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Learning Chinese Culture

Learning Chinese Culture

One fact that is not often brought up in martial arts circles is that many traditional people from the martial art country of origin believe that western people cannot truly learn the martial arts from their country because they do not understand their culture.  It is believed by them particularly because western people were not raised in that culture.  The practitioners of Chinese martial arts believe that their arts are too interwoven with their culture to be expressed properly or in the same way.

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Photo: Sifu Keith Sonnenberg presenting Sifu John Brusstar with a Dragon calligraphy scroll on his birthday in the Year of the Dragon, 2012.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! Today, January 23, 2012, starts the Year of the Dragon.  The most famous martial artist born in the year of the Dragon is Bruce Lee.  In China and other Asian countries, the Year of the Dragon has a very special optimism associated. Persons born in the Year of the Dragon are supposed to have a higher probability of success and be more intelligent. Among the twelve animals in Chinese Zodiac calendar, the dragon is the only animal that is not real.

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Just the WingTsun™ basics

Just the WingTsun™ basics

If you want better health and fitness, you can practice just the WingTsun™ basics by repeating the “Little Idea Form,” the single punches with wrist circle, the turning stance, the advancing steps and basic drills from Student Grade One.  Also included in this are the circle step drills and the wrist circles- fook sau to wu sau- multiple times, 10-20 each day.  In a few weeks or a few months, you will see the difference in your joint mobility and energy levels in your daily life!  It’s a big payoff for such a gentle, low impact effort!

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The WingTsun™ Stance

The WingTsun™ Stance

The story of simplicity in the Leung Ting WingTsun® system continues with the adduction stance also referred to as the Character Two Adduction Stance.  It is so-named because if you draw a line between the toes and another line between the heels in this stance, this formation is the Chinese character for the number “2.”  In WingTsun, we have just one basic stance compared to some other systems that have as many as eight different stances.  If a practitioner is suddenly attacked on the street, how does one mentally choose which stance to use when a knife or a fist is on its way to your body?  Answer:  You do not.  You might have a micro-second to decide.

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Quote:

“Giving up our own impulses, but following our opponents’ movements as needed.” 

– Leung Ting, 10th Level M.O.C. from the book Wing Tsun Kuen.

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Begin with a little idea

Begin with a little idea

WingTsun™ begins with a set of movements called Siu Nim Tau. This name translates as Little Idea Form. The first third of this set of movements is done slowly. Learning how to move patiently and slowly through a set of movements over several minutes challenges many new students. It is revealing how many people rush through this set. We are trained in our modern world to get things done quickly and only quickly. WingTsun can be a study of opposites, looking at life as fast or slow. The name Little Idea is significant in its deeper meaning. On the surface it means “basic concept.” On a deeper level it means that the student is learning a little idea that is too important to brush off or run past. A farmer would not plant a seed on the surface and then let the wind blow it away or fail to water it. The seed, after all, carries the DNA of the plant. The Siu Nim Tau carries the DNA of the WingTsun system.

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reviewof the movie the prodigal son
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Review of the movie The Prodigal Son

Review of the movie The Prodigal Son

As one of the first theatrical productions to feature Wing Tsun (Wing Chun) as a martial art, the movie won the 1983 Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards and was nominated for best picture and best director. Herewith is my review of the movie The Prodigal Son…

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Your attacker’s force

Your attacker’s force

A key thing to remember if you are ever assaulted is to slow the attacker down. An attacker depends on the element of surprise to be successful and so he will likely act suddenly and fast. One way to do this is to plant the bottom of your foot on his knee cap. If you have rooting, that is, a good plant on the ground with your other foot and a vertical posture, the power of this defending foot is not even as important as the forward pressure. You can slide this foot to either side of his and press. All the while you must keep your hands in a position to protect your upper body. In WingTsun, a kick is always accompanied by a hand technique. Once you have done damage to your attacker’s knee, you can advance forward and rain on his parade with chain punches.

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Wrist circling

Wrist circling

An observer may note that WingTsun™ practitioners repeat the circling of the wrist numerous times during the course of practicing a WingTsun form (kuen). Is this just an obsession? No it is not. The founder must have thought that this was an important practice and it is. In fact it is has been referred to as part of the “chi kung” of WingTsun. It is a strength-building and beneficial exercise to be sure. However like all WingTsun movements, wrist circling has a very practical and extensive number of applications.

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WingTsun Forms

WingTsun Forms

Form.  What is “form?”  Form refers to sets of movements in a martial art that define that system of martial art. In Chinese systems they are called “kuen.” In Japanese systems they are called “kata.” Some Korean styles call them “hyung.” Some martial arts have nine or ten forms and some have fifty or more! Memorizing and perfecting forms takes quite a bit of time. The more forms, the more time. The idea is to perfect the movement, sometimes for its own sake and sometimes to attain certain practical skills. In modern times, the practice of forms has evolved into performance and competition, at least in some martial arts circles. The forms are supposed to represent scenarios that are defense movements against several attackers in logical sequences. The sequences are performed in front of judges who grade on several criteria and winners are determined in a way similar to gymnastics or figure skating.

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