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Blocking as a Defense

Some martial arts teach blocking as a defense within the first few classes. One arm is used to push an attack away or set up a ‘fence’ to keep the attacker’s arm from entering the defender’s area. Wing Tsun’s Grandmaster Leung Ting tells his instructors to stay away from the term ’blocking’ because it implies cordoning off an area. It means to clash force with an attacker. In Wing Tsun we do not ‘block’ but we do defend, differently. From the very first day we are teaching a student to yield to the force of an attack by deflecting, moving aside to evade an attacker’s power, or dissolving his force with efficient anti-grappling methods. The next step in training is to learn the footwork required to use that force against the attacker.

It is hard to talk about one aspect of Wing Tsun without talking about other moving parts. All parts, the footwork, the arms, the hands, the torso all must work together. That is why you cannot really learn Wing Tsun from a video or a book. Upon looking at a video or a book, one cannot see or feel the subtle energies that are trained with Wing Tsun or understand the timing required. Videos and books can be great references, however.

To take this point a bit farther, Wing Tsun involves simultaneous skills. In other words, we attack and defend at the same time. Both left and right hand are occupied in some task simultaneously. Farther up the skill ladder, left and right hand plus feet movement at the same time. Even farther into advanced skills, a kick, a step and two hands are all occupied defending at the same time! This makes it very difficult for an attacker to cope with this type of defense!

Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

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