Real Fight Survival Skills
Wing Tsun was developed as a real way to survive a vicious attack in old China where life was cheap. However it was never developed for armies as some of the other martial arts were of the time period of 300 years ago. Wing Tsun is an urban self-defense system that uses a higher stance and does not rely on superior strength but rather on better footwork so as to evade an attacker’s strength while still remaining close in to deliver strikes, punches and low kicks. Close in strikes have the advantage of more often hitting the target. Longer range strikes, punches and especially kicks, while easier to learn, have the disadvantage of more often missing the target. Wing Tsun uses touch to facilitate accuracy in striking. If your arms have contact with an attacker and one’s arms can maintain a certain distance on a moving target, hitting that moving target is very probable. To maintain distance on a moving target, skillful footwork is a must.
In addition, being knocked or dragged to the ground was to be strictly avoided. A smaller person or a person without kung-fu skills would not survive on the ground, particularly against an attacker with fighting skills. Hence balance and dexterous footwork is a must. Leung Ting WingTsun® has a particularly focused footwork method that coincides with the sticky hands. If your martial art system places any weight on the front leg, a practitioner has to shift weight back every time you take a step with a forward leg. This creates a lurching movement with the upper body which is counter-productive to maintaining a touch (stick) that does not reveal itself to an attacker.
Expecting to survive by depending on body strength is highly unrealistic. There is always going to be somebody that is physically stronger than yourself. Therefore one must ‘give up strength in order to borrow the strength’ of an attacker. A Wing Tsun practitioner must never try and clash force with an attacker. Instead, it is necessary to use ‘soft power’ as GGM Leung Ting calls it. ‘Giving up strength’ is mostly a mental practice. Men have a lot more trouble doing that than women. The fear is that they will be hit unless they resist the attack by force. The problem tends to go away if the student can apply the evading footwork freely and at will. Men will have a great deal more trouble learning and applying this principal if they lift weights. Upper body stretching using the positions of the first form are the first step in learning and then applying this skill. Then footwork practice must be maintained in order to get rid of bad tendencies early.
Bad tendencies include:
1) Weight on front leg.
2) Front leg ‘dangles.’ There must be light contact pressure with the floor on the front foot but no weight.
3) Stance too narrow
4) Stance too wide
5) Front knee not turned in.
6) Knees pulled in too much. Knees must be in straight alignment with toes.
7) Knees sticking out ‘bow-legged.’
Wing Tsun presents the tools – in the Siu Nim Tau form and the Chum Kiu form – necessary for self-defense. When the correct skills exist in the practitioner, self-defense is at its maximum effectiveness. Leung Ting WingTsun® has anti-grabs (anti-grappling), punches, palms, elbows, knees, throat and eye strikes, evasive footwork designed to throw an attacker to the ground. Everything that is used for stand-up self-defense can be used on the ground.
Wing Tsun does not create a separate scenario for each and every eventuality. It is impossible to know what will happen in a real situation. The tools are meant to be infinitely combined in real circumstances as needed.
The training goes like this:
1) Forms, then 2) drills, then 3) Chi Sau (sticky hands), then 4) Lat Sau (free-hand fighting), in that order plus complimentary exercises inserted as needed.
– Sifu Keith Sonnenberg