Most schools are taking steps to ward off any possible illness with antiseptic wipes, hand-sanitizers, sprays, and attention to simple measures like cleaning door knobs, handles, faucets, etc. We cannot know if a student has picked up a virus on a surface and so I have asked my students to use the hand-sanitizer at the entrance when you come into the school on your arms and hands. There is also one on my desk and another in the rest room. We have and use the antiseptic wipes to clean surfaces, doorknobs, etc. We need everybody’s help. even guests. Thank you for your attention!
Sifu Keith Sonnenberg
Maybe you have worked to get ahead in learning another martial art and maybe you regularly passed rank tests and moved up the ladder. However, maybe you had an uneasy feeling that you have not learned the fundamentals of the art. There may not be a self-defense application. Perhaps you cannot conceive of how these movements can work in a surprise attack, in an enclosed space, or with obstructions.
None of this is true in learning Leung Ting Wing Tsun.
A long time ago, Leung Ting took his training in the Yip Man lineage and created a teaching program that would be a step-by-step, repeatable program, one step building on the last. This program has spread around the world in over 60 countries. Wing Tsun is a true martial art, not a sport. You will learn to coordinate hands and feet, posture, strengthen and stretch body and mind, and build your confidence. At the same time, your individuality is addressed. Not everybody is built the same. Not everybody has the same experience or background. This is taken into consideration as well.
Leung Ting’s Wing Tsun is the only self-defense martial art I have seen that has a tangible method to use an attacker’s force and a tangible way to learn it. This broadens its application for weaker, smaller individuals. At the same time, we have traditional training for exertion of power and balance the training for individual skills.
Thank you for reading…
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg
To “empty one’s cup” is a Zen philosophy phrase which means to get rid of preconceived ideas about what you think the martial art of Wing Tsun will be and move aside ideas that you have gained from another martial art. If your head is full of fixed ideas about other martial arts, you will have to “empty your cup” while you learn this new set of concepts. Only in this way can you learn it and appreciate the differences and what it will mean to you and your training. If you would like to study with us and you come from another martial art, particularly if it is from a different lineage of Yip Man or a different version of Wing Chun, you will have to empty your cup.
Sifu Keith Sonnenberg
Learning several martial arts simultaneously, all with different concepts and ideas regarding fighting and self-defense must be very confusing for a beginner. Learning a “deflecting hand,” for example, out of the context of its source art does not allow the student to understand its use.
Many schools claim to teach students reality fighting. How real can it be unless they travel to the nearest dark alley complete with gravel, weeds, pallets, etc.? Real fighting means contact. Some contact is important to give a student a real sense of danger. Sometimes this danger is necessary so that the you will be sure to defend.
There is truth to the use of contact that is advocated by some but not the whole truth. Nobody can know what kind of opponent you will face in real life. You might have to “cheat” to save yourself from disabling bodily harm or death. In addition, you cannot TRULY simulate a street fight very easily without seriously hurting somebody for no reason. If your opponent is not hurt as in a pretend fight, he will continue to attack. This is not what you want in a reality fight.
Wing Tsun is designed for when the “chips are down;” stop your attacker at all costs. The concept in Wing Tsun is to be direct. Fakes are regarded as real attacks. If you are in fear for your safety or your life, the direct approach is preferred. This is all necessary in a real fight for your safety and your life when you are attacked without provocation. If you do not know your opponent on the street, in a bar, in an elevator, stair well, parking garage, etc., these are necessary considerations.
Your odds of being injured in training for full contact or strenuous grappling sessions go up tremendously depending on the duration of the fights, the level of use of contact gear or not, and other factors. This is particularly true if conflicting types of movement are involved from different styles being taught. It is one thing for very experienced fighters use it in a ring fight. It is quite another for beginners or even intermediate students in a gym to partake when they are paired up.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg
Some sports require a tough, if not an iron body, to withstand the level of punishment in multiple round matches or long sparring sessions. Conventional training might include weight training, abdominal exercise and medicine ball hits to the abdomen. Sometimes the training includes soaking the hands in brine (saltwater solution) to toughen the skin. This can also be a part of certain types of martial arts hand conditioning.
If a new student joins a boxing academy or class or a mixed martial arts academy or class, it might be worth investigating how much time their trainers will spend on your physical training before they turn you loose on the heavy bag and actual ring fighting. In addition, a trainer will have to tape your hands prior to that kind of use. These precautions can save you a broken hand. Simply put, an impatient new student might decide to hit a bag or a training device long before they are ready. If it happens to you, you won’t be the first, but it might require a cast for broken hand or wrist bones.
The best way to mitigate a hand injury is internal conditioning. Internal conditioning is essentially, strengthening the bones and soft tissues of the hands or the parts of the body involved in taking hits. The Chinese martial arts systems have conditioning as part of or an optional part of their curriculums. The most basic is wall bag training starting after a student masters the air punching. The step-by-step method is slower and requires more patience. However, in a self-defense situation, you will not have your hands taped and you will not have your gloves.
Other forms of body toughening are available from some instructions in some locations around the U.S., Europe and Asia. There is Iron Palm training, Iron Body Training. These are variations of exercise, breathing methods, and bag hitting along with Chinese liniment application. The generic name for Chinese martial arts liniment is Dit Dar Jow. The translation is Iron Hit Wine. It was supposedly named for the bags that were filled with iron fillings or the open kettle that was filled with heated iron filings that a practitioner would strike or stab their fingers into for the external style of training. Iron filings were the last material used in the final stages of developing an extremely tough hand. The Wine was the eighty-proof drinking alcohol that was used as a base in the herbal solution. The herbal formula was usually a family secret and were soaked in wine or a vodka-like alcohol. The Dit Dar Jow is available today at several online outlets.
Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg
There are a lot of videos on the internet that go on and on about proper techniques and what works in a fight and what doesn’t. Some make very proper arguments about strength training and techniques training and how important strength is. Some criticize the soft arts like tai chi and aikido about their insistence on not using strength to win. One such person objected for a long dissertation about those who insist that some instructors insist that strength should not be used. Most of these talking heads speak from the sport-context in which they were raised and later taught. Every match has rules, unlike street attacks. Certain gloves are often worn, and soft targets are off limits for good reason. Matches are often fought on a raised platform with ropes. Competitors must fight. They are not allowed to run. On the street, a weak, non-athletic defender might have to “cheat” to save their life. This usually would mean kicking low (as in Wing Tsun), poking the eyes, biting, striking soft targets like the throat and other neck targets. There is more to the story. Logic might dictate that the stronger opponent will win in a fight but that does not have to be the case. Excellent technique can make the difference. Clashing with an attacker’s strength is usually not a good use of energy or strategy. In Wing Tsun and in some other arts, an attacker’s strength can be used against them. This is routine in some wrestling systems. Persons objecting to instruction that strength should not be used may have heard wrong or the instructor does not understand how to get their point across. Without some measure of strength, the persons objecting would be correct…you would not be able to stand up. However, I have not heard these persons talk about footwork and how it makes the difference in one’s ability to use an attacker’s strength rather than clash or be defeated by it. They probably do not know how footwork comes into play when borrowing attacker’s force! Incredibly, I even saw one video that spoke about how important footwork is and then never showed the feet in his video! The important footwork of Leung Ting WingTsun® is, after all, one of the “secrets” of the Wing Tsun system that Great Grandmaster Leung Ting has taught. It is all well and good to teach and explain Wing Tsun’s footwork, but a student must practice it in coordination with their hand technique. Without practice, one can never master anything. One of the challenges of learning how to avoid clashing with greater forces is to “give up your strength,” or “abandon the strength,” as GGM Leung Ting put it in one of his books. This is a skill. You must abandon, not the strength itself but your insistence on using your supposedly greater strength in beating an attacker. Most people are not aware that they are not “getting rid of their own force” so they can borrow it. This is a contest within yourself, of your ego. Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg
Get a Trial Lesson for two people at a two-for-one price. Two persons = $25.00. Times available are Wednesday evenings in January. Go to our trial lesson page and fill out the form for an appointment. We will contact you shortly.
Offer extended to April 30, 2020.
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We have all seen how some high school students play football or try out for track or gymnastics and make the team and others just cannot make the cut. The first set of students are picked because they are naturally coordinated. They did not have much time to get that way in one or two years of junior high school. The second set, the rest of us must practice hard to get someplace. It might be difficult on your ego to see the talented rise to fame, seemingly with ease. If it’s any comfort, the talented also must work – hard.
If we graduate high school without making the cuts for athletic competition, well that is life. After graduating from school, there are fewer chances to get on an athletic team unless you take up martial arts.
If you study martial arts, sometimes the same thing occurs. The talented students seem to rise to the top quickly. Of course, this should be no reason to quit. On the contrary, you should maintain your pace. Quitting means you lose the valuable time in precise training that most people never try, and the benefits are often unexpected.
History is full of examples of talented practitioners rising quickly and giving rise to jealousy in the ranks. The one that comes to my mind is our Grandmaster Leung Ting. He was a very talented student of Sifu Leung Sheung. Sifu Leung Sheung was the first Hong Kong student of late Grandmaster Yip Man. The young Leung Ting studied every day for several hours. He was present so often in Sifu Leung Sheung’s school, Sheung became irritable upon seeing him every time he turned around! *
Later, one of Leung Ting’s uncles arranged for him to meet the late Grandmaster Yip Man whereupon Leung Ting became a private student of Yip Man. *
After his training under the late Grandmaster, Leung Ting created a teaching system of his own to better maintain the consistent quality of his system and renamed what he had learned as “Wing Tsun,” instead of the more common terms being used at that time of “Wing Chun” or “Ving Tsun.” From his experience under the Grandmaster Yip Man, he discovered how easily the concepts and techniques could be misunderstood or interpreted differently.
There were many difficulties in maintaining relationships with others in the Yip Man clan. His renaming would put his teaching system in a different category. He would become the grandmaster of his own system, not affiliated with the others. Literally Grandmaster is like being the Grandfather, the master’s master.
Even talented people must work hard if they are going to be of a high standard. Jealousy has no place in martial arts training. Traditional martial arts are an inner effort. We train the inside, our inner physical, mental and emotional health.
Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg
*Reference book “Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun” https://wle.com/collections/books/products/roots-and-branches-of-wing-tsun
**Interview with Sifu Wang Kiu http://www.dwto.dk/magazine/no6/Data/p05.html
Wing Tsun AZ
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