Wingchun Morning Routine

The first thing I do in the morning is my 1st Form (Siu Lim Tau). This practice has various intentions:

  • I can generally notice differences in my body day-to-day; if I wake up stiffer than usual, I’ll notice this since I have the memory of how my body’s felt in all the other days I’ve done my practice.
  • It (sort of) gets me out of bed. This works better on some mornings better than others. :)
  • I can address tightness in my body first thing in the morning instead of allowing myself to hold on to it throughout the day without being aware of it.
  • I have the habit of practicing my Wingchun wherever I am. I do this on weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations, traveling, and in foreign countries. It doesn’t matter where I am. You brush your teeth every morning, don’t you? I practice my Wingchun every morning.
  • I want to be more flexible as I get older, and in order to do so, I know I need to keep moving my body. I don’t want to leave it to chance.
  • It freakin’ feels good, helps to wake me up, and eases me into the day.
  • It’s important for me to keep certain parts of me nimble to prevent work injuries, as I’m on my computer for a lot of time at work. Wingchun has helped me keep my shoulders and forearms (and subsequently my wrists) loose. As a programmer, I think it’s part of my job to keep my body in top shape to be able to physically do the work.

In addition to my 1st Form, I have a routine of stretches that I accompany with it. This has adapted over time, and I foresee it constantly evolving as I find more effective stretches and techniques.

My current stretching repertoire:

  • One leg on a ledge about waist high, slowly bend forward
  • Toe touches
  • Elbow across chest, stretching shoulder
  • Arms overhead, holding one elbow, stretching triceps
  • Wrist stretches
  • Rotations around hip joint with motion starting from the core, clockwise and counter-clockwise on each side
  • Squats
  • One foot behind me on a ledge about waist high, stretching hip and quads

I follow these stretches up with a sequence of:

  • Chain punches in fighting position, turning 180 with a Lan-sau between each set of punches
  • Pushing myself forward, initiating the motion with my hips, similar to how a kick is initiated

This whole sequence is automatic to me now, and I don’t have to think about going through it. My body just knows what to do next.

I highly recommend the book Stretching by Bob Anderson. It’s been a great guide and reference. Also, I think it’s goofy how the illustrations have him wearing a beanie in his photos. :)