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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.

Logic can involve dispensing with ego-related decisions. In a fight for survival, it is not a matter of “who is right” but survival itself. To consider who is correct as a fist or knife is headed your way is a serious distraction when things happen in mere seconds. WingTsun is a self-defense system. This represents a big difference when comparing it to a sport where there are restrictions for fair play and safety. WingTsun kung-fu has always been a martial art which focuses on survival and self-defense in its purist form using logic as a motivating force. In olden times, WingTsun was a secret art like some others. The details of the art were not revealed to outsiders. It was designed as a counter to more strength oriented systems that came from the same source. This was particularly true regarding the third form, Biu Tze. The motto was “the Biu Tze form was not to be passed to students outside the family door.”

Logic extends to the reality that some people are bigger and stronger and it is not logical for a weaker person to clash force with a stronger person. Reportedly, WingTsun was supposed to have been invented by a weaker person, a woman or according to the legend, two women. This would explain the dominate concepts in WingTsun which involve no clashing of forces and using an attacker’s force when possible.

Logic also extends to a logical teaching system which has beginning, a middle and advanced levels. One set of material builds on the last. It is a skill-based system. There are no “tricks” that can be taught to a person that will reliably work on anybody and an attacker should never be underestimated in a way that he would fall for a gimmick. Your attacker is likely to counter your tricks unless you have the element of total surprise. Teaching methods that offer “quick recipes” are ineffective. Prearranged sequences are just dances.

If a man or woman is only one person and has only four limbs, can he or she defeat several attackers at the same moment as we see in fantasy martial arts movies? No. It is illogical to think so. WingTsun has a more realistic way to deal with multiple attackers including running to a safe place. It is the logical state of mind that is one of the benefits of WingTsun training.

Why this obsession with self-defense?

Oddly, it isn’t the self-defense per se’ that is the motivating factor when people continue for years training in WingTsun. Rather it is the benefits one obtains in practicing a more controlled way of managing stress, giving clarity to actions, decisions and protecting one’s self in daily life. Self-defense is more than just looking around corners or under one’s bed. It is about walking, driving, climbing stairs, securing finances, and a myriad of other things we tend to take for granted.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg