WingTsun™ vs. other martial arts

One of the most important differences between Leung Ting WingTsun® and other martial arts is the idea of DIRECT versus INDIRECT…

This concept is related to the straight-line / center line concept and so I must explain this concept first in order to make the DIRECT versus INDIRECT concept clearer. In WingTsun, we always attack and simultaneously defend with the center line in mind. The center line is the shortest straight-line. While our WingTsun fighter is guarding this line 100% of the time, our attacker is forced to go around the center line defenses to try and grab or hit our WingTsun fighter.


Unlike other arts, WingTsun does not use the feint or “fake” attack to try and draw our opponent’s guard away so we may attack his unguarded area. This kind of action too often opens our own guarded areas. Instead, we go straight in with hands at the center line using wedging, ‘slap blocks’, and straight punching. Since we have the shortest route to the target, we use that route with our attacks and seldom need any ‘blocks’ (we do not use anything called a “block” which suggests a barrier) beyond our attacking-deflecting techniques.
Because of the center line concept, we do not respond to feints or “fakes” by chasing the attacker’s hand but rather we just treat it as a real attack by going straight in using the advantage of the shortest route to the target. The feint or fake is generally a circular or arcing movement. It is basically never on the center line which leaves a WingTsun fighter a clear path to a target even if our attacker is a grappler trying to grab our legs. It does not matter if the attack is real or not. We treat it as real and we can beat it to the target if our attack is on the center line. The idea is to hit the target sooner than our opponent (start later – arrive first) on our attacker’s center of body mass.
Arts which rely on finding an opening, creating an opening or waiting for an opening to occur are delaying the defense which one cannot afford in a real encounter when one’s life is at stake*. An ‘opening’ is not strictly necessary if we create a bridge between us and our attacker and can feel his direction, trap and out-flank. The use of feints make the other martial arts INDIRECT. WingTsun is DIRECT.
When an attack crosses our defenses by making contact with an arm or we make arm or body contact happen, this is where your chi sau skill comes into play. The motto is ‘Stay with what comes, follow through as it retreats, spring forward as our hand is freed.’  If the way is not clear, stay with what comes.
Of course all this is the way it is because WingTsun fighting does not have a sport application and so all targets are allowed and all of WingTsun is devoted to self-defense (real situations), not sport applications where both sides are given an equal chance.

*WingTsun does have a phase of training that waits for a mistake in order to train a student to recognize the mistake.

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