All Wing Tsun students who have already taken part in beginning or advanced training may attend this new class. Students may need some virtual lessons or a private lesson before attending. It is a one-hour class, 6-7 pm, on Tuesday evenings at our school in Gilbert. It is intended as a start toward full re-opening later. For now, we are excited to have Sifu Frank Jones teach the class. Enrollment is class-by-class. There will be no commitments for now, but we hope it will give students a chance to stretch their Wing Tsun muscles and get ready for a full schedule soon. Go to our class information page

The State of Arizona has no capacity limitations or other mandates now. However  we ask that you wear a mask and get your temperature taken at the door. Material will cover everything you have in your grade level including any chi sau, lat sau, or lead arm defense drills.

Looking forward!

-Si-fu Keith Sonnenberg

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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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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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.

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Martial Arts for Self Defense

Nearly all instructors say that their schools offer martial arts for self defense. It is usually in their list of activities and benefits but the inevitable emphasis and the way they remain a large scale business is to offer martial arts for competition, that is, for tournaments. Competition and martial arts together certainly offer character-building elements similar to other sports.

Martial arts for self defense such as Wing Tsun really do specialize in the idea of real time self defense abilities. Offered correctly, martial arts for self defense can be a fantastic way to gain confidence and at the same time, gaining coordination and overcoming fears. This is what motivates this writer – offering this kind of confidence to a student.

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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.”


A Counter for Every Move

For every technique that Wing Tsun has, there is a Wing Tsun counter-technique. Of course Wing Tsun also has counter techniques for non-Wing Tsun techniques. The style does not matter – only the energy and the trajectory. No matter how fast or how sudden and deceptive, the counter to the technique exists, tailor made to the energy of the attack because of ‘sticky hands.’ Responses to close range attacks are triggered by pressure against our arms or legs by touch (not by sight) so that the defense is in real time. Wing Tsun trainees learn to yield to the pressure like a spring and when the pressure is relieved, the spring returns in another form. Tan sau becomes bong sau which becomes man sau which becomes jut sau, etc.

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Can we measure how relevant is WingTsun martial arts training to your life? Most assuredly not. However, in a way similar to when you were a child learning the ABCs of the English language, the first form of WingTsun™ called Siu Nim Tau contains the ‘ABCs’ of WingTsun. All of WingTsun’s ‘little ideas’ are in the form. The techniques are each represented in the sequence of movements which later are expanded greatly in separate applications to form sentences (fighting applications). Your first day at class is like your life at your first day in school as a first grade student.

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