Okay, I thought I'd spend some time discussing something that's probably on everyone's mind.... Wing Chun is great for self-defense, and yada, yada, but what's it role when it comes to physical activity.
I mean, I'm sure some of you thought, can I use wing chun to lose weight, or get in shape, or some form of aerobic exercise?  So, what I'll do is discuss the main things regarding wing chun and outside physical activity, and how to deal with it properly.

First of all, can wing chun be used for anything... can you use it to lose weight, sure... can you use it to get in shape, yes, can it be done aerobically for health benefits, damn straight.  Would I recommend that you do all the stuff I just said yes to early in your training.... Absolutely NOT........ Here's my opinion regarding this matter.  Its not that you shouldn't jog, do tae bo, or mountain climb, but keep that actual activities of physical development and wing chun separate in the early stages of your training.  In other words, if your gonna workout in the gym, then definitely do that.  But if your gonna do wing chun as well, then just concentrate on wing chun and don't mix in stuff with it.  Why?

Answer this question honestly to yourself.  Do you remember when you first started, how would you define what "relaxed is" compared to back then.  If your honest with the answer what you thought you knew as relaxed was world's apart by definition once you started understanding wing chun.  Your trying to use the minimum amount of muscle to generate the maximum amount of force.  And, often times in the beginning when people mentally understand this, they can't physically do it, without putting some kind of muscle into it.    Remember, wing chun activities as far as feed back is a simple, "it feels good"  And, when you first start off, most people will feel like, am I actually doing anything.   I mean, i'm not sweating, my muscles don't hurt, am I actually doing anything?  Its like Mirian on youtube, she does absolutely nothing, but yet is the most popular person on youtbue.. 

So, how do I stay in shape and do wing chun at the same time.  Now regardless of what physical activity that you might be into, just keep certain things in mind.  Now for those of you who in fact do weights, this is my main suggestion regarding that.  If you do weights let's say on Monday, anything like push ups, chin ups or lifting, etc.... where your contracting the muscles for a good 30 minutes or more.... Then I would highly suggest that you don't do any upper body wing chun training for that particular day, and maybe limit anything to just footwork.  For example, the worst thing you can do is lift weights, and then right afterwards, start punching.... coz more then likely you'll hurt yourself from the soreness of that workout and it'll mean less control on the actual motion of the punch.  Now will lifting weights make you tight... and from my own personal experience, yes, it does.... Sorry, that's the fact, but you can't ask someone's opinion outside of wing chun, if this is true, because they don't have the slightess idea of how we define relaxed.  But, at the same time, after studying this subject further and understanding my own knowledge on it, you can.. Will it have a detrimental effect on your wing chun, no.. but it will slow down your progress since you will have tightness from it.

How about aerobic exercise, can't i just do it with wing chun instead of keeping it separate?  In all honesty, even at my stage of controlling my body, I still don't try to mix this that often with one another.  Imagine, you want to do 10,000 punches, but you want to do it fast and burn some calories.  What's more important to you, that you burned 500 calories and did every single punch incorrect, or that you did all 500 punches correctly and you actually learned to stretch the proper ligaments within the arm to do the punch?  The fact is, when you workout aerobically, you get tired, and when you get tired you get sloppy.  And, unfortunately wing chun DEMANDS such precision in what you do, that getting tired, is the last thing you want to do.

Now if it sounds like I'm against working out, that's not it at all.  All I'm saying, its just keep that activities separate from one another when you do it.  If you do your hip hop abs, taebo, or jogging, then concentrate on burning those calories... If your lifting weights, push ups, chin up, benching... then concentrate on that... But when its time to do your wing chun, make it purely wing chun.

My personal experience - Only last year, did I finally start concentrating on my own external physical self....... Now, why did i wait this long, well a combination of reasons, some of it was the obvious you get lazy, but definitely I wanted to make sure that my wing chun training was my main focus... but the reality is everyone gets old, and you have to balance your wing chun inside, and at the very least match it with your outside, and aside from that, the kids during that time, were finally sleeping through the night... So, i spent about 5 months focusing on getting back to shape.  Now, whatever workout your into, is all good.. If you want to get in shape, lose weight, or whatever, the main thing isn't so much what you do, but just doing it......But I did a particular program, to get back into shape......Now keep in mind, back in my tae kwon do days early college, I was as ripped and in shape as you can be... but I have to say, that at age 37, i did not expect to be in even better shape after working out..... how did i do it, well...  ... I did the p90x...  Now am I telling you to do the p90x... no, no no.... like i said, do whatever.. but I'm saying, this is what i did to get back into shape...

Now to give you an idea of how the workout functions... in order to start it, I spent about 2 1/2 months doing aerobic stuff, so i can do the p90x... i mean, you can't be 500lbs and out of shape and start this workout, coz you'll basically die from it.. but if you can focus 3 months straight of doing it, you'll be in incredible shape.... Now did I modify anything with the workout, just a pinch.... One thing I did , was I didn't do any dieting or follow the eating schedule that they set, all I did was just keep the rule what you eat, and know what your putting into your body.... No diet, just control, control, control.. and know when your full.  Aside from that slight modification, the heaviest weight I did was 20lbs minimally and the majority I lifted was simply 10lbs... Why?  My concern was not to get tight, and not to bulk up, I wanted to get in shape for the sake of helping my Wing chun, and not hindering it.  That's why earlier in my comments I said, that even with my awareness after doing this workout, that I still could feel a  pinch of tightness... was it bad, no, but was it there, yes....

In the end, just remember the simple lesson..... keep working out and Wing Chun separate at the early stages of training.  Once you have more awareness and control of your body, then you can eventually combine working out and Wing Chun together.

Written by Sifu Ed Cruz
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