One area I believe many WC people are lacking is well… hitting stuff…. . If modern MMA, Thai boxers, and boxers use a number of different training tools to increase the power of their attacks, why should we be any different?
After reading a positive review in WC Illustrated, the world’s largest WC magazine, I decided to pick up Sifu James Sinclairs “WingChun Kung Fu Wall Bag Training.” The amount of information Sifu Sinclair gives away is really surprising. Originally I thought the DVD was going to be a lot of different combinations on how to hit your wall bag. It is much more than that. I believe he doesn’t just teach you how to hit a wall bag, he teaches you how to build a Kung Fu body.
His approach is easy to follow and very logical. Since you are going to be conditioning your fists to hit a wall bag and other objects, he first gives a number of exercises to warm up. In Wing Chun, although we never do super high kicks, we do need to be flexible in different areas. One of these areas is your wrist.
He spends a great length of time explaining the types of drills and stretches to help you in this area. Including how to stretch and strengthen your wrists. He also demonstrates at least 10 different types of push up (press ups,) all of which apply to Wing Chun training.
Every single push up replicates a movement or attack in Wing Chun. For example there is one push up he teaches you to hold your hands below your chest, hands pointing out to the side, representing a lower palm strike.
How does this apply to your Wing Chun Training?
All the information is actionable and can be applied to your training right away. It is rare that someone will combine modern sports training with a traditional martial art. As a guy who enjoys working out, training exercises and drills like this is the perfect outlet. He gives a wonderful combination of push up drills that will not only get you in shape, but also directly apply to your Wing Chun training.
- How to slowly condition your body over a period of time – avoiding injury.
- Obtain abilities unique and required by Wing Chun – develop a Wing Chun body.
- Learn how to do a number of different push up and wrist strengthening exercises that will keep you motivated and offer a lot of variety.
What kind of wall bag do you need?
A wall bag is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a bag made of material that doesn’t break easily, filled with a solid object, usually sand, and hangs from the wall.
Although Sifu Sinclair and his team of Sifus does teach drills that can be done on a single section wall bag, he suggests using a 3 section wall bag because it offers different punching combinations that aren’t possible with a single section bag.
In the video you can see him using a bag of his own design. Although I’ve never personally trained with the bag, it clearly has markings on it to help you aim and better develop your Wing Chun. It is also helpful in the video as you can see where he is punching.
I personally use the Everything Wing Chun 3 section wall bag. I think it is great, very robust, no way it is going to break. The zippers and other sections made of material that will last a while. When I practice the drills that Sifu Sinclair recommends, I just kinda pretend the lines are there.
The main benefit I see to use the wall bag is that it allows you to train in fairly limited space. I currently live in an apartment and install things on the wall is a no-no. I also do not wish to disturb the tenants above and below us. I bring my wall bag to the park, hang it from a chain link fence and train there. If you decide to train this way, just make sure there is a post to support the section of fence you choose.
What tools do you need for this DVD?
- The James Sinclair Wall Bag – I do not see this as a “must,” however I can see it being very helpful for practicing aiming. I assume it is great quality, you can clearly see in the video the bag is “used” and can take a beating. I cannot give a review on this product, as I have never tired it out.
- Everything Wing Chun – 3 Section Wall bag – Sifu Sinclair recommends using a 3 section wall bag. This is the one I own and recommend.
- Single section wall bag – if you already have a single section wall bag at home, you can get away with doing many of the drills from the video.
- As a side note, not only is it a great way to condition your firsts, I see the wall bag as a great space saving tool. If you want to hit stuff, but can’t afford a wooden dummy or do not have space for it, this is a decent alternative.
Let’s get to the wall bag training!!
First off, if you decided to buy the video you’ll see these guys give you a serious amount of detail. Sifu Sinclair and a number of different Wing Chun Sifus explain to you how to work with the wall bag. Since the DVD is two hours long, it is nice to hear difference voices and people to break it up a bit.
They start you out slow and have you work your way up to striking very hard on the wall bag. You learn everything from how to train basic drills, i.e lop and punch at the same time, gan sau and punch at the same time. After each section they also show you the applications of what you are training. I feel the applications are helpful as they show you what you are trying to achieve.
Each one of the Sifus focuses on concepts for hitting the wall, for example how to drive your weight into the wall. I find it really helpful, as you can visualize what you are doing, not just endlessly hitting the bag.
Sifu Mark Philips makes an appearance in this DVD and he teaches you how to throw a number of different chops and different angles to work them. If you have ever worked with a wall bag before, you’ll know that after a while it is nice to mix it up and give your fists a rest.
I’ve personally spoken to Sifu Philps and found him to be an incredibly nice guy. He doesn’t strike me as the type of person who would hurt his students to show “how good he is.” That being said, my favorite part of the video is when Sifu Philips is showing applications on his student, showing the power that comes with training with the wall bag a lot. The look of horror on his training partners face was priceless. What was even more amazing is that it appeared Sifu Philips hardly even noticed because he was so busy talking and not even breaking a sweat.
The thing that really stood out is that everone in the video used their ENTIRE BODY to hit the bag. It’s not simply chain punching in the wall bag very fast, it was them really HITTING the bag. They make it very clear the type of power you can obtain from this type of training.
Just straight forward Kung Fu training that many of us skip over.
What will you learn from this section?
- Learn resistance training that applies directly to Wing Chun.
- Give you lots of different techniques to practice, including striking combinations.
- Great way to develop more power.
- Teach you how to hit so you can still use your hands the next day and avoid injury.
- Not just chain punching, they speak about different palm strikes, fists, attacking from different angles.
- NO WAY you can come up with the striking combinations and different attacks Sifu Sinclair and his team put together.
They don’t just punch wall bags?
Heavy Bag/Punching Bag
They do not only talk about wall bags, they also teach us how to hit a heavy bag. Rather than having to supplement other martial arts, Sifu Eric Wilson makes an appearance and teaches us it is possible to hit the bag with Wing Chun attacks. He mixes some boxing influenced exercises and demonstrate how you will develop more power. They point out that it is possible to do certain movements on that heavy bag that is not possible on the wall bag. For example it would be very awkward to train an upper cut on the wall bag.
Wing Chun Kicking Training
Sifu Sincilar and his crew go over different kicks that are possible in Wing Chun. Not just with the wall bag, but also with focus mitts. This section is brief compared to other sections, although it is very informative and gives you something else to think about.
What will you learn from this section?
- Learn how a Wing Chun person trains with a heavy bag.
- Drills to make your kicks more powerful
How to heal your hands:
Sifu Sinclair teaches massaging technique with Dit Da Jow to help avoid any health issues and accelerate healing for wall bag training. If you are not familiar with Dit Da Jow, it is a mixture of Chinese herbs in liquid form. This type of medicine or ointment is known for helping to heal bruises and soft tissue injuries, perfect for wall bag training.
Quality of the DVD:
Filming quality is pretty good and the sound is okay. During filming they did not wear lapel mic’s, meaning the sound is clear, but not amazing. Music is great, made me feel like I was training Kung Fu in the 80’s 🙂
The video is organized and well thought out. It is nearly 2 hours long, while most Kung Fu DVDs are only an hour long, needless to say they give you A LOT of information.
Who Should Buy This DVD?
- If you are serious and want to build a Wing Chun body. Conditioning your hands for combat isn’t something you do once and have forever.
- Anyone who wants to develop more powerful punches and kicks.
- If you really want to hit something, but do not have the space or money for a wooden dummy. Please note, this is information that should be done along side WITH dummy training.
- Anyone looking to mix up their Wing Chun workout, they give A LOT of different solo drills.
- Any Wing Chun lineage, this training applies to ANY (or at least most) Wing Chun styles.
What if I do not have the space for a wall bag?
- Not having space or good training area for a wall bag is an excuse. Go to the park and hang the bag from a chain link fence. Make sure the area you hang it from is supported by a post.
- Even if it’s a tree, be a little creative, you’ll find a place to hang it.
Who should not buy this DVD?
- Anyone who is not willing to invest in a wall bag
- If you do not train Wing Chun – around 98% of the punches they teach make contact with the bottom three knuckles. The place where Wing Chun people make contact….
Final thoughts and conclusion
It was very refreshing to see a group of people do real Kung Fu training. This type of video should be a wakeup call for many marital artists. No one is talking about the magic of Kung Fu, just straightforward knowledge that can benefit all Wing Chun people. I truly believe most people write off this type of training, falsely under the illusion that despite the fact they never train to hit anything, they will still somehow obtain Bruce Lee hitting power.
If you decide to buy this DVD you should look at it as a good place for reference. Something you will keep referring back to when you want to mix up your training. If you actually practice the drills from this DVD, you will learn how to become more explosive, more powerful, build better root, and build a Wing Chun body.
Although this is the type of training that should be done alongside dummy training, it can be an okay alternative to buying a dummy. Just to be clear, NOTHING can replace a wooden dummy, however if you cannot afford a wooden dummy or do not have the space for one, this type of training might be the answer you are looking for. It gives you a lower cost solution to hit something and build your Wing Chun skills.
- Learn concepts for developing more attacking power with the wall bag.
- Condition your fists – something most people look over.
- No nonsense training to build a Wing Chun body.
Would I Want Anyone from Sifu Sinclair’s gang to hit me?
Most definitely NOT. DVD is worth checking out.
How do you buy this DVD?
**Please note this DVD is available for download only, if you haven’t done so already, you will be asked to download a player for the video**
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– James Sinclair – 21st Anniversary Celebratory Conference – $17.99 Value
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