“Wing Chun teaches you what to concentrate on, whether you’re here or out in the world dealing with problems. It’s second nature for me now. I don’t even get to the point where there’s a problem.”
Robert Downey, Jr.

Made infamous as the basis of Bruce Lee’s fighting methodology, Wing Chun is a close-fighting style of Chinese kung fu and is by far the most technical martial art I’ve studied so far. Yim Wing Chun is credited as the creator of this fascinating self-defense system and should be noted as the only mainstream martial art created by a woman. Wing Chun kung fu teaches you how to master your own ‘chi’ (a type of internal energy that connects us to the world), to beat an opponent much stronger than you. Tai Chi and Qi Kung also develop ‘chi’, but in my personal experience, do so in a more meditative fashion.

If you’ve never done Chinese kung fu or studied Chinese medicine, the concept of chi may feel pseudo-spiritual, fluffy or even just silly. A true warrior has an open mind and is curious about things they do not yet understand. In honour of the technical prowess of Wing Chun, the circuit is very technical and requires maximum concentration throughout. Good luck!

Professional Expert Master
Chi Breathing3 minutes5 minutes10 minutes
Step-n-Stretch1 set of 301 set of 401 set of 60
Reach Punches2 sets of 102 sets of 20 2 sets of 50
Wushu Lunges1 set of 201 set of 301 set of 50
Rotating Split Squats2 sets of 203 sets of 204 set of 25
Rolling Stretch1 set of 30 1 sets of 50 1 set of 100
Taekwondo Side Kicks2 sets of 15 on each side2 sets of 25 on each side1 set of 100 on each side
Capoeira Conditioning1 set of 402 sets of 401 set of 100
Wing Chun Steps3 sets of 203 sets of 302 sets of 60


Warm Up

Let’s get going with a gentle warm up to mobilise your joints. Warming up also helps you to mentally prepare for exercise as well, focus on your breathing as you let the distractions of the day leave your mind. Eventually your warms-ups will feel like moving meditations. Focus on the precise body parts you are working and how your body feels with every single movement.


Chi Breathing

Warrior Benefits: You don’t need to understand the chemical composition of cocoa to enjoy chocolate or master the mathematics of gravity to know that falling from tree isn’t good for you. As with breathing, you don’t need to know the technicalities to do it, it’s one of the most natural things to us and we know the obvious benefits. However, when you learn to cultivate and access your chi energy you will enjoy more focus and a deeper connection with your breath, your body and then the world around you. As your practice deepens, this exercise will help you learn the art of rooting which is fundamental to many martial arts such as Tai Chi, boxing and Wing Chun. In addition, there are many stress resilience benefits to focused breathing, from the feeling of calm to a reduction in cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Beauty Benefits: There are no direct benefits, however, prolonged stress can eventually start to manifest negatively in how you look, feel and perform. Exercises like this (along with other meditative practices), are incredibly powerful resources for stress relief. So, if you are able to manage your stress though breathing exercises it will, in time start to impact positivity on how you look, feel and perform.

Starting Position: Stand upright and have a slight bend in your knees, point your feet and knees inwards at a slight diagonal and switch on your core by tensing your abs by about a 30% of maximum effort. Try and imagine you are tree with your feet rooted into the floor.

Technique: Extend your arms as in the GIF and connect with your breath, so you breathe out as you expand your arms away from you, and then breathe in as your arms come back. This exercise in more internal than external, however, I would like you to try and imagine your core as a ball and try and let it sink downwards to the floor. This is a key element of ‘rooting’ and takes much practice. As with all the more complex exercises in NUK SOO™, my hope is that you will enjoy enough of the practical benefits that you are inspired to study further.

Pro Tip: Be patient! Even if you have no idea what ‘chi’ feels like, this exercise has many meditative benefits so stick with it.

Professional: 3 minutes
Expert: 5 minutes
Master: 10 minutes

Easier: Focus just on breathe and don’t worry about all this chi talk!

Harder: Imagine you are also holding a big expanding balloon as your arms extend out.



Warrior Benefits: This move opens out the hips and stretches your hips flexors, and your kicking strength will improve. In the world of martial arts kicks are long-range weapons and no amount of smart techniques can undo terrible flexibility. As we get older, we get tighter, so this drill is particularly useful to those of you that don’t stretch much. With less tightness in this area you will also reduce your chance of injury when you run, cycle and trek.

Beauty Benefits: This exercise has a mild fat burning and leg toning effect. It is prescribed here more for functional flexibility than for looks, which is equally important for health and fitness.

Starting Position: Start in a press up position with your hands under the shoulders and your feet hip-width apart.

Technique: Stick your hips up in the air and step the left foot off the floor and land it outside of the left hand. Then push your hips down towards the floor to maximise the stretch (this should feel good). Step back and repeat the full movement with the right foot. Keep on alternating sides.

Pro Tip: The longer the stride/step, the better it is. I would recommend building up the stride length as it takes time for tendons to relax and get used to new movements. Aim for 80% of your maximum distance on the first rep and then try to keep going 1cm further than you did on the last rep.

Professional: 1 set of 30
Expert: 1 set of 40
Professional: 1 set of 60

Easier: Smaller strides.

Harder: Land your feet in front of the hands.


Reach Punches

Warrior Benefits: This is a classic warm-up drill taken from boxing which works the cardiovascular and muscular system. When these two systems work at the same time, they mentally come together as well and you work harder! A great conditioning move, it is one that will test and improve mental toughness as your muscles and lungs will get equally knackered!

Beauty Benefits: You will burn fat and as your body fat lowers, you will see more definition around your abdominals and oblique’s.

Starting Position: Lie on your back and slide your feet in so your knees are in the air. Lift your head and the back of your shoulders about one inch off the floor. You may want to use a mat or sit on a cushion for comfort.

Technique: Sit up and extend your left clenched fist to the ceiling and always breathe out as you punch. Let your body naturally rotate as you reach as high as you can. Return to the start position and repeat the action with the right arm. For each punch aim for the same spot.

Pro Tip: Imagine you are punching upwards towards a real target each time. The smaller the imaginary target, the more your mind will focus.

Professional: 2 sets of 10
Master: 2 sets of 20
Expert: 2 sets of 50

Inter-set rest: 30 seconds

Easier: Place 2 or 3 pillows behind the upper back so you have a smaller range of movement per rep.

Harder: Hold a light weight in your hands. If the weight compromises your speed then don’t use one, or use a lighter one as this exercise is focusing on developing upper body speed.


Wushu Lunges

Warrior Benefits: Having legs with greater endurance and strength is always useful! Lunges also have the added benefits of being unilateral (as in you do movements one limb a time), as opposed to squats which are bilateral. The advantage of this is that it’s more functional for real life and it evens out potential muscle imbalances. The arm and hand position serves as a tendon stretch for arms. Chinese martial arts put a lot of emphasis on stretching and strengthening tendons as the style of fighting requires great ‘internal’ strength. In a society where we focus so much on external strength, it’s important to explore the opposite both physiologically and psychologically.

Beauty Benefits: Wushu Lunges will tone and firm your lower body.

Starting Position: Stand upright with arms and palms out stretched horizontally with your fingers pointing up. Keep the tension in your arms so you maintain a stretch in the tendons and nerves running through your arms.

Technique: Step backward with your right foot so you go into a reverse lunge position. Maintain an upright posture and engage your core. Now push back off the floor and drive your right knee toward your chest and then place it down to the floor. Keep this movement controlled and repeat on other side – and keep on alternating.

Pro Tip: As this works your balance, keep your eyes focused on a point 3 meters in front of you.

Professional: 1 set of 20 reps
Expert: 1 set of 30 reps
Master: 1 set of 50 reps

Easier: Place your arms by your side and maintain fingers pointing outwards (like a penguin). You should still feel that stretch in your tendons.

Harder: Hold very light weights out to your side to build more upper body endurance.


Rotating Split Squats

Warrior Benefits: Aside from burning excess fat, you develop lower body power and endurance. You will also build rotation strength-endurance and total body coordination.

Beauty Benefits: This complex and multi-planal movement will burn fat, tone up your trunk, legs and glutes.

Starting Position: Start in a standing lunge position, left leg forward, right leg back. Outstretch your arms and clasp your hands. Twist your arms to your right-hand side horizontally and face forward.

Technique: Jump in the air and rotate your arms to your left side and land with the right foot forward and the left foot back. Immediately jump back switching your arms and feet as you go. Do this continuously.

Pro Tip: If you find this tricky then just practice! Do 10 reps without rotating your arms. Then do 10 reps bringing in the arm movement. Your brain will have then understood the different components, so you’ll find it easier to do the whole movement correctly. The mind and body will improve co-ordination if it’s tested, so the harder you find a move, the more you should practice and you will develop. If you find this move too easy please look at modification.

Professional: 2 sets of 20
Master: 3 sets of 20
Experts: 4 sets of 25

Inter-set rest: 30 seconds

Easier: Do small jumps and rest for 2 seconds to compose yourself after each rep.

Harder: Close one eye. This makes it hard to judge distances and puts more stress on your body to balance. Closing both eyes is the hardest version as you are forced to ‘feel’ good balance rather than relying on your eyes. Doing this move with your eyes shut is full-on ninja, so do try it when your bored one day!


Rolling Stretch

Warrior Benefits: Being supple is important for both injury prevention and athletic prowess. As well as opening up your hips, this dynamic move will stretch your back and hamstrings. In addition, your core and abs will get little workout as you raise your legs in the air.

Beauty Benefits: There is a mild fat burning effect.

Starting Position: Sit on the floor with your legs wide and your arms stretched out in front of you. Try to have your chest as low to the floor as possible.

Technique: Roll backwards, let your arms lie down on the floor and then use the floor to help the natural momentum so your hips come off the floor and your legs lift up into the air. As your legs swing up bring them in together, and then at highest point, allow your legs to swing down and push your chest to the floor back into the start position and repeat.

Pro Tip: Try and get as much height as possible when your legs are in the air. The more speed you get with the backwards roll, the more you will use your natural momentum.

Professional: 1 set of 30 on each side
Expert: 1 set of 50 on each side
Master: 1 set of 100 on each side

Inter-set rest: 30 seconds

Easier: To make it a slower movement, don’t let your hips come off floor.

Harder: Stretch your legs out as wide as possible in the start and finish position.


Taekwondo Side Kicks

Warrior Benefits: These kicks, as you will see in the Application Video below, are immensely effective. Your hips, glutes and core all work together to generate a lot of force, thus developing your lower body strength and power. You will also improve flexibility and balance, and if you do them quickly enough your general cardiovascular output will adapt to become stronger and more efficient.

Beauty Benefits: Fat loss and toning of the legs and glutes.

Starting Position: Stand upright with your hands up protecting your face.

Technique: Start by kicking with the right leg. Pivot your left foot by 45º, then kick up your right leg and extend. Throw your right arm out straight by your side to help get momentum. Quickly return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

Pro Tip: Imagine a target that you are striking through, this will help focus your mind.

Professional: 2 sets of 15 on each side
Expert: 2 sets of 25 on each side
Master: 1 set of 100 on each side

Inter-set rest: 30 seconds

Easier: Take a 3 seconds rest between each rep.

Harder: Jump into each kick by hoping the base foot forward 6 inches as you extend your striking leg.


Capoeira Conditioning

Warrior Benefits: Balance is one of the most under-rated components of fitness and it will be challenged doing this wonderful little drill. The small stabiliser muscles around your ankles and tendons in your toes will also strengthen up, which is great for injury-proofing your body. If you ever did ballet, then go up on point. I’m not good enough to do it, so I didn’t, but I’m all for you doing things better than me in these demo’s. Good luck.

Beauty Benefits: None

Starting Position: Squat down with your knees pointing forward balancing on the balls of your feet. Lift up onto your toes as much as possible extending your arms like you’re hugging a tree.

Technique: Maintain your balance and slowly rotate from side to side slowly. Every ½ rotation is classed as one rep. If you are a Qi Gong or Tai Chi practitioner, you will recognise the arm posture so be mindful of your chi as you do this. For the rest of us, try to stay relaxed but focused with an engaged core as you smoothly and mindfully twist from side to side.

Pro Tip: It takes time for your feet to get used to this position, so don’t worry where you start, but every time you revisit this move, try to get your heels a bit higher off the floor and be as relaxed as possible. On the road to mastery, I would always recommend recording your moves to review after each set – fluidity is the goal. As you get more advanced you can also make this a meditative exercise as you slowly move. It will take practice to get to this level.

Professional: 1 set of 40
Expert: 2 sets of 40
Master: 1 set of 100

Inter-set rest: 30 seconds

Easier: Don’t lift up your heels so high, just about an inch off floor.

Harder: Close any one eye throughout. Or if you’re some kind of Bruce Lee clone, then close both.


Wing Chun Steps

Warrior Benefits: Watch the application video first and remind yourself of how this move is authentically used and picture a person in front of you as you block and step away from danger into a take down position. This move may surprise you as it is not a traditional workout move. Learning new things is important to challenge us, so the benefits of this move are purely mental. You will practice your visualisation technique and channel your inner-focus.

Beauty Benefits: None.

Starting Position: Stand up with your knees slightly bent with your hands up protecting face but with your hands open facing you but not clenched.

Technique: Sweep your right hand across your body leaving it in shield like position. As you do this take a diagonal shuffle away to the left side and then shuffle again sideways along. Look at me in GIF and try to copy exactly. Alternate sides after each rep.

Pro Tip: Keep mild tension in your abs, feet and back as you do this. As it’s blocking a punch you need the strength to come from the inside. If you understand ‘chi’, use that, if you don’t then use core strength and brace like you would when lifting very heavy weights. If none of this makes sense, don’t worry, just keep on practicing.

Professional: 3 sets of 20
Expert: 3 sets of 30
Master: 2 sets of 60

Inter-set rest: 45 seconds

Easier: Don’t visualise an opponent and just copy the footwork and hand movements.

Harder: Do it slower and with your eyes shut. It will sink into your subconscious more.


Cool Down

Follow Jen and flow through her cool down sequence. When you hear the term stretching a muscle, we are not technically lengthening a muscle as this isn’t physiologically possible. When stretching you are lengthening the tendons, these are the ‘elastic band’ like connective tissues that attach your muscle to bone.

Well done!

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