The manual for training for full-contact fights with Wing Tsun has been available for over 30 years. It is called Dynamic Wing Tsun Kung Fu by Grandmaster Leung Ting. The book is, in part, a basic book for those interested in fighting applications and part training manual for winning a full contact ring fight. The book includes photos and short descriptions of 12 different fighters that won their fights in such countries as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Denmark and Yugoslavia in the early years of Grandmaster Leung Tings’s teaching career.
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.”
Many people wonder how to make movements automatic and reactive in developing their martial arts skills. I can understand disappointment if you practice all your basics regularly on your own and see little if any results. Besides increasing the repetitions, how are martial arts skills built?
I will speak for Wing Tsun Kungfu since it is the martial art that I have spent the most time with. However, I believe it is the same with other arts as I spent years in Korean karate and Filipino Escrima. One should think about the intent of the movements.
Many a Wing Tsun / Wing Chun / Ving Tsun student and lay person has read and studied the story of the origins of Wing Tsun. They have heard of the Buddhist elder, Ng Mui who was a Siu Lam (Shaolin) kung fu expert. The story goes that she escaped the burning of the Siu Lam Monastery by Ching soldiers along with four others each of whom gave rise to various kung fu styles that exist today. Ng Mui eventually taught another female, a teenager named Yim Wing Tsun. The teenager eventually married her betrothed. Her husband decided that this secret style should be named after her. Wing Tsun was eventually passed down in a narrow family line until the present day. Read more
Timing is one of the most crucial aspects for successful techniques in the martial arts. In a punch performed in the air, for example, letting the power leave your fist too soon means that the power is gone before it reaches the target. Not allowing the power to be released until after you hit the target might mean that you hurt your fist on the target. There would be no power there to reinforce the punch. If one’s defending arm has not reached the correct position at the correct moment, you could be hit. This is, of course, not a terrible problem in the training hall but it could be in a real self-defense situation!
The difference between Wing Tsun and other martial arts is not always obvious. Many of the martial arts that come from the so-called Shaolin root have a basic set of movements called a “form” which is a pattern of hand movements and steps which might be compared to a dance. However, the techniques have fighting applications. The principals are normally how the style defends and attacks, how to get power, how to turn and fight and so on.
Wing Tsun does have a basic form called Siu Nim Tau. Its meaning is “Little Idea Form.” The techniques in the form teach very basic ideas such as the “Character Sun Thrusting Punch” and the three seed techniques, tan sau, fook sau and bong sau plus two more sections of techniques totaling 108 points.
Sparring, basically has the same meaning in almost all martial arts, martial sports, and combat sports such as boxing and Muay Thai. Wing Tsun is different however. In fact, it might not meet the definition in Wing Tsun.
In the above martial arts and sports, two combatants face off with each other. They generally walk around each other waiting for a good moment to attack. Usually a fighter is looking for an opening or a weak moment on the part of their sparring partner to attack.
Wing Tsun is a concept-oriented martial art. Although Wing Tsun has its very own economical techniques that have a certain structure designed to cut off the long way taken by another fighter or attacker, many of the principals can and often have been used by other styles!
The idea of Wing Tsun is very specific for self-defense. There is no provision for power as the primary emphasis in doing techniques and there is no provision to prolong the fight. Rather we teach the skill of using an attacker’s power to end the fight quickly. That is not to say that Wing Tsun does not consider power as important. Students are instructed to use the three-section wall bag to build power in the punches and kicks.
The martial art techniques used by Wing Tsun practitioners are economical in movement. They are geared toward self-defense and stopping an attacker. Wing Tsun has always been a self-defense system and so the techniques are strictly practical in real situations. There is no sport application. There is a lot of talk about sparring in various internet articles, expounding on the benefits. Certainly, there must be some interaction and realistic application training to be an effective training. Sparring offers this kind of effective training. Without it, how does one respond if the student does not know the natural of the attack? A student must learn how to react, should he or she see a technique coming and how to respond in a fast and tense exchange.
Wing Tsun Tools
Wing Tsun tools are just the hand formations and methods one can draw from for self-defense. The general public may think that Wing Tsun (or Wing Chun) has fewer tools with which to defend compared with other systems which sometimes try to include every technique known from other martial arts systems in the hope that it will make their martial art school’s teachings better or more complete. However each tool in Wing Tsun has many uses. The idea that Wing Tsun (or Wing Chun) is limited to chain punching or limited to chi sau exercises is a false idea fueled by the mutual fascination of the public and the media in the most visually unique aspects of Wing Tsun, namely the sticky hands and the wooden dummy.
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