Self Defense For Modern Times|
Author: Ingo Weigel
Most people when they think of serious self-defense for their home and family think of acquiring a gun. The logic of such an acquisition is compelling; simplicity, easy of use, firepower and the finality of results.
The role of guns in our history is profound and historically well documented. “The right to bear arms” is embedded in our constitution and the very notion of freedom and liberty is closely associated with firearms. Guns are considered equalizers for all people. Anybody, regardless of status, size or physical power becomes a potentially formidable threat when in possession of a firearm. Given the availability and prominence of guns in our society, most people tend to scoff at the need to train in martial arts. Why spend years of time and commitment to forge our bodies, minds and spirits in the ways of the warrior when all one has to do is acquire a firearm?
People don’t realize that guns are just tools and with such powerful tools comes great responsibility. Tools used in the wrong way can become a threat to the user and to society and training is required even in the domain of guns. Legal issues, safety issues, control and effective deployment and use of these tools is critical to the existence of a safe, secure and functional society.
If training is not important then why do our elite protection agencies of society such as law enforcement groups and military forces engage so extensively in it? The prestige and reputation of various agencies is distinguished by the amount and type of training each has received. Special military forces such as army rangers and navy seals are held in higher regard than the average soldier because of their higher level of training. For the same reason FBI and Secret Service is held in higher regard and status than the average municipal police officer.
Similarities of Wing-Tsun-principles and firearms
A gun is a relatively simple but sophisticated tool for firing small projectiles at high velocity to penetrate the target with a straight trajectory. In a similar fashion, Wing Tsun (WT) is an unarmed system designed to achieve similar results.
Wing Tsun trains the body to be like a firearm mechanism. The hands accelerate explosively along a straight path to the target with the centerline analogous to the barrel of a gun. The forward steps serve as the gunpowder, or charge for the projectiles, as well as being the flight path for the attacks. In addition to the hands being likened to bullets, they can also be viewed a soldiers in war. Man Sao, or the front hand, is likened to one’s perimeter defense. Wu Sao, or rear protective hand, is likened to rear defense.
The value in guns and soldiers for self-defense is actually their offensive firepower to protect targets. Similarly, in Wing Tsun, when the limbs (i.e. the hands) are sent into “battle” and hand attacks are “chained” together, an “army” is created.
The invention of guns and firearms changed the whole philosophy and approach of warfare. In Medieval times very heavy body armor was used to protect one’s targets and consequently large heavy weapons such as the claymore broadswords and heavy battle maces were used to penetrate this heavy body armor. Mass and power were the order of the day. With combatants dressed in chain mail and body armor empty hand attacks were just not practical at that time. The advent of firearms rendered bulky metal armor and chain mail obsolete as well as the use of heavy hand weapons for warfare. Rapiers, sabres and light clothing, hand held muskets and cavalry, evolved and developed. Speed and mobility became more important, and in that regard, fencing was the principle swordplay that came into being.
Ironically, because of those developments that were set into motion by firearms, modern empty hand boxing became a practical supplement and alternative means of self-defense. Straight combination hitting, falling steps and shorter upright mobile stances became the foundation for modern empty hand combat. Additionally, grappling arts have evolved with modern times and in this arena speed and mobility are also paramount.
Firearms have also continued to evolve and develop in terms of improved materials and design. Modern guns possess greater firepower and have higher capacity clips and magazines. Today’s preferred handgun of choice for most police officers are semi- automatics, as opposed to the standard six shot revolver. Similarly, modern assault rifles also have large rates of fire and high capacity magazines. These types of arms have proven the most effective on the battlefield.
Wing Tsun is designed much like today’s modern firearms. This unique art stresses great mobility with its footwork and put emphasis on rapid rate of firepower. Chain punching in Wing Tsun can be likened to a machine gun, and with its fast and flexible footwork, it simulates a mounted machine gun on a mobile turret. Additionally, much the low thrusting kicks can be likened to a pump action shotgun, with their powerful blast like effects on the mid section, thighs, knees, shins and insteps of an enemy.
Wing Tsun Training to Supplement Firearms
As previously mentioned, complete, total self-defense based entirely on firearms is not sufficient or even adequate for today’s needs.
It has been well documented that many a law enforcement officer has been disarmed by determined criminal assailants when taken by surprise in close quarters. There has been much discussion on weapon retention techniques and programs. These in fact, constitute a study of martial arts. It is also known that most savvy, veteran law enforcement officers, carry a backup smaller pistol, in the event that their primary firearm fails, or is lost to them. In similar fashion, we in the civilian world can only learn and emulate form our better trained brethren. While the average citizen may not go on daily or weekly military maneuvers, martial art training is an undervalued, misunderstood and unappreciated tool for survival.
“The preservation and protection of our health” are foundations of our very existence here in this world. It is known that the law of nature is harsh, and the so-called civilized human world is no different at its core. Just like wild nature, human predators and prey abound. In every sphere of being, it is important to know where one is and to hone our instincts and intuition; to avoid, escape and, if necessary, fight predators. Self-protection and the protection of our family, loved ones and nation are primal instincts, desires, and responsibilities of everyone. Military and law enforcement are there to supplement our self-protection needs, not the reverse. Learning the ways of the warrior are necessary skills to our survival and growth, for we are all on the “food chain” whether we are aware of it or not.
In some states of our country, it is relatively easy to legally acquire a firearm for hunting or self-protection. In fact, more states allow a concealed handgun permit for law-abiding citizens. Even in these states, where people have exercised their rights to possess firearms, it is not always practical or convenient to carry a firearm. In addition, within a radius of 10-15 feet, unless one’s firearm is deployed, it is not a useable option, and in fact, in a close encounter, it could be readily taken from and used against the owner. And not every self defense encounters legally and morally justifies the lethal, final results that firearms produce. Martial art training gives the user many greater options of control.
Similar to veteran officers and warriors, martial arts training is the “backup pistol” we all need to invest in our survival and well-being. In this regard, Wing Tsun is the perfect addition to every modern, contemporary citizen. Besides the aforementioned technical features that virtually make Wing Tsun resemble a gun, the accompanying physical and spiritual training of the programs make it the best value of this century.
The average person of modest physical talent and ability can effectively and readily employ Wing Tsun to protect and improve the quality of their lives on a daily basis. Not every martial arts style or program can truthfully make this claim. Many styles and systems require excessive physical power and ability, rendering them impractical for the average civilian.
Our Wing Tsun and self defense programs are fun, logical and train the students on multi-levels in a short period of time. They strengthen the body and the balance, and hone ones physical, mental and spiritual abilities. Strategy and tactical skills are also taught, and these are further integrated into an understanding of philosophical and legal arenas.
The Wing Tsun system is based on an ingenious integration of mathematics, physics and philosophy. It continues to grow and evolve based on its scientific and Buddhist, Confucian and mainly Taoist philosophical roots.
In summary, firearms are effective self defense tools but you may need Wing Tsun training to fill the gaps in your personal safety net. Do you have your gun on you right at this moment?
We offer several classes and programs for beginners, advanced martial artists and instructors who are looking to offer new classes to their members.
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Ingo Weigel, a Chicago-based martial arts expert has dedicated his life to teaching the newly popular art of Wing Tsun, a self-defense discipline that is simple and effective for anyone, no matter what their size or strength. www.ChicagoSelfDefense.com