Ever since the classic scene in ‘Enter the Dragon’ the Pak Da movement has been iconic of Wing Chun. What is the real purpose of this drill? And why do we practice it? The answer is simple. Pak Da teaches the concept of clearing an obstruction in order to punch a person. However, when you examine this iconic Wing Chun drill there is much more to this idea. Here are 3 reasons to train the Pak Da drill.
1) How Pak Da Builds Basic Attacking Skills
Look at any good boxer in the gym and you’ll see them practising coordinating movement with punching. In fact, it is the same in any martial art whether Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Boxing, even Mixed Martial Arts. However, these martial arts rarely train what to do when a punch is interrupted or obstructed.
The purpose of the Pak Da drill is to teach you to move directly. Pak Sao (Slapping Hand) is the concept of slapping an obstruction away in order to strike or defend against a punch. This idea becomes very effective for training with footwork.
Crossing the bridge is a great method of training what to do when your punch or arm is obstructed. This concept allows you to clear a path to strike to the face (or body) of your attacker, while managing the interference that another person my attempt in defence.
2) The Development of Basic Defensive Skills
Pak Da training is an excellent method to teach you how to deal with fast punches, especially those that withdraw quickly. For example, in boxing jabs retract very quickly this sometimes provides the opportunity to ride the distance by following the retreating punch. In this sense, beginners to Wing Chun are learning how to close the gap between themselves and their attackers. This approach is idea for self defence training.
There is also a lot to be gained intuitively from this drill. Often it is performed at such speed that you are forced to sense and react to the speed of the attack. Fast attacks are difficult to see, so the Pak Da drill forces you to rely on moving your hands efficiently towards your centreline while coordinating the rest of your body.
In this sense you are learning how to move efficiently without over compensating your defensive movement and exposing you to attack. Additional attributes such as the redirection of energy are also key to this drill, and will be discussed later in our blog.
3) The Development Hand Leg Coordination
So, you’ve learnt how to punch hard. Perhaps your fists are now well conditioned from training on your wall bag (see How to Condition Your Hands). You may have even practiced your basic Wing Chun footwork making sure that you have developed drive and power from your legs (see Wing Chun Footwork: How to train Biu Ma). Now what?
Well the next stage like any good fighting style is to learn how to coordinate your hands and feet together. After all, your punch is useless of you cannot reach your target. Pak Da training always you to practice multiple aspects for self defence at once. You must practice stepping directly towards the other person while striking and clearing the obstruction. Likewise, you must also practice moving away from the attacker while defending and striking in return.
It is may be an obvious point that moving your hands and feet together facilitates a punch and power in the strike. However, what is often over looked is that this ability also allows you to use your feet to move your head out of the way of a punch.
Ultimately this drill will help you develop coordination between your punching, footwork, and clearing obstructions. In addition, it allows the practice of both defensive and offensive roles of our hands.
This method of training Wing Chun allows you to practice both the defensive and offensive roles of our hands. Most importantly, the Pak Da drill illustrates the importance of moving your hands and feet together to develop power by linking the basic footwork drill with your hands.
Practice this drill by focusing on your basic footwork training. You may also practice it on a heavy bag, but find a partner to practice.
Now go train.
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