According to Leung sifu, all practitioners of Opera Wing Chun commenced their basic training with separate calisthenic type hand and leg movements to warm-up. These movements encouraged the development of fast strikes and good balance. Whilst the system drew metaphorical inspiration from the dragon and crane styles of Gung Fu, it also contained movements from chow gar (mantis) and made heavy use of the gow choi (phoenix eye) striking method.
Footwork was a key element in Opera Wing Chun. There were a variety of stepping movements, often coupled with hip turns for power. Weight distribution was generally equally balanced between the lead and rear leg, notable exception being the ding po mah (cat stance) where weight was oriented in the rear leg.
Siu Nim Tau (little idea) introduced the main hand movements of Wing Chun This version of the set contained 18 classical hand techniques and 1 kicking section. This kicking section was designed to teach stepping forwards and backwards on an angle.
Chum Kiu (searching for the bridge) combined footwork with hand and leg attack and contained 14 steps. The principle behind the set was to teach students how to close in on an opponent using footwork in a tactical way.
Biu Tze (finger attacks) built on the foundation created by the first two sets. Traditionally, some Gung Fu instructors had a saying that “Bui Tze was not allowed to leave the room” which had two implicit meanings; firstly, that the techniques which aimed at the opponents’ eyes and throat were designed to maim and should only be used in exceptional circumstances and, secondly, that the set was not openly taught to students.
Mook Yan Jong (wooden man) was a tool used to remedy any defects in a student’s structure. The set was trained with a view to precision. As long as one was prepared to maintain a sound structural base whilst using the arsenal of Wing Chun techniques on the wooden man, he would be well on his way in developing long term skill.
The two weapons of Opera Wing Chun were introduced upon completion of the empty hand sets. The weapons consisted of the wooden long pole; Mang Loong Goh Gong (Only the fiercest dragon crosses the bridge), and the swords; Moi Fah Wu Dip Dao (Plum Blossom Butterfly Swords).
Chi Sao (sticking hands) was a platform upon which the attack and redirection movements of Opera Wing Chun could be practiced. The drill consisted of two practitioners starting from an attached forearm position and training their ability to sense movement through touch. The drill advanced through a number of stages which included seung huen sau chi sao (double circling arm sticking). Competence in chi sao would allow a student to progress to free sparring.