Defend and Attack
To defend and attack; these are basic ideas in martial arts and war.
WingTsun™ instructors are taught by the Grandmaster of our art, Leung Ting, that if attacked, avoidance measures are the best way to insure safety. If there is a chance to run away to safety, it is the best course of action.
However if forced to defend, many self-defense situations will have to involve a counter-attack by the defender. WingTsun teaches that, in defending, a defend-and-then-counter approach, in terms of the time factor is much too slow a response. It is completely unrealistic.
In fact in fights, even in non-contact tournaments, one never sees a block-then-defend approach. By the time you as our defender blocks a punch, for example, the opponent’s next attack is already on the way or even has already hit you! In WingTsun, however, simultaneous defense and offense is emphasized from early in the training.
WingTsun lessons start with the student learning one hand at a time in the Siu Nim Tau form. However sometimes within the first two or three lessons, learning to use two hands in drills doing different tasks begins. It is important to the WingTsun idea that a student learns to function with two-handed flexibility, two hands doing different tasks.
The square-to-the-front body posture goes with this idea. A WingTsun defender presents a parallel-to-the-shoulders-of-the-opponent position. Two hands are extended outward. The concept instruction often begins by doing an exchange of hands, exchanging the extended arms, left, right, left, right. Because things happen so fast, an opponent cannot rapidly distinguish one hand as being for defense and the other being for defense. In WingTsun, the defender has two hands that are continuously interchangeable in defense and offense in fractions of seconds.
If an attack occurs, both hands spring into action immediately. Except in the case of an attacker at your rear, both hands go forward to deflect or dissolve the attack. One hand is not withdrawn to the side. At the fraction of a second of contact, the defender is trained (through sticky hands practice) to feel the force of the attack and yield in order to borrow his force and simultaneously countering with the other hand.
The WingTsun approach is not predictable however. It is also possible to yield and counter attack with just one hand, one elbow, or even one knee, or no hands, all the while using his force against him!
To facilitate the response, the feet are taught to be equally explosive and go forward with the hands in aggressive defense. If a defender remains in a defensive mode of thought, he will no doubt be defeated unless he or she can run.
Besides the obvious benefits in successfully defending an attack, the training for this skill teaches the non-dominant hand for greater coordination and mindfulness.
– Sifu Keith Sonnenberg