What is WingTsun?

Realistic. An unarmed self defense system recommended by the FBI-HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) and the German Special Forces GSG9, among various law enforcement agencies across the globe.

Intelligent. Invented by women, the system does not rely on physical strength or toughness, as these factors are often in favor of the attacker anyway. WingTsun™ uses body mechanics, geometry, physics and simple logic.

Instinctive. Through WingTsun™-specific training you learn how to use your natural reflexes which bypass the thought process and are therefore faster than your opponent’s conscious reactions.

Individualized. No mass ’military-style’ training, but hands-on instruction. The instructor teaches and corrects students individually.

Traditionally untraditional. We always strive to find the most economical and safe approach in unarmed combat. The development of WingTsun™ Kung Fu is ongoing, and always improving.

Taoism in motion . A very effective means of unarmed self-defense, influenced by the principles of WuWei, Yin and Yang, and other elements.

To really be able to defend yourself means that you should never expect your attacker to hold back, and also that you should be able to (temporarily) incapacitate him effectively. Strength or agility should not be decisive factors in a self defense situation; very often it is non-athletes and women who may be subjected to physical abuse and threats.

WingTsun™ Kung Fu has the unique distinction of being the only martial art invented by women. Women usually cannot match men in terms of strength. Most martial arts in the end, however, do depend on fighters possessing certain physical attributes, such as strength, speed and endurance, for their effectiveness. Take, for example, boxing. There is a reason there are weight divisions, pairing fighters of similar size or weight. A heavy-weight-class boxer will always outclass the feather-weight-class boxer within the rules of boxing.

Regulated sports are entirely different from self-defense situations where there can be no expectation of fairness or adherence to rules. A WingTsun™ fighter is trained to expect anything: from kicks to the groin, to strikes to the eyes, to grappling, kicking and so forth. With sufficient training in WingTsun™ Kung Fu, students can compensate for, if not overcome those factors that may be in favor of the opponent, such as strength, speed, and endurance.

Any person who does not have significant physical disabilities can acquire a feeling for instinctive reactions through regular WT-training. And the newly acquired self-confidence and physical experience that come from even a short period of intensive training lead WingTsun™ Kung Fu students to become more relaxed after a short time. The WingTsun™ teaching methodology gives students regular feedback on their level of progress. Through the nature of WT training and also the recognition of your own skill level increasing and thus your ability to defend yourself from an aggressor, comes an inner peace.

Although the best defense is to walk away from trouble, you may not always have the opportunity of avoiding physical attacks. If you cannot walk away or stare your opponent down, then you need the ability to face the attacker aggressively, neither leaving him time nor space to organize his attack. You need to be able to put the attacker on the defense.

WingTsun™-fighters use even the smallest weakness of an attack to gain control of the opponent by initiating multiple attacks on sensitive areas. The feeling for the right moment to act, to react, to move with the opponent’s greater force and also to attack determinedly are really the core of WingTsun™ Kung Fu training which leads to increased self-confidence.

All this and more is offered at WingTsun™ Toronto, a school that teaches an authentic martial art which has never lost sight of its original intention: realistic self-defense against a non-compliant opponent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of teaching methods are used?
How long will it take to learn how to defend myself?
Is there a risk of physical injury?
Who can participate?
Is it more kicking or punching?
Do you have belts?
Do I get a good workout?
Is there a WingTsun™ school closer to my area?
How much are classes?

Q: What kind of teaching methods are used?

You can compare the study of WingTsun™ Kung Fu to the study of a foreign language. If Chinese speakers want to learn English, they first have to get to know the alphabet. They learn about the individual letters A, B, C, and so forth. If you want to learn WingTsun™ Kung Fu, you start with the ABC of WT. You begin with the Siu Nim Tau, which means "Little Idea" in Cantonese. You are introduced to various basic hand techniques of the system, you learn how striking force is applied and you train specific muscle groups that are used in WingTsun™.

Just like the Chinese speaker who cannot effectively communicate with the alphabet, the WT-beginner cannot fight with the Siu Nim Tau form. Next, our English-Students learn words. WingTsun™-students learn Lat-Sau. Here the student trains for the first time to combine several elements: using both arms at the same time, kicking or changing stance. In other words, students practice preset combinations. Their ability to defend themselves has now increased greatly. But as the Chinese speaker cannot express a complex matter with one word, the WT-student cannot endeavor to win a complex fight.

Thirdly, our Chinese speakers have to learn how they can change and combine single words to build a sentence. They now learn grammar. WingTsun™-students have to learn how to do the right moves at the right time. They learn Chi-Sau ("Sticky Hands"). Chi Sau is the glue that connects the single movements. Without Chi Sau, WingTsun™ would just be a collection of isolated, dead techniques. Chi Sau is the soul of WingTsun™.

The goal of language is not the sentence but the conversation, meaning that you should be able to talk with your partner about any possible subject. The goal of the WingTsun™ Kung Fu student is to be able to defend him- or herself in a fight through every stage, if necessary. This you learn gradually throughout the twelve student levels of WingTsun™. This last element in WingTsun™ is called sparring.

The initial goal in WingTsun™ Kung Fu is to develop the ability to defend oneself. The order of teaching WingTsun™ is: Forms - Drills - Chi-Sau - Sparring.

Here is the comparison:
WingTsun™ = Language
Siu Nim Tau = ABC
Lat-Sau = Words
Chi-Sau = Grammar
Sparring = Conversation

The more you have practiced the first three stages, the better you will be prepared for sparring. At WingTsun Toronto, we believe that students do NOT come to us to be injured. Certain martial arts schools will throw a beginner in the ring together with an advanced student and let them "have at it". We feel this is not efficient or productive. That type of training will most often appeal to those who may not even need much self-defense training to begin with.

WingTsun™ Kung Fu works for everyone but it is also designed to help those with no previous training; those who may lack self-confidence and have never thrown a punch or kick in their lives; those whose veins are NOT coursing with testosterone. Certain self-defense schools will have their students spar every single class and boast about all their bruises. This type of training has value but the human body can only repair itself so much over time and as you age you cannot keep this level of training up. Usually this type of training will have after-effects later in life.

WingTsun™ can be practiced your entire life, as the goal is to offer the opponent the least amount of resistance, dissolve the attack and counter-attack the opponent’s vulnerable points. Great Grandmaster Yip Man taught WingTsun™ until shortly before he died at the age of 79.

Just as WingTsun™ Kung Fu is a smart martial art, the teaching method is just as clever and produces excellent results over time.

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Q: How long will it take to learn how to defend myself?

It depends on the talent of the individual, and the time and money invested (private lessons bring quicker results but are, of course, more expensive.). It really depends on how good you want to get. On average, training twice a week for six months should give you a good foundation. We are talking about realistic self-defense. Sure, a weekend course will teach you "what happens if..." or "if he does this, then do that..." but this approach is by no means systematic. A weekend course can teach you how to avoid a fight or mugging; WingTsun™ starts where diplomacy or awareness have failed.

In WingTsun™, we learn to deal with any attack systematically and automatically. And this takes practice - a lot more than you can accomplish in a weekend. Training in WingTsun™ Kung Fu enhances your chances of survival enormously in a self-defense situation. But there are never any guarantees, and no other school can offer that either. We are realistic in our attitude towards real-world self-defense. There are various factors at play in any self-defense situation, and the martial art you use is only one. But we honestly believe that proficiency in WingTsun™ Kung Fu can be a decisive factor and make up for other factors not in your favor.

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Q: Is there a risk of physical injury?

Injuries are extremely rare. The emphasis is on training with your partner, and you train with a partner of your own grade. When students begin training, a clear distinction is maintained between attack and defense or counter-attack, meaning that student "X" practices the attack, while student "Y" practices the defense and then vice versa. When the students are comfortable with the WingTsun™ techniques, they employ them more freely. The teaching methodology is designed to minimize risk of injury, even though students are learning dangerous techniques. More dangerous techniques are taught when the students are better equipped to control themselves and apply these techniques with precision.

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Q: Who can participate?

Basically anyone 18 and up who doesn’t have a criminal record. Applicants younger than 18 will only be admitted on a case-by-case basis. No specific athletic abilities are required.

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Q: Is it more kicking or punching?

We use kicks, punches, elbows, knees, shoulders, footwork - anything that is appropriate in a given situation (we do tend to refrain from head butts though... we’d rather use our heads for thinking than as a hammer). WingTsun™ Kung Fu is logical, scientific self-defense that has been tested and approved by various Special Forces, like the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dep’t and LA SWAT, GSG9, NOCS and others.

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Q: Do you have belts?

No. We have a grading system, which consists of twelve Student Grades, after which follow four Technician Grades and four Practician Grades. Grades nine and ten are considered Grandmaster Grades. Each grade has a specific program that is standardized worldwide, meaning that if you attain the fourth SG in Toronto and move to L.A., San Francisco, Houston, Paris, Berlin or Cairo (to name but a few), you could pick up your training where you left off. At WingTsun™ Toronto, we have had students continue their training from Germany, Austria, UK, France, Italy, Hungary, Iran and the USA.

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Q: Do I get a good workout?

The workout is incorporated in our technique training. Take a look at a typical martial arts class - of 90 minutes (if not 60), the first 30 are spent on warm-ups, and muscle-building exercises; the next 30 on Katas (forms - a sequence of stylized movements) and the last 30 on partner drills. At WingTsun™ Toronto, all 90 minutes are spent on learning the techniques under the supervision and guidance of the WingTsun™-Instructor. This means we spend 200% more time on self-defense training than other martial art schools, yet still get a workout!!!

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Q: Is there a WingTsun™ school closer to my area?

There are about 4000 Leung Ting WingTsun™ schools in 65 countries, with over 1,000,000 members. The International WingTsun™ Association (IWTA), founded in 1973 by Dr. Leung Ting, is the world’s largest martial arts organization of a single style. WingTsun™ Kung Fu is immensely popular in Europe. The European WingTsun™ Organization (EWTO) was established 1975; the North American Section (IWTA-NAS) only as recently as 2001. There are about twenty-five schools in the US and only one in all of Canada. So if you look at the big picture, WingTsun™ Toronto is right on your doorstep The next-nearest WingTsun™ school outside of the GTA is in New York City or Chicago. We believe very strongly that what we offer is unique and special.

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Q: How much are classes?

The price structure offered at WingTsun™ Toronto is very flexible. All in all we offer 14 (!) different payment options: you can pay month-to-month, every three months, six months or for a full year at once. We even offer a pay-per-class option! Come participate in an introductory trial class; we will give you a hardcopy of the tuition options.

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