Triangles Instead of Boxes

In the opening stance of Siu Lim Tao, you create a triangle with your feet and legs. You define several triangles when you use your arms to draw your Center Line, demonstrating your Central Lines – triangles.

The Triangle is the strongest geometric shape. It is the basis of the wedge, the keystone, the ramp, the lever, the inclined plane, and the arch. Hell, the roof of your house is most likely a triangle. Wing Chun, and all Martial Arts for that matter, relies on the use of triangles.

Too often, the practitioner thinks in terms of boxes or rectangles. They square up. Their blocks or parries move outward to their shoulder line, or across from one shoulder line toward the opposite shoulder line. They are effectively drawing a box. Boxes collapse. Strong folk may not notice – stronger boxes are harder to collapse, yet they still collapse.

The strength of the triangle derives from its focus. If one point of a triangle is receiving force, the force flows down the triangle’s sides to the two opposing points, which is inherently a large base. The force is diffused across the larger base. Likewise, if the triangle is emitting force, the force from the two rear points – the wide base – is focused down to a single point.

TAO - Training Assistance OnlineWith a box, if an edge receives force, the force has to cut two angles before it is diffused to the base. More than likely, one angle will collapse, or the receiving edge will buckle. Likewise, if emitting force, the energy from the rear of the box must pass through two angles, becoming diffuse when reaching the leading edge. If the force is received or emitted through a corner of the box, the energy will divide, like the triangle, though some of the force will pass through another corner, which can collapse.

In Wing Chun, structure is about creating triangles. The Tan Sao, for example, is not fully extended. Neither is the punch. The elbow remains down, creating a triangle with the arm. The hips turn to create a triangle between the hand and elbow. The feet turn to form a triangle in the direction of the force, whether emitted or received.

Use Triangles instead of Boxes.


About Sifu

I teach Wing Chun, both traditional and practical, at KDA Karate Academy. I have a Bachelor of Media Arts degree from USC. I have been an Audio Producer / Engineer, a Law Office Manager. In addition to being a Martial Arts Instructor, I am an author. My new book, “Astro Boy, Sensei, and Me” is available now, as is my Sci-Fi joy ride, “On a Sphere’s Edge”.

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