Among martial arts classes in the east valley are the Gilbert self defense classes presented periodically for Wing Tsun students by Wing Tsun Arizona. They are presented as ‘special topics’ classes. They teach concepts rather than fixed techniques against pre-set attacks. Since Wing Tsun kung-fu is already a comprehensive self-defense system, it is redundant to present a separate self-defense class.

Many self-defense classes show and teach specific defenses against specific attacks. It is unlikely that these specific examples will come up in real life. Many times, the students have no background in martial arts or no reference point, context or other supporting training or knowledge. The difference in the special topics classes at Wing Tsun Arizona is that the classes connect the training in regular classes to actual examples in real life scenarios. The concepts of Wing Tsun are explained and applied in these scenarios. Examples of topics are Surprise Attacks, Punching, Anti-Grappling, Ground Defense, and Street Fighters.

We can present these topics because Wing Tsun is a comprehensive martial art, covering all ranges of fighting and circumstances. Some of the common misunderstandings about the art of Yip Man is that it is just a close-range, hand-technique-only martial art. This is absolutely wrong. The forms of Chinese martial arts (and other nationalities) have many intentionally hidden applications. Wing Tsun covers kicking, punching and striking, knees and elbows, anti-grabs, and dealing with assault while on the ground.

Wing Tsun thinking goes like this: It uses kicks but only as a secondary application, judging that with one leg up in the air, a defender is at a disadvantage in terms of stability and mobility, being unable to move about until that foot returns to the ground. Mobility is ranked high among Wing Tsun priorities. If one can avoid an attacker’s direct power, so much the better. The solo forms of which there are only three, have anti-grappling techniques within them. Ground fighting has been adapted to use many of the same concepts as when standing in the last twenty or thirty years.

Wing Tsun is a martial art of concepts. Concepts are the most important part. GGM Leung Ting has taught this idea, even going so far as to state in his seminars that one can apply Wing Tsun concepts with the techniques of other systems along with the caveat that they would still not be as effect as with Wing Tsun techniques!

Among Gilbert self defense classes, we are one of the few, maybe the only one that has a program like this.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg