One of the main attributes and principals coming out of your Wing Tsun training is “simplicity.” If you crowd your brain with too many techniques, especially if they come from different martial arts with different approaches and concepts, your defense is bound to be shaky at best in a street situation.

If your repertoire is entirely from one system of martial arts, even Wing Tsun, it can also confuse you if you have too many techniques on your mind as to the response in a given situation. That is why we discuss the concepts rather than one technique versus another in defending. It is most important to gather the ideas of Wing Tsun together in your mind and perfect them regardless of what technique you might be using.

The European WingTsun Organization taught an idea in the 1990s called the “Universal Defense.” This was the idea that no matter what method of attack somebody used against you from the front, the defense would, 80 or 90% of the time, be simply stepping in with straight-line chain punches and maybe a kick to the knee. This is because most attackers would not use a straight-line attack in punching or grabbing (like a WingTsun straight-line thrusting punch) and your chain punching defense has the shorter distance! There is a lot to be said for this idea. I do not know why we do not hear about this idea more, today! Perhaps this solution is just too simple for most people to accept! Surely it must be more complicated than that! Sometimes it is but it need not be so.

Such a response does depend on a defender being alert and catching the attack in its early stages.

Our Wing Tsun Grandmaster Leung Ting has said:

“Many pugilists think that, if they have mastered certain complicated movements, they can be regarded as being trained in an advanced fighting form. In fact, they are terribly wrong, because fighting techniques cannot be regarded as being advanced or inferior to others.”

The lesson from this quote is that it is the concept that is important, not the techniques.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg