A running argument on the internet goes something like this: Is Wing Chun practical? Wing Chun is no good in a street fight. MMA fights prove Wing Chun is not practical. False.

Possibly an individual that has the incorrect mindset is no good in a street fight. The art is above average and maybe the best for street self-defense.

MMA fights do not prove that a martial art lacks a practical application for the street since streets fights are totally unlike a ring fight that has rules, time-limits, limits on legal targets and techniques. Of course, any fighting practice prepares a student in certain areas of person-to-person combat.

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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.

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Many people wonder how to make movements automatic and reactive in developing their martial arts skills. I can understand disappointment if you practice all your basics regularly on your own and see little if any results. Besides increasing the repetitions, how are martial arts skills built?

I will speak for Wing Tsun Kungfu since it is the martial art that I have spent the most time with. However, I believe it is the same with other arts as I spent years in Korean karate and Filipino Escrima. One should think about the intent of the movements.

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The difference between Wing Tsun and other martial arts is not always obvious. Many martial arts that come from a so-called Shaolin root have a basic set of movements called a “form” which is a pattern of hand movements and steps which might be compared to a dance. However, the techniques have fighting applications. The principals are normally how the style defends and attacks, how to get power, how to turn and fight and so on.

Wing Tsun does have a basic form called Siu Nim Tau. Its meaning is “Little Idea Form.” The techniques in the form teach very basic ideas such as the “Character Sun Thrusting Punch” and the three seed techniques, tan sau, fook sau and bong sau plus two more sections of techniques totaling 108 points.

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Virtually all martial arts taught today had, at one time, a very effective combat purpose. As the decades and centuries passed, the purpose for some arts faded. To preserve the concepts, techniques, and philosophy of those arts, many were preserved as sports. The best self defense martial art was usually the one that had not been converted to a sport. However, it also had to be relevant and had application to modern circumstances.

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It might seem obvious that in order to train for self defense one should find the best self defense martial art. Of course this is only part of it. One must understand the concepts offered in your martial art of choice. Those who run martial arts schools say that their program or their martial art classes have a self-defense component. It may be true but what portion is really dedicated to the ultimate aim of self-defense and that would be to defend against common assaults? Tournament training are often a big portion of the training. Tournament training is yet another variation of fighting concepts and not at all what is needed to prepare for violent assaults in society.

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Improve Your Senses and Consciousness

In order to stick to your attacker’s arms, you must live in the present moment and not let your attention waiver.

Learning a tactile skill like chi sau in the art of WingTsun kung-fu can improve your senses and consciousness. Relying on just the sense of touch or more like sticking with your training partner’s arms (or legs!) allows you to know when a person is about to make a move. One can also feel the direction and amount of power a person is using. The time factor in response to an attacker’s movements is reduced to zero! What many martial arts instructors never get around to explaining is that if an attacker wants to rain punches down on you at full speed, no block, no defense of any kind that does not involve ‘stick’ can prevent those punches from hitting you. In addition, the best defense is a good offense in such a situation.

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Practicing in the Park

Rick and Frank practice at Papago Park, Tempe, AZ in prep for the techniques in the article in the July/August issue of Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine. You can order it here: .
The article is entitled “Flexible Wing Tsun.”


How to deal with weapon attacks

The most feared types of assaults are those that involve weapons. It appears that there is no way to protect oneself against the blade, the bullet or the bludgeon.

Indeed, these attacks are potentially lethal. In fact, the intent of such an attack should be regarded as intent to kill and therefore you, the defender should take any action possible to defend your life.

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