin to refine your technique on the Wooden Dummy or Battle Post. You will learn to move, dynamically retarget, and effectively hit and defend all “Gates” or vectors of attack. You will master the sets of eight strikes, kicks, elbows, and fingers.


As a junior at the university of Wing Chun, you will be challenged to deepen your understanding of Wing Chun. You will learn the third and final empty-hand form, complete the Wooden Dummy form, and master all of the advanced drills. This is the level of “conscious competence,” where your focus is on sharpening your skills, reflexes, and instincts.

LEVEL SIX: Fighter

The senior or graduate level of Wing Chun is devoted to Tactics and sparring. This is where all of your knowledge and skill — and your physical, mental and spiritual endurance — will be put to the test. This is the level of “stress inoculation,” where you will stare back into the face of raw human violence. You will learn to problem-solve — using Wing Chun concepts, principles, and tactics — the worst-case scenarios of attack and assault.


This completely optional post-graduate level introduces both classical weapons (the long pole and butterfly swords) and modern weapons (sticks, knives, guns) into the mix. This is the realm of crisis and chaos in the Real World. This is the level of “unconscious competence,” where you hone your skills, reflexes, and instincts to respond without conscious thought. You literally become “weaponized,” able to use your entire body and any available tool to attack and defend.

LEVEL EIGHT: Sifu (Master, Teacher)

For those to whom Wing Chun has become an inseparable part of their Kung Fu Life, this level provides the skills to become an instructor and take the knowledge of Wing Chun to the next generation. In a sense, this is not the conclusion of training, but rather a new beginning. You quite literally return to the beginning and progress through the system again, but this time with the perspective of learning to articulate and pass on the training to others

Forms are solo exercises that develop focus, balance, proprioception, and kinesthetic awareness. The forms introduce the hand positions, techniques, and defining movements of each progressive level of Wing Chun and provide a way to practice without a partner.

Students begin their Forms training by learning the gross mechanical movements, simply learning the “choreography” of the sequence. Once they have the pattern, they begin to carefully refine the structural precision of each movement. They gain a clear awareness of the chains of movement, their shifting balance, and the functional importance of each technique. As they progress, students will develop a sense of flow, control both tension and relaxation, and understand force generation.

Wing Chun Techniques and Forms

Siu Lim Tau – 小念頭: The Little Idea

The first and most important form of Wing Chun is Siu Lim Tau, or “The Little Idea.” This is the foundation upon which all of the other forms and techniques are developed. In just this one form, the student is introduced to Centerline Theory, Wing Chun punching, the Yee Jee Kim Yung Ma training stance, the principles of Elbow Power, and a variety of hand techniques, including the three poison hands of Wing Chun: Tan, Bong, and Fook.

Chum Kiu – 尋橋: Seeking the Bridge

The second form in Wing Chun is Chum Kiu, or “Seeking the Bridge.” It is typically considered the most difficult of the three forms to learn but is also the most popular. Chum Kiu focuses on controlled, coordinated movement of the entire body and generating power through rapid twisting motions. In Siu Lim Tau, the hands merely have to occupy the centerline. In Chum Kiu, you have to turn and move your centerline while maintaining your balance. Chum Kiu also introduces the first elbow and kicking techniques.

Biu Jee – 鏢指; Standard Compass

The third form in Wing Chun is Biu Jee, or “Standard Compass.” This form is comprised of extreme short-range and extreme long-range techniques, low kicks and sweeps, and “emergency techniques” to recover and respond when the structure has been seriously compromised. Biu Jee was designed to train the hands to return to centerline and the body to recover to balance, even from extreme angles and awkward positions — just as the compass needle always returns to North after any movement.

Drills are often called San Sik (separate forms) or San Sau (separate hands) in traditional Wing Chun schools. Drills range from the repetitive practice of basic motions to simple bridging and countering techniques to free-flow sparring.

Most Drills are loosely grouped into three broad categories: (1) developing basic structure and mechanics through punching, blocking, shifting and stepping; (2) building timing skills through fundamental arm cycles and interceptions; and (3) cultivating sensitivity and kinesthetic “listening” skills.

By design, the Drills in the Wing Chun Concepts course are weighted heavily towards Solo Command and Mastery — drills that you can practice alone using simple and inexpensive equipment. Some are unique to this course, some are adapted from traditional partner drills, and some are adapted from other martial arts, sports performance training, and modern tactical or combative training.

For students who have access to in-person training at a Wing Chun school or who have a dedicated training partner, we also explore all of the most essential partner drills from traditional Wing Chun.

Da Jong – 打樁; Battle Post

The traditional Battle Post was simply a padded wooden stake in the ground that a fighter would practice hitting. This is not unique to Kung Fu. A variation called the makiwara is widely used in Japanese martial arts, and a pell was essential to warriors across the expanse of the Roman Empire and throughout medieval Europe. The Wing Chun Concepts Battle Post is a modern interpretation, using modular components for striking practice, learning the Wooden Dummy form, and training with impact and edged weapons.

Mook Yan Jong – 木人樁; Wooden Dummy

The most famous and most easily recognized piece of Kung Fu training equipment in the world is the Mook Yan Jong or Wooden Dummy. Made from a man-sized wooden log with three arms and a single leg, the Wooden Dummy acts as a “mold” for the student’s techniques. Practicing with the wooden dummy refines the student’s understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and helps to develop full body power. It is here on the Mook Yan Jong that the open-hand techniques are pieced together and understood as a flowing, integrated whole.

Mook Wan; Wooden Ring

The Mook Wan, or Wooden Ring, is a less-famous piece of Wing Chun training equipment used by some traditional lineages. The ten-inch to fourteen-inch ring is most often made of bamboo or rattan and is used for training the student to seamlessly flow from one technique to another while maintaining a very precise structure.

Sau Bao; Wall Bag

Many Wing Chun schools make extensive use of the Sau Bao, or Wall Bag, to teach how to deliver force with a strike. The bags are usually canvas and filled with dried beans, but other constructions and filler materials are also common today. The training is incremental, teaching first how to hit without injuring the hand, then advancing to ways to fajing or release force into the bag. The methodical training process is simultaneously conditioning the hands for the work of Kung Fu.

Gerk Jong; Kicking Dummy

The Gerk Jong, or Kicking Dummy, is one of the least-known pieces of Wing Chun training equipment. It is most often constructed of wooden posts sunk into the ground, although some schools have built posts on a frame for indoor training. The training consists of kicking, checking, and moving around the posts at various angles and in specific patterns.

Once the student has mastered the ability to generate and utilize Jing or force in the open hand forms, they can progress to the Wing Chun weapons training. The three empty-hand forms train to deliver force to the end of the fingertips. With weapons training, the student is taught to extend that force through the weapon as an extension of the body. The weapon forms are also considered as an advanced form of conditioning training for the hands, wrists, and forearms.

Baat Jaam Do – 八斬刀; Eight Slashing Knives

The Baat Jaam Do knife form utilizes a pair of large “Butterfly Knives.” The knives are shorter that the common Chinese short sword (Dao), but larger than the Willow Leaf knife used by the drummer in Chinese lion dancing. Historically the knives were also referred to as Dit Ming Do, or “Life-Taking Knives.” There are two stories about where Baat Jaam Do get its name: one from the knife form having eight sections, another from there being eight slashing cuts in the first section of the form.

Luk Dim Boon Kwan – 六點半棍; Six and A Half Point Pole

The Luk Dim Boon Kwan is a tapered wooden pole ranging anywhere from eight to thirteen feet in length. The pole trains seven key principles: Tai (uprooting), Lan (expansion), Dim (shock), Kit (deflect), Got (cut down), Wan (circle), and Lau (flowing). These same principles are used throughout the unarmed forms of Wing Chun as well. The name six-and-a-half point pole comes from these seven principles, with the last principle – Flowing – counting as half a point.

Xiandai Wuqi – 现代武器; Modern Weapons: Stick, Knife, Gun

While not strictly traditional, the Wing Chun Concepts course explores how to apply all of the concepts and principles of Wing Chun to the most common weapons used in the modern world: impact weapons like sticks and batons, edged weapons like fixed blades or folding knives, and revolvers or semi-automatic handguns. This training uses a simple matrix of weapon/counter-weapon tactics (ie, hand vs stick, stick vs stick, stick vs knife, etc), all while seeking Wing Chun efficiency and economy of motion.

The Wing Chun Concepts curriculum covers a lot of material but is focused on a single outcome: forging a warrior’s skill, a warrior’s body, and a warrior’s spirit. We will conclude this section with a short parable from Kung Fu lore:

A young disciple was training with his sifu in the master’s beautiful garden when the student posed a question. “Master, you have taught me the ways of Zen, the discipline of body and mind, and speak always of peace and non-violence. Yet from you I have learned the deadly techniques of combat and the tactics of war. How do you reconcile the two?”

The master nodded and gestured around him to the moss-covered rocks, flowers, and lush garden path. “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”

This simple concept was recorded as early as the Shiji or the “Records of the Grand Historian,” dating from the second century BC in ancient China. It is perhaps most widely known from the Latin phrase, si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning, “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

The monks of Shaolin, and all those who follow the true way of Kung Fu, do not want to fight but are ready to fight. The ultimate purpose of the warrior — his very reason for fighting — is to achieve peace. The goal of Wing Chun and this course is transformation: peace within you, and peace in the world. The discipline, the training, is the Warrior’s Way: to seek peace but to know if the wolf comes to your door, you are prepared.

NEXT: The Wing Chun Training Methodology
The next chapter explores the unique framework of the Wing Chun Concepts training methodology. The process as outlined in this guide is designed to cultivate maximum skill in Wing Chun Kung Fu in the minimum amount of time and with the least possible impact on the rest of your daily schedule.

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