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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What is meant by “internal martial arts?” Generally, it refers to an emphasis on structure, breathing, and dealing with opposing forces to defend against an attack. In Wing Tsun, to strengthen the body, many joint exercises are represented in the three forms to unify the body as a coordinated whole. Structure, angles and in the case of Leung Ting WingTsun®, mobility are paramount issues in dealing with an attack. The development of the elastic qualities of the body are used to facilitate defense when encountering stronger forces. Read more

One can argue, in my estimation, that Wing Tsun is a form of athletics. It is a step-by-step training method to train the muscles to react in a flexible way to defend against attack. It can be a form of athletics without being a sport, however.

To be a sport, it would have to have rules. Wing Tsun does not have anything called a rule.* It does, however, have movement principals. All the fine skills in small muscle groups must be trained. You cannot expect a muscle to react like you want it to without repeated practice.

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We start you, the new student, at the beginning of the Wing Tsun journey learning self-discipline, exercising the body from the inside out, and self-confidence. The beginning movement set is the first form called Siu Nim Tau. It is important that a new student learn the essence of this form first. Siu Nim Tau is translated as “Little Idea Form.” The contains the essential basics that form the rest of the system.

The things you learn later, all have a representative movement within Siu Nim Tau.

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Among martial arts for self defense, Leung Ting WingTsun® is consistent throughout. It is important from a realistic standpoint that a defender have automatic reactions trained into their nervous system so that a surprise attack can be dissolved without planning, thinking about it, or reconsidering, all of which would mean failure to defend oneself. It is also important that a self defense martial art or a self defense course not be a grab bag of ‘solutions’ which are formulaic. There are no formulas to defend in an unknown attack.

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Many programs offer possible solutions to stress and correcting health issues but not all solutions are suitable for all people.  WingTsun™ offers the Siu Nim Tau set which is a series of movements done while standing. Siu Nim Tau is a relatively gentle series of movements, the first section of which is done very slowly. It involves a light meditative focus and a breathing component that can be escalated or left as a gentle, natural breathing. The advantage of this form of stress reduction is that it can be done in most any location. It has a small ‘footprint’ which does not require a large amount of space. It does not require sitting or lying on a floor and is a suitable form of training for an aspiring beginner martial artist. The movements have definite self-defense applications which are taught in subsequent classes.

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There are some excellent supplementary martial arts exercises in the book Wing Tsun Kuen. Get it. Read it. Regardless of how important the bloggers, the media, or the other Wing Chun instructors, the JKD instructors, etc. think arms are in terms of conditioning – and they ARE – the legs are MORE important. One good supplementary exercise for legs for Wing Tsun are the front thrusting kicks while lying on the ground and the kick is directed toward the ceiling at a 90-degree angle to the floor.

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Rest assured, for all you students and other practitioners in your martial arts training at home, you may use equipment or you may do without it. Equipment can be a great help. However, the particular martial arts style or system will have a lot to do with equipment and what kind, if any. Some styles do not believe in using a mirror, for example.

In part one, back in June, we wrote about equipment. This time we will go through the mental aspects of training.

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The martial arts stretching methods we use are built-in to the Leung Ting WingTsun® system. The first stretching practice comes in the upper body stretching in the first form which is called Siu Nim Tau. Wing Tsun™ forms (kuen) are not used for performance purposes. They are intended for the student practitioner to improve him or herself.  

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Martial arts workouts vary with the style or system. Some use calisthenics such as push-ups, running in place, jumping jacks and so on, which are not, strictly speaking, martial arts. Others use rope skipping, bag hitting or use ancient martial arts implements. Martial arts workouts in Wing Tsun classes usually begin immediately with a session of Siu Nim Tau which is Wing Tsun’s first set of movements or a form. Most martial arts have ‘forms’ which are the dictionary of the style or system. Some styles have 9 or more forms. Some sophisticated Chinese styles with histories dating back several hundreds of years have up to fifty forms. Wing Tsun has three forms. The emphasis is on skill building for self- defense and so each movement in the forms have multiple applications.

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