It can be useful for WingTsun students to develop self-defense scenarios in their mind as long as they are not “fixed formulas.” In other words ask yourself “what if this happened?” OK, most of my students already know that if somebody asks, “What if I took a swing at you?” or “What would you do…,” that this can be a useless and even dangerous verbal exercise. After all, you really don’t know how they will attack until they actually do. However, it can be useful to speculate with yourself. In other words, ask yourself this question as a bit of internal dialog, “How well would I do in a real self-defense situation?” “What WOULD I do if somebody came around a corner and tried to grab or hit me?” These mental exercises can help you visualize the beginning, the middle and the end of an attack defended by classical WingTsun movements. This can also aid your self-confidence.

After this self-speculation, you can try these techniques out in the class or get with a WingTsun friend and see how the speculation would work. Don’t be deterred if the speculation ends in a failure when trying it out with the friend for the first time. This is an important part of your learning process. Animals do this. The mother bear teaches her cubs a certain amount and then the cubs use playtime to try out what they have learned. A certain amount of rough play will usually result in some minor scrapes and bruises but this is all part of the learning process. You shouldn’t be trying to knock each other into the next county. Through personal trial and error, you learn what you can and cannot do. The important part is that you learn how to circumvent an attack. In a real situation, this usually means that you will have to inflict enough pain or injury on your attacker so they will consider the attempt “not worth it.”

If, through this process, you come up short on your successes, it might mean that you have not trained hard enough on your basics. A student that wants to learn real, effective and practical self-defense must take the responsibility to do their chain punches on a solid bag, to do their stepping drills until they are second nature and to “turn and burn” until your movements are natural and lightning quick, never mind the sore knuckles and the sore muscles. Confidence comes to those who do, not to those who talk.

Another reason for coming up short would be by not following the WingTsun principals of letting go of the force, dissolving the force through relaxed muscles and stepping out of the way of the force. One must vigorously and relentlessly deal with each change-up made by one’s attacker should the first counterattack not succeed.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg

©Copyright 2007 – 2017 Sun Mountain Martial Arts, Keith Sonnenberg, No Reproduction without permission.