About Wing Tsun
The art of Wing Tsun begins with the ‘little idea.’ First, the shortest distance between two points is a straight-line.
Unless you are a gifted athlete, this is the best way to make your techniques faster.
Wing Tsun kung fu is a serious martial art for self improvement and self defense. Advance yourself as a person in important ways. Overcome the cell phone – computer monitor syndrome that afflicts nearly everybody today. Several aspects of the training have benefits for physical and mental problems that are otherwise ignored in our sedentary society.
Our WingTsun™ martial arts classes in Gilbert and Scottsdale, Arizona teach the art of Wing Tsun, a southern Chinese kung fu method, Yip Man Lineage. We are part of the largest Wing Chun organization – the International WingTsun™ Association. We break the mold of your usual type of martial arts class. Individual attention is part of the instruction instead of the ‘mass teaching,’ military style of larger schools. It is a close-range punching, striking, low kicking and anti-grappling system that develops highly evolved “sticky hands” skills in all students that persevere. It is a superb system of self-defense. Certain martial arts from southern China and Okinawa are probably related to it because of certain similarities but nobody knows for sure. The legend says that it was invented by a female monk from the Shaolin monastery. In the 20th century, Bruce Lee studied from Yip Man. There is no ‘sport’ application. Students learn exacting self-defense skills and mastery of the inner self, mentally and physically. Head instructor, Sifu Keith Sonnenberg, has 34 years experience teaching the Leung Ting WingTsun® system of the Yip Man Lineage. We teach three classes per week of Wing Tsun in Gilbert in the evenings and two classes per week in the early mornings. You can read more about Wing Tsun on our NEWS section which has an ongoing list of informative blogs.
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Wing Tsun Fighting
Sparring, basically, has the same meaning in almost all martial arts, martial sports, and combat sports such as boxing and Muay Thai. Wing Tsun is different however. In fact, it might not meet the definition in Wing Tsun.
In the above martial arts and sports, two combatants face off with each other. They generally walk around each other waiting for a good moment to attack. Usually a fighter is looking for an opening or a weak moment on the part of their sparring partner to attack.
Sparring is usually defined as a fighting practice. In the context of martial arts or sports like boxing and Muay Thai, it prepares a student or trainee for more serious fights. Generally, it is a give and take event, one partner attacks and the other defends, hoping to score points, then the rolls reverse. The more aggressive the combatants, the less the ‘rule’ is followed. Usually there are rules which confine the target areas to the torso and occasionally to the face but not the back of the head, throat, eyes, genitals, leg areas, ankles and other areas which are recommended for self-defense situations. Matches can last several rounds. Rounds can last 1 – 3 minutes. In events with medals or trophies, the match will have judges with points being scored according to a set of rules.
Wing Tsun’s focus is real life self-defense situations where there are no rules. Often protective equipment is necessary (of a different kind) because of different target areas. In real-life there must be a winner and a loser. The fight cannot last too long or it would endanger the defender. Therefore, Wing Tsun ‘sparring’ is really like a short fight with a beginning, a middle and an end. More targets are used to train for self-defense, mixed with grapples, knees, elbows, shoulders, and aiming at targets like the legs, and, in light contact matches, all head and leg areas with appropriate gear.
Since the Wing Tsun ‘short fight’ or lat sau is still fighting practice and since we are not physically on the street, we often wear protective gear, we do not throw objects and do not play by all the street ‘rules’ (as in no rules), injuries are rare.
The emphasis in Wing Tsun lat sau is toward real self-defense. More tools and more targets are used while applying the lessons learned in sticky hands and fighting drills.
What is Wing Tsun?
Wing Tsun is a step-by-step martial arts training program logically designed from beginning to advanced stages.
It is a close-range martial art designed for self-defense. It applies shorter techniques that start closer to an attacker in order that they reach the target quicker. Legend says it was invented by a woman in 17th century China. She taught her female student for whom the art was named. Other stories say that it was the martial art of Chinese secret societies in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. They developed it as a way to protect themselves from the government’s well-trained soldiers skilled in Shaolin martial arts. The most interesting part of Wing Tsun may be how truly effective the beginning techniques are in common self-defense situations. Just the straight-line thrusting punch takes care of a great many situations that involve curved paths to their targets. Grabs and arcing punches come to mind. They are defeated by Wing Tsun’s straight-line techniques.
We encourage you to look at and read the many News and Blog entries on this site to get a better idea what Wing Tsun is. In lieu of that, briefly, Wing Tsun is a way of practical and economical movement and logical thinking that can transform your life. Millions of people in the western world have made these eastern practices a way of life. As with many things, the benefits one can expect from Wing Tsun depend heavily on the individual’s dedication to the idea, the learning and the mental and physical training. Learning self-defense, coordination and becoming more fit are benefits that come along with the major benefit which is the holistic way it can positively affect one’s self-image and approach to living.
Changes seldom come immediately in life. The skills you learn in WingTsun take time to fully become part of you. Prospective students should consider the fact that most martial arts are a journey and it is the journey, not the destination that is the most important.
One of the major differences between the WingTsun approach and other martial arts is the prearranged sequence of movement practices in other martial arts. WingTsun does not rely on them but rather progresses out of practice drills into “free application at will.” An attacker will not use the same techniques that you learned in a practice drill and therefore memorizing a great number of rote movement sequences will not move a student with no skills to great skills in dealing with techniques by an attacker. Instead, a WingTsun practitioner will train the reactions of his or her limbs based on the pressure against them in real time and use that energy against the attacker. This is accomplished mostly through chi sau training (sticky hands).
Sifu Leung Ting was the first instructor to use the spelling Wing Tsun in Hong Kong in the 1970s when naming the martial art he learned from late Grandmaster Yip Man.
What Wing Tsun is Not
Wing Tsun is not a ‘made-up’ martial art. It has an authentic lineage from Yip Man. Wing Tsun, Yip Man lineage, has a completely different idea for self-defense than the other common martial arts styles. We are used to getting a skeptical reaction to these words. Many martial arts claim they teach a small person to use the power of a larger attacker against them but the truth is, most arts that claim to teach this do not have the kind of technique or the instruction necessary to do this. In addition, your learning chi sau (sticky hands ) requires patience on your part but it will be rewarded. Wing Tsun looks at self-defense objectively. In order to deal with attacks coming at a defender, a point of contact is important so that a defender can evade, deflect or dissolve an attack as soon as it begins rather than wait until one’s eyes can perceive it and it is already a few inches away!
The type of equipment used is quite different from that found in the big commercial martial arts schools because Wing Tsun really is different than those martial arts and the equipment they use serves no effective purpose in Wing Tsun.
Who can learn Wing Tsun?
Anybody can learn Wing Tsun as long as the individual sticks with the training and sticks with the number of training periods per week that they have committed to. However our class attracts mostly those aged 18-50 and that is the majority makeup of the classes. Wing Tsun consists of far more partner drills and fight practice than many other arts especially when you have progressed three to four ranks. We accept students as young as 14 years of age.
Some of the best candidates are those with previous martial arts training since WingTsun™ can be considered high concept. WingTsun was sought out in the past by experts from other systems who were looking for a martial art with more advanced concepts and were willing to start at the beginning with an “empty cup” – in other words forget the previous training so as to accept a new ‘little idea.’ Those without previous martial art experience can also learn WingTsun but will sometimes learn at a slower pace. It is important to commit to no fewer than two classes per week or more. Similar to any other field, lost momentum usually cannot be made up.
Some martial arts instructors like to classify students according to their body build to determine which style they should study. The goal in WingTsun is to develop core leg strength and flexibility and upper body flexibility. Strong core strength in the legs and the presence of slender and flexible upper body muscles greatly assists in learning Wing Tsun. Poor physical condition greatly slows progress in any physical endeavor and Wing Tsun is no exception.
If you are in already in good physical condition and are in reasonably good health, you can enhance your overall fitness and health as well as gaining unparalleled self-defense skills with Wing Tsun martial arts training. If you have been waiting for something to come along to give you instant gratification however, Wing Tsun is not that thing. A real martial art cannot give you that because it takes time for the mind and body to load into it all the mind body connections in order to understand the teaching. If, however, you want the learning experience of a true martial art, Wing Tsun is it.