Parent’s Corner

by Sifu Laurent Bernardin

After looking at some details of Forms and Sparring in the past two columns, let’s dive a little deeper into the third pillar of our Kung Fu curriculum: Technique.

In many ways Technique is the most fundamental component of what we teach at WKFA. It starts with stances, which describe the way we stand and position our feet. A good, solid stance is the prerequisite for being able to execute any other technique effectively. We often talk about the concept of “rooting”, where we use our stance to firmly connect us with the ground, making it harder for an opponent to dislodge us and providing the base for a strong kick or punch. Students will be introduced to a variety of stances, which are taught individually as well as in sequences, which also teach how to properly move in those stances and transition between them. Proper footwork being just as important as the stances themselves.

Some of our stances, like the “Horse Stance” (also called “Basic” or “Square” stance) would merit an article of their own.

Blocks, kicks and punches are of course the most well-known (and popular) techniques that students will learn. However, there is a lot of variety. Our Youth and Junior curriculum counts eighteen different hand formations to perform a strike. Likewise, students learn sixteen different kicks, not including turn, spin and jump variations. In addition, they will learn elbow and knee strikes, sweeps, rolls and a whole lot more. These techniques are then put together into sequences like the Basic Sequence of Blocks or the Basic Sequence of Kicks. As students move up the ranks, they will encounter increasingly more advanced versions of these sequences.

Frequently, two, three or more techniques are put together into a combination, to be executed in line, and frequently to the count of an instructor. As students progress, those combinations become more advanced and will include spinning and jumping components. Combinations train not just the technique itself but also the coordination of all limbs involved. As well, they challenge the student’s ability to recall multiple moves in a sequence and commit them to muscle memory. At higher levels a combination, perhaps involving spinning and jumping techniques, and done in quick succession, will definitely also be a cardio challenge.

“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.” ~ Bruce Lee