Learn a form of kung fu – Wing Tsun – that is involved with the mind and body connection and inserting natural reactions into your body for self-defense. Once you are shown, you insert these natural reactions by repeating the exercises over and over. Usually you will have to do the exercises a few sessions over a period of weeks before it becomes natural.

In Wing Tsun kung fu training, you learn to “unlock” your body to move more freely and respond instantly. At the same time, you learn pathways of movement that are more efficient than others. You learn body structure that allows you to stand, maintain balance, turn quickly, and move efficiently. You get rid of bad movement habits that allow you to avoid problems with balance and posture.

All the body’s muscles, bones, and tendons are involved. Posture is improved. This is because the same ideas for self-defense movements are self-improvements for daily life, turning, standing, arm movement, leg extending, head position.

Wing Tsun training is a body strengthener. Body movement improves circulation, muscle tone, and alertness in your mental state. The mind involved with body movement improves coordination and you gain a new relationship and appreciation with your body’s abilities. You will learn a lot about yourself.

Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

In order to learn physical structure and, so as not to be too influenced by the attributes of another beginner when learning new material, a new student should get in a good amount of solo practice time.

As with many other martial arts, training by oneself in learning new material is encouraged in the Wing Tsun system. Body structure is very important, as is concentration and taking the time to get one’s mind into a relaxed enough state to experience progress. In order to do this, you must find a quiet place alone with all electronics turned off or placed in a way so as not be heard or seen. A good technique is to get away from home or other too familiar surroundings so that you cannot easily run back to an easy chair! Specify a certain time period for this practice. It could be 20 minutes or 40 minutes or longer.

Solo training does not have to be a sprint or a physical marathon. Part of the training will be mental. You may not be productive for the first 20 minutes while you clear your head from our hectic life.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that intermediate or advanced students do not ignore solo training. It is easy to lose sight of the original techniques and structure that one learned a few years ago and yet remains as important to your current progress. Also if you find yourself ‘stuck’ or stalled, it is important to renew your solo training in earnest. It behooves you to read this article to the end.

It is suggested that students develop their OWN drills and think through them in sequence. Once the sequence has been remembered, walk through the movements slowly like a T’ai Chi student.

Students at these grades must be able to do this kind of self-developed drill over and over, perhaps 6 or 8 times, or more. This will help you get rid of complete dependence on other people to learn about yourself. Your instructor can guide you and explain theories and practice with you but your instructor cannot get inside of you. Solo practice is about you learning about you and what makes you tick. Can you even stand to be alone in a room with just you and your techniques? If you try this solo practice, you will find out.

Intermediate and advanced students should move slowly through self-developed drills. The movements should be slow and relaxed. Anytime you practice by yourself, your practice should be thoughtful but your mind must not be busy. It must be present. It may take a half an hour to get into that mental state. However if you rationally consider that you have spent a certain number of years to get to this point and you do not allow yourself this much, you are then probably wasting your time. Mindless moving through techniques is wasting your time and intelligence. Movement must have a present state of mind – in the moment. This kind of mental state will be needed as you get into more challenging techniques.

 

Your instructor can guide you to the water but only you can drink of it.

 

  • Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

 

You can get a taste for Wing Tsun by taking a virtual Trial Lesson, then continue with our virtual group lessons.

To get your 30 minute online trial lesson, the best way is to use your lap top to download Zoom software at https://zoom.us/download and make sure your built in microphone and web cam are working. You can also use a cell phone although it will be hard to see your instructor, me, demonstrate the positions. Availability is currently limited to two evenings per week. Go to the Application & Waiver and fill it out first, then go to the Trial Lesson page to sign up!

See you at your virtual lesson!

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

Some sports require a tough, if not an iron body, to withstand the level of punishment in multiple round matches or long sparring sessions. Conventional training might include weight training, abdominal exercise and medicine ball hits to the abdomen. Sometimes the training includes soaking the hands in brine (saltwater solution) to toughen the skin. This can also be a part of certain types of martial arts hand conditioning. If a new student joins a boxing academy or class or a mixed martial arts academy or class, it might be worth investigating how much time their trainers will spend on your physical training before they turn you loose on the heavy bag and actual ring fighting.

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There are a lot of videos on the internet that go on and on about proper techniques and what works in a fight and what doesn’t. Some make very proper arguments about strength training and techniques training and how important strength is. Some criticize the soft arts like tai chi and aikido about their insistence on not using strength to win. One such person objected for a long dissertation about those who insist that some instructors insist that strength should not be used. Most of these talking heads speak from the sport-context in which they were raised and later taught. Every match has rules, unlike street attacks. Certain gloves are often worn, and soft targets are off limits for good reason. Matches are often fought on a raised platform with ropes. Competitors must fight. They are not allowed to run. On the street, a weak, non-athletic defender might have to “cheat” to save their life. This usually would mean kicking low (as in Wing Tsun), poking the eyes, biting, striking soft targets like the throat and other neck targets. There is more to the story. Logic might dictate that the stronger opponent will win in a fight but that does not have to be the case. Excellent technique can make the difference. Clashing with an attacker’s strength is usually not a good use of energy or strategy. In Wing Tsun and in some other arts, an attacker’s strength can be used against them. This is routine in some wrestling systems. Persons objecting to instruction that strength should not be used may have heard wrong or the instructor does not understand how to get their point across. Without some measure of strength, the persons objecting would be correct…you would not be able to stand up. However, I have not heard these persons talk about footwork and how it makes the difference in one’s ability to use an attacker’s strength rather than clash or be defeated by it. They probably do not know how footwork comes into play when borrowing attacker’s force! Incredibly, I even saw one video that spoke about how important footwork is and then never showed the feet in his video! The important footwork of Leung Ting WingTsun® is, after all, one of the “secrets” of the Wing Tsun system that Great Grandmaster Leung Ting has taught. It is all well and good to teach and explain Wing Tsun’s footwork, but a student must practice it in coordination with their hand technique. Without practice, one can never master anything. One of the challenges of learning how to avoid clashing with greater forces is to “give up your strength,” or “abandon the strength,” as GGM Leung Ting put it in one of his books. This is a skill. You must abandon, not the strength itself but your insistence on using your supposedly greater strength in beating an attacker. Most people are not aware that they are not “getting rid of their own force” so they can borrow it. This is a contest within yourself, of your ego. Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

Any beginner is bound to struggle at first, with learning new material. It is true of any new activity. I have a question for you. Does the struggle have to do with just learning your new movements or does it partly have to do with your ability?

Regardless of athletic skills or physical learning abilities, anybody can learn Wing Tsun movements. Practice begets insight. Insight begets solutions.

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I think the simple answer is yes.  Traditional training, if it also involves conditioning, can be a great start toward training for ring fights and cross training in other arts if your goal is the octagon type of fights we see today. Traditional martial arts offer basic principals of the individual style that could be overlooked in a mixed martial arts setting in the interest of “getting through it” so you can move on to another martial art.

At first, you, as the beginning student cannot usually understand why these basic movements are so important unless you have had good grounding in another traditional martial art. The truth is, the basics also train the smaller muscle groups that, again, are overlooked in faster training methods. They can strengthen and condition joints that work to prevent injury and increase efficiency.

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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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I might go out on a limb and say that most people who want to get into a program involving fitness training, be it martial arts, personal trainer, 24-hour gyms, and anything else, do not know where to start and how to keep going. The tendency I see is that many people have been sedentary for so long, they do not know how far out of shape they are. When they start out, they are thrown for a loop. Their whole body is sore, perhaps for a week.

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The manual for training for full-contact fights with Wing Tsun has been available for over 30 years. It is called Dynamic Wing Tsun Kung Fu by Grandmaster Leung Ting.  The book is, in part, a basic book for those interested in fighting applications and part training manual for winning a full contact ring fight. The book includes photos and short descriptions of 12 different fighters that won their fights in such countries as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Denmark and Yugoslavia in the early years of Grandmaster Leung Tings’s teaching career.

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