In Wing Chun, we move to an angle by using triangle footwork. This is covered in a previously written article, but triangle footwork is simply stepping off the line of attack to the right or left, then circling your other foot in at the angle. So, if your feet were squared as in Yi Jee Kim Yeung Ma for example, then your two feet would form the base of the triangle on the floor. You step one foot outside of the triangle and to the side. Your other foot moves to the top of the triangle, while the initial stepping foot returns to its original corner. Of course, there are variations to this and depending on the situation, you will step differently. Triangle stepping allows you to avoid a straight line attack while also taking an angle to hit your opponent and follow up. How does this work?
If you triangle step from too far away, then your opponent will see this and adjust. Triangle stepping works best when you are already in bridge range or close range. At this range, you and your opponent can reach each other with a punch. This is a dangerous range as attacks come fast. I set up a triangle step the same way most fighter set up any angling step. They don’t just angle and move randomly. They set it up with punches. This is how it’s done. Since bridge range is close and you could get punched while stepping, it’s best to force your opponent on the defensive, then triangle step.
You could wait for your opponent to punch, then attempt to triangle step around him at an angle. This works also, but your first attack may not land, so best to go in with a quick combination. Alternatively, you can force your opponent on the defensive by throwing a punch to solicit a block. The desired result is you want him to stay still long enough for you to slip to an angle with your triangle step. Again, the idea is you want your opponent to remain still whether he is in the middle of a punch or a block, during that time, you’ll want to step and surprise him at a new angle.
The wide the angle you take, the more leverage you will have when you trap using Pak or Lop Sao for example. Against a smaller opponent, you may not need a wide angle to obtain enough of a superior position to trap his arms. Against a stronger opponent, you will need a wider angle which still may not be enough to overpower his strength and pull his arm down in Pak or Lop Sao, for example. In this case, you must take what you can and hit wherever you can. Once you triangle step however, don’t stop, keep moving to the side and hitting unless your opponent allows you to hit him from where you are. Most people will move back or try to turn to you when you take an angle, so by continuing to move to the side, they take longer to adjust.
In general, when using angles to attack, look for opportunities and keep your opponent guessing. Don’t just attack from angles, but also use straight line attack also. For straight line attack, low kicks work best especially to the knee as this also controls your opponent structure and prevents him from coming forward. If you spar guys bigger than you, the use kicks from the straight line. Why punch against someone with longer arms and more power? Kick ‘em, throw a punch feint, the triangle step to his outside to punch him in combination.
Keep moving side to side and forward to back to set up your triangle step, but move with a purpose. This can make you tired, but by moving at least you control the pace of the fight instead of moving upon reaction to your opponent punching. Against a bigger opponent, you will likely not want to take your opponent’s punches even on block because of their strength. If you can move, you will find he will punch less. If you stand there, he will punch you more because you’re a fixed target. Moving helps you dictate the pace of the fight without being overly aggressive unless you want to be.
Like Yi Gee Kim Yeung Ma is not a fighting stance, but a training stance, so also, Chi Sao is not fighting, but training. Yi Gee Kim Yeung Ma trains both legs to be the rear leg in a fighting stance, to support the structure, and to generate power from the ground. In the same way, Chi Sao trains both hands to be the lead hand in a fight. No, you won’t have both arms connected to your opponent’s arms in a fight, but you will find at least one arm makes a bridge. Chi Sao teaches us to use that bridge with either hand in a fight, but that bridge works best from an angle. It is a combination of Wing Chun footwork with Wing Chun trapping and Chi Sao. It’s not just Chi Sao. It’s not just chain punching. One must use everything. This is Wing Chun fighting.
This concludes part 3 and this series on Bridging the Gap between Chi Sao and Fighting. Thank you for reading and I pray this article has been helpful to you.
Wishing you happiness and peace of mind.
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