FBI (USA) Hostage Rescue Team

During the week of January 13 – 17, 1992, Special Agents (SAs) Douglas R. Kane and Michael R. Maurer attended a weaponless defense conference in Göppingen, Germany. It is my understanding that you along with several of my instructors conducted a two-day WT seminar during this period.

SAs Kane and Maurer have over 20 years of martial arts and law enforcement weaponless defense training between them. Both are experienced instructors in their respective disciplines, and readily identify useful and effective techniques. Upon returning from Germany, they were extremely complimentary of your instruction, and advised they saw several techniques which would benefit our current training and overall mission.

WT was explained to me as a simple but effective way of controlling an individual without having to use unnecessary force. This appears to parallel our other training responsibilities, and is compatible with United States laws regarding reasonable force by law enforcement officers. I hope to expose other operators of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team to this type of self-defense training in the near future.

Richard M. Rogers Assistant Special Agent in Charge Commander – Hostage Rescue Team

Police chief in the principality of Liechtenstein

Dear Mr. Schembri,

I would like to thank you for the one-day WingTsun self-defence seminar conducted as part of our internal training and further education programme. 12 instructors from our police department took part. On the request of the participants, the focus of the seminar was placed on the aspect of "reasonable force".

The seminar with its practice-related exercises was very well received, and was able to convince the instructors of the effectiveness of WingTsun for the police.

R. Brunhard, Head of Police

A police self-defense instructor

The WT system refrains from showmanship of any kind, and is very closely oriented towards realistic close-combat situations. Unnecessary movements, high kicks and time-consuming, complicated techniques are completely dispensed with.

In my view, the entire WT method is extremely logical in concept, and extraordinarily effective by virtue of its directness. The most outstanding features for me were the simultaneous nature of defense and counter-attack, which dispenses with the "strong" blocking techniques used by Karate and Ju-Jitsu (with shock-like tensioning of the relevant muscle group), and the principle of (literally) tying-up the attacker's arms.

The fighting techniques and tactics are extremely flexible, versatile and completely take their lead from the opponent. Brute force (e.g. a powerful punch) is not answered with brute counter-force, but rather with intelligent, logical tactics and ingenious yet simple techniques. The opponent's own strength is used for one's own defense to a decisive extent. Feints and dummy attacks are identified by specially sensitizing the arms (special exercises). There is no reaction to feints and similar ploys, thus saving energy. A WT fighter does not react until a genuine attack is launched.

WT training is oriented towards realistic self-defense, and light contact is preferred during practice. WT methods and techniques are applied economically and effectively. Neither time nor energy are wasted on unnecessary movements. The entire method is based on logical theories that impress even "old stagers" in the Karate and self-defense world, and are thoroughly applicable to real situations.

In my opinion WT is relatively quick to learn, and can therefore be applied in real self-defense situations within a very short time. WT training exercises both the muscular structure and the nervous system, thereby furthering physical fitness. The training intentionally refrains from time-consuming warm-up exercises, using its own, specific exercises and techniques to "warm up" the body and its organs. As far as I am aware, only really well-qualified experts in the Leung Ting WT system are permitted to act as instructors, many of them on a full-time basis. One can therefore expect a high quality of instruction. Instruction is held in relatively small groups, which ensures that the techniques and tactics are learned thoroughly. It is usual for the chief instructor to monitor performance regularly (both that of the students and of the instructors).

The self-confidence and security provided by this relatively quickly learned method are certainly extremely conducive to preventing the premature use of firearms in confused and stressful situations. By providing security and confidence in one's own physical superiority, it therefore meets major criteria in terms of police objectives (confident, calm intervention without fear).

In my personal view, WT is to be highly recommended for both police and border units.

Klaus Wucherpfennig, Detective Chief Superintendent

A judge who practices WT

I was 42 years of age and had never practiced any form of martial arts when I was introduced to WT as part of an information event at the Saarland Supreme Court. The following aspects of WT convinced me: WT teaches techniques that enable even a non-sporting type to defend himself/herself against attacks by physically stronger persons, or at least to gain time to flee. This skill can be learned within a short time, even without intensive training. WT teaches one how to react to sudden attacks without panic.

Today I am convinced that nobody would e.g. be able to keep me in a stranglehold successfully, and this applies to anybody who has started learning WT, even if only for 2 hours. The system is extremely suitable for physically weaker people, and particularly for women.

Ulrich Chudoba, Judge at the State Supreme Court in Germany

A police commissioner

"Your clear and realistic descriptions (in "BlitzDefence – Attack is the best Defence") remind me of my time as head of a special squad for the prevention of street crime in downtown Frankfurt/Main, where I was also responsible for training. With adequate personnel numbers and good equipment, we were able to keep a lid on crime in the inner-city area between 1972 and 1985. We soon understood the "rules" of the underworld, and were able to show the still mainly German pimps and "big noises" their limits in our own way. For us there were no "no-go areas" where no police patrols dared to venture.

The methods employed by the thugs and other brutal scum was just as you describe in your book. I have seen entire rowing teams come to grief in the train station area – and then some! Wrestlers also had little chance, owing to their sporting attitude.

The unfit and fat but brutal headbanger always won against the inexperienced, even if they were in really good shape. The single knock-out punch or trick etc. was always based on some form of distraction or deception.

The aim was always to close the distance so that the other party could be ruthlessly and cruelly destroyed! One particularly popular party-trick was to swipe a heavy glass ashtray across the face and then "win" by brutally kicking the victim as he lay on the ground. Every night we found ourselves interviewing these seriously injured, broken victims in the hospital emergency departments.

Based on my experiences in countless court proceedings, I can only confirm your comments on the legal aspects. Totally unrealistic TV series and action films also do their bit to make forthright and legally justified action against injustice more difficult. After all, self-defense is a natural right.

Bernd Pokojewski

Close Combat instructor in the elite German military unit "Kommando Spezialkräfte"

The Federal German army's Special Forces Commando (Kommando Spezialkräfte, KSK) has been operational since 1997. Since 2000 the close combat instructors have received their training at the EWTO Trainer Academy, Langenzell Castle.

As an addition to very intensive training in parachuting, shooting, demolitions and diving, unarmed combat skills play an extremely important role in elite military units. They always become very important when the use of weapons would be an excessive response in certain situations, or there is a risk of injuring uninvolved bystanders. KSK therefore attaches very great importance to close combat training. On the one hand the use of appropriate techniques increases the effectiveness of the Command's soldiers, and on the other their motor responses are improved by the constant, systematic training.

In the search for a suitable martial art, we first examined many of the existing fighting arts and sports. In the final analysis the WT concept proved to be ideal for our special requirements, and this has confirmed itself in practice in recent years. For this reason, close combat training based on WT techniques is an integral part of the training for the soldiers in this unit.

WT is particularly suitable for KSK by virtue of the following factors:

    • The techniques and principles can be flexibly applied in all close combat scenarios, both armed and unarmed. They harmonize well with the KSK's combat principles, and in some cases even improve them.
    • WT techniques are logical in their application, and correspond to normal human behavior patterns.
    • They require no acrobatics such as high kicks, and can also be rapidly learned by our soldiers.
    • They often correspond precisely to the movement patterns and procedures that our soldiers carry out in other activities, e.g. when handling firearms.
    • Systematic execution of the techniques has a beneficial effect on the motor coordination of our soldiers.
    • The special WT ChiSao training improves tactile sensitivity for combat.
    • As our soldiers are often confronted with poor visibility on their assignments, and frequently need to fight at short distances, their combat effectiveness is immensely improved by a highly developed tactile sense.
    • As WT is a combat system that can be adapted to any situation, it is particularly valuable for our purposes. In some situations the soldiers in this unit have limited scope for action. This scope is widened by WT methods – they are able to operate more flexibly and with less stress.
    • The close combat training can be logically structured on the basis of WT, so that the higher training programs are the same as for the lower levels. This means that the advanced user applies the same techniques as the beginner, but in slightly modified form. It is therefore not important whether our soldiers are fighting with a tonfa or a telescopic baton, or without a weapon. They can also use these techniques with their firearms.

The main aim of the close combat training is to give our soldiers the ability to use alternatives to their firearms. This enables them to act with confidence to any situation. There are different training programs with different aims to develop this extended scope for action:

    • Weapon protection (= defense against attempts to grab a soldier's weapon)
    • Military close combat "man to man" for special forces
    • Military knife-fighting for special forces
    • Use of different non-lethal weapons, e.g. side-handle baton or telescopic baton
    • Controlling, grounding, immobilizing and searching an individual
    • Tactical self-protection
     - Special operational situations

Our close combat training is consistently based on WT techniques and principles.

KSK Close Combat Instructor, Calw, October 2004

NOTE: Pictures of training WT are not available due to the security policies of this agency. A German TV report on police officers training WT is available:

Head of Karate instructor training for the German Karate Association

In my estimation WingTsun is a really interesting, highly-developed Taoist fighting art which is based on simple principles and very intelligently conceived, though the learning process includes a very complex and laborious methodology which is not suitable for "fast consumption".

Especially where the aspect of ChiSao is concerned, I know of no martial art in which such skills are developed to such an extent. Particularly at close range, WT has given me some eye-opening experiences.

Dr. Axel Binhack - 5th Dan Shotokan Karate, 1st TG WingTsun
Author of Karate-Do - Philosophy in Motion
Head of DKV Karate instructor training since 2000

World Vice-Champion in Muay Thai (Thai boxing)

Despite my many years in the ring I never lost my feeling of insecurity. The situation in the street has practically nothing in common with that in the ring: there is no referee out there, there are no procedural arrangements, no weight categories and no rules. Everything that ensures personal safety during sporting competition in the ring is lacking. My search finally led me to the realistic WT system and the BlitzDefence programme (self defense role-play based on WT techniques) of Keith R. Kernspecht, Chief Instructor of the European WT Organization, which I have practiced intensively since 1991, when I was no longer able to take part in contests of this kind owing to arthritis in both hips after the Thai Boxing world championships in Bangkok.

Paradoxically this stroke of bad luck proved to be a blessing, for I now had to learn to adapt and find a replacement for my muscle power by borrowing the opponent's strength and using guile. In fact the ingenious WT system gave me more power and effectiveness than I had before.

With WT I have finally found the inner calm and self-assurance to deal confidently with any dangerous situation on the street.

As I am basically a peace-loving individual, I am glad that WT and particularly BlitzDefence have given me the means to de-escalate confrontations without the use of violence. And should things get physical nonetheless, the capabilities I have acquired (I now hold the 2nd TG in WT) will enable me to take countermeasures in line with the threat, so that I will not need to use more violence than absolutely necessary.

Stefano Ricci 2nd place in the 1993 World KungFu Championships in Malaysia
2nd place in the 1996 World Championship in Bangkok
Coach for the Italian National KungFu Team (CONI)

1 Stefano Ricci on the right
1 on the far left, 1993
1 on the far left, 1996
1 2nd from left, Sifu Emin Boztepe in center

Three-times world wrestling champion and Olympic champion

I first saw WT during a demonstration by Prof. Keith R. Kernspecht at the State University of Plovdiv, where I teach wrestling. As an experienced and enthusiastic martial artist, my curiosity about this ingenious fighting system was of course aroused immediately.

I was delighted to accept an invitation from Prof. Margaritov to accompany him on a visit to the WT Trainer Academy at Langenzell Castle (ca 1995), where I was able to spend a week comparing wrestling and WT techniques and their practical application with Dr. Kernspecht. I wrestled with Dr. Kernspecht for several hours, during which he refrained from using any WT striking, thrusting or kicking techniques and restricted himself purely to control techniques.

I found WT to be a simple but highly effective system which makes it possible to control any attacker as if by itself, without having to use excessive strength as e.g. in wrestling. Grandmaster Kernspecht seemed to anticipate every one of my moves before I started them. Unlike e.g. Karate and Taekwondo, WT dispenses with showy techniques and mainly relies on contact with the opponent. The opponent's strength is used for the defense. The WT movements are absolutely supple, soft and flexible, and can be learned for self-defense in record time, though mastery requires many years of study.

Many aspects of ChiSao could be applied in wrestling. As a wrestler and world champion, I am sure that wrestling techniques could be decisively improved with ChiSao. What I have experienced so far is simply wonderful, and has given me many new ideas. Together with Prof. Margaritov and Dr. Kernspecht, we are working on a study designed to show common factors between WT and wrestling. We are also making efforts to spread WT in Bulgarian schools and universities. This is where ChiSao aspects can already be incorporated into conventional lessons in wrestling, which is very widespread in Bulgaria. On a broad basis, i.e. in the Martial Arts faculty of the State University of Plovdiv, in sports management and in wrestling, my colleagues and I will spread the structure of the EWTO and its WT throughout Bulgaria, as I think that WT is the best martial art bar none. It develops the body and mind in equal measure.

Jivko Vangelov
Three-times world wrestling champion
Olympic Silver Medal, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Featherweight, 1988

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A 4th Dan in Ju-Jitsu

I first became aware of the WT system from reading specialist magazines. Having read some of Leung Ting's and Keith Kernspecht's books about WT, I took part in introductory WT training courses.

WT instruction differs considerably from any other Asian martial arts styles with which I am familiar. In 1970 I started with Judo (4 years), Aikido (1 year) and Jiu-Jitsu (14 years), with which I have stayed to the present day.

Once I had become familiar with the basics of WT, a number of things became clear to me, for example the principle of the simultaneous defense and attack. This gains time for the defender which is not available to the attacker for his further actions, and automatically heightens the defender's security. In WT the attacking and defending movements are reduced to their minimum and move along direct paths, which once more gains valuable time. There are no pauses between the individual techniques, therefore the attacker is confronted with a flowing sequence of defensive and attacking actions which are often also simultaneous.

By virtue of the above attributes, the Leung Ting system is a highly effective method of self-defense. Even at the basic level, there are absolutely no fancy moves. Moreover, the short-distance techniques used allow optimum self-defense in very confined spaces. What also amazes outsiders is that while moving only a few centimeters, the hand techniques develop high kinetic energy similar to that of e.g. a conventional punch.

After a certain time the special form of partner training develops a physical awareness of defending and attacking movements, all of which are carried out on the basis of reflexes. This means that defense and attack take place without the need for decision-making.

What difficulties did I encounter when learning WingTsun? Let me answer this question in brief phrases:
     - At the beginning I found the stance needed getting used to.
     - This was added to by the attacking step, with the bodyweight mainly on the rear leg.
     - I am still nowhere near mastering the secure, firm stance.
     - The different timing (first the punch followed immediately by the step) requires a lot of practice.
     - It is not always easy to translate what one has seen into own body movements, let alone to make a logical sequence of movements second nature.
     - And then there is always one's own strength, which especially gets in the way when things speed up a little.
     - The absolute precision of the movements, which what makes WT so effective, was a totally new experience for me. Again and again one finds it necessary to discard previously learned patterns of movement.

Anybody seriously interested in self-defense should get to know WingTsun. I remain with best wishes especially to Sigung Leung Ting.

Joachim Albrecht
4th Dan Ju-Jitsu
Technical training adviser in Lower Saxony, Germany

A 10th Dan in Hapkido and bodyguard

Over the many years I have spent learning various martial arts, I have always been primarily concerned with their practical effectiveness in daily life. When I got to know the martial art of WT, I knew I had finally found a realistic self-defense method that gave me more security than anything before.

As head of a security company specializing in building and event security as well as personal protection, I have found that physical confrontations are unfortunately becoming more commonplace. I have also found that while technical and fighting skills decide the issue on the scene, the legal repercussions are often unfavorable to the victor.

The BlitzDefence strategy gives my employees, students and myself a guideline that enables us to resolve conflicts in a way that can be justified under the critical gaze of the justice system.

With BlitzDefence, Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht has developed a strategy that is immensely helpful in stressful situations, plus a good source of information in the form of his books. In my company, the book "BlitzDefence – Attack is the best Defence" is required reading during our training.

One year ago I introduced BlitzDefence to the police in Bolivia, who showed great interest. I am a visiting professor in the Department of Security and Secretarial Services at the University of Susan in Korea, where I will also be introducing this strategy. BlitzDefence enables us to respond intelligently to dangerous situations.

When I began to learn WingTsun together with a Hapkido colleague in 1988, I had no idea that this fighting style would also bring me so much success in Hapkido. At first I only did WingTsun training for fun, in addition to my Hapkido training, and at first I thought WingTsun was just another style of fighting, and nothing special. I trained with my training partners as if I were learning a hard style. During Lat-Sao we ended up with black-and-blue arms and thought this was the right way. In fact we thought we were the only ones who were doing it right, as the others never bruised their arms to this extent.

At some stage I realized that the purpose of WingTsun is quite different. As time went on, my Si-Hing Heiko Martin acquainted me with the principles of WingTsun and I began to train differently. He showed me the great importance of softness and giving way in WingTsun.

One day my Si-Hing Heiko Martin asked me whether I would like to become a WingTsun instructor, and I agreed. In agreeing I also committed myself to learning more WingTsun. The more WingTsun I learned, and the further I progressed in the training programs, the more my Hapkido began to change as well. Because I began to incorporate the WingTsun principles into my Hapkido, I gained more and more attention from my Korean instructor. Eventually he took me to Korea with him, where he introduced me to other Korean teachers. These gave me lessons in more advanced Hapkido techniques and Korean weapon techniques, but it was always the WingTsun principles that enabled me to progress.

I steadily continued to develop, and my Hapkido became increasingly effective and efficient. In 2003 I was awarded the 8th Dan in Hapkido and was appointed as the European representative. My Korean Hapkido teacher thought I should found my own Hapkido style, however I would not do this for reasons of loyalty, as I feel honor-bound to both styles and teachings. I have a great deal to thank both fighting styles for - Hapkido and WingTsun – and this is especially true for all my teachers.

I can only emphasize urgently that the principles taught in WingTsun are of benefit to any other martial arts style.

Josef Schoop
10th Dan Hapkido, 7th Dan Hosindo, 5th PG WT
Representative for Hapkido in Europe
Visiting professor for Security at Hanseo University in Susan, South Korea

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A man who has been there: "The Governor of the coast"

I worked in many establishments during my almost 30 years in the bar business, of which 16 were in the notoriously rough dockside area of Kiel. In my various positions as a waiter, barkeeper, doorman, bodyguard and book-keeper in a brothel I was obliged to fight around 500 times. Nonetheless, I have never had a criminal conviction. In my time I became acquainted with every level of society, trading punches with pimps, butchers, soldiers, farmhands, property developers, sailors and trawler skippers, as well as with Americans, Englishmen and Australians during the annual Kiel regatta week.

Black belts, championship titles and grading certificates on the wall are of no use out there! When a rabid, hate-filled bruiser goes for you, you only have two options: to run away or fight. Everything superfluous must be thrown overboard in such a life-threatening situation, like jettisoning everything from a boat to move faster. Everything changes when the chips are down. There is no time for thinking or for acrobatic techniques. What works are a few foolproof hand-techniques. I know that WT is just the right answer to "thugs."

"Big" Karl W. Koch

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Sean F

In January 2001 I started WingTsun™ classes, a new job, and evening classes at college. The best decision I made that year was WingTsun™. Many of the gains are difficult to articulate, however, I feel that I’ve become a much better person in many aspects of life through the art of WingTsun™. Almost anyone can learn WingTsun™, no matter your age or physical limitations. You will always feel welcome in class, be inspired, and have the opportunity to meet many great people along the way.

Rachel S

Learning WingTsun™ has helped me in all areas of my life. I now trust my instincts, have increased self-confidence, discipline, awareness, and self-control. I’m braver than I ever was before, and not afraid to stand up for what is right... for others and myself.

Marty S

I have gained new confidence, improved self-esteem and am more assertive from my WingTsun™ training. WingTsun™ Kung Fu to me is like car insurance, something you need to have but hate to use.

Mark F

Being a student at WingTsun™ Toronto has been a humbling, enlightening and invigorating experience with many benefits - I have learned practical self-defense skills, my health has improved and I have met great people. Training in this magnificent art has helped me to evolve in ways I could not have dreamed of otherwise!

Judith D

I joined less than a month ago and I am enjoying the class. I really enjoy the way the instructor teaches. He has a great methodology. It is a bit hard for me, for some of the coordination etc. No one said it would be easy. With that said, I love coming to the class and learning more each time. I am learning and gaining more from the class than I imagined, and I am happy I joined. I see this course already enriching my life in many ways.

Diam S

When I first started I wasn’t sure whether I should join the class as I have a bad knee from a basketball injury. I did not want to exercise and became lazy. As time went on I noticed that it was gradually helping my posture and improving my energy level. I like the idea of moving forward and not letting obstacles bring me down!

John A

I originally started taking WingTsun™ because it has been endorsed by several special forces which seemed to me to be among the top authorities on fighting in realistic conditions. What’s held my interest since then is the emphasis on partner training, realism, as well as providing some great exercise. The simplicity and directness of WingTsun™ are complemented by an atmosphere that’s open to questions, and a martial art that’s seen to be in a state of continual evolution. Finally Sifu Asad Mir’s ability and utter control is obvious and his ability to teach you what you need to know when you need to know is uncanny.

Claire H

Attending WingTsun™ classes has, for me, been empowering in spiritual and psychological terms, as well as physically. Since I started, I have developed a much deeper sense of confidence and ease with myself; and I’ve really enjoyed the feeling of power and self-discipline that I’ve gained from training on a regular basis.

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