Training with the plastic ring
An effective tool to gain good quality Kung Fu skills (tactile sensitivity for trapping, Chi Sau, etc.) is to use the Wing Chun’s Jook Wan Huen:
- It is a rattan / bamboo / steel ring
- It has a diameter of 20-30cm
- It is generally 2-3cm thick
- The size of the hoop change in relation to the practitioner (and the type of practice)
- It can be slightly knotty or smooth (depending on the material)
The exercises that involve the use of this ring help to develop instinct and precision. Unlike other martial arts, in 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we do not only use the classical wooden rigid ring but also the flexible or semi-flexible ones (semi-rigid covers for the car steering wheel, etc.).
Is the plastic ring a valid substitute of the wooden version? – We have 2 replies to this question:
- If you are a Wing Chun practitioner – Generally speaking, no, it can be useful as a test for a beginner (to do not immediately buy the definitive version), to start to become familiar with this kind of practices (without hurting himself) but it does not fall within the canons and objectives of that style of Kung Fu
- If you are a 6 Dragons Kung Fu practitioner – Naturally yes, we use various kinds of approaches in terms of trapping with the opponents (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch) and to work with a surface which in part is deformed in relation to our movement, is as fundamental as it is to work with a much more rigid surface
A first simple exercise
To start, let’s see an exercise that can be performed by everyone (beginners and experts), its primary goals are:
- Spatial intelligence development (read The most important skill in combat)
- Speed development (read also Speed: the vibration’s exercise)
- Precision development
- Instinctive defense development
- Soft touch skill development
- Reflexes development (read also Shaolin training for reflexes)
- Timing development
- Dragon Motion development (read Dragon Motion: the swirling movements)
- Tactile sensitivity development
How to execute the exercise:
- Let’s launch into the air the plastic ring
- Let’s try to deliver blows on its inside and outside (50% and 50%)
- We can use kicks, punches, elbows, heads, parries (etc.)
- We have to try as much as we can to use combined blows (sequential punches into the ring, combined sequences, etc.)
- The ring should not fall to the ground (this practice is strictly related to the fabric cloth training and it has similar rules, read Basic tools: the cloth)
- In no case we can not grasp the hoop with closed hands
- We can (briefly) stop the ring with the “opposed” pressure of the arms (as in the photo)
- When we enter into the ring we must rapidly rotate it with arms (or legs) and exit
- Sometimes we can also try to enter and exit without touching the ring
- Let’s try to be fluid, to maintain the flow and to force the ring to make complex evolutions (combining X, Y and Z axis)
- The pace must be sustained and the movements dynamic, as in a struggle (we are not playing)
- Let’s go into / out, let’s rotate it, let’s lock it, let’s project the ring as if it were a pair of opponent’s arms
- As we improve we can increase speed and “acrobatic” movements (no juggling); the exercise can also be carried out with rigid / soft weapons that do not damage the ring
- The exercise can also be done with the rigid rattan ring but it is not for beginners (when the ring turns at high speed it can be very “painful” for those who have not yet mastered the soft touch skill or that are not conditioned); with the plastic ring it can be more complex but less “painful”
- For those who have considerable spatial intelligence and coordination, we can try with 2 rings at the same time (but it is important to stress that this variant does not replace the version with 1 ring)
A note by Master Kongling – Initially, we will find ourselves not able to handle the direction changes and the unpredictable rebounds of the ring but once acquired the glance, the rotations will appear in slow motion and we will handle the movements in a more than satisfactory manner.
In the next article of this series, we will see other exercises, also specifically from Wing Chun (if you want to ask for specific articles read Learn Kung Fu online: request a specific article).
- Secret Shaolin training tools – A selection of some of the most incredible training tools of Shaolin temple
- A Wing Chun wooden dummy like in PVC – A low cost, hand made PVC version of the Wing Chun’s Muk Yan Jong
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Have you ever tried to train with the ring?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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