Is WingTsun for Fighting or Improving Yourself?

Laypeople and the public at large normally view the practice of martial arts as something for tough guys or violent people.  They get the message which the media sends loud and clear and the message from the martial arts promoters themselves: Learn to hurt somebody with your bare hands. The message stops there.

We get the question often:  If WingTsun is so good, why doesn’t a WingTsun expert fight in the mixed martial arts matches? The promoters of mixed martial arts like to claim that the ring they fight in is reality fighting.  However if it was reality fighting, it would have been banned years ago by authorities.  Many efforts were made to do this.  The promoters responded by making even more rules, disallowing more techniques as “illegal.” The claims about reality fighting have stuck and the promoters are very successful with this marketing.

The great majority of people are not interested in getting into a ring to try and beat somebody up.  They would, however, like to develop a skill that would allow them to defend themselves for real. Students of WingTsun that have been interested in ring fights have been disillusioned by the rules when they sought to train for contact-type ring fights. The great majority of WingTsun techniques cannot be used in these matches.

In addition to real-life self-defense techniques and attitude, WingTsun technique-exercises work the joints without strenuous stretching.  The stances all require one to stand up straight and keep the spine and neck straight.  The lower back is trained to reverse the serious curvature that many people develop by using the internal muscles connecting the lower spine to the inside of the thigh bone. The little used muscles of the inner thigh are worked as an integral part of the advancing step footwork. The WingTsun basic form teaches proper breathing and focus. The Siu Nim Tau form is a lot like the most primordial of mental and physical training used by the ancient monks.  Is it a coincidence that the deadly and effective techniques of WingTsun are also very practical for physical maintenance and mental well-being?  We do not really know.  The story goes that the yoga-like exercises of the monk #Bodhidharma were adapted for use as self-defense techniques.  However this is the story of its parent art, Shaolin kung-fu.  Despite the evolution of the martial arts over thousands of years, WingTsun has been looked at by athletic trainers and physical therapists. The exercises train the body’s core to great extent affecting the body’s posture in profound ways.

WingTsun is a practical form of physical and mental training that takes your body and your eyes away from a computer screen, at least for a while.  Once you glue yourself to a monitor, your body loses its other skills, talking, standing, walking, seeing nature, eating properly… life in front of the monitor becomes just that silly cyber-world of unreality.  If you give WingTsun training the steady 12-14 months it deserves, the curriculum involves the start of training for the computer-game-without-a-computer:  chi sau.

Each phase of WingTsun is like a separate art:  Siu Nim Tau (little idea form), Chum Kiu (arm-seeking form), Chi Sau (clinging arms), Biu Tze (thrusting fingers form), Mook Yan Chong (wooden dummy), Luk Dim Boon Kwun (long pole), Bart Cham Dao (double knives), all with different skills to teach you affecting the whole body from different angles and in different ways.

©Copyright 2011 Keith Sonnenberg.  No reproduction without permission.