Long range, Close range, Hard force then Soft
WingTsun™ is taught in stages. The most direct techniques are taught first, applying the techniques of the first form, (the little idea form). When somebody attacks by throwing a short hook or grabbing your shirt or neck from the front, the straight punch while quickly stepping in is your first fighting lesson, closing in from a longer range to close range, right in his face. This, of course, is very basic. Practice results in developing timing and position so that an attacker cannot easily counter-attack. The punch and the forward stance are based on the first few movements of the first form. These movements are efficient and address very common attacks.
After such a simple defense is shown, common questions arise such as “But what if…?” Actually WingTsun is a concept-based martial art. We cannot say what exact follow-up movements would be used in a real situation. Of course we can “suggest” or use conjecture and train some possible follow-up moves and we do. However, in WingTsun we do not create prescriptions for self-defense, i.e., “Try two gum-dar movements and call me in the morning to let me know how that worked out…” We cannot allow a student to try and ‘memorize’ a fixed idea on a follow-up because it will never occur that way in real life. Instead, we train each student to use the Taoist idea of dealing with things as they occur, not how we think or wish they will occur. The student learns to pick from the WingTsun toolbox efficiently to deal with situations as they occur.
After the initial encounter, the student will benefit from our training in real “sticky hands” and soft power so that an attacker using rigid force cannot disrupt their structure with chaotic follow-ups of his own. The student must yield to distinct pressures against them with well-practiced evasion footwork and springy arms which have real-time counter attacks built in to them!
– Sifu Keith Sonnenberg