In order to learn physical structure and, so as not to be too influenced by the attributes of another beginner when learning new material, a new student should get in a good amount of solo practice time.

As with many other martial arts, training by oneself in learning new material is encouraged in the Wing Tsun system. Body structure is very important, as is concentration and taking the time to get one’s mind into a relaxed enough state to experience progress. In order to do this, you must find a quiet place alone with all electronics turned off or placed in a way so as not be heard or seen. A good technique is to get away from home or other too familiar surroundings so that you cannot easily run back to an easy chair! Specify a certain time period for this practice. It could be 20 minutes or 40 minutes or longer.

Solo training does not have to be a sprint or a physical marathon. Part of the training will be mental. You may not be productive for the first 20 minutes while you clear your head from our hectic life.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that intermediate or advanced students do not ignore solo training. It is easy to lose sight of the original techniques and structure that one learned a few years ago and yet remains as important to your current progress. Also if you find yourself ‘stuck’ or stalled, it is important to renew your solo training in earnest. It behooves you to read this article to the end.

It is suggested that students develop their OWN drills and think through them in sequence. Once the sequence has been remembered, walk through the movements slowly like a T’ai Chi student.

Students at these grades must be able to do this kind of self-developed drill over and over, perhaps 6 or 8 times, or more. This will help you get rid of complete dependence on other people to learn about yourself. Your instructor can guide you and explain theories and practice with you but your instructor cannot get inside of you. Solo practice is about you learning about you and what makes you tick. Can you even stand to be alone in a room with just you and your techniques? If you try this solo practice, you will find out.

Intermediate and advanced students should move slowly through self-developed drills. The movements should be slow and relaxed. Anytime you practice by yourself, your practice should be thoughtful but your mind must not be busy. It must be present. It may take a half an hour to get into that mental state. However if you rationally consider that you have spent a certain number of years to get to this point and you do not allow yourself this much, you are then probably wasting your time. Mindless moving through techniques is wasting your time and intelligence. Movement must have a present state of mind – in the moment. This kind of mental state will be needed as you get into more challenging techniques.

 

Your instructor can guide you to the water but only you can drink of it.

 

  • Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

 

We are still closed based on the spike in COVID-19 cases here in Arizona and the governor’s order to close gyms. However you can get a taste for Wing Tsun by taking a virtual Trial Lesson!

New for Wing Tsun Arizona are 30 minute virtual trial lessons. The best bet is to use your lap top to download Zoom software at https://zoom.us/download and make sure your built in microphone and web cam are working. You can also use a cell phone although it will be hard to see your instructor, me, demonstrate the positions. Availability is currently limited to two evenings per week. Go to the Waiver and fill it out first, then go to the Trial Lesson page to sign up!

See you at your virtual lesson!

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

We check the COVID-19 Arizona infection rate often with the Arizona Department of Health Services web site.
When we open, we will have a few procedures in place.
Since early this month, some trends are downward.
Since Arizona just started weekend-only mass testing a short while ago, the statistics from the news media are confusing. Sometimes their fine print is clarifying. The AZDHC site is a better reference.

  • One is social distancing – six feet.
  • We will have the optional use of masks.
  • Another is the use of additional fans at one end of the training area.
  • We will be taking no-touch temperatures for new students and one time only for people starting back.
  • We will have a no-touch policy for this phase of re-opening with areas marked off for a student limit of seven people on the floor. There will be no sticky hands or fighting drills at first that involve a partner. Solo drills only.

Thank you,
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg


I am offering private training for busy professionals by appointment. I understand that some busy people cannot get training in groups. Nor can they make our group class times.

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      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.

Reference:  http://bengtwendel.com/your-teacup-is-full-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.

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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