The Relationship Between “Don’t Chase the Hands”, “Take What Comes”, and the Wing Chun Box
In both the first and second set, the most important concepts in Wing Chun are laid out in the first three techniques: the stance/structure through Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma, and the centerline and the box that defines the upper, middle and lower gates (the Wing Chun box) through double gang sau and double tan sau. Discussion of all of these concepts is common and I’m not reinventing anything new, although there is an oblique relationship between these ideas that isn’t commonly discussed. Here I want explore the relationship between “don’t chase the hands”, “take what comes” and the Wing Chun box, which is maybe not so obvious.
“Don’t chase the hands”, “take what comes”, and the Wing Chun box are inter-related, and are basically different ways of saying the same thing. Essentially, no technique that you use should ever go beyond or outside of the box. By doing so, your hands are not in a good position to provide an efficient and effective follow-up technique. By performing your techniques inside of the box, you are effectively “taking what comes”, or, putting it a different way, if your opponent’s technique doesn’t connect with yours, it doesn’t matter – you didn’t waste any energy chasing the hands. If the punch or kick misses, you didn’t expend more energy than you had to, which is consistent with Wing Chun efficiency. On top of that, you are not over-committed and can react much faster and get to the next technique.
Here’s one more way of looking at his idea: the motion of your technique isn’t what stops your opponent’s technique, it’s the structure behind the technique. That said, when you apply a technique to a situation, perform it like you would in the forms or in san sik and let it work with your structure.
Don’t chase the hands. Take what comes. Keep the hands in the box.
Mike Pollard Sifu
Pacific Wing Chun Kung Fu Association