By positioning the spine using specific postures of Wing Chun and Qi Gong, the energy (qi) can flow more smoothly. The spine is made up of a series of vertebrae, 7 cervical (upper) vertebrae, 12 thoracic (mid) vertebrae and 5 lumbar (lower) vertebrae, the sacrum (tail bone) is also made up of 5 fused vertebrae. When viewing the spine from a side view you will see that it forms an S shape, which is the spine’s neutral alignment. However for the purpose of increasing Qi (energy) or absorbing and cultivating the Qi, this alignment is not ideal.
How is the spine aligned in Wing Chun and Qi Gong?
Wing Chun kung fu and Qigong place an emphasis on aligning the spine in such a way that the tip of the tail bone (coccyx) is aligned to the crown of the skull. In addition, the chin is then slightly tucked in.
Do you need to visualize the qi to go anywhere?
Once the tailbone is in line with the crown of the head, then visualize contracting the anus internally upward, and allow this feeling to continue to flow up through the spine right to the crown of the head. Once this feeling is achieved let go of all the muscles as if they were melting off the body, this will allow the energy to flow from the top of the head through to all parts of the body.
How do you position the feet?
The feet are shoulder width or slightly wider, in Qigong the feet are pointing straight ahead, however in Wing Chun the toes are angled in to form a triangle, this allows the mass of the person to project forward toward their partner. The knees should be soft and pliable to allow force to be redirected toward the ground.
Do you need strong leg muscles to hold the postures?
Many beginners will feel that their legs get very tense, this is a natural feeling and with continual practice the student will start to notice that their legs begin to let go, their shoulders become easier to relax and the raising of their spine becomes more of an internal feeling rather than physically raising up.
The first form in Wing Chun Siu Nim Tau (known as little idea) is practiced in this stance throughout the whole form. The purpose of the first form is to build up an idea that the mind can control the physical movements being practiced. The only way to achieve this is to have the stance on correctly and the spine rising up internally.
Are their any difference with the health benefits of the Qi Gong or Wing Chun stance?
Like Qigong, the Wing Chun stance and first form can have the same health benefits. Having personally witnessed and felt the almost unbelievable power that can be achieved by practicing this art the potential student will find themselves in for a lifetime of learning and discovery.
Can Wing Chun be taken up at any age?
Heiko Lade, acupuncturist and founder of The Acupuncture Clinic answers for us. “Basically, if you can walk and stand, you can take up Wing Chun. I encourage elderly patients to take up Wing Chun and Qi Gong. Wing Chun has the added benefits of being partly aerobic to improve fitness and cardiovascular health. Many of my elderly patients have reported that after doing Wing Chun for a few months, they have noticed improved balance and co-ordination as well as stronger muscles”.