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.

The footwork we learn in Wing Tsun is not merely stepping away from an attack but teaches the balance, leg strength and economical movement required to evade an attack at close range. The mind-set of Wing Tsun is self-defense. Some people might think this is scary, off-putting, or unnecessary “because I live in a safe, gated community.” If you want to live behind doors and gates 24 hours a day, that is a choice. However, most people want to get out and move around their community to go shopping, meet people, and go to work.

Wing Tsun’s mind-set might be about defending but it isn’t all about scary attacks. It is about improving one’s footwork and hand skills and ways to defend that most people never thought about. In the process, your mental sharpness, balance, posture, and awareness of your body limits and abilities is a big benefit. Many of the skills of Wing Tsun are not addressed in other arts. There might be “hand-movements” that resemble Wing Tsun but the skills and subtle problems that come up are usually not addressed. To learn Wing Tsun skills such as evading an attacker’s force and sticky hands is to realize real self-confidence.

Even if your Wing Tsun hand techniques or kicks are not used in a real attack, your ability to prioritize events as they happen in real time, a Wing Tsun skill, could save your life. It may even allow the use of another kind of footwork: running away.


-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg