The martial art techniques used by Wing Tsun practitioners are economical in movement. They are geared toward self-defense and stopping an attacker. Wing Tsun has always been a self-defense system and so the techniques are strictly practical in real situations. There is no sport application. There is a lot of talk about sparring in various internet articles, expounding on the benefits. Certainly, there must be some interaction and realistic application training to be an effective training. Sparring offers this kind of effective training. Without it, how does one respond if the student does not know the natural of the attack? A student must learn how to react, should he or she see a technique coming and how to respond in a fast and tense exchange.
Sparring, however, has its limitations for self-defense. Wing Tsun normally parts company with the popular notion of sparring for training purposes in the way a student can get interaction in a fighting context. Instead, Wing Tsun utilizes ‘fights’ of shorter duration. The first solid strike on an attacker is usually an indicator of who would have survived in a real encounter. How well a student deals with the initial attack is a very important topic at Wing Tsun Arizona.
That being said, the term lat sau which we practice in Wing Tsun means “free hand fighting” in order to learn how to interact with an attacker or skilled fighter. The operative word is “fighting” since Wing Tsun fighting takes on a more realistic tone than some other types of practice called sparring. Through the training in chi sau, we use grappling, anti-grappling, take-downs, waist level thrusting kicks (not snap-kicks) as well as punching and striking. One must get through the first set of chi sau martial art techniques and kuo sau before one can open-up in lat sau practice.
Chi sau (sticky hands) taken a bit further, involves the free use of chi sau programs to engage in a rolling upper body controlled fight called kuo sau.
What is of more importance to the practice of Wing Tsun at Wing Tsun Arizona is the closing of the gap and going from a distance to the close-range that Wing Tsun specializes in. The timing and execution of this action are of the utmost importance.
Considering the idea of self-defense, if an attack is not warded off or disposed of in far less than 30 seconds, the defender is probably in real trouble. In addition, there should be no reason the defender should not run or otherwise escape behind a barrier. If it is a choice between living or risking a life-threatening wound or death or trying to prove some point, one should choose life. Besides that, the law or civil courts might have something to say about following through with a counter-attack that does more than allow the defender to escape.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg