Learning several martial arts simultaneously, all with different concepts and ideas regarding fighting and self-defense must be very confusing for a beginner. Learning a “deflecting hand,” for example, out of the context of its source art does not allow the student to understand its use.
Many schools claim to teach students reality fighting. How real can it be unless they travel to the nearest dark alley complete with gravel, weeds, pallets, etc.? Real fighting means contact. Some contact is important to give a student a real sense of danger. Sometimes this danger is necessary so that you will be sure to defend.
There is truth to the use of contact that is advocated by some. Just not the whole truth. Nobody can know what kind of opponent you will face in a real -life self-defense situation. You might have to “cheat” to save yourself from disabling bodily harm or death. In addition, you cannot TRULY simulate a street fight very easily without seriously hurting somebody for no reason. If your opponent is not hurt as in a pretend fight, he will continue to attack. This is not what you want in a reality fight.
Wing Tsun is designed for when the “chips are down;” stop your attacker at all costs. The concept in Wing Tsun is to be direct. Fakes are regarded as real attacks. If you are in fear for your safety or your life, the direct approach is preferred. This is all necessary in a real fight for your safety and your life when you are attacked without provocation. If you do not know your opponent on the street, in a bar, in an elevator, stair well, parking garage, etc., these are necessary considerations.
Your odds of being injured in training for full contact or strenuous grappling sessions go up tremendously depending on the duration of the fights, the level of use of contact gear or not, and other factors. This is particularly true if conflicting types of movement are involved from different styles being taught. It is one thing for very experienced fighters use it in a ring fight. It is quite another for beginners or even intermediate students in a gym to partake when they are paired up.
All that being said, if that kind of training is for you, great! Keep in mind though, that training is more of a fight contest than self-defense.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg