Have you ever dropped something and failed to catch it? Probably everybody has at one time or another. However, if you are a student of Wing Tsun for long enough, you might notice yourself catching those fallen items a bit more often.

The primary training that increases your reaction time is sticky hands, known in Wing Tsun circles as “chi sau.” Chi sau is pretty much confined to the art founded by Yim Wing Tsun. However, we do not know if sticky hands were a part of her repertoire. There are other Chinese martial arts that have similar drills, but it is most highly developed in the later years of the art.

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Wing Tsun is completely different in its approach to getting power. For those immersed in another discipline, this statement is met with a lot of skepticism. It just seems easier to develop power using a person’s native power to hit or kick. Internal power has a mysterious ring to it.

To clarify the reason for Wing Tsun’s internal power, we must explain why this approach is the one we take in Wing Tsun. Often, power, when in actual use in self-defense, is a relative term.

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Training in effective self-defense can be extremely important especially in the face of today’s extreme situations. Training on defending oneself should be as basic as health and obtaining food and water. You never know when you could be a victim of random violence today. It can happen in the best of neighborhoods.

Self-defense training is rather different than training for fighting competitions. It can take many forms because we cannot know in advance what type of an attack will occur. An art like Wing Tsun kung fu takes this into account.

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Many people wonder how to make movements automatic and reactive in developing their martial arts skills. I can understand disappointment if you practice all your basics regularly on your own and see little if any results. Besides increasing the repetitions, how are martial arts skills built?

I will speak for Wing Tsun Kungfu since it is the martial art that I have spent the most time with. However, I believe it is the same with other arts as I spent years in Korean karate and Filipino Escrima. One should think about the intent of the movements.

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Building skill is quite often the result of hundreds of hours or repetitious training in basic movements. We hear stories of famous athletes who train hours every day. This will make nearly anybody into a skilled practitioner who can truly focus in this way.

Anybody who starts this way is bound to suffer disappointment because few people have the stamina to do this instantly. One’s training should begin gradually. A habit must be created. To be realistic, one could use a timer to keep the time spent realistic. If you tell a partner that you are going to spend 15 minutes practicing, set the timer for 15 minutes and have a bell or buzzer go off at the end. This is your signal and everybody else that your training this morning is finished. Everybody has a schedule and you can do another 15 minutes later or not.

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One overlooked benefit of Wing Tsun training is the physical dexterity you can develop with regular training. In the process of learning kicks, punches and footwork, the drills that Wing Tsun is famous for work the joints in flexibility and strength. Wrist circles and stance circles are numerous in the training. They are designed to work around an attacker’s limbs in an economical way. In other words, the distance is short around an attacker’s limbs. We do not take the longer path.

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Starting January 2nd, you can have one week of personalized martial arts classes for $9.95 ($25.00 value). Just bring this blog post into our school starting today. We are open 6 pm – 9 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Stretch class starts at 6:30 pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Come join us for the healthy fun! Limited time offer. Check www.wingtsunaz.com for complete info, schedule, class hours. 745 N. Gilbert Rd. #120, Gilbert. AZ 85234.

When learning a subject in school, whether it be in first grade or for your PhD in college, one needs to use the higher brain functions to memorize terms or words or to understand concepts. However, a disconnect can sometimes occur when learning a physical skill that requires automatic actions. If we are to safely drive an automobile, we must do a few things without thinking about them. The idea of true multitasking has been debunked by scientists who study such things. The big brain can truly just handle one thing at a time and must continually shift attention back and forth in order to handle several tasks.

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When I was just getting started in martial arts at the age of 16 in Tang Soo Do (a Korean style of ‘karate’), I used to hear my instructor talk about the importance of basics in learning the art he taught. Since then I have read and listened to other instructors talk about ‘basics.’ Apparently, I was good enough that I reached First Degree black belt in three years in Tang Soo Do. I never heard my instructor say whether he thought I had trained enough basic techniques.

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Timing is one of the most crucial aspects for successful techniques in the martial arts. In a punch performed in the air, for example, letting the power leave your fist too soon means that the power is gone before it reaches the target. Not allowing the power to be released until after you hit the target might mean that you hurt your fist on the target. There would be no power there to reinforce the punch. If one’s defending arm has not reached the correct position at the correct moment, you could be hit. This is, of course, not a terrible problem in the training hall but it could be in a real self-defense situation!

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