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Martial Art Designed for Humans

Many martial arts were designed in bygone eras in eastern countries that had a high regard and respect for nature. Imitating the movements and even the character of animals was a common way to invent a martial art style. Consequently, we have many styles named after animals. Of course, the martial art was adapted for use by humans but attempting to incorporate the qualities of animals was considered a problem by the founders of Wing Tsun. Wing Tsun’s founder, the Buddhist nun, Ng Mui was an expert in Shaolin kung-fu according to the legends. She saw flaws in the way the fighting arts were conceived and decided to start teaching her new students techniques that would more closely be adaptable to the human body. In addition, the new art would have to be more efficient and be more quickly learned. She and her followers who were being pursued by government soldiers did not have time to spent a lifetime learning how to defend themselves.

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Martial Arts Histories

Martial Arts Histories. History lessons? Why?

Because we can learn a lot from what happened before. Regarding martial arts histories, we can learn why a martial art like the one we practice came to be the way it is. Unlike the fictional stories we hear, one cannot invent a martial art from a dream or a sudden inspiration.

Today, martial arts are practiced as a hobby as much as they are practiced as self-defense if not more so.

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Wing Tsun in the USA, the Early Days – Immersion

Starting in the spring of 1980, Great Grandmaster Leung Ting toured the Unites States, teaching 4-5 seminars in just as many states, Arizona included. Each seminar was 10 days long, 6 hours per day! This is what I call real immersion! My fellow kung-fu brothers and I basically soaked in the Wing Tsun training at a fast pace and with great intensity. Much of the training was hour upon hour of stance training, punching, being thrown to the cement, and advancing step training on the patio at GGM Leung Ting’s hotel near the Salt River in Tempe. This is where I began my training in earnest. I had met GGM Leung Ting first, in California where he taught me some simple hand movements and spoke at length about his approach to Wing Tsun in his hotel room at the Los Angeles Hilton in the prior January.

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BELIEVE IN LOGIC

Logic permeates the WingTsun approach. The simplest idea is the best idea in the WingTsun way of self-defense. A human tendency is to over-think and complicate matters. In a life or death struggle the simplest path is often a straight-line to the target and also the quickest. Sometimes there are barriers. WingTsun has the answers there too and WingTsun has a simple solution that does not involve a clash of forces.

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Go from knowing nothing to knowing something.

“Go from knowing nothing to knowing something.”

– Great Grandmaster Leung Ting

The above quote by GGM Leung Ting epitomizes the simple idea of Wing Tsun. Instead of trying to swallow a meal whole, it is best to take small bites. It is better to learn one thing very well and be known for it than to do a lot of things in a mediocre way.

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Where did Wing Tsun Come From?

Some historians think that Wing Tsun was developed from several martial arts types. They dispute the most common story that says that Ng Mui, a female Buddhist elder invented Wing Tsun from her training in the Shaolin Monastery martial art system.

The story goes that Wing Tsun was developed by secret societies from the arts of Tai Chi Chuan, Praying Mantis kung-fu, and a mix of Shaolin animal styles such as snake and crane.

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IS YOUR CUP EMPTY? Zen in the Martial Arts

Read the book Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyamshttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zen-in-the-martial-arts-joe-hyams/1100271861 ). I think that some of you HAVE read this interesting book. In any case, the best chapter in my estimation is the one starting on page 17, “Empty Your Cup.” It has some excellent insights into the process of finding and learning from somebody new. New students must always “empty their cup” first. Unless they do, they can never learn anything new.

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LEARNING THE BASIS AND THE BASICS OF A MARTIAL ART

One can enter into martial arts training and learn a series of movements only, or one can enter into training and understand what those movements mean beyond function and structure. If you are lucky enough to be in a martial art that has a traceable lineage and a story behind its creation, even better. The history of a martial art is often the clue as to whether the movements have a practical benefit. All martial arts are not created equal.

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MARTIAL ARTS TYPES

Martial Arts Types

Many martial arts types appear similar to each other to onlookers. Actually many martial arts are related in some way, most having their roots in China. When the teachings of a martial art system migrated to another country in the last two centuries or even a lot earlier, the fighting concepts often changed but the appearance of the martial art often remained very similar.

Most Korean martial art styles have some roots in the Japanese systems. The rest of that influence is from China and is combined with native forms like Taek Kyon. Tae Kwon Do and similar Korean styles like Tang Soo Do are said to have been influenced by the high-kicking northern Chinese kung-fu systems.

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How Relevant is WingTsun Martial Arts Training to Your Life

Can we measure how relevant is WingTsun martial arts training to your life? Most assuredly not. However, in a way similar to when you were a child learning the ABCs of the English language, the first form of WingTsun™ called Siu Nim Tau contains the ‘ABCs’ of WingTsun. All of WingTsun’s ‘little ideas’ are in the form. The techniques are each represented in the sequence of movements which later are expanded greatly in separate applications to form sentences (fighting applications). Your first day at class is like your life at your first day in school as a first grade student.

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