A Counter for Every Move

For every technique that Wing Tsun has, there is a Wing Tsun counter-technique. Of course Wing Tsun also has counter techniques for non-Wing Tsun techniques. The style does not matter – only the energy and the trajectory. No matter how fast or how sudden and deceptive, the counter to the technique exists, tailor made to the energy of the attack because of ‘sticky hands.’ Responses to close range attacks are triggered by pressure against our arms or legs by touch (not by sight) so that the defense is in real time. Wing Tsun trainees learn to yield to the pressure like a spring and when the pressure is relieved, the spring returns in another form. Tan sau becomes bong sau which becomes man sau which becomes jut sau, etc.

Wing Tsun does not simply counter a strong technique with yet another strong technique that is just faster or more exact. Instead, Wing Tsun uses the tendencies that exist in an attacker against them. These tendencies exist in all people. A Wing Tsun trainee becomes familiar with them and trains to reduce or eliminate these tendencies through one-on-one chi sau practice and repetition.

The majority of attacks on people are irrational or emotional acts which can result in physical and psychological damage to the victim. Wing Tsun uses this irrational, emotional state against the attacker. Regardless of whether the attack is emotional or irrational or for another reason, an attacker normally would not attack another person without believing that they had some type of advantage. That pumped up attitude can be used against them as well.

Examples of ingrained human tendencies for both attackers and defenders:

1) A person’s untrained reactive response to an attack aimed at their face is usually to throw their hands up to cover their face.
2) A person’s ego or wish to be stronger than another person might cause them to push (resist) against a greater force. The greater strength of their opponent is an ‘affront’ to their dignity. Instead, we can borrow their force.
3) A person is often embarrassed at being perceived as ‘weak’ whether it is true or not. Their fear of being weak can cause a person to ‘shrink away’ and their Wing Tsun body structure would break down during an attack. This is tendency can be reduced or eliminated through training so that the trainee can become a competent self defense practitioner. Whether the practitioner is weak or not is not relevant. What is relevant is the person’s ability to move well so that effective self-defense can be achieved. In self defense, a perceived win is not the main objective (like sports). Success is when the defender escapes harm. The above individual may react in a different way but we will leave that to the sociologists and psychologists.
4) A person’s anger might cause them to attack a person without due caution. A person is always more vulnerable in the course of attacking. This is a weak point that can be taken advantage of.
5) A person’s mind locks up when confronted or attacked and they cannot think of a way to defend or counter attack. Then their body also ‘locks’ up and they cannot free themselves from their own ‘prison.’ This can be used against them.
6) Let us say a person has never really learned how to fight; how to punch, how to kick, how to throw or grapple and so on and so they compensate by using a knife, gun or other weapon in attacking another person. They are completely dependent on the weapon. This dependency can be used against them in a self-defense situation.

From this, we can conclude one interesting fact. It is best to keep one’s emotions under control in practice and if attacked. After-all, your attacker does not care if you are happy or sad, but only if you are afraid. Control of your emotions is a counter to his game plan.

The Wing Tsun system knows the human tendencies and resulting weaknesses and how to protect the defender and take advantage of the same thing in the aggressor. These tendencies, emotional roadblocks and hindrances can be gotten rid of through Wing Tsun training so that the body can move freely and without self-judgment.
In order to create a system that had substantial advantages over other very effective martial arts of the time such as the Shaolin arts, the developers of Wing Tsun had to dig deep into the physical and psychological aspects of defending oneself. In this process, training the whole person was the result.

Empty handed martial arts of self defense exist out of the recognition that the best self-defense weapon is one that is available and one’s body weapons are more available than a knife or other weapon in one’s pocket or purse.

Self-discipline exists in other fighting forms as well and sadly, we see the lack of such training sometimes in the news of the day.

© Copyright 2011- 2014 Keith Sonnenberg. No reproduction without permission.