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ralph haenel, hänelwingtsun, wing tsun kung fu instructor, author, publisher, self-defense expert Sifu Ralph Haenel, learning and teaching Wing Tsun Kung Fu since 1984
Changing lives, one punch at a time.
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Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Monday, 28 August 2017

The power of Red and Green
What does it mean for your Wing Tsun solo training? For your functional strength and skill?

Besides taking group classes, I met up with training partners outside of classes, and also did a lot of solo training. This is the time, when I began to discover the power of red and green. It happened at the end of the 1970’s during my years of training Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. A time, when books about martial arts didn’t exist in East Germany and videos weren’t even a thing yet.

I wrote down the techniques, the Jiu-Jitsu drills, on large sheets of paper. An overview of my training contents. I hung up the paper sheets at the back of the door. Then I created another sheet of paper, marking about ten weeks and all the days of the week on one sheet.

Then I started to assign different Jiu-Jitsu solo training drills to each one of the days of the week.

I left some free space on the paper for each day. Now I made my self write down in green, when I did the exercise. Or I forced myself, to write down in red:
“Was too lazy.”
“Went out for dinner instead.”
“Went to the movies.”

Yet again, it’s all about choices. Believe me, you won’t like a lot of writing in RED on your weekly or monthly training sheets. You will want to see a lot more GREEN.
Hang them up. Where you see your own red and green, every single day.

I continued the same routine, when I began my WingTsun training in 1984. Now I wrote down parts of the Siu-Nim-Tau form and the objectives I hoped to achieve; and naturally a routine for chain-punches, then the holy grail of WT.

It looked something like that:

10 sets of chain punches, with 5 to 15 seconds break between each set
counting punches on one side only, starting with a 5-count, 10 punches per set, total 100
- second week, counting 10 punches of the right fist, 20 punches per set, total 200
- week 10, counting on one side 50 punches, 100 punches per set, total 1,000
Variations for Monday through Sunday
- day 1, punches slow, as correct as possible (watch yourself in a mirror, front- and side-view)
- day 2, punches as fast as possible (correct performance, though eventually muscles failing)
- day 3, each punch as powerful as possible (naturally slower performance)
- day 4, "slinging" punches
- day 5, "blast" punches (you blast 4 to 6 punches, resume normal frequency, blast 4 to 6 punches, and so on)
- day 6, remove breaks between sets and punch nonstop (100, 200, 300, etc.) 
- day 7, remove breaks, punches as correct as possible (watch yourself in a mirror, front- and side-view)
You goal is, to eventually deliver 1,000 non-stop chain punches, so that #999 is as fast and powerful a knock-out punch, as punch #1 was.

I continued to make notes in green when I exercised successfully, even if for once not highly motivated.
I wrote in red when a legitimate problem interrupted my training, but also to point out the days when mere excuses hindered me from advancing.
The initial limitation of not tilting, shifting, nor moving the shoulder forward, is to isolate muscle groups, to train muscles, ligaments, tendons between opposing joints, between shoulder and elbow, and between elbow and wrist, plus the most important training of the fascia-tissue throughout.
Eventually the shoulder will come forward, move, lift, lower, which is in the end of course an important part of the delivery of any strike, when it has evolved into a continuous whole-body motion.

You do each set for one week, with daily variations as outlined above.

During the end of the 1990’s when web sites started to be a big deal, with moving gif’s and the oh so important page counters, I put up an online chain-punching web page. Some 20 years old, but it still exists.
Here is the page from the old web site:

Let the green and red work for you! Happy training!

Posted by ralph haenel at 2:18 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 28 August 2017 2:31 PM PDT

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