Snake & Arrow
There’s a Wing Chun bit of wisdom that says,
“The feet are like wheels, and the hands like arrows.”
The way I take that is to understand movement & attack.
Movement is not like a pendulum swinging side to side as a person’s weight is transferred left to right to left to right as they walk normally throughout their day.
Instead, the Wing Chun practitioner maintains constant contact with the ground as they move; their feet always ‘rolling’ across the ground in a singular shuffling movement.
Imagine you’re attacking someone with an arrow. What would be the best way to use it?
Would you swing it like a baseball bat? Would you slash like a knife?
Or would you shoot it straight at their center of mass?
That is the same idea the Wing Chun punch has behind it. The fist is the arrow head, and the forearm is the body of the arrow. It’s a missile that launches straight at the center of its target. This is why Wing Chun prefers the straight punch; it’s a linear pathway that is the fastest way between A & B.
As the direct pathway is the most efficient way to attack, it’s the most difficult one to deal with as a defender.
What do you do? Remember this maxim of mine:
“Direct overcomes weakness. Indirect overcomes strength.”
Circular motions will easily diffuse and derail direct motions. The lightest touch of an incoming object traveling along a straight path will deflect its trajectory quite easily.
This is the power of the ‘snake action.’ It’s the “circling hand” (Heun sau), method of rotating the wrist around the opponent’s attacking limb.
When you attack go straight in, when defending deflect with circular action. When your opponent uses direct lines, you choose indirect. When they use indirect, you use straight.
It’s the dance of an arrow’s line and the snake’s circle.
Hence our ‘mascot’ of the snake encircling an arrow.
If this idea of line & circle playing together, you might enjoy this article too.