To become skilled

A few bruises in the beginning are entirely normal.

A functional self-defence art strengthens the ligaments, the bones and, of course, the musculature of the whole body. It is a fact that one has to strengthen and harden specific parts of the body to resist the initial collision of a real attack. There is no doubt that if you do not strengthen you arms adequately you will never be able to defend yourself. Because we use our arms for both attacking and defending, the forearm bones and surrounding musculature in particular should be conditioned.

A few bruises in the beginning are entirely normal. It is no different if you are a man or a woman. Everyone has to go through it. Real ability is the reward. For non-members I should, at this point explain that we do not teach Wing Chun, but WingChun. Our WingChun is the opposite of Wing Chun. I myself learnt the complete Wing Chun system as the second generation student of Yip Man from his Master student. After I learnt Wing Chun I could no longer teach it because it became clear that it is an illogical, non-functional and un-structured method with which no-one can defend themselves.

I came to realise that it was all just a mixture of trash and fantasies. At that time there were no alternatives and only I had doubts about this method. Today I am grateful that I began that way because only in doing so could I realise how senseless it was. The further I progressed the more grotesque that Wing Chun became. With every new technique came ever more discord. As a traditionalist, the developments of that time became unbearable for me.

There was no other option for me but to immediately begin creating a system which worked with the fundamental concepts of the combat arts. I searched for the original intentions in the development of this martial art. For more than 10 years I worked tirelessly to complete my WingChun system. Today, I offer an alternative to those people who are looking for real self-defence with traditional values. Our style is called WingChun. I have explained my standpoint regarding the degeneration of Wing Chun in previous articles.

This degeneration has resulted in students becoming weak and compliant. For self defence these are fatal conditions. Weakness and compliance are the precursors to failure and mark the end of any possible development. Back to WingChun. Most of our students need several months to strengthen themselves and acclimatise the forearm bones to collisions.

Whoever perseveres with this and, perhaps after approximately one year, reaches the 4th Student Level, is already successful. With the beginning of Chi Sau training (5th Student Level), following the core self-defence training, the next step of conditioning begins. Chi Sau Sections contain a vast array of strong collisions. The 1st Chi Sau Section, besides teaching you superior technical abilities, is for strengthening the whole body with the goal of using it as a base and a coordinated unit. The forearm bones have to sustain many powerful collisions. They become extremely stable and de-sensitised and as a result, after a strong defence you are capable of performing a decisive counter-attack.

With the completion of the 1st Section the student has reached the Upper Level. Their awareness of a collision is now completely different. Their body is stronger and the forearm bones can withstand collisions which could never have been imagined at the outset. At this level the students repeat strikes hundreds of times and become steadily stronger, harder and, ultimately, faster. It is at this stage that the students begin to miss this type of training if they do not attend regularly. Strengthening and conditioning is enjoyable and changes the feeling of the whole body. Real self-defence ability is a very particular perception. Speed, power and advanced technical ability combine to give a sense of real freedom and confidence. The student begins to become one with every muscle in their body and feels capable and liberated.

You can never fool your subconscious. A combat art has to be trained correctly. Only in that way you can develop the correct attitude and a natural feeling of security and confidence. I and my Academy Leaders tire of hearing about sensitivity training, yielding and softness in connection with self defence training. This is simply absurd. If you do not want to train seriously, it would be better to look for a new hobby rather than ignore the logic and tradition of combat whilst pretending you are learning self-defence.

To my students an important piece of advice: Don't let anyone who plays martial art games in certain clubs tell you how self-defence works because you are too well trained. After a few months of the above-described education it should not be a problem to distinguish between fantasies and reality. Remember the bruises on your arms in the early stages and remember the effort it took to acquire every single technique. Not everyone can achieve that. You can be proud.

Fighting is a conflict or war (not a sport) and it has nothing to do with yielding and softness. Even the effort to master adversity in life can be called fighting. Therefore fighting is part of living, of being human. Living means fighting. Those who live, fight - those who fight, live.

Sifu Klaus Brand, Grandmaster of the International Academy of WingChun ®