Self-defence has little to do with martial sports

This subject crops up again and again in classes and seminars. And as it is of essential importance for an understanding of our WingTsun, and consequently how we teach it, I have set the case out for everybody to read in my "Course book: Internal WingTsun" which will be published shortly (in German first).

So here is a preview from a chapter in the new book.

Enjoy the read!
Your SiFu/SiGung
Keith R. Kernspecht


Self-defence has little to do with martial sports.

The martial sports always follow rules, even the Ultimate Fighting Championships and Mixed Martial Arts: the most effective, i.e. dangerous "techniques" must be disallowed (see Combatlogic "Practical volume"…).

Sporting competitions are "relatively" safe:

  • A referee is there to supervise
  • There is always a doctor present
  • No weapons are used
  • Bystanders cannot get involved
  • There is no danger of criminal proceedings or a not infrequently ruinous civil law suit.

Those involved only learn to defend against attacks which the fighting style they have learned uses itself:
e.g. if they do not use hooks themselves, they do not know how to defend against hooks.

Most martial sports are too one-sided for self-defence purposes:

  • Only boxing
  • Only punching and kicking
  • Only wrestling or grappling
  • Mainly ground-fighting
  • Only wrestling from a standing position
  • No weapons or weapon-defence training

But the key aspect that is lacking is a capability that it is essential to learn, namely not to underreact or overreact.
During training we must learn to act commensurately – i.e. in stages: by sheer presence and gaze, speech, touch, controlling actions/pain infliction, light to severe injury etc.

In order to use the means available in keeping with the situation, and despite the stress, we must observe and listen carefully to what is really happening.
This is precisely what the Chan (Zen) methods in this course book teach.

(Extract from: "Course book: Internal WingTsun")