The 5 Best Exercises to Improve Wing Chun Footwork
Good footwork is key to any martial art. Whether you are Boxing, Kickboxing, or practicing Wing Chun excellent footwork will make all the difference. Without good footwork you will never be able to deliver those powerful punches and kicks that you have learned in the gym. Every boxer or kickboxer knows that if you can’t reach your opponent you can’t punch or kick safely. Footwork is even more important for self defence as you must evade your attackers attempt to harm you, while placing yourself in a better position to counter attack.
Your footwork is as important as your hand skills. It is crucial that you train your footwork often to improve your agility, balance and positioning for Wing Chun. Basically, good footwork is essential for any martial art, kung fu, or kickboxing style, so you must train it regularly in the gym. As tedious as this sounds, footwork will makes all the difference to your combat and self defence ability. Here are 5 of the best exercises to improve your footwork.
1) Ladder Drills
Ladder drills improve agility and quickness at high speed. This is an excellent training method to improve your ability to move your feet quickly. Normally, associated with Boxing or Kickboxing training, ladder drills improve the quickness of your hand leg co-ordination, and this can only benefit your Wing Chun training.
The key point here is the speed that you are forced to co-ordinate your hands and legs over a short distance. No other martial arts, boxing or kickboxing exercises simulate this experience.
There are a range of exercises, but you should practice high knees and laterally shuffle on ladder.
2) Box Jumps
Box jumps improve the explosive power of your legs and co-ordination of your feet, knees, and hips. It may seem strange that this exercise will improve your footwork, but Wing Chun relies on quick explosive movement so practice this regularly for instant benefits.
If you can’t face training this plyometric exercise on your own, then come along to our strength and conditioning classes. These are exactly the types of exercises that we focus on within our gym, so get down to these classes. You will have more drive in your step.
Practice Jumps from squat position, and straight leg springs.
Normally, considered a domain of Boxers and Kickboxers. In fact, visit any Boxing or Kickboxing gym and you will see fighters constantly skipping. Do not let this deter you from practicing your skipping, this is one of the best exercises for agility and co ordination. That is why we think every Wing Chun student should practice.
Start with the basics jumping with both feet or performing high knees. Stay light on the balls of your toes and relax the body as much as you can keeping your torso upright. If you struggle simply practice without the rope to learn the timing of the jump.
4) Shadow Boxing
This is perhaps the best exercise to improve your footwork, as you can work your hand leg coordination without the anxiety of being hit by a person. Ideally, you should use a mirror to watch your own footwork, and there are plenty of them in our gym. So use them. However, if you are specifically trying to improve your footwork then you should focus on the various footwork drills that we teach or devise your own.
You should practice moving forward, backward in Biu Ma, and pivoting, as well as angles and positions of wing chun footwork (see The Importance of Shadow Sparring for Wing Chun or How to Train Biu Ma).
5 ) Wooden Dummy & Basic Stance Training
This is a great method, but not necessarily the best for improving Wing Chun footwork as the dummy does not move forward or backwards. In this sense, you are not getting a realistic application of footwork because you are moving around the dummy.
Having said that, moving around the Wing Chun Wooden Dummy has a number of benefits for your footwork. It improves your hand leg coordination, but also the strength in your body structure while moving. You should also train your basic stance (see What is the Wing Chun stance for?)
Practice circling around the dummy leg insuring that you press and stick with your knees.
Practicing footwork is key to any martial art regardless of style. In general, footwork allows the ability to evade a punch or even step to retaliate. Improving your footwork is crucial to improving your overall Wing Chun ability and combat efficiency.
There is plenty of space and equipment in our gym to use. We have agility ladders, boxes, skipping ropes, wooden dummies and mirrors for shadow boxing. So please use them. Turn up to the gym and self (solo) train (see The 5 Best Exercises to Improve Your Wing Chun).
The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing Chun, San Shou Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, WC4 Self Defence, Yoga, Functional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick Boxing. Membership starts from £25 per month. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>