A man dressed in black jumps out of the dark area behind the shrub and reaches for your neck.  Your training kicks in and you step sideways, and he turns you as he grabs your shoulder.  You didn’t choose to turn in that manner.  He turned you, but it surprises him.  You lift a punch under his left arm and connect with the soft tissue behind his chin.  The noise is sickening as he bites his tongue and screams but you do not stop.  You follow up with chain punches to his nose!  He falls back and holds his face.  You decide to bolt out of there, glad that you have your safety and your life. 

This was an example of using an attacker’s force against him.  Generally, this event was enabled by the exclusive footwork of WingTsun.  The footwork uses a pivot on the sole of the foot, the center, to turn aside, not by your own force but by allowing an attacker to turn you.  He met no resistance and could continue his path.  However, you were no longer on his path.  You disappeared off to his left with just a small turn on one foot!  One hundred percent of your weight was shifted to your right leg.

Wing Tsun uses several excellent training drills to build the ability to use an attacker’s force with skill.  One such drill is called “poon sau.”  Poon sau is a rolling hands exercise between two practitioners.  An equal amount of light force is applied between the two practitioners to equalize the force and balance the action.  Once this is mastered, it becomes easy for a practitioner to feel any differences in the pressure applied by his or her partner.  It is this ability that allows a Wing Tsun martial artist to use the flaws or “mistakes” in the pressure and capitalize on them.

If an attacker has launched a punch or attempted a grapple and our Wing Tsun defender meets one or both arms, any side-ward movement or up or down movement can be felt and capitalized upon. If no contact is made, a Wing Tsun fighter simply moves forward with his own counter attacks, being certain to follow the shortest distance to arrive first with punches and strikes.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg