Because of the idea of simplicity, Leung Ting WingTsun® affords the beginner the realistic opportunity to become proficient in a whole kung fu system.
WingTsun, which is a southern Chinese kung fu system, is simpler in several ways than Shaolin kung fu. WingTsun has just three forms (kuen, in Chinese kata in Japanese, hyung in Korean). Many different Shaolin systems have anywhere from 9 to 50 different choreographed forms which form the ‘shape’ of the system. A student might learn all of the forms and still not be able to defend or fight effectively since forms are not the path to fighting skill or self-defense effectiveness. Applying the techniques of the forms through practice drills and fighting training is the way. The founders of WingTsun recognized the real purpose of forms which is to build the shape of the system at each level within the student’s muscle memory and quite often to perform a meditation and breathing exercise. The forms also represent an important mental ritual.
Mechanical engineers will say that a simpler mechanism is more reliable. Such a mechanism has fewer moving parts that could become defective. A martial art that is simpler in concept can ALSO be more reliable. WingTsun has relatively few moving parts. It is the precision and energy efficient way they are put together that makes the difference. WingTsun is a “from the ground, up” martial art. In other words, all the parts fit together and are made for each other. One cannot attach a part from another martial art and expect the parts to work together seamlessly. An analogy would be to put a Ford suspension component on a Mercedes. The ride would be jumpy and uncomfortable at best and it would not perform the way it was designed. This is why a cohesive system is better for learning from the beginning than learning a lot of unconnected parts from disparate martial arts styles as in MMA. A high ranking martial artist, educated in advanced techniques, can normally analyze techniques from any system and incorporate it into his or her repertoire but it is the wrong approach for a beginner.
In an actual fight, complex sequences and complicated ‘prescribed’ solutions to pre-determined attacks are bound to fail. Nobody can predict what an attacker will do and so prescribing predetermined solutions is wrong. The more complex the prescription, the more likely will be the failure.
WingTsun is direct. It is designed to eliminate the confusion of an assault by distilling the goal and the direction of the hands into simple directions. Movements are practiced until they are in the muscle memory. Defenders do not have to make decisions. Decisions during attacks come TOO LATE. Response is dictated by the attacker. The attacker’s movements are followed by the defender by ‘sticking’ to his arms and taking advantage of his mistakes using more economical counter-attacks.
– Sifu Keith Sonnenberg