As mentioned in the previous blogs there is a way to augment the energies generated in the standing meditation/internal (internal from here will mean northern - “true” - internal, unless otherwise described) energy chain. Although not as expressly demonstrated in wing chun, there is a balancing act between two forces. 

To make this more explicit, I will refer to hung gar forms and then relate the principles back to wing chun, hung gar’s daughter. 

The second form of Hung Gar reveals the secret in the title:- Tiger and Crane Double Form. Double here means that most of the actions in the form are done with yin/yang balance in the body’s movement to increase the power of the strike:

Wing, Lam Sai 2002: Tiger and Crane Double Form.

Despite looking like a simple forward punch the idea is that as the right arm rises, using the back of the fist to strike at an elbow joint with the left arm providing additional impetus. The internal dynamics cause the strike to deal twice as much force compared to if only the right arm was used to strike.

Wing, Lam Sai 2002: Moving Along the Hieroglyph Gung I Tame the Tiger with the Pugilistic Arts.

Here is something slightly more familiar in wing chun: as one arm strikes out so the opposite arm draws back a technique to be practiced each time one performs a strike. In each case there should be two countervailing motions: if there is a forward, there should be a back; an up for a down; an open for a close; a left for a right.

These can be done using external techniques - suitable for those new to internal - or using internal techniques which tap into the full power of the wing chun system. The Siu nam tou/小念頭/小念头 contains both the internal and external ideas in embryo, to be developed and expanded on through the other forms and through practice. Siu nam tou should be performed slowly so that one can perfect the feeling of keeping the arm movements connected to the feet and head. Spine at full stretch with the chin in should match the distance the fist is extended. Total heavy feet should be achieved when the hand returns to its resting point.

Forward and Backward:

As mentioned above, the punch from one hand is not sequential to a withdrawal of the other hand but contemporaneous to the hand retreating, pulling the opponent onto the punch. Internally the punch is effected by relaxed expansion as the opposite hand relaxes. Also the body moves backward as the hand goes forward (external) or back expands and rounds as the hand moves forward through relaxation .

Up and Down:

In the opening, as the hands sink, the body rises. External methods teach that this is done by dropping the arms and standing up. Internally it is done by relaxing the arms down and stretching through the spine with energy traveling up the spine to the head.

Open and close, left and right:

This can be found in the second section of the first form (and later in chum kiu/找橋/找桥 and biu ji/錶指/镖指) where there is a double chop to either side of the body. External techniques teach that the arms strike out with as much force as possible before snapping back. Internal requires that the body folds in on itself - shoulders and legs turn inward - before expanding out into the strike. 

As can be seen from the last example these directional forces can be combined or stacked, further enhancing the effect of the strike.

Written by Andrew Correia (Senior Student)