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Self-Defense and the “What If” Syndrome.
by Michel Boulet

Wing Chun” is not a complete system”, we read on internet forums “How do we react when this or that happens?” “What if this or that kind of stylist?…” And it goes on and on.

I would say that studying any art with such a mind frame would rapidly bring what was an initial high motivation to a sub-zero level. Self-defense when studied as a trick collection whitch relies on memorization of “techniques” generally doesn’t take it’s practitioners a long way past a few dirty flicks.

What is needed is skill and what kind of skill is always the best?…The specialized skill based on a systematic approach where step (A) brings to step (B) and so on. Wing Chun propose such and approach. It is not alone in this field. Many arts, even if “incomplete” have a systematic way of fighting. Some specialize in ground grappling, long range kicking, arm locks, etc… The key, is to be very good at a few things.

What can a dedicated practitioner expect from his study of Wing Chun?…Very few things if he expect to feel like an invincible bad ass after a short time!…He will work on seemingly useless and non impressive forms. He will practice a bizarre exercise called “Chi Sau” and he will have to unlearn many natural responses like using force against force. He will ask questions about the “what if” bugging him at the moment and will be answered that almost any of the Wing Chun motions could do depending on the conditions. At this stage, no wonder that the insecure or the aggressive will be long gone from the school.

The persistent ones who were working on simply developing skill will begin to know the answer: Wing Chun is not about how to react on a given situation. It is about being an actor in it. It is about taking charge of it as fast and decisively as possible ,using not only a system called Wing Chun, but your own personal capacities as a person. Wing Chun is not dogma or religion. It is a specialized tool that you choose based on your personal preferences. Some prefer to strike. Others enjoy other things, that’s all. Make your tools very sharp ones. One way to realize this goal is to be aware of the defensive and offensive lines and to use a few well tuned and destructive weapons along with those lines. The few punches of the system, accompanied with the open hands, elbows, knees and simple low kicks can do the job and even a little too much depending on the situation. It would be good to use some judgment in this matter and not turn a banal self-defense case involving a drunk brother in law into a brutal aggression. A good advise is to develop the defensive arsenal of Wing Chun to the up most. Learn to flow with the opponent’s attacks and practice good control on your own attacks. It is a real guaranty for progress and skill.

One last thing!…Have fun in your Wing Chun journey. Treat it as an art and don’t think too much about self-defense!…Chances are you will never need to defend yourself anyway.

Michel Boulet.
Yip Man -> Ho Kam Ming -> Augustine Fong -> Patrick Gordon -> Michael Boulet
About the Author:   Michel Boulet believes that the real mastery of Wing Chun is a life long endeavor, he maintains a humble and open attitude toward his art and does his best in giving his students as much personal attentions as possible, keeping nothing for himself.

Copyright (c) 2006 the Wing Chun Archive and Michel Boulet 2/7/06 

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