As our modern world progresses into a world of convenience and electronic marvels, the public perception between reality and fantasy is changing. The lack of understanding by the public and even some so-called instructors of martial arts is getting greater and greater. Many things we see on the movie screen, especially regarding any type of combat, on a computer screen, on a smart phone or something in between, are far removed from reality. The events are designed to entertain and the crazier they are the better. It is possible to forget what would happen when one’s fantasy meets reality. With no fighting experience, it is even more difficult for a novice to determine what works and what doesn’t.
In the last fifteen to twenty years there has been a push toward ‘reality martial arts’ and it manifested itself as octagon-style fighting events and mixed martial arts. We even have ‘reality television’ which has turned into semi-scripted and possibly even rigged scenarios. Soon the reality martial arts training devolved into cage fighting as the goal – with many rules. We are back to a sport again with characters we can follow and idolize for their athletic prowess for television and the event promoter’s profit.
This leaves others with a question: Is there a martial art that I can learn that is realistic but allows me to go back to work the next day with a reasonable expectation of safety? Yes.
WingTsun addresses the reality of combat without the requirement of competing. Competition raises the stakes. Intense competitive training raises the emotions so that caution can take a back seat and injuries can increase. If weeks and weeks of competitive training results in a loss, it may seem that the training was a waste of time. It wasn’t entirely a waste, of course, but you get the idea.
In my humble opinion, learning multiple martial arts serves the fight promoters more than the fighter-student. Displaying techniques from multiple arts is more visually appealing and fills more seats and sells more pay per view television than a close-quarter art like WingTsun, the main goal of which is to deliver an invisible strike to an attacker! In addition, the goal of a WingTsun practitioner is to shorten the duration of this assault as a safety consideration. The goal of a fight promoter is to lengthen the duration of the fight as an entertainment consideration.
Fighters focused in multiple martial arts never really learn the application of their techniques in disorganized situations unless a teacher takes his time away from ring-fight preparations to show a student how this works.
Our spectator-electronic age serves to keep people sitting on the rear ends even more than they already are. In my view, WingTsun has always been the people’s art. It was passed down in secret by ordinary civilians in southern China to be used as a last resort self-defense weapon. Today, it is just as valuable as a form of personal growth and development, mentally and physically.
– Sifu Keith Sonnenberg