Many martial arts were designed in bygone eras in eastern countries that had a high regard and respect for nature. Imitating the movements and even the character of animals was a common way to invent a martial art style. Consequently, we have many styles named after animals. Of course, the martial art was adapted for use by humans but attempting to incorporate the qualities of animals was considered a problem by the founders of Wing Tsun. Wing Tsun’s founder, the Buddhist nun, Ng Mui was an expert in Shaolin kung-fu according to the legends. She saw flaws in the way the fighting arts were conceived and decided to start teaching her new students techniques that would more closely be adaptable to the human body. In addition, the new art would have to be more efficient and be more quickly learned. She and her followers who were being pursued by government soldiers did not have time to spent a lifetime learning how to defend themselves.
Today we have a martial art with a completely different idea about self-defense. It is designed with the reality that most predatory humans are looking for a smaller, weaker victim, or somebody that displays the right body language. This usually means a person not paying much attention to their surroundings or somebody who appears fearful or lost.
Learning a martial art like Wing Tsun directs the student into a mindset that is not about tough man contests, large egos, or bulking up in size. It is about personal betterment and self-confidence because of the improvement of personal attributes. General, overall balance is improved, joint strength, explosive power and energy, and intelligent ideas behind the idea of self-defense are developed. The body language that comes when one is confident is an additional aid in maintaining one’s poise in difficult circumstances.
In older times, Wing Tsun was a secret system that was designed as a hedge against other martial arts of the time. Circular movements and the long-range techniques of other martial arts were to be countered by straight-line punching and striking and close-range methods. Lower kicks make it possible to reduce the time to kick and set the foot down to maintain balance and mobility. Sticky hands concepts were used to borrow an attacker’s force and use it against them. Some historians think sticky hands concepts were introduced much later. Suffice it to say that the Wing Tsun of 300 years ago was probably quite a bit different than it is today. Martial arts are always under development, subject to improvements and adjustments to the era in which they are practiced.
Try Wing Tsun. Contact us to schedule a trial class.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg