In order to defeat an attacker, Wing Tsun students have to train to do something at odds with one’s natural inclinations and that is to use no resistance at all in an attack. The attacker expects resistance but gets none. What he gets is empty space or what GGM Leung Ting calls a void. WingTsun is not the only martial art that has used this strategy but it is the only one to focus on the defeat of an attacker to this degree and conform to such logic.
To reliably and truly defeat an attacker, a defender must train the body to react in ways at odds with expectations. We do not need to yell, jump, spin, or grimace. Exercises such as push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and bench presses are not part of the curriculum. As a student in WingTsun, you can do those things on your own time and you can get any personal trainer to show you how.
What we will show you is the completely unique training that will help you learn this solid and reliable self-defense system which is more effective than any other as far as we are concerned. WingTsun is for fighting, not for performing or posing. Whether a technique “looks attractive” or not is not our concern. How the technique works is our concern. Whether you look like a hero to your peers is not our concern. Whether you survive an assault is our concern.
Many beginners are confused as to why the techniques they have been taught are not working after a few classes when their friends try mock attacks on them. Because of the above statement, “at odds with expectations,” it is because your subconscious mind is resisting changes to a physical and mental status quo. New training is like re-programming. Re-programming the mind over the old programming takes time. Each individual has different levels of resistance to change. Short of physical range-of-movement limitations at the level of the BONE, the body CAN and WILL move the way you want it to, after longer and more numerous sessions of practice. This is not like learning a team sport or an individual sport concerned with hitting a ball or throwing one, driving a car, bicycle or other device. After the sport is done, this skill has few if any pay-offs outside of the sport. Oh, you can certainly get some of your muscles into good shape riding a bicycle or throwing a ball, but the skill exists only for this sport, not for lifestyle improvements of the sort that can be had with direct improvement of your coordination and mind-body unity at all levels.
WingTsun has always been taught as a set of tools that one learns to use and then combine for practical self-defense. The movements or “actions” are, at first, taught separately like letters in the alphabet so that a student can gain skill at them before combining them. In their combined form, they become actions for self-defense. Separately, they appear to be abstract and useless. This is the classic misunderstanding of the ancient Chinese martial arts. Most people remember the “wax-on, wax-off” drill in the Karate Kid as a silly movie scene by Pat Morita who was not a martial artist at all but was, in fact, a skilled actor. What many don’t necessarily realize is this is how ancient Chinese systems were often taught. The student was expected to follow instructions faithfully without questioning the instructor. In WingTsun kung fu nowadays, this is not necessary. As a student learns a technique, the applications are explained or shown.
WingTsun is often the passion of those that have first studied another martial art. Having seen how it was done in that style or system makes them appreciate what is done in the Leung Ting WingTsun® all the more. In some martial art self-defense courses or classes, to satisfy an impatient student, a sequence of techniques is hurriedly taught against a specific attack. After that, another one is taught and then another and another and this is their complete learning program. Let us say that 50 of these sequences are taught over a period of 50 classes. What are the odds that a student will encounter an attack done specifically the same way as ANY of those 50 techniques by a similar sized attacker (let alone the 5 or 6 thousand that many claim to teach). What has been learned from such a teaching method? According to the WingTsun way, absolutely nothing has been learned.
In a Leung Ting WingTsun® school, the student can go from knowing NOTHING to knowing SOMETHING, as Grandmaster Leung Ting would say. If a student learns straight punching, the student learns the punching details, training methods, how to apply it and why it works. In addition the student is taught what might keep it from working and how to circumvent this possibility. This would be a lot of learning to undertake if the technique only had limited uses! However the WingTsun straight punch and all other techniques are the most practical on the planet and are effective in the majority of self-defense situations!
WingTsun might not have survived the test of time had it not been for its benefits in personal health and individual growth. After-all, the public is fixated on technology being the labor-saving solution to everything including self-defense. You might own a stun gun, a pistol, a knife or you might own two hands and two feet. If you do not know how to use it, any weapon can be useless or dangerous to you. Technology is not always the solution.
An example of physical improvement might be in the circling step with one leg and sliding forward with the other leg. This can be a tedious drill but absolutely necessary and beneficial in learning the 100% rear weighted advancing step which confounds the footwork of any other martial art let alone a street attacker! The circling step (huen bo) benefits the hip rotators, core stability, the oblique muscles and sensory reception of the legs during an attack.
Sometimes technology is not the solution.
Sometimes the solution is IN YOU.
© Copyright 2009, Keith Sonnenberg. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Permission.