Master Michael Tse

Master Tse’s Wing Chun Notes #2

A Straight Back and a Clear Mind

Master Michael Tse

No matter what Wing Chun position we use, we must keep the back straight. A straight back is healthy and without good health we will not develop good Kung Fu skill. When we have a straight back we can clear our minds and then our reactions will be correct. When our back is straight, the Qi can flow properly, up the Du channel督脈 on the back, over the top of the head and down the Ren任脈channel on the front of the body. This cycle is called the Small Heavenly Orbit, or Xiao Zhou Tian  小周天.

This flow of Qi helps to give us our energy and it will expand to encompass the whole body. That is why traditional Chinese martial arts train the stance which develops the bones. Our bones is where our power comes from, not from lifting weights. A tree with strong roots can withstand many storms and holds lots of fruit. But if a tree’s roots are week, with too much stress, it will fall over or break. So a straight back is important so that the Qi developed from the stance can go to the rest of the body.

Actually in most traditional Chinese Kung Fu styles you need to keep your back straight.

Today, we see so many people practising Wing Chun with hunched backs or shoulders and their hips tucked in. These positions limit movement and also mean the hand positions will not fully connect with the body. Then the skill can easily be wrong. However, the footwork will be the thing affected most. The bad posture will create stiffness when moving back and forth, and when someone attacks us, we will not be able to move fast enough and so we will get hit more often. If we practise with bad posture, eventually it will affect our health. When we hunch our shoulders and do not have a straight back, then our lungs will be affected and this will aslo affect our energy levels and stamina. So to have a high level of Wing Chun, we must have the correct posture.

Michael Tse


7 replies
  1. Simon
    Simon says:

    Hi Sigong, thank you for another great Wing Chun article. When you visited Manchester earlier in the year and we did horse stance and corrected each other’s posture it became apparent that I was just slightly leaning back, since being mindful of this I have felt clearer and more correct, and it filters through to everything. It was only a slight adjustment, but as in all things Wing Chun it has to be exact, not nearly or quite straight etc. Will be making sure I stay mindful of having a straight back whilst training this week, and also being relaxed that you spoke about last week.

    Thanks and best wishes, Simon.

    • Manuel
      Manuel says:

      Hello Sigong,goog article.Being a tall guy is quite difficult for me to know if my back is really straight,sometimes i feel i should straight it up more.but it would be nice to have in the class a day of cheking everybody postures.Its really good to have this articles,it brings some kind of wisdom for the everyday life.!
      Best wishes,Manuel

  2. Adam Wallace
    Adam Wallace says:

    Dear Sifu,
    The idea for Wing Chun Notes is great. Condensed lessons to carry with us and of which to be mindful, on the path to perfecting our Wing Chun.
    Best wishes – Adam

    • Simon
      Simon says:

      Hi Sigong, thank you for your reply. Sometimes when practicing I do have to ask myself, is this how it should feel or is this how I am use to it feeling? Will keep going, on what is a fantastic path to be on. Thank you to you, Sifu and everyone who has made it possible. Looking forward to this Friday’s Wing Chun notes and seeing everyone later in the year at the Wing Chun Chi Sau day.

      Kind regards, Simon.

  3. shan
    shan says:

    Dear Sifu

    Thank you for the tip. I immediately sit straight as I’m reading the note from my computer screen.

    warm wishes

  4. Peter
    Peter says:

    Dear Sifu

    With keeping relaxed hands and now keeping a straight back it is making a big difference. I know what Manuel means as a tallish guy I sometimes drop my head and then the back isn’t straight. The notes are a brilliant concept. Thanks Sifu.


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