I just saw Master Z, Ip Man Legacy which is set in the same time period of the late 40s and early 50s, Hong Kong, as the Ip Man movies. The character from Ip Man 3, Cheung Tin Chi, who fought Ip Man is back in this movie. It is played well by Max Zhang. Cheung Tin Chi ostensibly left the martial arts world only to become involved in combating a local drug syndicate. Michelle Yeoh who has had a more and more distinguished acting career in movies and televison – Wing Chun, Star Trek Discovery, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – shows up in this movie as the head of the drug syndicate.

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Some schools that teach a mixture of styles of martial arts may begin by showing you the basic moves in more than one fighting style with no basic start of understandable concepts. Oh they might explain how this set of techniques is used and why but that hardly explains how you, the tall guy, for example, are supposed to deal with your opponent who is a more athletic guy with a bigger build. In addition, those moves are a few steps more advanced from where you should be. They do it as a sales gimmick to keep you interested. Sounds fine, you say. It is not fine. Every person, no matter how talented, requires repetitive practice of a technique in isolation before they can put it together with footwork, follow-ups, and other relevant details. Your ability to absorb details that make success possible with those techniques are not going to be ingrained into your “muscle memory.”

An enemy or a ring fighting opponent is going to try to disguise their intentions should they initiate an attack. To use the techniques you have learned, those techniques need to be available to use instantly without pre-thinking. In addition, your own skills need to be flexible enough to change in a nano-second. This requires some mental training as well. Some beginners may have the mindlock of indecision, fear, or stubbornness born of loyalty to what you trained on last night. If you have ever been in a fight, you know that you cannot pre-plan anything about such an encounter. Wing Tsun teaches you to “give up” that favorite technique or your pride in your strength if it isn’t working.

It is important to learn a system of movement that has flexibility. That sounds fine but what real flexibility is, is the ability to move like rubber and cling to an attacker’s limbs to guide them away from their target or you moving away with rapid footwork while counterattacking at the same time. You will not need to see an attack and then try an intercept it in mid-air. This is an error-prone strategy. True sticky hands skills are the solution to this missing element in most fighting styles. It is part of what you will learn at Wing Tsun Arizona.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

One aspect of the self-defense martial art of Wing Tsun (Yip Man lineage) that may not be well known are the advanced motor skills learned throughout one’s body in the training. The ability to move two hands at the same time doing different movements is just the start. Beyond this are the sticky hands skills,

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A running argument on the internet goes something like this: Is Wing Chun practical? Wing Chun is no good in a street fight. MMA fights prove Wing Chun is not practical. False.

Possibly an individual that has the incorrect mindset is no good in a street fight. The art is above average and maybe the best for street self-defense.

MMA fights do not prove that a martial art lacks a practical application for the street since streets fights are totally unlike a ring fight that has rules, time-limits, limits on legal targets and techniques. Of course, any fighting practice prepares a student in certain areas of person-to-person combat.

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You can buy all the self-help books you want. You can read all the materials and dream and dream, but nothing is going to happen until you commit to a better life. Wing Tsun training can be a great place to start.

Ancient martial arts are not outdated for the human body and spirit. Certainly, new training methods and new circumstances can improve upon fighting and self-defense effectiveness. However ancient ideas are still very valid based on hundreds of years of trial and error and developed in a time without technology. Fortunately for us, Wing Tsun has kept up with modern, urban applications.

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Long ago, masters of martial arts recognized that if you are suddenly attacked by a person unknown to you, the old martial arts motto “Know Your Enemy,” has lost some relevance. After all, you do not know this person. How do you deal with this event if you cannot know how he moves, thinks, or his real intent?

No fighting method is ever fool proof but sticky hands (chi sau), immediately allows you to tie into your attacker’s balance, flexibility, strength, direction of power, and taken together, gives you clues as to whether the attacker has skills, all in a millisecond.

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I think the simple answer is yes.  Traditional training, if it also involves conditioning, can be a great start toward training for ring fights and cross training in other arts if your goal is the octagon type of fights we see today. Traditional martial arts offer basic principals of the individual style that could be overlooked in a mixed martial arts setting in the interest of “getting through it” so you can move on to another martial art.

At first, you, as the beginning student cannot usually understand why these basic movements are so important unless you have had good grounding in another traditional martial art. The truth is, the basics also train the smaller muscle groups that, again, are overlooked in faster training methods. They can strengthen and condition joints that work to prevent injury and increase efficiency.

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Our classes address a surprise attack if you are grabbed by somebody attempting to put you into a headlock.  Of course there is a whole series of ideas against grabs that can be addressed.  Many martial art styles have pre-arranged scenarios for a whole variety of attacks.  Unfortunately none of those scenarios is going to be what happens to you in an attack.  It is impossible to know this ahead of time!  That is why we have to know and practice ‘principals’ that can be applied at will in any situation.

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You might say that anybody that takes a martial arts class is a martial artist. Then again, you could say that anybody that is climbing up through the ranks should be classified as a martial artist.

I ask the question because many people that are in a martial arts class have never thought about it before. It is possible they A) do not think of themselves as a martial artist or B) do not know specifically what constitutes the title of “martial artist.”

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I might go out on a limb and say that most people who want to get into a program involving fitness training, be it martial arts, personal trainer, 24-hour gyms, and anything else, do not know where to start and how to keep going. The tendency I see is that many people have been sedentary for so long, they do not know how far out of shape they are. When they start out, they are thrown for a loop. Their whole body is sore, perhaps for a week.

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