The world of martial arts is a mixture of focused students and practitioners and technique collectors. Our Grandmaster Leung Ting warns his students early on about being “technique collectors.” He created his teaching system out of the Wing Chun he was taught and re-named it Wing Tsun. Instead, he says, it is the skills that are important. This theme is a thread throughout the Yip Man lineages. It is stronger in some lineages than others. It even exists in an oft quoted Bruce Lee saying, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

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Besides just combat and self-defense training, a true martial art can hardly be called an “art” unless there are aspects that involve perfecting your body’s movements. The art of Wing Tsun starts in simple actions based on the first Wing Tsun set of movements. They are called the little idea form. The name refers to the basic ideas presented. The movement have ideas behind them – profound ideas that help you perfect your skills. A representative movement is in the form for everything that comes later.

One set of techniques are hard to illustrate in a photo. They are the breathing method that relieves stress and anxiety. This type of breathing is common to other disciplines. However, in Wing Tsun, the breathing is done during the slow movements of the first third of the form. In one set of movements you have several things going on at one time. This is to prepare you for the training ahead.

You can feel the difference after you have completed the form. It sets you up for a class. It is important to dispel any stress and anxiety you may feel at the beginning of a class so that you can learn a certain number of abstract ideas and perform well. This is a practice you will want  to incorporate into your daily regimen and you might even use the breathing ideas in your daily tasks.

Give us a call or send us an e-mail if you would like to schedule a trial class. To your health and wellness.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg


You may attend a variety of martial arts schools these days. In some
towns and cities, the schools are on every block. However, relatively few teach
the higher Chinese skills on a routine basis. Usually very advanced skill-training
goes to only the most senior black-belt students. Most of the intermediate training
involves random sparring and forms. None of those long-range styles teach the
sticky hands handed down to them from Yip Man. In Leung Ting WingTsun®, sticky
hands is an intermediate skill.

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Our Wing Tsun training is truly one of the traditional, non-traditional martial arts. Inside Wing Tsun’s traditional training, lies the applications for common attacks. Most martial arts are learned by training with other students in the same martial art. However Wing Tsun instructors long ago realized that Wing Tsun, were it to be applied for real, would be applied against non-Wing Tsun attackers of every shape, size and stripe.

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Training the arms in WingTsun is not the same as weight training. We will explain the training methods in a minute but first, some explanations:

The ultimate purpose of arm training in WingTsun is to deliver a serious and disabling strike to a vital area of a serious attacker as a self-defense method. To do this, the aim is to develop flexibility, reactivity, control, explosive power and sticky energy. The benefits are fast hand speed, ability to intercept oncoming attacks to the face or body, develop spacial relationships, precision hand movements, reaction time increased behind the wheel of a car, catch falling objects out of the air, react quickly to all manner of unpredictable emergencies, hands stay flexible into old age as long as the practice continues.

The training methods are:

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Grandmaster Leung Ting, has said that WingTsun™ is not a ‘style’ but a system. All the parts work together without contradiction. Carried further, Wing Tsun is a concept. It is a system not weighted down by thousands of techniques grouped together from several disciplines, the majority of which are unrelated as to concepts. They would be impossible to put together and used with any degree of speed or reliability. In a real self-defense situation, a defender must react spontaneously according to the moment. There certainly is not any time to re-think that anti-grapple or that kick you just learned the way it was done in class. You must react according to the concept rather than the choreography. After all, your attacker doesn’t know this movement and he doesn’t care! Self-defense that is available is the most useful.

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Once a layperson who has an interest in martial arts also becomes acquainted with Wing Tsun (or wing chun) techniques, the fascination often begins. Due partly to online videos, tons of chatter, posts, blogs, and YouTube stars, many “wing chun fans” become obsessed. All the internet surfer wants to do is be like the guy in the videos or the star of the movie about Yip Man. It is a shame that the obsession doesn’t include an obsession with the ‘secret’ of Wing Tsun.

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Two methods of evading an attack using Wing Tsun methods will be described here. Evading an attack in the martial art of Wing Tsun™ involves movement in the most economical way. Wing Tsun uses the smallest movements possible. The first method involves a compact turning out of the path of the attack. Only one foot is required to make the turn. It might be more accurate to call this a shift. A practitioner of Wing Tsun™ turns on the center of the foot. To train this skill, you must be sure that both the toe and the heel turn at the same rate and angle. As you do this, 100% of your body weight must shift to one leg. The back remains straight with gravity. Your back must not lean back. The turn is normally at least 45 degrees but can be as much as 90 degrees. The non-weighted leg remains on the floor with light pressure but NO weight!

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The legendary founder of Wing Tsun is supposed to have analyzed the techniques of her native martial art, Shaolin and found it impractical to learn and impractical to use in a real encounter against her stronger male adversaries. She reduced the repeated movements in the forms and reduced the total number of choreographed forms. It is doubtful that the full transformation in developing her own method took place in one generation. She taught another female, a teenager named Yim Wing Tsun and it was passed among a series of family members and “Red Boat” opera performers over a 250-year history.

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The Siu Nim Tau is the first set of movements of Wing Tsun kungfu. The literal translation is the “Little Idea Form.” The first section of the form is done slowly. We are told by our instructors that doing it daily is important and the slower the better. The form has multiple benefits including a deep breathing subset which has a de-stressing benefit.

After you perform the Siu Nim Tau, is that the end of it? Are there not lessons we can gain from this form, this practice?

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