You might say that anybody that takes a martial arts class is a martial artist. Then again, you could say that anybody that is climbing up through the ranks should be classified as a martial artist.

I ask the question because many people that are in a martial arts class have never thought about it before. It is possible they A) do not think of themselves as a martial artist or B) do not know specifically what constitutes the title of “martial artist.”

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Besides just combat and self-defense training, a true martial art can hardly be called an “art” unless there are aspects that involve perfecting your body’s movements. The art of Wing Tsun starts in simple actions based on the first Wing Tsun set of movements. They are called the little idea form. The name refers to the basic ideas presented. The movement have ideas behind them – profound ideas that help you perfect your skills. A representative movement is in the form for everything that comes later.

One set of techniques are hard to illustrate in a photo. They are the breathing method that relieves stress and anxiety. This type of breathing is common to other disciplines. However, in Wing Tsun, the breathing is done during the slow movements of the first third of the form. In one set of movements you have several things going on at one time. This is to prepare you for the training ahead.

You can feel the difference after you have completed the form. It sets you up for a class. It is important to dispel any stress and anxiety you may feel at the beginning of a class so that you can learn a certain number of abstract ideas and perform well. This is a practice you will want  to incorporate into your daily regimen and you might even use the breathing ideas in your daily tasks.

Give us a call or send us an e-mail if you would like to schedule a trial class. To your health and wellness.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg


You may attend a variety of martial arts schools these days. In some
towns and cities, the schools are on every block. However, relatively few teach
the higher Chinese skills on a routine basis. Usually very advanced skill-training
goes to only the most senior black-belt students. Most of the intermediate training
involves random sparring and forms. None of those long-range styles teach the
sticky hands handed down to them from Yip Man. In Leung Ting WingTsun®, sticky
hands is an intermediate skill.

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Training the arms in WingTsun is not the same as weight training. We will explain the training methods in a minute but first, some explanations:

The ultimate purpose of arm training in WingTsun is to deliver a serious and disabling strike to a vital area of a serious attacker as a self-defense method. To do this, the aim is to develop flexibility, reactivity, control, explosive power and sticky energy. The benefits are fast hand speed, ability to intercept oncoming attacks to the face or body, develop spacial relationships, precision hand movements, reaction time increased behind the wheel of a car, catch falling objects out of the air, react quickly to all manner of unpredictable emergencies, hands stay flexible into old age as long as the practice continues.

The training methods are:

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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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Once a layperson who has an interest in martial arts also becomes acquainted with Wing Tsun (or wing chun) techniques, the fascination often begins. Due partly to online videos, tons of chatter, posts, blogs, and YouTube stars, many “wing chun fans” become obsessed. All the internet surfer wants to do is be like the guy in the videos or the star of the movie about Yip Man. It is a shame that the obsession doesn’t include an obsession with the ‘secret’ of Wing Tsun.

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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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Movement skills

Every student of any martial art must learn new movement skills.  Some martial arts are athletic in their approach. A student must stretch, strengthen, use calisthenics and aerobic exercise in addition to stances, kicks, long range punching, power exercises, jumping skills, tumbling skills and other athletic skills.

WingTsun™ is less about high kicks, jumping kicks, spin kicks, and bending into low stances, – we have none of those – than it is about being sharply focused on self-defense skills.  However the skills developed in WingTsun training are more like sharpening a knife than making a dinner recipe. The creators of WingTsun realized that self-defense cannot happen with a recipe. There is no recipe. A student must be prepared to sharpen his or her weapons. In the case of WingTsun, it is the whole body.

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At Wing Tsun Arizona, Gilbert, you learn from the ground up, almost literally. We teach Wing Tsun footwork, followed by the hands. Hands and feet must be coordinated. In southern Chinese kung-fu, stance and footwork play a very important role. In learning an art like Wing Tsun, you will start with setting-up of the basic stance. To remain standing, it makes sense that you would want to have great balance and a sturdy footing. If you are ever attacked, the importance of staying on your feet is obvious.

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