In this article, Sifu Klaus Brand addresses several common misconceptions about the martial arts and others styles similar in name to IAW WingChun. Read it below to learn the following:
- Why collision is unavoidable in Self-Defense
- The source of true combative ability
- WingChun sparring is impossible
- Chi Sao for body power and toughening
- The definition of a real fight
- Confusion between sensitive contact and hard impact
- Structured graduation is not an option
Collision, the Only Solution
Actually, as a WingChun Grandmaster, I use the word “collision” to characterize the encounter of an attack with a defense.
If there is no collision in a fight then there was never an attack.
After my article “Let’s Collide” I received countless emails, which I incidentally replied to without exception, questioning why I spoke about collision in our style and exactly what I meant by it. In many messages I was even asked about my opinion of sparring. I will address both of these topics here.
The fact is that I developed 15 years ago an entirely new system with the name WingChun.
Many organizations were established only to create new associations and new logos. However, technically everything invariably remained the same. These egoistic intentions can hardly be described as innovative. And that is precisely the cause of complications in the scene: new labels but identical, altogether pirated content. In my system no one finds a single known technique, especially if one has trained for ten or more years W-T or its innumerable derivatives. I recommend everyone to personally learn our WingChun. Our WingChun is unique and this is what all of us, Students and Instructors of the IAW, are proud of.
Our Team will help anybody who restarts in the International Academy of WingChun. Everyone is welcome!
Brief Elucidation of the Topic “Sparring”.
Practicing a combat art with sparring can only be seriously considered at the level of a small child. It is impossible to measure real Self-Defense skills via sparring, above all because protective gloves are worn. One strikes with gloves because the opponent is unable to ward off ones blows. Therefore, during WingChun classes, wearing training gloves is not allowed since they would radically impair our substantiality and efficacy. Training gloves serve to protect the opponent. However, the attacker is scarcely responsible for the protection of his opponent. In Self-Defense, the opposite is the case. Only your own protection is of interest. Nothing else. We defend ourselves using our hands and arms without protective gear and we attack without it as well. Protection lies in ability and not in some equipment. Anyone who wants to practice WingChun sparring definitely has a high-grade deficit, either in his competence or comprehension.
Sparring is trained in sports where no Self-Defense skills are taught. It is that simple. Sparring is a necessary exercise variant in many fighting sports. I have never heard of students from these fighting sports who train our Chi Sao (Adhering Arms) to harden their arms or WingChun Forms to improve their body tension and coordination. Why should students of Self-Defense arts delight in training exercises from fighting sports? That makes no sense whatsoever but shows just how confused and uninformed many are.
The WingChun training of the IAW is significantly harder than any sparring. I suppose that many arts offer their students no assurance and thus rely on sparring to provide a “strong” feeling now and then. This suggests a sorry training program. Anyone who trains properly does not need sparring to feel strong. WingChun is bone-hard training. Whoever can sustain a training Class or a complete Seminar is anyhow strong. Our students are strong and not only that. They are capable, well-trained and ready.
And now back to the main topic of this article, Collision.
One with the intention to score a hit inevitably leads towards a collision. Either the punch meets its fist upon the target or its arm collides with a defense. There is de facto no other possibility.
Now a lot of “artist fighters” extraordinarily believe they can somehow neutralize the punch of an opponent. Some wish to steal the power of an opponent, while some speak about borrowing it and still others hope passivity will render an attack ineffective. They train their sensitivity by beginning with the touching of arms. That is absurd. The error lies in misconstruing the beginning of a fight.
A fight always starts before touching and the so-called touch or contact is only the end of an attack, namely a brutal collision.
Hence, there is no touching in the sense of a “gentle contact” but rather the merciless end of a movement. It seems likely that many use the words “fighting art” in reference to their style just to avoid demanding training with its indispensible effort. I have nothing against students calling WingChun a sport because it is indeed. Personally, I prefer the term combat art.
To believe the fight begins with a touch and the assumption that one can react correctly after the touch is schizophrenic.
This trained sensory disorder arises when one trains for an extended period within a homogenous community that starts where a real fight ends. Primus error veniam meretur. One makes it easy for oneself by training tactile constellations that never exist in a real fight. Thus one naturally spares oneself from hard and realistic training. However, there are no inconsequential touches. Those who start training by first contacting the arms of an opponent, strictly speaking, trains nothing. Every attack and each defense ends with a contact. A fight is interesting before and after the contact or collision. The collision mentioned earlier inevitably occurs during the coincidence of an attack and a defense. The resulting contact is entirely irrelevant. Only those who are well-trained and stable enough to withstand an attack can proceed to their own attack.
Sensitivity training is nonsense and has nothing to do with a combat art.
But this confusion has its origin. Since some time there are self-proclaimed school leaders who offer to learn their system within a few weeks and others who do not even produce a grading system. Whoever can show his system in a couple weeks is thereby merely saying: “Although I can do nothing, I’d like to share with you.” Such dismal offers are not worth further thought. It is precisely this mass trash that led to the present dilemma.
However, anyone who does not provide a grading system definitely has no structure nor places any worth in technical standards. This is a sort of hippie structure in the scene (Peace, we are all alike). Those who start learning from such so-called instructors lose valuable time and have nothing in the end. Or, he goes one step further down a blind alley and announces himself an instructor. And exactly thus, the perversion of different styles reached it present peak. What do you expect in training sites where a grading system is unavailable and hence no Grandmaster who provides and upholds a clear and logical structure?
No we are not all alike.
One learns faster, another slower, one trains more, another less. Everyone is responsible for his individual progress in the group. Trying to compare a new student with an advanced one after about two years of experience is unfair. After two years, a student reaches the 8th or 9th Student Level and thus belongs to the Upper Levels.
An organization that is unable to come up with highly graded students attempts to conceal in a clumsy way that there is no progress.
Development is never possible without a graduation system because there would be no beginning and, above all, no middle. One can only ever orient oneself to higher grades. The graduation is the indicator, the guideline and the pride of a system. Students with higher graduations occasionally serve as an orientation and a motivation and demonstrate how good one can become with structured training.
WingChun is a perfect sport.
We perpetually develop our personal power, technical understanding and consequently our swiftness of thought and action. A necessary degree of imperviousness to pain is already achieved through our high training standard after the first testing of the Basic Levels. Moreover, we strengthen our bones to be well prepared to withstand every conceivable attack. Because this is exactly what Self-Defense is for.
Only one who trains hard and feels strong enough is able to trust oneself.
We demand and develop our students to perfection. WingChun serves as both physical exercise and Self-Defense. There is no better combination of fitness training paired with the construction of a purposeful and functional coordination.
— Sifu Klaus Brand, Leader of the International Academy of WingChun®