Martial Arts for Self Defense
Nearly all instructors say that their schools offer martial arts for self defense. It is usually in their list of activities and benefits but the inevitable emphasis and the way they remain a large scale business is to offer martial arts for competition, that is, for tournaments. Competition and martial arts together certainly offer character-building elements similar to other sports.
Martial arts for self defense such as Wing Tsun really do specialize in the idea of real time self defense abilities. Offered correctly, martial arts for self defense can be a fantastic way to gain confidence and at the same time, gaining coordination and overcoming fears. This is what motivates this writer – offering this kind of confidence to a student.
Our Leung Ting WingTsun® martial art system differs from many martial arts that were recently invented and which, by the way, borrow heavily from Wing Tsun (Wing Chun). Some of these newly invented systems accumulate a hodgepodge of ideas and techniques from other, more established arts and throw them together as answers or recipes for certain situations. In order to work, answers to attacks have to be a part of a larger system of unifying concepts with formulas that work together and can be relied on in tense, fast developing situations.
The key in martial arts for self defense training is to unify the drills with the ‘small fights’ that can be staged in situational classes. In other words, if an instructor has a sticky hands drill that he offers to his students, it is important to show how this is combined with an attack situation. One has to offer more than just the punches from the martial art offered at the school. It has to include the various possibilities a student may encounter in real life. How the drills being offered at a school relate to real life situations is important. Sometimes protective equipment is important so as to raise realism in the ‘small fights.’ Small fights are not sparring but instead, have a beginning and an end. Self-defense in real life certainly cannot involve unending sparring with somebody out to hurt or kill you.
Pre-arranged recipes for individual circumstances are not reliable. Attacker size, strength, and tactics vary tremendously with every situation and one cannot read the mind of an attacker. One cannot dish out self-defense skills by offering a list of recipes that one can memorize and then be able to remember and then to duplicate the recipe when the situation calls for it. The best a human being can do is develop the tactile and other physical tools that are flexible enough and can be instantly customizable to hurt an attacker and stop the attack.
The kind of training that Wing Tsun offers may not be as entertaining as ‘learning’ ten ‘moves’ in a single class but it can be very rewarding. These personal rewards of health, coordination, fitness, decreased stress symptoms, less fear, more confidence, better breathing and much more are reason enough to consider what Wing Tsun offers.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg