What is Wing Tzun?

wclettersWingTsun (written without a space) is a trademarked way of writtng “Wing Chun”, used by the International WingTsun Association (IWTA) founder Leung Ting, to differentiate his branch from the others.

The main difference between WingTsun and other Wing Chun styles is the WT teaching method. Leung Ting developed the system to be easier to learn and teach compared to more traditional styles of Wing Chun. WT has a more structured, school-like curriculum of teaching compared with other Wing Chun styles. As a descendant of Wing Chun, WingTsun shares much of the same history. It only branches off after the death of Yip Man, when Leung Ting decided to take what he had learned from his master and teach it in a much more organized fashion than was traditional.

Wing Tzun, in turn is the name given to the brand of taught by Dai Sifu Emin Boztepe, through the EBMAS organization.


WingTsun is guided by eight principles, which taken together, form a system of aggressive self-defense that allows one to adapt immediately to the size, strength and fighting style of an attacker. There are many ways to express the principles, since they are essentially very simple. However, it takes years of performing specific training methods, (i.e. forms, chi sao, lat sao), with a knowledgeable instructor to train the body to follow the principles reflexively and to understand their applications in specific situations.

As well as describing the progression of a self-defense response, the strength principles also describe the progression a WingTsun student must follow over years of training: first: forms training and a great deal of punching to learn to be relaxed in a fight and to (counter intuitively) punch without tension; second: countless hours of chi sao training to be able to yield to — and exploit — the attacker’s strength; finally: strength training specific to WT to increase punching and striking power.

Fighting Principles

Image21.Go forward

Advance immediately in order to attack the opponents attacking action, If contact is made with the limbs, use reactions developed from chi sao (allowing for these reflexes to take over) or — even better — to strike first. This counter intuitive reaction will often surprise the attacker, and moves the fight into a close distance in which tactile reflexes will dominate over visual reactions. This is where the Wing Tsun practitioner creates an advantage.


2.Stick to the opponent’s center, not their hands or arms

If you are unable to strike and disable your opponent, try to turn them on their axis. Maintain constant contact with his arms, how can he launch an attack at you without your knowing? This applies for the time only when the opponent is blocking your shortest way of attack. Once there is opportunity, you give up sticking, and go in with your attack (flow).


3.Yield to a greater force

Since one cannot expect to be stronger than every potential attacker, one must train in such a way as to be able to win even against a stronger opponent. Chi Sao teaches the reflexes necessary to react to an opponent’s attacks. When an attack is simply stronger than yours, your trained reflexes will tell your body to move out of the way of the attack and find another angle for attack.


4.Follow through

As an extension of the first principle, if an opponent retreats, a Wing Tsun practitioner’s immediate response is to continue moving forward, not allowing the opponent to recover and have an opportunity to reconsider his strategy of attack. Many styles that rely on visual cues prefer to step back and wait and time their attacks, as commonly seen in sport and tournament fighting.

Energy Principles

1.Give up your own Force

One needs to be relaxed in order to move dynamically and to react to the actions of an opponent. When you are tense, your “own force” acts as a parking brake—you must disengage it first before you can move quickly.


2.Redirect your opponent’s Force

This is similar to the third fighting principle. When an attacker wants to use strength to overpower a fighter, the response is not to try to overcome strength with strength, but to nullify this force by moving your attacker’s force away from you, or to move yourself away from it.


3.Use Your Attacker’s Force against him

Take advantage of the force your opponent gives you. If an opponent pulls you toward him, use that energy as part of your attack. Or if an opponent pushes the left side of your body, you can act as a revolving door and use that force in an attack with your right arm.


4.Add Your Own Force

In addition to borrowing power from your attacker, you can add your own force in an attack when your hand is free.


Training Methods

Wing Tsun training is based on developing reflexes through Dan Chi Sao (single arm Chi Sao), Poon Sao (rotating hands), and Chi Sao (sticky hands). Training is split into various forms, many of which are only learned when a martial artist has passed the student levels of Wing Tsun.


1.Lat Sao

Lat Sao roughly translates as “free hands” or “tumbling hands” training. Lat Sao is a sensitivity drill to obtain specific chi sao (sticky hands) reflexive responses. Although it may look combative, it should not be mistaken for sparring or fighting. Lat Sao is a game, in which one partner plays the part of an attacker, and the other a defender. The attacker and defender generally switch roles frequently, or after a set number of attacks. If one is not paying attention, or if the teacher has not explained the drill properly, the training can accelerate and become competitive; if this happens, the students are missing the point of the exercise altogether. Lat Sao is not about hitting your opponent, but about feeding him attacks that he trains to counter. As your partner becomes better, the attacks can be gradually made more difficult to counter by making them faster or more precise. However, once the attack is consistently getting through, it should be slowed down again, so that the defender can identify his mistake, or “hole” in the defense.


2.Ground Fighting

One of the features of Wing Tsun that differ it from other branches of wing chun is ground fighting training. Unlike grappling martial arts that wrestle on the ground or other styles which borrow grappling techniques from such arts, Wing Tsun is claimed to use its own principles on the ground to overcome the opponent.



The basic forms of WingTsun are covered in the student grades, with further refinements of application and technique in later forms. The goal of WingTsun is to be a “redundant” form, in that the teaching will build upon movement and reactions previously learned to allow greater understanding of the material faster. Each building block may not be completely understood when it is taught (although it should be understood in the limited capacity that a level explains it), however the earlier training will act as a foundation for training in later levels.