Its funny in the beginning when one starts Wing Chun, one feels very awkward with the close up distance of doing chi sao.  But, in time eventually  you settle down with this concept and being close up is like home for you.  However, it is not unusual, that while close range becomes second nature, the common question, as to dealing with kicks, comes into play.  How to close the gap, so that you don’t eat that kick?  So what are the key things that you need to deal with when going in against a kick.

The punch - While, many of you are on the right path on developing the punch, and continue your training to get this.  The punch is the gun that you need to bring to the fight.   While you all have
heard me say that before, it serves more of a purpose for you mentally in closing the gap and dealing with the kicker.  Like I've mentioned before, everything changes once you have a killer punch, and it affects you mentally.  Its hard to go into battle if you don't have the confidence in your gun and with more training you’ll eventually develop this weapon.

Footwork - to quote from the movie remo williams, after watching everyone on saturday do the drill - "he moves like he's a pregnant yak" ...... it is what it is, and right now, you have to develop the footwork, to close the gap.  My best suggestion and this is something you can practice so that you can move faster then tree-ents.  This simple exercise of 3 angle step, circle, circle step.  Practice this.  Practice it religious for this set pattern develops some of the key motions when learning how to close the gap.  The key is get the footwork down and make sure the 3 footworks are continuous and have no pauses in them.   Know that when you drill it for yourself, when you try to apply it in class, you cannot do it as robotically when you practice it.  The main idea now is just to move the center and carry the principles of what that exercise was meant to develop.  Exploding techniques is not limited to just hand techniques, you must be able to do it with your feet as well, and keep the entire body relaxed so you can definitely move in.  In the end, the goal is simple, move like you move when you naturally walk or run, but the difference being is that you control one’s center.  If you can do that, then this becomes another piece of the ingredient that will help you in dealing with kicks.

Focus - On saturday's class I demonstrated something to everyone.  I told Letroy to kick, and do any kick he wanted to do and just do it.   I told everyone, I was gonna move in, no wing chun at all, but just charge in at full speed.  What happened, he basically got ran over.  Why is that?  There's a mental game that has to take place within you...... both for you as well as your opponent.  If you watch mma, you see the 2 guys, before the fight, they do a stare down, basically trying to act so tough and beat their chest.  And so they go to their respective corners and when they hear, are u ready, are you ready, go.... what happens, all this male bravado turns into nothing at all... coz they both charge in and come to a complete halt.   Anytime you deal with a fight, you need to have a mental advantage over that individual.  The charge in creates a mental break down for the opponent, your job is different as well... if your just mentally moving in for the sake of it, you'll
be as toast as well... you've got to move in with the mentality of finishing him off, failure to do that will have you eating the floor....... so when doing this drill, you have to develop that switch, I know of the three ingredients this is the most difficult to achieve, but continue to develop this.
Wanting to kick someone's ass is no where the same as having to pull the trigger.  Control your focus, you see only one thing when dealing with your opponent, you see his center, and that's it.  You should care less if he's a grappler, a striker, a kicker, or a little old lady in a wheel chair.
Once that decision of yes or no occurs, that focus should kick in .

While there are more aspect in dealing with closing the gap, I would venture to say this is the basic core that you need to concentrate on in the meantime.   Get these abilities working at least at a C level, and you’ll see a huge difference in what you do.

Written by Sifu Ed Cruz
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