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

In learning how to defend yourself, it seems counter-intuitive to get injured on a regular basis when you are studying a self-defense system. You are trying to AVOID being injured if you are attacked! Injuries interfere with your advancement and continued training. Naturally the risk of injuries cannot be avoided completely. However, they can be minimized.

It so happens that arts involving primarily grappling and throws have a high incidence of injuries, probably due to their focus on falls and joint locking and the pressure applied on the joints. If you plan on a long career in martial arts, constant injuries could cause your career to end prematurely. If you are being hit in the head daily or weekly, even with a gloved fist, we have all heard of the stats on boxing and football regarding hits to the head over a period of years. The martial arts injury statistics at the link for The Sport Journal below are interesting and might surprise you.

Wing Tsun kung-fu covers the gamut of techniques like punching, kicking, knees, arms, legs, elbows, throws and anti-grappling or said a different way, counters to grabs and grappling. However, the emphasis in Wing Tsun is on the first few seconds of an attack. A smaller person or a non-athlete would like to end this fight as soon as possible. Longer encounters can result in more opportunities for your attacker to overwhelm you.

Injury statistics on a wide variety of martial arts are available at this link at The Sport Journal page: https://thesportjournal.org/article/comparison-of-shotokan-karate-injuries-against-injuries-in-other-martial-arts-and-select-ncaa-contact-sports/

Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

If you are in your twenties and practice fighting arts that involve a heavy dose of athletics with high kicks, spins, many direct hits to the face, ( https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/mma-fighters-suffer-traumatic-brain-injury-in-almost-a-third-of-professional-bouts-study ) rolling around on the floor for most of typical classes, and other activities like this, you will get just so much mileage out of these activities after which, it will take its toll on your body. At some point, it will be important to throttle back or give it up to preserve your body. If not, it could impair your joints, you’re thinking, or your spine, in pursuing other activities.

Traditional martial arts benefit more on the inside than the outside.

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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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