The internet seems rife with claims about which is the best self defense martial art or which is more effective in a seemingly endless effort to recruit more students. Claims of ineffectiveness based on a video of one martial artist beating another are a waste of anybody’s attention. Any person can beat another at any given moment based on many factors which may not be obvious in a video. Calls to join schools or arts based on questionable reasoning are common. Calls appealing to convenience, faster learning, instant success, solving a problem you have with crime in your neighborhood with a few quick visits to your local self-defense practitioner are also frequent. What seems to be forgotten is whether a martial art offers something a person is looking for such as a fitness and health regimen they can handle, a recreational activity, a unique skill to learn, or a reasonable expectation of learning common self-defense. After all, most people do not expect to be attacked by a champion ring fighter.
It can be useful for WingTsun students to develop self-defense scenarios in their mind as long as they are not “fixed formulas.” In other words ask yourself “what if this happened?” OK, most of my students already know that if somebody asks, “What if I took a swing at you?” or “What would you do…,” that this can be a useless and even dangerous verbal exercise. After all, you really don’t know how they will attack until they actually do. However, it can be useful to speculate with yourself. In other words, ask yourself this question as a bit of internal dialog, “How well would I do in a real self-defense situation?” “What WOULD I do if somebody came around a corner and tried to grab or hit me?” These mental exercises can help you visualize the beginning, the middle and the end of an attack defended by classical WingTsun movements. This can also aid your self-confidence.
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.
Logic permeates the WingTsun™ approach. The simplest idea is the best idea in the WingTsun way of self-defense. A human tendency is to over-think and complicate matters. In a life or death struggle the simplest path is often a straight-line to the target and also the quickest. Sometimes there are barriers. WingTsun has the answers there too and WingTsun has a simple solution that does not involve a clash of forces.
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.
A great many actual attacks by persons on others in real life situations involve grabs. Not everything is a strike in actual circumstances. In our self defense classes in Gilbert, we offer as a special topic, the concepts of Leung Ting WingTsun® as applied to grappling attacks or grabs. The Leung Ting WingTsun® system utilizes the applications of the forms in the Yip Man lineage to teach students how to defend at five ranges or, what may be more descriptive, five situational ranges: kicking, hand /arm range, knees and elbow range, anti-grappling while standing, and ground-fighting self-defense.
The best self defense martial art might be the one that has viable applications for self defense being taught regularly to the students which are based on its traditional techniques. If the martial art being taught is for tournament application and an entirely different, unrelated program is presented for self defense, it is hard to call that martial art the best self defense martial art.
It comes as no revelation that kung fu moves are Asian in origin. The cultures have several traditions that go back 5,000 or more years. Some of these traditions involve meditation that helps quiet the mental chatter that disturbs health and progress in one’s life.
Wing Tsun has a meditation that one can utilize and it is a prerequisite to more advanced forms of learning. It is called Siu Nim Tau. Some traditions focus on just this one thing – quieting the mind. Keep in mind that not every Siu Nim Tau session will be equally tranquil. It takes repeated sessions to get the hang of obtaining a tranquil state of mind.
Wing Tsun’s martial arts defense concept in using a pre-fighting posture is the center-line concept. If a student or practitioner has used a different posture with a lot of success in sparring or never needed it in a few street fights, they may be unwilling to accept this idea which is very different from the majority of styles in martial arts schools available today. Bruce Lee used the Taoist idea “Empty your cup.” It means that in order to learn something new, one has to empty one’s cup. In other words, if your mind is too full of previously learned ideas like a full cup of tea, one has to empty it first to in order to accept another kind of tea – different knowledge.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
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