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.

The most famous drill is sticky hands (chi sau). The training involves three of Wing Tsun’s “seed techniques” that are learned first in the Siu Nim Tau form. In martial arts, forms are sequences of movements. Some call them patterns. In some quarters, patterns are scorned or frowned upon. Indeed, the Wing Tsun frame of mind is that many arts go too far in their emphasis on forms, forcing students to learn 10 or more for their “black belt.” Wing Tsun has just three unarmed forms in the whole system plus a set of movements on the wooden dummy.

The developers of Wing Tsun, throughout history, believed that three forms are enough to develop the necessary dexterity to fight at close range. One does not have to repeat the same techniques over and over in the context of a pattern. Skill can best be developed by focusing on the wrist circle, the stance-circle and sticky hands.

Working at close-range creates a situation that requires compact arm movements and compact footwork. Fast, compact movements create speed where it did not exist with bigger movements. At the same time, you are taught to avoid clashing with an attacker’s force. Instead, you are taught to borrow his force.

-Sifu KeithSonnenberg