View Full Version : Teaching Proper Turning

04-19-2001, 08:20 PM
Hi all!

new to this forum, just wanted to say hello and ask for some advice:

As i continue my training in wing chun and become more experienced, i find that im spending more and more time helping with the instruction of my juniors (I enjoy this and find that its a good opportunity to practice and improve my basics).

I realize that everyone learns and teaches differently and I'm interested to know what points you all stress when teaching basic turning.

thanks very much,


04-19-2001, 08:44 PM
I try to have them concentrate on "sitting" in their stance, i.e. staying low and not bobbing up and down when turning. It's easier to wobble off balance when you stand up in your stance. If you have the leg strength to keep a low center of gravity (which also takes time) it is easier to develop speed and power when shifting as you have a stable platform to work on.

"It takes a big man to admit he's wrong...it takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man."

[This message was edited by Starbuck on 04-20-01 at 11:49 AM.]

04-20-2001, 02:39 AM
When turning, concentrate the initial movement at the knees. Also, to turn properly, the whole body must be unified, or it becomes segmented. When the knees stop, the elbow stops. When the hip stops, the shoulder stops. The distance between the knees should be the same whether square facing or turned.

The pelvis still should be tucked, chest hollow, head up, and body relaxed. :)


Be true and loving.

04-20-2001, 05:23 AM
thank you both. All excellent things for me to focus on and transmit to those im helping. Had to laugh tonight, went to class and sifu asked me to go over turning with a new student! nice to see more people learning wing chun though...


Roy D. Anthony
09-05-2001, 09:41 AM
Jason, The Stance turning should never be done from the knees, as it results in Knee problems in the future. The Turn comes from the hips. but there is a special way to do this. Next trip, I will show you!

09-05-2001, 07:09 PM
Turn into the opponent's center. Your shift should affect their structure otherwise prepare to be escorted. The shift comes from your own center of gravity, which is located 2-3 finger widths below your navel.

Some people turn on the heels, which I don't agree with. Speaking in pure biomechanics without regard for lineage or style, once the center of gravity passes the heels, balance is compromised. In this case, the body has no margin for error when receiving force beacuse the CoG is directly over the heels already. The CoG needs to be projected forward, not rearwards, and this is more efficiently done when the CoG is centered over the foot.

Shifting on the Kidney 1 point (Bubbling well) located just before the arch of the foot keeps the CoG directly over the feet. Also, the feet are able to stand flat while shifting so that the entire foot and toes are in contact with the ground. This allows the ground to act as a brace against the toes, which are a major componenent of adjusting to external force.


Roy D. Anthony
09-05-2001, 08:49 PM
Turning on the heels has its advantages also, and has a major purpose for certain techniques.When using the hips, (not the dantien) there is a special way of turning the stance . Not for internet eyes.

09-05-2001, 09:33 PM
I've posted my reply with my reasons for doing so based upon biomechanics. Share with us your reasonings for turning on the heel since we are all here to learn from one another. I am not closed minded and am willing to learn from anyone that can convince me of their reasoning. There are no secrets in WC. Even if there were, until the person has put in the time to train and internalize the concepts, these words will be of no use to them.


09-05-2001, 09:51 PM

This is Ian. What are you doing here!?!? How did you find out about this site?

I should be working!!!

09-05-2001, 10:23 PM
perhaps he means it would be too difficult to explain via text? i don't know of course.

We train to turn with the knee and on the "balls" of the feet, we also root to the "bubbleing well point"

I make sure the people I show can maintain the "pidgeon toed" look to the stance. I find that offten once a few turns are done the toes will go parralel(sp) destoying the abbduction that we use.

I know other schools stand like that to begin with, turn on the heels ect, but i've nothing to pass on save my sifus teachings.

ps the feet do go parralel(sp) during he turn, its just they must "recenter" properly, or i make 'em do it again.

09-05-2001, 10:36 PM

There are three methods for turning:
1) Using the Balls of the feet:
This method will bring you closer to the opponent and can be used to chew up distance and aggressively attack.

2) Using the "center" of the foot:
This method is more nuetral and allows for good rooting.

3) Using the heel:
This method will allow you to maintain distance and is "safer".

I learned all three and practice all three methods. However, I find that sometimes the terrain will affect which method I use.


I find that the heel turning method works better for me on things like carpet and such. I find that turning on the center of the foot, while it can be done, is a little bit slower. But, then again that is just me :) ;)

There is a whole other aspect to this subject not yet discussed; do you turn one foot at a time or do you turn both together?

There are many different methods and what it really boils down to is what you can make work for you on a consistent basis.



09-05-2001, 10:59 PM
Perhaps another question needs to be asked.when you turn are you being defensive or agressive?
Personally I turn into my man and or the attack.I disrupt his attack and balance.To do this k1 tuning with the whole foot in contact with the ground is best.If you are turning for evasion(i know turn and punch)but if evasion and distance is main goal then other methods may be better.
I believe the one foot at a time turn was someones way of overcoming the inherent weakness of heel turning.One foot at a time appears slower and seems to leave open a knee to a kick at least when i have played with instuctors from the LT line it has been the case.Still seems easy to unbalance this type of turn.

09-05-2001, 11:23 PM
We turn 1 foot at a time (on the ball) but when you get it down, it looks like 2 at the same time. While you are teaching them to turn, make sure they feel the co-ordination between each elbow and knee if they have the guard up, or if you are doing stance turning with tan da, for instance. Make them feel that unity of structure. It should keep them from turning too far and raising up or floating. To feel the abduction between the knees, get them to hold a punching (hand) pad between their knees as they turn.

09-05-2001, 11:25 PM

I agree that terrain does play a significant factor. When on carpet or a wooden floor, I would almost rather step instead of shifting on my heels. Some terrains and footwear do not go well together and these should be accounted for.

I have tried shifting with the heels and toes, but feel that the K1 point maintains my root, which is both more aggressive and safer. I don't think the K1 is in the exact middle of the foot, but it does follow the line of force of the pelvis and leg to the ground. Being centered gives you a margin for error if pushed or pulled whereas being on the toes or heels leaves a danger of being pulled or pushed off balance.

IMHO the process of rooting follows the biomechanics of the human body. It's the most efficient way to transfer external force to the ground rather than keep it in one's structure.

When I shift, I rarely shift quickly. I find that a slight adjustment is often enough to regain the line or change it. I turn based upon what I feel is being exerted upon my structure or how the opponent is rooted. My goal is to protect my center and balance while attacking theirs.

I only turn fast if that is required to break the connection. Oftentimes, turning for the sake of turning skips the important step of feeling. The more advanced practitioners I have touched hands with can use the force created by large gross motions against me so I try to make things as small and light as possible. Economy of motion is always paramount.

I don't have a hard or fast rule to keep my legs together, turn them simultaneously, or independently. I believe that in the beginning, students should learn to coordinate the whole body, but as they progress, it's not as important as feeling what the opponent gives you and making adjustments off of that. The forms provide a guide, but one shouldn't be locked into following them absolutely.

Again, I welcome other peoples ideas because there is always the potential for something that I had not considered before. I have reasons why I do things and share them openly in case someone can use that information for their own learning.


09-05-2001, 11:40 PM
Hi Dzu,

Thanks for the reply. I always enjoy reading your posts.

I agree with you that turning methods will vary according to the circumstances. Your opting for stepping kind of reminds me of some William Cheung people I've met. Often they would use a very subtle step to compensate and readjust according to the opponent. To my mind stepping is great but is inherently slower than a simple stance turn. Not saying one is better or worse just different approaches.

Out of curiousity I am curious as to how many people perform a stance turn on their own and how many do it as a result of what is given the opponent. In my way of thinking I only turn or step due to the energy or position that the opponent has provided me with.



Martial Joe
09-06-2001, 12:31 AM
If you are punching...punch with your hip...I dont mean shift your hips sideways while punching,I mean shift your hips in the direction your punching in...

http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/lolup.gif IXIJoe KaveyIXIhttp://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/lolup.gif
I am Sharky's main man...

09-06-2001, 01:02 AM

I try to feel the opponent's intention and where his force is and make the decision to move or not. I have no preference between shifting or stepping since both are in the WC system so both should be learned.

Some lineages use stepping to maintain what they consider proper fighting distance and other lineages use shifting to avoid the opponent's force or because they feel that power cannot be generated from YJKYM. I feel that both are no longer following the centered way.

Good training to you.


09-06-2001, 03:06 AM
I agree with Dave -- only turn if the opponent turns you. Otherwise, just go and knock him out directly.

09-06-2001, 03:23 AM
turning is very important in wing chun. It's such a good question. Dif. branches have their own belief on how to turn. In my opinion Agusting Fong has the best footwork that I have seen. Check out his sparring video and see how he moves if you can get a copy. You should look at Randy Willaims book volume 2 it gives a good explanation on the type of footwork that he uses! I think it's superb. A whole book can be written on this subject you just have to look, try and decide for yourself what works for you and what makes sense! :eek: good luck!

Roy D. Anthony
09-06-2001, 08:29 AM
Hi Ian, nice to see you here too. See you in class.*S*

Roy D. Anthony
09-06-2001, 08:34 AM
There are no secrets in Wing Chun but one, work hard and well and you will understand everything.

Why give so freely what took so long to learn. Let others earn the right to learn.

Roy D. Anthony
09-09-2001, 10:16 PM
In our System there are 6 methods of turning. That is the Ip Man System.

09-09-2001, 11:28 PM
Hi Dave,

The way I learned, we stay in Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma unless something forces us to change. This could be a little change (turn) or large change (step), the latter being more dangerous than the former, both more dangerous than not moving (WCK physics- an object in motion tends to get tossed by a more stable opponent ;))

By the same token, when we turn, its usually just enough (though in training we try for a full range of motion). Typically, if all goes well, we only move when the opponent is considerably less stable (had their offense shut down and the structure broken) in order to finish.



Roy D. Anthony
09-10-2001, 10:49 AM
Proactive or reactive?
Wing Chun was meant for the battle field.
Yee Jee Kim Yeun Ma is meant as a training Stance a neutral beginning point. The training is to learn when movement is appropriate. Hope this helps.

09-10-2001, 02:41 PM
Hi Dzu, Rene,

Thanks for the replies. I agree that turning should be initiated by the opponent. I also agree that one can step or turn depending on the circumstances. Stepping is less desirable, IMHO, than turning. Also, the turn or step are often very subtle with using less to do the job.

I learned to turn using the heel first then also explored the ball and middle foot methods. I have found each to have its place but I guess I would tend to "lean" ;) more towards using the heel in most cases. It simply allows me to compensate for an unstable platform, or rough terrian better than some of the others. Of course, the mid turn will allow better rooting but it does not mean it is the only way to root.

Busy at work, perhaps we can discuss this in greater detail later.



09-10-2001, 04:07 PM
Hi Dave,

My personal model is this: I turn somewhere around K1 (bubbling well, 1/3 of the way down from the toes, 2/3 up from the heel), between the ball and the arch (the exact point depends on terrain and footwear. I find this the center approach, like much of the rest of WCK. With this, when neutral, I'm stable, and when force is enacted on me, I can neutralize by sinking back into the heels (if pushed) or down into the toes (if pulled). In other, words, it gives me a buffer. If I were already on my toes or heel, and force was applied, I wouldn't have that buffer and would have to go into recovery mode.

I've noticed some Chi Sao seems to work off this as well, especially WSL and Hawkins Cheung (probably others, just haven't had a chance to try them all yet ;). They have good forward pressure so if you start off with CoG/axis on the heel, you're playing into their game (of trying to get you back on them on the way to breaking your structure and then coming in).

TCM and Qigong theory seems to focus on keeping CoG over K1 as well.

What, if any, other advantages do folks see in Toe or Heel based turning? (I've heard from some that heel turning keeps your body stable during turning but then I wonder if the turn is really needed and your couldn't accomplish the same thing in YJKYM?)



09-10-2001, 08:06 PM
Hi Rene and Dave,

From my experience touching hands with practitioners of other WC systems, the shift was either combined with a lop sau or huen sau to extend the attacking force. In some cases my partner felt that the incoming force was too much and he had to shift to change the centerline. In other cases they used shifting almost exclusively and did not step forward very often. Sometimes it was because they could not root and sometimes it was the method/system they had learned to use.

I noticed that many taller people prefered the shifting method because their long arms allowed them to attack the head while stationary. In close, however, their longer arms might be at a disadvantage against smaller people. These tall people preferred to stay away almost at arms length and attempted to maintain the distance.

Also, there were also practitioners that prefered to change their weight distribution while shifting from side to side. They believed that this would move them off the line of attack in relative safety while they could still counter-attack.

Very rarely have I found practitioners that just adjust to the pressure and root it to neutralize. Mostly I have found practitioners that always shift through the entire range of motion as done in the forms.

As to heel/K1/toes, the majority of people that I have met use the heel shifting. There is a noticable difference IMHO in the feeling I receive in response when pressuring them. Even those that have stated to me that they use middle of the foot or K1 shifting have the same feel as those shifting on their heels. This leads me to believe that they are unknowingly using the heels, even though their lineage uses predominantly the K1/middle.


Roy D. Anthony
09-10-2001, 08:57 PM
When rotating on the heel, ( that is that the toes only turn) then the weight is not as stable. reason being that one's weight is easily attacked, as well, kicking at any time is difficult to do.
When rotating on the toes, ( that is that the heels only turn) makes one vulnerable to weight movement and able to be thrown, also kicking is also difficult.
Shifting in the center, seems to be better, however striking from below is also difficult.
These methods of turning are useful however for training a much higher level of mobility. The answers are found in the Mook Yan Jong and Mai San Jong training. Search there and the answers are found.