Ving Tsun has plenty of drills. Each drill is performed with a partner to practice contact and resistance. The student begins learning defensive maneuvers using such as slapping and forearm blocks along with the sun fist as a striking technique. Over time however, these drills evolve to subtle uses of the forearm and slapping parries, evasions, low kicks, palm and elbow striking with each drill learned. Each partner will switch roles to practice doing both initiating the attack and defense. The following list is by no means comprehensive, but will serve as a good overview of what we study in Ving Tsun Kung Fu:
Pak Sao is a blocking drill in which the attacker asserts control of the center through continuous sun fist strikes. The defender meanwhile uses their pak, or palm block, to deflect these attacks and dominate center.
Pak Dar is an advancement over Pak Sao in which the goals of the exercise are the same with the added step of using a simultaneous sun fist in addition to the defensive pak sao; this maneuver allows for simultaneous attack and defense. This drill introduces the student to the idea of an interplay between attack and defense options.
Lop Sao begins with the positioning of a sun fist (chum choi) over and against their partner’s bong sao (wing block). The partner who begins with the bong sao arm will then take center control away from the side with a reverse palm block (wu sao). Variations of this counter exist, including the formation of the wu sao into a grab while striking. At this point, the defending partner will neutralize the punch using their own bong sao. From here, the exercise flows back and forth between each person. Partners should switch sides to work each arm.
Dan Chi Sao:
The skills developed in Lop Sao: sensitivity through contact, the flow and interplay between attack and defense are required for this next exercise, Dan Chi Sao. Dan Chi Sao is the precursor to a much more advanced exercise called Chi Sao. The preliminary Dan Chi Sao requires the application of the various blocks and strikes learned up to this point: tan sao, bong sao, fook sao, chum choi (sun fist), and dim jarn. This drill can be practiced at a regular speed to practice reflexive counterattacking skills, or it may be used at a more slower pace to work on details of the form as well as the horse stance.
Luk Sao furthers the concept of Dan Chi Sao by using both arms instead of one. Luk Sao also introduces the “rolling” of the hands where blocks change form with each revolution. This drill challenges the practitioner to adapt to continuous change in motion and to maintain proper form while doing so. Training in Luk Sao usually marks the beginning of more intermediate levels of Ving Tsun curriculum.
Jip Sao Jao Sao:
Jip Sao Jao Sao begins in the Luk Sao position using the same continuous revolutions of rolling hands. How this exercise differs however is that one partner will push their horse forward or backward while the other maintains contact and proper hand form. This is apropos of the loose translation of the exercise, “running and catching hands”. The drill also begins to add in different kinds of attacks and “changes”, where the initiator of the change will compromise the structure of their partner to gain an opening for a strike. The defender is tasked with adaptive techniques tasked for defense of these offensive techniques. Maintaining proper form in the hands and body is also paramount.