What is Behind Wing Tsun’s Close Range Techniques?

Legend has it that Wing Tsun was invented by a woman named Ng Mui who later taught it to a female teenager named Yim Wing Tsun. There is some dispute among historians about this story. However the techniques give substantial evidence that it could be true. At every turn there is some technical reason to believe that a woman developed Wing Tsun. Only a woman would give such great consideration to design every technique to not clash with an attacker’s force, but rather to borrow the force. At no point does a Wing Tsun trainee have to lift, push, or otherwise resist an attack by direct force.

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What can I do if I am jumped from behind? This is a common enough question that gets asked of martial arts instructors. The best answer, of course, is “…do not let that happen.” This might be easier said than done in many cases, especially if you are not a big person or carry yourself with a lot of awareness and confidence. In WingTsun™ kung fu training, we have simple ways to turn and face an attacker. Of course there are no one-sentence or two minute training methods for this question. Once you have turned, then what? A defender’s response depends on many factors. Among them are whether the attacker has a weapon, are you being grabbed, are you being struck, do you have room to move?

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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…

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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Close range effectiveness

Wing Tsun™ can be compared to other arts in a different way.  That way is the distance at which we engage our attacker.  Wing Tsun is, by design, a very close  punching, striking and kicking martial art, much closer than other martial arts commonly taught all over the western world and on every street corner.  The repertoire of the close range methods and techniques in Wing Tsun is complete:  close-range low kicking and sweeping, knees, elbows, special close-range punching, striking and take downs.  In Wing Tsun we believe this is where the fight really exists.  Surviving an attack in this circumstance is the most important and where a lot of martial arts programs do not have the right stuff.

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Women and WingTsun™ Kung Fu

Many women think they don’t have a chance against a man in a violent confrontation so some say “why bother.” Actually women have an excellent chance of defending themselves; equal to men, if they get the proper training.

A woman has just as much leg strength as a man pound for pound.

A woman is capable of great speed

A woman has less investment in an ego to protect regarding strength which is not an emphasis in WingTsun™ training.  In fact, it is important that strength not be used.

       It is important that a student can learn to give up the use of strength in self-defense in order to defend

       against any and all adversaries.

A woman is normally more flexible than a man.

A woman is practical.

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Traditional martial arts by definition, stick to a time honored method to convey the full learning experience to a student.  Defending (blocking) is taught first.  This is the most frustrating aspect for a beginner.  This is not the glamorous thing he or she imagined. This kind of practice does not release the frustrations of everyday life.  Times change. Of course in ancient times, this was the way that instructors weeded out the student that would be a trouble maker and misuse the knowledge.  Such trouble-maker personalities normally would not do blocking techniques for several months and so they would leave the training.

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