Moving on to L’s next question :-
While doing light sparring last week I noticed that kicks+footwork kept the opponent at bay, but when he (6’2) got into hand range, my hits fell short 5-10cm. I was a bit frustrated because if only my arms had more reach, I would have landed a few strikes. I rushed into him a few times, as my structure was obviously superior due to lower gravity center and his inexperience, but that couldn’t be an answer for every situation. What would I do if I was facing a strong and heavy opponent? As I was reading your blog I realized I was doing exactly the thing you call head hunting. Trying to hit the tall guys head. It was eureka moment: surely head is not the shortest line, if the opponent is significantly taller. I decided I will delve into this ASAP, to see if in fact I can somehow mitigate the arm reach difference by hitting the body+kicks+footwork.
To answer L‘s questions out of order :-
a) How to handle a heavy opponent? – page 170 – 171 The Ip Man Questions (2nd Ed)
b) How to handle strong opponent? – page 175 – 176 The Ip Man Questions (2nd Ed)
Refer also to Chapter 24 The Big Picture particularly page 168 – 169 to understand the principle of using one set of tools against the 5 generic types of opponents.
I am very happy that L got the point about head hunting. I was guilty of the same thing when I practiced Wing Chun for a long time. Its only when I put into practice the principles of the Wing Chun style outlined in The Ip Man Questions that I started on the road to getting rid of this bad habit. Again if you look at my Sit Down Push Hands video you might notice that I don’t head hunt a lot. Most of the time I am just playing control the space.
It is only when my student violated the three “do not” mentioned on page 168 of The Ip Man Questions (2nd Ed) that I swiftly tapped him on the face to remind him to close the gap. And when his closing off the face space opened up the liver space then I reminded him to close this gate by liver shots.
Lastly, it is a fact of life that if our opponent is taller his arms will always be longer than us. Using the long range striking method of The Ip Man Question can give us an additional 3 inches of reach. But if the opponent’s arm is really long then we have to pursue a different strategy. If you investigate Grandmaster C’s video the answers are there.