The final step in your training preparation is to be aware of the overall Wing Chun Concepts Training Methodology. As you've seen in the Ignition section, we've already narrowed down the material to the most effective elements. Then, in the Training Schedule section, we have established guidelines to make your practice sustainable. Now we're going to fine-tune one final element: efficiency.
If effectiveness is doing the right things, efficiency is doing things right. The training process as outlined in this guide is designed to cultivate maximum skill in Wing Chun Kung Fu in the minimum amount of time and with the least possible impact on the rest of your daily schedule. Some Kung Fu masters have said that it takes 20 years to learn their system. That's a horrible return-on-investment. Our goal is to make you proficient in Wing Chun in TWO years.
In order to accomplish this, each and every training session will include three phases: Absorb, Practice and Evaluate.
ABSORB: The Learning Phase
The first time that you are exposed to a new concept, you will need to fully understand both the mechanical actions as well as the underlying key concepts. In class, each lesson will be fully explained and demonstrated by an instructor or senior student. Online, each lesson will be fully documented for reference or home study, adding photos and illustrations, slideshows or video, and supplemental information or links as needed.
PRACTICE: The Training Phase
After you have grasped they key points of the lesson, you will put them into practice by working on the forms, doing solo drills, cooperatively working through partner drills, or testing your reactions through tactical drills. In class, an instructor will guide you through the initial rounds of practice and provide ongoing corrections. You will work with multiple partners to get a feel for the differing body sizes, strength and energy levels. Online, each practice is fully documented and a Quick Reference Sheet is provided as a handy guide for home practice.
EVALUATE: The Feedback Phase
In class there are two forms of evaluation: self-evaluation and instructor evaluation. In the case of home study, you will have to rely on self-evaluation. Along with each new level you will be given a Progress Chart that lists off all the requirements for that level. Next to each element will be a "progress bar" box. An empty box means you have not yet learned the material. A fully shaded box means that you have mastered that skill. At any given time you may have two or three in-progress skills being worked on, but you should be attempting to master them in the exact sequence given on the sheet.
Along with your Progress Chart you should consider maintaining a Training Journal. This can simply be a notebook where you write down your observations from the current session, and/or make notes to yourself for the next session. Even if you know you'll remember what you've learned, writing it down – being forced to articulate your thoughts – activates another region of your brain and helps reinforce the learning.
The Secret Sauce in our Wing Chun training recipe is something called Deep Practice. Effective and efficient training isn't just about logging practice hours; the true magic happens when each and every minute of your training is fully engaged, highly focused, and playfully challenging. This is an idea fully explored in the book The Talent Code:
The sweet spot: that productive, uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp. Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it's about seeking a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.
— Daniel Coyle
Deep Practice isn't something that can be summed up in a paragraph, but rather a specific learning skill that we are going to integrate into each and every lesson. The key phrase to remember: If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.
Wing Chun Progress Chart
At the start of each new level you will be given, or given access to download, a level-specific progress chart. Before you start each training session, review the chart to see what you need to work on next. At the end of each training day, add a little shading to the progress bar for each skill that you practiced. The amount of shading is subjective based on your self-evaluation. Some skills can be learned faster than others, but a bar should not be fully shaded until you feel that you can reliably and predictably demonstrate that skill under pressure.
Do not expect to fill a progress bar in a single training session. Some skills may take three or four practice sessions to master; some may take over a dozen sessions. Do not be concerned about speed; concern yourself only with making a little progress each day through quality practice.
The final step in the efficient approach to training is the very specific format for all of the online lessons to follow. All of the pages that teach forms, drills or tactics will follow the streamlined format detailed below.
WHAT: The Lesson Intro
The first section gives a concise overview of the lesson so that you know exactly what will be covered.
The main steps of each form, the important training points of each drill, and the key strategies of each tactics drill are listed here in bullet-list format. These are accompanies by downloadable Reference Sheets. These printable PDFs compress lesson details into compact, easy to remember highlights. In many cases, this will be an annotated bullet list of moves or techniques and wil often be paired with a snippit of related wisdom in the form of quotes or traditional Wing Chun training idioms (known Kuen Kit, or Fist Proverbs).
You can print these reference sheets and have them available in your practice space as you work through the training progression. You can also use these reference sheets as a kind of self-test. By the end of each level, you should be able to easily recall from memory all of the techniques listed on the sheet. If you cannot, this is a sure sign that you need to invest additional practice time before you advance to the next level.
Each form and drill will be illustrated with either photographs, a slideshow sequence or video. Illustrations may also be included with the How content.
As the main content of the lesson, each section of the form or variation of the drill will be broken down into easy-to-follow steps. Each movement will be fully explained, along with specific safety notes and guidelines for self-evaluation.
The final section digs a little deeper for those who need to understand the meaning behind the movement. Be warned, this section may veer into Asian symbolism, philosophy, Qi energetics, Chinese medicine, anatomy and physics.
NEXT: LESSON ONE
That's it for the preparation work. You are now ready to begin training Wing Chun Kung Fu. Take a deep breath, shake off any tension, and get ready to step into the kwoon (training hall). Click the STUDENT button to log in and begin your journey.