A running argument on the internet goes something like this: Is Wing Chun practical? Wing Chun is no good in a street fight. MMA fights prove Wing Chun is not practical. False.

Possibly an individual that has the incorrect mindset is no good in a street fight. The art is above average and maybe the best for street self-defense.

MMA fights do not prove that a martial art lacks a practical application for the street since streets fights are totally unlike a ring fight that has rules, time-limits, limits on legal targets and techniques. Of course, any fighting practice prepares a student in certain areas of person-to-person combat.

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Long ago, masters of martial arts recognized that if you are suddenly attacked by a person unknown to you, the old martial arts motto “Know Your Enemy,” has lost some relevance. After all, you do not know this person. How do you deal with this event if you cannot know how he moves, thinks, or his real intent?

No fighting method is ever fool proof but sticky hands (chi sau), immediately allows you to tie into your attacker’s balance, flexibility, strength, direction of power, and taken together, gives you clues as to whether the attacker has skills, all in a millisecond.

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Our classes address a surprise attack if you are grabbed by somebody attempting to put you into a headlock.  Of course there is a whole series of ideas against grabs that can be addressed.  Many martial art styles have pre-arranged scenarios for a whole variety of attacks.  Unfortunately none of those scenarios is going to be what happens to you in an attack.  It is impossible to know this ahead of time!  That is why we have to know and practice ‘principals’ that can be applied at will in any situation.

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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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Wing Tsun Arizona will be offering special self-defense programs in the next few months in Gilbert, Arizona and surrounding communities. Stay tuned by subscribing to our updates and blogs by filling in the blanks at the bottom of the NEWS page.

Our Wing Tsun self-defense martial art system, a Wing Chun teaching method, is the most effective and efficient system, having been an off-shoot of the more complicated Shaolin martial arts. Our Grandmaster, Leung Ting, was a closed-door student of late grandmaster Yip Man.

We are part of a network of Wing Chun schools spanning the globe as part of the IWTA based in Hong Kong.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg


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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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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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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From the first few Wing Tsun lessons, you learn to move both hands at the same time, doing different tasks. We know that if you try to defend first, then attack, it is much too late. Your opponent’s next attack is already on the way! It is completely unrealistic to consider the defend-then-attack scenario. We see this all the time in real fights. Quite often the combatants attack at the same time. Often, both miss in landing their first attacks.

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Wing Tsun is an old martial art, the creator(s) of which which reduced the number of movements of the old Shaolin systems to create a new system. Relatively fewer representative techniques remain within Wing Tsun forms to preserve them and allow you, a practitioner, to access the roots and intentions of the founders. Unlike other arts of that era, however, Wing Tsun became an urban self-defense system with applications highly relevant for today.

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