Simultaneous Defense and Offense

WingTsun™ utilizes defense (blocks) and offense (punches, strikes, kicks) at the same moment. The beginning student gets a taste of this training in the first two or three classes. It is difficult to find this kind of mental training anywhere except in such a class, particularly while training for self-defense and fitness.

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Because of the idea of simplicity, Leung Ting WingTsun® affords the beginner the realistic opportunity to become proficient at a whole kung fu system.


WingTsun, which is a southern Chinese kung fu system, is simpler in several ways than Shaolin kung fu. WingTsun has just three forms (kuen, in Chinese kata in Japanese, hyung in Korean). Many different Shaolin systems have anywhere from 9 to 50 different choreographed forms which form the ‘shape’ of the system. A student might learn all of the forms and still not be able to defend or fight effectively since forms are not the path to fighting skill or self-defense effectiveness. Applying the techniques of the forms through practice drills and fighting training is the way. The founders of WingTsun recognized the real purpose of forms which is to build the shape of the system at each level within the student’s muscle memory and quite often to perform a meditation and breathing exercise. The forms also represent an important mental ritual.

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Lat Sau

In the Wing Tsunworld, Lat Sau means “free-hand fighting.”  Lat Sau comes after chi sau.  In other words, chi sau is a bridge toward actual fighting. Chi sau (sticky hands) is an exercise that has combative elements but is not full-on fighting.  Chi sau practice builds sensitivity in the arms or legs to the movements of our attacker.  It enables a defender to counter instantly in response to the mode of attack.  Of course, chi sau creates an artificial situation in order to focus on building the skill of the feeling of our attacker’s movements through arm and leg contact.

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Is WingTsun for Fighting or Improving Yourself?

Laypeople and the public at large normally view the practice of martial arts as something for tough guys or violent people.  They get the message which the media sends loud and clear and the message from the martial arts promoters themselves: Learn to hurt somebody with your bare hands. The message stops there.

We get the question often:  If WingTsun is so good, why doesn’t a WingTsun expert fight in the mixed martial arts matches? The promoters of mixed martial arts like to claim that the ring they fight in is reality fighting.  However if it was reality fighting, it would have been banned years ago by authorities.  Many efforts were made to do this.  The promoters responded by making even more rules, disallowing more techniques as “illegal.” The claims about reality fighting have stuck and the promoters are very successful with this marketing.

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The Surprise Attack

The public is well acquainted with hand-to-hand duals.  In other words two fighters face each other, then one attacks and the other is forced to counter attack.  It could be in a sports venue, it could be two antagonists that want to “duke it out” on the street or in a bar.  However in discussions about fighting and self defense, discussions about incidents involving the surprise attack are much fewer.

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Conquering Your Fear

Lay people always ask me, “Do I have to be in shape, ‘do the splits like Van Damme’ or ‘like to fight’ to be good at kung-fu?” “No,”  I answer.  “You just have to have some intestinal fortitude.” Surprised, they ask why.  The reason is because a student must face his or her own deficiencies every time they come to class. This, and not the hard work, is the most difficult part. This fact is countered by the student’s fierce desire to correct these deficiencies and develop the confidence of knowing that if grabbed, swung at or otherwise threatened, the student can stand his or her ground and dissipate or channel fear into action.

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Go Forward

WingTsun™ Techniques that work well when standing still, work better when the defender advances forward while defending.

The WingTsun defender’s hands are also in a constant state of forward energy through their practice of WingTsun ‘sticky hands.’

In WingTsun training, time and energy are not wasted.  A forward step is not just a step.  The step also functions as a stepping pin, a sweep, a kick, or a kick defense!

Life analogies to forward energy and forward action are abundant in WingTsun . In life, we want to move forward. We can move forward in our career, romance, finances, living environment and personal development.

We can also move forward past difficulties and seemingly endless life road blocks if that is our way.

Such is the mind-set of WingTsun…

Learn a Real Close-Up Martial Art

by Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

The close-range fighting methods of southern China have their own methods and WingTsun™ is significant among those martial arts.  WingTsun fighting techniques operate inside the comfort zone of many people and well inside the comfort zone of many other fighting systems.  At this range, most fighting methods have no defenses. It is assumed by some martial artists that when you are very close to your opponent, one simply switches to knees, elbows and grappling techniques. There is more to the story than just switching distances and weapons.

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Wing Tsun™ Dynamics

Wing Tsun is first learned as a series of fixed positions so that the beginner can become acquainted with the concepts used.  For example, we place many of our #defensive arm positions along the line that connects the chest of two participants.  This line is called the center-line.  It takes some practice to keep the positions constant while standing still.  When this skill is developed in a variety of technique positions, the student can then use them in more #dynamic self-defense applications.  Wing Tsun effectiveness lies in the learning of these basic concepts well and then applying these concepts to much more realistic attacks.

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Sticky hands

In learning #chi sau, the WingTsun™ student learns the most unique and coveted of martial arts skills. Sometimes called “sticky hands,” the student is trained to “stick” to the arms of one’s opponent. In this way a practitioner’s hands can receive important information about your attacker’s balance, position, his telegraphed intentions, his flexibility or rigidity.

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