Circling step

One of the first techniques that WingTsun™ students learn is the circling step. By itself, the circling step seems like a meaningless exercise.  However, the act of circling one’s leg around an oncoming attacker’s leg makes good sense when you see how it is used. Your leg makes a tight circle around an attacker’s leg thus evading the attacker’s strong, approaching force…

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Narrow it down

You can learn to punch. You can learn to kick. Fine. What, then, are you actually doing when you punch or when you kick? What is the range? What is the purpose? When you punch or kick air, you are practicing the flight path and the energy of the movement. In Wing Tsun™, many of the movements are taken in isolation at first. This teaches a student the precise thing that is happening. What muscles are being tensed? What is it supposed to feel like? How does one emit power?

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My belated review of the movie IP MAN

I saw the movie Ip Man quite a while ago in late 2009 and yet here is my belated review of the movie IP MAN. The movie was released in Hong Kong in 2008. A movie about WingTsun (wing chun) like this has been a long time coming. It appears to be a dramatization of the real events in the life of Ip Man (Yip Man) prior to his move to Hong Kong after the take over by the Chinese Communists. At this early period in the life of Ip Man, the enemy of the freedom of the Chinese people was not an ideology but the nation of Japan which had invaded certain parts of China and occupied it during WWII. This film is remarkable on many fronts. For the first time in the martial arts genre, the film shows the technical martial arts fighting while also showing the real living habits of the characters, their customs and habits, their moral dilemma, their imperfections and their heroic qualities. Instead of non-stop fighting, interrupted by occasional speaking parts and minimal story, this movie carries the story relentlessly to a dramatic conclusion. The renowned late grandmaster of Wing Tsun (wing chun) was born into a wealthy family. He was the youngest to learn the art from Chan Wah Shun, the grand master of Wing Tsun in that part of China in the late 19th century. Ip Man used a remarkable sum of money in those days to pay his sifu the proper amount for lessons. The movie depicts his fortunate and carefree life and how he established and maintained a reputation as a kung-fu master in the town of Fat Shan and how that all went away with the start of hostilities of the World War. All fight scenes were shot with care and mastery of editing and choreography. The cruelty of the Japanese occupying forces was used for maximum emotional effect. The techniques, while not exactly as we in the Leung Ting WingTsun® system might have done it, were credible enough to give one the feeling of an art of economy and practicality. It is some of the best major motion picture depictions of the art of Ip Man (Yip Man). I strongly recommend it for both martial artists and non-martial artists alike. I give it: Martial arts genre rating – Five Stars. Non-genre movie rating: Four Stars.

Centerline . . .

Start with an advantage.  The Leung Ting WingTsun® system does.  We find the shortest distance between two points so that we always control the shortest distance to our target. That distance of course, is a straight line.  In the WingTsun™ system, the line is called the centerline and forms the line from your chest to your opponent’s chest.  WingTsun students learn to defend this line with a lead hand called man sau and a rear hand called wu sau…

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Getting Over the Hump

The most difficult time is the beginning.  This is true in every athletic endeavor whether or not you are an athlete.

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Learning to control one’s muscles is one of the most important benefits of WingTsun™ training. Through consistent and repetitive training, both with and without a partner, success in learning techniques can be achieved. Through repetition, the mind and body can unify.

There is no real substitute for repetition. Your mind and body develops the neural pathways after consistent use. If the body is called upon to use a particular area of the body consistently, the body will develop that particular area, both in muscle tone, bone and nervous tissue. The learning takes place in the Cerebellum, a part of the brain located at its lower back portion. This is a clever adaptation of the body, since it takes less time for the body part to react if the center for this processing is closer to the area that is involved, i.e., the arm or leg.

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Sun Tzu and WingTsun™

Grandmaster Leung Ting is a follower of the ancient wisdom of General Sun Tzu, 6th Century BC China and the author of the book The Art of War.  His writings have been required reading at many U.S. military academies.  Note the parallel to WingTsun concepts in this quote by Sun Tzu:

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Training at Home:

  1. First, state to your friends (and yourself) out loud that your WingTsun™ training is important to you and “please do not interrupt my training unless the house is on fire.” Read more


In order to defeat an attacker, Wing Tsun students have to train to do something at odds with one’s natural inclinations and that is to use no resistance at all in an attack. The attacker expects resistance but gets none. What he gets is empty space or what GGM Leung Ting calls a void. WingTsun is not the only martial art that has used this strategy but it is the only one to focus on the defeat of an attacker to this degree and conform to such logic.

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WingTsun’s most difficult technique – humility

For most anybody living today learning WingTsun, WingTsun is a discovery. They did not invent it. They found it. They do, however, find that it is a brilliant martial art. It does make one feel smart for following it. It also might make a practitioner feel that this makes them smart enough to think their way out of a tight spot in a fight – except that they will never be able to “think” their way out of a tight spot in a fight. Thinking is too slow.

WingTsun is brilliantly designed so that a fighter does not have to think at all when an attack occurs. Thinking in a real fight is death. A practitioner must practice and make all of the mistakes first. A practitioner must make mistake after mistake in practice in order to train the body to react according to the pressures on their arms or legs. Making mistake after mistake can exact a toll on one’s ego. That is why the masters of the martial art have renounced the ego.

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